Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Recap

I've seen lots of folks doing 2010 recap posts, and I thought it might be fun to go back and look at all that happened in 2010, and share some blog posts of these highlights. We had a really fun year filled with lots of trips and great memories. And while this post shares some of the highlights, I definitely have to say that some of the best times have been not necessarily "blog worthy" but just the every day moments of living a life serving God and loving people.  So here we go:


A relatively quiet month. Enjoyed playing in the snow with my puppy and celebrating our newphew's second birthday.


Went to Colorado to visit my sister and go skiing and began training for the Flying Pig half marathon and learned a little bit from it. Also gave up sugar for lent.


Celebrated Derek's 26th birthday and put down flooring in our attic to make it a functional space to store stuff.


Visited with my best friend from high school, started eating sugar again after Easter, planted a garden, and went to Keenland to watch the horses race.


Ran my first half marathon, the Flying Pig, celebrated our 4 year anniversary, welcomed a new nephew, baby Oliver, into the world, and went on vacation with D to Marco Island.


Went to Young Life camp in Minnesota with some of my favorite LCA peeps.


Went home to Columbus for 4th of July weekend and went on vacation with Derek's family to Hilton Head, summarized in multiple posts.


Celebrated my birthday, and participated in the world's largest water ballon fight.


Paid off all our debt except for our house!


Went to the World Equestrian Games, went to the lake for a weekend with some friends, and took the PE Exam.


Went to Chicago to visit Kari, went on fall weekend with Young Life, decorated for Christmas and spent Thanksgiving with Derek's family in Northern Kentucky.


Welcomed our third nephew, baby Connor, into the world, made lots of Christmas cookies, experienced a mini ice storm, had a Christmas party at a castle, and celebrated Christmas with our families - with one recap post still to come! And of course just found out I passed the PE exam and become a professional engineer.

I'll be back soon with our final Christmas wrap up post of Christmas with Derek's family, but I wanted to get this little post in here while it was still 2010 :)  Hope everyone has a wonderful new year and I'll see you next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas in Columbus

After our little trip to PA to visit our new baby nephew Connor, we headed to Columbus to spend some time with my family. Unfortunately, I needed put in some hours at work, so Wednesday and Thursday I worked from my company's office in Columbus during the day. The evenings were much more fun with time spent visiting family, going out to eat and even finishing up some last minute shopping. Columbus has great restaurants and shopping, so those are 2 of my favorite things to do when we are in town. Also, while we were in town my mom made me an appointment to get a manicure and pedicure. I LOVE my pretty fingers and toes.

On Christmas Eve we had dinner J. Liu's which is a super yummy restaurant and it was my first time going there. Jason Liu, the owner was there walking around to tables and greeting everyone, which I thought was cool, especially since it was Christmas Eve. It began snowing while we were eating. After dinner we went to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up in. I love singing Silent Night in the glow of candles on Christmas Eve. It stopped snowing while we were in church but it snowed enough to recover the ground. Then we drove around my parents neighborhood and looked at Christmas lights. We finished up the evening with me, Derek and my parents reading Christmas books in the family room. I read the Berenstein Bears Christmas Tree, my dad read How the Grinch stole Christmas, and my mom read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Then my parents went to bed and Derek and I stayed up. I read Eloise at Christmas Time to him. Its one of my favorites, but a little long and my parents didn't have it in them to stay up for it. I fell asleep on the couch while Derek watched the Christmas Story. He woke me up when it was over and we went to bed.

We slept in a little on Christmas morning. When I woke up I saw a handmade Christmas card on my dresser. Derek made it for me while I was sleeping through the movie. Then we went downstairs and opened up presents with my parents. We got lots of fun gifts including a super soft and fuzzy north face jacket, a pair of red Toms, some pretty new pajamas, jeans sweaters and a new fancy pants camera! I am so excited to learnn how to use it and takes lots of pretty pictures. (I had some of the cutest subjects to test the new camera out on at Christmas with Derek's family, but you'll have to wait for those in another post - this one is getting pretty long.)

After opening up our gifts we ate some breakfast and then got the house ready for Christmas with my extended family, who all showed up at 12:30. We exchanged gifts, (I got more clothes and lots of other things I asked for :) and ate yummy Christmas lunch/dinner together. I love that all of my extended family lives so close and we are able to get everyone together for the holidays. I wish that I got to see them more often, but was happy that we were all able to be together on Christmas.  After some quality family time we packed up and headed down to Northern Kentucky to celebrate Christmas again!


I had the next installment of our Christmas celebration wrap up all written out and ready to post today, but it will have to wait just a bit longer, because yesterday I found out that I passed the PE exam and am now an official licensed Professional Engineer! If you've been around here for a little while you know that I spent some of Auguest and nearly all of September and October studying for this fun little 8 hour exam over all things civil engineering, so to have passed it on the first go round is a huge relief and blessing. Thanks to all you who prayed for it, I know that helped carry me through that marathon of a day. I'll be back soon with more Christmas!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Wrap Up

We're back in Lexington! We left the evening of Saturday the 18th after the Castle Christmas Party and drove up to Columbus. We spent the night at my parents house, left Moose with them and headed to Indiana, Pennsylvania to visit Kevin and Kayla and our newest nephew, Connor! We stayed there Sunday and Monday and headed back to Columbus on Tuesday. We stayed in Columbus until Saturday evening celebrating Christmas with my family. I also worked from our company's Columbus office Wednesday and Thursday so I didn't have to take an entire week of vacation. Saturday evening we packed up all our Christmas gifts and Moose and drove down to Northern Kentucky to celebrate Christmas with Derek's side of the family. We stayed in Northern Kentucky Sunday and Monday and drove back to Lexington today.


