Saturday, January 31, 2009

Exercise Tape Addiction

Today is going to be a busy day.  And I'm pretty pumped about it.  Here's the schedule:

Quiet Time


Shower/Get ready

Finish baking bread (the last minute entry for January's Treat of the Month Club...which is our homemade version of a Christmas gift for Andy's dad)

Head to Indy

Late lunch with Mariah and Kory

Pick up my pre-ordered copy of Fireproof

Perhaps scope out the H-L.  Figure out if A has any plans for my birthday gift.  If not, see if we can get it at the H-L.  (Totally would probably be better for me not to go to Hobby Lobby)

Hang out with Andy's parents

Head home


I'm majorly excited about today.  But I think I have a problem, and I need to share it.  I'm becoming addicted to exercise tapes.  I told Andy that this week the only weekday  I didn't exercise was Tuesday.  It turns out, I'm kind of liking the feeling of sweating and getting my butt kicked.  I like feeling my muscles burn.  More than that, I like feeling like there's a change in my body.  There may not really be one yet, but I like to think there is.  So far, I think my back feels stronger, and looks a little better, and I'm starting to see my abs tighten up a little. 

Last winter, after exercising twice a week to Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home program, I saw some changes.  It was probably a few months in, but I was getting compliments from some of the ladies at church, and I was really enjoying it.  Then the summer hit, and I slowed down.  To like once a week.  Then the school year started, and I stopped.  And started eating more.  I ballooned a bit.  Gained about 15 pounds before Christmas.  It was bad news. 

So, since Christmas break, I've been slowly working to change my habits again.  I got my new Jillian tape, which still makes me feel like every inch of my body is on fire.  I dusted off my Leslie tapes, and I've been trying to eliminate bad foods...focusing on high fiber, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.  It's sort of working.  I've lost about 6 pounds this month, which isn't terrible.  Especially since I've had no real structure or routine to this month...just sort of going at it when I feel like it.  I started to meet with some ladies at the church again, but we've only done that three times...and my heart hasn't been in it really.

But, this week, things changed.  I was off for snow and ice after Monday.  And something in me clicked.  I started to really WANT to do my exercise tapes.  So I have.  I did my 20 minute tape with Jillian on Wednesday and Thursday.  When I thought my arms couldn't handle any more pushups and needed a break, I pulled out a 3 mile fat burning Walk Away the Pounds DVD, and realized it was more intense than I had remembered.  Then I followed it up with the Fast Firming sculpting video.  Today, my arms are sore, and it feels good.  I ordered a few new exercises, so I can change things up.  I get bored if I do the same things over and over again.  So I ordered a Pilates DVD and a Hip Hop Dance video from 10 minute solutions.  They have 5 ten minute workouts on if I know that I'll have a busy day, I can get a quick ten minutes in before school.  And two "The Biggest Loser" DVDs--the Cardio Max and Power Sculpt.  And last night, I discovered some new additions to the Leslie Sansone collection that I would love to have.  Perhaps after Frugal February?  The "Walk Away Your Hips and Thighs Kit" (because I'd love to send them south for good...the hips and thighs...thanks Mom and Grandma, really) and the 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk ( I watched a short clip of this one on her looked fast and good), and the 5 mile slim down....where one friendly Amazon reviewer noted that she's seeing a change in her obliques from focusing on them in the ab targeted mile.  I'd love to see a change in my obliques. 

So there you have newest addiction.  Here's to hoping it keeps up.  I'd love to build up my strength and endurance this winter...and then start jogging in the spring.  I told Andy that my goal is to be able to go for jogs with him and keep up this summer.  Instead of him stopping every 30 seconds for me...which is what happened the last time we jogged together.  So, it's time for me to hit the living room for my morning exercise :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Frugal February

I did something this month that I'm really not proud of.

I overspent. 

Not a huge amount, but enough that I have realized that it's an issue.  You see, we purchased a new tv at the end of December, using mainly our Christmas money.  It was just  supposed to be a few hundred dollars  out of our own pockets, no problem-o.  The problem, however, came now.  It's time to pay for the tv, and because I was stupid and didn't set aside the money in savings, I spent part of it.  Because of the unusually large balance in the checking account, we allowed ourselves a few luxuries we wouldn't normally indulge in--one of us, who shall remain nameless, ate fast food for lunch while at work about twice a week.  The other one made a big purchase online at Old Navy and bought a few new books and exercise tapes.  One of us spent some serious time in the guitar store.  The other one spent too much time at the grocery store.  So, you see, these aren't huge offenses, but they add up.  The way the unnecessary Cheetos I ate yesterday showed up on the scale today.  I didn't eat that many, but that extra bit of weight was there.  Little things creep in, and they add up.  It's the same with sin--little sins pile up until suddenly you realize you're in big sin.

