Friday, September 11, 2009

Office Faux Pas

My friend, Reanna, sent this to me today and it totally cracked me up. For those of you who live in a cube on a daily basis, this edited excerpt will ring so true!

1. Don't! Be the Office Downer

You don't want to be such a buzz kill that people arrange their desks away from you.
That's what Caroline Melville, owner of virtual administrative service VirtuallySorted.com, had to do after hiring an accountant to work with her small team. In the mornings, when Melville asked how he was doing, he would respond with a deadpan, "I am not dead yet."

2. Don't! Microwave Fish in the Office

Tuna sandwiches are banned from some offices, but fish dishes in the microwave are absolutely off limits. "I never knew who the culprit was because the kitchen area was not near my desk," says Casey Corrigan, a media strategist at a New York City PR firm. The smell would waft through the office gently at first, and "then you would feel it more pungently." You don't want your cube mates wishing you would sleep with the fishes.

3. Don't! Go Barefoot

"Everybody wants to wear really cute shoes, and they go out and get five-inch tall Christian Louboutin shoes," reports a tipster who asked to remain anonymous because she feared she would lose her job for outing co-workers. "If you cannot walk in them, you should really go for a more sensible shoe." Resorting to kicking off your stilettos under the desk is permissible at the end of a long day, but "walking around the office barefoot is really gross."

4. Don't! Set Your Ring Tone to the Jonas Brothers

Keep your phone on vibrate. Your officemates notice your ring tone -- especially if it's particularly loud and annoying. "You would see five or six people who sat around her look at her and roll their eyes," says Richard O'Malley, remembering a former receptionist whose ring tone for her boyfriend was a Jonas Brothers song. At the sound of the boy-band melody, the woman would leave her desk to take the call. "It wound up working against her because everyone knew that she was slacking off," says O'Malley. "If you are the person who has the stupid cell phone ring, everyone has noticed it already. Turn it down."

5. Do! Save Smiley Faces for Mom

The owner of a small public relations agency, hired a recent college graduate to be her assistant and was confronted with an acute case of smiley face overload. They were on the picture frame, clock, mouse pad, screen saver and a decoy on the monitor. "The desk space itself was really dreadful," says Kerr. But it didn't end there: She also put smiley faces next to her initials and every single place she signed her name -- including the company's tax forms.

6. Don't! Be the Boss' New BFF

"People who are worried about being laid off end up going overboard to prove that they are indispensable, and that ends up making them seem so obnoxious to people," says Tina Lewis Rowe, a professional development coach.

7. Don't! Read Your Emails Out Loud

Keep a lid on it, neighbor. One wife complained -- on her husband's behalf -- about a coworker who reads her emails out loud. And listens to her voicemails on speakerphone. Seriously.
"My husband works right next (as in their desks are connected with no real divider, like Dwight and Jim on "The Office") to a woman who does all of her work, all day long, out loud," says the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous to protect her husband. Now her husband has to take any serious reading home and do it at night because he can't concentrate in the office.

8. Don't! Give Yourself a Mani/Pedi

"I had a boss who would clip his nails at his desk," says Michelle Poteet, who now owns Reclaim Order, a San Antonio-based life-organizing company. "The next position I was at, the guy across from me would clip his nails at his desk, and to me it is the worst sounding thing in the world."
"It would be one thing if you waited until there was background noise, but it always seemed to me that people, would do this when it was dead silence. Getting rid of a hang nail would be fine, but it is another thing if they are giving themselves a complete manicure." (Amen to that!!!)
9. Don't! Steal Food

Keep your mitts off other people's frozen lunches. One anonymous reporter out in the field says that her Lean Cuisines disappear from the freezer on a regular basis. "It has happened pretty much every where that I have worked," complains the office worker in distress. Not even writing her name in black Sharpie across the box deters thieves. So instead, the lunch lady keeps her thawing Lean Cuisine in her desk. Yum.

10. Don't! Crank the Russian Folk Music

Headphones, people. There is no faster way to top "cube rube" status than to crank your music.
You may think that you are all by your lonesome in your cube, but don't forget about your proximity to others. And if the spirit moves you, and you must have a bit of your motherland's music to get you through your day, headphones, people. Headphones.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Time For Everything

I've received these sort of email/forwards before and they always remind me of Ecclesiastes 3.

It's easy for me to think of people who have come and gone in my life, but what each person has represented can sometimes be tricky.
Maybe we're not always supposed to 'know'? I'm thankful for the people that I do have in my life and hope that these are lifetime relationships:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person..
When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a Godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they may pass away. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, and their work is done. The prayer you lifted up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a season, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

Thank you for being a part of my life....whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Coldplay (Take 4)

A week and a half ago, a couple of my friends and I went to my fourth Coldplay concert and again, they didn't disappoint!

I have talked to several people who have seen Coldplay for the first time 'expecting' there to be a lull or a mistake made by Chris Martin, but it has yet to happen in my presence!

I think this guy knows how to get the crowd excited and understands that people came from miles away and paid a lot of money to watch their shows - even though they're playing the same songs, night after endless night, it's like they're playing them for the first time!

Man, I looooove this band!

Last year when I saw them in San Jose, they came out in to the crowd a few rows in front of me and I was freaking out - unfortunately, this time around, they were completely opposite of where we were sitting, but they played a little 'Billie Jean' tribute to Michael Jackson and they even sounded perfect doing somebody else's song! It was awesome... we rocked out the 'Woo-Woo's' right on his cue, too!

It was such a great time spending the evening with some amazing friends, dancing, singing, and loving on my most favorite band around! I'm already looking forward to concert number five - wherever that will be...