Needless to say, I have a lot to do around this place the next few days, but am also trying to get in as many hours at work as possible so I can take as little vacation time as possible. So I will be breaking up Christmas celebration details into multiple posts. It's more manageable that way and I have loads of pictures I need to get organized and put on the computer.

So for now I will `leave you with some pictures from our trip to PA and little bitty baby Connor.

Derek's Aunt and cousins holding Connor - ignore the Doritos bag ;)

Kevin, Kayla, Aunt and cousins with Connor:

Derek and Connor:

Connor is absolutely precious. I love just holding him while he sleeps. He is so sweet. And I love all of his dark hair. We got to see him again in Northern Kentucky so I will have some more baby Connor pictures coming soon, as well as details on the rest of our long Christmas trip.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cards

A few weeks back I posted about Shutterfly's holiday cards, and how we decided to do a picture card this year. We got our amazingly talented friend Jenna to come over a take a couple of pictures with us and Moose. We are in love with how they turned out, and also with how the Christmas cards look. When they came in the mail we were so excited. So I thought I would share with you the 2010 Warnick family Christmas card:

Family Frame Christmas Card
Shop for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Castle Christmas Party

Saturday night we have my work Christmas party. At a castle! Just outside Lexington sits this caste:

Someone started building it a while ago for his wife, then they got divorced and it was never finished. In the last few years it was finished and has been turned into a bed and breakfast. Everytime we drive past it we always wonder what it looks like inside. So when I found out we were having out Christmas party for work there I was super pumped! I did my best to take pictures, but it was kind of difficult to capture it all. Here are a few phots from the evening.

Walking inside the walls:

The fountain covered in ice:

These were the only outside pictures since it was dark and hard to get a good pictures. This fountain was in the gardens where there was also a swimming pool and tennis courts. There was shuffle board up on the roof.


Here are some pictures from one of the rooms:

I forgot to take a picture of the dining room where we ate and the billiards room where we hung out after dinner. It was all beautiful though. And I got to wear my favorite dress! (Ignore the mess in the background - we left for Columbus right after the party and so that was the messy state of us finishing packing up.)

Thank you PB for such a great Christmas party. Also - the food was AMAZING! They don't have a freezer there, so everything is made fresh from local ingredients. It was all so good I never wanted to stop eating. I really hope we go back next year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's the Ice Again!

One of the good things about living in central Kentucky is that we don't get a whole lot of snow. A few inches is a big deal around here. The not so good thing about living in central Kentucky is the ice storms. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio I had never experienced in ice storm in the first 18 years of my life. Then my sophomore year of college we got a big one. As in UK cancelled a few days of classes. Tree limbs were so weighed down with ice that they were touching the ground. Power lines sagged or even broke becuase of the weight of the ice. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was kind of like what you would picture the end of the world to look like.

A couple years ago, we had another pretty big ice storm. I think UK cancelled classes for that one too. My parents came down the following weekend, after a lot of it had already melted and were still amazed by the amount of ice on everything. There are trees in our neighborhood that still don't look the same because they lost so many limbs from the storm.

This morning, I am working from home because we have yet another ice storm. This one is not nearly so bad as the last two, but anytime you get ice accumulating on roads, trees and powerlines it's a little scary. Here are a couple pics from my yard.

And here is my coworker today - he is obviously having a very productive day!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today I am a mess. It all started when I woke up before 6 am to some noise downstairs. I woke Derek up and asked if he heard it. He did not, but a few seconds later, there it was again. It was the dang smoke detector letting us know it was low on batteries. I also noticed that my clock was flashing 12:00. Meaning the power had been out, and had just come back on. 

We went downstairs to change the smoke detector battery - only to find we did not have a replacement battery. Fail. So we took the battery out so the smoke detector would be quiet (safe, right?) I reset my alarm clock and went back to sleep very briefly until I had to get up for good.

While I was eating breakfast and reading I noticed that our lights kept dimming and then would get brighter. Well the power went back out in the middle of my breakfast. Which meant that I had to finish getting ready in the dark. Therefore, I look like a mess today. No make up, my pants are super wrinkly, and I am wearing light khaki pants and I put on an off white coat. So they are close to the same color but not quite, so it just looks terrible. Fail. And because it is freezing and there is snow on the ground I have just been wearing khaki pants to work so I can wear boots with them. Well today the pants I decided to wear look real goofy with my boots. Another fail. I feel like such a mess.

