Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm Obsessed with Hunger Games. Real or Not Real?


I just finished the last book of the Hunger Games, and wow. I'm going through withdrawal now. Seriously, they were all I could think about while I was reading them and now I'm sad that they're over.

 As soon as I finished the third book I ran into the room where Derek was sitting, sobbing, and had to talk about it. Luckily, Derek read them all before I did, so we were able to discuss everything about the series. There's a lot I could write here, but I don't want to ruin them for anyone. All I can say is that you must read all three. In addition to the main story line(s) there are lots of themes running throughout the book that had me thinking about our society, our country, our government, my faith, myself. These books will make you think and have you addicted by about 50 pages into the first book.

And good news - the first movie comes out in March! Cannot wait! Here's the trailer:

I cannot wait to see this movie. I might read the books again between now and then.

I think I have a problem.

Now go read the books. I promise you will love them!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Few Goals for the New Year

Now that I'm all caught up on the events of our holidays, and its the end of January, I figure it's the perfect time to talk about goals for the new year.

To be honest, I didn't have these made at the beginning of the year. I was feeling kind of "eh" about goals. I was in a place where the only thing I really wanted was to love Jesus with everything, which is a good place to be, I think. I didn't want to add all kinds of goals to focus on to distract me.

**Sidebar - sometimes I really struggle with whether or not I think goals are a good thing. I wonder if it's just adding unneeded stress to our lives by writing down things we would like to do and then feeling like we have to accomplish them. But then there are other times when I feel like goals can be good, because they help us to keep from getting lazy and complacent.**

However, as the new year went on, I began to think of things I would like to do this year, and the more I think about it, the more I think a lot of these will help me to love Jesus with everything.

I like the format they have for goals over at Today's Letters and so I decided to lay some out and see how it goes. So here are my 2012 goals:


  • Spiritual - Be in the Word daily
  • Physical - Exercise 3 times a week
  • Relational - Write 1 encouraging letter to a friend each month and commit to praying for them, and get lunch/dinner/coffee with them.
  • Professional - Start a Bible study at work.
  • Spiritual - Pray with Derek every night
  • Physical - Do 2 physically active activities together every month (hike, canoe, etc.)
  • Relational - Have dinner with another couple once a month.
  • Financial - Pay cash for a kitchen update.
So there you have em. I feel like these are all pretty attainable, and don't put a whole lot of extra stress on me to do things that just add "stuff" to my life. 

So far I'm off to a pretty good start with a lot of these. We have an exercise challenge going on at work, which has been great motivation to get me exercising and I've been exceeding my 3 times a week goal there. I'm in the process of getting a Bible study started at work. Derek and I have been praying together most nights, and we started our year off with a great hike in Gatlinburg. We've also begun some work on kitchen, which I will be back soon to share.

 The biggest thing I probably need to work on right now is being in the Word daily. I read "My Utmost For His Highest" every morning, but I would like to be in the Bible more than just that every day. 

I think it is going to be a great year, we have lots to look forward to!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Years and Gatlinburg

Still recapping...

We got home from our Christmas travels around lunch time on Wednesday. After unloading the car, I grabbed some lunch and headed into work. Worked Wednesday through Friday, Saturday was New Years Eve. We watched the UK Louisville game at one of our favorite places, a place called Shamrocks that is right in our neighborhood. Then did laundry and got the house put together.

New Years Eve was spent with friends, out to eat and then back to their house to play games and hang out and ring in the new year together. It was a great, low key evening.

We slept in a little on Sunday, then woke up to pack our bags and head south to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. If you've never been to Gatlinburg, there's not really an adequate way to describe it. Lots of crazy, redneck attractions, but its right outside the Smoky Mountains. We went with a bunch of our LCA kids who are now freshmen in college.

There aren't really words to describe how wonderful this trip was. All I can say is that God knew what my soul needed, and gave us this trip. We stayed in an amazing cabin. One of the boys, Hunter, organized the whole thing. He brought so much food with him that we probably could have stayed another day or 2 and still not run out.

We spent lots of time just hanging out at the cabin. We watched football, ate food, played card games and board games, pinball and other arcade games, watched movies in the theater room, relaxed in the hot tub. We just hung out, and it was awesome.

