Saturday, December 31, 2011

What I Found Out This Year

2012--ready or not, here it comes! I love that life has cycles, seasons, beginnings and endings,   because I don't know about you, but fresh starts are good for me.  I need the hope a new dawn brings with it. Before 2011 closes I wanted to share a word...two words actually....that I feel have defined this past year for me.
"Just enough"
I've prattled on and on on this blog about the tough times I have with pain and what its like coming to terms with the fact that something really bad may be a forever chronic life issue.
Things have been a roller coaster the past four years. Huge ups (SaraRose Joy being born) and devastating downs (three unsuccessful surgeries anyone?)
But thru the desperation, I've seen "just enough" play out over and over in my circumstances. And I am convinced that most often, this is how God moves.
I don't understand why and it is not my way -- that's for sure!  I desire the BIG, the BOLD, the UNMISTAKABLE. But time after time, I've received bits of hope *just* when I'm convinced all is lost. A word that encourages perfectly *just* when I wonder if I'm forgotten. A medication that helps the pain *just* when I thought I couldn't take anymore. Sustaining grace. Not deliverance. Just enough.
I received two such graces just this morning...both at the perfect moment.
And I wouldn't have always recognized them as such--I would have held out for more.
But I am learning.
It is rarely ALL, but it is ENOUGH.  For some reason I'll probably never know, most often....that's where He is found.
And when I look back on is good!   Difficult, but still good.
"Just enough" was really all I needed.

And on a lighter note.....
Here's SaraRose on New Years Eve, 2008. In a popcorn bin.
And here she is this year. In our clothes hamper.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Family Photo Book, 2011

Feel free to take a peak! I've been working on this all year and I can't wait to get it in the mail.  It was time-consuming but super fun to put together. If you did anything with us this year, you're probably in it! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A post just to post, pretty much.

I don't have much to write about (well, except the fact that I've been feeling TERRIBLE and stuck in bed for two days...but I don't really want to talk about that.)
I did want to update here, tho, so I'm just gonna put some pictures up that I've taken recently and call it a post.
Have I ever mentioned that I love my camera?  I think I might have a time or two. I would marry it if I could. It's added so much joy to my life.
Don't you love it when a hobby you kinda want to try ends up being way more awesome than you even thought it might be?
My camera was that.
Blogging is actually another.
I'm sure there's more I could add to that list, but those kind of delightful surprises don't come along very often.
Anyway. Where was I?
I love that with my camera I can capture moments that normally fly by.  I'm not gonna lie, our tree looks amazing this year. And that makes me very, very happy! Add a quiet morning, my Bible and some hot coffee?  'Tis bliss.
Is there much more precious in this whole wide world as a little three year old (who loves all things frilly and pink) at their first ballet class?  I swoon over this picture. The teacher told them to stand in "first position," notice how her little feet are turned out? And then she gave them a stuffed animal.  All the other girls started walking around and talking at this point.  But my dainty rule-keeper stood right where she was told, a shy smile on her face, holding her animal just. so.
This is me and my girl on one of our favorite nights the of the year.  We all decorated the tree and drank hot chocolate as SaraRose danced around watching "The Polar Express."  And I thought about how that moment. Right there.  Was just about as perfect as life can get on this fallen earth.
I snapped these two pictures at a wedding rehearsal dinner. I actually love the way they turned out. The lighting, the focus, how it captured the mood. But you know one thing I've learned about photography? The pictures that you are the most proud of (because you know all you had to maneuver and to get THAT SHOT just right) are many times are the photos other people are ho-hum about when you show them.
So, you just have to be ok with that.
Alright. That's all for tonight!
I really hope I feel better tomorrow. That would be a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

