Friday, December 16, 2011

Today...

I saw a person dressed up as the Grinch on a motorcycle. I saw it out the window of my office. But by the time I grabbed my ipod to take a picture, the light changed and I missed it...mostly. But below if you look really close, you can see the Grinch going through the intersection.


Here is my attempt to zoom in.


I  promise, the person on that motorcycle was all green except for that Santa suit.

Happy weekend friends!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We've been busy little bees around here recently, and right now we're at the height of Christmas party season. So many things to do. Usually weekends are my time to catch up on sleep, but this weekend that didn't happen. Too many late nights and early mornings.

The good news is we're pretty much ready for Christmas. Nearly all our gifts have been  bought and wrapped. The other day Derek said he couldn't believe it was only December 8th, it felt like it should be almost Christmas. I think he felt that way because we really didn't have anything else to do to prepare for Christmas. Usually we are last minute kind of people. But we have been enjoying evenings looking at the pretty Christmas lights around our house. We kind of want to leave them up throughout the winter because they make us happy.

Speaking of things that make us happy, Derek has found a new favorite Christmas song.



I really like it too!

Also, I want to share with you another cool place to buy from for Christmas - Give Jewelry, a company that sells awesome bracelets whose proceeds go towards providing food for children in orphanages in Indonesia. I love the bracelets and there are lots that I would love to have, like these:




I found them on my friend Libby's blog, and right now she is having a give away and you can lots of free bracelets. And I don't even get an extra entry for blogging about her giveaway - I just really like these bracelets and love that by buying one you'll be supporting a good cause.

That's all for today. Hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

I've been a little absent from the blog lately. Trying to get back in the swing of things after the Thanksgiving holiday, which has been kind of tough. We went to my parents house in Columbus for Thanksgiving, which almost didn't happen.

Derek woke up Thursday feeling like he had the flu. So we decided he needed to go to the doctor, because if he did have the flu, we wouldn't travel to see my family. Of course there are no doctors offices open on Thursday, so we had to go to the emergency room. They tested him for the flu and strep throat, and both came back negative. The doctor said it was probably just a virus and we could travel to be with family.

We got to Columbus just in time for Thanksgiving dinner, which was delicious. On Friday Derek woke up with a few spots on his hands. Turns out that virus he had was hand foot and mouth disease. Awesome. So he was pretty miserable the rest of the weekend. Luckily there were lots of football games to watch, and not a whole lot we had to do.

We came back to Lexington on Sunday. A bunch of our friends were getting together to have a friends Thanksgiving dinner. We like our friends enough to not want to transmit diseases to them, so we stayed home and watched more football.

An unfortunate aspect of the timing of Derek getting HFMD was that basketball jerseys for his basketball league came in on Monday. And he always goes through them all to make sure each team has the correct number and size of jersey. But, since HMFD is especially contagious among kids, he couldn't touch the jerseys. I had Monday off of work, so I got to spend my day off doing Derek's work, checking all the jerseys and making sure everything was there. It really wasn't bad, and Keith helped, so we knocked it out pretty quickly. We got lunch when we finished and headed to the video store to rent some movies. We watched Tangled that afternoon and it was a great movie.

We also rented It's a Wonderful Life and watched it on Tuesday night. Derek and I had never seen it. I think we might be the only ones. We loved it. And the funny thing is, since we watched it, I have seen references to it everywhere. The Pioneer Woman had a whole post on her site called 5 Things I Learned from George Bailey.  I've also seen facebook statuses and all sorts of other places mentioning it. I don't know how neither of us had ever watched it. Apparently it's on NBC every Christmas. It was a great movie though, and had some great life lessons that left us both feeling convicted, yet thankful when it was over.


I'm wondering, is there anyone else who has never seen this movie? What's another classic that I need to make sure I see?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

Happy Thanksgiving week friends! It's a busy week for us since we spent the weekend with Derek's family in Northern Kentucky and have a short week of work to be followed by a trip to Columbus for Thanksgiving. So I thought I would stop by the blog to make a quick list of fun things that have already happened or are going to happen so I don't forget.

1. We spent this past weekend celebrating Derek's dad's 60th birthday. Of course I was a slacker and took no pictures. It was still a full and fun weekend that included visiting with Derek's parents, brothers and their wives and kids, playing silly games with Henry, snuggling Connor, getting to lay eyes on Oliver (he may have started to cry any time I got close to him and acted like I was going to pick him up), going to Rob's art show and watching him and one of his band-mates do an acoustic set at the art show, giving gifts, watching movies, visiting with Brian and Fran, eating delicious food and not having a whole lot to worry about.

