Friday, July 29, 2011

Michael's Birthday

Uncle Mike & Canton
Last week Mike had a birthday.  Unfortunately, we have decided that as a couple we make the worst gift-giver/special occasion makers.  I did buy him a sweet card & we took a trip to Menard's for a mitre saw stand (obviously something he had decided he needed for his shop & not something I had picked out for him).  The week was busy with work & then when we had planned to do a special meal over the weekend our plans were interrupted by his dad being sick & ending up in the hospital (he should be coming home today - yay!).

The one thing I did do right to make my hubs feel special was make him a cake.  And this is no ordinary cake, oh no!  It's a peanut butter cake with peanut butter icing & you can find the recipe here.  I just have to say, look out!  Because it is one super-dee-duper-dee good cake. 

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go running because somehow over the course of this last week half of a peanut butter cake has attached itself to my thighs.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gaelic Storm!

In just a few hours I'm going to load my car up with a few of my favorite people:
my fabulous, fun-loving Momma
my wonderful, up for anything sister, Beth
my zany, a million laughs a minute friend, Autumn

We are headed to the big city for a live concert.

And this isn't going to be just any concert.  Oh no.

We are going to see Gaelic Storm.

If this band is half as fun as I think they are, we are going to have such a blast.

When we get back & I get recovered from the super late night,
I'll tell you just what all the rumpus was about!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Used to be, I couldn't grow much of anything no matter how hard I tried.  Apparently, I can now grow things without trying at all.  Whaddauknow...I wonder if I have acquired any other super powers? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gratitide has been a bit of a recurring theme in my life lately.  And I guess if you gotta have something tripping through your mind a lot, gratitude sure beats a lot of other stuff that could be jamming my brainwaves.

We just completed a ladies' Bible study that considered the role that gratitude plays in a Christian's life.  We read the book, "Choosing Gratitude," by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I highly recommend it.  Our last meeting was last Tuesday.  To wrap up the final meeting & really cement in our minds what gratitude is all about & how important it is for it to be spoken (to the Lord in our prayers & also to the people who have blessed us), our pastor's wife, Bekah had us do a little exercise.  We were sitting in a circle & we started with the first lady to Bekah's left.  Each one of us in the circle got a turn to mention something that we were thankful for in that lady.  It could be a personality trait (she's so friendly!  energetic!), a character quality (she has such a servant's heart!  she is so honest!), or something that she had done (she had our entire family over for dinner!  she lovingly confronted me!).  You get the idea?   I don't think that any of us were too excited when Bekah explained the exercise.  We all squirmed just a little bit.  I was happy to think of ways that those ladies had been a blessing to me but I did not look forward to my turn to listen.  It embarassed me.  It humbled me.  And it really encouraged me.  It helped me realize that the work the Lord has done on me has not gone unnoticed.  That brings me joy because it brings Him glory.  It took a long time to get around that circle but it was such a blessing.  It was just what we all needed.

Then this past Sunday night Pastor Jeff gave the congregation an opportunity to give testimonies.  I love it when folks pop up & tell you what has been on their minds & hearts.  I sat there & literally felt the goodness of the Lord fall over me like a waterfall.  I listened with tears in my eyes & joy in my heart as church family members got up one by one to give God the glory for lessons learned, prayers answered, hurts being healed, & grace being accepted to deal with difficult situations & life changes.  The only thought that coursed through my mind was, "Who am I, Lord?"  I have SO MUCH.  I have a family.  In addition to that, the Lord has blessed me with a constant, caring church family.  And if that wasn't enough, He allowed me to join Michael's family.  It humbles me to think that the Lord has counted me worthy of being a part of these precious groups of people.  He knew there would be dysfunction; He knew what I would need & He knew what others would need.  And then He wisely & tenderly grouped us together so that we could have an impact on one another - so that some iron could sharpen iron & so that we could love, support, & comfort one another.  I have been overwhelmed by His love & kindness.

Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 148

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Couple of Misfires

Our Fourth of July weekend was very exciting - and the excitement started on Saturday night.

Mike & I had spent the evening at Beth & Brennan's house with several other couples & their kids.  We had a great time together, eating, visiting, & shooting off some fireworks.  While we were outside lighting up the sky with roman candles, fountains, & bottle rockets there was also a lot of lightning lighting up the sky to the north.  I checked the radar & it looked like the storms were far north of us & that we had nothing to worry about.