But back to the whole overspending thing.  After a frivolous January, we have decided to have a frugal February.  I honestly think we'll be right back on track by the end of the month as long as we are careful and really think through our purchasing.  If all goes as planned, we should even have our emergency fund "fully funded" by the time my first paycheck of March arrives.  Then we get to step on up into the other "Baby Steps" recommended by our dear friend, Dave Ramsey.  Without our friend Dave, I'd probably be overspending every month, at least by a little.

What that does mean, however, is that we need to be careful in February.  I am limiting myself to 250 dollars for groceries and paper supplies.  I have a healthy stock of paper towels, and with the proper coupons, I can get toilet paper for free at Kroger.  Our pantry and freezer are both well-stocked, so I should be able to even avoid grocery shopping until after my birthday.  Then, if I  sales ad and coupon shop, I should be able to come in under budget.  And I'm staying out of Wal-Mart.  As much as I hate going there, I always buy more than I should once I'm there.

I'm also not allowing myself to online browse.  It makes me too eager to online buy.  I'm going to limit my time on the computer, so that I'm not tempted to pop over and see what the new collections at the GAP and Ann Taylor LOFT look like. 

I am going to try to pack a lunch for Andy when I pack my own, especially for the days that he's busy at work.  It's too easy for him to stop over at Burger King and poison his body and rob his wallet.  If he knows there's something made for him, he'll eat it, and ignore BK.  As he should.  Because it's a bad place.

There will probably be more, but I think that's the general idea.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Here's to a frugal February!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Date

For the past two days, I've been off of school.  Not shocking, considering the weather.  The surprising part--Andy's off too.  There was no power at his office today, so no work.  We've had ourselves a snow date!  It's been kind of nice being at home.  I had the house mostly clean from the weekend, and since I've only taught one day this week, I was all caught up with school stuff too (well...there is a stack of quizzes that will take about thirty minutes to grade, I just haven't found the motivation to tackle them yet).  School's already canceled for tomorrow, so I'll get it done then.

Conditions have been interesting here.  We had a little snow Sunday night, enough for a two hour delay on Monday...but Monday night we had about 5-6 inches of snow.  Then all day Tuesday we got freezing rain and ice.  And then we got a few more inches of snow on top of it today.  It's a perfect tri-fecta of nasty winter weather.  Several people are without power, and it sort of feels like the aftermath of Ike from earlier this fall.  We have been blessed--no power outages this time, but there are so many who haven't been that fortunate.  I can't even imagine.  Well, I kind of can...I just don't want to think about the cold with the no power.  I heard on the news tonight that near Elizabethtown, Kentucky (yes, the one from the movie) about 80 percent of people are out of power and it could be upwards of a week before they get it back on. 

So today, in light of no housework or schoolwork and treacherous road conditions, I cuddled up on the sofa and read to my little heart's content.  I've actually read 80 percent of a series of books by Karen Kingsbury.  I checked out the 1st, 3rd, and 4th by accident on Sunday (the second and fifth weren't at the library).  I found the 5th at The Perfect Gift on Monday, but I had to order the I've read all but the second.  Hurry Amazon!  I'm going to wait to talk about them until I've finished them all.  I will say this--they have brought me to tears more times than I can count in the past four days. 

Also, today seemed like the perfect day for yummy candle scent throughout the I tried one I bought at Yankee Candle after Christmas--Jack Frost.  You know, because he's totally nipping at our noses right now.  Turns out, Jack and I aren't so close.  It's supposed to be peppermint and vanilla...but it doesn't smell like it.  It's got a sickeningly sweet smell that kind of gets stuck in your throat.  Andy says it smells like the inside of a hookah bar...which is a smell that nauseates me.  Which is why I never go to one.  Well, one of many reasons why.  Anyway, Jack's going to go bye-bye. 

I got my camera back this weekend, and had some fun yesterday (and probably I'll give you some of my pretty winter photos soon :))

Monday, January 26, 2009

Book 9 and Book 10

I got so caught up in pretend decorating and real life-threatening situations last week, that I forgot to write a book recommendation.  And then I finished another book...and actually, another, but I'll hold off on telling you about that one for now. 

Book 9: Dishwasher by Pete Jordan

dishwasher This book was the author's memoir of his life goal (or ungoal?) to wash dishes in all fifty states.  Dishing (as he calls it) started as a way to make some easy money, but he soon discovered that he enjoyed it.  So he started traveling the country, finding dish jobs and making enough to keep him from starving (he'd supplement his food with leftovers from the plates before he washed them).  It was an interesting read, with some downright funny anecdotes.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  I could see Pete Jordan being sort of a modern day Jack Kerouac.  Against the rules, establishment, and what most of society deems normal.  It was an interesting, and enjoyable read.