When Hunter planned the trip, he had in mind that he wanted it to be a time where everyone could get together and process their first semester of college. Have some time where we all gathered together, let a few people share what God has been teaching them, and have some time in small groups to discuss life, our relationships with God, and take a look at how things are going. I loved having this opportunity to hear from the girls and to share some of my heart with them. I love that this was Hunter's desire for the trip.

Another fun part of the trip, was that Derek and I decided to have a little surprise for everyone. Our friend, PW Gopal, is an amazingly talented singer, songwriter, guitar player, speaker, performer, etc. And he lives in Ashville, NC, which is just under 2 hours from where we were staying. So one evening, we arranged for him to visit us and put on a little concert for everyone. It was awesome. I don't have other words to describe it. You can check out some of his music here. Everyone loved it and he stayed and hung out for the evening.

For us, a trip to Gatlinburg is never complete without a hike in the Smoky Mountains. On Monday, we organized a group hike up the Chimney Tops trail, which basically takes you to the top of a mountain. The hike was something that people seemed a little unsure of, and I'm pretty sure if we weren't there, they wouldn't have done. But we decided we would go, and everyone ended up coming, and lots of people said it was one of their favorite parts of the trip. I stole a few pictures of our hike off of facebook.


Like I said, it was a trip that was good for my soul. I'm so thankful for these friendships that God has given us through our ministry at LCA. It's so awesome to see so many of these friends pursuing the Lord and growing like crazy in college. We are so blessed to call them friends.

I wish I had actually taken some pictures of the trip, but maybe that can be a goal for this year - take more pictures! I think this pretty much catches us up through all the holiday activity. And we've been up to a few fun things since we've been back that I'll hopefully share soon!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas Recap

I started this post a while ago, with the intentions of adding pictures and posting. I've finally given up on that thought and have decided to go ahead and post. So here is my Christmas recap - and remember, it was written between Christmas and New Years :)

These past couple of weeks have been full of lots of Christmas activity. Here's a little run down of what we've been up to since I last updated:

* My work Christmas party was at the Castle again this year. You can see pictures from last year's party here. Here's a shot of Derek and I all dressed up this year. fail

* We had a Christmas dinner with our LCA friends who were all home from college on break. 

* Finished the very last of our Christmas shopping and making of Christmas gifts. 

* Watched the Holiday and Charlie Brown Christmas, followed by a little campout in our living room sleeping under the Christmas tree. This sounded like a great idea to me, except that all we had to sleep on were blankets on the floor. It was not very comfy. But Derek was a champ and humored me and we spent the whole night there. 

* Woke up under the tree, ate breakfast and exchanged our gifts to each other. Derek got me some great clothes. I love that he loves to go shopping for me and spends lots of time trying to pick out things I will love. He did a great job this year. I gave him golf clubs. He has been using a set he's had since he was 10 and has wanted new ones for a long time. I was really excited to be able to give those to him.

* Packed up all of our gifts for our families and enough clothes to last us the week that we would be gone and headed up to northern KY to celebrate my brother in laws birthday.

* Drove up to Columbus to spend a few days with my parents and to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family. We went to the Columbus zoo to see the lights while we were there. It was Derek's first trip to the Columbus zoo, and it was freezing, but the lights were amazing. I also got to catch up with a friend from high school that I haven't seen in years, go out to eat and to church on Christmas Eve, read my favorite Christmas books, and spend time and open gifts with my family. 

* Went to Derek's parents house to spend Christmas evening with some of his family and friends from high school. We did Christmas with all his brothers, their wives and our nephews on the 26th. I think we spent close to 3 hours exchanging gifts. But I guess that's what happens when add little ones to the mix and everyone wants to give them lots of gifts. We ate lots of food, and spent several days there visiting with family and friends.

* Got home and got to unpacking, laundry, putting gifts away, exchanging a few gifts that didn't fit and of course back to work - but only for a couple of days :)

Short but sweet description of our Christmas. But it was good.Spending time with family, old friends, and with each other. And being appreciative that Jesus humbled himself and put on flesh and became a man, to die for our sins, so we can live.