Several hours later we were home & I was fast asleep.  We are talking deep sleep.  That storm was no longer far north of us but hovered right on top of our cozy little house.  At almost exactly 1:30 in the morning there was a horrible loud boom.  I didn't hear it (remember, I was fast asleep) but Mike sure did & it really startled him.  He jumped out of bed & hollered at me & started looking out the window to see if there was any damage within sight.  He couldn't see anything but he did note that our power was out.  I double checked my phone to be sure an alarm was set so that we wouldn't miss church, rolled over, & fell back to sleep.  I was tired; did you pick up on that?

The next morning when my alarm went off the first thing I noticed was how warm the house was.  Ought-o.  Still no power.  I started stirring around trying to figure out what we needed to do.  We loaded up our Sunday clothes that needed ironing & a few things from the freezer & took them over to my M&D's.  I'm so grateful that they live so close & that they still had power!  When we reported our outage the estimated repair time was 6 p.m.  Ugh.  Before we went to M&D's we did a little bit of looking around.

This transformer is by the back corner of our house.  I'm not sure if you can see it in this pic, but the lid was blown clean off of it.  We are pretty sure that this was the source of the loud bang. 

And this sight greeted us at the front door.  At first I was super relieved, thinking that the limb had fallen right beside the car.  When we looked a little closer we were convinced otherwise.

There's a pretty sizable dent & scratch where the limb hit the top of the car before it fell to the ground.  I was kind of discouraged when I saw it but then I remembered something.  Earlier that week Mike & I had discussed dropping full coverage on the Corolla because it is paid off.  We then did some investigating online & realized that the Corolla had retained an amazing amount of its value & decided to leave the insurance as it was.  Thank God!  Our insurance will pay for this repair with no deductible & no impact on our premium.  Hopefully we can get it repaired later this week.

If I were a paranoid person who believed in poltergeists I would think that those trees were trying to get rid of us...first the sewer, then the roots in our flowerbed, and now dropping limbs on the car...hmmm...just a little something to think about...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Making Yard Progress!

A battle has been won in the epic war to bring our yard back from complete anarchy & chaos!

This is the current battle zone: the flowerbed to the right of the front door steps.

As you can clearly see, it's been a bit overrun with weeds.  Just a bit.  But it's nothing that a huge jug of Roundup can't handle!  I promise you, I pumped the pump on that jug so many times that my arms got sore.  But it was worth it.  Within 36 hours all those weeds were dead.

The pics above and below this line are of our two surviving hostas from last year.  Poor things - the one below is especially pathetic.  But one green leaf denotes survivor to me!  That's all it takes to get another chance in my flower bed!

After the Roundup worked it's magic, all I had to do was take a pointed shovel & skive off the top layer of dirt & dead weeds.  I put it off for a few days thinking it was going to be so hard but it wasn't really that bad.  I was done in no time.

G-pa aka The Hosta Man gave us a couple more hostas to plant in our flower bed.  He is so generous & despite my horrible track record, he has faith that I won't kill his gifts.  Time will tell.  I planted them spaced out in a row along the back of the flower bed.

My mom went with me to a local greenhouse (where I was a cashier during the summer in my college years) to help me pick out some shade lovers for our spot.  We got a few of these colorful Coleus.  I love their frilly leaves!

And I bought a whole flat of Impatiens.  I don't know what I was thinking.  That's something like 48 little flower plants.  That's a whole lot of time on your knees with a trowel in hand!

So I arranged the back row to be hosta, coleus, hosta, coleus, etc.  And then I planted the impatiens all along the front of the bed in several staggered rows.  Planting the impatiens was a bit frustrating because our maple trees (you remember, the ones that have almost totally destroyed our sewer line?) have roots all through this flower bed.  Some of the roots were small enough I could hack through them with my trowel but some of the were so big I just had to pick a different spot for the flower.  It worked out ok, I think.

And here is the finished product1  It's looking lovely & I just have to remember to water it faithfully & put down some Preen so the weeds don't get out of control.  It feels SO GOOD to have this little project done!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two Years...Already?!

