Saturday, December 8, 2012

Wired


The line between contentment and ambitiousness is a fine one.

I've never been good at balance. I'm an all or nothing person. I have almost always considered this a bad trait, until talking to a coworker yesterday. She said that she was the same way. And then she said something that made me speechless. I might have felt a tear yearning to break free- but I did not let it.

She said:
When I get an idea in my head, its (forms her hands over her eyes, creating a tunnel) all I can think about, and it drives my husband CRAZY!


I'm not alone! There are others like me! :0

She said it was a good thing because it helped us decide whether or not it was worth our time. We would find out everything there was to know, ask tons of questions, throwing ourselves into a focused silo of energy. Once we know everything we need to know, then we can decide if we want to pursue it completely, or not at all.


I liked that. It makes me feel less crazy. Because it's true. I'm so a silo-starving girl who loves to explore, exploit, and uncover anything there is to know about a certain venture/sport/job opportunity/diet/major/project/parenting-style/mood-disorder/gardening overhaul/relationship. I do give all or nothing. This should be a good thing, for those who I'm involved with. Because I do give all of myself. I avoid at all costs, being 1/2 present at anything I choose to pursue. Because I've pursued it with everything I have. My Dad would always say that he "sees those wheels turning". Whenever I get a new idea in my head, I want to know everything there is about it. Is it an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, or something that will come again? What are the risks, benefits, and rewards? Who will be affected? And how much? Good or bad? What will change? What will our lives look like in five years, ten years, if I make this choice? How is my family affected? Will I like it, or do I just like it because of XYZ (the money, the title, the "look").

Maybe someday when I'm wise and old (and basically dead) I'll be able to discern those opportunities quicker than I currently can, and I won't need to ask a bazillion and one questions to see if its right for me. Maybe I'll be so in-tune to who I am and what God wants for me that I'll just know. I've always thought discernment was one of my gifts. Now I just wonder if I've misused discernment as a synonym to curiosity, tenacity, and stubbornness.

Regardless - just learning more about myself and writing it down. I'm sure someday, probably sooner rather than later, I'll question why I am the way I am- and then I'll look back and read this, and realize I've always been like this. It's how I'm wired. It's how God made me. And I'm glad I'm me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pantry Rehaul

I found it on pintrest. Dang pintrest. I saw pictures of this fabulous pantry. It was painted a different color than the normal white, and everything was in tupperware and labeled! It was gorgeous! My first thought was- I would cook if my pantry looked like that! I know that eventually ScoobyDoo would appreciate it, since I wouldn’t be buying a spice, that I already had four of in the pantry. Sure – when I started unloading the pantry and putting everything out on to the tables, counters, and floor, I don’t think he was as grateful. :) 

It wasn’t as quick as I thought it would be. It was a weekend project, not a Saturday-afternoon-during-the-kids-naptime project. And it was IMMENSELY easier to tackle with help. I highly recommend enlisting a partner to help you tackle projects like this. Especially if you have young children that will need the supervision of another (we’re up to three adults now) person to ensure they’re not eating all said food on the tables, counters, and floor. If you know someone that loves you unconditionally, and happens to work at Kelly-Moore paints, this person might prove to be your rescuer later on….

So I started by taking some starter photos of what my pantry looked like before I got started. This was motivating enough!




Then I took everything out. This is when it started to get scary.




Having multiple dining chairs, as well as a child’s gate, proved to be extremely helpful in creating a baracade between my pantry-rehaul project and the hungry gremlins on the other side.


Then I decided to try and do what I could, without going to the store. Have I mentioned how much I despise shopping? Well, I do. So I knew that I had some leftover paint in the garage from random projects, as well as white spray paint. PERFECT! I broke out the spray paint, and started layering the shelves. I didn’t realize how scuffed up they were! GROSS!




Granted, it did take forever and 100 layers of spray paint to really thoruoughly do the kind of job that you would want to be done. Yeah you could do a cheap job and fix it up later, but when is the next time you’re really going to want to do this? So I went through two bottles of spray paint, and then ScoobyDoo offered to take Smiles and YumYum to Home Depot and get two more. Every time I spray painted, the kids would need to be out of the house for several hours. This was one of those weekends that I was so glad that ScoobyDoo is such a task-oriented person. He tackled his to-do list like only Scooby Doo can.

