Saturday, June 26, 2010

Success At Last!

We have lived in this house for over three years now. When you "rent" instead of own you treat things differently. I absolutely detest home improvement and organizing "tips" that talk about things that someone that rents could never possibly do. Bully for you that you added lights in your kitchen or ripped out a closet! We are not allowed to make any structural changes to our house, because trust me, I would love to! But, the one good thing is that it does teach you to work with what you have. Other "tips" such as buying coordinating baskets or hanging racks don't necessarily work for me either. I don't really have $100 extra laying around to invest and sorry, I don't have any fabulous neighborhood flea markets to shop, either! However, I realized that being frustrated with what must work for the public at large (or at least sell magazines) doesn't solve my problems so I have to find my own solutions. I copy some of my best organizing tips from my sister (she also rents so she understands my frustrations).

Anyway, one of my biggest problems has been my upstairs hall closet. It didn't matter how I rearranged it, it never stayed clean for more than 2-3 days. I added little 3 drawer chests for storage. That helped a little. I bought a wire shelf to add vertical storage. Also helped a little, but not enough. Part of my problem is that the closet has a ton of space-but it is barely accessible because it is up behind the top of the doorframe. That makes it difficult to reach because you not only have to be tall but you need long arms! Also, the top shelf is only half the width of the lower shelves so it limits what can be on there.

I have rearranged that closet dozens of times. Finally I decided to really think about what I had-also, I implemented my new "throw everything out policy". I had managed to control the bottom shelves with my linens, books and stationary a few months back. The main problem was hairthings, toiletries and medicines. Here is what I finally came up with:

This is the top shelf. It has my bathroom cleaners and extra shampoo, soap, etc.

This is the next shelf. The two chests on the left have medications and the one on the right has Josie's and my hairthings. Don't you love my fancy labels? Good 'ol masking tape. That's how we roll in the ghetto!:)

These shelves are towels and stationary.The boxes on the far right have my greeting cards in them. I love those boxes! They organize the cards by category and I know when I need to get more. I rarely have to buy a card for a special occasion.

These are the bottom two shelves. Mostly books and photo frames on the top one. The floor has all my linens and my travel cosmetic cases. Like my Longaberger? Maybe someday my whole closet will be organized with them...

The finished product!

May not seem like a big deal to you, but it was definitely blog worthy to me. I am proud to report that almost a week later the whole closet still looks like the photo!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

10 Things About Me (by Request!)

My friend Jessica(her blog is here, nominated me to write 10 things about myself. Since I have been blogging for a while and have no sense of personal privacy (not to mention that I did 100 things earlier this year!) this may be difficult but I will try to be creative!

1. I have kept a journal of some sort of and on since I was 8. I have some really random things in those-especially the ones from junior high. Why was I so boy crazy? I can't even remember what some of those guys look like now!

2. I can sing the entire Canadian national anthem. I had to learn it in high school because the Key Club conference I was part of also had groups in Canada and as part of their opening each week we had to sing both the American and Canadian songs. Weird, huh?

3. I love the show "Billy the Exterminator". That guy is crazy! I think it is too funny that this goth, huge truck driving man uses only natural, organic pesticides. He knows everything about common (and uncommon, like alligators) household pests. If you have never watched it you should give it a try.

4. Joel gave me a "Topsy-Turvy Tomato Planter" for Mother's Day because every time I saw the infomercial I would say how much I loved tomatoes. I am currently trying to coax it to produce fruit in the backyard.

5. I am currently looking for a good Key Lime pie recipe. I have become obsessed with making one. Don't really know why, I am usually a chocolate girl.

6. I often buy costume jewelry first and then find clothes to match later. I love, love, love fake jewelry! I really want to be known as the girl with all the fun, matching jewelry.

7. I want to try kayaking. I have read about it in a couple of places recently and I think it sounds fun. Joel doesn't want to go with me, though, because he says he can't stand the thought of getting stuck in the boat upside down. I have tried to explain it doesn't have to be that kind of kayak but he is not convinced.

8. I really want to visit Alcatraz. I have always been fascinated with prisons-I know, really weird. I adore the Mythbusters "Escape from Alcatraz" episode and I think it would be cool to see such an iconic prison. Someday...