In some ways I can hardly believe that two years have passed since the day Mike & I said, "I do."  In other ways I feel like we have been married forever.  I think that's a pretty normal feeling.  All I know for sure, is that I do not know what I would do without him.

I have so many happy memories of our wedding day...the flowers were GORGEOUS.  My dress wasn't half bad either *grin*  Mike was so handsome (even though he was half petrified of being up in front of all the congregation).  We felt so loved by our family & friends for gathering there with us to witness our marriage.  It was a good day & the Lord has blessed us so much.

And there was a little bit of fun, too.  Mike was totally untrusting of me during the cake exchange.  I have no idea why...but perhaps that bite of cake was a little large...

And there was lots of smooching!  I love me some Michael kisses *grin*

And the best part of all was that on July 11, 2009 I became Mrs. Michael.  That is definitely the best part - even better than the yummy cake & the gorgeous flowers!

Since that day I have learned a lot.  I have learned that being a wife is a good job.  But it can be a hard job.  And it's not because of my husband.  It's because of my own sinful tendencies.  I now understand more of how the Lord uses marriage in our lives to help change us to be more like Christ.  There has been no other relationship in my years here on earth that has done a better job of holding the mirror up for me to see my true self.  And I'm a bit dirty looking in that reflection.  I've got the telltale signs of selfishness, anger, stubbornness, pride, impatience, & more.  It's a pitiful picture.

But being Mike's wife has taught me even more than how awful I can be.  I have had the opportunity to learn more of my husband's character.  And he blows me away.  He has his flaws, sure.  But he has shown me over & over & over again the love of Christ.  When I am awful acting, he loves me.  When I am ugly (inside & out), he loves me.  When I have been stinky just so I can test the limits of his love, he loves me.  It's amazing, it's beautiful, & it humbles me.   And I thank God for him. 

Happy second anniversary to us & earnest prayers for many more years together...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Garage Doors For Father's Day!

For a very long time Michael had been planning to do something a little extra special for his dad.  Mike is super good with dreaming up gift ideas.  He remembered that a long time ago his dad had removed their regular overhead garage door so that he could store a boat for his dad.  The boat was just a little bit too long for the garage so Estel had fashioned some really simple carriage type doors that offered just enough flexibility for the length of the boat.  Time passed, the boat was sold, & the doors stayed.  As they aged they got more & more weathered looking & they just didn't help with curb appeal, if you know what I mean.
So Mike decided that it would be a good Father's Day gift to make his dad some new garage doors.  Two years after the inspiration stuck, after lots of research, lots of hard work, & approximately 479 trips to Lowe's & Menard's, the doors are now completed!

This is one of the old doors after we took it down. 
It weighs approximately 1,283 pounds.

First Mike made the doors from some wood & stuff.  I meant to get actual details for this post but Mike isn't here & I can't remember what this stuff is called.  It might be MDF of some kind.  We loved the look of planks & the material it is made of it supposed to stand up to the weather better than wood.  I love the added details of the framing.  I think it makes the doors look sharp.

After the doors were all put together, the hard part started.  Neither of us is very talented when it comes to painting.  And we're not very patient either.  But we stuck with it through some of the hottest days of the summer putting the two tone paint job on the doors.  We were really happy to make such close paint color matches with the house. 

Once the painting was complete & dry Mike hung the doors & added some extra locking features to make them secure. 

This picture was an attempt to show you the hardware.  We put on pull handles & large black hinges.  Their is a latch as well as a latch with a padlock. 

This project was a lot of work but it was a lot of fun.  I love it when Mike can use his talents to be a blessing & I also love it when he has a project to work on where I can help him. 

Next up, window replacements for this little garage.  And then I think we may have it whipped into shape!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What's On My Nightstand

At this point I was hoping to be writing out a very informative review of the book, "The Maker's Diet".  It's time for a little bit of confession. 

Confession is good for the soul, right?

My nightstand has been hijacked.

I was dutifully reading "The Maker's Diet" & actually learning some things.  It's started off as a very interesting, convicting, although somewhat heavy read.

And I made a quick trip to the library. 

At the library I made a quick availability search.

You guessed it, that's when the train jumped the tracks.

Because this little book was available to check out.