After I went through the next two bottles of spray paint, I got a call from my beloved cousin. I had talked to her the day before, and invited her and her gorgeous family to come up, but I hadn’t heard back yet. Let’s see… I haven’t named her yet! Well, she’s absolutely the sweetest person ever, with a completely genuine heart to match… let’s call her HotMama. I think that name fits her pizzaz perfectly. J HotMama said her and StudlySidekick, her husband, were going to be able to come up for the day! We-who! They were bringing their son too! (I haven’t thought of a name for him yet…) I told HotMama about the crazy project I decided to take on, and she proceeded to answer every question I had. We ended the conversation with, don’t worry – we’ll figure out everything when I get there. I love that girl!!!

So we painted the shelves with primer/paint duo can (turns out you need that primer stuff to get rid of all the color). Then we used the leftover spray paint to spray paint the design that I found at Beverly's on to the back of the wall. It added that perfect touch I was looking for.




It was about then I started to get really excited. :) :) :)

First, I did an inventory of the food we had. I wasn't sure how many bins I wanted to buy, so I got took out my grocery bags and sorted stuff accordingly. I ended up creating a few "bags" - this showed me what size I needed the bins to be, what kind, etc. etc. So I have a baking supplies bin, a bread bin, kid's candy bin, adult candy bin, pasta (I think this was a few bins)... Then, it was all about the....


I wanted to buy clear bins so I could see through them once everything was put away. Turns out the dollar store had some great buys!!!! I was in heaven. I barracaded myself in the back of the store sorting the tupperware, laying it out - comparing the sizes with what I had written down on my 3 x 5 notecard. ScoobyDoo ended up doing a Target run for the large bins at the bottom, as well as the two "cereal" type/pour from tupperware.

I ended up going to label heaven of course. How can you go to all this trouble of organizing everything, and then not add labels? I highly recommend it.

One of my favorite parts of the pantry is my spice rack! I got these great things off Amazon, and I just saw them in the December issue of Current Magazine! I will never again buy 5 of the same spice (which happens all to frequently). They're plastic holders, similar to what would be in your garage to hold up things like your broom, mop, etc. so they don't touch the floor. I went to Home Depot to buy that originally, but they only had really heavy duty metal ones, and they were much more expensive than what I was willing to send. Amazon (gotta love them right?) ended up having the item that fit the bill.

You can get them here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005J9FNTK/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00, or just search "SpiceStor Organizer Rack 20 Cabinet Door Spice Clips" on Amazon. I bought two sets of 20, and spent less than $15, and less than $20 after shipping. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

*Warning- if you go on Amazon and search organization supplies + pantry + kitchen, beware that millions of items will be forever burned in your mind. Images of spice racks, inserts, racks, separators.... you will want to go hog-heaven and buy everything. Don't. Remember you'll end up regretting if you spend a lot of money, your spouse probably won't be thrilled, you'll have to wait longer to get it all delivered (delayed gratification?), and if you're anything like me, you'll probably get overwhelmed as you will inevitably purchase items for organizing other parts of your kitchen. STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR MISSION! And just get some of these cool $7 spice racks! :)



ScoobyDoo also placed tiered 2 x 4's on one of the shelves. This was great for all of our canned items.


Once I had everything where I wanted it, I changed it around.
And then I did it again.
And then I was DONE!!!!

Turned out pretty cool huh?




(I hate the fact that because the "crackers" box wasn't centered evenly, that I questioned whether or not to post this picture. I executed an evil laugh in the face of my type A personality, and posted it anyways! Go me!)


I've loved cooking with my new pantry, and I look forward to doing more! (For those of you who know me, this is not a normal statement that would come from me. I assure you, this post is I, 007, writing.)

