Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursdays are my favorite day of the week

I thought that when I got up this morning we were going to have just another rainy, inside day. Thankfully it turned out much better than that! I called Amber this morning to see what they had going on today and discovered that her day was looking to be as low-key as ours. So we made a plan to hit the mall for some lunch and shopping. We had a great afternoon (well, there was an unfortunate diaper blowout midway through, but I am trying to block that out!) and Haven and I even got some new shoes. Amber and I beat the system and took advantage of the buy one get one for 50% and each got a pair for $7. That's what I'm talking about!

Cale came home a bit early so I could head over to my friend Dawn's house. She decided a few weeks ago to use her ability and passion to organize the ladies in our house church and get us exercising. Tuesday we walk together and Thursday she leads us in some torturous form of stretching, toning and cardio. It's great to be able to be doing something good for my body and get to hang out with my girls. It was fun, but I am feeling it tonight. The best part- I came home and Cale had cooked dinner! Love that!

Last fall we were fortunate to find a bike trailer super cheap so our whole family can go biking together. It's been rainy the last few days, but we have been wanting to get it attached and give it a shot. It took some doing, but Cale managed to get it working this evening and we took our first ride of the season. Unfortunately 5 minutes into the ride it started raining, but we still had fun. Haven is not a fan of her helmet, but how cute is she. How cute are both of them for that matter?

It turned out to be a wonderful day and now I am going to crash on the couch and veg out in front of the tv. Thursday is my television night- The Office, Grey's Anatomy and ER. I'm out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

SRT Update

I haven't had as much time to read in the last few weeks as I would have liked, but I still have managed to cross a few more books off my Spring Reading Thing List. I finally managed to finish Mockingbird and really enjoyed it. I felt like I read that book forever and could never finish it, but it was interesting. It got a bit long in some sections (like when Nelle was helping Capote with In Cold Blood research), but it was nothing if not thorough. If you love To Kill a Mockingbird then I think you would enjoy this. Or if you are just a fan of a good biography, this book would work for you.

I started to read Water for Elephants. Started as in about 80 pages and then had to walk away. I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't get through it. It's very rare that I stop reading a book, but I had no desire to keep going. So that has been crossed off the list.

I have about two chapters to go in A Mother's Heart and have really been challenged, encouraged and inspired by this book. I feel like that sounds a bit cliche, but it's really true. I am walking away from this book with a renewed vision for my home, a deeper sense of responsibility for the task at hand, and practical ideas to help me be a more intentional, focused mom. With Haven being as young as she is, some of the ideas will have to wait, but I am confident that this is a book I will come back to time and again as we strive to make the Lord the head of this home. If you are a mom- READ THIS BOOK! And thanks to Jenny for the recommendation!

Yesterday I had a few minutes to start The Other Boleyn Girl and I hope to have more time later this week to really get into it. It comes with great recommendations so hopefully it hasn't been too inflated in my mind and can live up to all the praise!

Haven's been busy reading, too! She seems to have her mother's love for books!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Don't Go, Be

We had a beautiful weekend here in southwest Ohio. Perfect for slaving away in our yard. And that's just what we did around here. The results are worth the hours spent ripping dandelions out of our flower beds.

I love this time of year for so many reasons, but one of the best is that you actually get to see your neighbors again. The colder months find us running from our house to our car with an occasional wave to the neighbors if we happened to coordinate our timing right. We have lived in this small community for 2 years and we still only know our immediate neighbors for the most part. We are blessed with great, helpful, caring neighbors and we are thankful for the relationships that we have built with them. But there's a whole street out there of homes filled with people and we don't even know their names.

Our church has started doing something called "Don't Go To Church, Be the Church" Weekends. The idea is that one weekend each month you don't go to the gathering at our church, instead be intentional and find practical ways to reach out to your community and to share the love of Christ with your neighbors, co-workers and friends. We are divided up by our house churches as to which weekend we participate in this and have the option to do something as an entire house church or on our own.

This past weekend was our weekend to "Be the Church". Cale and I decided that we need to be much more intentional with our neighbors and so that is why we decided to reach out to a family that we don't know much about beyond their names and that they just had a new baby. I went over the other day to chat with her and we had a wonderful visit. We took them dinner last night and again were able to talk with them for a little bit. Plans are in the works for a BBQ in the next few weeks. It might not seem like much, but I know it's a start.

But it was very evident yesterday that we have a long way to go as police cars filled the street several houses down from us. An ambulance, a lot of yelling and people standing out on their lawns is what greeted everyone as they arrived here last night for house church. My heart was heavy as we heard things unfold down the street. I walked around getting ready for house church praying for that family and being convicted that we need to do more. Yes, we have built real relationship with the people right around us, but the fact that I don't even know the name of the people 4 houses down disturbs me and I want to do something about it.

