The One with the Extra Mile

Because I love ya, because I’m a bit proud of myself, and because I left you with quite a teaser yesterday…
…I will share with you the other new (awesome) thing I did this week. 
Wednesday morning, my wonderful friend Sheryl and I planned to go for a morning run on Thursday. I woke up with a jolt. Thank you very much, alarm clock. I had just gotten into a good sleep. Oh well. I knew I would feel better after a run. 
Fifteen minutes later, I was on my way out the day. In a moment of unusual motivation, I opted to run to Sheryl’s house–3 miles–and then run for 3 miles with her. Running together is so great. I’ve always wanted a running partner and now I have found one–and she just so happens to be a great friend, too. 
While feeling great and talking along the way, we both decided to be extra ambitious and add a mile to the end of our run. We finished strong–Sheryl with her third run over 3 miles and me with my first ever 7 mile run. I was so pumped and proud of us both! 
Today, I am thankful for strong legs for running, a heart that can keep beating hard, the perfect running partner I’ve been desiring for years, and the added motivation to keep each other going. I never would have had the gumption to force myself to add a mile. But with Sheryl, it didn’t feel that bad at all. It was actually kind of fun. Watch out, world, we’ll be Olympic runners in no time! (HA!  At least we’ll be in great shape. :D)
do you workout with friends or solo? do you even work out? you totally should. It rocks!

The One with the First of the Canning

I have been trying so many new things this week. One of which I will share with you here. 
You’re welcome.  
On Monday, the hottest day of the newly-arrived fall season, Sheryl and decided to try canning tomatoes. Her neighbor had given her baskets upon baskets of tomatoes leftover from his garden, and we decided to preserve them for future use. We gathered those beautiful mason jars from new boxes and dusty, dirty, spider-filled boxes (those were mine. thank you, basement.) We washed and sanitized all of the jars, filled the stove with four large pots with various purposes and went to work– washing tomatoes, chopping off the stems, boiling them, shocking them in cold water to loosen the skins, peeling them (not always as easy as it should have been), breaking them up (especially fun to do with your handsclean hands, of course), simmering them for another however-many-minutes-until-we-thought-they-were-done, transferring them to the jars (with those handy-dandy wide-mouth funnel), and then the actual canning. 
Two days later, we tried a similar process with cooked salsa and additional canned tomatoes. The second time around we had a much better rhythm, but man, canning is quite a lot of work. I’m so glad I didn’t attempt it completely on my own for the first time. I probably would have given up. But working alongside a friend, filling the time with good conversation, makes the time together so sweet and very productive!
 I am thankful
What about this canning business? Do you have a lot of experience? Any tips to offer us?

The One with New Music

I may have gotten myself into big trouble. 
So to speak. 

The other day I was searching Amazon.com (pretty much my favorite place to shop ever) in order to find a new set of piano lesson books for my brand new student. (My third in three weeks!! Can I get a woot, woot?!) I easily found what I was looking for, added to my cart, and continued browsing. 
That’s when I found it. The perfect supplementary book for another one of my students. She already owns a full score of  Taylor Swift music, but the music itself was a bit beyond her current level. When I saw the Easy Piano version of Taylor Swift: Fearless I knew I had to tell her mom right away. I’m so glad I did! R’s mom was just as excited as I was about this great find, and ended up purchasing a second easy piano book as well. I can’t wait to start working on these fun songs with Miss R. (They might need to keep close tabs on the more advanced Taylor Swift book. I might just borrow it for an extended period of time. Ok, ok, I’m an honest person. But for real–they’re letting me borrow it. :D) 
This music book revelation of mine opened a whole other can of worms. I began searching for a great supplementary book for a brand new student–Miss C. I sent her a list of what I had found and she eagerly choose the Glee big note music collection. 
Wow! How fun are piano lessons going to be!? 
Now, I want to start ordering fun new books for myself. I haven’t had a new music book to play in far too long, and as much as I adore my worship music and Christian wedding music books, something as awesome as Francesca Battestelli or LOTR Fellowship of the Ring or Phantom of the Opera would be AMAZING and so much fun! It’s scary how fast and easy it would be to click BUY NOW, BUY NOW and spend a bazillion dollars
Luckily I have great self control in my spending. Otherwise, we might have a problem. 
What music suggestions do you have for me? (Either that you’ve played or music you love to listen to and think I would enjoy playing)