2. Our church small group met Sunday for a dinner that consisted of delicious soups, salads and bread, and some great fellowship and discussing Proverbs.

3. Sunday night we celebrated our roommate Keith's birhtday with cupcakes and singing.

4. Sunday night was also spent decorating for Christmas. Our house is all ready for the holidays. Since we're usually gone during Thanksgiving and Christmas we like to decorate early so we have time to enjoy the decorations. We put our tree in a new spot in the living room this year. We've had it in several different spots over the years and I'm not sure which I like best, but I really like how it turned out this year. We skipped putting up some decorations this year, but I'm ok with that. I think the house looks just the right amount of festive. Hopefully I will take pictures and share them some time before Christmas.

5. Our LCA friends, who are no longer LCA-ers but now college kids are starting to trickle back into town from being away at school. We got to see some of them Sunday night, and on Wednesday night we are having a reunion dinner. I can't wait to see everyone - we have missed them lots!

6. I can't wait to spend the weekend with my family. I'm so thankful for them. And my mom makes delicious Thanksgiving dinner that I can't wait to eat. And maybe we'll do some shopping this weekend. Columbus has way better shopping than Lexington.

7. Another Christmas gift idea for a good cause starts on Friday. Lots of crafters and Etsy shop owners have donated items to the Water for Christmas Etsy shop. (The store doesn't open til Friday, so if you click on the link before then there won't be anything there, but check back on Friday.) When you buy anything from this shop, the proceeds go towards clean water projects around the world. It's amazing how many people still do not have access to clean water. What a great opportunity to buy a unique, handmade Christmas gift for someone, and to be able to help provide clean water for those who need it.

Well, that's all I got! Sorry for the lack of pictures. I'll try to be back with a post that includes pictures soon. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that we all take some time to reflect on all the blessings we have to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Salvation Stories - My Story

My blog friend Callie is having a link up today where people can share their salvation stories. I know I've talked about mine here before, but I thought it would be fun to write the whole thing out and share.

Salvation Stories


I grew up in a very loving family, and loved going to church when I was little. I loved Sunday school class. I was the annoying kid with all the answers. One thing I remember most about Sunday school is that I loved the service projects we did. I remember when we would collect canned food for the hungry. I brought in lots of bags full of food and was so happy that I could contribute. There was also a house right next to our church where homeless families would stay, and I remember preparing a meal for them and having dinner with them. I loved to do things like that. Growing up, I was a "good" kid. I didn't get into trouble. I was a typical oldest child overachiever.

When I was in high school, I started going to Young Life. I would go to these gatherings they had on weeknights where the cool upperclassmen would get up on stage and do hilarious skits, people would play ridiculous games, we would sing songs and someone would talk about Jesus. I loved everything about it. In the spring of my sophomore year, someone told me about Young Life camp. Since I loved going to Young Life so much I figured camp would be just as awesome. So I signed up.

And this is where I begin to see God's hand in my story. Because I signed up for camp without a single friend going with me. There were probably over 100 kids from my high school going on this trip and the only friends of mine that were going were some of my guy friends that I grew up with and had been friends with since elementary school. Which is better than no friends, but obviously we wouldn't be in a cabin together or on the same bus. Luckily I made friends with a girl named Sarah who was a year older than me that was going too. She didn't have very many friends going on the trip, so we were able to stick together. But it still amazes me that I signed up for this trip I knew nothing about, without any of my close friends.

So I arrived at camp and the whole week was amazing. There really aren't words to describe how awesome Young Life camp is. There were crazy games and activities we would do in the morning and in the evenings, and afternoons were free time spent by the pool or ziplining or blobbing into the lake, or making crafts or going on the giant swing or doing one of a million other fun things.


Also, in the evening, they had club, where a speaker talked about Jesus. I was tracking with everything the speaker was saying until one evening toward the end of the week. When he shared about Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection. It was like I was hearing it with fresh ears. I knew Jesus died on a cross and rose again. I had been told that before. But I never understood what it meant to be crucified, the significance of him being raised from the dead or what it had to do with me. All of a sudden I understood that because of my sinfulness, I couldn't have a relationship with God, but because of Jesus' sacrifice, I could.

It was such an incredible feeling, knowing how loved I was. Knowing that Jesus would go through the agony of being crucified for me. I knew right then that I wanted to accept this gift and spend the rest of my life living for Him.

I came home from camp a changed person. I was so excited to read my Bible. I wanted to know everything that it said. I went to campaigners, which was basically a bible study that Young Life had, and soaked in as much as I could. I invited all my friends to come to camp the next summer. And some of them did. And some of their lives changed too. And the following year, one of those friends and I got to lead a whole cabin of friends at camp. Which made me decide I wanted to be a young life leader in college. So I spent the next 10 years after that sharing Jesus with high schoolers through the ministry of Young Life.