Me, Elizabeth, Tunde

Coming out in to the crowd

Viva La Vida tour


Singing Billie Jean

Going in to the Sleep Train Amphitheatre



Me, Tunde, Elizabeth

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my two favorite dad's in my life - my bro and my daddio!

Me and Dad

I hope you two have a great day and know that I'm thinking of you and wishing that I could be there to help you celebrate... even though as dad would say, 'Todd, you're not my dad.'

Gilly... Gilly...


Thank you for being good examples to your children, for loving unconditionally, and being the kind of father's that urge open communication, aren't afraid to show your feelings, and say 'I Love You' when you feel like it... I'm so blessed to have you both in my life and love you very much!

Have a great Father's Day to you two, to my friends who are dad's or are GOING to be dad's, and to my uncles and grandpa... this is your day to be recognized - enjoy it with your families!

Friday, June 19, 2009

What Goes Around....

Remember back in September when my amazing friends and family surprised me with money to purchase a plane ticket home for Christmas? Well, now I know how they felt with their generosity. I have been dying to do this for somebody else and I had the perfect opportunity!




A few weeks ago I went to a friends house for a clothing party and was having a great time chatting with all the ladies, eating snack food, and watching everybody model their new outfits that they wanted to purchase. Things were sort of winding down when my friend, Nicole, and I were speaking with a member of our small group bible study. This woman, Patricia, is a sweet, soft spoken, kind hearted, loving person who is also a family/marriage counselor. All of the ladies, at one point or another, have asked for her advice or opinion on certain relational matters, which she will gladly discuss and talk through with all of us. Needless to say, we love her!!

I met Patricia a year and a half ago when I first signed up for my small group through church. I felt like I knew her for years - she just has that welcoming personality. Once our group started up again last fall, she had a prior commitment that kept her from coming on a regular basis, so we would only see each other every now and again.


Back in January, she showed up for small group discussion and unbeknownst to some of us, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a mastectomy. I was devastated to hear the news, but she was healing well and getting along nicely....then she told us that even though the doctors had removed everything, they still wanted her to go through a few rounds of chemotherapy. Stunned. I didn't even know what to say.



So for the last few months, this mid 60 year old woman has been going through chemo by herself and still working. She found out that she was being put on a new drug that would cost her more money per month and that was stressing her out, of course. She has a daughter that lives in Texas that she wanted to go visit, but knew she didn't have enough money to get down there right away, so she was setting money aside for her 'Southwest Fund'.



At that exact moment, I was convicted. I stopped listening to anything she was saying. All I heard were the words, "Do something." My first thought: Yeah, right - I'm scraping by as it is, how can I do something when I don't have anything??


The next thing: 'Twenty dollars''. HA, boy, that will get her to the airport - then what? Well, she had just told us that a ticket she saw was around $250 - I quickly figured that if 10 of us give $20, we would have $200 since she said that she did have some money in there already. Good enough.



Patricia had to leave and Nicole and I just stood there in silence for a minute. I turned to her and said, "We have to do something. We're buying her a plane ticket to go see her daughter." Nicole's reply, "I'm in."



Set the wheels in motion!



An email went out to the small group and money started pouring in, just as planned. Even though times are tough, people are so giving in times of need and it just felt GOOD to do this for somebody we love. When all was said and done, we had come up with about $360 to donate to her fund! This was so exciting...



Tuesday night I presented Patricia "the gift" and she was so grateful. Her humbleness was so real and her tears of joy were felt by each of us in the room.



God knew Patricia's need before we did. He presented the circumstance, convicted us, we obeyed and met Him where He wanted us, and the glory is His.



I don't believe that it was any accident that we were all in the same place on a Friday night. What an absolutely great experience to be a part of and NOW I know how my friends and family felt when they were helping me last year! I am still so grateful, just as I know Patricia will be for the months ahead!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reality

Have you stopped to think about all of these 'reality' shows that our eyes and brains are consumed with while flipping through the channels? Man, there are a ton of them....

Yesterday I was trying to kill some time before I went to a friends house and I landed on 'Keeping up with the Kardashians'. What a train wreck.

I seriously could not stop watching this show just for the mere fact that these three spoiled, bratty girls were speaking to their mother the way they were. I started crying for the mom because all she asked for was for their respect - (her ex-husband is the late Robert Kardashian, who helped O.J. get acquitted). It was the 5 year anniversary of his death and she was getting emotional talking about him and the girls were telling her to stop crying and that they 'didn't even want to think about him or look at her'.

Isn't this where, as a daughter, you're supposed to reach out to your mom, embrace her with a big hug, and tell her that you miss your dad, too? Or show SOME sort of compassion?? The mom ended up leaving and crying... my heart hurt for her. I do know one thing, if I would have said the things they were saying to her, my face would have been slapped in to next week. No joke.

So what makes these shows 'real'? I don't know any of my friends that drive a new Mercedes SUV? My friends don't have a dad or step dad that is a former Olympian? None of us are 'known' for our shapely behinds and none of us are dating NFL players? This is real life? Do you know that one of the girls spent $19, 700.00 in ONE store on a shopping spree? This is quite possibly a yearly salary for some people. How sad. She didn't even blink an eye....just handed over her credit card and smiled.

And there I sat watching.

I'm mortified that 'John & Kate Plus 8' are making headlines for his 'questionable' behavior and possible affair and that people really like her hair cut. How real is their life of nannies, book signings, the boys of O.C.C. stopping by to give them new Choppers (because what parent of 8 children doesn't need a new motorcycle), and housing a tv crew and having a body guard follow you everywhere?

Somewhere I had read that most reality show couples end up in divorce after the cameras quit rolling and people are no longer interested in their lives. For example, remember 'Til Death Do Us Part' with Carmen Electra and her then husband Dave Navarro? Oh and my favorite, 'The Newlyweds' with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey - I secretly hope they get back together some day. 'Hogan Knows Best' - yet another couple going through a divorce...