David is my Homeboy

My whole life, the Psalms have been the safe place I run when the world seems to overwhelm me. Being the sensitive, fearful child that I was it was only in reading the Psalms at night--my Bible tucked under my pillow--that I could fall asleep.  The words gave comfort while I slept and promises of strength to face another day at school. 
In sixth grade, I memorized my then favorite--Psalm 91--for a Speech Meet (and oh yea, sixth grade self! I won a 1st Place ribbon, the 1st time I ever received recognition for something performance related.)
Little did I know it then, but thru the even tougher years of growing up--more times than I can count--having those words tucked deep in my heart gave refuge to my confused, young adult soul.
It is still, hands-down, my favorite chapter in the whole Bible, very likely because it's been right there with me thru so much. 
Now in my early 30's I've faced many of my fears, but I still love a life that's more difficult than I imagined for myself. Thru this ordeal with my back pain, Psalm 139 has become a close second favorite chapter. The promises it holds are remarkably personal. It's given peace that God sees me, knows me, and thinks of me more than I can fathom.
I've wanted it memorized for a while.  But the actual memorizing without a class project or deadline or something?  I knew that probably wasn't going to happen. This girl needs accountability :) 
So I was excited when last January, Beth Moore announced on her blog that she provides a place for women to memorize throughout the year (logging in two verses every month, 24 for the full year).   I instantly knew this was my chance to get Psalm 139:1-18 hidden in my heart just as Psalm 91 has been all these years.
 *side note*--As an incentive to those who log in faithfully, Beth is throwing a celebration in Houston, January 2012. I am planning to go and asking for the money for the plane ticket for Christmas!
And I did it. Just a few weeks ago I logged in verse 18! It's been amazing how much slowly memorizing verse by verse has enriched my life.  So often, it's been just what I need at just the right moment. In fact, right before that awful last doctors appointment, I whispered the chapter to myself on the x-ray table.
Here's the proof that I actually do have it all memorized. I recorded this video a few weeks ago, so my hair isn't quite as long anymore.  It looks a little bit more like this now, actually.
But that's neither here nor there....back to the important, spiritual stuff :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tough Stuff

I've been having a rough time lately.  Like really rough.  It all started with that stupid doctors appointment.   I wasn't expecting to feel this way, but it's shaken me to the core.  Everything seems more final now.  And its brought back to the surface a ton of disappointments.  I'm trying (again) to work thru it all.  To figure out how God wants me to cope. How do I glorify Him in all of this?  How do I move forward when so many of my dreams aren't possible?
I'm battling thoughts that seem consumed by all I can't do.
Losing your health (especially at a young age) isn't for sissies.
I did a Bible Study recently and one of the questions asked was "what would the perfect day look like for you?" I quickly chimed in with an answer having something to do with shopping and shows in New York City (and everything to do with Andrew being with me :)....but later, on the drive home, I could hardly see thru my tears....because I knew really what the perfect day would look like for me. And it didn't have anything to do with NYC. It was simply waking up and doing anything, being anywhere, without pain.
And there is another massive loss that looms and hurts maybe even more than all that right now. It's difficult for me to even talk about.  But it's where I'm at so I may as well be honest. Because of several elements in my back situation, I can't have another child.  It's a profound loss, but I don't mention it for you to feel sorry for me.  It's just the truth; part of the tough stuff I'm trying to wrap my mind around.  I wrote a little bit about my feelings here. And that helped me process things.  But I know I'm still in mourning--I haven't reached the other side yet. Some days I wonder if I ever will.
I know all of this is huge, heavy stuff. So heavy, in fact, it has the ability to quickly undo all I long to be as a follower of Christ. I know I must tred very carefully as I make my way thru this world of questions, doubt...suffering.  Too often I've watched tough stuff change people. And not for the better, either. Just recently I talked with a friend I admire and love deeply.  Hard times she's facing have allowed some very ugly, cynical views to take root in her mind and heart. It made me so sad to hear her talking that way, believing those lies. Giving in to the hardship.  But it also fortified in me that I do not want to succumb to that kind of mindset. Ever. I don't want to let the pain win over that part of me too.
So I will keep fighting.  It's easy at this point to feel like I've lost.  I fought a long, hard battle for "healing" and it didn't happen. Much in me tells me that I've lost.  But I know that I didn't lose.  My Lord knows all about my circumstances. And my life isn't over yet. And even though these days have been hard, when I take the time to ask and listen, He quietly whispers promises to remind me "the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me" (Ps. 138:8) and that He "restores the years the locusts have eaten." (Joel 2:25 ) I read those verses within two days of each other....I know He's speaking them into my very tender heart.
So the real question then becomes, will I believe Him in the midst of all the tough stuff...even when I absolutely cannot see it? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Doctor Visit I've Been Dreading