I would say that outwardly, my life might not have looked a whole lot different after I decided to follow after Christ. After all, I was a "good" kid. In fact, I think I probably messed up and made more mistakes after. But the thing that changed was my heart. Before I was being good so that I looked good. I was living for myself. Now, I had a relationship with God and desired to live for him. So even though I made mistakes, and still do, as soon as I realize what I have done, I always turn back to God, and ask for forgiveness and continue to follow after Him. It's not a one time thing. It is a daily commitment. And that has made all the difference in the world.

If you want to read some posts about young life camp you can do so here, here and here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Gifting Season: Hello Somebody

I'm back today with another cool Christmas gift idea for you. This is a gift that you can buy for someone you love, and the proceeds go to a great cause. Check out the Hello Somebody watch.

You can buy a watch for $25 and when you do, you help feed and educate a child in Africa. Here is what the website says about it:

Hello Somebody has partnered with Africa New Life based in Kigali, Rwanda and is sponsoring 100 street boys to go to school and receive a first-class education and 2 meals per day. The program costs $100,000 for the entire year. That means for every 70 Hello Somebody watches that we sell, a child is completely sponsored.

The Young Street Boys Rehabilitation Program is broken up into 2 parts, primary and vocational. The 50 primary age boys are taken off the streets and put into primary level classes, where they have opportunity to grow and develop. The 50 vocational boys are teenage boys who are too far behind to be placed into primary age classes. Instead, they are given the opportunity to learn a trade. The vocational school teaches electrical engineering, advanced carpentry, masonry, auto mechanics and plumbing. Not only do all 100 boys receive a top-notch education, but also 2 meals per day, tutoring, mentoring and spiritual guidance.


Pretty cool, right? You can read more about it and the children that are involved here.

And the watches are really cool looking. I'd take one in that aqua color or white if anyone needs any gift ideas :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fall Swap Stuff

My blog friend Kristin, had a little fall swap party over at her blog back in October. This is the first blog swap I've ever done, and it was fun to pick fun little fall like things out for another person, and to get a fun package in the mail. My blog swap partner was a girl named Jennifer from North Carolina. And she sent me a box full of fun things. So I took a few pictures and thought I would share.


Contents included: a cute candle holder with a delicious smelling candle inside, a yankee candle car air freshener (in a fall scent of course!), back and body works hand sanitizer (also in a fall scent), a cute fall hand towel, fall patterned tissues and sticky pad, pumpkin spice hershey kisses in a little paper holder, apple cider, hot chocolate, tea and some awesome fall recipes.



There was a $15 price limit to spend on the package to send to your swap partner. I would say Jennifer did a great job of utilizing that $15 and sending me an awesome package. It was so exciting to get mail and see all the fun stuff that came.

Have you ever participated in a blog swap? I think I will definitely do it again!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas Gifting Season: Redirecting Christmas

For some reason I am always tempted to start every single blog post with "So...". Does anyone else have that issue or is it just me?

So...a few days ago I did a post on my thoughts on Christmas giving. And I said that I would be back with some ideas for cool gifts to give, or organizations to give to.

The first organization I want to highlight is called Sixty Feet. I came across this blog not too long ago, and immediately fell in love with the ministry they created.  They minister to children in Africa who have been imprisoned. That's right. Children. In prison. And not juvenile detention centers that we have in the U.S. Chained to the wall, neglected, malnourished, not taken care of, prison. And there are children of all ages, babies to teenagers. Brought to prison for various reasons. Some because they don't have parents, some because they are beggars, you get the idea. And this awesome ministry wants to build a home to rescue and care for the most vulnerable children in these prisons. You can read more about it here.

Basically they have received a $60,000 matching grant to match money donated towards building this facility. And so this Christmas season, this ministry is trying to raise $60,000 to be matched to rescue these children. I think it's an awesome cause to put some Christmas money towards, whether your donation is a gift to a loved one who has a heart for orphans and ministry in Africa, or whether you just want to redirect some of your Christmas funds to this worthy cause. Either way, I hope you'll at least take a look at the Sixty Feet website and learn more about what they're doing. It's tragic to know that this situation exists in this world, but so encouraging to see a family stepping out in faith and being the hands and feet of Jesus there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas Gifting Season

While I'm not quite ready for Christmas decorations and full on Christmas season yet, I have started giving thought to our Christmas budget. I think it's important to do that in advance so we don't end up spending way more money than we anticipated.

