Friday, December 23, 2005

vacation update!

I'm Feeling: mildly sleep-deprived, but in the most excellent way
Background Noise: my laptop is humming

This may be a first for me - I usually blog from my ofice - today, I've parked my rear end on the couch in my living room, and am blogging from home. I like it!

Our week in review - Saturday was Big Club with our Wyldlife friends - very much fun (and we got to hang out with Kelsey, which is always a blessing!!) Sunday, we left for North Carolina - and after 10 hours on the road, we ended up in one of my new favorite places on the planet - the Inn at Glen Alpine - bed and breakfast AND home to our good friend, Bonnie (who we met Sunday night upon our arrival). We hiked (on a trail covered with ice - it was fun - I slid around on my butt half the time to avoid wiping out completely), read books, ate a LOT of food, went to bed early, and talked to some fabulous new people. It was just what we needed - a very low-key, comfortable vacation. Got back Wednesday night - and yesterday morning, Mike, Kristen, Timmy and Joshua came to visit! Wednesday night, Heather, Ashley and Maggie joined us, and we had a regular crowd at the old Burley house. God really blesses us through those relationships - good, true friends who like to laugh. Everybody has gone their separate ways now, but it was great to have them with us. Hopefully it won't be too long until we see them again.

Now, we just have a few short hours before the busy-ness of Christmas kicks in - family visits and more food and some presents to give and get... Travel safe and have a blessed holiday, everyone!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Happy Holidays!

I'm Feeling: excited that it's FINALLY Friday!
Background Noise: Good Friend to Me by Jessica Andrews

Today is my last day in the office for the semester - I'm really excited to have some time off - not just to go on vacation, but to see family and friends and enjoy the holidays with people I love! I probably won't blog nearly as often over break (my apologies to my one or two faithful readers), but I'll be sure to update if anything fantastically interesting happens!

In the trend of posting "lessons" (okay, so it's only a trend on Mark's blog, but what the heck...), here are my lessons that I've learned from life with my husband:

*Protect your sense of humor – it will serve you well.
*“If what I said can be interpreted 2 ways, and one way will make you mad, I meant the other way.”
*Nobody likes you any less – learn to laugh at yourself.
*Always try your hardest.
*Sometimes, it’s not about you.
*You need to spend elbow-to-elbow time with people you love.
*Sarcasm is a weapon best wielded with extreme care.
*Check pockets when doing laundry - whether you find money or a pen, you'll be glad you looked.
*There is joy to be found in small, everyday things.
*It really is more fun to give than to receive.
*No one likes a grump.
*You can change your habits, personality, and way of thinking more than you ever thought possible.
*Be sensitive toward others but grow a thick skin when it comes to yourself.
*There are a lot of things worth working for.
*This too shall pass.

Travel safely and have a blessed holiday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

a note for myself

I'm Feeling: inspired to think (like that's uncommon...)
Background Noise: Get Rhythm by Joaquin Phoenix

For a long time, I've been thinking about things to keep in mind when I have kids someday. I've collected some thoughts from my own experiences, and a lot from conversations with other people. Some have grown-up kids, some have little kids, some have no kids - but they all have input (a study of human nature, I'd say...) This morning I was inspired by a really fantastic entry on my husband's blog to share some of my "Advice to My Future Self."

*No matter how old they are, no one likes being called a "kid."
*You don't deserve respect until you give it (this one goes both ways).
*Remember that you used to hide green beans in a napkin under your plate too.
*For the most part, we mimic what we see around us. We are watched more than we know by those younger than us.
*Cheer for your kids - it means the world to know people believe in you.
*Let people make mistakes and learn from them - and be there to love them the whole time.
*Being a teenager is confusing and hard - but turbulent attitudes and standoffish behavior can mask a generous heart and energetic spirit. Try to meet the person living inside.
*Don't take it personally.
*Really - people of all ages aren't that hard to figure out - spend time with them, listen to them, and show them love.
*Don't ask for anything in return. Be genuinely grateful if it happens on its own.
*I want my kids to say "my mama is my biggest fan."
*Don't underestimate anyone's heart - the lessons you learn from your 12 year old friends are powerful.
*The point of making cookies is to make a mess and then eat the dough.
*20 years later, kids still remember the dorky songs you made up on long car rides - so put on your dunce cap and make some memories!

It's so easy for us to forget what it's like to be young - as experience and wisdom (ha - I'll pretend that I have some) accumulate, we gain perspective on our actions and choices. But which lessons stick out most clearly in your mind? The one where someone told you "Don't lie" and so you didn't... or the time where you were caught lying to someone you care about? The truth is... (in my opinion, at least... is it possible to have "truth in your own opinion? a question for another time, I guess) the truth is that yes, adults have wisdom borne of experience. But since I've experienced 5, and 12 and 15 and 19 - I have no excuse to respond with anything less than patience, love, kindness and gentleness.

Remember silliness and pigging out on junk food and jumping on the bed and ALL the things you did that you thought your parents never knew about. It's not necessary to condone everything, but at least remember it.

I'm sure I'll forget someday - which is why I want to write myself a book now, and as I go along... sometimes the perspective of the young adds value to the wisdom of the not-so-young.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

break it down...