Check it out, I did.

Read it everyday until I was finished, yes I did!

It was a fun read.  And after I read all about the sickness on their honeymoon I didn't feel nearly so bad about having strep throat on my honeymoon!

Ree is nice & comforting like that.

So I can't tell you oodles of facts about how our digestive systems should be working & what exactly we should be eating for optimal health, but I can tell you that the Pioneer Woman experienced a lot of stomach dysfunction in the first year of her marriage. 

I wonder if she would like to read "The Maker's Diet"?

Never fear, I do intend to get back on track & read "The Maker's Diet".  Pinky swear.  And if I don't get it done in a reasonable amount of time I owe you all a McDonald's dinner & a  McFlurry!  A nice, healthy meal...

Friday, July 8, 2011

An International Craft Swap Update

As the deadline for my International Craft Swap project swiftly approaches I am feeling a little panicky. 

Just a little bit.

Probably due to the fact that I haven't started yet.

And complicated by the fact that I haven't picked a project yet.


I need some help.  Since I'm not super crafty & I try to like doing crafts-y things but I don't really have any amazing artistic ability I just kind of flounder around with a zillion half hatched ideas in my brain.

So I started surfing the web.  And this is where you come in.

I've discovered a few projects that I think even I could pull off without investing too many hours & too many dollars. 

All I need you to do is let me know which project you think you would most like to receive as a gift.  That's all.  Not too hard, right?  So leave a comment here or on facebook or tell me in person.  Please don't be silent!  Because I know you have an opinion lurking around in there *grin*

Option #1:
A dressy scarf  Even though I have a degree in Home Economics & I had to take several sewing classes, I'm not much of a seamstress.  However, I do think I could pull this off.  I am a little intimidated because the girl I'm gifting seems to be quite the talented seamstress.

Option #2:
Anthro Geological Spectrum Necklace  I've never made a necklace in my life.  But I did make a bunch of beaded bracelets for Christmas one year.  That gives me the confidence to think that I could probably pull this one off & make a humdinger of a necklace!

Option #3:
A bracelet from a belt This idea comes from Malia at one of my favorite blogs, Yesterday on Tuesday. She's full of easy ideas & all sorts of fun.  You should check her blog out sometime.

Option #4:
A Chalkboard Candelabra This idea is also from Malia.  I think this is the project that I really want to do.  It just looks fun & it's something completely different than any other crafty thing I've done.  And I think Mike would have to help me.  I'm always looking for excuses to spend time with him.  Don't tell, but I think he's cute *grin*

Option #5:
Anything you can think of to recommend to me.  I'm open for suggestions!

Thanks for all of your help!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To Make You Smile...

Look at this lovely little tomato coming on.  Doesn't it look great?  This summer I have really been longing to dig in the dirt & plant a big 'ole garden!  But the problem is that I'm PharmGirl, not a farm girl so it just hasn't happened.  Our yard is big but totally unfenced & full of bunnies every evening.  And the soil is bad, as in  sandy & full of broken bricks & rocks.  If we were to have a garden there would be weeks of preparation.  We don't have that kind of stamina.  Maybe someday...

So I've had several chats with the Lord about this.  I have been requesting that the next house (& who knows when that will be?) will have a lovely gardening area - maybe even already established! 

As the summer has gone by & I've been mowing & trying to figure out what to do with the serious ruts & mess left behind by the sewer saga I noticed a strange looking growth in our yard.  I refused to mow it down & man, did it look funny!  Mike came home & asked what was up with the weirdo weed.  I said not to worry about it; I think it's a tomato plant.  He didn't believe me & I halfway didn't believe myself.  I decided to wait & see.

I have waited.  And now I have seen.  Three little tomatoes & a total of three plants!  All volunteer.  Can you believe it?  I can't help but attribute this little yard development to the goodness of our God.  He knew the desire of my heart & He knew how hard I was working not to be jealous of those who have big, gorgeous gardens.  And He blessed us with three volunteer tomato plants.

How sweet is that?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A New Addition to the Family

No, I'm not pregnant.

And no, we didn't get a puppy (too bad!).

We got a Ram.

A Dodge Ram, that is. 