Did you know that Christmas is a $450 billion industry? Now don't get me wrong, I love to give and receive gifts at Christmas time, but I do think that the materialism and consumerism of our culture has gotten a bit out of hand. I doubt that when the church established Christmas as a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus, that this is how they envisioned it turning out.

Again, I'm totally not against giving or receiving gifts, or decorating or being festive. But one thing I do feel passionately about, is that as part of the richest nation in the world, we should not blow our budgets on buying tons of stuff for people who already have tons of stuff.

To me, this does not mean not giving gifts to family and friends. I get a lot of joy out of giving gifts and I know that our families do to. In fact, there are a lot of things throughout the year that Derek and I don't buy, and instead ask for for Christmas. Like clothes, books, DVDs, etc. Our luggage has been in pretty bad shape for a while now, but we have made it work through our trips this year, and intend on asking for new luggage for Christmas. So while we still plan on giving and receiving gifts this year, there are a few things that we would like to do and I would like to encourage you to consider doing as well.

1. Set an amount in advance that you would like to spend on giving gifts. And then don't spend it all on your family and friends. Spend some on gifts for family and friends, and some on gifts for those who are less fortunate, and give some of it away. There are lots of great ways that you can buy gifts for the less fortunate and great causes that you can donate some money to.

2. Buy gifts whose proceeds go towards a good cause. Whether it's buying fair trade, or buying a gift that supports an artisan in a third world country, or making a donation in honor of your recipient, there are lots of awesome ways you can give a gift that also helps someone in need.

One thing that I thought would be fun to do during this gifting season, is to post about different gift giving opportunities during the holiday season. Hopefully you'll get some new ideas for creative ways you can give gifts, as well as opportunities to give money and/or gifts to those in need. I'll be back tomorrow to highlight a really cool organization that I believe would be great to donate some Christmas money to.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fun Things

Happy Tuesday, friends! As you might have guessed by the title of this post, lots of fun things are going on around here. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to accompany said fun things. Sad :( But I will proceed to make a little list and include some links that have pictures.

1. I had a glorious 3 day weekend this past weekend.It consisted of:
  • Friday - Shopping for our end of the season soccer party, baking cupcakes, and Lexingtonian salad and sushi takeout from Malones
  • Saturday - Soccer party with little girls. We made bracelets, decorated cupcakes, made glitter pumpkin and played avalanche. Oktoberfest at the Poston's. See pictures here and here. It was such a cute party and was wonderful spending time with good friends.
  • Sunday - Church and perfect weather. I spent a good part of the afternoon raking leaves, pulling weeds and digging up what was left of my vegetable garden. The garden was not a great success this year. I'm giving it one more year and then I may give up. But, the weather was so awesome that I enjoyed being outside raking leaves and pulling weeds. Sunday evening consisted of dinner with friends and making crafts for Derek's work office that he recently redid. We took a bulletin board, spray painted the frame black and covered the inside with some fabric. Of course I have no pictures, but it turned out awesome and I felt really proud of our skills. 
2. I just bought Moose this Halloween costume on clearance from Target for next year:

2a. Speaking of Moose - this is a not so much  a fun thing, the poor pup is having a little procedure done tomorrow to remove a bump from his foot. The doctor doesn't think it is cancerous, but we're having it tested just to be sure and are praying that he is healthy.

3. Back to fun things, Gina, who I work with, brought me in her Better Homes and Gardens Soups magazine so I could pick out a few recipes to try. I love making soup in the winter and can't wait to try some new recipes. I'll share them with you if I have success.

4. I did a little fall decorating in my house. While buying mini pumpkins for our soccer party I found some great gourds. I spent $3 on the gourds, and then clipped some branches from our neighbors beautiful Maple tree and stuck those in vases I already had. I added some candles and ended up with a mantle I feel pretty good about. Now if I could just keep the rest of the room that surrounds it looking good. (Sorry for the poor picture quality, I just used my ipod and the lighting was not great.)


5. My blog friend Chloe is running the New York City Marathon this weekend. That's right - a full marathon. Six months after she had an emergency C-section and gave birth to a precious boy. She's amazing. You should go leave her some encouragement. She's also running for Team Samaritan's purse, raising money for their Children's Heart Project,  with the goal of raising $2200 - enough to cover the cost to bring a third world child with congenital heart disease to North America to have life saving surgery. If you want to help her towards her goal, you can click here. Even if you donate $5, it will all add up. 