9. I like to play this goofy housecleaning game on TLC's website when I am really bored. It is pretty silly but somehow it is so mindless it is soothing.

10. I am planning to climb the Incline this summer. I figured if I am not in good enough shape after running a 10K then it was never going to happen. If any of my Colorado friends are interested in doing that, drop me an email and let's make plans!

There you have it. Hopefully, it wasn't all reruns.:) My life is just not that interesting...trying to turn a sow's ear into a purse.:) Anyway, I guess part of this game is nominating people to make there own lists so:

Rachel's Writings-You always make a good list, RD. I hope you can find a few minutes to entertain us.

The Frosting of Life-Ummm, you need to post, desperately. Here is your incentive.

Musings by Katy-You need to post even more badly than LD. And you are always hilarious! I am sure you will have time now that you are finished with school-yeah, right!

Lisa's Life Lessons-I may have lived with you for over 20 years but I always learn something new when you post stuff about yourself.

Anyone else? You know you are always welcome to post! Hopefully I will see lots of new things soon...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

To My Mom, On Her Birthday

So, today is my mom's birthday. I hate that I haven't been able to be there for her birthday in a long time. She always made our birthdays so special. She is the originator of "the birthday week" and breakfast in bed. It was always fun to see if we could make her birthday as special as she made ours. Since I'm not there (and I didn't send a card-although I did get her gift there on time, does that count?) I thought I would dedicate a post to, in honor of her:

51 Things I Love About My Mom.:)

1. I loved grocery shopping with her, she always called me her "commissary buddy".
2. She makes the best pot roast. Ever.
3. She loves a book, I am sure that is where I got it from.
4. I remember her patiently reading so many really long series to us, the "Love Comes Softly" series, the "Little House" books, the "Zion Chronicles"...
5. She was great at encouraging us to memorize Scripture. She paid me $50 when I read the whole Bible the first time!
6. She always has candy in her purse-usually peanut M & Ms!
7. She likes eating in the car as much as I do.
8. She read every single one of the papers I wrote when I lived at home and was in college- and even some of the ones I wrote after I left.:)
9. She always bought really cool surprises for our road trips. And we took a LOT of road trips!
10. She loves to sing hymns. She got that from her mom and I got it from her!
11. She like to talk on the phone-me too!
12. She is the best clearance shopper. EVER! Every good tip I know I got from her.
13. She is a huge fan of Sonic's pebble ice.
14. I love going to McDonald's to get an ice cream cone with her in the afternoons.
15. She always buys fun books for my kids. At Goodwill! I love that.
16. She has the biggest Longaberger collection of anyone I know, but she is always excited to get a new basket.
17. She has the cutest tea parties with her grandkids.
18. She always does a great job with the laundry. She took much better care of my clothes than my friends' moms did.
19. I was never allowed to leave the house without my hair done. Don't worry Mom, I still don't go out without fixing it!
20. She always filled cute little purses with fun stuff for us to give as birthday gifts.
21. She had a terrific party for me when I turned 5. She made aprons-by hand-for all my guests.
22. She makes wonderful Red Velvet cake.
23. She loves a chocolate chip cookie with nuts in it.
24. She always told us that when she was little she would say that she would always have ice cream and chocolate syrup in her house when she grew up. And she does!
25. She always had separate Easter egg hunts for each of us, so we didn't have to fight over the eggs.
26. She puts together a mean Christmas stocking. It is one of the best parts of Christmas!
27. We (Katy, Lisa Dawn, Kelly, my Mom and I) all sang together at Christmas. It was really neat.
28. She is terrific at anything English related.
29. She is still a really good typist. I remember her typing my dad's papers when he was in medical school.
30. She knows the answer to almost any childhood medical problem. She is better than an on-call nurse!
31. She is never too busy to pray with me. Or anybody else for that matter!
32. She never forgets to take delight in the small things.
33. She had a journal that we took turns writing in when I was in middle school.
34. She loves a grilled hamburger. Pretty much anything grilled.
35. She loves a Reese's Peanut Butter cup, too.
36. She loves a neat cookbook.
37. If it is patriotic, she probably has it in her house. I always think of her when I see something red, white and blue.
38. She likes junk jewelry almost as much as I do!
39. She always took the time to kiss me at night. Even when I was in my 20's.
40. She always wakes up when she hears a sound in the night.
41. One of my sweetest memories is her rushing down to the basement with the phone in the middle of the night. It was Joel calling while he was deployed. My mom had hurt her foot but she wanted to make sure I didn't miss his call.
42. She loves our military and is so proud of her son-in-laws for serving.
43. She always irons for my dad. I think that is so sweet.
44. She finds fun things like the cool reusable bags she gave us.
45. She is very supportive of things like writing hobbies and cupcake themed bedrooms.:)
46. She has the most gorgeous, even, handwriting of anyone I know.
47. She loves Boston Baked Beans and Mallow Cups.
48. She is the original Bed Fairy (and Sniffy Bug!).
49. She never forgets how important little things are, like favorite candies and stuffed animals.
50. She always gave us cool stuff to take to summer camp.
51. She loves her family and Jesus and is the best mom ever.:)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Volun"Told" at VBS

