Verses to Remember

From birth I have relied on you; You brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.

Psalm 71:6

Friday, January 29, 2010

Five Question Friday!

Since I am new to the whole blogging world, I hope I am doing this right! I've read Five Question Fridays for a while now, and today I'm excited to finally be able to do one of my own! On my very own blog, too! Woo hoo! (If you have any suggestions for how I can do the links better or more effectively or anything else about my blog, please let me know! I want to learn!)

So now, thanks to
Mama M here is my very first Five Question Friday!

Would you ever vacation alone?

Well, hmm, would I or have I? I have not ever gone on an entire vacation by my lonesome, although I have gone on day trips by myself (to the beach, to the city...), I have traveled by myself to go visit or meet up with friends (Emily!), and I have struck out on my own for the day while on vacation with others (in Scotland, for example).

But the thing that strikes me most about all of those times is that at the end of the day, I knew there would be people for me to be around. I wouldn't have to spend the entire day by myself. I knew that I would be able to sit and chat and tell them all about my solo adventures. I knew that when I get off the plane, the train (or the automobile) there would be a familiar, friendly face to greet me. I knew that once I meandered back to the hotel, I wouldn't have to
eat by myself, entertain myself, or end the day alone. And, to tell the truth, those times when I reunited with others were some of ones I enjoyed the most!

During the day when I was on my own, I'd continually be thinking of things to share with my friends or family once we were back together. Sometimes I'd take pictures or even jot notes to remind myself of what I wanted to tell them about. And knowing that they were having different adventures at the same time, and that when we got back together we'd be able to discuss our different experiences, made it that much more enjoyable.

So, considering all of that, I think that taking an entire vacation by myself would mean neglecting the part of traveling and experiencing new things that I enjoy the most: sharing them with the people who are closest to me. Whether or not we experience the same things, at the end of the day we are there for each other, and retelling our adventures makes them that much more exciting and meaningful. So, I suppose my answer would be: No thanks :) But if you want to share a hotel somewhere while we each explore in our own ways, sign me up!

2. Do you go the speed limit?

I try really, really hard to! I must admit that I found quite the kindred spirit in Mama M when I read her answer. I, too, can fall off the wagon on those beautiful back roads with no other cars in sight. I, too, will set my cruise control to try to "control" myself. And I, too, think that many of those speed-changes are set up just to trap us unsuspecting motorists who are possibly too busy enjoying the beauty of God's creation around us to pay attention to silly little things like speed limits! How can you fault us for that?!

Just kidding, of course. I do value our speed limits and do my very best to follow them. However I do think that airplane surveillance, cop cars that look like completely normal vehicles and red-light-cameras are tipping the scales
just a bit towards the police. As my mother would say, that's hardly sporting! ;)

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?

Because all my friends are doing it! :) Just kidding (sorta)! I started my blog (just this week!!) so that I would have a convenient venue to let my friends and family know what is going on in our life (have I mentioned that I sometimes feel isolated out here in the country all day long by myself??), as well as to keep and share a written record of all the blessings God is giving us, the challenges that we face and overcome, and all the ways that we are slowly growing into the people He wants us to be. We are also going to be starting our family sometime soon (Lord willing) and I love the idea of creating something that my child can one day look back on and read how much we were anticipating their arrival, and how they changed our lives for the better (Lord willing!! :).

Oh, and cause it looked like fun :) I have my friend Patti to thank for that. Her two blogs make me smile and often make me laugh, no matter what kind of day I might be having. I feel closer to her by following her blogs, and love learning so many of her quirks and what makes her tick. It gives me an easy way to know how to pray for her, and to encourage her on things she is working on. I also love the way she shares her heart regarding what she is learning in the Word and how she is growing in her walk with Christ. I thought if she can influence me for the positive just by reading her blog, there must be something to this blogging business!

4. Where do you shop for yourself?

That's a tough one. I shop at WinCo for groceries but I do tend to share those with my hub. I often shop at Target for one or two things, and end up leaving with a few bags, usually including something for myself. But I'd have to say the top two places I shop just to make myself happy would be Hallmark and Craft Warehouse. Yeah...happy sigh.

I love Hallmark because I love giving people gifts as well as cards. Not only can I find lots of both there, but being at Hallmark just fills me up with ideas of how I can bless those close to me.

(However, if I don't happen to go to Hallmark for a while, I can sometimes forget the most obvious times for a card. I have given my husband dozens of cards in our 2 & a half years of being married, but, true story, I completely spaced getting him a card for his birthday this year! I did buy him presents, but a card just did not occur to me, which is SO odd, I cannot even tell you! Thankfully he thought it was funny, not offensive, and I rooted around in my well-stocked supply for a card that would work. Didn't really matter that it was originally an anniversary card...)

And Craft Warehouse is just a happy, happy place! I love being creative, and whenever I step through those doors I know I will find some new way to express myself creatively, whether it is thru making a scrapbook for someone, finding some adorable fabric to use (I am a beginner to the world of sewing but have high hopes for myself!), or just finding a new item or technique to use in decorating my home. It makes me so happy to find something that I have just the right place for, or learn how to re-use something I already have in a new and fun way. I can literally spend hours in Craft Warehouse, and fittingly, it was the first place I went to by myself once I got the clearance from my surgeon to drive again after I broke my leg. And it was lovely!

