Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rose Jar

My 24th birthday was a few weeks ago, on January 15th. I spent the entire day before it in our annual Tax Season Kickoff Meeting. (Try not to be jealous) When it was over, I came out to my car to find it washed and detailed inside and out and a gorgeous arrangement of pink roses in the cup holder:

I was so happy! Major points for my loving husband, both for the clean car and the roses, which he explained away as "Well I figured your clean car needed an air freshener..." :-) I enjoyed the roses in all their glory for a few days then began my plan to turn them into a Rose Jar, which I had been wanting to do for a while. I am totally stealing this idea from Angela, whose beautiful rose jars can be found here and here. Gorgeous. And such a great idea. So when my roses started to get a little bit droopy...

I hung them up to dry in our guest bathroom and set the ribbon aside in the kitchen to use for the jar. I even told Trent "Hey don't toss this ribbon, I'm going to use it."

The next morning I woke up to find this in the den:

Oooooh I cried. I was SO upset. STUPID DOG!!!!! At first I wondered how she jumped all the way up to the shower curtain rod to tear down my precious roses, but when I went into the guest bathroom I realized it was my own fault. I had not secured them well enough and they had all fallen down. Luckily, she had not destroyed them all and I salvaged what I could, making sure to secure them better this time. But Lucy even got the ribbon off the kitchen counter as if she knew it would add to my heartbreak. UGH!!

I persevered. The flowers dried successfully and last night I put together my first rose jar. It turned out great, even though it is not completely full of flowers. If the dumb dog hadn't destroyed some of them, it would have been the perfect amount. Alas. But I love it anyway! While I was putting the flowers in the jar in my craft room I hollered out to the living room at Trent, "Hey babe, I'm using needle nose pliers in a craft project." "That's ma girl!"

I put the little bitty pink baby's breath lookin' flowers as a layer on the bottom and then a few on top too. Then wrapped some pink yarn around the top and tied it in a bow. Ta-da! I am going to make a cute tag to tie onto it to tell what the flowers were for, but I'm not sure how I want to do that yet. I think I may ask Trent to get back in the birthday mood and write a little note for me and date it. We shall see.

So, I finally made my rose jar and it turned out pretty well. I hinted to Trent that I would love to eventually have a collection of these from different occasions. * wink wink *

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Heart the CCC Youth

This post will probably be pretty random and unorganized. Not sure. I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been busy with my birthday, getting together with my Baylor roommates for Create Your Own Coming Of Homies 2011, the youth garage sale and gearing up for tax season. If anyone has any good ideas to psych myself out for the mandatory overtime that I start on Monday, let me know. Also, if you have any good ideas for healthy snacks to stash in my desk for the long days ahead, those would be appreciated to. I probably won’t be able to post much in the next three months, FYI, but we’ll see.

Ok, random thought number 1. I played my “I don’t work for the church” card last night, which my hubby encourages me to use any time, and skipped out on youth garage sale work night #4. Instead, I worked out, then took a nice, long, hot bath, complete with bath salts and a good book. I have not delved into this much in the past because I didn’t have time to and it seemed boring to just sit in a bath tub. Wrong. I felt SO relaxed by the time I got out of there and headed to bed. I was in some sort of relaxation coma I think. Between that and reading my Bible-In-A-Year installment of Numbers 16ish (zzzz), I went right to sleep at 9:00. I’m going to have to get in the habit of truly going to sleep at 9 at the latest since I will soon be arising around 5:30 to work 6 am to 6 pm (ew). So maybe I will tuck this hot bath idea away and use it to wind me down for sleep. Although I’m sure in a few weeks I won’t have ANY problem going to sleep at any time.