The One with Beans Coming Out My Ears

I have been going a hundred miles per hour in 10 different directions lately–but loving all of it! I’m not usually a fan of this-is-what-I’ve-been-doing-in-the-last-48-hours type of posts, but this is good stuff that I want to remember and I’m a little impressed at how much I’ve been accomplishing. tee hee. 
Sunday was busy, busy, but beautiful! We spent the afternoon chatting, laughing, and eating a healthy (thank you!) and delicious lunch with Brian & Karen and their son. It was great fun! They are so easy to be around. You know how it is when you just feel comfortable? Yeah, it’s nice. 
After we rode our bikes home (yep, total bonus of small town–almost everything and everyone is a 2-10 minute bike ride away!), I headed back out. This time to Sheryl’s for an afternoon of green bean snapping and sweet conversation. You know me and my love of productivity mixed with fun.* The two of us had a great time together, as always, and we both have a freezer full of beans. yum! 

*disclaimer–I also thoroughly enjoying sitting and doing nothing productive other than reading, watching tv or playing games with friends.   
Bible Quizzing and Youth Group filled the rest of the night, and Monday morning I hit the ground running. I had another Etsy Adorkable Bakery order to bake, package and ship, a dozen cookies to send off to my friend Betsy for her birthday, a meal to prepare for a local family needing dinners for a week (potato soup, homemade bread, and cookies), and then an afternoon of canning tomatoes. Sheryl and I are both novice canners, but we managed to get 9 quarts of tomatoes canned. And boy is that a process! We were both super thankful to have each other’s company. Chores are always more fun with friends. 
That evening I went home with jars of freshly canned tomatoes and a bag of chopped peppers for the freezer, then headed out to drop off the local family’s dinner. They were thrilled–especially with the bread–which made me super happy. I made it home just in time to deliver that batch of Adorkable Bakery cookies and then Kevin and I headed over to the high school volleyball to support one of our teens. (This made me miss our Michaela!) We had a great time and then enjoyed our evening at home together. 
I’ve been almost as busy today.–filling another Bakery order (coffee speckled chocolate chip cookies and chocolate covered butter toffeeamazing stuff that is!), preparing to add a third student (!) to my piano studio this Wednesday (*cue cheers of excitment*), making chili with some of the leftover tomatoes from Monday, searching for cheaper bakery and shipping boxes online, and balancing our checkbook. Starting the day with a bike ride to Sheryl’s followed by a 4 mile run together was the perfect way to start the day. 
And now, having re-read what I just typed, I’m tired all over again. I might just need a nap. 
How have YOU been these last couple days?! 

The One with What Makes a Good Weekend

Awesome things about this weekend include…
game night with Randy & Sheryl. We love hanging out with them. All four us spent plenty of time laughing hysterically. I found out Kevin had never actually played Cranium, he just assumed he wouldn’t like it. But he totally did. And don’t let him tell you otherwise. 
my new purse, designed and sewn by a wonderful 9 year old girl who just so happens to be Randy and Sheryl’s oldest. It was incredibly sweet of her. And super impressive. I feel loved.
a walk through the mountainous, scenic cemetery with a good friend, Diane. Sweet conversation and elevated heart rate–one of my favorite combinations. Second only to chocolate and peanut butter. 
sending my husband off to do his first major service, dressed up in his brand-spanking-new suit. Man, oh man, did he look good!
just spending time together, the two of us. We watched Soul Surfer together and started our 7th seasons of 24. We played a computer video game together (and I actually enjoyed myself.) We ate healthy meals and snuggled under the afghan.  We walked to the library and to the bank, enjoying the fall sunshine. 
All in all, a lovely weekend. I am thankful.
Did you enjoy your weekend? Do simple things like laughter and turning leaves make you happy too?


The One with My Parents’ 27th

Happy 27th Anniversary (yesterday) to my Mom & Dad! Thank you guys, for staying faithful to each other all these years, for raising Ash and I through thick and thin, for teaching me to be self-sufficient, and most importantly for leading me to salvation in Christ. Love you both! 
May God bless you with many more years of marriage with Him as your center. 

