The One with the Stuffy Nose

Allow me to describe the wonderful last couple of days.  Friday evening I picked up my husband from Wayne and we were off for Somerset.  We were dreading the typical I94 rush hour stop-and-go traffic, but suprisingly we only had a short stretch of slowed driving.  In addition to that, it wasn’t too hot at all.  This fact may not seem too pertinent, but I can hardly stand being in our a.c.-free car when it’s hot outside (because that means it’s twice as hot IN the car.)  Anyways…we arrived at the family campsite at 7:30 and were thankful we didn’t have to set up a tent in the dark.  There was already a wonderful campfire burning and we joined in the good conversation with Mom, Dad, Brian, Grandma, and Grandpa.  After a good night’s rest in the cozy camper, Kevin and I headed out for our morning hike around the lake.  The dew was heavy and the fog had yet to lift, but that just added to the intrigue of the walk.  Mom had to work all day (bummer…) and Brian and Dad were at a band thing in the morning, so before everyone returned Kevin showered and I opted to try my legs at a short jog.  I have all but given up on running (and not felt guilty about it), but had the desire to get out there once again.  It was surprisingly enjoyable (it probably helped that I didn’t feel like I HAD to do it…I actually WANTED to.)
 
Uncle Larry, Aunt Ruth, and David joined the party around 10:30 and I hung out with the boys for a bit of frisbee.  The rest of the afternoon was slow and relaxing and just plain good.  When the 5:00 hour was drawing near, I hopped in the car with Kevin, Mom, Dad, and Brian and we drove to In Good Company for our “birthday” dinners with Gpa and Gma Eccles and Uncle Ken.  The fellowship was truly enjoyable…and the food…ahhhh…the food.  I ordered a Yankee Pot Roast sandwich that tasted a thousand times better than the name led me to believe.  (It was seriously fabulous!)  Topping off the meal with the Turtle Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae (splitting it with Kevin) was perfection.  That evening, we went on the night hay ride and had a wonderful time bouncing through the trails and gazing up at the starlit sky.   
Sunday morning, Kevin and I drove away from the grounds at 8:15 to arrive at Monroe FMC on time for Sunday school.  We had another great morning of Christian worship and fellowship and were officially welcomed into membership there.  Our excitement was matched by the congregation’s. :)  After a long lunch at Panera (where I ate the other half of my leftover sandwich!), we headed back to the church to carpool the teens to a Corn Maze.  There was quite a great turnout of kids and at the end of the corn adventure, Pastor Dale handed the baton over to me.  Kevin and I loved formally introducing ourselves to the teens, and they seemed genuinely excited to have us taking over.  Kevin and I and the youth alike are all looking forward to the youth room that will be found in our parsonage basement when we move.  (Speaking of which, could you be praying that the current renters move out quickly and peaceably…)  
Sunday night the sinus congestion hit me.  I’ve been taking some powerful meds to help, but my head is still quite packed and pounding in pain.  In the afternoon on Monday I got myself ready to meet with the conference superintendent to solidify the decision to make me youth pastor of a conference church.  I learned much about the ministerial candidacy process as well as the meetings and resources and events that are set up for conference pastors.  I can hardly wait to get involved.  (I must admit I feel a bit intimidated and out of my league…but I know there is where God has me…)  The remainder of our “interview” was spent in good conversation–the Superintendent getting to know me better and offering me great bits of marital advice. :)  It was really wonderful, actually.  
When I walked up the stairs to the apartment at 7:15 with Kevin there to great me, I felt like I was the one coming home from work.   It was kind of a fun sensation. :)  
Well as a classic movie once stated, “That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.”

