Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Mike & I hope that this Christmas & New Year's greeting finds each of you healthy & happy. As we have settled into celebrating the Savior's birth as a married couple we have juggled some busy days lately! As a result, our Christmas cards went into the mail without any kind of letter but with a note to check the blog for an update. Finally - here it is!

Last Christmas we were celebrating as a newly engaged couple. If only I had known how much wedding work lie ahead of me! January found me dress shopping. What a fun day! It really didn't take long for Mom, Beth & I to find THE DRESS.

This pic of me & Steph was taken on the day we got our dresses fitted. I just loved my dress. It was plain & simple - I still think it looks like fondant icing. Smooth & beautiful & white!

In the midst of all the wedding hoopla, I continued training for the Indy Mini. It was a much bigger than usual struggle for me as I worked both jobs, trained, worked on the wedding & we continued with some major house projects. I was sick on a fairly regular every six week schedule. I was just praying I could complete the race without getting sick the next day. The Lord answered my prayers & allowed me to finish at a very good for me finish time. However, there was one tiny bump in my running road that I always meant to blog about but never got down to doing it. I had been running/walking at a great pace. I was somewhere between mile 10 & 11 when the small crowd that I was running with had to turn a corner. We were all kind of bunched up & I was getting carried along with barely any room for my elbows. I couldn't see the pavement & caught my left foot on a uneven spot. I fell & I mean I fell HARD & skidded on my hands & knees. I was terrified I was going to get stepped on so I jumped up really quick. Man, did I come to a quick understanding of how road burn feels! There was no blood, but there was some major burning! All I really wanted to do was sit down on the curb, howl & cry but the other runners were all cheering me on. I. was. humiliated. And I was trying to cry while I couldn't catch my breath. I made some very interesting noises as I hobbled along. At that moment I had firmly decided never to run the Mini again - the race was too crowded, too long, too awful! Mike took this pic of me after the race. You can't really tell at this point, but my knees were black & blue the next day & I was walking like a 93 year old arthritic woman. Crazy stuff!

And I have not signed up for the 2010 Indy Mini. Although at this point it is not because of my spectacular wipe out. I've just been too out of it lately to feel like I can tackle a 13 mile race. I've got no enthusiasm for it this year but I've got my sights set on 2011. Right now my goal is a 5k with my sister & nephew in March. That's enough.

The weeks following the race we worked very diligently on wedding plans. I had no idea how many details there were to take care of. I made lists & then lists of lists. In the midst of it all I tried to enjoy myself but as the day approached (& has now passed) I have to admit that eloping definitely has it's positives. But I had so much fun, too. I had a wonderful group of girls standing up with me & a troop of special ladies at my church that took care of many things for me. It was a wonderful, wonderful day! I was tightly wound, I can tell you that! It's funny because the Lord did an excellent job of keeping my stomach calm. I didn't have any butterflies whatsoever. I was feeling pretty good but I felt an awful tightness around my rib cage. I told my mom that I was really unhappy with how tight my dress felt & how in the world had I gained weight around my ribs? She reached out & tugged at my dress to show me that it was not tight at all. Hmmm...then she put on her stern momma voice & told me to relax. My mom is so good at that. I love her for her tough love :-) So we proceeded with all the pics beforehand - such a great idea (especially if your groom is a nervous crowd-hater like mine is). Carmen did a wonderful job with the pics - it was so fun! We had a light lunch & then it was time for the wedding to start! I was so anxious for it to start that I remember dancing around on the landing in the foyer while I was waiting for Mom to walk me in. It was so silly, but I could not stand still! I was so excited to marry Michael; I was so excited to see who all had come; I was so excited to get it over with!
Then before I knew it, it was over with! Mom walked me in, I took Mike's hands, & a short 27 minutes later we were the new Mr. & Mrs. Pastor Jeff did a wonderful job of keeping the ceremony succinct - exactly how we wanted it! Actually, he left a little paragraph out about the rings b/c he was nervous, too!
Then once again, before I knew it we were running out the door in a cloud of bubbles! It was so fun...but I told my mom yesterday that leaving the reception was a little weird. It's kind of like leaving your own party first. I'm kind of used to being the last one there instead of the first to leave :-) We had borrowed Mike's brother's car as our get-away mobile. It's a fun Hyundai Tiberon & the girls had filled it with balloons, written some stuff on the windows & attached some streamers to the bumper. Mike was so embarrassed! We had never before or since made such good time getting home from church :-)
Unfortunately that was when I started to feel even a little more than tightness around my ribcage. I had figured that once the wedding was over & I relaxed that it would go away. Not so much. I actually woke up the next morning with strep throat. Mike took me to the urgent care clinic, I got a shot & a prescription, then we headed out on our honeymoon.
We actually had a wonderful few days in Brown County. We rented a lovely little cabin in the woods & we relaxed, shopped in Little Nashville, drove all over the countryside & I re cooperated from being stupid sick.
I have a zillion pics & I am so computer challenged...I've been clicking through the wedding pics narrowing down which ones I want to upload but I can't really figure out how to do it. *sigh* I am going to attempt to upload them to facebook. That wasn't really what I wanted to do, but at least that way maybe some folks can see them.
As far as any further news about our year...Mike & I are grateful that in spite of difficult economical times the Lord has continued to provide work for his company. Recently we have been assured of his employment for another couple of months. That is how it seems to go - about every two months they get another order & we praise God for answered prayer.
After much prayerful consideration (the kind where I finally listen to God if you know what I mean) I decided that it was time to let go of my second job. My last day was October 29th & I have to say that I have not regretted the decision once. It has been a very sweet blessing to be home evenings with Mike. It has allowed me to be quite a bit more relaxed schedule wise & that makes room for a lot more fun (and SLEEP)!
The rest of our year has been spent getting settled. It has been so much fun! For every tense conversation about socks on the floor or how we are going to spend holiday time there have been many more sweet moments. And the fun times filled with laughter just multiply. The Lord has given us a lot of joy in our marriage & I pray that joy only increases as time goes by.