Book 10: Marley and Me

marleyandme I had very fully intended to read this book for quite some time, and the movie appearing in theaters finally brought be to it.  And I'm glad it did.  This was a very sweet tribute to a wild family pet.  I loved the tales of Marley's fear of thunderstorms.  The many issues he brought upon the young family with all of his quirks and peculiarities.  Most of all, though, I loved the way you could see how much this family loved their dog.  He was an integral member of their family, one they loved dearly.  This was a sometimes hysterically funny, sometimes devastatingly sad look at more than a decade of this young family's life.  And I so loved it.  I stayed up too late Saturday night to finish it, it was so sweet.  And now I want to see the movie version :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The office--not the delightful television version

Our office gives me fits too.  Basically, I struggle with all of our house.  Let's be honest.  It's kind of old, and small, and has weird shapes.  But I can handle it :)  Some days.  This week, not so much.  I just want out.

For starters, I'd like to paint this room.  I think definitely peanut shell in here.  Definitely to the point that I'm reading to take my Benjamin Moore fan deck to Lowe's and say, "This is what I want"  And I almost did yesterday, if I wasn't certain my husband would not be thrilled to come home to a house under construction.  A little bit of marriage advice: tell your husband before you begin any major projects.  He gets a little irritated to come home and find that you've started something that makes the house look like it's being destroyed.


I'd love for Andy to build a long desk that goes along the far wall...for both of our computers and workspaces.  I think it would take up less space, and be more effective in here.  And I could put some pretty fabric along the front if I wanted to hide wires and stuff.  Along one of the long walls, I'd like to hang a cross wall--with all of the crosses I have (and will have).  I need some bigger ones...I saw some at H-L right after Christmas that were stun-ning.  I hope they still have them!  I'm thinking about hitting the HL in Car-mel (I only added the dash to make it sound cooler if you read it out loud...make the -mel rhyme L).  Like, we might meet Mariah and Kory at a restaurant there so I can subtly suggest that while we're in such close proximity of the store it would behoove us to stop by and drop a wad of cash.  Or plastic, as it probably will be. :)  I'd probably leave the other large wall blank, just because it would be too much in such a small space.  Andy has his sweet wooden sword from Germany that says "Be fully alive" and I'd like to find some other things to hang around it on the little wall by the closet.  Maybe more plates?  Or some Germany pictures in sepia?  The sword is a little guy, he needs some friends to help him really come alive.  Any thoughts?

I'd keep our diplomas up (in better frames), and find something for the little wall on the other side of the window.  Maybe a sweet picture frame with a picture.  Because I want to have real pictures taken our two year anniversary pictures, since we never had engagement pictures.  And I have a friend who offered to do I'm pretty pumped.

I'm envisioning a pretty red toile on the windows.  Toile and a collection of crosses....sounds so sweet to me. 

And I'd love a new comfy chair, for reading.  I like to sit in the chair in here and read while Andy works on the computer.  But the chair we currently have is very old and uncomfortable.  I'd like a new one....maybe red to match the toile.  Or maybe toile?  Or gingham?  With a pillow of a different color/pattern to create visual interest?  Something that coordinates, not matches.

Like this maybe.  With a brighter patterned pillow.  Maybe the toile again, with another in Robin's egg blue for some extra POP.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An Ongoing Battle

This is going to be lighthearted in the extreme.  Because that's all I can handle.  I have spent my morning watching reruns of Countdown to the Crown in preparation for the Miss America pageant tonight.  Can I tell you that I think that Miss Indiana and Miss Alabama are my favorites?  So many of the girls are darling--but I think they just really rock the show.  I love that Miss Indiana is from Seymour--that's only like 45 minutes away from here.  We totally drive by on our way to our parents' houses.  Can you tell that Mr. Andy is gone for the weekend?  That's how I have the luxury of lounging and watching pageants all day...he wouldn't be so interested if he were here.  I'm thinking about heading to a nearby town to hit Target and Hobby Lobby too...but first, I wanted to share something.  Something very goofy.

There has been an ongoing battle in our house.  Well, there are several really.  One is what type of dog to get, and when we should get a dog.  We've sort of agreed that this summer is the time for a pet, since I'll be home more to socialize.  We just don't know what type of dog we want.  The second is even goofier, because it's something we have no control over and isn't really an issue right now.  But we discuss it nonetheless.  The question of boy or girl.  Like for our first child in the future. 

Andy wants a boy.  He wants a young beast to train up to be a beast.  He wants a butt-kicking little monster of a man.  At least, that's what it sounds like to me.  Truly, I think he wants a carbon copy of himself to train up to beat up other kids.  That's probably not what he's saying, but it's what I'm hearing.  I could be a little biased. 

I'm obviously on the other side of the court.  I want a little girl to put in dresses and bows and snuggle and cuddle and live in a sweet pink and green room.  A little girl who plays with dolls and has tea parties and is just as sweet as can be.  Because really, look at these things....if I have a little girl, I can buy these sweet things and they can be sweet on her.  Little boys don't have such sweet things.