I know one thing, when I get approached to do a reality show, I won't do it just so I don't jinx my own marriage. Oh wait, I have to get married first...

Does this mean that I'll stop watching this sickness? Probably not.

I still love 'The Hills' and watching these young kids think that they're important spending mom and dad's money. Do they know that they're termed 'TV Personalities'? They're not actresses or actors. They're not known for their musical talents, modeling careers, or intellect. They're known for being on tv and causing drama.

I think I'm happy living in my real life, having my real bills to pay for, and having real friends who won't throw me under the bus the first chance they get.

However, it is people like me that keep these stupid shows on the air. Sigh.

Friday, May 15, 2009

SURPRISE!!

I can't tell you how much I love surprises - I love being surprised (well, not like jumping out from behind the door sort of surprised) and I love giving or being a part of the surprise!

My brother, sister in law, and myself decided a few months ago that we would surprise mom for her 60th birthday and Mother's Day - it all worked out so perfectly! Ooooh, I love it!

So I thought I would be sneaky and send a few pictures to the folks during the day of the ocean - after all, I did tell them that's where I would be over the weekend. The first one really was from the coast - but from January - and from my friend, Elizabeth. The second picture was of me at the 'ocean', but I was really at Folsom Lake back in March on a super windy day... I thought that would suffice as the, 'Hey, look at me - I'm at the ocean' picture. I sent the first one at my layover and the second one before my brother dropped me off with Evonn! hee hee...

I got to ride up to my brother's house with my sister in law to surprise the kids since they were home from school. I think they were just confused, but it was so much fun seeing them and kissing their little cheeks! I couldn't get over how tall they are getting and Zoe's new teeth that are coming in! I miss them.

We head out to mom and dad's house after Evonn called to see if it would be ok if her and the kids went out 'to show them something'. I couldn't wait! We jumped out of the car and hid on the other side of the garage while Evonn pulled up to the house. I could hear my dad's voice as they were coming outside and mom wondering where the kids were - that's when she saw me and screamed my name and said, "I JUST KNEW IT!" I think the whole block heard her. We hugged and cried, hugged some more, and cried a while longer... it was so great seeing my mom and dad again!







Friday morning I got to do something that I hadn't done for YEARS - I went with mom to have coffee at her friends house with 6 other women. We ate snacks, had drinks, listened to the town gossip, and told stories. I had sooo much fun listening and laughing with these women! Afterwards we went to mom's work so we could say hi to everybody and visit for a few minutes, then it was back home for the afternoon.

I realized how much I miss the silence... it's so quiet out there - at night when I was in bed, I could actually hear the frogs and not the constant whirr of cars flying by, sirens, honking horns, people talking, and doors slamming. (Which kind of makes me sound like I live in the ghetto, but I really don't!). Anyway, I could smell the lilacs outside, hear the birds chirping, and the church bells at noon playing songs. Ahhh....

Friday night was surprise number two. We had mom's three best friends come over to my brother's house for a surprise birthday party. Once we turned the corner to his house, it finally sunk in who was standing in his driveway - I love the look on her face when she's surprised! They had catered in some Famous Dave's BBQ, Evonn had the house decorated so nicely, we had a super yummy chocolate cake with chocolate chips inside, an Edible Arrangement of fruit, and some drinks to celebrate our mom! The night was spent talking, getting reacquainted, telling stories, laughing, and Keegan wondering when 'all these old people are going to leave'! :)





I spent the night with Keegan (Zoe opted out of camping on the air mattress - smart girl) and in the morning all of us girls met at the mall to have some much needed coffee and a little snack. I loved my muffie from Panera. Muffie. Muuuffie. (Don't tell me that's not fun to say!) After a little bit of shopping, we had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and back to the shopping... why is it when you want to spend money, you can't ever find anything, but when you DON'T want to spend money, you buy up the store? Grr.. I wanted something, but only got a watch battery. And really, I don't think he ever changed it because my watch still isn't working. Jerky.

I guess I did get something though - the generic version of Dippin' Dots, of course! Mint chocolate chip and cookie dough...you can never go wrong.

Sunday was Mother's Day and we all went to church together - it was a great sermon and fun to see faces that I hadn't seen in a while. After church we had lunch at O'Charley's and headed back home. Dad and I took the Corvette out for a spin which always makes me happy and smiley to hear it rev up! And it makes me smile when we watch ourselves drive really slow down main street so we can see our reflection in the store windows... right, dad? :)



The weekend ended all too quickly as I got ready to pack it up and head back to CA Monday afternoon. My brother met us for a bite to eat, we said our goodbyes, had our hugs, and the next thing I know, I'm back in 80F weather and back to reality.

Mom, happy birthday and happy Mother's Day - it was such a great weekend and definitely one that I'll never forget! You are so special to so many people, we're all blessed to have you be a part of our lives, and we all love you dearly! "Best weekend ever!!" :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The San Francisco Treat

A few weeks ago, my bff, April, came out to spend a long weekend with me and it was needed so much! I decided that four months is TOO LONG to go without seeing your friends...

I had such a blast showing my friend around town, visiting new places, and of course - EATING! We kept weighing ourselves to see how much we were gaining during her visit...you know it's not going to go well when the first thing you eat is an In-N-Out burger at 11pm. Oh well, it was vacation!

For starters, her poor flight was delayed in Denver for a few hours for some mechanical issues. I was beside myself - after working a full day and so ready to see her, I don't think I could have waited another 5 minutes! She finally got in around 10pm and we were up til 1:30am chatting...of course, this would be 3:30am 'her time'. Good thing she's a mom and is used to running on fumes!