I went to my spine doctor today and now I am exhausted.  I'm pretty much always sick at my stomach the day before an appointment, and the whole week prior I am a complete grouch. Andrew just kinda stays out of my way.  Bless his heart. I really try to live one day at a time.  Constant pain+looking too far into the future=panic attack.  So the command from Jesus to "not worry about tomorrow" is a life-saver for me.  My greatest coping mechanism.  But when I know a doctor's appointment is coming, living one day at a time is hard.
Today was especially tough because I had to have the "there's not much more we can do" talk with  the surgeon.  I knew it was coming, but hearing it discussed with real, out-loud words hit me like a Mack Truck.  I got in the car and cried and cried. That is a pretty consistent happening after talking in depth about my back issues, but today it just felt extra sad.  I still have a headache.
Because basically, the pain I suffer with every day is probably stemming from nerve damage or scar tissue that has grown inside the nerve, and it is very hard to diagnose and treat.  There are things that can be done to help manage the pain, but not much that will completely cure it.  I've seen and spoken with a large variety of surgeons over these grueling past 3.5 years, so I've long known (after the last surgery didn't help) that this was probably what I'd be facing.  But still.  Hard to go there. Hard to talk about.  So final.  I'm hopeful that there will be strides made in the area of nerve damage/spine/pain issues in the future and there are even some tests I may try down the not too distant road. But for now, I just want some time of normalcy (my new normal, anyway).   Sept 1st was the anniversary of my third back operation in under three years (including one massive, brutal operation that opened me up from the front AND the back), so are you feelin me here? GIRLFRIEND NEEDS A BREAK.  So.  That is were we are.
The one good thing that came out of today's appointment is that I don't have to switch doctors.  I thought maybe at this point I might have to.  But I'm thankful to stay with him.  He's the one I've always felt the most comfortable with (after meeting an array thru the years). He's been with my story from the beginning (1st surgery was 1999), he's been available when I really needed it, and he definitely knows his spine stuff.  I like him.  So I am thankful that I don't have to start another doctor-find.  Those are daunting.  Some doctors are rude. And it's overwhelming to tell my story over and over. And to then hear the inevitable "Wow. How old are you? You're really young for all this." Yea, I know. Tell me about. 

Lately, I've prayed deeply for direction, so I feel even this little provision is an answer.  I am learning to give thanks for every gift, even if it seems small compared to the big bold answers I know God is capable of.  As I get to know and fall in love with Him more, I realize this is His way.  A still small voice. He asks me to just keep trusting with the big stuff.  So I will. 

I recall a quote I taped in my Bible about a decade ago while I worked at Disney World.  I was 21 and it spoke to me.  I'd would pray it to Him with all my heart many, many times while I went about my day working my dream job.  Little did I know He just might take me up on it. :)
"Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me.
Lay any burden on me, only sustain me.
Sever any tie, but the tie that binds me to Yourself."
 -David Livingstone

I think He's asking me now if I really meant it.  And I did.  Just sustain me, ok, Lord?
I know He will.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's more than a blog post; it's a Vlog post

I know, impressive! I've never done this before, and I learned a few things in the short time it took:
#1) I talk with my hands...alot.
#2) Propping a laptop up on pillows makes for a shakey foundation. Especially if the recordee talks with her hands alot.
#3) I should probably allow *a little more* recording time before people are scheduled to come home. It makes things awkward. :)
Alright, here goes nothing. Let's try this thing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A celebration that lingers