0b35_2   7eb4_2  863f_1 cd81_2  img_3352-1

And if that doesn't win my argument, I don't know what will.  Of course, I'm totally joking.  This is all in jest...but it was fun to look at little girl clothes for a few minutes.  Honestly, when we have kids, it won't matter.  But I would love to decorate a pink and green room.

The room in which we do the sleeping favorite place.

This room feels too crowded too.  We'll need to do something about that.  But for the redecorating...I have some ideas for that.

I'd like to change our comforter to something thicker and more luxurious.  I'd like something in a dark chocolate color.  With this mirror above the bed:

Isn't it beautiful?  Or, I'd move the bed to the wall under the window, leave the mirror, and put an armoire with the tv under the mirror.  Like this (which would be totally cute with my dresser):

And pillows like these on the bed:


Andy has a nightstand, but it needs to be refinished.  His is wood, but again with my non-matchy wood thing...I'd like a white one in there too.  You know, boy side/girl side?  I still need one, and I think I'd like something like this:

  or this

We have lamps for this room already..they are white with khaki colored shades and a little gingham ribbon.

And new curtains.  But I don't know what I want there.  Maybe a Roman shade type? Or something long and paneled?  I really couldn't tell you.  Maybe a duponi silk in an aqua or brown?  Or if I could match that buffalo check on the pillow...that could be cute.  If we put the bed under the window, I'd definitely want something long and flowy.

Again, no detail pieces.  I like to pick those up as I find them.  Usually at the H-L.  Sometimes Target.  Or the GW (Goodwill).  Or occasionally at one of the sweet shops downtown, but they tend to run a bit pricey.  I should probably try to support them more, though, given the state of the local economy.

Only two rooms left, I promise.  I'm sure you're getting bored.  But I'm having a real blast :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

A break from our regularly scheduled programming

I know I still have three rooms left on my planning process, but there's just something else I need to write about.

This has been the most physically and mentally difficult week of my life.  In fact, I'm still having a hard time comprehending that this week has been MY LIFE.  It feels unreal.  In all honesty, I can't believe that it is real.  And that it's happening in my life.  For real.

I don't feel like I should give too terribly many details, so I'll be appropriately vague.  Something has happened at school that has the potential to become a very, very dangerous situation.  As a result, we have been under lockdown for the last two days as a preventative measure.  That essentially means no one is allowed in the halls, and only one door is open to the whole building, and it is monitored constantly.  Students are required to have escorts to leave the classroom during class.  It's kind of a scary situation, and I'll be the first to admit that it is the most horrifying experience of my life.

I still haven't wrapped my around completely around it....all I know is that right now, I am in constant need of God's grace.  I don't have any idea what is going to happen during the day when I go to school, and right now, that's especially unnerving.  I sobbed my whole drive home yesterday because I was so distraught over the situation.  Then I hit a level of exhaustion that I have never experienced before.  Every limb of my body was in agony.  I wanted nothing more than to crawl into pajamas and go to bed.  Today I struggled to form words and keep my eyes open, even as I taught.  Tonight, I fully intend to crawl into my bed and sleep for hours.  The stress of this week has drained me of all personality, all strength, and all energy.  And it's given me a fever blister and a rash.  Andy has thought that I've been upset with him all week, but in reality, it's just been too difficult for me to form words and carry on a conversation.  I feel like I've just kind of sealed myself off from the world.

I tell you all of this, because I need to be honest.  And because I need prayer.  Monday is supposed to be the worst of it, and then hopes are that the situation will die down and fade away, but there is a serious tension right now.  I am feeling nearly desperate right now.  I keep repeating my Scripture memory verse for this half of January over and over, "Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" and it has been what I needed.  Would you consider joining me in praying for this situation, and for the safety of our school? 

Did you say bedroom? More like catch-all.

I fully intended to post this on Wednesday...and the next on Thursday and Friday....I have them mostly written and everything.  Then this week got away from me, and I forgot all about.  We'll say that this week has been on the stressful side and I've felt nearly comatose when I've gotten home.  So I'll finish out my series of posts now :)


And that's why our guest bedroom needs some help.  It's too full.

We seriously need to figure out a better arrangement....we just kind of shoved lots of stuff in and hoped that it would work.  It's really not.  I actually just redid the pain in this room last summer, so it's staying for now.  I'd like to change it out for the seasons.  I keep leaning towards a white quilt with colored pillows--maybe some yellows and light greens for spring and summer...and red, chocolate, greens and gold for fall/winter?  And a coordinating throw at the foot of the bed.