The first day we headed downtown to meet our classmate, Travis, at Mikuni's - an awesome sushi restaurant that I fell in love with the second night I moved to Sacramento, no thanks to Trav! After lunch, we headed to Old Sac to check out the little shops along the wooden sidewalks (think Living History Farms), the American River and the 'famous' Tower Bridge, and to do a little shopping. She got to meet my friend, Elizabeth, for a few minutes and then we hit the Capitol, and headed over to Travis and Jen's for some good food and wine the rest of the night....and whatever else Travis could find in the cupboard! ha ha...




Friday we decided to lay low and head over to Folsom Prison to check the place out. I can safely say, that although it sounds kind of dorky that we went there, we both had so much fun in the gift shop talking to the lady behind the counter. Among the Johnny Cash memorabilia, the wall of confiscated shanks and historic items, she told us some amazing stories from the inside....she used to work inside the prison and I'm sure she could have told us hours of things that we would have soaked in!



Saturday morning we headed over to San Francisco bright and early. I rented a Go-Car for the day in order for us to see parts of the city that we normally wouldn't have known about. It was such a blast and I totally felt like the movie 'Dumb and Dumber' driving this little thing around town!



It runs on a moped motor and you can't take it across the bridge, on sidewalks, or in the bike lane - so instead, going up these massive hills at 35mph, you have a steady stream of cars behind you wanting to run you over. It was pretty intimidating riding next to Hummer's and RV's, but so much fun! We stopped along several places to take pictures of the coast, the Golden Gate Bridge (like I needed any more of that), and the city in general. The weather was great - a little chilly, but super clear, thank goodness. Poor April got soaked by a wave while she was trying to write her husband's name in the sand, so we did have to stop and buy some new shoes and socks for her. I felt so bad. We had lunch at Pier 39, saw the sea lions, and shared some ice cream. Ahh.






We stayed at an awesome hotel downtown at Union Square and enjoyed the night with another one of my friends who came in from out of town. I forgot how much I loved long islands - and how much long islands don't love me. (RT, remember 2fer Tuesday's above Cy's on pool night? ha ha)




Needless to say, Sunday morning came too fast, but there was a diner close by for breakfast and then we high tailed it back home to lay around the rest of the day. We did manage to head over to BJ's for some pizza and a pizookie and that made us happy. Good thing we skipped weighing ourselves.

Vacation ended all too soon as April left Monday morning at the crack of dawn and I went back to reality while she hopped a flight back to Iowa. I cried. A lot.

Regardless, I had such an awesome time and have found that although we can spend 4 days together, I never get tired of talking with her, hearing her laugh, hugging her, and knowing all too well that no matter what happens in our friendship, we will always be each other's friend.
I love you and can't thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule and to be away from your husband and baby just to see little ol' me! I appreciated it so much...You made it all so wonderful....ABSOLUTELY!! :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen...

Happy Easter!

Thank goodness my pastor is not a morning person... our 'sunrise' service started at 7:30am and we got a complimentary cinnamon roll for being up so early on a Sunday. It was delish.

I love the resurrection message of Jesus Christ and need to be reminded of it on a daily basis, but the annual message always hits a little deeper to my core.

As a side note, I do need to point out that I long for my former church (back home) and Pastor Mike's heart felt message that reaches the masses. He has always done a great job of speaking on the subject and nobody can ever compare to him in my mind, but the holy spirit works in others differently and it's not fair to compare him to my current pastor. Doesn't mean I still don't want to listen to the big guy preach!

There is a song that is sung that can bring a tear to my eye as soon as the first chord is strung (and boy were they a flowin' this morning!)

They played the following song and I wanted to share it with you because it has meant so much to me - ironically, I had never heard it until I moved away and my eyes have been opened to what the words really stand for in my life and hopefully yours as well.





'Jesus Paid It All' sung by Kristian Stanfill:

I hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness....watch and pray
Find in me....thine all in all

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

And when before thy throne
I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Oh praise the One who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
Oh praise the One who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead

Friday, April 10, 2009

Black Belts

I am so proud of my sister in law and nephew for testing and receiving their black belts in Tae Kwon Do last weekend! This is such a huge feat for anybody to obtain and from the sounds of it, they did an awesome job!

Thinking back through the years of practice, hard work, dedication, hours spent learning forms, techniques, and all other facets involved, really proves what perseverance can do for a person. I can't even imagine how proud my brother must have felt watching his wife and son give their absolute BEST last week...I know just looking through almost 300 pictures, that MY buttons were bursting at the seams :)

Congratulations on receiving your black belts, Evonn and Keegan! I wish I could have been there to cheer you on, but I'm just as proud of you being miles away! Can't wait to see pictures with your new belts! I love you...

Keegan


Evonn


Keegan kick


Evonn's air time


Keegan breaking boards


Note to self: Don't mess with mommy


Keegan giving his speech


Todd, Keegan, and Evonn

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tahoe

Last weekend was my first trip to South Lake Tahoe, NV and it was fabulous! The drive up there was gorgeous and coming down into Tahoe was amazing...however, the steep drop offs next to me...not so cool...

It was also the first time that I went to an overnight women's retreat for church. Aside from the grocery store, I don't think I've ever seen so much chocolate in one place!

There were 4 of us to a room in a little cabin and the first that I noticed - no TV. I thought it was 'weird', but then I realized why I was there in the first place. We were able to take in the sights at a ski resort called Heavenly and to also walk around our little area before dinner began. I took some pictures of the lake, mountains in the distance, and the sun setting - it was breath taking, to say the least.

Our Cabin


We spent Friday night in a worship service with 240 women, had small group time, and then played some games afterwards. Needless to say, it was late when we finished and even later before we went to bed. I think I ran on about 4.5 hours of sleep the first night....zzzzz....