Also, as I was getting ready to leave I realized that my car was in the garage. Well, a few weeks back we had a power outage while I was home for lunch and I couldn't figure out how to open my garage door manually so my boss had to come to my house and show me so I could get back to work. So luckily I knew how to open the garage door manually this time. After I had shut it I realized I left something in the house. I decided to just unlock the front door and go in that way as that would be easier than reopening the garage door. And wouldn't you know when I got back inside the power was back on! But I was already running late. So today I am a mess. I will try to do better tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cookie Time

This past weekend I made LOTS of cookies / Christmassy treats. Saturday I got together with some LCA girls and we made frosted sugar cookies, peanut blossoms, chocolate bon bon drops and chocolate peanut butter bars.  Here are a few photos from all the fun:

the girls:

and the cookies:

Then on Sunday I made more frosted sugar cookies and peanut blossoms, chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate covered ritz crackers with peanut butter. I made cute little gift bags of cookies to give to neighbors, coworkers and our friends who lead Young Life with us at LCA.

I also brought lots of cookies to our yong life Christmas party last night, which looking back on we maybe shouldn't have had because the roads were a bit icy. But luckily no one killed themselves or wrecked their cars :)

I LOVE Christmas cookie baking and am so glad that I was able to get a whole weekend of it in.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thank Goodness for Thursday!

Hola Friends! It's Thursday! I'm sure you were already aware. But I've wanted it to be Thursday since Tuesday and so now that it is here I am feeling most joyous. The only thing that has been getting me through this week is my Pandora Christmas music station. It makes me happy and makes the hours fly by in happy Christmassy fashion. And I am getting spoiled because I have Friday off again this week! I usually get every other Friday off, and my last Friday off happened to fall on the day after Thanksgiving, which is a holiday. So I got to take my holiday last Friday when I should have worked, and now I have a third week in a row with no work on Friday. Next week will be rough when I must work 5 whole days in a row!

But I think I have some very fun plans for this weekend which include (hopefully) working out before I spend much of the weekend baking Christmas cookies! I have some new recipes I would like to try and some LCA girls who are willing to help - one of whom offered up her kitchen that has not one but TWO ovens and much more space than mine to prepare cookies as well as let them cool. I am most excited about this endeavor.

This weekend also begins Chritsmas party season for us. This weekend is Derek's work's Christmas party, and since he works at our church, that means its a big ol' potluck at the senior pastor's house, with a white elephant gift exchange included. Should be lots o fun!

And in honor of the Christmas party, I figured I would join up with Kristen, Natalie and Amber's Holly Jolly Blog Hop where today the theme is to share your favorite Christmas party dish.  How appropriate seeing as this is what I will be bringing this weekend. Now I am kind of cheating because this hardly counts as a recipe, but last year everyone loved it, and it's so easy, so I will share my secret. I learned how to make this from Derek's mom and we'll call it Super Easy Yummy Bagel Dip.

1 jar of Kraft Old English Cheese
8 oz cream cheese
Garlic Powder
Bagles sliced into bit sized pieces

Mix the cheeses together and add garlic powder til you like how it tastes and serve with the bagels!

Ha! It's so easy, yet so delicious. You can check out everyone else's favorite dishes and if you want to join in there are prizes!

Windy Poplars

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

God is Good

Yesterday we were blown away by God's goodness. A little over a month ago we had a couple fun trips to the emergency room for Derek. Don't worry, everything is fine. But we ha no idea what the financial ramifications would be of 2 trips to the emergency room, an x-ray, ct scan, bloodwork, etc. I was fully anticipating meeting the yearly deductible and then some. But last night, the bills came in the mail. And they were literally less than 25% of what I was hoping for. A couple of co pays and an additional $12.65 bill. That's it! We did a happy dance and thanked God. So now we have the joy of figuring out what to do with that extra money I had put aside. We will definitley be giving a lot of it right back to God!

Another way God was awesome yesterday, was that my camera was found! I was seriously getting ready to order a new point and shoot from, and when we went to Young Life last night, the family whose house we have it at found the camera! So there's another extra $100.

On top of my giddiness over God taking care of us last night, I was also super excited because I got to share the good news of the gospel at Young Life last night. This is always challenging, because we do Young Life at a private Christian school {read: these kids are aware of the story of Jesus and his dying on the cross} and a lot of them believe that because they go to Christian school they are indeed Christians. They're lives, however do not always reflect this. So how do you tell a group of students who is all too familiar with the story of God's redeeming love that they don't really get it? {Obviously there are some students who very much get it. I don't want to make it sound like I think they are all lost.}

Recetly I read the book Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. Its a book all about the parable of the lost son. You can find that story in Luke 15 starting at verse 11 if you are not familiar with the story. In this story a father has 2 sons and the youngest comes to him and asks him for his inheritance (even though the father has not yet died). He takes the money, leaves and lives it up until he has spent it all and has nothing left. He comes back to ask his father if he would hire him to work, since he is pretty much starving at this point. The father gladly accepts him back into the family and throws a feast in his honor. Most people would look at this story and see the obvious parallels between us sinners and the younger brother, and the father as our loving God.

The only problem is many LCA students don't relate to the younger brother. They've never really done anything wrong in their lives. Enter the end of the story, when the older brother, who has stayed and been faithful finds out that his screw up of a younger brother is just allowed to come home with no consequence. He's furious. It's not fair!

