Thursday, November 29, 2007

any grand ideas?

I'm going to be leading a bible study for high schoolers on Sunday night - talking about what it means to live like Jesus and to follow Him. There's obviously a LOT of ways I could take this "talk" - but I'd be interested in any insights y'all might have about how to approach this.
(Mark is in Georgia this weekend, so that "y'all" is my Southern tribute).
Anyway - I have about 45-55 minutes - ideally, it would be broken up into an activity, group discussions, me talking, illustrations, etc... The worst thing would be for me to talk. at. them. the. entire. time. No one wants that.
So give me some ideas - verses, passages, attributes - things that stick out to you personally! I'm open! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

slightly different

This is the *slightly* different view out my window this morning, at 7:41am. You can't tell very well from this picture, but there is a lovely pinkish tinge to the horizon. Now, my WeatherBug says it's only 18.8 degrees right now - but it's still a lovely morning.
This sight was good for my heart this morning - I've had an emotionally rough couple of days. And not in the sense that anything bad has happened - just in the sense that my emotions seem to have gotten the better of me, and thus my behavior has been characterized by grumpiness and a lack of grace more than I'd care to admit.
But the sky has always reminded me of God's character - a beautiful, awe-inspiring entity that covers everyone and everything. Even me and my poor attitude.
Thanks, Lord, for the reminder that You are in all things, and that it is only in You that all things hold together. My life is not my own, and this world is not about men. My life is Yours, and this world is about Your power and glory. May I remember that today and everyday.

Monday, November 26, 2007

office with a view

Exhibit A: A lovely (I mean blurry) picture of the view out my window at work. Right. Now.
It's a crummy picture because (A) my camera phone has lousy photo-capturing abilities and (B) IT'S SNOWING BIG FAT FLAKES ALL OVER THE PLACE. Which makes things a little hard to distinguish. Oh and (C) it's a picture taken through 2 panes of university-quality glass windows.
I just thought you'd like to know what Mid-Michigan looks like today.
Weatherbug says it's 32 degrees right now.
In all honesty - it's really pretty. I'm not ready for it to actually be actively snowing yet, but the snowflakes are sort of fairy-tale-ish, and the trees look positively artful right now.

a turkey, a parade, bowling & movies

Had a GREAT weekend. We traveled to Chi-town on Wednesday (and miraculously avoided traffic until the last 5-8 miles of our trip -praise God!) I baked a cranberry-apple pie Wednesday night, and on Thursday, all manner of culinary goodness broke free in my parents' house. Turkey, stuffing (with apples, raisins and sausage - SO GOOD), green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy (gravy made by Yours Truly - bow before my INcredible chef-ing skills), cranberry conserve... followed by desserts. Then our Thanksgiving 2nd Meal Ritual - turkey nachos. Let me tell you - this is a fabulous way to use up some of the leftover turkey, have a lighter meal (because no matter how much you eat, you'll still be hungry later in the evening), and get some peppery, cheesey, salsa-y goodness.
Back to MI on Friday, just in time to catch Mason's Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade Extravaganza. Cold, to be sure - but so much fun to walk around our little downtown and run into a couple dozen people you know. Hot cocoa, christmas lights, and dinner in the town's little diner. Doesn't get much better. We wrapped up the evening with a movie - watched from our comfy sprawl on the living room floor.
Saturday brought some productivity, followed with bowling, a visit from our Dear Friend Dave, and some delicious pizza.
Yesterday - church was awesome, we watched another movie (I'll confess that somehow, Mark and I hadn't seen High School Musical - the first one - until then. Our lives are now completely changed), bought some stuff for the basement at Lowe's...
All that delightful time off just makes me want to stay at home forever. Enjoying people, relaxed schedules, taking things as they come, and finding joy and peace in quiet, regular moments.