Thank you to HotMama and ScoobyDoo for all of your help! I couldn't have donated it without you!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I have an itch. (as I bite my tongue)

I’ve always wanted to use my brain. Some people felt that by majoring in Bible & Theology and attending a small Christian University, I wasn’t opening the doors for a lot of other opportunities. The truth is, I don’t think I really was. To those who asked, I told people that I studied what interested me. Youth ministry interested me. Studying Biblical texts, history, sociology, human behavior, organizing youth trips, missions, teaching – these are the things that interested me when I was a 17-year-old freshman in college. Eight years later, I still love all of those things. But I like other things too. I’m interested in math and science. I love making graphs and studying numbers. I’m fascinated by science, and how two seemingly calm and docile chemicals can create something outwardly magical and exquisitely interesting.

 
I’d consider myself a smart person. I’m not your average over-the-top, off-the-charts intelligent. I didn’t score that well on my SATs. I graduated with A’s and B’s in college, and with honors, but I’ve never had a 4.0. I absolutely loved school and studying, and I still do. Having the chance to succeed at something academically, that I was interested in- hear me roar! I always wanted a career that I could use my brain and my heart. Normally a lot of people-oriented careers tap into a person’s extroverted personality, wit, humor, or flexibility. Most task-oriented careers are data-focused, analytically-driven, and more introverted positions. I envision a career that is analyzing matters of the heart. I love the art of mixing science and intelligence with human thought and behavior.
 

I’m an introvert who is smart. I love people, but I prefer to be alone. Unless I want to be with people. Then I will stop at nothing to find someone who is breathing to hang out with. I get giddy over organizing data, but I was scared to take calculus in high school. I dreaded studying rocks in college, but my Geology class at the local Junior College ended up being one of my favorites. I always wanted to be a teacher. Then I promised God and myself I would obey what I thought was His Call, and go into Ministry someone- either with youth, somehow missions oriented, outdoors… I never had it all figured out, but I figured I would just keep walking and God would direct my path. After all, that’s what faith is, right?

 
The last few days, I was skimming over the requirements for an FBI or CIA applicant. Most of the analytical positions, which to me – would seemingly merge the head and the heart, require far more of an education than what I have. But something about working in intelligence intrigues me. You’re obviously doing something that matters. It seems like that would be an example of an organization that would require you to work with all of your brain, in order to protect people, which would hit – or affect- matters of the heart. But most of the positions are based on the east coast, or you have to be able to be mobile- and move when they say. Neither appeals to me.

 
I love my job. I work with some grumpy people here and there on the phones, but they mean well – they’re just in pain and frustrated. I have the best co-workers in the universe. They’re funny, quirky, and overwhelmingly dynamic. They are sarcastic, wise, witty, and team-oriented. They work as a unit, which is rare in today’s common-place “who’s on top” marketplace.

 
I wonder what type of activity I could indulge in that would magnetize these two, seemingly polar interests that I have. Matters of the heart and of the head.

 
Scooby Doo and I were talking a few weeks back about what kind of activity that would look like. In the past, I always thought it had to be my career. It is just recently that I’m starting to accept the idea that it might not be all in one place. Maybe I work somewhere analytical, and take up a hobby that is about “heart” matters. Or perhaps the opposite. I don’t want to keep switching jobs looking for it, because right now I’m working in a job that I’m really enjoying- but I still feel this desire in me for more. Not something career-wise more, but just… more. But how in the heck am I supposed to do more when I barley have the energy to do what’s in my lap? With two babies- ages 1 and 2, who on this beautiful God-sculpted Earth would be looking for more? I’m stinking exhausted! But I want more. I’ve considered that what I’m feeling is a lack of contentness. That’s not it. I’m quite content with what I have. Fiercly so. I am more blessed than 100% of the people I meet. I feel strong, steady, and grounded.
 
 
But I feel like God created me for more than this.
 
 
What is supposed to fill it? I have the perfect family, 2.5 kids (if you count Walter), a beautiful home next to a park, an amazingly gorgeous husband who has and will put his everything into our marriage to ensure our family-unit is protected, a great well-paying and satisfying job... Why has God put this itchy, annoying, tantalizing, temptation in my mind for something more?