5. What was the song that you danced your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding...or...what song would you like your first dance to be to?

My husband I had a difficult time picking what song to dance our first dance to, since there were quite a few we loved at the time. The song we ended up picking still makes me tear up when I hear it, but in a very good way. It is Lost in This Moment, by the country band Big & Rich. It had just been released a couple months earlier, and even though it has now been used at many of our friends' weddings, I was happy that we were the first. One of our other favorites, that we actually used in our wedding ceremony, was Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd, a really great song.

Our wedding really was simply perfect. Even after 2 1/2 years, I am still in that silly newlywed phase of gushing about how wonderful our wedding was. Neither of us would have changed a thing about it, even though there were a few sizable blunders such as the rental company not showing up with the tents & tables until one hour before the wedding (thankfully they were for the reception only, and we had some great friends who skipped the ceremony to be sure everything got ready), and the generator we needed being accidentally sent back home, leaving us with ZERO power about halfway through the evening reception (thankfully we had already gotten the main dances in before the music went away, and the rest of the night we just did our best under the candlelight!).

My mother worked for months to give me, actually to give both of us, the wedding of our dreams, and it payed off! Everything was magical, and it was the most amazing way to start our lives together. Even after attending dozens of other weddings together (some costing much more than ours), both my husband and I feel that none of them could hold a candle (no pun intended...) to ours. (Thanks, Mom!)

Okay! So, friends, this is my first official blog hop! I think the last step is to post this link to the hop? If I'm not doing this right, feel free to let me know! Have a great Friday, folks!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Giving the gift of gab!

As many of you know, my husband was in the Navy for 5 years.

He was stationed in San Diego and served all over the world, including the Middle East and Japan. He led groups of men in open-ocean ship boardings, mainly in international waters, to check all sorts of ships for any type of illegal materials: drugs, weapons, even human trafficking. The small group of sailors (12 men at the most, down to 6 once the war against terror began and there were many more ships to check) were often hugely outnumbered by the ship's crew, and they had to search every space on the ship, sometimes taking hours or even days. It was a dangerous job, but it also meant that he was not often able to call home.

Even though I did not meet my husband until after he had left active duty for the Air Force Reserves, I can only imagine how it would have felt to not hear from him for weeks or even months, and when I consider the fact that he may well go back overseas at some point in his military career, the lack of communication is what scares me the most. That is why I feel so strongly about this new charity I heard about, called cell phones for soldiers.

Cell phones for soldiers was started by two teenagers who wanted to find a meaningful way to give back to the men & women serving in the military. This growing charity take donations of old or no-longer-working cell phone and uses them to give soldiers all around the world the opportunity to talk to their loved ones. They have already raised more than 2 million dollars worth of donations, and are hoping for another 12 million this year. Their next goal is to get video phones for soldiers, so they can send and receive videos from their families. Imagine how priceless that would be if you were away from your family for 6, or even up to 18 months at a time. To get to see your husband or wife, your children, in real live video would make that separation so much more bearable!

I found out about this company through an interview in the Family Circle Magazine (magazines are another one of the things I LOVE!), and I was so impressed with the simple yet powerful concept that I wanted to share it with you. I don't know about your family, but mine has at least 3 or 4 dead cell phones floating around, usually just taking up space in a junk drawer. Either something breaks on them, they stop working or you simply upgrade to a better phone. Now, along with cleaning up some of those junk drawers, you can put those dead phones to a really good use. I love that kind of multitasking!

There are over 40,000 registered drop sites for the phones (18 in my zip alone!), or better yet, if you log on to their website (see above) you can request a postage paid shipping label! All it takes is a few minutes to wrap it up and you are done. I truly hope that by getting the word out about this fabulous charity we can help a few more soldiers get a chance to call home this year.

Pass the word!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ode to spray paint.

I absolutely love spray paint. I do. I really, really love it. I'm sure I could come up with some spiritual parallels (since the spray paint covers over all our previous flaws and makes the old item into something completely new, so that when you look at it all you see is the fresh coat of paint; all the old ugliness is covered over!) buuuut the truth is that I love it even without any inferred deeper meaning. I love how easy it is, how many options it gives you, and I really love seeing the results of it!

Today on my way home, I stopped at the good old Depot and bought 2 cans of semi-gloss black spray paint, practically skipping with anticipation at the thought of all the things I was going to refinish when I got home with my goodies. (However, any actual skipping would have been quite detrimental to my leg's healing, so sadly, I was only skipping in my mind.)

The items I was most anticipating painting are as follows (pictures to come later):

*a set of 3 lamps (one floor and two table) that I scored for a total of $29.99 at Target. Yes, that includes the lampshades! I know!
*8 metal 8x10 picture frames that I found on clearance for only $1.47 each, probably because they were magenta!
*and last but not least 4 mirrors in gaudy gold plastic frames that I purchased at some dollar store or other cheap & cheerful place--I saw the potential they would have in their new black robes, and happily bought all I could find. However, they have been waiting to be painted for a while, now. A long while.