I'm thinking World Market might be the place to go for pillows.  I'm not sure, though.  Here are some wintery ones from Target


I have no idea what to do for the walls in this room.  But I think I want to keep it fairly neutral, so I can change out the bedding with the seasons.  Maybe a nice collection of white plates?  Some sticks/feathers in an urn in a corner?  A sweet lamp in neutrally goldy creamy shades?...and maybe some brownish hued wall hangings?  Perhaps from the many lovelies one can find at the H-L (Hobby Lobby, if you don't speak my language).

I don't have any real pictures for my ideas.  Because I can't find any.  Except, that I do have a picture of a cluster of white plates that I swiped off a blog many months ago as inspiration.  I can't remember where I took it from, that's bad news.  I'll crop it so you can just see the plates.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Potential Potty Room Projects

Like the alliteration on that title?  Fancy, I know.

Our bathroom isn't awful, but it will never be great.  It's just a bitty little space, and that's all it will grow up to be.  The changes I want to make in here are purely cosmetic, and should be easy enough that I can do them on my own.  Like maybe over my spring break.

I'm in love with this shower curtain, and might order it tonight, since it's on clearance at Tar-jay. 


I'd like to paint the existing vanity an antique white/ivory color, and change the hardware to something non-gold.  Here's the vanity (and the messy bathroom, just keeping it real, yo.)

April08 029

I think a nice dark brown curtain would be good.  With an ivory or teal ribbon.

And maybe change the flooring.  The subfloor in there is perfect...we just had it replaced when we moved in.  It would just be a matter of tearing out the vinyl and putting in new.  And since the floor that's currently there was a 15 dollar remnant, I'm not too sad to see it go.  I'd just get a different vinyl, I think.  Maybe something like this?  It's only 88 cents a tile.


And fix the paint.  A darker neutral.  Like Peanut Shell or Burlap from Benjamin Moore.

peanutshell      yhst-13463548100242_2037_49536345

And that's probably about it for the bathroom.  I'd just need to find decorative accessories.  See, I could so do that over spring break.  Right?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Updating the House

Since my blog is as much a journal for me as it is anything else, I kind of decided to try to organize some of my thoughts about potential home decisions in a more public manner.  So I can figure out what I'm going for, and you can tell me no if you think it's bad news.  So, as the week progresses, I'll probably show you a little bit of what I'm thinking for each of the rooms, and maybe give a glance at what it looks like now (or looked like at some point in the past...since I still don't have my camera back).

So...first up, the kitchen.

We have actually already started the kitchen changing process.  I think I talked about that.  We painted our cabinets black.  And we are hoping to change the countertop in the next few weeks. 

I am majorly in love with this little number from Lowes.  Because they really are improving home improvement.



I think it will be beautiful with the black cabinets.  Then, in a few months, when things start to warm up, we're looking to replace the kitchen tile with hardwood flooring.  It currently looks like this floor:

April08 169


Awful pink tile.  It's terrible.  It's hard to keep clean, and just bad, bad news.  I look forward to replacing it.  Andy got the hardwood bug when he helped his dad finish the floor in their new room over Christmas.  We are looking at either the color they have (Gunstock....I think) or a slightly darker color called Saddle.

With that, I would like a white table.  Andy thinks I'm crazy.  He thinks we should do a wood or black table.  But I don't really like the feel of matchy-matchy.  I like to mix my woods and colors, and I think a round, white pedestal table would be beautiful.  I'm in love with this one.

I've been thinking about moving the black toile fabric in the living room into the kitchen for a mistreated panel Nester style, and painting the kitchen a slightly richer neutral shade.  Like this...Cappuccino from Restoration Hardware



Then, once all of that is finished, I can start putting together accessory pieces.  Our kitchen is a hard room to decorate.  The walls are sort of I'm never sure what to do.  I don't love anything I have up right now, so I think it will all come down.  I really have no ideas for that right now.  I'm still in the big picture mode for our kitchen. 

Next up: the bathroom

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sleepy Sunday

This past week was a weird one. I don't know what was up, but something was seriously awry. I was cold all week...temperature wise (since we barely hit single digits, unheard of in Southern Indiana...but nothing compared to what the rest of my family was experiencing in Central and Northern Indiana) and attitude wise. Let's just get it out there...I was a major pill.

This weekend, though, has been good. I've had a chance to take it easy, to spend some time in the Word, and to refocus a bit. I've also been checking the updates here like every 2 hours and it's definitely putting my lousy attitude in perspective. I started reading Kelly's blog about a year ago, making her another of my "friends" that I wrote about earlier in the week. You know, the ones I don't know...and who don't know that they are my friends? She just has a sweet, gentle spirit that is so attractive. She and her husband had struggled with infertility for 2 years, and last spring announced they were pregnant with their first child. Baby Harper was born on Friday, with some serious complications. I have been checking the updates all weekend long and praying for this sweet family.