It's been 3 days since Andrew and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary, and my cup is still overflowing from the joy of that evening. I knew it would be fun. I knew I'd wear my wedding dress again and we'd renew our vows. But I wasn't expecting the well of emotion once the evening began and our friends and family started to arrive. Suddenly, there was so much love filling the atmosphere. So much support and happiness! I felt it down to my bones. It's easy to take for granted all the wonderful people in your life who are there for you and who want the best for you, until you get a ton of them in a room together. :) It is a shower of laughter, hugs and hope!
I think God wants this kind of celebration for all of us every now and then. To remind us that we aren't just loved, we are LOVED. I was (and am still) so, so happy.

But, of course the celebration eventually came down to just the two of us. Andrew and me, going on 10 years as man and wife. When I walked out to meet him again...this time with our dainty daughter's tiny hand in heart was near to bursting!
.This time, Andrew and I know completely what it all really means. We've been thru a lot. We understand the gravity of those words we are saying. There are no romantic notions clouding our view. And yet, there is still so much love for each other. So much assurance that we are meant to be. We'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. And we did.
It's been so nice that the contentment of the evening has lingered in my heart. It's only the really special memories that can do that; I could probably count them on one hand.
But this evening? This evening was for the books.
And it was the perfect foundation for the decades to come.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

4 Thoughts That Kept Me From Another Unpublished Post

I looked thru some old drafts a few days ago. You know, the posts you write just to get stuff off your chest, then decide there's no way you're going to put that kind of hot mess out into the world wide web?! Ha! Well, that's what this little poem was. I wrote it back in January, and it had obviously been a bad few weeks.
If I'm sure about anything,
It's that my life is unsure.
I had lots of plans this week.
I've been feeling stable,
And stable is as good as it gets.
So I made plans--
To meet up with some new faces,
Have a play date,
Celebrate a birthday,
Shop for curtains,
Be with SaraRose.
But it all came to screeching halt.
Because I went for a walk on Friday
Yes, something as simple as that...
And I've been in bed ever since.
I'm tired of being the variable,
The one everyone has to work around.
The one stuck at home,
Not being able to give all I want others.
I'm tired of catering to the pain.
Cause I don't want it to win
But it so does some days.
Most of all I'm just tired.
So so tired.
I want an end.
I need a reprieve
God help me.
I can't imagine why I did publish that! Yea. It's probably a good rule of thumb to not post anything ending with the phrase "God help me." :)
But oddly enough, when I reread it a day ago or so, it was comforting to me. Because I was struggling with those exact same thoughts again.
Only this time, it was not being able to keep up with my family's vacation pace that had me feeling overwhelmed. My older sister and her 4 kids (whom I haven't seen in 3 years) were in town, and my back problems seemed glaring because there were tons of fun things planned and people to spend time with....and I simply couldn't keep up. It always makes me so sad. It makes me feel like I'm 80 years old.  This go around tho, even tho there was some crying and some major moments of frustration, I worked hard to not sink into the bleakness of said poem above.
Instead, I fought to look at things like this:
1. I still have the best part--Though I may not be as physically fun as I'd like to be, I'm still able to bring the most important stuff to any event I'm a part of. I can bring my energy, my personality, my enthusiasm, joy and love with me. I may not be the one running, jumping and swimming anymore but I can still laugh, talk and connect. I can still help people have a good time when they're with me.
2. Memories can be streamlined: I wasn't able to host my 9 year old niece sleeping over at my condo every night like she wanted, but I made the most of the one sleepover we did have--we stayed up late, watched movies, did beauty shop and played Clue.  I may not have been able to swim when we went to the beach or to the pool, but I organized and judged a splash contest and helped my nephew improve his underwater hand-stand skillz. If I had a moment--even if it was short--I tried to make it the best I could.
3. Choosing one thing over another: UGH. It speaks for itself and it's my least favorite. I'm naturally a I-want-to-do-it-all kind of girl. But here's one example (from several this week) of something I chose over another to help keep my pain down and my chin up: my dad baptized my niece and nephew on Sunday night and I didn't want to miss a sweet moment like that! So, I chose not to go to the party celebrating it after church. But I got to be there for the event and to hug and congratulate them both, as well as sit next to their drying little wet heads thruout the church service. To me, that was more important than the party.
4. It is worth the effort: I pushed myself to be an active part of everything I could, even if I wasn't feeling very well, because it's always worth the effort. And you know what's funny? Later, when I think back or look at pictures...I rarely remember how badly my back hurt or how frustrated I was about what I couldn't do. I just remember how much fun we had, who played what joke on whom, and how blessed I am to be part of such a wonderful family.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My favs: The pricey edition