In the book Prodigal God Keller talks about how a lot of us relate more to the older brother. And this is what I shared with them last week. He points out however, that the older brother is just as lost as the younger brother. While the younger brother straight up told the father he didn't want him, he just wanted his stuff, the older brother hung around and did everything for the father, with the expectation that because he had been so faithful, his father owed him something and should do what he wanted. A lot of us hav ethis sort of relationship with God. We think that because we have been good, God owes us the things in life we want. Neither brother in this story loved the father, they both just wanted his stuff. And I explained both of these attitudes, the selfish younger brother and the self righteous older brother, sin.

And so last night I got to share how Jesus came to be the true older brother that was missing in the story. The older brother that not only went out to find the missing younger brother, but also to bring him back into the family at his own expense. One thing I never realized before reading this book, is that when the younger brother asked for his inheritance, the father gave him the 1/3 of the estate that was his. So everything that remains will eventually go to the older brother. So, if the younger son is to be brought back into the family, his new inheritance must come from the remaining 2/3 that belongs to the older brother.

And so this is the love of Christ. He came to earth to seek us out when we were lost (whether in selfishness or slef-righteousness) and then paid the price to bring us back into the family out of his own inheritance. And I got to explain that when we truly understand what it is Christ has done for us, our lives will never be the same. Going to LCA, these kids know of the suffering that Jesus endured on the cross. What they may not know, is that the physical suffering was nothing compared to the suffering of being separated from the father. And that is what is in store for us if we don't take Jesus up on his offer to bring us back into the family. And if we can truly grasp that, we will realize that everything we ever thought we wanted or thought was important, is absolutely nothing in view of the opportunity to have a restored relationship with God.

And so I hope that some lives will be changed because of this extravagant love that God has shown us through Christ. I know that my life will never be the same. If you get the change to read Prodigal God I highly recommend it. It definitely changed the way I looked at that story, as well as my relationship with God.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I've decided that I am intimidated to blog on Mondays. I think it stems from not being sure what to blog about. Sometimes there is miscellany monday, but I don't even have anything random to say. Then there is the temptation to blog about my weekend, but I feel like that can get kind of boring. Not that my weekend was boring, it was actually a lot of fun, but not in a "a lot of fun to read about" sort of way {Although one of the highlights was getting to go to my friend Angie's sons 1st birthday party. It was super cute and she did an awesome job of decorating and planning it. You can see pictures here.} So a lot of weeks I just skip blogging on Monday.

Today, however I am going to blog about how there were cookies and brownies in the break room this morning! How exciting is that?!?! At about 10:00 I went in to fill up my mug with water (I don't do coffee and only drink tea if I'm real tired and need some caffeine) and there on the table were cookies and brownies. So I grabbed a cookie and took it back to my desk and ate it. Then after lunch I ate a brownie. I figured it was ok since I have stopped buying cookies in an effort to quit eating them after every meal. What a treat!

Then my credit card statement for my corporate card came and I found out that I accidentally bought Christmas gifts with my work credit card. Fail. Not the end of the world because I can just write a check and pay for it, but still, I'm an idiot some times.

Good news though! Tonight I get to share THE Good News at Young Life. I get to tell my LCA friends about God's riciculous love for them and the reckless grace He offers us. Please pray I would get out of the way and God would speak through me. Because clearly, my brain does not always function properly and if this thing is dependent on me we are all in trouble.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Favorite Christmas Song

Today on the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge we're sharing favorite Christmas Songs.

This is a tough one for me.My favorite Christmas Carol is probably O Come All Ye Faithful. My favorite Christmas CD is proably Relient K: Let It Snow Baby... Let it Reindeer.

Now as for my actual favorite Christmas song, this is a tough one, but one that I could listen to over and over again is Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Canon Rock. I love the electric guitar in it. And in this video, the singers are hilarious with their body motions to the rhythm of the song.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Catch Up

So I've missed the middle 5 days of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge, so I thought I would do a little catch up post. And it's snowing outside, which makes it all the more Christmas like!

Day 4: Tips to a budget friendly holiday season

Besides the usual advice of having a plan for who you will buy for and how much you will spend and sticking to it, one other fun thing I recently found out about is Have you been there? It's free. Basically you sign up and then when you want to buy things online, you go to first, go to their directory of stores, click on the website you are looking for and then buy whatever you want. Once your transaction is complete, and your item has been shipped to you, you get a percentage of your purchase credited back to your account. So say you want to buy something from the Gap. Go to ebates, find the Gap, and click on it. It will take you directly to the Gap's website. You will see that you get 8.0% back. So if you spend $100 at, you will get $8.00 credited to your account. How awesome is that? And it takes you directly to the company's website, so you can use promo codes, gift cards, etc. as well. And you get $5.00 just for signing up and making your first purchase. The % you get varies from store to store, but they have tons of stores.

Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie / TV Special

Well #1 on the list would have to be Elf. It's a classic. But I also love White Christmas, The Holiday and the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Day 6: Gift Ideas

I've already made a pretty extensive list and sent it off to my family. We do Christmas lists. I don't understand why people don't. It makes it so much easier to get someone you love a gift you know they will want. One thing I didn't put on my list because it's pretty expensive but that I would love to get is a DSLR camera. Especially since I am without a camera.