 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thankful

As punishment for staying up past curfew, or talking back - my parents would often take away social things. Mostly youth group. I remember crying, DYING for that social interaction. I remember my parents saying "it's not like we (insert_something_terrible_and_unrealistic)".... I think I'm starting to get it.

It's hard to be a parent, but oh my word- we are doing a good job. ScoobyDoo & I make an amazing team. YES! Sometimes we do fly by the seat of our pants, or "wing it"... quite often actually! But even when we discipline, in the middle of that snapshot moment when I want to break and crumble but instead I point and raise my voice and eyebrows- even in that moment, especially in that moment, my kids are blessed. As a perfectionist, it's easy to loose your sense of reality. The reality is - this moment will pass - and many moments of happy tears and laughter will come. Right now, in this moment, it's just a hard moment.



I am so thankful for my family. I truly have the most amazing family. I have a husband who I am madly in love with. He appreciates me, listens to me, and loves me. He encourages me, builds me up, makes me laugh, makes me stronger, and holds a biblical perspective constantly. I have an absolutely AMAZING little girl. No words can capture her essence. Her presence. She's dynamic. Spectacular. Dynamite. Explosive! She's tender, gentle, sweet, caring, smart, persistent, driven, determined, compassionate, fearless, and fun. So. Much. Fun. I have a precious son who I adore. He is so close to my heart. His first top tooth was the fourth tooth on his right. When he smiles, all you can see are his two bottom teeth and this one random tooth in the top right of his mouth. It's so cute. He's SUCH a flirt. He absolutely loves to wrestle and tickle. Often he'll crawl over to me and just flop his heavy top-heavy body on me. Today he laughed and just fell (seated) towards me, and put his mouth over my forehead- putting his teeth into my forehead! What?! Why is this cute? Because he's almost 9 months old, and how I feel... it's better than ... do you remember your first big crush? Anything they did was meant just for you, and everything they said was perfect. That's Smiles to me. He can do no wrong. Yes, I realize this isn't the healthiest parenting quality to admit, but right now, where we are at, it's the truth. I give it another month or so. Or I suppose now that I've recorded that, today was our "last supper".

Smiles @ 8 months

YumYum @ almost 2 years old



My family- my unit. A friend of ours, Aces, often talks about protecting his family. In his wisdom, he has taught me the difference between my family (mom/dad/sisters/etc.) and my family (husband/children). You can love and honor both very much, but our job now- our honor- our joy- our job/mission/goal is to protect/live/love our family. My family. My husband. My son. My daughter. They are my family. I never understood how you became "a family". My family was special. My Dad adopted us, and as such, loving us, and us loving him back, was intentional. We didn't have to. He definitely didn't have to. But he did. And that created an incredible bond from the beginning of our lives as "a family". We were automatically that unit. We didn't have a growing process. At least, in my opinion as a child watching from an innocent, often naive perspective.

the best man in the world

I am so close with my sisters, my parents, my grandparents. I don't believe that I have to distance myself with them to be close, or to establish, my family. And I truly don't believe that Scooby Doo or I, could have possibly been blessed any more than we ready are. Our siblings are all followers of Christ, as are our parents and grandparents. They've prayed for us, they continue to pray for us. They love us, they love our kids. They KNOW us. And they love us. And we love them. So very much.

Creating a family. You're, I am- a part of something HUGE. Scooby Doo and I are creating a family unit that will someday, be the grandparents that our grandchildren reference. We will someday be known as "Smiles' Dad" or "YumYum's Mom". This takes time. But I am so eternally, immensely, indescribably grateful for my family. For yes, the family that I grew up with, and, more importantly, my family today. My husband. My son. My daughter. I am so incredibly grateful for my family. Thank you Jesus.

Little Brother & Big Sister lovin'

Happy Easter baby girl!

Far past my greatest dreams

thank you Jesus.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I love my Grandma TTHHHIISSSSSS MUCH!!

