Monday, February 15, 2010

Back to Blogging, I hope

There's no way to try to catch up on the last few months, so I won't try. Not that there's been a lot to share. The end of 2009 marked the end of our year-long fast from sweets/desserts. To be honest, we did start eating desserts during the last week or so of December...with all the Christmas treats around we decided we'd basically met our goal, only "cheating" during Michael's birthday week while we were in Costa Rica and on my birthday. Below is a sampling of what Michael gave me on my birthday. It took a couple months, and sharing a lot of it with family at Christmas, to go through this pile:

We definitely learned self-control throughout the past year. There were a few times when it was really tough: homemade ice cream and fresh strawberries made by Michael's Uncle Kenny (my absolute FAVORITE dessert) during the summer, amazing chocolate cake while in Germany, weddings, don't realize how much and how often dessert is served until you are sustaining from it. I can definitely say I've weaned my sweet tooth. I drink my lattes with half the flavoring, I can eat a few bites or have much smaller servings of dessert, and, the real test is that we will have candy or some sweet in our apartment now, and it just sits there!! It used to be that if it was in our apartment, or in front of us, we had to eat it. Now they gather dust!

Another benefit of this fast is that we both lost weight. Recently we were looking at pictures from our first year of marriage...let's just say we both have lost a decent amount of weight since then! At that time we were living on the Oregon coast, eating a lot and rarely exercising. Not to mention the weight that most people gain after they get married, eating together and snacking together. Not eating desserts was part of it, but we also became vegetarians in 2009. Between these two eating habits, we ate very healthy overall. I planned our meals diligently, shopped to our grocery list, never buying junk food (this also helps a lot with sticking to a strict budget), and we simply ate healthier.

I noticed that the healthier we ate, the more we wanted to work out too. (P90X helped a lot too!) So, 2010 has begun with me feeling like I'm in the best shape I've been in in years.

Now it's back to being careful about our ice cream cravings!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Today's accomplishments:

-Got the oil changed. With our $25 Pep Boys reward card, it only cost $10. That was the good news. The bad news is they found something wrong with our front tire axle, and it might cost $250. Boo.

-Got gas.

-Got groceries. Referring to Monday's post about finances, we are trying to stick to our food budget. With Michael out of town this month for three weeks, we hadn't been using much of our food cash. We splurged and used a little of our food money to eat out (which is only cheating the envelope system, but oh well). So, as the end of the month draws near I had to sit and very carefully plan meals for the rest of the month, to incorporate what food we already have and not go over budget. That's how the cash system works, when the cash is gone, it's gone. This week I only had to spend $8, and next week I'll probably only spend about that much. I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself for making the meals work with what we have left, and they're still healthy. Dave Ramsey would be proud (though not proud of spending our grocery money on eating out!)

-Went to Bible Study.

-Went for a run and lifted a few weights. This felt like a big accomplishment today because I was not feeling like it at all. I mean, I washed my hair this morning and everything, so I didn't feel like having to get all sweaty. Excuses, I know. But at least I went.


And, I'll sign off with this thought from my current reading on David. I am a verbal processor, one of the reasons I decided to start a blog. I also journal like crazy. And talk people's ear off, including my patient, listening husband after a long day of work. So, when I read this line I had to circle it and underline it in my book, because it describes me well:

Feelings can be a little like our laundry. Sometimes we can't sort them until we dump them on the table.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today I had some big deadlines at work. I normally go home by around 12:30, but I decided to push through and work, and ended up working until 3:00 without a lunch break! I felt a huge sense of accomplishment at getting my work done, and was complimented by some co-workers on my speed and efficiency on some of my recent projects. It feels good to take pride in what I'm doing, even if it's not my first choice in jobs at the moment. I'm thankful for a job, and one where I can feel useful and use my talents to help others.

I got home from work, ate lunch, and felt zapped of energy. I was going to go do my errands on my list today, but felt too tired. Instead, I opted to stay home and work on some of the home list.

Today's To-Do List Accomplishments:

-Take garage opener to be fixed, for the 5th time. I forgot to add this to the original list. This has been a perpetual problem. Our garage door opens randomly and we often go out in the morning to find it had been open all night. Apparently our door can also be opened by someone else's opener. Hopefully 5th time is a charm.

-Read and journaled.

-Fixed our two art pieces in the living room. When Michael was gone two weeks ago, I found these frames for an amazing deal, (I got them both for less than $15, which is a steal for frames, especially this size) and put them together before he got home. We bought the canvases in Rwanda, and knew we wanted to frame them and have them be our main living room art.

-Ordered my contacts. I've been putting this off for weeks. I just put off little things like this because I don't feel like it at the time, and it just makes life more hectic later.