I think the "Don't Go to Church" weekends are a great idea, but they aren't enough. We are called to BE the church everyday, wherever we are. And I am challenged to get out of the comforting, albeit confining walls of my house and truly shine the light of Christ on this street.

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing"
-2Corinthians 2:14-15

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not yet

Let me just state the obvious by saying that I haven't posted all week. Life hasn't been too busy (although Haven is a bit sick) and I have had ample opportunity to write. I just haven't been able to do it. And it's not for lack of things to write about. It's almost like I have too much I want to write and to say and they are all jumbled in my head and get can't out.

I have tried more than once to write about some of the things I am learning and thinking about, but it's just not working. That leads me to believe that it's not time to write about that stuff yet. Especially the areas that the Lord is teaching me about...I need more time to work through those things. So I will wait and see and be patient. Not always easy for me, but necessary. I know that I could write something that would appear to be mildly interesting and give the impression of being from my heart, but I know that wouldn't be the case. I've always been a good faker. But no fake-outs here. We will just have to wait til it's time for something to come out of this head of mine.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ask me again

Five years ago this very day, Cale asked me to walk alongside him and become his wife. It took me all of 1/10 of a second to yell, "YES!"

I have such a vivid memory of that precise moment in time; the warm air on my face as evening set in... the smell of spring and newness and cut grass... the feel of that ring sliding on to my finger... and the look in Cale's eye knowing he was the one my heart wanted for always.

And there hasn't been a single moment I have ever regretted my answer (questioned my sanity a time or two, but regretted, never!).

I love you, Cale!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

We-Haul it

Yesterday was a first for me. I drove a U-haul to Michigan with my good friend Amber to go to Ikea. Amber managed to get us roped into a major design project at our church and we went to Ikea to buy a load of furniture. We have been working together for the last few weeks choosing and planning and changing our minds for Apex's new conference room. Now a conference room doesn't really sound like the most exciting or glamorous room to be designing, but it's not just any old conference room. The powers-that-be want it to be really comfortable and to feel more like a home than a meeting room. So we have racked our brains and come up with a pretty great plan- at least we think so!

We had a great time at Ikea making our final decisions about furniture and seeing in person the things that we have been hoping would work for the last few weeks. We got cool couches and a ton of other stuff- a 14 foot U-haul's worth to be exact! We had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted so we made it through the store at a pretty good pace. A stop for lunch (I love the Ikea cafe!) and a few minutes to do some personal shopping and we were ready to go down and load our furniture up. It took us 2 shopping carts, 4 flatbed carts, 3 Ikea workers and umpteen trips up and down the aisles to get all our stuff. We started to stash all the merchandise in one place and put signs on it saying we were still shopping so no one would put our stuff back. We checked out and Amber went to get the U-haul while I waited for the couches.

TWO HOURS later they brought our couches out and we were able to load up. It was incredibly frustrating to have to wait so long especially since we had a 3.5 hour drive ahead of us. But regardless, we survived and were able to get everything we had hoped to. It was a long day, but good company and spending someone else's money made it all worthwhile!

The plan is for paint and carpet to go in the room in the next week or so and then we can get to the fun stuff and put it all together. We have so many things to do before then, but I love doing stuff like this so I don't mind a bit. And the best part is I get to work with Amber and we don't have to come up with excuses to get together (as if we needed them before!). So thanks, Amber, for getting us sucked into this major undertaking - I love it!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I know that it's Thursday and a new weekend is upon us, but I said I would write about our time in Nashville and I intend to keep my word. It was a quick weekend, but really fun to be with my family and to see my brother's new house. One of the highlights included a night out at some of the quintessential Nashville tourist bars Tootsie and The Stage. We had intended to go to see some bluegrass band playing at some little bar, but discovered it was sold out. Perhaps the 100 cars parked around a tiny, tiny building should have indicated that we weren't going to get in. And I have to say I am not so sure I was saddened by missing out on the bluegrass. No offense to bluegrass music, I'm just not sure that's my thing.

We had fun listening to some live music and just taking in the whole scene. Honestly the best part of the night for me was just leaving the house with Haven sound asleep and not having to worry about her for a few hours. Two weeks in a hotel with no break were definitely wearing me down. (And let me just tell you that we had a very long drive to Nashville with some little girl not feeling well and screaming intermittently as she tried to work things out. She also puked all over Cale at dinner time and I do mean ALL over. So it had been a really long, stinky day!)