I wrote the below letter to my Grandma, who is simply awesome. We recently found out that she has cancer again, and unfortunately, this time there is a lot of it. To heal her would take a lot of invasive procedures, and chemo and radiation are too much for her to go through again. She is an absolutely amazing woman. Her and Grandpa have been married for something crazy like 63 years or something. They live around the corner from us, and I am SO GRATEFUL. I love that I have such a great relationship with my Mom's parents. They're the best. I wrote this email to my Grandma this morning, and wanted to write it on my blog so that other people could know how much she means to me, and how amazing of a woman she really is. Because of Meemee, we are pretty darn blessed.
 
---
February 23, 2012
 
Hi Grandma,
 
I was just thinking about you and praying for you. You were in my thoughts all day yesterday.
 
Mom called and told me about the biopsy results. I'm sad, and I don't know what to say - but I want you to know I'm here for you and I love you. If you want to play cards, if you want to talk/vent, if you need someone to listen, or if you just want to hang out with your granddaughter or great-grand babies, say the word- and I'm there. Obviously there is a lot going on right now, and I would assume you and Grandpa need some quiet time to process and collect your thoughts. When you feel it would be appropriate and you are ready, I would love to bring the kids over to play. Smiles turns six months old on March 2nd, and YumYum will be two on May 15th. Where did the time go? I used to hate when other people would say that, but now I understand. I blink my eyes- and the things that felt like yesterday are long gone.
 
God is good. I have so much to be thankful for. I am so grateful that you & Grandpa moved closer to us when you did. You've been able to be a part of my high school and college years. You've seen me walk down the aisle, and played solitaire with me as we waited for the ceremony to start. You were the first person that I told when I thought I was preganant... YumYum arrived 9 months later. You knew before even I knew for sure, and ScoobyDoo, or my parents.... I didn't know for sure yet- but I was so excited to tell you. I remember your reaction. "Oh boy"- and your sly grin.  You were there in the hospital when my daughter was born, and you've held and soothed my son since his arrival. I can't believe we are done having babies, and I am SO GLAD that our children have had the opportunity to be loved and love, their great grandparents. What a blessing. So much of the wisdom you have given me in your words, encouragement, and even just by your presence- I will continue to use as my "fuel" moving forward. And I hope that I can help fuel your heart and encourage you in the time ahead. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm so glad that I'm able to experience it with you, and be a part of your life. It is an honor, and so much fun.
 
Know that I'm here for you, and if you need anything, please don't hesitate to call or email.
 
I love you,
007
 
My Grandparents with Baby Smiles (Christmas 2011)

Grandma and I
 

Friday, February 10, 2012

What? My husband is Matthew Lillard?

So here’s the 411 on the 007.

Ha. That sounded a lot more clever in my head than it reads.

Lame.

Well in hopes that he can remain anonymous, I won’t describe how I know the friend whose advice it was for me to take down a particular blog post that I wrote last month about work. I had mixed feelings when he cautioned me that a blog with so many specifics could come back to bite me. Scooby Doo has heard stories of several co-workers that have been fired for blogging confidential information, but forgetting to remain anonymous. I took the post down, and I explained to my husband, and to myself, why I loved blogging.

Unlike journaling, when I blog I’m writing to a live audience. My personality is a people-pleaser, so often I jump on the whim of a hope, and leap at the sign of a hurdle, without giving it second thought. In blogging, I am able to receive confirmation for or against my actions, and it helps keep me in check.

I like to make other people happy. When I blog, I think about what I want. It’s an outlet for creativity, dreaming, optimisim, and realisim- all wrapped up in one.

Much like a Christian community, like the church, my blogging community is comprised of many “family” members. I trust that they will encourage me in my struggles, and speak frankly with me when I ask for their thoughts. I am consistently pleasantly surprised when I so eagerly read the comments from others on my blog site.

Because I don’t often have the time, or emotional energy, to express to each of my friends what is going on in my life, a blog provides me the avenue for keeping people informed, and provides them with specific ways to pray for our family.

So I’ve decided to make my blog anonymous. In my head, being anonymous means not showing your face, and speaking behind a black curtain with one of those voice distorters that makes you say almost instinctively, “Luke, I am your Father”. So I’m not quite sure how to be anonymous when I’m blogging. Here’s how I’m starting:

-         I’m not making specific references to where I live, where I go to work or play, or who I work with.
-         I will not name any one person by their real name, unless they were an acquaintance to me as they would be to you.