I won't lie. Mostly because I can't and partly because I shouldn't... I was not excited to find out that our church was departing from the usual Lifeway VBS curriculum. Not excited is my polite term. I love Lifeway, it is a huge part of being Southern Baptist, and I am Southern Baptist first, church member second. Instead we would be using Group Publishing's curriculum. I am familiar with Group,the post uses it for their VBS. It has it's pros (and of course, it's cons) but I was still really disappointed. However, since I had already agreed to help on post and was familiar with the theme I tried to put on my "big girl panties" and rise to the occassion, my own opinions aside.

Then I found out that Group produces two VBS tracks. Our church, of course, was doing the other one! And not only that (this gets really complicated so try to follow along) but it was the "Family" version. The program was written for entire families to participate-mixed ages of children and adults- but our church would be following the traditional VBS format-groups of same-age children, no adults-and changing the curriculum accordingly. I knew that would be a considerable amount of work and I just didn't want to do it. I felt like I had already agreed to lead on post and my position there was fairly considerable. I would just help at church, show up and follow someone else's directions. Easy, right?

I couldn't make it to any of the meetings (except one that had to be cancelled after I had gotten there), and unfortunately our very competent regular director had some health issues and had to be replaced last minute,so I was pretty out of the loop when I arrived at church yesterday. I thought I was in the first grade class. I checked in there and found two teenage girls slapping posters on the walls and furiously trying to make the room look decorated. Okay...where was the teacher? I found the director, she said the teacher was coming. Then we realized: there had been a miscommunication and the teacher wasn't coming-she wasn't even working in VBS. Yup, that's right: there was no first grade teacher. Okay....well, the director better find one! It was like a bad movie. I'm looking around the room and everyone is looking As the only adult in the class I was selected as the teacher. What?! I was NOT gracious about it. I would love to say that I sweetly replied with, "I can do all things through Christ", or "God works all things together for the good", but I think it was basically something like,"NOOOOOO!". Nice, huh? Big girl panties were no where to be found. But realizing it was between me or a teenager who had only helped, not served as a lead teacher, I figured I may as well put my 12 years of VBS experience to good use. We scrambled to find a book and I had 15 minutes to prepare. Okay, I can do this!

Well, I came up with a game plan, the rest of the staff prayed over me and I began to feel strangely confident. This was no one's fault, it was just a simple, plain accident. A comedy of errors. I was waiting in the sanctuary to gather my class when someone said that the teacher was coming. A different person, who had materials and a lesson plan. Yay! I was off the hook! Hallelujah! Then she arrived. She hadn't been sure she was the teacher, she thought it was someone else. She didn't have a lesson planned and wouldn't even be there two of the nights. She wanted me to teach! "Are you sure you don't want to teach? I am fine with that, I will be happy to help. Are you sure?". I think I was whining at this point, I'm not sure where all my bravado had gone. Nope, she thought I would do a great job, and since she was missing two nights it would be better this way anyway.

