Friday, October 30, 2009

Come Together

I know, I know.

I just posted yesterday. And I don't think I've ever posted two days in a row. I try not to be one of those people who posts to their blog just for the simple sake of posting.

Today, however, I am grinning ear to ear. I love when things that I like operate in conjunction with each other. Like when two people you are really fond of start dating each other. Or when you are blessed with good weather for an outdoor activity you've been planning for a long time. Or when the most lazy thing to do happens also to be the most efficient thing to do. You get the idea.

This morning, two things that I love dearly collided in a fashion that left me tremendously joyful.

First, you must recall that I ADORE the Today Show on NBC. I watch it each weekday morning when I get ready for work. On the very few times that I take a day off during the week, if I am around the house, I dutifully watch it in the background of whatever else I am doing that morning. I love that the show has a delightful mix of actual news, frequent weather updates (national and local), useful tips for life's issues (investing, large purchases, health care, relationships, etc.), and a youthful, humorous banter among the cast. What more could someone need in the morning?

This brings me to my other love in life. Star Wars. I was raised on it. I know all the lines. I draw connections between the storyline (and characters) and the Christian faith. You know what I'm talking about. When the original three episodes were digitally remastered, I saw them in the theaters. When the newer three came out, I saw them in theaters too. In fact, I was one of those uber fans that got a huge crew together and saw Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in the theater at the very first midnight showing. I have even spoken of someday having two kids and, at the appropriate age (about 3) having each watch the movies; one in the original order of release and the other in chronological order....then waiting to see how they would develop differently. Any predictions?

So imagine my delight today when, for their annual Halloween Costume Contest show, the whole cast of the Today Show teamed up with George Lucas and hosted the show while donning their Star Wars costumes! They did such an amazing job. You just have to see it for yourself:

1 month and 12 days until Leni graduates

Keep It Real!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Silver Lining

It's no secret. East Texas living, while often amusing to say the least, hasn't always been my cup of tea. I've complained about many things ranging from the heat and humidity during the summer, to poor education, to morbid and rampant obesity, to my shoebox one-room house. The list could go on.

One thing, however, that I LOVE, is my office. Sure, it has sandy concrete floors. Sure, it two doorways leading to other parts of the office but no doors. Sure, it gets loud and sometimes I can't hear people on the other side of the phone. The view from my window, however, makes up for all of it.
My view from this window, under which my desk sits, is constantly changing. Sometimes there are tons of kids running around, laughing and playing. Sometimes I can see the maintenance staff hard at work. Sometimes its a swarm of bees attacking children (see related post). Once I spied an unknowing staff member who, not realizing she was within my eyesight, had her iPod on and was listening to what was apparently some fantastic dancing music...she had some good moves. Other times, there is little action going on outside my window other than the pleasant sway of trees and the family of squirrels that commonly dart back and forth across the grass.

Today, I am especially fond of this view because of the change in leaf color that the "cooler" Fall temperatures bring. It isn't anything as spectacular as other places I've lived, but it is just enough to change the way things look for a little while before all the leaves fall to the forest floor.

Here's hoping that you find a morsel of joy in something that otherwise drives you a little nuts. It's there....keep looking.

1 month and 13 days until Leni graduates

Keep It Real!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pagan Holiday

Never fear. This will not be a post reminiscent of the conversations you've heard about Halloween being a holiday for pagans, candy poisoners, and child abductors. I may be into tradition and meaning but I also understand when it is okay to let loose and have a good time. To those of you out there with plans this upcoming holiday weekend, I wish you the best. Even my good pal and Pines staff member, Megan, who was recently caught calling a city official to see if there was an ordinance regarding age limits to trick-or-treating (Megan is a recent college grad).

Although I have no problem with the celebration of this holiday, I do not do much to celebrate it myself usually. Yesterday, however, Leni and I took some time in the evening to carve some pumpkins and I thought I'd share them here:

Here are the two pumpkins we carved. Can you guess which pumpkin belongs to whom?

Here's the two of us with our pumpkins:

Before signing off, please take a moment to check out this link and remember the real liturgical meaning of this weekend: All Saints Day

1 month and 17 days until Leni graduates

Keep It Real!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What A Waste

Looking to kill some time at your computer? Here's a website you can refer back to with new things to read each day that just might make you feel better when you feel like a complete dork.


One month and 20 days until Leni graduates.

Keep It Real!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oh Behave!

I just can't make up my mind.

I tend to go back and forth.

Let me bring you up to speed. I've been thinking a lot the last couple weeks about acceptable behavior and ettiquette. This has been brought on by watching others in my life who couldn't care less about it, let alone spell it (or even know that it exists!). Primarily, I am referring to a two-year-old, Kiera, and my 2-and-a-half-year-old labs, Sierra and Lucy.

Let's start with the dogs. We're currently visiting Leni's parents for the weekend. Aftering having several couples over for dinner at the 'rents house last night, our dogs, after the euphoria of new people (and Paul & Karisse's 3 other dogs) had worn off, were exhausted. When everyone else was still talking and milling about, they had uncharacteristically retreated to the back bedroom to escape the bustling activities out front. By about 10:00 PM, I really envied them. I too was tired from a long day and meeting new people and really just wanted to excuse myself, put on the PJs, get into bed and watch the news and then the Tonight Show. But being a member of the hosting household at the moment, that definitely would not have been kosher. Lucky one cares what a dog does. Animals don't have the tabs kept on them the way people do. They can get away with a lot. They can express their needs most times and in a variety of different ways wheras people are held to much higher standards. Don't get me wrong...I'd much prefer being human than a dog. But there are days that being a dog has it's attractive points: sleeping 18 hours a day, being able to go to the bathroom pretty much wherever you want, being taken care of, etc.