The One with the True Haggler

Tonight my mom called. We chit-chatted for a while and just before hanging up, I remembered a story from last weekend that I just had to tell her. By the end of my re-telling, we worth both cracking up with laughter, just about dying over the ridiculousness of the story I had just told. 
The story you are about to read is true. None of the details have been altered in any way.
This past Saturday, as I got back from my long-ish run (5 miles in 40 minutes thankyouverymuch. woo!), I decided my “cool down” would be walking with Kevin to the Rummage Sale at the Knights of Columbus hall just around the corner. This would kill four birds with one stone. 
1. get first dibs at the sale.
2. cool down from my run. 
3. go for a walk with my husband. 
4. spend time with my husband. 
Much to my glee, he agreed! And off we went. 
When we arrived, I was a bit confused and kind of bummed. This wasn’t a rummage sale at the Knights of Columbus. This was a the-Knights-of-Columbus-need-to-sell-all-their-old-junk-because-they-sold-their-building-sale. I took a courtesy look around. You know the type. “Yeah, I don’t really see any way I’ll find something worth buying here, but because I’m here, I might as well look around and pretend to be interested.” 
We made our way into the bar area of the hall and found boxes and boxes of glassware. There were these adorable little glasses I wanted to get, but Kevin quickly informed me they were shot glasses, so I moved on. (I’m naive, what can I say.) But then, my husband, who has a teensy addiction to glass ware and always seem to find a glass he just has to have, found a box of 96 drinking glasses. Sure, they’re probably beer glasses, but they are the “regular” height of a water glass, and have a uniquely small diameter, and a sweet frosted look. Kevin convinced me to buy some of them with this argument– “they’re so compact, lots more glasses can fit in our cupboards this way.” True. And he of course mentioned how awkward it is to drink out of our square-ish glasses. (He and my mom just get totally thrown off and don’t seem to know how to drink out of them–do you drink from a corner or an edge? So funny.)
Anyways, I conceded and we filled a box with 16 glasses. Yes, 16. 
I then set out to choose a price. Glasses are cheap at garage sales. And abundant. Plus, I can buy new glasses at Walmart for very little money. 
$1.00.
I decided I wanted to give the guy one dollar
With that in mind, I approached the older gentleman at checkout counter. He asked another guy, “Hey, how much do you want for these.”
“Five dollars.” 
Five dollars?” I reply. “I’ll give you a dollar for them. Glasses are cheap.” 
“Not those, they aren’t,” the man replied. “Those are worth $5.00.”
“I’m sorry, but I won’t give you any more than two,” I said, standing firm. “I can’t get glasses almost that cheap brand new. And besides you have a box of 96 of them back there.”
But the guy wouldn’t budge. 
Another gentleman approached us and offered $3.00. 
“Nope,” I said, “I’m not going any higher than two dollars.” 
(Yeah, this is for real, folks.) 
They turned me down, so I sent Kevin to return the glasses to their collection. 
(I’ve gotta give my husband some mad brownie points for this too. He never took control of the situation. He knows I’m hardcore about garage sales, and he let me handle it. Thanks, babe.) 
While I was waiting for his return, the only lady working with this rummage sale was standing in my vicinity. She had tried to talk the guys down in their price, but those men were certain their glasses were worth more. 
At that moment, she leaned over and said, “You can have them for two. I’ll go get him.” (him, being my husband.) 
VIC-TOR-Y!
Kevin was totally stoked to get his box of awesome glasses. I, on the other hand, was totally irritated that I had to spend a whole extra dollar to buy him his glasses. (And no, I’m not joking. I was actually irritated.)

Now, a week later, I’m happy. The glasses are super cute. And he was right–many more glasses can fit in my cupboard this way. And I don’t regret that extra dollar one bit.

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Anyone else out there a haggler?!  Or am I crazy and alone on this one? 