Trent and I are still oozing joy because of youth group this week. It. Was. Awesome. We are just so amazed by these kids and the joy they bring to both of us. They weren’t afraid to ask hard questions and chew on tricky scriptures. We leaders weren’t afraid to say we didn’t know the answer. Trent had a lesson plan and a worksheet, but those soon got ditched and replaced by genuine, spontaneous discussion. We started out talking about the Holy Spirit, read part of Acts 2, discussed what we think the Holy Spirit to be in our lives. How can God and Jesus be the same person? How can Jesus be fully God and fully human at the same time? When Jesus cried out from the cross to his Father, wasn’t he just crying out to himself? Aren’t we all put on earth to “be Jesus” to others? What does that even mean and how can we do that as humans? How does the Holy Spirit fit in with God and Jesus? What are times when you felt the Holy Spirit present around you? One answer: there that night. We stopped only because it was 8:00 and parents were waiting. We ended with a popcorn prayer which just means everyone bows their heads and whoever wants to say a little prayer about anything just pops in and says it. It went on and on with heart felt prayers from the youth and the sponsors. Some popped in multiple times. Others remained silent. Some prayed for their own requests and some prayed for others. I got choked up listening. Do you know how hard it is for some people, especially young people, to pray aloud? These youth are comfortable with each other, trust each other and love each other. It is so amazing to see their cohesive friendships across ages and genders. And they have a hunger right now to learn about God. Even the kids who weren’t really paying attention to the discussion had their nose in a Bible and were just exploring. (Sidenote: The Message version of the Bible has really clicked with these youth. The Bible came alive to them once Trent got copies of The Message for the youth room and some for them to take home.) One was even exploring the Bible on an Iphone app…oh how times change. Which reminds me, we forgot to have everyone put their phones in the “cell cell”. I guess it didn’t matter since everyone was engaged and learning in some way. Just check out the facebook statuses following Focus:

“Just left church. Tonights talk was amazing. Almost cried at a few points. That's good, right?”

“Church was great tonight! I love my youth group! :)”

"_______, you are Psalm 1."

“God, the only one and only - ill wait as long as he says. Everything i need comes from him, so why not? He is solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: im set for life. - Pslam 62 1-2”

The best way I can sum this up is my own facebook status from that night:

“Love this youth group. Love the discussion we had tonight about the Holy Spirit. Love their questions. Love that Trent & I get to hang out with them.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cute Country Stocking Hangers

My sister, Sarah, had this cute idea for hanging their stockings at my parents' house. You don't have to poke any holes in your fireplace mantle and it looks super cute Gather up some of your household cowboy boots if you have them, gather up some rocks, put the rocks in ziploc bags, put the bags in the boots to weigh them down so they don't topple over from the weight of Christmas morning goodies, then tie your stockings to them with holiday ribbon:

So cute! You have my permission to also ooh and aah over our personalized, hand-knit stockings that our Aunt Lori made for each of us when we were born. She even made Trent one for a wedding present! Mine and his were back home in Waco. This picture was actually taken last Saturday, January 8th, when I was in Fredericksburg for a visit. I guess they weren't ready to put away Christmas yet!

Friday, January 7, 2011

You Know Your Husband Is A Youth Minister When...

Just a few things I have observed over the past 8 months. :-)

You know your husband is a youth minister when...

~ You rarely ride to church in/on the same vehicle.

~ You left one of said vehicles at church, meaning to pick it up later but forget until just when you are going to bed. Ugh.

~ You have leftover pizza in your fridge that you did not pay for.

~ You stare at text messages from youth together to figure out what some of the acronyms and abbreviations mean.

~ Your laundry loads contain a growing number of youth event t-shirts.

~ You know you'll spend at least two weeks of the summer alone at home.

~ "That's what she said" and "Yer mom" become part of your vocabulary.

~ You spend your second wedding anniversary at a church board meeting.

~ You don't ever have to worry about cooking dinner on Wednesday nights.

~ You are considering giving up half of your total vacation time for the year to go on the mission trip.

~ You and he have a serious discussion regarding the shape of his goatee.

~ You stay up till 1:00 am, spend the night at the church, then go to the office the next day.

~ If a church member needs to get something to you, you just tell them to put it in the youth room.

~ You have frequent mini date nights to sporting events and school plays.

~ You stop by Relay for Life at midnight to see if he or the youth need anything.

~ You have a special color code in your Outlook calendar at work for "Youth Activities".

~ Your Google Docs list includes lesson plans he has shared with you for input.

~ You have a drawing on your fridge from a youth.

~ Your wedding photo album has been used as an idea book for some of the youth girls who are already planning their future weddings.

~ You have stopped by the church just to go to the bathroom.

~ Your "weekend" getaways are usually Thursday-Saturday.

~ Your own coworkers are probably tired of seeing yet another postcard in the breakroom advertising an upcoming church fundraiser or event.

~ He offers to teach you how to ride his motorcycle in the church parking lot.

~ You wonder where one of his only two pairs of khakis disappeared to and find them weeks later in his office.

~ You wonder where all your drinking glasses and coffee cups disappeared to and find them weeks later in his office.

~ You plan your tax season overtime schedule so you can still make it to Wednesday night youth group.

~ You joke that your own ministry is to earn money so your husband can be a youth minister.

That's me and Trent in the back. And that's Nathan, Jonda, Carlie, RJ and Stephanie in the front. Yes, that is the choo-choo train at Kiddie Land. That day was a blast.