Small children are very much the same. I spend a good deal of time eating meals with my camp director's daughter, Kiera, as I mentioned before. Man...this girl really has the life. If something upsets her, she cries and screams. As annoying as these types of behaviors are in small children at times, can you just imagine the freedom in being able to express your needs in the very moment that they become real? How often do we as adults realize we need something but find ourselves in situations where it cannot be shown or mentioned, either at that time or even ever? Not that I wish to be a one who wails constantly when my needs are not met, but I'll admit that there are those days when I think that laying on the floor while kicking and screaming might just make me feel better.

Never fear. I am not regressing. I like to think that I move forward in the way of maturity and undersatnding of social appropriateness. But growth is like climbing Mt. Everest. For every couple of steps up you take, you inevitably fall back one or two here and there as well. To those of you who understand this and even feel the same way, I feel ya. To those of you who have no understanding of this concept, maybe you need to just get on the floor and try it anyway. You are only fooling yourself.

1 month and 25 days until Leni graduates.

Keep It Real!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things That Annoy Me

  • Websites with background music
  • Folding fitted sheets
  • Excessive and repeated tardiness
  • People who let themselves be held hostage by their cell phone
  • Those stupid quizzes on Facebook
  • People who think that having a large family and putting their kids on TV is a good idea (Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Eighteen and Counting, etc.)
  • Pop-up windows
  • People my age who's bodies are more fragile than mine - have to eat specific food, can't go long without rest, etc. I realize they typically have no control over this and that it is somewhat unfair on my part. But it annoys me nevertheless and I further admit that I think many of these people just don't push themselves as hard as the rest of us.
  • People who drive faster than me
  • People who drive slower than me
  • Overuse of the word "epic"
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Overly enthusiastic optimism in the face of staggeringly obvious defeat
  • When people speak aloud abbreviations meant for typing such as "LOL" or "BRB". Has anyone noticed that speaking the abbreviated letters is no more syllables than the actual words in most cases?
  • Inefficiency
  • Donald Trump's hair
  • Snowboarders who sit in a long line across the middle of runs
  • Cats (except the ones who act like dogs)
  • Those who listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving
It should definitely be noted that this list is not all-inclusive and may require a sequel at a later date.

More importantly, it should be noted that Leni graduates 2 months from today.

Keep it Real!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bacon's Revenge

Dear Swine Flu: Please get the hell out of my sister-in-law

Thursday, October 1, 2009

God's Gift to Bakeries

I made a pie yesterday for the first time.

That's only partially true. I made the innards of a pie. We cheated and bought pre-made pie crust. It's not that I'm not capable of making pie crust, I just don't have the space. We have about 1 square foot of counter space in our kitchen and it is always occupied by dirty dishes. So all of our food preparation takes place on a small cutting board that rests right on top of the burners of our stove.

Don't waste your time asking me how excited I am to move in 2 months. The answer is most definitely what you would expect.

Needless to say, we steer clear of recipes that involve rolling pins and spreading things out, much like pie crust.

Leni's dear mom had given us some berries about a month or so ago. They'd been in the freezer and I had no idea what they were. Raspberry? Blackberry? Could have been anything really. But I threw it all in a big bowl with some sugar and flour as Mrs. Crocker advised. Dumped it all in the pie crust, baked it for the appropriated amount of time and then the wor
st part...waiting. It's not just about waiting for the oven to do its job but about the 2 hour cooling period afterward.

The verdict? Quite tart but otherwise good! The tartness was easily taken care of with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. I think they must have been blackberries but who really knows.

Some may scoff. I've heard the snickering. Call me Susie Homemaker if you want but I really like making things in the kitchen. I rarely eat dinner in our camp Dining Hall unless I am a team member on the retreat (rare anymore now that our wonderful staff is all trained up and 100% cap
able). There are some around here who do not get this...and I understand their confusion. Why wouldn't someone go for the free meal that you don't have to clean up after? The reason is not because I don't enjoy our food but rather that I so enjoy making our own. In my professional life, I see so few benefits of the work that I do. Not only is it ministry work, in which glimpses of the fruits of our labor are so rarely seen, but it is also behind the scenes administrative ministry work. So I see far less than other people in The Pine
s' employ. But the projects I do at home, meal preparation included, are the times in my life when I get to do something and enjoy what happens next.

Anyway, thanks for listening. If you are interested in some pie and ice cream, feel free to drop by.

Just wanted to share one more thing with you:

This is a pumpkin that my brother, Nick, and our friend Christian made back in the Fall of 2004. If you can't tell, it's a profile of the late Pope John Paul II, and in keeping with honoring his incredible life, we call it the POPE-kin. While it has long since decayed and been scavenged by squirrels, I always keep this photo and make it my computer wall paper each October. Enjoy!

Keep It Real!