I'm Feeling: relaxed
Background Noise: Hands of the Potter by Caedmon's Call

Here are the first 20 songs that came up when I put my iTunes on "shuffle" this morning:
1. Respect by Aretha Franklin
2. Santa Fe from the soundtrack to RENT
3. How Do I Get There by Deana Carter
4. Your Song from the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge
5. The World's Greatest by R. Kelly
6. Wither, I'm a Flower by Whiskeytown
7. Turn Me On by Norah Jones
8. Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder
9. Make Me Smile by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
10. Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer
11. Light My Candle from the soundtrack to RENT
12. Letter in the Mail by James Taylor
13. Argue by Matchbox 20
14. Sloop John B by The Beach Boys
15. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
16. After All by PW Gopal
17. My Life by Billy Joel
18. American Pie by Don McLean
19. Trust in the Lord by Scott & Heather Rider
20. Day by Day by Point of Grace

A little random, but not a bad cross-section of what's on my computer. Plus, I think iTunes is selective, and tends to shuffle back toward the songs it likes... our technology really is getting too advanced.

The "Word of the Day" on my calendar today is "exiguous" which apparently means "excessively scanty." Is it just me, or is that kinda like "jumbo shrimp"?? Maybe I'm just feeling picky this morning.

My favorite part of this past weekend was Sunday evening - I met with Christy, Natalee, Courtney and Ellen (all 7th graders at Mason Middle School, who come to WyldLife) for small group bible study for the first time. I was SO encouraged by them - awesome, funny, caring gals who really want to get to know Jesus better. Loved it.

What was your favorite thing this weekend?

Friday, December 09, 2005


I'm Feeling: a wee bit hungry (I forgot to bring breakfast to work this morning... sad!)
Background Noise: Ring of Fire by Joaquin Phoenix (from Walk the Line)

Yesterday, Mark and I spent part of our Christmas money on quite possibly the least needed, most frivolous, trendy little technological trinket out there right now... the iPod. One for each of us, as if we actually need some impossibly small gadget that can hold 7500 songs to carry around with us in our pockets. But I'm excited, because it means we can take ALL of our favorite music with us to North Carolina in 9 days, in a very small package. And since we are DRIVING there (about 11 hours, I'm told) - that will be a very helpful addition to our journey. Nearly as helpful as the seat-warmers in Mark's Yukon. You might not be able to get me out of the car...

Yeah, that's right! On Sunday the 18th, Mark and I are jumping in the car and driving to Glen Alpine, North Carolina to stay at the Inn at Glen Alpine (not nearly as misleading as it sounds...), which is a lovely bed and breakfast in a little town near the mountains. We're gonna relax, hike, eat ice cream, and sleep in - and then head back to Michigan for the holidays. I'm really excited - I like that we are able to take trips like this, and I really enjoy going someplace a little warmer before Christmas (we've been to Florida and Myrtle Beach in December before - always fun!)

Last night, the skies opened up and dumped something like 7 inches of snow on us - but luckily, the roads were clear by the time I was heading into work, and I didn't manufacture any gray hairs because of the stress of driving in the snow (one of the things I detest most in this world). So for 2 days in a row now, my drive to work has been beautiful - frosted trees whose limbs and branches look a delicate, yet ferocious stretch of frigid lace... and the sun was even out this morning, which makes little tiny diamonds dance across the fields! Sooo pretty - as long as the snow stays off the road, I'm happy.

It's Friday! Enjoy your weekend - notice the time you have with people you love, and the everyday blessings we take for granted. If you raise your voice, may be only in praise, and if you make a demand, may it be only of yourself!

And to quote one of my favorite philosophers, "take note of the moment, for this is your life."

Monday, December 05, 2005


I'm Feeling: verbose
Background Noise: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Martina McBride

I step out of the front door and onto the porch, snow crunching under my feet. Deep, velvety black canvasses the sky; silence reigns in the night. Up and down the street, the lampposts effuse warm, golden light that sends sparkles dancing around the neighborhood. Houses slumber under a blanket of snow and stillness, and the skies are filled with snowflakes. The chill of the air is overpowered by the quiet beauty surrounding me... I do love this time of year!!

Saturday night, Mark and I went across the street to watch The Fellowship of the Ring with James and Laura - projected onto their basement wall and accompanied by a more-than-adequate sound system. It was snowing (very pretty) when we left our house, but shortly after midnight, as we headed home, the scene was just lovely.

Friday, December 02, 2005

good surprises

I'm Feeling: ready for a weekend!
Background Noise: the Forrest Gump Suite by Alan Silvestri

I walked into my house last night and received a FABULOUS greeting - my husband was broiling steaks drenched in a barbecuey-steakhouse marinade. We ate like kings - steak, rolls, caesar salad. Dinners at the Burley house (when we're both actually home and eating at the same time, which is rare) usually consist of blue-box mac & cheese or the delicious frozen dinners in a bag. What a treat to have "real" dinner food.

THEN - we braved the ice-covered streets and ventured out to Cedar Street Elementary School to watch Jay (our 8-year-old neighbor) in his commanding performance of 1st narrator for "Bear Stays Up For Christmas." Honestly - he was the only kid up there that I could understand when they spoke into the microphone - he had his lines memorized and didn't seem nervous at all. It was great fun - lots of our friends showed up to watch Jay's public theatrical debut (he's performed often at home) and we all hung out and ate treats afterward.

I had a good Thursday night. Did you?

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I'm Feeling: hungry
Background Noise: Mona Lisa by Nat King Cole

It's Pie Day today. That sounds really good - I like apple and blueberry and mixed berry and pumpkin and oreo and strawberry rhubarb and cherry and peach... probably some others that I forgot... Maybe I'll pick up a pie at Meijer tonight.

BusiER day today than yesterday (not necessarily saying much, but hey - it's something). I got to walk in the snow, talk to my friend Jillian, see a picture of my sister's new haircut, and give 6 students invaluable, life-changing advice. Put a gold star next to my name for today! :)

My deep, philosophical thought for today: my back hurts. (I'll try to come up with something better for tomorrow...)