It's been good, not having much to do. We finished out our 3rd six weeks (which means that the school year is half over) on Friday, so it's time to start all new units tomorrow. Luckily, I just taught two different novels to my 4 classes, so I am just switching reteaching the same things, just to different classes. And I have four of this six weeks planned out. So I am set through mid-February with lesson plans. So I've just been hanging out. Even though I still have some work to do. I just don't feel like doing it yet. Yesterday I watched "Countdown to the Crown" which might be another new favorite of mine. Sadly, I picked up on it late...and next week is the last episode, since the Miss America pageant is next weekend. It's fun to get to really "know" the contestants. Today, we had lunch with our sweet friends at one of my favorite restaurants. It was delightful. And now I'm psuedo napping and watching Gilmore Girls in bed. I may have to stay here, though, because it's a pretty sweet setup. I feel like I should get Jon and Kate Plus 8 on DVD I can watch it in bed as well. Although, that might be a bad plan, because I might never get out of this bed. Except to take a bubble bath with my sweet action bubble bath I bought after Christmas. I'll just have to get a cute apron from Anthropologie, so I'll want to cook dinner and wear it....then I'll just never leave the house :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A New Addiction


Last night, I sat down and watched my first official episode of The Biggest Loser.  And I sobbed through the whole stinking thing.  Well, except when Bob was cussing.  Then I was just staring openmouthed. 

But for real, I think I'm hooked. 

I just love how supportive the contestants are of one another.  That's what really brought the tears--they really care about each other, and they all want what's best for everyone else.  I just so loved it.  Even Andy was getting into the show.  Of course, about every four minutes he would turn around and say, "Are you crying again?" and "Are you STILL crying?"

And I was.  A nice, good, ugly cry over "The Biggest Loser."  Good times.  Now I just need to kick my own butt into gear...and start my own workout :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book Eight: The Warrior

All right, so my eighth book of the year is definitely one of my favorites so far.  It's "The Warrior" by Francine Rivers.n147552

I basically have never not loved one of her books.  Did you get that?  Francine is totally a rockstar, and I have loved every book of hers that I have read.  Redeeming Love, The Last Sin Eater, The Last Shofar Blew (I sobbed through a VAST majority of this book...and so appreciated it), and the Lineage of Grace series.  Sadly, I think I have hit my limit of her books that are stocked in our local library.  The Warrior is actually the second book in the Sons of Encouragement series, and oddly, the only one our library carries.  I told Andy before I checked it out that I probably shouldn't, because I'd want to read the rest of the series....and I was right.  I discovered that I can order the whole series online....for the low cost of 54.99.  But since that's a week of groceries, I will probably wait just a bit.  Like two weeks or so.  Because that's how well I do at waiting.

Anyway, back to the book.  This book is a fictional account of Caleb, of Caleb and Joshua fame.  It tells of his experiences with the Israelites during the Exodus (of the book of Exodus fame), his time as a spy in Canaan, the forty years spent wandering in the desert, and the eventual settling in Canaan.  The whole book is just excellent.  My friend Francine (she doesn't know we're friends...but we are.  Like Beth Moore and Kelly Minter are my friends and just don't know it.  Oh, and Angie Smith.  I know I'm weird) does a beautiful job at looking into the heart issues of the Israelites, and into ourselves.  Caleb's heart is devoted to the Lord, to serving Him, and he can see the sin and debauchery around him.  I so loved this book.  Seriously.  You just can't go wrong with a Francine Rivers book.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slow and steady wins the race

This has been the most uneventful weekend in world history.

And I have loved it.

Last week was H-A-R-D. I think it was harder for me to get back into the swing of things than it was to start the school year. At the start of the year, I had adrenaline. This week, I had two point five months of uninterrupted (unless we get snow) teaching in front of me. And I was darned near worn out.

So we have slept. And rested. And slept. And hung out. Basically all weekend. And I have discovered some things. Here they are. In no particular order.

1. My students can't spell awkward or laptop. They are "akward" and "labtop" It's interesting. I wonder if itis a cultural thing. of my fellow English teachers discovered last week that she had been spelling awkward wrong her whole life. That one is definitely cultural (regional?)

2. I get distracted easily. Too easily. Things don't hold my focus at all. I am like a puppy on speed.

3. Andy is funny inside of a library. He went to the public library with me yesterday, and it was the first time he had been in one in about three years. The last time he was in one, he was carrying home stacks of books for me at Purdue when I was writing two research papers at once. We had a good time....honestly, it was one of those perfect marriage moments for me...being inside a library with my husband. It made me a little teary.

4. I was robbed of a victory. We played "The Office" board game last night, and I lost. But I did a much better job of answering questions, so I really should have won. Just saying.