6. So I had my first giveaway last week and it was almost a ginormous fail. Honestly, I was kind of surprised when they asked me to host a giveaway because I do not have large numbers of people who read my blog, and I don't really do much to promote it. I don't want it to be something I feel obligated to do, so I mostly just post what I want to, when I want to and don't worry about whether lots of people will read it or like it. But, for some reason, I was still asked to do a giveaway and figured that people like free stuff, so why not. Well, I guess not many people are interested in digital scrapbooking software because no one entered the giveaway. Until my sweet mom took the time to look at the site, choose some things she liked and leave a comment. Aren't moms the best? So thanks, mom, for keeping the giveaway from being a complete fail. And as a result, you are the winner of some fancy software! I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly!

Well, I think that's it for now. I feel like there are more fun things that I'm leaving out. I guess I can always do another post :) Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Couple Things

It was a quick weekend, but a couple of fun things happened that I wanted to record:

1. We had our last soccer game of the season. Derek and I had so much fun coaching these girls. They are all kinds of hilarious. And super cute too. I have no pictures, and honestly I would feel a little sketch posting pictures of other people's kids here, but I'm pretty sure we had the cutest team. The good thing about the soccer league is that we will have the same team in the spring, so we will get to coach them all again. I'm also amazed at how much they learned and progressed throughout the season, so I think it will be fun to get to continue in the spring where we left off. I'm going to miss them over the winter though!

2. My parents made a quick trip down to Lexington to see our little team play soccer. They coached me when I was that age, and I'm sure have fond memories of it :) So they came to our game on Saturday morning, and then my mom and I did lots of shopping Saturday afternoon. I got some new clothes and some awesome boots! I'm pretty excited about them!


3.The weather this weekend was amazing. On Sunday afternoon I took Moose for a super long walk and enjoyed the perfect fall temperatures. I have a feeling we aren't going to get too many more days like that, so I'm trying to enjoy them as much as I can.

4. We had our church small group on Sunday afternoon. This is something I always look forward to. I love our group, they are lots of fun and pretty hilarious. We get together and meet for lunch and then discuss whatever we are studying. This year we're going to go through Proverbs, which I'm pretty excited about because I haven't ever really studied Proverbs before. We looked at the beginning of Proverbs 1 this week, and I loved verse 7. 

7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, 
   but fools[a] despise wisdom and instruction.

Such truth in that statement. I think I fear far too many things before I fear the Lord. Yet, of all the things I fear, none of them comes close to having the power that the Lord does. 

So that was our weekend. It was a nice weekend at home and was so fun to see my parents.

Also - don't forget to enter the My Memories Scrapbooking Software Giveaway! So far, there are ZERO entries, so your chances are pretty good :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Memories Suite Giveaway!!!

Hey friends! I'm excited to get to do a little giveaway on the blog today! The folks at My Memories Suite have offered to let me giveaway a copy of their digital scrapbooking software! They also let me have a copy of it to review for you.


So, starting out, you should know that I like the idea of scrapbooking. I like the fun paper and all the stickers and ribbons and accessories. The thing is, I don't love the time it takes to make a scrapbook. I made one for high school many years ago, and while I love it, it took quite a while to put together and I haven't really had the energy to take on another one since. 


I was really excited when the My Memories folks contacted me to review their software so I could give digital scrapbooking a shot. Let me preface by saying that the two weeks that I have had to review the software have been super busy weeks. I spent one weekend on Columbus hanging out with my sister who I get to see twice a year, and another weekend in Florida, hanging out with friends we also rarely get to see. So I haven't had as much time to really discover all that you can do with the software. But, the good news is, with the little time I have had, I've been able to start making pages of several different scrapbook projects. 


I started a California vacation scrapbook and found out I could use my own photo as a background and then add more pictures. Here are a few pages from what I've started on that one. 




And here are a few from a young life camp album I started:




A few things I like about the software:


1. You can add music to your scrapbook and make a movie out of it. I've tried using windows movie maker to make video slideshows and it has always been a huge headache. With this software I was able to easily just add music to my scrapbook, and click a button and it turned my scrapbook into a video with music. 


2. You have lots of options for your scrapbook. You can make it 8 1/2 x 11, portrait or landscape, or 12 x 12. It also can be as many or few pages as you want. The software comes with lots of paper and some fun little embellishments. You can use a theme that's already set up or create your own.


3. You can print it out on our own printer, or send it somewhere to have it printed or just make a movie out of it. 


The software is fairly intuitive. There are lots of things you can do without having to read directions or tutorials. But there are probably a lot more features I haven't discovered yet that you could learn using tutorials.


Overall, I'm excited to play around with it more, and see what I can do.


So now it's your turn. To win a copy of the My Memories Suite software, just go to www.mymemories.com and let me know which digital scrapbooking kit or layout you like the best and leave a comment letting me know which one it is. And then you're entered.