Monday, November 19, 2007

raining, pouring

My first of four baby showers was held this weekend at Carrabba's (a YUMMY Italian restaurant). Before you judge, here's the breakdown of FOUR showers:
1. This weekend - thrown by my mom, sister & sister-in-law for my Lansing-area friends
2. Early December - thrown by Kelsey & Dana for the YoungLife college-age leaders in our community
3. Mid-December - at work, a co-shower for Shannon (due late January) and I
4. January sometime - thrown by Mark's family, for Mark's family
Since our families and friends are so spread out, it's hard to just have *one* shower for everyone. And we know a lot of people. It would have been a BIG shower - and a huge headache and burden for the planners. This way - we have showers broken into small, bite-size pieces.
ANYWAY - it was GREAT - I got to see some people I don't see often enough, and some people that I see regularly - all of whom I love dearly. I was overwhelmed by the generosity and support of everyone, and need to shout out a huge thanks to Mom, Meg and Melissa - who traveled far and did a LOT to make this weekend fun.
I'll post pictures as soon as I get some from my family (my camera did not come along for the trip).
Also - I am a mechanical genius. I put our crib together this weekend. By myself. Without directions. (I asked Mark 1 question).
And it's still standing.
The nursery is starting to take shape!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

one car, two car, red car, blue car

I know many one-car families. I salute them. It's not easy to balance multiple lives & schedules with one car - but they make it work.
Mark and I have always had two cars - and this week has been an example of why our lives just wouldn't work so well with only one car.
Mark's Highlander has been in the shop since Monday (minor body work) - and may be there until Friday. All week, we have been operating as a 1-car household. In some ways, it's nice - because one of my biggest pet peeves is when we wind up driving two cars to the same place, just to wind up following the other person home. And we get these nice, *early* morning chats as Mark drives me to work in the morning.
HOWEVER - today (the day I usually work until noon) - Mark has a work commitment over 2.5 hours away. And he won't finish there until after 1:00pm. So I'm stuck - not a big deal, by any means, and it's a lovely day, so I'll probably take a walk to the bookstore on campus and hang out there for awhile. But it's inconvenient, to be sure. And on Wednesday nights, we'd normally go our separate ways and hang out with friends... but there's only one car. And poor (cough) Mark has had to wake up at a Set Time all week long (because my work schedule actually IS a schedule). I know he'll be happy to have his car back.
I'm sure we don't NEED two cars, and would certainly find a way to live with just one. But this week has made me grateful for the ways the Lord has provided for us - what a blessing it is that
we have two quality vehicles to drive around! It frees us up a lot more to spend our time working for Him.

Monday, November 12, 2007

all in the shake

I shake a lot of hands throughout the day. Pretty much every student that comes into my office is greeted with a handshake. And one of my biggest pet peeves is the Wet Noodle Handshake.
Really - why bother offering your hand at all if you're just planning on laying it limply in my hand?
Today - I had a couple of disappointing Noodle Shakes... but the student who *just* left my office shook my hand so hard that I heard a sound similar to knuckles cracking. Except that it was my hand.
Maybe there is a happy medium.
In other news - my weekend of Nesting was fabulously productive - I hope this energy level keeps up! My house will be cleaner and more organized than any other time in the almost 4 years we've been there!

Friday, November 09, 2007

mama bird

We are finely wired. Humans, I mean. God really knew what He was doing when He strung us together. Being pregnant is one of those HUGE, life-altering, clearly-God's-design-is-amazing kinds of experiences. I mean - my body is knitting together another whole person right now - that's incredible!
Sometimes, though - I'm reminded of God's fine wiring through little things. Like the crazy-uncontrollable nesting instinct that took over my mind last night.
I left work, went to the gym, came home and had dinner (a salad) and a snack (1 or 2 or 4 of those little Halloween leftovers... ahem). Then I caught a little catnap on the couch. Probably no more than 10 or 15 minutes. But when I woke up, I was filled with energy. I hand-washed the new dishes I ordered (glass and ceramic - no more poisonous plastic in the microwave for us - I don't know if it's really true or not, but it doesn't hurt to be careful).
By the time I went to bed, my mind was buzzing with the list of "things" I wanted to get done before Baby comes. From the very minute to the grandiose and virtually impossible - it was all I could do to keep myself from getting out of bed to get started. I knew once I left our flannel cocoon, I would be unstoppable until the wee hours of the morning. And then I'd be a very sad camper at work today.
But all day - my nesting energy is near-to-bursting through my skin. I'm gonna go bonkers this weekend, folks. I can just feel it. And I'm actually excited to scrub my baseboards, wipe down my kitchen cabinets, and sort through the untouched pile on the floor of the hall closet.
Look out! This kind of energy only comes from the Lord, I think.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