Another item I would like that I forgot to put on my list is a new trash can. I know, exciting! But I broke ours and would love a shiny one like this:

Day 7: Easy DIY Craft with Pictures

Well this will be difficult since I have no camera and am not the craftiest person in the world. But a super easy craft, I don't even know if you could call it that would be to take pinecones and spray paint them and add some glitter. It would end up looking something like this:

Day 8: Least Favorite thing about the holidays

I wish we didn't have to split time with our families. I love being with both my family and Derek's family and I wish we could be 2 places at once and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with both families. Also, we are getting better about it as we get older, but it's still hard to decide where we will go and when.

Day 9: Favorite Holiday Recipe

Choosing a favorite is hard. For a main dish it would have to be sweet potato casserole. Mix 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 beaten eggs and 1 tsp of vanilla together. Put it in a 1 1/2 to 2 qt casserole dish and top with 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup butter, and 1/2 cup brown sugar all mixed together. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. It's delish!

As far as deserts go, that is much harder to decide. These King Arthur Flour Chocolate Bon Bon Drops might be my favorite thing I made last year.

Ok, we're all caught up! Happy Tuesday friends! Also, if you want to keep my sister in law Kayla in your prayers, she is having a C-Section today and our little nephew should be here soon!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkeyday Weekend Recap

Hello blog world! I intended to get back a little sooner, but when I am gone for the weekend, especially as long a weekend as this one was, there is so much to do that it's hard to find time to blog. And since we don't live near our families, when we do go to visit them, I like to be there and not on the computer. Also, I apologize, because I still cannot find my camera, this post will lack fun pictures. So I'll try to keep it brief.

We headed up to northern kentucky after work on wednesday evening. We spent time with Derek's parents wednesday night. Thursday morning was spent getting ready for our thanksgiving feast. Derek's aunt and uncle, as well as his brother's family joined us for thanksgiving day. The food was so delicious, and spending time with family was wonderful. My nephews are growing up. Henry is almost 3 and is hilarious. I got to spend some quality time playing with him, as well as holding my little 6 month old nephew, Oliver. They are both too cute. We ate lunch in the early afternoon, watched football all day, ate leftovers again for dinner and hung out some more all evening. Rob, Corrie and the boys spent the night at Derek's parents house even though they live close by. It was fun to have a sleepover. We hung out pretty much all day Friday too. I didn't change out of my pajamas til 5:00. It was glorious.

Unfortunately, Derek's younger brother and his wife couldn't join us, because they live in Pennsylvania and she is due with her first baby tomorrow! We're keeping them in our prayers though. I can't wait to meet the newest nephew!

Also, we didn't end up doing any shopping this weekend. We thought about it, but we didn't have anything in particular that we needed to buy and weren't (and still aren't) sure what we are going to buy everyone. So we decided to hang out around the house with the family all day. The rest of the weekend was spent in similar fashion. We went to see Harry Potter on Saturday (loved it!) and got to see some friends as well, and by Saturday night we were back in Lexington.

On Sunday we finished putting up the last of our Christmas decorations and had a Thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of our friends. Another pot-luck style dinner where everyone brings a dish and we all feast. It was delish! My friends make great food. I'm so thankful for them.

All in all it was a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Coming back to work has been tough, but luckily, I have this Friday off, so I'm almost halfway through the work week.

I'm gonna try to jump back into the 12 days of Christmas blogging challenge here soon! And I have appropriately Christmafied my blog. I'm 100% in the Christmas spirit!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Greatest Gift

Today for Aly and Molly's 12 Days of Christmas the topic is the best / most meaningful gift you have ever received.

Today I am going to go all serious on you, because this one is easy for me - it would have to be the gift of grace. I know it probably sounds cliche but as we approach Thanksgiving and I think about what I am thankful for, there are so many things. But without grace the rest of it means nothing.

If Jesus had not taken on the form of a man and come to earth to save us sinners, I would still have lots of things, lots of really good things, but the truth is, it would all be meaningless, and what is worse, I would try to use all those other gifts to find satisfaction in my life. And I have found that trying to find meaning, happiness and fullness in life is not possible without Jesus. But oh man, do I try. To be dependent on a God that I cannot see or physically touch is one of the hardest things. It would be so much easier if my husband, or my family, or my financial security, or relationships, or stuff could do it. Because those things I can control (at least to some degree). I can see them and I can logically work out what I need to do to make them work. But God is not like that. And so I don't want to be dependent on something I can't control or can't always be sure that if I put A and B together I will get C.

And because of this, I try to find life in so many other places. I've tried making other good things the ultimate thing in my life. And in doing so I have turned my back on the very God who created me. Which is why the gift of grace, the gift of Christ, is the best gift I have ever received. It is not something I even remotely deserve, or anything I could ever pay back even a fraction of. To have someone die so that you don't have to is something that I don't think I will ever comprehend the enormity of. But receving this gift has changed everything. It has given me meaning, purpose, a fullness in life that nothing else could bring. It has changed my relationships, the way I spend my time and money, the way I view myself, the way I view others. It frees up the good things in my life to simply be good things, not things I depend on for my happiness or identity. Every other good thing is only good because of this gift. And so that I what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving, and that is why the gift of grace is easily, hands down, the greatest gift I've ever received.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black Friday!

Today on Aly and Molly's 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge the topic is Black Friday / General Shopping Tips and Tricks.