I think this is a good start. Do you have any suggestions? The thought of leaving this blogging site, even though it’s in its infant stages, and just starting a new one- I couldn’t bear. Unfortunately, there is no “find and replace in every post and comment” button that I can do. So I’ve having to re-read every post and comment, editing for specifics. Has anyone thought of a better way to do this?

Here’s how I came up with the nicknames:

My husband is Scooby Doo. Throughout our time together, people have continually said that he looks like the actor who plays Shaggy in Scooby Doo. I don’t see it – AT ALL. I think my husband is INSANLY attractive and I wouldn’t look twice at the Shaggy actor. Or so I thought. When we were dating, his roommates showed me a picture where my soon-to-be husband was kneeling next to the television, and the TV was paused with that guy on the screen, Matthew Lillard. I saw no resemblance.




To refresh my memory, I googled photos of Matthew Lillard. And… well, they were right. He does look a lot like my husband.



But my husband is still way sexier. But in order to refrain from calling my husband, “my husband” every time I mention him, I decided to just call him his Doppelgänger’s name, or at least- who I thought he played on TV. So I decided to call my husband “Scooby Doo”. Well, it looks like I pulled a “007” (my name). Matthew Lillard didn’t play Scooby Doo; he played Shaggy. Scooby Doo was the dog. Oops. Sorry babe. I love you Scooby, Scooby Doooooo.



My daughter eats like no one’s business. She LOVES food. And I love her, so she is Yum Yum.



This morning when I went to see if my son was awake, I found him lying on his back, grabbing his toes. He gave me the biggest smile as he released his toes, and rolled on to his stomach. He is such a happy kid. I can’t wait to see how he grows. He will be Smiles.



My husband’s brother lives with us, and it’s awesome. He’s a great guy, and Yum Yum absolutely ADORES him. You’ll have to read Smiles’ birth story to read why I’m calling him McGyver.





I have two sisters.













The first is 15 months younger than me, and I’m going to call her Paula Deen because this woman (my sister, not Paula) (well, maybe Paula) can do ANYTHING. She can cook the best meals, she can craft something out of nothing, and she does it all with a smile and a cheer. And she looks WAY better than Paula Deen! My sister is absolutely stunning. She’s ridiculously entergetic, optimistic, and creative. And when I think of Paul Deen, those are the characteristics that I think of. Call me crazy.

My other sister is 10 years younger than me, and I’ve called her Shiner. It’s OKAY, but I’m not in love with the name quite yet. Originally, I was trying to think of a nick name that could encapsulate her ability to witness the Gospel to everyone. She’s a walking evangelist, and does it by being herself. She has a servant’s heart, who loves the Lord, and is absolutely Goo-Goo-Gaa-Gaa for Jesus. She’s also a great dancer, and gets more bruises than anyone I’ve ever known. So I though Shiner would fit her well. Do you have any other suggestions?


Let’s see… who else…..

Meemee and Poppee are my parents, Grandmie and Grandpie are Scooby Doo’s Parents. (is that how it’s spelt?)

Scooby Doo’s old roommate, and one of our close friends, is called Aces. I decided to call him that because Aces enjoys playing cards, and that’s the first thing that came into in my head. But the more I thought about it, the more fitting it become. Aces is truly a stand up guy. He is a gentleman (yes, you.), and he really is quite a great Dad and husband. I’m glad my husband has friends like him. Even though I’m sure they’ve gotten into plenty of trouble together, they’ve also always been there for one another. It’s friends like Aces who stick around no matter what.




Oh, and me! I’m 007. My sister (Paula Deen) and I always would write secret notes back and forth. Somewhere along the lines she named me 007 after James Bond’s character, or I came up with it. Paula, do you remember? Maybe you can email me and I can add it to this post….

OH! I almost forgot about Bob. He's Bob cause he just looks like a Bob.


Before his first haircut....

Now....


Well that’s all for now. I’m sure more nicknames will need to be invented down my blogging journey.


Until then,
Just a drink, a martini, shaken, not stirred,


007