Saturday we were supposed to sleep in because my wonderful mom had Haven sleeping in her room. But I was awake at 7am and ready to go. So what did I do? Got online and paid bills and caught up on my blog reading. Despite the early hour it was delightful because I didn't have anything else I had to be doing. We had planned on going to Opryland for the afternoon, but my brother heard that there was some sort of convention there and that it involved lots of kids and we decided to pass. Instead we went to downtown Franklin and went to a little place called HRH Dumplins for lunch. Rolls the size of your face with honey butter and some fruit tea. Deeeelicious. We all walked out of there stuffed.

We hung out in the afternoon and then went and checked out where my brother is working and learned all about the real estate market in the greater Nashville area. Because Sunday was going to busy with church and flights to catch, we decided to have our "Easter dinner" on Saturday night. My brother insisted that he was going to do all the cooking and wanted the rest of us to relax. Well, I guess my 10th trip into the kitchen to ask what I could do to help finally set him over the edge. It just so happened that he picked a chicken recipe that I have made before and he hadn't so I was full of all sorts of advice about it. I ended up fixing the chicken in it's entirety while Steve busied himself with all the sides including his famous stuffing with sausage, pears and hazelnuts. Since I hadn't cooked a thing in two weeks, I really didn't mind a bit and they have a beautiful kitchen to work in so it was a treat. We had a fabulous meal and once again stuffed ourselves.

We woke up Sunday to a gorgeous blue sky and biting cold wind. No sweet pictures of Haven out in the yard with her Easter basket and cute little sleeveless dress. Bundled up in blankets and with her winter hat on is more like it! We went to church and Haven got to ride around in a Bye-Bye Buggy which is something I have never seen before. She seemed to like it, but was a mess by the time church was over. The hour off, a missed nap and heading towards lunch = disaster for the poor nursery workers. My niece and nephew ended up not singing at church which was a bummer, but we were treated to a private concert at home while we ate lunch. You can't beat that. The B-i-b-l-e! Yes, that's the book for me! Does anyone know the song I am talking about??!

That's about it. This post seems kinda silly four days later, but this was our weekend. It has been a crazy week with a lot going on and maybe I will get around to writing about all of the good stuff that is now sometime soon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Haven's hair is getting so long so I decided to try pigtails last night. As you can see the results were adorable. She looks like such a big girl!!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Welcome home

Nothing says welcome home quite like a refrigerator full of rotten, spoiled food. That's what we had waiting for us when we returned home last night at 8:30pm. I opened the fridge to an atrocious smell and thought that it was the herbs that I had accidentally left in there that were now growing some sort of science experiment in the container. I went through the entire fridge (which wasn't much seeing as how we had been gone) and discovered moldy cheese and some other spoiled things. I thought that was weird, but was trying to do a million things at once to get unpacked so I didn't really think about it. I threw everything that looked suspicious out and tried my best to get rid of that smell.

Two hours later I went to get some ice out of the freezer and discovered where the real trouble was lurking. Apparently at some point in the last few days, something made our refrigerator freak out and defrost. It still had power and everything but wasn't set at any temperature so it was at room temperature. Nasty, gross, disgusting, horrible and revolting about cover it. I am a thrifty shopper, as I have mentioned before, so my freezer is relatively well stocked as is my fridge. There is nothing like melted ice cream, leaking spinach and rotten bananas (frozen to make bread at a later date) to make your stomach turn over.

But my hero came to the rescue and cleaned out the worst parts of it. I was sick to my stomach at all the money we threw away as we loaded the contents of the fridge and freezer into trash bags. That was disgusting! But I now have a super clean, odor free fridge that sits barren despite my best efforts at the grocery today.

I am pleased to report that four loads of laundry have been washed, dried and put away, everything has been unpacked and put in it's rightful place, mail has been sorted, bills have been paid, toys have been cleaned off and put away, groceries were purchased, dinner has been cooked by my own two hands, and I even managed to go get my teeth cleaned at the dentist this afternoon. And now I am exhausted.

Nashville stories to come.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

And friends are friends forever...

We are leaving Virginia this afternoon and I am ready. Not ready for home yet, which is good since we aren't headed home, but ready to live outside the 4 walls of this hotel room.

The best part of the trip has been catching up with old friends. We were able to hang out with one of Cale's good friends from college when we went into DC on Saturday. Tuesday night we were invited to dinner with a friend I went to high school with. Actually, I think we went to the same school since third grade, but we were never friends until our senior year. Wendi and I actually became better friends in college despite the fact that she was in Georgia and I was in New York. We haven't seen each other since December 2000 at her wedding, but we have kept touch intermittently and that has been enough.

Wendi and her husband, Stephen, moved to this area a little over a year ago so he could go to seminary. They are a really interesting couple (and I mean that in they best possible way, not in the way-I-can't-think-of-anything-else-nice-to-say-way) and our evening was filled with great food (thanks Stephen), crazy stories of war time brides, Ferrari's and having babies in barns, and sharing about what the Lord is doing in our lives. It was a wonderful time together and I hope Cale has to travel back to this area soon so we can get together again.