So, okay Lord, I get it. This is what happens when You ask me to do something and I say, "No". I get to do it anyway, sans preparation! So, the Lord DOES discipline those He loves! I wasn't feeling real loved at this point but realization was beginning to dawn. I had allowed my own opinions to get in the way and I had missed the Lord's leading. Whoops! I feel bad for everyone who had to suffer too, just so the Lord could teach me a lesson, but I am just praying that I will be wiser (and maybe a little less full of myself) the next time. Praise the Lord, because He is the only One who could have done this, class went swimmingly. It was a little tricky because the lessons are only planned in two 15 minute increments and we have a 20 minute block and 50 minute one (the last one will be kind of interesting) but the kids seemed to have a good time and I have a what seems like a ton of time to prepare for this evening after what happened last night! So, I better go hit the books but I do know that obviously the Lord just needs my willingness and He will make it all work!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Running the Race

So, no doubt by now, you have heard that I ran in my first 10K on Monday. It was....AMAZING! I have had a secret life-long dream of being a "runner". There is something that just appeals to me about the idea of running. February 1st came and I had not run one step, not a single one. Then our Lifegroup (that's Sunday School teacher for those of you unitiated into FBCBF lingo) leader challenged us to sign up to run the "Bolder Boulder", a 10K run. I was a little frightened but decided to go for it. I started out running a measly 4 minutes and walking a minute.Yeah, I know, that whole 5 minutes was definitely going to get me in shape!

I kept at it,though, hardly ever missing a run. I found out that it was hard, but I really liked it! Some days were good, others were bad. I ran in the rain, in the snow and in the wind.In the beginning of May I bruised my right foot pretty badly. That kept me off of it for a week and then I bruised it again! I was a little nervous that was going to keep me from running the whole race but thankfully it started feeling better the week before.

The morning of the race I was even more nervous but I just kept thinking that if worse came to worse I knew I could just walk the whole thing. Boulder was crazy when we arrived! There were cars and people with race bibs everywhere! I am not a big person for crowds but I just kept thinking it wasn't about all the other people. It was something I just wanted to do for me. I found my "wave" and joined the crowd. There were 54, 000 participants! That is a lot of jostling elbows. I was glad that, in the end, I was not early because I think I would have gotten even more anxious waiting. Soon, the gun sounded, and we were off!

I wasn't running for time, I just wanted to run. Good thing, too, because there was so much to see. Every block had live performers and most of the houses along the route were having parties in the front yard. There were people with sprinklers directed at the road to cool everyone off. There were even houses where people were throwing marshmallows and giving out Doritos! There were belly dancers, too, old ones! That is not to even mention all the people in costume. There were women in their fifties dressed as Alice, the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. There were teenagers in "Flash Dance" costumes. There were even two boys, one with a crown and the other with two coconuts, replicating the horse scene from "Monty Python".

It was certainly enough to keep my mind off running! I hit the first kilometer sign and I thought, "I am 1/10th of the way there. Lord, here is my tithe of running, I guess the rest is up to You!" And He, of course, surpassed my wildest expectations. I didn't even realize I was running half the time! I just ran my little heart out. It was truly one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. It so reminded me of the passage from Hebrews that talks about running the good race. I had trained to run and I couldn't let anything stop me. Every mile there was a drink station and I had to be careful not to slip on all the cups in the road. I had to not get too distracted by all that was going on around me. I couldn't focus on anyone else's race-only my own. If I needed encouragement I only had to look around at all the people cheering me on. Especially encouraging was the runners who had already completed the race who had come back to support those still running. You know, the "great cloud"?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

I guess I never really expected running to be a spiritual experience. But, it really was. It was such an amazing opportunity to be able to worship the Lord in the midst of all those people. My little Ipod blared my favorite songs by Jars of Clay, 10th Avenue North and the Newsboys while I focused on the beautiful mountains in front of me and all the joy around me. It was really great to see Joel and the kids right after I finished the 6th mile. They gave me that final boost to complete the last .2 mile I had to go. Finishing was so wonderful! Even though my time wasn't anything to brag about (1 hour 22 minutes 56 seconds), it wasn't the time, it was the completion. I can't wait until next year... .


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