This is kind of a lengthy, picture lacking holiday update - forgive my amateur blogging skills. The real message we were hoping to convey at this special time of the year is that the Lord has done many things for us in 2009. He has taught us many things, He has provided all our needs - including our greatest need of a Savior, He has blessed us beyond measure. He is a great God & we thank Him for a great year. We look forward to serving Him in 2010!
Michael & MaryAnn

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Massive Update

I've been meaning to get on here & let you know the latest news!

*First of all, you guys gave me some great ideas of how to handle the jean skirt dilemma. Funny thing is, when I went to Old Navy last Saturday to snatch up a $5 fleece, I noticed that they had some jean skirts! They were on sale for $15, they were the distressed style I was kind of hoping for, & they had one in my size! Yippee! I snagged one for Mike to buy me for Christmas :-)

*The little girl from my church that was in the car accident has a very long road ahead of her. At this point it seems that she is paralyzed from the neck down. She has done a little bit of twitching but the doctor's do not believe that the twitching is any reason to hope. She suffered a ruptured colon & severe whiplash. She will have to have surgery/surgeries & be in the children's hospital for several months. Her mother is recovering well. Her grandma is having some major pain issues & will have to have another surgery for a crushed ankle. Please keep praying for this family. There are so many needs. Please also pray for our church to be helpful & comforting.

*I have all the results from my gall bladder tests. I do not have any gall stones or anything like that. They took a test that measured my gall bladder's ejection fracture. It is at about 20%. From what I can understand with just a little research, normal ejection fracture should be 30% or above. I have an appointment with a surgeon at the beginning of January. I'm not sure if the surgeon will think my case is severe enough to have it removed or just try to deal with it. It's a situation that doesn't improve, but it also doesn't necessarily decline rapidly. So right now I'm just trying to carefully watch what I eat & pray that the Lord will show me what I should do & that He will give the surgeon wisdom to know what is best for me. We will see.

*I just finished our Christmas cards - HALLELUJAH!!! They will hit the mailbox tomorrow!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Candy Making Fun!

I only worked a half day today; I clocked out & headed over to Grandpa & Grandma's for our Annual Christmas Candy Making Day!

Here I am coating homemade toffe with white chocolate. Say it with me people, YUM!
My Grandma is making Divinity. If you've never had it, I have to say that it's white fluff tastes just like the clouds in heaven. My dad says, "It's so sweet it will rot your head off!"
Here is Beth testing the Divinity to be sure it's done. First you boil sugar & Karo syrup until it forms a hard ball or string in cold water. Then you add it to stiffly beaten egg whites & VOILA! You either have some of the best homemade Christmas Candy ever or you have a burnt motor on your electric mixer. Yes, it has happened to us. Several times.
Aunt Ruth was painting the chocolate in molds for homemade peanut butter cups. Once again, YUM!
Grandpa mostly supervised & made sure that Grandma's laundry got moved from the washer to the dryer ('cause she was obviously preoccupied elsewhere!). All of those little chocolate balls you see on the table there are coconut & butter cremes. YUM!

We had so much fun today...I don't think I've laughed so hard in quite a while. My family is great & we share so many super fun traditions. My grandparents have taught me so much - how to make things myself, how to work hard, & how to give a little tough love.

What fun Christmas traditions do you share with your families? What kinds of goodies do you make at home?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh my - not good news

I think I might need to disconnect my cell phone today because all it seems to be able to do is deliver me some bad news.