The One with the Crunchy Leaves

It’s Friday.  My poor darling is still miserably sick.  I just spent a fortune in hopes he’ll feel better.  We’re leaving for Somerset this evening and we’re both really looking forward to a weekend of fall camping.  Seeing family will be wonderful…and then of course there’s the bonfires, the cool evenings, the hayrides, the cider, and our plan to walk around the lake (and maybe visit the Point where he proposed. *grin*)  Have I mentioned how much I love being married to him?  Oh, and a bazillion thanks go to his parents who are so willingingly sharing their camper and their food with us this weekend. =D  Saturday night brings a trip out to In Good Co. for Brian & Kevin (and I guess my) birthday dinner with the Eccles grandparents.  Love it!  I’ve had a wonderful week and Sunday I am being inducted into membership at Monroe FMC and officially welcomed as youth pastor.  After the service the youth group is traveling to a corn maze where they can hang out with the new youth pastor and her husband. :)  Ok.  So I felt like rambling.  Hope you didn’t mind.

The One In a Nutshell

I’m not sure why, but today I have decided to give you a look at my college years in a photographic nutshell.  Enjoy! (I know I did!)

Arbor Games:::Freshmen Year:::All the girls with whom I would form great friendships

The Gamma 2 Triple:::Freshman Year::And our boyfriends

Sophomore Year:::Suite Love:::Mel’s 20th Surprise Party

Couch Laughter:::Sophomore Year:::Mel and Two Hilarious Canadians

Sophomore Year Ice Skating:::Mel, Britt, Em, and Naomi:::The rink that is now Gainey Hall.

Wellspring:::Summer ’06
Wellspring Love:::Mel and the Boys:::the Last night together (Brooke’s behind the camera.)
“We’re from THAT floor”:::Crazy Second West
:::Mel and Britt (Junior Year) and a TON of great Freshmen
Playing in the Park with my favorite babysitt-ees:::Beth & Kara:::Mel & Britt:::Junior Year
Angie’s Bridal Shower:::Junior Year:::All the Girls
Slumber Party @ Emily’s:::Senior Year:::Best Night Ever

K8 Girls Gift exchange:::Senior Year
Jared Mahone Concert with Tab, Megan, Mel & Magan:::We won Relient K tickets!!!
Before one of our many bonfires:::SR. Year:::Magan, Betsy, Mel, Angie
Megan’s Wedding:::Dec. 07:::Karina, Betsy, Megan, Magan, Mel, Emily
K12 Christmas Dinner:::Guys & their gals
All my best girl friends:::Last Night at SAU:::Pre-Graduation
Graduation ’08:::All the Girls & Kevin:::(that’s just the way it works. *smile*)
Melanie & Kevin’s Wedding Party:::
Magan, Maria, Brooke, Britt, Ash, Beth & David, Brian, Nick, Gavin, Dave
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How blessed am I???

The One with the Bright Sunshiny Day

Within 10 minutes of waking at 7am, I started to work on the finishing steps of the Amish Friendship Bread Jennie so willingly shared with me!  I wanted to have it fresh and ready for Kevin to try before he left for school at 8:30.  Despite the unfortunate dumping of approximately 7 cups of sugar on the carpet, the finished product was perfect!  One loaf is already set aside for our weekend camping trip and the other is being thoroughly enjoyed.  (This is seriously one of my favorite sweet breads.  Or…maybe I just love ALL sweet breads.)  
The rest of the day was surprisingly productive.  After my round of pilates and a bit of Today, Kevin was driven into work.  I got back and did my ellipse exercise, switching back and forth between Live with Regis and Kelly and Family Feud.  (I hate commercials.  If any of you have ever spent more than a small amount of time with me, you will quickly learn that I am a remote control freak and can’t resist changing channels between 2-4 different shows when commercials so rudely interrupt.  Kevin hates this.  But I can’t stop.  Unless he asks me to.  Then I will.  Most of the time we come to an “understanding” if you will.  He keeps himself distracted with computer stuff so much channel surfing doesn’t irritate him.  hee, hee.)  Wow, sorry about that soap box.  
After I reached a sufficient level of sweating, I began my “cool-down” with some packing.  The closet upstairs is being emptied and organized into boxes, 1/2 of our books are boxed, all our extra bath towels and put away, along with a few other items.  By this time, I had received two fairly lengthy and important phonecalls and it was time to decide whether or not I would go down to Wayne again to check out the monthly fresh air market.  It was a glorious day and I hadn’t yet showered, so I hopped on my bike (after checking to be sure my appearance wasn’t TOO ghastly) and road the 3 and 1/2 miles there.  Mostly I just wanted to check on my miserably sick husband.  It was worth the extra exercise. :)  
I took an afternoon shower :), had lunch, and spent a lovely few hours of reading and putting together an organized list of “wishes” from IKEA.  (You see, I got my 2009 calendar yesterday and spent hours circling and discussing thoughts with Kevin.  Today I checked my options with their website.  I figure when January comes around for the Women’s ministries get together at IKEA, I will be settled enough into our new place to know what we need or don’t need.)  
My evening has been lovely…albeit filled with cough syrup, thermometers, and chicken noodle soup.