Sunset


Saturday we got up for breakfast and hit the sermons again - the theme was called 'Wide Awake: Fulfilling your God Given Dreams'. You know me and how I love my dreams... well, this wasn't about the 'weird' dreams we have at night, but the dreams that God sets in our heart - those nagging feelings/ideas that won't go away no matter how you try to shake them. Circumstances arise where we're not able to reach our dreams, be it financially, the wrong timing (starting a family), and most commonly out of fear. We fear that we will fail and we fear that if we pursue our dream, it won't be what we dreamt.

Me at Sunrise


I actually learned a lot from the retreat and not only am I living my dream out right now by being in California, but I have had a dream placed on my heart since I was a child. Now I need to open my mind and my heart and try to pursue it. However, fear has set in.

Do you know we're born with two natural fears? Falling and loud noises. All other fears are learned (I learned to fear spiders after watching my mom jump around and blow on them before she killed them). So for any of us to fear stems from a 'lie' and it becomes a battle within our mind: False Evidence Appearing Real = FEAR.

Anyway, I attended three really good workshops, was fed really well, and loved the worship music and sermons that were spoken. Coming back to reality was hard though. You're in such a beautiful place, listening to women's stories, and reflecting on your own and then we all got puked back in to the real world really fast. But it was so worth it.

The last night we were there, it snowed. I hate snow. But for the record, it was beautiful. The pine trees were weighed down with it and for a second, it felt like home again. It was quiet, the wind was blowing, and then the sun would peek through for a brief time. It really was pretty.

Snow


Me in the snow


What is your dream? Does God have something placed on your heart? Dream big and let your light shine.

Mountains across the lake


Clearest water I've ever seen

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Year

Well, another milestone has passed...my two year California anniversary is tomorrow and in thinking back over just this past year, a lot has definitely changed!

I feel more 'comfortable'living here now and the homesickness has definitely died down from that first year. I'm not saying that I don't get it or still think about home, but this has become my way of living. I've gotten into a routine, made new friends, and continued to expand in so many areas of my life that I never thought would have been possible. Ask me how I'm doing in a few more months and maybe that will all change!

You can easily track my whereabouts and what I've been up to through reading older posts on here, but the major changes have taken place within myself. Sometimes I didn't realize how strong I really can be and at other times, I find myself at my weakest and not knowing where to turn or who to turn to. It can be a very lonely place.

I continue to grow in my small groups at church and being with this amazing group of women (whom I definitely can call my friends) they encourage me, lift me up, and challenge me at the same time. I have been awakened to some characteristics and qualities that I have held on to and need to focus on changing and they're always there for me... I've met some struggles and have freely spoken about them, and again, they give me their 'mom' and 'best friend' perspectives on the subject. I honestly don't know what I would have done had I not met them, but I firmly believe that God had His hand in this all along and knew that I would need people like this in my life while I'm not around my core support group of family and friends back home.

All in all, it has been a good 2nd year here, though some obstacles were thrown in the mix! I've had break-ups, health concerns, family and friends who have passed away and I wasn't able to be home with everybody during those times, and of course the nagging feeling of missing my niece and nephew growing up - this is the one that really chokes me up... However, I have been able to still do new things (hello, rode a bike for 8 miles - which is FAR for somebody who hasn't been on a bike in years!),I've been to places that I probably wouldn't have seen or experienced, and all of the little things that make my life here enjoyable - mainly my friends.

I appreciate everybody's continued support over the last 2 years and can't thank you enough for the constant prayers, emails, cards, and phone calls. You've been just as much of my journey as I have and it's been a fun ride :)

On a side note, for those who have asked, I'm still holding strong with my Lent quest of one hour of tv a day... I did falter during the finale of the Bachelor, but I didn't watch any tv the following night! hee hee... I have found that I don't 'crave' tv any more and it's almost liberating not being tied up for hours on end. I have read some incredible books the last few weeks and have finally devoted that extra time to the One that this is all for...it's been very healing for me, to say the least.

My BFF, April, is coming out here next month and I can't wait for some girl time! Oh my gosh, it will be so much fun! I know I'll be a crying fool when I pick her up at the airport, but it's ok - she knows I'm an ugly crier :) I have a few things planned, but mostly, I just want to spend some time alone with her to get reconnected! Wee Hoo!

Well, two years of learning, growing, experiencing, and spreading my wings has definitely gone by fast...this has been the best journey I have ever been on!

Cheers to another year ;)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Season of Lent

The dictionary gives us the following definition of Lent:

Lent - noun
(In the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.

This is the first year that I am truly in observance of the season of Lent and I'm finding it difficult, yet rewarding at the same time. I say this after only five days.

Last night in church we learned that Lent is also a season for becoming holy. It's an appeal to God for a clean and good conscience. If we can choose something to offer up to God that would put our focus on Jesus instead, it would be part of a process of sanctification. Other processes might include prayer, fasting, and self denial.

This year I'm offering up TV... I know some people don't have lives consumed by their television, but I do. I am only limiting myself to one hour of tv per day intead of the normal five that I can do during the week and who knows how many hours on the weekends. I started 'practicing' last Sunday and did pretty well and then kept on going through the week. So far, so good.

I bought a lot of books off of Amazon to fill up my time and am going to start journaling some thoughts on paper again. I used to journal ALL the time, but then stopped. Blogging sort of counts, but all of my deepest thoughts and emotions can't be put down on here for the whole world to see!

We also learned that Lent is not a law or a rule that is stated in the bible (I always assumed it was in there under fine print). We had an uneven exchange with Jesus - he died for all of our sins and the least we could do is spend 40 days with a good faith appeal for a clean conscience and to just seek Christ... it really is all about your heart.