5. I'm way pumped about starting the Ladies Bible Study at our church this week. Woo-hoo Precepts! And it's the full-blood Covenant study. I did the In-and-Out version at Purdue a few years ago....and I have always wanted to do the full version. I'm so excited to share it with the special women at our church. I am also way pumped that my sweet husband gets to do the Men's study! Our friend A traded him with someone else, so Andy can have a break from Youth for a bit and get to spend some time with the men of the church. It's so what he's been desiring, and I'm so excited for him.

6. If I'm awake past 10 pm I am likely to gain lots of weight. I eat like an animal when I'm up late. Going to bed earlier is much better for my weight loss strategies.

7. I don't like mice. Not live ones, not dead ones. I screamed on the phone yesterday when I was talking to my mom, because there was a dead mouse in the trap in my kitchen. She takes the blame for my irrational's a generational irrational fear of mice. I wonder if my kids will have it?

8. I'm not so sure about this going back to work tomorrow business. Just wanted to get that out there.

9. I gave Andy a wish list for my birthday. A whole month in advance. Talk about selfish. He laughed at me. Only, I wanted to make sure he knew that my birthday was on a Saturday and I think it's kind of a big deal. But I don't think he knows that. It's kind of funny. I always plan way cool stuff for him, and he really doesn't care. But I'd love for him to do the same, and he really doesn't. I think it's a boy-girl thing. Well, that's not completely fair. We did go see Wicked three years ago, because that's what I asked for. That was a big deal thing.

Okay, I'm done. I'm signing off of this long and pointless post.

Book Seven: I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Bill Bryson might be the funniest man alive.  For real.  I finished reading I'm a Stranger Here Myself on Friday, and I laughed so hard I kept having to run to the bathroom.  There were some reviews on the back cover for Bryson's book, A Walk in the Woods, which I read earlier in the fall.  One of them said something along the lines of "Bill Bryson could make mundane things like pain relievers and fabric softener laugh out loud funny."  And he can.  I mean, seriously, look at the front cover of this book:


It's a magnifier that looks like a face.  How clever is that?  Basically, the whole book is a series of short articles that he had written after returning to the United States to live after spending the last twenty years in Great Britain.  He covers a variety of topics--Americans love/hate relationships with small town main streets (we love the IDEA of them...just not actually walking around and shopping AT them), celebrations like Christmas and Thanksgiving, red tape surrounding his British wife's residency papers, and so much more.  The whole book was so hysterically funny, I couldn't stop.  I loved it.  Seriously. 

It's the third Bryson book I've read (his memoir, "Adventures of the Thunderbolt Kid" and "A Walk in the Woods" being the other two), and I have to say that with each book, I love his style more and more.  It's a thinking person's funny.  Wry, somewhat sarcastic, and always punctuated with some sort of social commentary or reference.  I heartily recommend this book!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Books Four, Five, and Six

So...I've been teaching two novels at school, and I finished one on my own.  Which leads me to books four, five, and six.

Four--Sarah by Marek Halter

This book imageDB was a fictional account of the life of Sarah, wife of Abraham.  It was written by a Jewish author whose family narrowly avoided being imprisoned during the Holocaust.  His biography was really quite fascinating.  He has had an interesting life.  Sadly, the biography was one of the more interesting things about the book.  It was somewhat entertaining, but highly explicit in a lot of ways.  I think I'm too much of a realist to enjoy some of his fictionalized accounts.  It was an interesting, if not highly inaccurate, portrayal of these biblical characters.  It's actually the first book of a trilogy, but I don't plan to read the others.  I think one of my major disappointments was that I had read Francine Rivers' Lineage of Grace Series last summer, and had hoped for something along those lines.  It definitely wasn't.  Which makes sense.  I just didn't think it through.

Book Five--The Last Safe Place on Earth

lastsafe   This is possibly my favorite book I teach all year.  I am doing it with my sweet morning classes right now, and it's been such a delight.  Many of them are starting to really get into it--and we've been working our foreshadowing skills to the bone.  This novel is about a boy who is a sophomore in high school.  His family lives in a suburb that is very affluent and supposed to be very safe.  It reminds me a lot of Carmel, IN, which means nothing to you if you aren't from Indiana.  Basically, the family moved there to get away from violence, but they spend then novel realizing that their nice, perfect community isn't totally what it seems.  It deals with a lot of issues, including teenage drinking leading to car accidents and death, a family dealing with alcoholism (and no one else knowing about it), religious extremism, censorship, and a whole lot more.  I can't put it all into words without giving away too much.  This is a Young Adult Literature book, so it's an easy read.  I so recommend it.  I love this book.  And several of my students are starting to get into it too.  I could see them about to pop out of their skin with responses to a scene we read this morning.  I loved it.  It was written in 1995, so we've had some fun with a few of the dated references to, things like this student who a total big deal carrying a "cellular phone" around or excitement/astonishment that the local newspaper is "fully computerized."