I need to preface this by saying that I am not a serious Black Friday shopper. I can't get myself up earlier than probably 5 am, nor do I want to. But my goal is to shoot for the early morning, after the serious shoppers who get there when the store opens are gone, and before everyone else wakes up. Now this does mean that you miss out on some of the best deals, but you can still get some good buys this way. Also, just because you get there when the store opens doens't mean that you will be guaranteed what you set out for.

Last year we had been saving up for a new tv. The tv we got when we first got married broke (can you believe that? It was only a couple years old!) We saved up our dollars for the Black Friday sales and came home with a pretty good deal. The first thing we did was check out all of the ads for every store that sold tvs. We made a list of the brand, specs and prices of all the tvs that were in our price range and size/quality range. The key here was to be flexible and not have our hearts set on one specific tv. We found that we could get generally the same tv at several different stores for around the same price.

Next we came up with a game plan. We looked at which stores were close to one another and plotted our course so we could go from one store to the next until we found one that had a tv left in our price range. We had about 5 or 6 different stores that we could go to.

We also enlisted help. Derek, my mom, my aunt and myself went. This way we could split up and quickly see if the store had what we wanted, and one person could go find a sales associate to help, etc.

We ended up getting our TV at Best Buy which was the second store we went to. The TV we ended up with wasn't even one that we had seen advertised, which is probably why they still had some left by the time we got there. It was a little more than we planned on spending, but it was a better quality TV. We still have yet to see a TV that is the size and quality of ours for the price we got it at.  So the key points here are to go with an idea of what you want in mind, but be flexible.

After buying the TV we headed to some other stores to do some general shopping. My advice for that is to have one person stand in line while the others shop. You can rotate out so everyone gets a chance to shop, but the lines are so long that if you wait to get in line you will waste a lot of time.

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to try and brave the crowds this year or just sleep in. I'll let you know what I ended up doing and if I end up getting any deals!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Traditions

After I posted my Miscellany Monday post this morning, I saw that today is Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Aly's blog, Analyize This, and the topic for today is Christmas/Holiday traditions. Since I am married and don't have any kids, we haven't really established any of our own traditions, but we have 2 families that we would like to see around Christmas time, so every year looks different. I got excited though, thinking about the Christmas traditions I grew up with and wanted to join in the fun and write about those.

My favorite Christmas memories growing up involve Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. My family would go to Christmas Eve church service, and out to eat every year. Sometimes we would go to our own church, sometimes my aunt's church if she was singing or playing guitar. And we would always go out to eat. Sometimes before church, sometimes after depending on which church service we decided to go to. And sometimes it was just my mom, dad, grandma, sister and myself, and other years it was the whole family. This part was flexible. But when we got home, my sister and I would ALWAYS open our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve. Then we would put on our favorite pajamas and we would all pile into my parents bed and read these 3 books: 

All of us reading these books before bed might be the thing I miss most from our childhood Christmas traditions. We read these books every year up to the Christmas before I got married when I was 22.

On Christmas morning we would all go downstairs together and open gifts. As we got older we slept in longer, but when we were little my parents would have to tell Julie and I that we weren't allowed to wake them up until 7:00 or some really early hour. But we would wake up before that so excited and would hang out in each other's rooms until that time, so excited to open our Christmas gifts. Then after we opened gifts my mom would make Santa pancakes and we would play with our new toys all day until it was time to either go to my grandma's house or have everyone over to our house to celebrate with our extended family.
 Such good times!

Now it's your turn to head over to Aly's and join in and share your favorite traditions!

Miscellany Monday

It's Monday! It's a 3-day work week! Happy day! Here's what's going on round here:

1. I spent the weekend in Indiana at weekend camp with some LCA peeps and other YL friends. We had a super fun weekend of hanging out and fellowship. I didn't get nearly enough sleep but we had a great time.

2. Also on a young life note, tonight we are having our annual Thanksgiving potluck dinner. We started this tradition last year and it was one of my favorite things we do. One of the girls' mom makes us a turkey and everyone brings their favorite side dish or desert and we have a big ol' Thanksgiving dinner together. We love it, the students love it, and it makes us all feel like family. I can't wait. I'm making sweet potato casserole again. Here are some pics from last year's dinner. We're having it at the same place this year!

3. Naps. I have such a love-hate relationship with them. They feel so wonderful when you are taking them, but afterward I feel groggy and out of it for the rest of the day. I can't decide if it's worth it to nap or if I should just wait and get all my sleep at night.

4. Harry Potter! We are going to go see the new Harry Potter movie over Thanksgiving when we go up to Norther Kentucky for Thanksgiving. I LOVE Harry Potter. The books are so good. If you haven't read them I seriously recommend you do. The movies are good, but the books are so much better.

5. Speaking of the book being better than the movie, Have you read Confessions of a Shopaholic? Those books are seriously hilarious. I remember when I first read them thinking they should make a movie out of them, but they changed so many things and it's just not nearly as good as book.

I think that's all for today. I hope everyone enjoys Thanksgiving week! Hopefully you get a day or 2 off work or get to enjoy spending time with someone who does!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Call Us Crazy...