Do you remember that cartoon Duck Tales? My sister and I watched it faithfully every day after school. "Duck Tales, wooooo-ooooo!" Ah, the memories. Now, do you also recall how sometimes Scrooge McDuck would do the backstroke thru a large vat of money? Yea. Well, you might just need a large vat of your own to afford some of the things I'm going to list here! But still. I thought you may enjoy seeing some of the stuff I find fabulous enough to spend big bucks on. I am a frugal, inexpensive shopper pretty much all the time. But when it comes to a few items, I really agree with what my dad says every single time he buys a Daniel Cremieux tie--"you get what you pay for." :)
Alright. Grab those Benjamens and here we go....
#1) Biolage Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioning Balm.
Not gonna lie, I definitely splurge on my hair. And Biolage is my one true love when it comes to products. To me, no drugstore shampoo can even come close to how manageble and light Biolage leaves my hair. I've used it since the highschool perm days and it's never let me down. Not to mention that the smell of the shampoo remains one of my favorite scents in the whole wide world--I've been known to stop in a store aisle just to have a sniff. :)
#2) DKNY One-Shoulder One Piece.
Anytime I buy a bathing suit, I invest in a more expensive one (like $100 range *cough*). But to me, It. Is. Worth it. They're made better and the fabric is stronger--therefore they last longer and fit well. It's a splurge for sure. This is my new one for summer and I'm really happy with it.
#3) MAC Jazzy-Razz Long-Lasting Lip Lustre.
You're not going to believe the price tag on this one. Don't know how long I'm going to be able to keep it up, but I am in love. At first, I only bought this because I had a gift certificate to MAC, and at the time I really needed some lipstick. But it quickly ruined my ability to wear any other brand. The color is the perfect neutral pink...but it's the subtle sparkle gloss that really sets it apart. It leaves your lips with a very Kardashianish glow. And the color stays on all day long. Seriously, people. BUT it costs $22.00 a pop. Phew.
#4) Calvin Klein Little Black Flats.
These are my most favorite flats ever. My hubby got them for me on our 8th anniversary....and I still wear them like they're brand new. They've stayed comfy and shapely thru two years of wear and tear. And I'm really tough on my shoes! I think they were about $80.00, but they make me reconsider buying cheap $10 flats all the time. Those never last like these have.
Do you like the little pose I'm striking for you here? :)
#5) Zero Gravity Chair from Relax the Back.
Love isn't a strong enough word for how I feel about this wonder chair. It's especially designed to relieve pressure off the lower spine, and it works! As soon as I sit down, my back pain lessens. You're able to easily tip it to whatever angle feels most comfortable. So, much UNlike sitting in a regular chair, all pressure points are gone. It's so cozy that when I'm not sitting in it, someone else always is. The thing I personally appreciate best is that it allows me to be out in the living room (where the action is) more...when I otherwise might have to be back in my bedroom lying down. Suh-weet! Unfortunately they're not cheap. But TOTALLY worth it if you've got back problems.
That just about does it for my list of splurges. I'm much too practical to have many more. But all of these come with the Kristen-I-don't-think-you'll-be-sorry seal of approval. Even if you don't have large vats of money down in your basement. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting Pinned