Book Six--Deathwatch

This is possibly my least favorite book I teach all year.  I'm doing it with my not as sweetdeathwatch afternoon classes.  The opinions are pretty split.  I am surprised by some of the responses, however.  There are students I was sure would not like this book that are really enjoying it.  It deals primarily with a manhunt out in the desert.  It's been a good segue into discussions about man's inhumanity to man, and the way people mistreat others.  Parts of it are fairly intense, with some fairly graphic descriptions of a man near his death trying to survive.  They have definitely elicited a few "that's gross" comments as we've read aloud.  It is getting some of my boys who NEVER read to read, though, so that's something.  I have one student who hasn't read but one of the short stories I assigned prior to this who is reading ahead and doing well on his quizzes and everything.  So for that, I don't totally discount Deathwatch.

I'm really excited to tell you about Book Seven.  I think I'll finish it this weekend...and then I'll share!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bring the Rain

Today was the first day back to school.  And if I'm going to be honest about it, my attitude was less than spectacular.  I was feeling like a failure well before I left this morning, and not making it any better with negative self-talk and doubt.  Andy pulled me into bed with him and prayed over me before I left, and I can't tell you how thankful I am for that moment.

As I left the house and drove to school, I was drawn into the song on the radio, Mercy Me's "Bring the Rain." It's long been a favorite of mine, but this morning, the lyrics just drew me in.  Straight into my heart.  Here's a video with the song, I so recommend listening to it:

As I drove, this line in particular really struck me,

"I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above, because you are much greater than
my pain"

And the song goes on to say that there are going to be days in our lives that are filled with joy, and there are going to be days filled with pain, and to ask if the pain if what it takes to praise Jesus, then bring it on.  I was so struck by the songwriter's attitude in comparison with my own.  I asked God in that moment to give me whatever I needed today to bring Him praise.  I didn't know what the day had in store, but I knew that no matter what, God was in control and that his mercies are new every morning, and that I was wasting my morning.

I got to school, and received several pieces of information that hit like a ton of bricks.  Two students in our small school lost parents over the holiday, in very tragic ways.  I prefer not to say much more for the privacy of those involved, but know that it has caused a great deal of pain through our entire corporation, and a lot of people have been affected by the loss.  One of the students is a student I have had in class, and will have again later this year.  I have spent the whole day near tears for this young man.  I just can't begin to fathom what he is going through right now.  And my heart is absolutely breaking for him.  But my pain is nothing compared to the pain this family is feeling.  And so I remember I that, and I turn to the Lord and ask Him to comfort this sweet family.  To bring them joy, to bring them peace, to comfort them in their time of sorrow. 

As I process the events of the day and my own attitudes this morning, I am truly ready to ask God to bring me whatever it is I need to bring Him praise.  I want this to be a year spent for Christ, bringing Him glory in all situations.  Not a year spent with bad attitudes and self-pity.  Not a year spent complaining and moping, but a year spent loving and glorifying God.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A few of my favorite things

More and more lately, I've been figuring out that my heart is not totally in my job.  I feel like it's where I'm supposed to be for this season in my life, but I truly feel like this season will be short-lived.  More and more, I am ready to start a family and come home.  It's truly what I desire.  This has been a huge change of heart for me, because from the start of our marriage, I have been the one saying that I wanted to teach for at least three or four years before we start having kids.  Andy, on the other hand, has been ready (or at least thought so) since two months after we were married. 

Now, that said, it's still not going to happen right away.  We've got some big things up in the air right now, and we both think that RIGHT now isn't the right time.  In the meantime, I've been thinking back on some of my favorite childhood memories, and I have been making lists of things that I want to either relive, or have for my kids to enjoy in the future (this list is primarily for a daughter, since I don't have any memories of being a boy).  And several of the Disney movies are in the vault, so I'll either need to order them used or wait and get them the next time they come out...which would probably be better, so  I can get them on Blu-Ray.


Eloise (the books and the movies with Julie Andrews)

Little House on the Prairie Series

Charlotte's Web

Anne of Green Gables series

The Boxcar Children series

The Little Mermaid


Beauty and the Beast

The Lion King


Snow White

Sleeping Beauty I was working on this earlier today, and I was telling Andy that I saw that this movie was available in Blu-Ray, so tonight he ran to the store to get me a notebook, and came home with it.  I was so excited!  And I can mark one thing off my list on the very first day.  What a sweet husband I have.  Also...I definitely want to hold out for the Blu-Ray versions was SO BEAUTIFUL :)

Peter Pan

Lady and the Tramp


Alice in Wonderland

Little Women

Roald Dahl books

The Parent Trap (with Hayley Mills)


Summer Magic

The Love Bug

Oliver and Company (to be released on Feb. 3)

Mary Poppins (a new edition is coming out this month)

And this is totally unrelated, but wouldn't this be darling in my living room?