The giveaway is open until next Friday, October 28 at 5:00 PM.


To learn more about the company and/or software you can check out their blog, facebook, or twitter.


Also, if you are interested in buying the software but don't win the contest, you can use the coupon code STMMMS75394 and get$10 off the software.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick Florida Weekend

As you can tell from the last post, Derek and I took a quick trip to Florida this past weekend. One of Derek's best friends, Brent, and his awesome wife Karin live in the St. Pete area, where they are currently in the residency phase of med school. Which means their lives are crazy busy. But they were awesome enough to work their schedules out so they had the weekend off to hangout with us. 

We flew into St. Pete on Friday morning and got there right around lunch time. Brent picked us up from the airport and we headed back to their house. Which is amazing. It sits right on the intercoastal and they have a dock with a little boat right in their backyard. Also, if you walk to the end of their street and cross the road, you're right on the beach. Probably takes less than 5 minutes to walk there. So you can probably guess what we spent the weekend doing.


First up was fishing on the dock in their back yard. Derek loves to fish, but we don't have any good spots close by, so it's something he doesn't get to do often. So we fished every day. If you look closely in the picture above you'll see a bird. That's Gary. Gary is Brent's friend, and has a pretty sweet set up. Whenever Brent catches a small fish, he'll feed it to Gary. He only feeds him 2-3 fish max when he is out there, but Gary can't complain. Every time we were out there fishing, Gary showed up.

A closer picture of Gary

Derek catching fish

There must be a lot of fish on the intercoastal because we caught tons all weekend. I even caught several every time I was out there. And by the last day I was baiting my own hook and everything! I never took the fish off the hook - I let that be Derek's job.

Also, funny little side story. We made a new bird friend on the last day, Roscoe. He's a pelican and must have noticed Gary's sweet set up. So on the last day he showed up. At first Gary squaked at him and warned him to stay away, but after Gary got a few fish he didn't mind Roscoe hanging around. We tried to feed Roscoe a couple fish but he was clumsy and couldn't catch them in his giant beak. So finally we just threw a fish onto the dock and Roscoe was able to get it.

Roscoe

So besides fishing, we ate a lot of really good food, went to the beach, went out on the boat, played putt-putt, ate ice cream, and spent a lot of time just hanging out. Some more photos from the weekend:


Derek loved driving the boat.

We saw a pirate ship.

We went to Oktoberfest and Brent got this hat. 

Karin and I competed in a stein carrying competition. Karin wore Brent's hat. I had random people cheering for me. It was lots of fun even though neither of us made it out of the first round. We blame it on the fact that we had to go first and didn't fully understand the rules.


After Oktoberfest was more fishing.

Brent's hat must have been lucky because he caught the biggest fish of the weekend while wearing it.

On Sunday we took the boat to a restaurant on the water called The Pub. This was the view from our table. There were TVs at the bar behind us so we ate lunch and watched the Bengals. Then we took the boat back to the house. 

We also spent some time at the beach, playing paddle ball, swimming, taking walks, etc. And the last night Derek and I went to the beach for the sunset, which you've already seen some pictures of, but I'll share a few more.




Overall it was a pretty perfect weekend. The weather was beautiful, it was great just being able to hang out with friends and not have any schedule or responsibilities. We loved catching up with Brent and Karin and wish that we got to hang out with them more often. We told them to block out this weekend next year, as we are planning on heading back and making this a yearly thing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sky: Florida Edition

Just got back from Florida this morning. I'll be back soon with more details. Until then, here are some more sky pictures, this time, from last night's sunset on the beach.


 





Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sky

We've been having some beautiful weather these past few weeks. It's been a perfect fall. Enough rain that the trees are changing into beautiful fall colors. And we've had some of the most amazing skies. 

The best one was this past Sunday when we were coming back from Columbus. Unfortunately I was driving so I didn't get to take a picture of it. It seems like every time I see a cool looking sky I'm in the car. But there have been a few times I've been able to bust out my ipod and snap a couple of pictures. 


Just outside of Lexington

 
On my way home from work

Sunrise on my way to work

The one good thing about the sun coming up later and going down earlier.

It sure has been pretty here lately :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sisters

There is nothing quite like a sister. And I have one of the most awesome sisters there is. Unfortunately, she lives far away. Which means we don't get to see each other very often. But, when we do, it's wonderful. And this weekend was one of those times.