The One That’s Not a Book

Just a couple things: 

 
  • I can’t handle all the amazing new seasons of my favorite tv shows.  Yes, maybe I’m a bit to attached, but Hey…when a show’s good, it’s good.  I actually went as far as to make a spreadsheet with the weekly listings that we love to watch.  (organization+addiction=happy girl.)  
  • Thank you for all the prayers and encouragements in regards to my previous entry!
  • I have no idea what I should get my husband for his birthday.  Actually I have so many ideas.  I just don’t know which one is best.
  • Speaking of my handsome spouse…he’s getting sick with some sort of respiratory flu.  I’m not happy.  Because he’s not supposed to be sick.  That’s my job.
  • I’m gonna need a LOT of packing boxes and I have no idea how or when I’m going to collect them.  (A Honda Civic isn’t really conducive to toting around large amounts of cardboard.)
  • Is anyone else ever amazed by the seemingly endless amount of toothpaste that hides inside the tube’s opening?  Just when you think it’s going to be completely gone with the next use, it goes on for another week of squeezing.  

The One Where It’s Official

I’m so thrilled to finally be able to publicly announce the wonderful way God has orchestrated this ministry opportunity.  As you all remember, most of the summer was spent putting out applications at various restaurants, offices, and businesses hoping and praying for financial provision.  It finally came to the point where I backed away from my plan and realized the obvious–God had a greater plan in store and I needed to wait.  Uhhhh, waiting.  Not my favorite pasttime.  However, it proved to be the best experience for me and my husband and I both experienced Jehovah Provider these past few months.  All that said, I received word last night from Pastor Dale at Monroe Free Methodist Church that the church body had officially voted and received me as their Youth Pastor!  And not only that but they also decided to give Kevin and I the lovely 2,000 sq. ft. ranch parsonage next to the church as my compensation (as of now, until they are able to financially afford an official salary.)
For the last month or so, Kevin and I have been making the 50 minutes commute to Monroe on Sunday mornings for church and staying the afternoon in town until the 6pm youth group meeting.  We have felt extremely welcomed by the church body.  Every week many people come up to us genuinely interested in getting to know us better.  We had a wonderful time hanging out with the small group of youth and can hardly wait to be officially involved.  I will be announced to the youth group next Sunday evening!  Yesterday we attended Sunday school for the first time and really enjoyed the deeper Bible study and theological discussion.  (Come on, people, you know what I love!)  The service was refreshing and challenging as was the time Kevin and I spent on stage playing bass guitar and piano (respectively) along with the worship team.  It really was a blast!  Oh!  And not to forgot the delicious potluck that followed. ;)  
We will be moving to our new home at the end of October (anyone who wants to help us move…just let me know!! =D)  Packing and moving will not be very enjoyable (considering I said just 4 months ago I never wanted to move again..ha!), but I think the passion behind the move will make it all worth it.  Kevin will have a daily commute into Detroit which is kind of a bummer, but he has reassured me that he is completely certain that he is ok with it. :)  
Anyways, please keep us and the church in your prayers.  We are overjoyed with the way God has brought us to the church and the church to us.  He really does have great plans in store!
———–
In other news…we had a wonderful weekend spent with our good friends.  Britt, Nick, Ben, and Geoff made the drive up here Friday night and we enjoyed chocolate cake and a rousing episode of AFV while catching up.  The girls spent quality time scrapbooking, talking, and dance praising it up, while the boys played video games and cards, watched sports, and threw the frisbee around at Belle Isle.  We went out to a great dinner at Applebee’s on Saturday night and they left shortly after I fell asleep at 10:30. :) 
Oh, and something I was SO thrilled about (don’t laugh!)  I finally completed a project that should have been started and finished years ago.  I went through the boxes and binders and folders of sheet music and organized them all.  I now have 4 binders of alphabetized music which are categorized by Christmas, Classical, Sacred Instrumental, and Worship Choruses (chorded music.)  It took about 3 hours of sorting and hole-punching, but it was well worth it!  (I can’t WAIT to have the beautiful piano from Kevin’s parents set up in our new home!!)  
I suppose I have taken up enough of your time.  Have a blessed day!