But Tuesday night, Derek and I put up our Christmas decorations! Now I usually have issues with starting Christmas before Thanksgiving, but for some reason this year I'm just going with it. Maybe it was because while we were shopping in Chicago all of the stores were decorated for Christmas and it got is in the spirit early. Maybe it was because we realized that since we'll be out of town for the next two weekends we might as well take advantage of an unexpected free night. Or maybe because we head out of town before Christmas and want to enjoy our decorations as much as possible. But whatever the reason, we just decided that people can judge us and give us a hard time all they want, but our house is ready for Christmas!

Derek even let me watch White Christmas whlie we put the tree up. Ever since I can remember my family has always watched White Christmas while we decorate the tree, and since I probably won't be able to go up to Columbus to help my parents put their tree  up :( I was so glad I got to watch it!

So here are some of the interesting dynamics of Christmas decorating at the Warnick household:

1. It is my job to fluff the tree. {Yes, we have a fake tree, but it was free and it's so hard to go out and spend money on a real one every year when someone offers you a free fake one. And with a fake tree, you can put it up as early as you want :)} So you know how when your tree has been in storage all year long and you take it out it is not very full and you have to spread out all of the branches? Well I think that properly fluffing the tree is key to having a good looking Christmas tree. However, it is time consuming and not the most fun job. Derek doesn't have the patience for this so its my job.

2. Putting lights on the tree is a team effort and pretty easy to do. We use colored lights because we have all sorts of different colored ornaments. I would one day love to have a fancy tree with white lights and a color theme going on, but Derek loves variety, which brings me to the next point...

3. I love pretty glass ball ornaments in red, green, silver and gold. Derek loves unique ornaments. The ones you get every year with the date on them, or that have meaning. So I put up all of our pretty ornaments and Derek puts up all the fun ones. It's the only way I can get him to help me decorate the tree.

4. My favorite part of Christmas decorations is putting up the tree and watching White Christmas. After that I could be done. Don't get me wrong, I love a house that is beautifully decorated for Christmas all over. But I could be happy if all we had up was a Christmas Tree and a manger scene. Derek does a great job of decorating the rest of the house for Christmas. Putting Christmas towels in the bathroom. Setting up the little Christmas village I got from my grandma. Finding a home for all the little Christmas-y things we have accumulated over the years. {Although I think I would like to get some new decorations for the mantle and make that look real pretty - I just don't want to spend any money on it!}

So that's pretty much how Christmas decorating goes at our house. Since I no longer have a camera there are no pictures to document this years Christmas decorations, but you can check out all the pictures from last year right here. I haven't gotten anything new, so not much has changed. And we still have the cheap tacky plastic gold star on top of the tree. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good Christmas tree topper?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This past weekend Derek and I headed up to Chicago to visit some of our best friends. We stayed with Kari and her husband Stephen and my friend Sarah stayed with us too.  Now I seem to be having some bad luck with cameras. I broke our camera on our trip to Marco Island, but luckily Sarah had an extra that she let me have. Well, now it seems I have misplaced that one as well. So I have no photos to document our trip. But Kari let us take some using her camera, so as soon as I get my hands on those I will share :) So here is the text only version of our little trip.

We headed out on Friday morning - after oversleeping because our power went out on Thursday and when I reset my clock Thursday evening I set it to AM. So my alarm was set to the correct time on Friday morning, except my clock thought it was night time therefore it didn't go off :(  (Losing power also caused me to get stuck at my house because my car was in the garage and I couldn't figure out how to get the door open so my boss had to come rescue me - but that's another story for another day.) Our goal was to get to Chicago before crazy rush hour traffic and we got started an hour and a half late. But we made good time and got into town before traffic started getting too crazy.

Kari and Stephen live in Lincoln Park so the first thing we did was take a little walk around town. They have a cute little pond right by their apartment, we went down to the beach and walked along it for a while and then headed back to the apartment by way of the zoo. Unfortunately most of the exhibits were closed by the time we got to the zoo so we didn't get to see lots of animals, but the sun was setting and the views were beautiful. That night we headed downtown to meet Stephen at Giordano's Pizza for dinner. Wow. That pizza is amazing! We spent the rest of the evening hanging out and talking and Kari teaching me how to sew a fun little project for my newest nephew who should be arriving in the next couple of weeks!

Saturday morning we woke up from a wonderful nights sleep. Their guest bed is super comfy! Kari made us a delicious breakfast and I finished my sewing project. We all headed down to Michigan Avenue to get some shopping in. We started at one end and worked our way down and then headed over to State Street to get some Garrett's Popcorn. Ok, this stuff is like crack. It is so good. I wish we had more. I'm salivating just thinking about it. If you ever go to Chicago you must get some. By the time we got our popcorn it was getting pretty cold, so we headed to a little tea shop and got some drinks and ate our popcorn. A few of Kari's friends met up with us and we hung out for a bit.

Next was more shopping. We tried on lots of clothes and even bought a few things. We went to what used to be Marshall Fields (and is now Macy's) and went to Holiday Lane where we purchased our 2010 Ornament. Every year Derek and I try to buy an ornament from one of our trips to put on our Christmas tree. We got  pizza slice ornament and Kari wrote Chicago 2010 on it for us. Then we headed to Joy Yee in Chinatown for dinner. And it was amazing too! We ate so much good food. It is a good thing we did a lot of walking while we were there. That is another cool thing about Chicago. We drove there, but once we parked our car we didn't have to use it until we left. We took busses and trains everywhere and walked and I loved it. (I probably wouldn't have loved it so much if it was 10 or 20 degrees colder.)  After dinner we took the train back to the apartment and hung out some more. It was so great to get to hang out with such good friends who I used to see on the regular and no longer get to.