We were told not to judge the sacrifices of others - if somebody is giving up chocolate, I shouldn't go to them and be like, 'Big whoop! Chocolate... that's lame!' because we don't know what the one (or more) 'things' are that keep people from knowing Jesus. Maybe their lives are consumed with chocolate? Who are we to judge?

I also learned not to focus on the loopholes... and I found a loophole - movies. My friend and I were having a discussion about that this morning and then another friend brought up the same thing! We're not sure if this would count or not. I said 'no' because for myself personally, tv is mind numbing. I find myself staring at it, but not really watching it or I'll just have it on for background noise. Movies you would be focused on and learning the plot... see, loophole. I can justify anything.

I feel like I'm going to be transformed in the next 40 (or less) days and am excited for what lies ahead. I just hope that I can meet God where He wants me to be and that I will be able to focus more on what kind of person I want to become with His help.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Birthday Calculator

I love goofy things like this: http://www.paulsadowski.org/BirthDay.asp

This is called the birthday calculator and tells you all sorts of 'facts' about your date of birth.

Here are a few snippets from mine that were right on!

14 August 1974

Your date of conception was on or about 21 November 1973 which was a Wednesday. (Gross, mom and dad - were you celebrating Todd's upcoming birthday or something?!)

You were born on a Wednesday under the astrological sign Leo. (RAWRRR!)

Your Life path number is 7.

Your fortune cookie reads: Only love lets us see normal things in an extraordinary way.

Life Path Compatibility:You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 1, 5 & 7.

You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 4 & 22.

You may or may not get along well with those with the Life Path number 9.

You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 2, 3, 6, 8 & 11. (That seems like a lot of people not to get along with, doesn't it?)

The golden number for 1974 is 18.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 1/23/1974 and ending 2/10/1975.

You were born in the Chinese year of the Tiger. (As in the GC Tigers)

Your plant is Raspberry. (I like raspberry yogurt)

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 14 April 1974.

The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 27 February 1974.

As of 2/26/2009 8:32:01 PM ESTYou are 34 years old.You are 414 months old.You are 1,802 weeks old.You are 12,615 days old.You are 302,780 hours old.You are 18,166,832 minutes old.You are 1,090,009,921 seconds old. (Oh geez.. now I feel old - shut up, Ty.)

Celebrities who share your birthday:
Halle Berry (1968)
Earvin 'Magic' Johnson (1959)
Gary Larson (1950) (Mr. Far Side - I'm going to get tutored!)
Danielle Steel (1947)
Susan St. James (1946)
Steve Martin (1945) (Two wild and c-razy guys!)
David Crosby (1941)

Top songs of 1974
The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand
Seasons In the Sun by Terry Jacks
The Streak by Ray Stevens (I used to love this song - thought it was hilarious)
Having My Baby by Paul Anka
Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas (YES!!!)
Billy, Don't Be a Hero by Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods
Annie's Song by John Denver
The Loco-Motion by Grand Funk
TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) by MFSB with the Three Degrees
I Can Help by Billy Swan

Your lucky day is Sunday.

Your lucky number is 1 & 4. (Weird, huh? I was born on the 14th)

Your ruling planet(s) is Sun. (I do love the sun. Just not the damage.)

Your lucky dates are 1st, 10th, 19th, 28th.

Your opposition sign is Aquarious.

Your opposition number(s) is 8.

Today is not one of your lucky days! (Go figure.)

There are 169 days till your next birthdayon which your cake will have 35 candles.Those 35 candles produce 35 BTUs,or 8,820 calories of heat (that's only 8.8200 food Calories!) .You can boil 4.00 US ounces of water with that many candles. (Who figures this stuff out, seriously?)

Your birthstone is Peridot -->The Mystical properties of Peridot:
Peridot is used to help dreams become a reality. (I do love my dreams.)

Your birth tree is Poplar, the Uncertainty - Looks very decorative, no self-confident behaviour, only courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, artistic nature, good organiser, tends to philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership serious. (hmm...very true)

There are 302 days till Christmas 2009! (YAY!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Groceries 101

Is there a course for grocery baggers to take? If not, there should be.

I have my three little cloth grocery bags that I take to the store every week and I get 5 cents off of my bill for each bag. Yay for me and my attempt at being environmentally conscious.

And every week, the rocket scientists who bag my groceries do the following:

Put 4 - half gallons of liquid (milk, Silk, OJ, & grape juice) in ONE bag... I am not a pack mule. I cannot lift it out of the cart to even put it in my car.

Since when is it ok to put bread on the bottom? Under boxes of yogurt, apples, and oatmeal?

Bananas should not be shoved in small places or between boxes - no wonder they're all ruined and bruised by the next day.

Do you need to put 10 cans in one bag? Again, this is too heavy and almost rips my arm off.

In the off chance that I need to buy a card at the grocery store, I avoid any wet spots on the check out belt - but thank you, grocery bagger for putting the frozen blueberries on top of it so by the time I get home, my envelope looks like I used it as a coaster.

No, I don't need your help to leisurely push the cart out to my car. However, I'm going to need you to come home with me to walk up 22 steps and carry these heavy bags that you over stuffed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This-N-That

I've missed blogging.

As we all know, my computer has went to tech heaven, but I was lucky enough to get a loaner computer from a friend...wee hoo! I feel so disconnected from the world when I don't have Internet access at my fingertips. And quite frankly, Face Book misses me. My new (pink) Dell will be here in a few weeks!