And I'm not talking about Pinterest, folks.
I'm talking about this: And a little of this:


The first thing people ask when they hear I'm trying acupuncture is "does is hurt?" And the short answer is YES!! It does hurt, people. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But it isn't terrible. Some needles I don't feel at all; most feel like a quick bee sting. Past the initial sharp pinch, tho, I lie in a dark room for 25 minutes (with around 20 pins down my back, hips and sciatic nerve) and I usually don't feel a thing.

Of course the other big question is "does it work?" Well, that one is a little bit longer to answer. It's hard to say definitively. But....I think so? It took quite a few treatments for me to feel any difference at all (not to mention I was the hugest skeptic ever).

But the reduction in pain has not been an overwhelming-100%-I'm healed-kind of thing. BUT. I have noticed small changes, mostly in my stamina. It seems like I'm able to stand/sit/walk longer before pain gets unbearable. Or like I'm able walk around two stores now instead of just one before I have to head home and lie down. Simple stuff like that. Stuff that to healthy person may not seem significant enough to really be worth it. But to someone like me, someone who had reached the end, tried it all and seen no change for years....well, having a bit more stamina kinda seems like a mini miracle. And since it isn't in the form of some new medication I have to ingest--people--I will take it!! Pin me!

Acupuncture is weird. There's no doubt about that. I don't totally get how it works. But somehow, it must. It feel a similar relief in pain to when I take a steroid, so I'm pretty sure it's helping reduce inflammation somehow.

I think in order to try it, you'd have to be in a place like me--desperation:) --for the money, effort, time and pinching to be worth it. But that's up to the person and their need. Who knows? Maybe for someone who doesn't have the humongo issues I do, it would be a complete miracle. There are tons of letters hanging up all around my doctor's office from other end-of-their-rope folks like me. People in all sorts of pain who found relief and many, many testimonies from women dealing with infertility (all with a picture of their new little baby attached and lots of praise for acupuncture.)

It seems so strange that getting stuck all over with pins could do anything good, but I've been known to say I'd hang by my toenails if it would help me feel what's a few little sterile needles, right?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Home: Come In and Sit a Spell!

If I can't find anything to watch on television, HGTV is my default channel.
I love House Hunters (especially the International episodes). My favorites are the ones where the house hunter couple has a little pep, and the homes are all so interesting it's too close to call. It's fun little show.
So given my interest at peaking into the places people call home, I thought I'd invite you into ours. It's just a little 2 b/2b condo, but we love it. Come on in and see!
This is the entrance hallway (that's the front door with the M on it).
That hallway leads to our main space. The living/dining/library/office/play room. This room knows how to multi-task, yes siree.

The living space leads around to the kitchen.

Then if we backtrack down the hallway you can turn left down another little hall. On the right will be our guest bathroom.
Then, on the left you'll see Andrew and my bedroom.
....and the master bath off our bedroom.
SaraRose's room is at the end of the second little hallway. This has become my favorite room in the house. Several sweet elements came together to decorate it very easily. I painted her name on the wall before she was born, and her bed (which I also repainted) was made by my late grandfather and has now slept 3 generations of Lancaster girls. I didn't necessarily plan it, but it all fit together nicely.

As you head out of the house, we have a little fountian and bench outside the front door.

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed the tour. Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

There is a monster in my room

Make that a green-eyed monster. He's been hovering around here all morning while I deal with some pretty strong jealousy issues.
I never before much thought of myself as a jealous person. I've shared before that fear is usually my biggest vice. But especially since my health problems started and I got major limitations put on my dreams, I feel jealousy slip in more and more. Always robbing my joy and leaving me angry...many times at people I love.