First I received a prayer line request from my church. A 5-year old girl that attends our church was in a car accident last night. She has life threatening internal injuries & her mother has serious head injuries. Her grandma has serious injuries.

Second, I received a text message from my mom. She works for a financial institution & one of their branches was robbed this morning. No one was hurt but of course they are all shook up. Ever since my mom started this job (I was in 3rd grade so it's been a long time!) I've had this little obnoxious worry that someday they would get robbed. I'm so grateful that it happened at a branch where she wasn't working at the time & I'm so grateful no one was hurt. I'm just concerned now that my mom will have a lot of work to do to deal with the robbery.'s been an eventful start to the week. If you think of it, please remember these wonderful people in your prayers. We need His healing hand for the car accident victims & His hand of protection & wisdom for the robbery situation. I'm so grateful to know that His help is ALWAYS available!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What do YOU want for Christmas?

Yep, that's all I really want. Just a knee length denim skirt. I would prefer one in a dark wash without all the funky seams like the one pictured above. Just a nice, tailored, dark denim skirt. I have one now, but the fit is horrible. It sits too low on my waist & I have to be on patrol the whole time I wear it, if you get my meaning. So I've been looking around at several different stores & I've looked online. Can't find a single one I like. I'm kind of tall (about 5' 10") so all of the knee length skirts are not knee length on me. I'm sure not looking for a mini style. And a long skirt would be ok, too - if it was long enough. I'm way NOT into mid-calf hem styling, thank you very much.
Actually, I've seen lots of denim skirts out there that I really like. The problem is, they are skirts that other ladies are wearing. Is it ok to ask them where they got their skirt? Seems like a socially awkward situation to me. However, I REALLY want a new denim skirt for Christmas!

What's on your list?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Things around here lately have NOT been dull. I actually have thought about posting numerous times, but have not really been in the mood. But that doesn't mean that we're not busy & things aren't crazy!
The truth is, I'm kind of struggling. The weather is super cold & we've had snow. I should be rejoicing about it b/c it seems so Christmas-y, but I get preoccupied with being mad about being cold. Yuck.
Also, I haven't been feeling very well. If you've been on facebook you may have noticed that I updated my status the other day with a comment about an ultrasound of my gall bladder. I have been having episodes of chest pain & nausea. I've never had chest pain before & let me tell you, any chest pain seems like a life or death issue! I spent most of last Monday & Tuesday thinking, "hmmm...maybe I should tell somebody that I feel like there is an elephant on my chest?" I ended up seeing the doctor on Thursday & she feels like it is most probably my gall bladder acting up. She ordered an ultrasound to check for gall stones. If they were apparent on the ultrasound then I would go directly to a surgeon to discuss removal of the gall bladder. If not, then I would need to follow up with a nuclear scan to determine if the gall bladder is functioning properly. I had the ultrasound on Monday & the results were normal. Immediately I started wondering if I was a head case. No offense to any hypochondriacs out there, but I do NOT want to join your club. People think I'm crazy enough already! I had really been praying that if my gall bladder was what was making me sick that all I would need would be the ultrasound. Obviously I'm now going to have to follow up with the nuclear test. It's called a Hida scan & the drug that they will use for my test will actually come from the pharmacy that I work in. I'm might ask my boss if I can draw up my own dose! I was just really hoping to avoid another test b/c that just means another test to pay for. And the other nagging thought is what if this test comes back normal too? Then I will have joined the above mentioned club, I suppose.
So with all of these not so fun thoughts running round in my head & not feeling very well, & strife at my workplace, & Mike being sick, too (a very, very, very bad headcold) I've struggled to keep my focus on what is true & right.

I need to think about things like:
~ it's Christmas-time! The songs of the season & focusing on Christ's birth really makes my heart rejoice. The words of "O Holy Night" have always especially touched my heart. What's your favorite Christmas carol?
~ completed projects & some much needed organization around our home! The Christmas tree & decorations are up & sparkly. Our basement (which has been a storage/woodworking wasteland) is finally starting to take some organizational shape.
~ the faithfulness of God's Word! I've been reading in the books of Kings recently & the Lord has taught me (reminded me of) some basic truths:

1. Love Him first & foremost
2. Obey Him wholeheartedly
3. Hate sin

~ Mike & I both still have jobs! Actually, my job has not been in jeopardy (that I know of!) but Mike has been faced with possible layoff & constant rumors of shutdown for longer than I can remember. The Lord has been faithful to supply his plant with orders so that the skeleton crew that remains has work. We are praying about January b/c it's the next possible layoff/shutdown time, but we are confident that the Lord is in control & He will do what is best for us.

There's a whole lot more to say about how the Lord has blessed & sustained me even while I've tended to be meloncholy, attitudinal & ungrateful. I'm so thankful He is faithful, even when I'm not.

What has the Lord been teaching you lately?