Today was the first time that I went on a bike ride in a loooong time. Not because it's been winter or anything, but because I'm very unmotivated to do any sort of physical activity - hence lack of exercise. I hate sweating and I hate working out because my face always becomes 10 shades of red. I have always been that person who needs a little workout buddy to motivate me. I miss being around my brother because he was the reason that I looked forward to working out. Making fake fart noises and all! Anyway, I was lucky enough to get to hang out with Elizabeth and Tunde today and venture out for an 8 mile ride with 3 small children in tow... it was perfect for me because it made me not be the slowest person on the trail :) My arse hurts tonight.

This is always a bit of a special month for me because it marks the month of my baptism when I was 25. I look forward to lighting my baptism candle every year, but I realized that it's somewhere in Iowa. I ransacked my closet trying to find it and finally gave up. Sigh. It's not like I was worshipping my candle or anything, but watching the flame flicker and reflecting back on the years in which I have been able to call upon Christ is a nice meditation time for me, I suppose.

Some sad news on the home front... my cousins' grandma passed away on Friday and these are the times where I really miss being home. This woman has been as much a part of my life as long as I can remember - just being at several family dinners and get togethers, birthday parties, seeing them at the fair, parades, etc. I'm definitely one of those people who needs closure and it's tough not being able to see my family during this difficult time. All I want to do is hug them and tell them how very much I love them. So here are your cyber hugs and my I love you's... she was always well kept, smiling and had a great laugh - I know she'll be missed. As Bob's final prayer to 'be lifted' was spoken - we know that God hears our prayers.

As the season of Lent approaches, I think I have figured out what I need (not so much want) to give up this year, and that is TV. I'm going to limit myself to one hour a night and hope that I can manage my time a little more wisely. I find myself in a constant daze staring at the little black box and not really hearing what's being said when a show is on, but just kind of letting my mind roam. It feels like mush. I'm finding books that I want to read or taking friends' suggestions on other books that they have read. I want to become more intimate with my relationship with God and I know I can't do it sitting on the couch in a mind numbing altered mode. I think this is going to be a great opportunity for me to expand on a few things outside of my little bubble and I'm excited for what lies ahead...

So I bought this perfume that I have a love/hate relationship with right now. My friend wears it and it smells phenomenal on her, but it's all weird on me. Darn my pheromones! So I have taken a poll by asking opinions at work and so far it's 50/50. Some days I love it and other days I think it smells like powder. I dunno. I usually LOVE what I wear, but this one has me stumped. Today I like it.

Dipna introduced me to a new frozen yogurt place called NuYo. I love it because they have self serving soft MINT frozen yogurt. I love mint. (Yes dad, I can see you making that face and sticking your tongue out while you gag and point your finger down your throat!) Anyway, we went there after lunch the other day and I had chopped Andes mints to sprinkle on top with some tiny chocolate chips and a little squirt of dark Ghiradelli chocolate sauce. Heaven. Good thing I had a salad for lunch... I can't wait to go back and do it all over again. However, they did have peanut butter yogurt, too..hmm... do you think the peanut butter outbreak applies to frozen yogurt though?

I have to lead our small group Tuesday night at church and I'm getting nervie. I don't quite know what I'm going to talk about yet, but I haven't had to speak in front of a group since hosting the Alpha course a few years ago. I think I'm just intimidated because it's a new set of women. Not that they're going to flog me or anything, but I don't know personalities and some are more quiet than others. I just hope that it will be a solid group effort and they won't ask me too tough of questions! I guess I could always take a Twix with me - you know that commercial where the woman asks her husband if the dress makes her look fat and he shoves it in his mouth so he can't answer? That's me.

'Stay Classy, San Diego'

Thursday, February 5, 2009

FYI

My laptop took a shat last week, so I will be out of commission for a little while.

Any recommendations on what type of computer I should get once my refund money gets deposited? :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

25 Things

I saw this on my friend's blog and thought I would do it too! Here are 25 things that you may or may not know about me....try it out yourself - it was sort of fun!

1. I was born as a preemie in 1974 with a club foot, a few toes (that the doctor’s were able to ‘make’ into 9 all together), and 8 fingers. I wore corrective shoes for 9 years of my life every night while I slept. I went through several surgeries and can confidently put on my doctor’s check list that I have had legitimate plastic surgeries! I was envious of girls who wore thongs and who could paint their toe nails. I stopped wearing sandals at age 9 because I was tired of people pointing, staring, and whispering. When I turned 30, I made a vow that I would wear sandals confidently. Though I’m still self conscious, I do paint my one toe nail for the world to see =)

2. I love fragrances – the smell of perfume, cologne (meow), candles, lilac flowers, babies after a bath, fresh cut grass, hay, coffee (I won’t drink it) and yes, even the gas station. However, I hate the smell of syrup in the morning. Makes me want to gag.

3. Jell-O should never contain food such as fruit cocktail, peaches, or shredded carrots. Same goes with cottage cheese and yogurt. My throat kind of closed up a little thinking about all of that.

4. I saw Cindy Crawford and her husband in Santa Monica a few years ago. It’s safe to say that I was completely star struck and they are two incredibly beautiful people not only in magazines, but in person, too. They are the closest brush with fame that I have gotten.

5. Olivia Newton-John was my idol. I seriously thought I could sing like her. I would record myself in my little Sony tape recorder and when I listened to it over again, I was painfully aware that I sounded like her ailing cat instead. I remember sitting in the corner behind my bed crying one night because I knew I was a terrible singer. I can’t even sing karaoke with my friends because I’m still embarrassed by how I sound.

6. When I would play with my Barbie, I would use my brother’s Big Jim doll and Six Million Dollar Man as her boyfriend(s), but they were both named ‘Jonathan’ in my head. It sounded so much more manly to me. I still like that name.