Why is it sometimes so much easier to weep with those who weep, than to rejoice with those who rejoice?

I have wonderful gifts in my life. I know this.
No one's life is perfect, even if it looks it. I know all of this and more.
I could preach a sermon on it.
It just isn't easy to live out.
Especially because for me there is almost always a real, worthy loss mingled in with my covetous feelings. Things that really matter and that are truly sad and that deserve to be mourned and validated.
But it's a sticky slope. Because my feelings of sadness easily become hostility towards someone else's happiness,
and that is more than just grief...that is sin.
I suppose this is just one more way Christ's strength will have to be perfect in my weakness, because I definitely don't have what it takes to fight it on my own.
I've given in to pity over and over.
But I don't want to stay that way.
I want to fight this and be free.
Free to love others. To desire the very best for their lives.
(you know that whole pesky "love does not envy" thing? Yeah.)
I want to live in confidence that I am blessed beyond belief.
Resting in the happiness that God knows all about my hopes and dreams.
And that He will honor them in His time. And in a way that is best for me.

This is some big time spiritual warfare stuff, people.

So I will fight the green-eyed monster today with my shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness, and sword of the Spirit.
That's all I know to do at this point.
Because my feelings are fickle, yet strong. So strong. Strong enough to ruin an entire lifetime if I let it.
But I don't want to let it.
And in God's strength, I won't.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pinterest. I may never sleep again.

Do you ever get the dull-drums? Those days you feel less than inspired? Like you need a deep breath of fresh air? I have a remedy for you. It's silly, inspiring and wildly remarkable all at the same time. I know you'll love it.
It's called Pinterest. Have you heard of it?
Neither had I, but's awesome. Especially for you creative types out there.
What is it? Well, I'm not totally sure. I'm just learning, but essentially it's the same thing as ripping out and saving favorite pages from magazines. Only better. Because I don't know about you, but I'm not so good at the actual organizing of those pages once I rip them. They eventually end up--not where I need them when I need them to remember that crucial paint color/cute dress/bright idea I saw. This is one reason Pinerest is great. It let's you "pin" your cool online inspirations so they are always neatly organized. And best of all, you can look at other people's pin boards and see what's inspired them. When you find people with your same artistic tastes, there's some uh-mazing stuff see. I cannot. Stop. Pinning!
Here's an idea of a few things I've pinned so far
Photography Shoot Ideas:

Fantastic rooms I just like to look at: Bright Ideas:
And the list goes on and on. If you want to view all my pin boards, click here.
The only quirky thing about it is that you have to be invited to start. Whatever. I supposed they're just trying to keep their system from getting too overloaded. But just put your email address in, and click on "request an invite." Within a few hours I had a email saying I was good to go. I think you'll be happy you did. I always leave with a smile on my face and inspiration in my soul. And some days we just need that, agree?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Singing in Public: Proof I Love My Dad

Oh geez.
Ok, below is a video of Andrew and me singing for my dad on Father's Day. I must preface this, however by saying I am no singer, people. I love to sing, it comes from my heart and that's about as far as it goes. My husband, on the other hand, is a wonderful singer. He had a full-ride scholarship thru college because of his fantabulous voice. So, dude can make any one sound better when they're singing next him. That said, I really did enjoy doing this. It's always fun singing with my hubby (in the car and around the house), so how is singing with him in front of a few hundred people any different, right? Yea, right. :)
But most of all I enjoyed this because I did it for my dad. And my dad is THE MAN. I love him a ton. He deserves so much, and I know this made him really happy. I NEVER EVER sing in public, so he was genuiniely suprised. My favorite thing about the video is his proud face as he watches us. Every father thinks their kid with the solo sounds amazing and my dad is no different. :)

We're on the video around the 19 minute mark. Just after the church sings "Great is Thy Faithfulness"

Video streaming by Ustream

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On crows feet and getting older

Do you see this? In just this last month or so I started to notice small, deep lines creasing from the corners of my eyes. I believe we call them crows feet. Sigh.
I got my first gray hair at 19, and I'm pretty much a bottle brunette now--and that has never phased me. But when I spotted real life wrinkles on my face, I did a double-take.
I guess I really AM going to start looking old one of these days. Me? Yes, me. It will happen.