The One with Fall Memories

Sophomore year with Britt, Emily, Hilary, and Mel

Junior Year with Second West Girls and the Newtons

Junior year:  Mel and Britt

Senior Year:  We talked Kevin and Nick into joining us for the 4th annual pumpkin patch visit.

A wonderful fall picture of my Love & me

The One with the Hour and a Half Solo

Phantom of the Opera.  I just need a dose now and again.  Not to just sit down and watch but to put in while doing other things and singing along loudly when I’m all by myself.  (An analogy if you will:  Britt is to Les Mis as Mel is to Phantom.)  I got on this little kick when I realized that the prof. Paris was dating (in Gilmore Girls) was the PHANTOM!  crazy realization.  Anyways, I love knowing all the words and I rarely get to sing to my soprano capacity any more…sooo… :)

The One with the Reminescing

Bear with me.  This post is mostly for my own posterity’s sake.  I had some good times remembering with my mom last week and thought it would be a good thing to document some of those memories.  I spent lots of time at my Grandma Mary’s house growing up–at least every Friday when my mom and dad had their date night and Ash and I would get dropped off with our special treat of McDonald’s.  (And yes, despite all those who warn against it, I still love McDonald’s.)  So, most of these memories are from Grandma Mary and Grandpa Nick’s house.

  • I vividly remember being a toddler, standing in the back of my grandparents’ living room and bouncing and singing along to Jeopardy theme song.  (I still watch Jeopardy.)  
  • I once broke their sunroom window when, as a 12 year old, I pitched a plastic baseball to my cousin.  
  • Dad hung the coolest, biggest tire swing on the tallest tree in grandma’s backyard.
  • I remember staying the night at grandma’s when my parents were out of town (I was about 5) and if there was a snow day and a couple feet on the ground, she would go out to the huge back yard with me and play “fox and goose.”  (Making a huge circle in the snow with a big X through the middle and we chased one another.)
  • My parents went to see Titanic in the theaters and I stayed with Ash at Gramma’s and watched Gone with the Wind.  Throughout the extremely long film, my stomach kept hurting worse and worse and when mom came to get us I was taken to the hospital.  I had gastroenteritis.  
  • Speaking of hospital visits, I had a lot of nosebleeds growing up.  (I guess I still do.)  One particular nose bleed occurred when I was sick with the stomach flu.  The bleeding normally went on for 30-45 minutes (which I later found out was extraordinarily long…most should be 5-10 minutes) but when we hit the 2 hour mark, I was taken to ER to get it cauterized.  Yeah, that was fun.  Not so much.  The worse part was having the packing removed (yanked out really…) 3 days later.
  • I could eat a whole Big Mac meal as a 12 year old.  Yeah, I was kinda chubby. I wonder why.
  • Mom used to read with me in bed every night until my pre-teen years.  We read Nancy Drew, Little House, Mandy books, and more.  I love reading together.  Still do.  And I hope to do the same with our children.
  • My grandpa always had a jar of gum drops next to his chair in the living room.  My favorites were always white and green.  Grams had these in her apt last week and I finished them off.  :)
  • Gramps also really liked those rainbow Neccos.  Most people don’t even know what the quarter sized chalky candies are, but I liked them.
  • He always wanted a strawberry milkshake from McDonald’s when we came over.  Maybe that’s why strawberry is my favorite.