7. I was always jealous of my friends who were treated like princesses by their dads.

8. I think I’m a really good dancer. I dream about what it would be like to be on Dancing with the Stars without the all over body pain. My boyfriend in college and I tried out some figure skating moves in the living room when the ’98 Winter Olympics in Nagano were on – he would lift me over his head and I would be straight as a board like Super Woman… I really thought I was a good carpet skater.

9. If I had to choose between cake and ice cream at a birthday party, I always go for the ice cream. I love mint chocolate chip with fine chips… not the chunky junk at Cold Stone. However, I love chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirls in it, too. I hate strawberry ice cream because again, this goes back to having food in something good…it just messes everything up.

10. I am very protective of my family. I can talk about them, but nobody else can.

11. I marched in the Cotton Bowl and Fiesta Bowl parades when I was in high school and played the trumpet. It was such a highlight of my life back then because the only reason I made it was because I worked hard to get there. I can’t read music all that well, but if I hear a song and how it’s supposed to sound, I am able to ‘read’ it on my own.

12. I am a hypochondriac, I have had panic attacks, I pick my lip when I worry or think about things. I have too many OCD tendencies that drive me nuts. But it all works for me. Sorta.

13. I’m at a point in my life where I’m scared that I won’t be able to have children someday. All I want is to be a wife, a mother, lead by example, teach my kids about God’s love, and live long enough to watch them grow up and branch out on their own.

14. I love traveling and seeing the country side. The beach and ocean is my favorite, but looking at the mountains is a close second…

15. I have been in 9 weddings.

16. I love being in love…the butterflies, the excitement, the anticipation, surprises, and knowing that somebody is into you just as much as you’re into them. I have had my heart broken way more times than I have been in love though… In God’s timing, the future Mr. Marcie will make up for all the boys that have hurt me. The hardest part about being single is the lack of cuddling.

17. I have been to 26 states – I’m over halfway to seeing them all!

18. I have never inhaled….either cigarettes or the doobs. Too scared that I would like them…

19. When I was a kid, I used to have recurring dreams that the devil lived behind the babysitter’s furnace. Every time I would walk by it in my dream, he would reach out and grab my arm, but I would break free and run upstairs to safety. Not only was I petrified of the furnace, I almost think it’s symbolic today that my dreams are so significant – I also broke free and look ‘up’ for my safety now.

20. I don’t have any feeling in the lower half of my lip and chin after getting my wisdom teeth pulled and cutting a nerve. So if you see stuff drizzling down my face, please let me know – I can’t feel it.

21. I used to be a good artist and I sometimes wonder if I could pick it up again. However, I love taking pictures more than anything. I have 8 albums that hold 504 pictures each and I’m good about reminiscing for hours on end when looking through them.

22. Bo Duke and Terry Bradshaw were two men that I had a huge crush on when I was little…and I really, really thought that I would be able to marry one of them when I grew up.

23. I have finally gotten past the negative stigma of being ‘Todd’s sister’ and have learned to embrace it. He’s a pretty good guy and I’m proud to be his sister.

24. I’ve always wanted to pierce my nose, eyebrow, or get a tattoo, but I’m a super chicken. The bellybutton is about all I can handle.

25. Mickey Mouse is creepy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Holiday Fun

Me & Kelli the day before I left
Amy & her small tribe of women

Evonn & Todd (thank you for not making a dorky face)

Zoe (toothless) and Keegan (too cool for pictures)

Me and Joan at our "only" hang out - Champp's!

Shonda - my BFF

My little Kerry - I heart you.


Addy & Aspyn - first thing Addy mentioned was the peanut butter balls. Acorn didn't fall too far from the tree....


Miss Mandy

April & me New Year's Eve - uh yeah, are you here for the private party?

Missy and her son, Carson - I think the timer threw him!

Kelli Ann stopped by with her clan :)

Heidi and me at Kelli's house

Pretty little Kaley - my cousin and me at Grandpa's house

My cousin, Kari - can you tell we're related?

Hilary & I on Christmas day


Keegan, Me, Zoe on Christmas Eve

Me & Mama before Christmas Eve (eve) services

Det, John, Me, Todd, Ryan - Go STEELERS!!

Jacie Jo at her mom and dad's
Me and dad on Christmas Eve (eve)

I'm finally get back into the groove of things now that Christmas, New Year's, and traveling is done and over with... getting settled back into my routine at work and 'living' again! It's funny how rejuvinating vacations are - especially when you're spending it with family and friends!

I won't bore you with the day to day events, but know that if it weren't for Missy, Kerry, and April planning my trip back home, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to see everybody and enjoy every bit of time that I had while back in Iowa! THANK YOU, thank you, thank you... from the bottom of my heart...

I enjoyed great food like Det's delicious pho, homemade sugar cookies (mom even made an extra batch), peanut butter balls, chipped beef gravy over homemade biscuits, taco pizza, and hamballs...needless to say, my pants were fitting a little more snug by the time I left :)

Keegan and Zoe were the highlight for me - listening to their stories, seeing the changes that have taken place in them in just six months, having Zoe draw me some beautiful pictures, spending time with Keegan and having him occupy my lap, and listening to their little laughs.
Two of the funniest things that happened was when Zoe was drying dishes on Christmas Eve and I walked behind her and poked her side. She turned around with the meanest look on her face and threw one fist up, then the other and said very sternly, "I used to take Tae Kwon Do!" Well, in that case, I'd better shield myself...
The other was when we were all sleeping in on the air mattresses and Zoe says, "Do you know why I like it when you spend the night with us? Because your teeth glow in the dark. I always know that you're here by me because I can see them." She said it was a good thing, but my I had a bit of complex thinking about Ross from "Friends'' when he had his teeth whitened and they were glowing in the dark! LOL...
Hope you enjoyed the pictures from my trip!