a good day for friends

Well - if you want to be picky, it's always a Good Day for Friends. But yesterday, I personally did very well.
I got to have lunch with my friend Dana. I would link to her blog here, but she hasn't posted in almost a year. I totally forgive her, but what a slacker! Instead, I've included a picture from our trip to Atlanta. She is behaving herself, whereas I cannot. I think I was making up for the fact that all weekend, I had to pose in pictures with lovely, young, NOT-pregnant women... so I just made funny faces.
Anyway - Dana and I ate at Lucky's Pub in Fowlerville. For all of you who've never heard of Fowlerville - well, there's a reason for that. BUT - my burgers (yes, there were two "small" burgers) were great and we both agreed that they serve excellent french fries. If you're ever driving the stretch between Lansing and Detroit and just need some small-town atmosphere with a side of fries - Lucky's is the place to be.
And last night I joined a group of gals from our church - there's a group of men that get together to play poker every Wednesday night, and the gals gather to watch America's Next Top Model. I can't say I'm overly concerned with the show - but the company is fantastic. Plus, 4 of the 5 women there last night are pregnant. I think I'll try to make attendance a weekly thing (I always have good intentions, but sometimes my couch overrules my ability to get in my car and drive 6 miles).
AND - I have fun FUN lunch dates both today and tomorrow - with wonderful women I love.
Bless God for good friends. (And food!)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

shouldn't there be a warning label?

Last night was the first of six childbirth classes for Mark and I. Although (more than a little) intrigued, I'm not quite ready to go ahead and have the baby there - but we are taking a natural childbirth class offered by the birth center.
Our class is small - only four couples total - although last night, two of the women were husband-less for the evening. It's an interesting group of people - one gal already has 2 kids, we're in different life stages, and some different personalities. It should be good - all differences aside, you can tell there's a common goal in the group. Last night was kind of introductory, but I'm looking forward to soaking up as much information as I can in the next month or so.
Childbirth class is a very female-type of experience - Mark was a trooper. I think it will help a little when the other husbands show up and even out the ratio a little bit.
To quote (more or less) my husband in his review of the evening (which included 2 fairly graphic videos, a flipchart with real-life pictures, and a demonstration that involved a baby doll and stuffed pelvis & placenta):
"It's childbirth class, so I know you're going to be seeing that stuff. I just didn't think that by the end of the first week of class I wouldn't even notice that we were looking at another woman's (parts)."
I did feel a little bad for him - but I'm loving the fact that he's right there with me. I've got a good one.

Monday, November 05, 2007

because I'm a sucker for free shipping

These are the new shoes that were waiting for me when I returned from my weekend travels. (Well, there were 2 of each - not one oddly mismatched pair of shoes). I found them at Land's End - and I may never buy shoes from anywhere else again.
Okay, that's a lie. But I do *love* them just a bit. My logic for purchasing 2 (two!) new pairs of shoes at once:
1. There was a free shipping coupon for Land's End in my email inbox. I detest paying shipping costs - but when cute shoes are combined with free shipping, what's a girl to do?
2. I haven't bought new shoes in a long time. I figured these are versatile enough to last me a lo-o-ong time.
3. It's been getting increasingly more difficult to wear my other black & brown shoes, for varying reasons, all related in some way to pregnancy. Not enough cushioning, heels are too high, one pair laces up (and that's just way too much time to spend trying to reach your feet around a 6-month pregnant belly).
4. I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket.
I could go on with my list, but you all get the point. The shoes are extremely comfy, very cute, and versatile.
I know you're all happy that I'm happy with my shoe purchase. And I appreciate that.
In other, much more real-life and important news, my bloggie friend Ashleigh had her second baby boy last week! Congrats to their whole family as they welcome their precious new member! He's absolutely beautiful - go check it out!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

costumes and candy

Since most all Halloween costume stores only sell slightly (or dramatically) risqué costumes for women - none of which I would wear under NORMAL circumstances, let alone being 25 weeks pregnant... I had to improvise last night. Baby B helped me with my Pumpkin Bump costume. It turned out pretty cute - people seemed to like the general idea, and I still felt festive. I've GOT to dress up for Halloween - it's just not an option!
We handed out candy to over 180 kids last night (yup, I'm weird, I keep track) - which was actually a slow Halloween for us. Felt almost lazy. AND I have candy left over (not a good thing for my willpower).
All in all - it was a good day. Lots of birthday wishes from family and friends - phone calls, emails, e-cards and Facebook messages - very fun. I made chili and cornbread for dinner (which was a great pre-game meal for handing out candy in chilly, drizzly weather), spent 2 hours enjoying trick-or-treat time, and went to bed early.
I think I can deal with being 27. It's not bad so far!