When I got home, I rushed inside (carefully), grabbed all my materials and went back out to the patio to set up the spray-paint-arena. Yes I do mean arena, because if you have ever spray-painted, particularly on a windy day, you know that spray paint has this nasty habit of riding any and every breeze and ending up in places you definitely did not mean for it to end up! So to prevent this I had a small arsenal of tools with me: a plastic dropcloth (also purchased at the Depot), several paper grocery sacks, and a laundry basket. (Yes, a laundry basket. They are the ultimate multi-purpose item at our house!) I used the plastic to protect the patio (ground, steps, walkway), cut the sacks open and laid the paper down as a base for the items-to-be-painted, and set the laundry basket behind the sacks, covered in the plastic, to form a handy backdrop for the items to lean against. Clever, wasn't it? ;)

To those of you who are new to spray painting, this may seem like a lot of work, but setting up is usually the hardest part. That was certainly true in today's case. And well worth it, because the transformation is truly stunning! Now, for all my hard work and a whopping $3.44, I have 3 gorgeous black lamps (did I mention they were faux (read: ugly) bronze before, which looked more like green and brown smears than any possible sort of metal) that coordinate with my living room & dining room perfectly, a lovely set of 8 black metal frames just waiting for me to find the right bit of beauty to fill them with, and 4 high-class looking mirrors with ornate black frames, ready to brighten up a dark corner with some much-needed light.

Where else can you find such a bargain for only $3.44 and 2 hours time, I ask you?! Nowhere!

I hope that this little ode has inspired you to try a bit of spray-painting yourself, and if you do, I would love to hear about the outcome. And, if you ever feel inclined to compare the art of spray-painting to the gracious and redeeming work of our Lord, I certainly won't stop you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Well, I've finally done it! For many months now a few different friends have suggested repeatedly that I start a blog. I think it's because I have so much to say, and they want me to have another outlet besides them... :) But for whatever reason I have taken their suggestions to heart and am, finally, starting a blog of my own.

Starting a blog seems sort-of normal to me because I am a journal-writer. A journal-er, you might say (not to be confused with journalist!). I have been keeping a journal for many many years, starting back in high school I believe. I go in spurts, sometimes writing pages at a time, and other times not opening a journal for weeks or even months. What I love about journalling, however, is that I can look back, days or even years later, and read what I was thinking about, dealing with and pondering at that point in my life.

I particularly love seeing the ways that God was working in my life at any given time. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked back at a journal entry and been amazed at the way that God has worked in my life since then. Sometimes it is in specific ways when he answers a particular request, but most of the time when I look back what I see is that, even though I didn't know it at the time, God was already working in me and in my circumstances. Hindsight is 20/20, they say, and by keeping a journal I have a record of all the times that God, in his amazing wisdom and love, has stepped down into my life and brought about blessings and answers in ways that I did not even comprehend at the time.

Now, by keeping a blog, not only can I look back at my life and see the ways God was working in me and in my circumstances, but so can you! I am always encouraged by seeing and hearing the ways that God works in the lives of others, and I hope that in this way my blog can be a blessing to you! I know that God is working in me, and that he has his hand on every aspect of my life, even if I don't necessarily sense it at the time. This blog is one more tool I have to remember and to share those blessings with others.

And just in case you are starting to think that my blog is going to be all serious and full of deep thoughts, I want you to know that I am also really excited to have a place to discuss the fun and frivolous parts of life, sort of a cyber-girl-time.

Since I got married I have been living on my husband's family's farm, which is out in the country and keeps me much more isolated than I would normally choose. Buuuuuuut I do think that giving our (future) kids the opportunity to grow up in the country and have tons of room to run and play and get in all kinds of messes and worth it. Some days I have to remind myself that it's worth it. And then there are the days when I must keep reminding myself that it is worth it...

Days like the ones when I wake up and the first thing I smell as I step out of our bedroom is a lovely eau de skunk from the family of skunks who has decided to bunk up under our house. Or days when the washer overflows the too-small drain sink and floods the entire floor of the laundry room. Or days when I realize on the way home that I am running low on gas, milk, bread, or any of the other necessities of life, and must turn around and drive back "to town" in order to pick it up, since there are no gas stations, grocery stores or, sadly, coffee shops out by our house.

But then, right when I am getting so fed up with the inconveniences of living where I do, I drive home and pass 3 deer walking in the orchard alongside my driveway. I see the view of Mount Hood from my front yard, hovering in the sky above the small pond filled with ducks and the long green pasture with beautiful pine trees bordering it. I hear the sound of the creek-fed water fountains, masking any noises from surrounding civilization. So...maybe I'm pretty lucky. I don't know, what do you think? Sometimes we get so fed up with the small irritations in life that we are blind to the benefits of our specific situation, benefits that are so obvious to everyone else.

Enough rambling for now, and I hope that you, like me, will try to keep your eyes open to see the benefits and blessings that are all around. Until next time, take care!