My sister came home to Columbus this weekend...and it was awesome. She drove all the way from Colorado with her boyfriend Jeff, and their dog, Petunia, on Thursday and Friday. They stopped in Kentucky to have dinner with Derek and I, and then I joined them on the trip up to Columbus Friday night, and Derek came up on Saturday. Everything about the weekend was wonderful, except that we had to leave Sunday night and come back to Kentucky, while Julie and Jeff are still only a mere 3 hours away in Columbus. I was sad the whole way back Sunday night, and am still am.

But let's get back to happier thoughts, like this weekend. I had 3+ uninterrupted hours with Julie on the ride up to Columbus Friday night. Jeff was awesome and chilled with Petunia in the back while Julie and I talked non-stop the whole ride. That's the wonderful thing about sisters, you never run out of things to talk about. I don't even know what all we covered, but I do know that the trip flew by, and we weren't out of things to talk about by the time we got home.

We stayed up late visiting with my parents, and then when everyone was in bed, the 2 of us stayed up late, laughing hysterically reading my middle school journal entries. We could talk and laugh forever and I miss that so much not getting to see her very often.

We didn't do a whole lot the rest of the weekend. We hung out, played with her dog, went apple picking, had a lot of the extended family over to watch Ohio State play. Derek made it in town and was a champ for driving  3 hours by himself even though he would only spend about 24 there. It was so so good just to be together. My whole family. Derek, parents, sister, her boyfriend.

I haven't got to spend a whole lot of time with Jeff, so him staying at my parents house this weekend was great because I feel like I got to know him better. And it turns out I really like him a lot. I hope one day he becomes my brother. Not to put pressure on my sister or anything. I really try not to do that to people because I don't like it when people are always trying to rush me to the next thing. I just mean that one day, if this is who she decides she wants to end up with, I would love it. Because it turns out that I find myself not only missing Julie, but Jeff too. I hate that they are only 3 hours away and I can't just take the whole week off and hang out with them.

Here are the 4 of us back in April when we went out to see them:


And here is their awesome dog Petunia. It doesn't accurately portray how large she is. She makes Moose look little. And Moose loves her. I bet he wishes he got to see them more often too!


This weekend was so much fun, and I'll probably be a little sad all week. I'm really really hoping they'll be back for Thanksgiving. And that we'll be able to make it out there soon too!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lesson #2

One thing I strongly believe is that as believers, we are all called to share Jesus with people. The world needs Jesus, and for the past 10 years the main way that I shared Jesus with people was through young life. Just because I'm not leading, doesn't mean I don't need to share Jesus with people. The thing is I no longer have the platform of young life - where people expect me to talk about Jesus.. The challenge now is to just share Jesus with the people who are in my every day life: girls on my soccer team, soccer parents, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

This has been incredibly challenging for me, since these people don't necessarily expect me to talk about Jesus with them, and also, are mostly older than me. When I lead young life, one of my favorite things to do was to go to starbucks and sit down and talk about life with the students I knew. I loved hearing about what was going on, and getting to share with them why Jesus was relevant to their situations and why He matters in their lives, and the hope that He offers.

The thought of doing this with soccer parents, co-workers, etc. is a little scary to me. I knew it would be putting me outside my comfort zone, which is always a good thing. But when it comes to building relationships with these people I feel really awkward and doubt that they would want to hang out with me. When it comes to sharing Jesus I for some reason don't want to bring it up. Through this, the Holy Spirit has revealed a lot about the condition of my heart. I have learned 2 main things through this. One is that I lack faith, and the other is that I lack a love for people.

These two things kind of go hand in hand. I realized that I lack faith that Christ is really what people need. I think that because they are older than me, and have kids and life experiences that I don't, that I don't have much to offer them. The awesome thing about leading high schoolers was that I've been through what they're going through. I have the experience to share. But when it comes to building relationships with people older than myself, I feel inadequate. So, one thing I have been praying about and asking God for is for a bigger faith, that truly believes that Jesus is really all people need. And I can talk about Him with confidence, knowing that He is the answer for whatever people are going through, even if it's something I don't have experience with.

One of the biggest reasons I get nervous talking about Jesus with people is that I'm afraid they will feel awkward, think that I am weird or judge me in some way, or that they will think I don't care about them and I just want to push a belief system on them. And that has made me realize that I care more about what people think of me, than about them. And it kind of goes back to the whole faith thing. If I really believe that Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, why would I not want to share Him with people? It should just be a natural part of sharing who I am. I'm not afraid to talk about Derek with people. And I know it isn't my job to convince anyone to believe anything, only to share what I know to be true.

Not sure if you've ever seen this you tube video of Penn from Penn & Teller sharing about a time when someone gave him a Bible after one of their shows. He is an atheist, and this video is really cool. I definitely recommend taking the 5 minutes it takes to watch it.