Andrew asked on my 33rd birthday (two weeks ago) how I feel about getting older. And I told him the truth. That all in all, I don't mind it a bit. In many ways it makes me really happy. I love to see progress in my life and every year I've gotten better (on the inside at least!).
Even my darned health problems have put a lot of things in perspective and chipped away at an entitlement attitude I've lived with a lot of my life. I didn't see that three years ago.
Every year brings change and directed by God, it is change for good. Even if it has been a rough year. I love that. I want to be a vibrant, confident woman who is unafraid to live from her heart and who loves God and people generously. But it takes time. It takes work. It takes aging. Especially for a natural scardey-cat like me.

So the getting older thing is good...the looking older thing, not so much. But I guess it comes with the territory. I just hope that I'm always becoming more beautiful from the inside. And that the lines on my face are greatly surpassed by the beauty of my spirit. No matter what age I am.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My favs: the inexpensive edition

I was born with super duper enthusiasm. Which is all fine and dandy. Until it becomes a problem. Like when I really, really like something. I can't just like it, I usually end up loving it, and then I can't stop myself.....I have to GUSH about it.
Given this tendency, I can definitely overdo it at times. Leading the poor person I'm talking with to inevitable disappointment when my recommendation doesn't completely transform their existence on planet earth.
So. I'm going to try hard and not go over board here as I talk about some of my favorite things. I'm just going zip it, and let the product speak for itself when you try it. But seriously. Try it! (See? I'm working it at this. I've only used 1 exclamation point so far :)
The best part about all of these items? --They are under 10 dollars, and they are all seriously fabulous. Wait. Scratch that. They are inexpensive products that will render fine results. ugh. This is going to be difficult. :)
#1 St. Ives Invigorating Face Wash

This is the most tried and true. I've been using it for 10 years, and it's never let me down. If you're looking for an exfoliating nightly cleanser....this is it. It takes make-up off, cleanses beautifully, and leaves skin noticeably soft. Even hands feel smoother after applying.

#2 Loreal Voluminous Mascara This is my most adored. Because I hunted for the perfect mascara for years. I even tried the realllllly expensive stuff. (Another confession: my eyelashes are stubby and short. So much so I often wear falsies.) So are you feeling me here? I need a good mascara. Then I found this. The most perfect, thick but not sticky, soft but long-lasting, dark but not clumpy black mascara. And it has stood the test of time. I truly believe it's the best out there, and believe me, girlfriend has tried them all. (uh-oh. It think I just slid into gushville)

#3 Revlon Gray Suede Nail Polish, 705

This is a fashionable find. Neutral nail polish is not only "in" right now, but it is also lovely and practical. It doesn't scream "I HAVE NAIL POLISH ON!" yet it provides nice color and an easy look for any occasion. I've tried several different neutral shades, but this one is just right. Not too pink, not too brown, not too grey. And it's longer lasting than several pricey OPI polishes I've worn.
#4 Gap City Flats (just pretend my feet are nicely tanned in this picture for full effect)

My most recent fav. I originally read how fabulous these little shoes are from Ree (you know, my best friend who I've never met....The Pioneer Woman). But when I saw Big Mama also mentioned how comfy they are, I had to take this matter into my own hands. With back issues, a cute flat is my friend. And these truly are very, very comfy. And very,very cute. Given how they look hanging up I never would have even glanced at them, but seeing them on is a different story. And they come in an array of fun colors. There were tons on sale at Gap now. Originally $29.99, I brought 2 pairs at $7.98 each. And I'm glad I did.

Ok so there you go. Go try some of these for yourself and see if any have YOU gushing.