-Began the application process for my California Teaching License. I had looked a month or two ago, and was overwhelmed with the thought of applying for a 4th license (I have one for OR, PA, and applied to CO in June). Tonight I feel much better about the prospects. It looks like they will take all my tests and credentials, so it's mostly a matter of filling out paperwork, paying some hefty fees, and getting my fingerprints done. Then, it will be waiting for months. One nice thing about California's website is they list the applications they are working on processing by the date they were received. Currently? They are working on applications from July. Which means even after my paperwork is in, it will be months before I see a license. Good thing I'm starting early.

Things I didn't accomplish today:

-Working out. But I'm okay with that. I sense a cold coming on, and I'm trying not to push myself too hard.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Today I made a little progress on my To-Do List.

-Went to married's group last night. Check.
-Exercised today, despite a faulty dvd and thus no P90X and thus I had to go running. Check.
-Blogged today. Check (see below).
-Worked on my Bible Study stuff, journaled. Check, Check.

That was actually most of my day today, once I got home from work.

A few items to add to my list:

-Fix both art pieces hanging in our living room.
-Get a few groceries.
-Make banana bread for neighbors.

Wow, this list is getting long. It's a good thing I only work half days.

Just writing my list seems like I'm cheating myself out of a real blog post...

Last night at our married's group we talked about finances. We're talking about getting out of debt, perspectives on money, etc. We had a good discussion on how we have to change our behavior in order to really get out of debt. Not only that, but we have to check that our priorities are in line. Our American "needs" are so often not actually needs but "wants." Living in another country was a good reminder of that, but it's so easy to be back in this culture and to get caught up in the American way of life.

We are on our second month of living our budget, or "spending plan," through the envelope system (pulling out our budgeted cash for the month and keeping it in envelopes). Last night our leader mentioned that there are multiple studies (Citibank just did one recently) that show that even if you are using your credit card and paying it off every single month, never accruing interest, maybe to earn miles or some other reward, you are still spending an average of 25% more than you would if you were simply using cash. The plastic is so easy to justify spending a little bit more, to get that good deal!

Last month when we were visiting Oregon we saw some friends who will be debt-free in just two more months. They inspired me to come home and find areas to shave our spending even more, in order to put that extra money towards our debt. We are looking forward to D-Day: Debt-Free day when we can celebrate!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This Week's Agenda

Michael is in Pennsylvania this week, until Saturday afternoon.

The last two weeks he was gone were tough. I found myself wasting time and not being productive.

So, this week I decided to come up with a to-do list, to keep myself focused and to help the time (hopefully) go by a little quicker.

Here's my list:

-Work on applying for my California Teaching License
-Get the oil changed on the car
-Order new contacts
-Organize/work on November birthday packages
-Clean off back porch and take all recyclables to the recycling place (Michael and I ended up doing this on Saturday, but it was still on my list)
-Exercise every day
-Blog every day (I haven't blogged every day in years!)
-Go to church's Young Married's group Sunday night
-Go to Women's Bible study on Wednesday night
-Keep up on my Bible Study reading
-Go to Young Married's group Pumpkin Patch activity on Friday night
-Figure out another part-time job, or something to do in the afternoons
-When bored, read one of the 7 library books I have checked out

I'm sure there are more things, but this will help keep me focused.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

Every time I hear this song, or sing it in church, I weep. Yes, I am a crier. I cry at commercials and movies and cheesy stories on the radio, and when I have to say goodbye. I have always been rather sensitive at church during worship, and find myself crying, or just tearing up, at church and during particularly moving songs/lyrics.

But this song has always cut straight to the heart, and I can't really sing the song without tears. I haven't figured out all the reasons, but maybe partly because it is hard to commit to praising God in the midst of "suffering" and when in the "desert."

The song begins praising the Lord's name when things are good, because that's always easy. But the question that I always come to, is, can I sing those words with as much enthusiasm when "I'm found in the desert place"? The second verse does the same thing, begins with praise, "when the world's all as it should be," but can I commit to praise when I'm suffering?

"Though there's pain in the offering..." This line says it all, that I may not fully feel like praising the Lord in my time of suffering, but I'm willing to because He wants it, and He "gives and takes away," and I should thank him for both instances.

You Give and Take Away...There's something about repeating this line, over and over, that gives me the strength to believe it. Oftentimes as I sing this line I think about our miscarriage, coming up on two years ago. I think about the future, and that someday I know God will give to us children, whether biologically or othewise.

You give and take away, But my heart will choose to say, Blessed Be your Name.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Off to Idaho

Tomorrow morning we're driving to McCall, Idaho to spend time with Michael's family. We're excited to see his family and enjoy McCall in the summertime.

We were hesitating to go because we don't want to miss any job interviews/opportunities, but we've been sitting around for two weeks without any leads, so we're chancing it. I have applied to more than 17 jobs now, so my odds have to be increasing, right? If I don't get any of them, it means there are at least 17 social studies teachers in town looking for a job. Hopefully I'll get an interview soon.

In the meantime, we're going to enjoy seeing family.