Sunday morning involved cinnamon rolls and chruch at Moody Church. (Sarah had to head back to Naperville before church so this is where we parted ways with her.) It was so cool to go to church there. For one, it's just a really great church  with a great message, and two, I loved how multi-cultural it is. In Lexington, at least at the churches I've been to, it's 95% + white folks. Here there were people from all over the world. I think it was cool to see what it's really going to look like in heaven one day. We loved it. After church we went to pocket puppies and played with cute little puppies and then to lunch. Sadly, after lunch it was time to go. We had such a great trip though and I can't wait to go back. I loved Chicago (although I'm thinking I'm going to wait til spring to head back) and I loved seeing my friends. I miss them so much, but it was so fun hanging out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Idol of Importance

God has changed me ALOT over th past few months. I've been wanting to share, but to put it into words, succinctly, and in a way that makes sense takes a lot of time and effort, and every time I thought of trying to write this post I just put it off because I didn't want to put in the effort. But it's been on my heart a lot lately, so I'll give it a shot.

It all started with this. It is a talk by Derek's Young Life leader, Rick Scherr i listened to over the summer. It is about an hour long, but if you get a chance, I promise it is well worth your time. The title of the talk is Lordship. And it is about making Christ the Lord of your life. Yes, Jesus is my savior, but in many ways, I struggle to let Him be Lord too. The reason I struggle to do this is because I still have idols in my life. Not little carved statues that I worship, but things that I want to control because I feel like I need them in my life and I don't want to let go.

In this talk, Rick identifies the 3 idols that the majority of people my age struggle with:
  • Comfort
  • Romantic Love / Marriage / Family
  • Being Important to Others
As he talked about each of these, they were very convicting. I already knew, however that I struggled with thte first two. And I continue to struggle with those, and this talk was very convicting about them. The third item on that last though, I had NO IDEA that this was an idol in my life. It completely blind-sided me, but helped me to realize the cause for many of my insecurities, and the reason that I would often times feel not so great about myself.

So what I learned was this: I have this need to be important to people. I want people to want me to be a part of their lives. I want to be everyone's best friend. I want people to like me. I want people to want my opinion. I want people to want me to like them. I want to be the best at everything. I want to have the best friendships, marriage, ministry, job, etc. All of this was to the point that I couldn't be happy for other people when they had something I did not, or something better than me. If friends were getting together and I wasn't a part of it, I was devastated. If I saw a few people write on someone's facebook wall, I would begin to wonder why no one wrote on my wall. If someone's husband did something sweet for them, I would try to think of something sweet Derek did for me to make myself feel better. If people who I knew were closer friends than me did something together, I would tell myself that's ok, because they are really close, but if I was left out of something with friends I felt close with, like I should have been invited, I would feel awul. Everything was viewed through a lens of "how does this affect me?" This is honestly pretty embarassing to write out, because I know it sounds ridiculous, and it is. And I tried my best to hide it and deny it and act happy for people because I knew I shouldn't feel that way, but I did, I just didn't know why.

Then I heard this talk, and it clicked. I realized that the reason I had these feelings, feelings that I had never verbalized and would never admit to anyone, was because I had made being important an idol in my life. And once I realized this, it was one of the most freeing things that has every happened to me. All of a sudden, when I would get those feelings, I would recognize them for what they were. And I would ask God to take them from me, and allow me to rest in the fact that I am important enough for Him to send His Son to die for, and that is enough. I have focused on really being happy for people, without thinking about myself and whether or not what they have is something I want. I have become content and able to share in people's joys. I can see things for what they are, without viewing them through the "what does this have to do with me?" lens. And I m full of so much more joy, and peace and contentment. And I think the relationships in my life have improved. They probably have because they are no longer about me.

Honestly, I am a bit nervous to post this. Because I still care what people think of me. I wish I didn't but I do. But maybe someone will read this who can relate to what I am saying and it will bring you freedom too. And honestly, if you can take an hour to listen to Rick's talk, I promise you won't regret it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

This past Sunday I was at Garden Ridge shopping for some decorations for a work dinner this week and they already had most of their Christmas decorations out and were playing Christmas music! Usually I'm not into getting into the holiday spirit before Christmas, and while I will still wait til after Christmas to start decorating my house, I am ready to start thinking about the holidays, what gifts I'll buy, crafts I want to try, food I want to make and Christmas cards!  I've seen several people post about Shutterfly's awesome deal that if you blog about their Christmas cards you can get 50 free cards! So I decided to join in and share with you some cards I would LOVE to get from Shutterfly:

For Christmas cards, I love the monogram on this card:

I also have a slight obsession with plaid:
Here are some more I like:

Alright, I could go on, but you get the idea.  They also have calendars, which would make a great gift, as well as canvas wall art - how cool is that - you can get your pictures printed onto a canvas!

If you have a blog and want to get your own free cards, go here.  I am so excited about this, because just this weekend Derek was saying that he wanted to send out picture cards this year. Every other year we have just done regular cards, so I'm real excited to make our own!