So basically, God has shown me a lot of areas where I need to grow. And while stepping away from young life has been hard, I think it was necessary for me to really grow in my faith. I'm not sure what our lives will look like 5 years from now, or even one year from now. I'm not sure if our ministry future involves our current church, young life, or something completely different. But I do know that I need to be faithful where we are now, and that involves taking risks, having greater faith, and learning what it means to really love other people more than myself.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lesson #1

Now that I'm not leading Young Life anymore, I have lots of new found time on my hands. Which to many people probably sounds like a great thing. But for me, this has probably been one of the hardest things.


Before this past month, I cannot remember the last time I had TWO free evenings in one week. Free as in, there is absolutely nothing planned when I get off work. One thing I know about myself is that I am very performance oriented. I feel best when I do a good job and am accomplishing something. Having a personality like mine makes it very hard to fully grasp the concept of grace. The idea that my salvation, my relationship with God is not based on what I do, but what God has done. 


I remember when I first understood the amazing truth that Jesus Christ died for my sins so that I could have a relationship with Him. My response: give my life to Him. If He did something so amazing for me, it was the least I could do for Him. I'm not saying this response was wrong. I will be the first to tell you it was the best decision I've ever made. But in that response, there is still the little part of me that can't accept something for nothing. When I look at all God has done for me, I have to give something back. 


And Young Life provided me a great way to do that. Nearly every day of the past 10 years, I could point to something I did, and feel good that I had "done something for God". Now don't get me wrong. I knew that the things I did weren't earning my salvation. But it felt good to feel like I was giving something back. 


I think one thing that complicates this issue is the culture of the church in America today. I've read plenty of statistics about how people who call themselves Christians don't give any more of they money or time away than those who don't claim to be Christians.  We see plenty of people showing up for church on Sunday, only to go about living their lives the other 6 days and 23 hours no different than anyone who doesn't believe. The Bible warns against luke-warm faith, saying in the end they will be spit out. And the absolute last thing I want to be is luke-warm. 


Leading Young Life helped me feel assured that I was not a luke-warm Christian, and that I was living out my faith. And I can't say I didn't see this coming, but stepping away from Young Life took away all that false security that my faith is real, and I am not luke-warm, because I no longer have that safe place where I can live out my faith.


While the Bible does warn against being luke-warm, Jesus also warns against a life of doing good things. 

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Prophesying, driving out demons and healing are not enough. There is nothing we can do that is enough. Our salvation and our lives are about what Jesus did for us. Knowing God's will for our lives can only come from having a relationship with Him. I could lead Young Life for the rest of my life, but if I do not have a relationship with Jesus, it makes no difference. And when I was leading, things were getting so busy that my relationship with Him was suffering. 


I am confident that He called us away from the ministry so we could take some time and simply be with Him.  I am confident that there will be opportunities for future ministry that He is preparing us for right now. And so while it is hard to not see the students we love dearly as often as we would like, I am really beginning to believe that God loves me regardless of what I do for Him, and that my worth is not tied to what I am doing.


On a side note, we are currently involved in ministry through the rec program at our church, coaching a soccer team. However, because the time commitment for this is probably less than 3 hours a week, it doesn't quite fill the void left by leading. But, it has brought with it new challenges and lessons, which I  will share about next time. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random Post

There's lots of things I would like to post about right now, but most of them are kinda heavy and I feel like I don't even know where to begin. So, instead, I will have a nice light-hearted post about things on my not-so-important-but-would-be-fun-to-do list.


1. Make chocolate cupcakes with this salted caramel buttercream frosting. I love salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks and I love buttercream frosting so this sounds like a win all around.


2. And while I'm at it, I would like to go to Starbucks and drink a salted caramel hot chocolate. I'll ask if they can put it in this cute glass:






3. Go to the pumpkin patch. I want to get cute little pumpkins and gourds to decorate my house with and some mums too.




4. Make little glitter pumpkins like I did a couple of years ago.




5. Use my Living Social to play a lot of Bible mini-golf. Anyone want to join me?


6. Go for a hike at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary once more leaves start changing color.


7. Hang out with my LCA peeps who I am really missing not seeing on a regular basis. This includes road trips to visit college girls and grabbing some fro-yo and catching up with the ones that are still in town. 


8. Sit down and actually write a blog post about all that God has been teaching me this past month. It's crazy that I've only not been a YL leader for a month, because it already feels much longer than that. And when I think about all that God has taught me in just this month, it helps me realize how much this was the right decision as hard as its been. 


Hopefully I'll be back with a good post soon. Until then, share with me what's on your not-so-important-but-would-be-fun-to-do list. I'm always looking for ideas :)