  • Ash and I loved playing dress up in Grandma’s clothes and clip on earrings. 
  • We played many a rousing game of “hide it” with this tiny white dog figurine at gramma’s. 
  • I often pinched my fingers between the door and the bathroom counter.  (poor design, I say.)
  • Gramma taught Ash and I to play cards; Rummy was our favorite.  (She once burst out into a song from the ’30s I think…”Jack, Jack, Jack douby, douby, douby.”  who knows. But I’ll remember.)
  • I loved her “rootbeer” flowers out back by the clothes line (where there was oftentimes freshly washed linens hung.)  They were actually irises, but I thought they smelled like rootbeer.
  • We watched Lawrence Welk together.
  • I hated when she cooked cabbage.  It smellllllled. :(
  • Ashley could convince Grams to “tickle my back/legs” for hours on end.  (She lightly ran her fingers around her back.  I loved that too, but Ash always got what she wanted.) :)
  • Before we went to sleep on a sleepover night, we always wanted to hear stories from Gramma of when our Daddy was growing up.
Ummm, I’m pretty sure I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you all.  For now. :)
We’re really looking forward to camping out at SBC for family fall festival weekend.  Fall camping is the best and so are birthday dinners out.  (Man, our families get away easy…3 birthdays in 3 weeks…just combine the celebration!  hee,hee!)
My mom’s all 21st century now.  She’s emailed me many times since I left home having set her computer up with Chrome and gmail. I’m proud. 

The One Full of Chinese

Wow, apparently time really does fly when you’re having fun.  I was at home with my Mom, Dad, and Grandma from Monday until Friday a.m. and I had such a nice week that whizzed on by blogging slipped my mind.  woops.  :)  Mom and I made a visit to a local apple orchard as a little tradition and boy were we glad we did!  Fresh homegrown apples like that at the peek of freshness (and at only 99 cents a pound) is sheer perfection!  Not to mention the apple cider, the donuts, the carmel apple cookies (to DIE for!), and the hot creamy carmel drinks.  Wowzers.  We bought soooo many apples–most to eat, but many to bake with!  I have decided that pies will be made by yours truly on Thanksgiving and I figured it wouldn’t be a bad thing to brush up on my skills.  That said, as soon as we got back to the house, I started to work using a crust recipe and an apple pie recipe from the best baker I have ever known!  Her “never fail” pie crust really was perfect–even after my innumerable mess ups and repeated rollings.  I think it’s a good thing I practiced. :)  But I must say those pies came out wonderfully and I can’t wait to try again! 

We also hit up a couple of garage sales and mom bought me a great picture frame, some candle holders, and biscuit cutter (that I’ve been wanting for a while…).  Also, I found THE coat I’ve been searching for.  I’ve wanted a thigh length button up coat forever and am always trying on a khaki one here and there at consignment shops and such…but nothing was quite right.  Well, I came home with a $5 genuine suede leather mauve pink coat.  Oh my gosh…I can’t even tell you how perfect it is for me!  Pink? you might ask.  Yes, pink.  And I figure it actually goes better with anything…blue, black, brown, etc. :)  (And it kinda reminds me of Lorelai Gilmore’s jacket from Gilmore girls…hers is wool, but I was always jealous of it’s gorgeous pinkness.)
We at out at the Chinese buffet again.  That was delicious.  That was also at 3:00 and I’m still stuffed to the gills.  (no pun intended.)