Tonight we are ultimately headed for Nashville, but will make a pit-stop in the Raleigh, NC area to have dinner with another friend from college. Sarah was a friend of both Cale and I in Cleveland and we have kept up with each other since we all moved away. She and her husband, who we have yet to meet, are expecting a baby this summer and I can't wait to see her with that pregnancy glow. I also can't wait for her to meet Haven. Sarah holds a special place in my heart for a lot of reasons and we have some great memories together, but one that stands out is going on my first mission trip with her to Puerto Rico. That trip completely and totally changed the course of my life and Sarah was part of that.

Another lovely memory of Sarah is a Fall Break trip to Chicago. I had not felt well, but decided it wasn't worth missing the trip, so I went anyways. The first day we were there I almost passed out in the shower because I felt so weak. I told Sarah, my nursing student friend, and she told me to suck it up. The next day, after I had walked ALL over the city, I found out that I had pneumonia and a 103 degree fever. Needless to say, Sarah felt bad and I think that her nursing skills and bedside manner have since dramatically improved!

So while our day-to-day life here at the hotel hasn't been all that exciting (although I have been able to read a lot!), this trip has certainly been worth it to get to see old friends and catch up with each other's lives. I love having friends all over the place that I don't need to talk to for months at a time and when we do talk, we can pick right up where we left off. Our lives are richer and our walks with the Lord closer because of the influence each of these people have had in our lives.

As I mentioned, we are headed to my brother's house in Nashville. They moved there in November and this will be our first time to see their new place. My mom is also coming down so we will have a full weekend celebrating birthdays and Easter together. Things to look forward to: seeing my niece and nephew sing in their Easter program, a double date, my brother's "gourmet" cooking (by his own admission) and Haven sleeping in a different room.

And I hope that in the midst of it all I will take the time to really reflect on why we are celebrating this weekend. The grace that allows me to enjoy all of the things I just wrote about- the friendships that God has used to make us more like his Son, our family that teaches us about ourselves and unconditional love and the loving Father who orchestrates our lives and desires that we live life abundantly in Him. It's all grace.

My prayer is that I remember the price paid so that I might live and daily live a life worthy of the One who paid it all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

14 Things I Love About Haven

Haven is 14 months old today. Hard to believe how fast she is growing! In honor of her, here are a few of my favorite things about this crazy little girl!

1. Haven is so funny and loves to make us laugh. She is frequently our evening entertainment and just loves to be silly.

2. I love that Haven gets extra crazy at night, after her bath, right before bed. Sometimes she just runs around like crazy and falls down a lot and is just totally nutty.

3. I love the way she loves to look at herself in the mirror. She loves to smoosh her face up against a mirror if she can get close enough and is always just thoroughly delighted with the pretty girl looking back at her.

4. I love that she now gives me kisses (and only me!) and will "love" on me by giving me a hug. There is nothing sweeter than that. Oh, and don't forget the headbutts that she gives. They kinda hurt, but it's still cute!

5. Haven loves to dance! She doesn't even need music to get her going. She wiggles her hips and throws her right arm up and down. She has got some moves (which I think she learned from Cale!).

6. I love her fearlessness. I'm sure it will take us to some scary places in the future, but I hope that we can nurture the good parts of that and tame that not so good.

7. Haven is always teaching me something about myself. And about love.

8. Haven is sweet and sassy and strong-willed and happy and inquisitive. A dangerous combination!

9. I love the way Haven loves to read and will just sit and listen to book after book and will sit and "read" them on her own. She got that from me!

10. I love that Haven is her daddy's girl. She cries when Cale leaves for work and throws down whatever she's doing when she hears him come in the back door in the afternoon. She can't get enough of him and I don't blame her!

11. Haven loves other kids and is always delighted to see them when we are out and about. She laughs and points and waves at them like she can hardly contain herself. I wish people were that excited to see me!

12. I love when Haven wakes up in a good mood and you can hear her playing and running laps in her crib.

13. I love watching how much Haven is learning everyday. I love that you can tell her it's time for bed or let's go get dressed and she goes and climbs up the stairs. I love watching her try to figure things out and being persistent until she gets it done.

14. I love when she plays peek-a-boo or tries to hide from us. The smile on her face is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. She knows she's cute and she's right!

Monday, April 2, 2007

The pictures

Resting up for our time in DC

Daddy and Haven

Cherry blossoms in bloom

Kitty Hawk, NC - Wright Brothers Memorial

On the beach in Nag's Head

What are you lookin' at?

Sandy Bubby feet