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The One with the Top [insert number here] Shows I’m Stoked About

And now, 
because I forgot it was Tuesday until it was already past my bedtime, 
because I haven’t slept well in days, 
because I am a lover of quality (I use that term a bit loosely) television entertainment (I know, I know, not the best use of my time, but I love tv, I can’t deny it.) 
and because I was really excited to watch the first episode of the new session of The Biggest Loser tonight, 
I give you, 
the top ten six tv shows I’m totally looking forward to this fall. 
1) Parenthood
I tried to watch an episode or two in session 1 but never got into it. Probably because it on past my bedtime. But then Britt starting talking to me about it during session 2 and I began watching to keep up with our conversations. I am now totally hooked. I was looking forward to last Wednesday’s premier BIG TIME. Even if I did watch it on Hulu the next morning. 
2) The Office
I’m really not sure how I’m going to feel about this new guy–he totally creeps me out–but after watching the former seasons on dvd in rapid succession (some episodes multiple times), I’m a serious fan. Sorry I wrote you off in the beginning during the first 5 sessions.  
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3) The Biggest Loser. 
I have been quite a diehard fan of this show for the last three years (which is, what? 6 sessions?), but I’m not so sure how I’ll feel with all of the changes. I don’t do well with change. Except, of course, when it comes to people changing their lives by losing insane amounts of poundage. 
4) Criminal Minds
I have been a lover of crime shows for a long time. This began out of a desire to spend time with my dad. Dad loves crime shows. I watched crime shows with dad. Now I love crime shows too. I scare myself sometimes–bad dreams, and paranoia–but it’s totally worth it.
Criminal Minds is BY FAR my favorite crime show of all time. It’s SO well done. So gripping. So intense. And the character development is just awesome. I love me some Garcia and Reed and Shemar Moore (because I can’t remember his character name at the moment and because he’s my one celebrity crush. And yes, Kevin knows all about this.)
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5) Modern Family
It just doesn’t get much funnier than this. Yet another show I didn’t think I’d get into, but when Pastor Dale and the family was talking about how hilariously awesome it was, I couldn’t help but watch. And I’m so glad I did. 
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6) How I Met Your Mother (or affectionately referred to as HIMYM) 
Kevin and I totally love this show. It’s FRIENDS for the 21st century. We borrowed the first however many sessions from Sara and Kyle while we were at camp in 2010 and we were totally hooked. I can’t wait for new episodes! (And I also can’t wait to own the dvds. I could watch these guys over and over.) 
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What shows are YOU looking forward to this fall?

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The One with His Specific Provision

wow. 
I’m at a loss for words at God’s goodness. His provision. His forethought. And His passionate attention shown to the innermost aspects of my life. 
In the months before this big move, across states and into faith, there were many prayers offered. We sought wisdom–where to move, where to live, where to go to school. We asked for financial provision for which we couldn’t prepare. And beneath all of the food-on-the-table and roof-over-our-heads requests, we sought a place to belong. That third component of full life–where relationships become as integral as breathing–was a silent prayer, pondered deep in my heart. 
And my God knows me so well. He knows my deepest needs, my heart’s longing. 
Something like this should takes years to develop, but God planned differently. He wanted me connected. Sharing lives, shoulders, dreams, and hurts. Supporting another just as I need support. 
I have already made so many wonderful friends here. But today, this afternoon, God gave me a glimpse of His glorious plan for my life in the time I spent with the friend my heart has needed. I am thankful beyond words, excited beyond description. My heart is overflowing, tears of joy stream down my face. 
Thank you, Jesus, for your care, your provision. You are so good to me. 
Do you believe life is richer when truly shared by a friend??

The One with TMI (but not for you)

Sometimes, you just have to let your hair down. So to speak. In the metaphorical sense it’s just nice to take out those tight bobby pins that have been keeping my hair oh-so-perfectly-presentable and yet have been digging into my scalp, give my head a good shake, take a deep breath and chill-the-heck-out. 
Do you follow?
No?
Ok, maybe that was a ridiculous metaphor. Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen. The truth is, it felt so good to be crazy and silly with a handful of women who were following suit. It was just 7 of us, different ages, different life stages. Sharing a meal. Many of us didn’t know each other well. Honestly, having been at this church for just over a month I guess I can say I couldn’t possibly have had the time to get to know anyone well
Relationships takes time. Time to be real. Time to relax. Time to share hurts. Time to talk about things that probably don’t ever need to be talked about, but it just feels good air out your “dirty laundry” every now and again and go home without feeling the least bit judged for the ridiculous conversation you were just a part of, and, in fact, instigated
*deep breath* That was a crazy run-on sentence. But it needed to be. For affect, you know?
After last night’s women’s dinner for 8 and the subsequent dessert with 25, I feel that much more at ease, connected, loved. 
Laughter is a beautiful thing. Relationships are healing. We were meant for community.
Do you agree?
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