Mike & I had been praying for quite some time that the Lord would provide a truck for us.  Mike has one that's wrecked.  He knows how to fix it but we either haven't had the money or he hasn't had the time.

Time & money.
Money & time.

It's so funny to me how it always seems to work that way - when I have money, I have no time (probably because I'm working WAY to much to get the money!).  And then when I have the time, I got no money.

So Mike's wrecked truck has sat in his parent's driveway for quite some time.  And we were praying for a solution to our truck problem.  With all of the woodworking & remodeling projects Mike takes on, it just really helps to have a truck.  It's no easy feat to figure out how to get a 12 foot piece of wood trim home when you are driving a compact Toyota, people. 

So we were praying specifically because we want to be wise with the resources God gives us & not just go out & buy things because we want them or because right now we can afford them.  We prayed specifically: we asked God to provide us with a Dodge Ram, regular cab, short bed, 4 wheel drive, in the color black if it wasn't too much trouble.

Evidently for the Lord, it wasn't too much trouble.

We are enjoying the Ram & trying to remind ourselves that it is a work vehicle & not an everyday driver. 

One of it's first loads was to haul home some windows for Mike's parent's garage.  Over the next few weeks he will be working on getting four windows switched out for them in the next stage of the big garage update.  What's that?  I haven't shared the completion of Stage One yet?  It's coming, I promise!  I've had a little bit of trouble loading up all of the pics.  When I get them on here, watch out!  You're going to love what you see!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It Could Be Time...

for an intervention...

You see, things have gotten increasingly more serious...
some might even say it's gotten a little out of hand...

It used to be that I liked picking up a gas station coffee every now & again. 

I figured out the perfect cup - 3/4 decaf & 1/4 Colombian.
Top it off with some cream & sugar & some cinnamon.

I'd stop in maybe once every couple of weeks.

Then it got more serious. 
The cravings were intense!
I'd stop in, get my perfect cup of joe & then a smile would spread across my face. 
The ultimate in early morning happiness.

See that smile?
It used to be reserved for Mike alone...
Poor Mike...

Recently things have escalated to a whole other level.  Did you realize that gas stations have deals on fountain soda?  You can get anywhere from a 20 oz. drink to a 44 oz. drink for the low, low price of $.89!  And if you have their punch card, every 6th drink is FREE!
Do you see why I'm having such a struggle?
And they have that lovely crushed up ice that looks like little pellets. 
I love pellet ice.  It's a sickness.

The perfect soda is 3/4 caffeine free Diet Coke and 1/4 Diet Dr. Pepper. 
Bliss, sheer bliss...

I think I might be in trouble...send help before I drink away the family fortune!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Unplanned...

Today has just not gone like I thought it would.

First of all, it has been raining off & on all day.  I didn't think that was in the forecast.

Second of all, one of my coworkers went home sick which in turn caused me to make several deliveries that I wouldn't normally be making & I was not planning on spending that much time away from my awesome new desk.

And the big kahuna of the unplanned is that I have had a migraine headache today.  It's the weirdest thing because I haven't had one in years.  In fact, it's been so long that I didn't recognize the symptoms at all until it was too late.  I was getting ready to leave for my out of town delivery when I realized that my eyesight was monkeyed up.  I was looking at Bob (one of my coworkers) & I couldn't see all of his face.  Huh.  Mild panic took up residence in the pit of my stomach.  I rationalized that it was from looking at my computer screen since my desk changed & now the light was hitting it different, blah, blah, blah.  Truth be told, for about 15 minutes I couldn't see much of anything.  Then all of a sudden it was fine.  I got in the car & called my mom & she convinced me it was probably a migraine starting up & that I should take some aspirin ASAP.  Thankfully I had some with me so I took one.  Man, then the headache set in.  I have been squinting my eyes & furrowing my brow so much that most of my mascara is on my cheeks & I think I have a permanent wrinkle between my eyebrows.

A few hours later & I'm feeling much better.  My migraines are bothersome but they have never been debilitating, thank God.  The thing that bothers me most about today is that I have no idea what triggered the headache.  Years ago when I got them more frequently they were always linked to some big emotional thing - something upsetting or even something really happy & exciting.  Today has just been a regular day; nothing big has happened at all.  Huh.

Do any of you suffer from migraines?  What are your triggers?