Love him. Love this adventure we are on.

I Love Trenton Dean Futral

Ok so I know I already bragged on my husband recently about my awesome crafting desk he built for me, but I just need to brag a little bit more, even though he doesn't like me to. This morning he got up early at 6:30 when I did, even though it is his day off, and made me a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage and a big glass of milk while I got ready for work. I told him over and over he didn't have to do it but he sure wasn't gonna listen to me. Lemme tell ya, it was delicious. And I appreciated it. So I guess that gesture has me all glowing with love and appreciation but the truth is, I've already been bursting with it lately. So I figured I'd put together a little (ok maybe not so little) list of why I absolutely love and am so proud of my husband. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

~He encourages me. Back when I was studying for the CPA exam, he was my encourager, my coach, my sidekick. He'd sit next to me and read a book while I studied. He'd give me pep talks. It really helped me get through that crazy ordeal. And now, when I'm trying to tackle my new year's resolutions, he extends the same encouragement and "you can do it" attitude that is so helpful to me.

~He is proud of me. He doesn't just encourage me to accomplish something then say adios on the subject. Rather, he expresses repeatedly and in sweet ways that he is proud of me for what I accomplished.

~He always tells me I'm beautiful. Even the times when I have just worked out or my hair is a mess or I have no make up on or I'm a frumpasaurus or I'm feeling fat or I was just crying. Ladies, those cheesy country songs about the guy loving how a girl looks with no makeup on and in her sweatpants can and should be true!

~He misses me dreadfully when I am away. It's really sad. He can't sleep well and goes out to eat greasy food to try to feel better. Aaw. But I'm the same way when he's gone, minus the greasy food...I just eat more macaroni than usual. We are such a part of each others' lives that we don't really know what to do with ourselves when we are apart.

~He has lots of ridiculous nicknames for me like Ray does for Deborah on Everybody Loves Raymond. No, I won't tell you what they are. You may guess if you wish.

~He works very hard in his job, does his very best and is doing lots of good for the youth at our church and our community in general. He has such a selfless heart for service and always tries to put others before himself. He works hard in his little corner of the church but also spends time outside of that volunteering and reading/studying to expand his knowledge and further equip himself for these roles. He is focused on God first and foremost and working hard to bring that into everything he does. This whole youth ministry gig kind of threw us for a loop at first but I think we're really starting to figure out how to work together in it, what expectations there are on him, me and us together and we're loving it.

I love you so much babe. I'm so glad you are a part of my life. And thanks for breakfast!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My First Adventure In Quilt Making

I took on the adventure of sewing a quilt for our nephew, Asher, right before Christmas. I made a blanket for Trent for our first Christmas together but have never done a patchwork quilt. I was scared, even of just squares. I had visions of corners and rows not matching up, the seams being lumpy, etc. Scary stuff. But I headed to Joann Fabrics to conquer my fears. I started wandering around looking for fabrics that matched, then I found the spot where they sell quilt kits. They are each a set of matched fabrics that are already cut to the size you need of each fabric (you still have to cut out the squares from that), and include a picture of how the squares or pieces are supposed to be sewn together. Brilliant. The one I found was $25 but if you are on Joann's mailing list you get coupons all the time for 50% off one regularly priced item. Score. I bought the kit. ...Then I felt like I was cheating. Then I assured myself that all I skipped was lots of time, which I didn't have then, traipsing around the store trying to figure out what fabrics I wanted and how much I needed. Anything that bypasses me having to do mental math is a good thing.

After a few fleeting thoughts of "what have I done? I don't have time to sew a quilt!", I found time and got to work. Aaaaand, I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though most of my corners indeed did not match up, and the process of going back and forth pinning and sewing each square made me feel kind of ADD. Pin at ironing board, sit down, sew for 6 inches, get up, pin again, sit down, sew 6 inches...eesh. But it came together. It ended up smaller than the allotted backing piece which I had already cut out, so I just trimmed that down, sewed the back on, turned it inside out and sat down to whip-stitch the hole closed, after explaining to Trent what whip-stitching is. My cat helped with that part:

Then my task was figuring out how to tack the front of the quilt to the backing so it wouldn't balloon out. I wanted to do something more creative than just "stitch in the ditch" (sewing along the squares or just sewing up and down in random spots), so I thought of sewing buttons at some of the corners. Buttons would be cute but I wouldn't want little Asher to lay down on it and end up with button prints on him. The answer: felt buttons! These things are great, also from Joann's. They look just like regular buttons but they are made out of stiff felt so they are flat and soft and won't leave button prints, but are a cute way of tacking the quilt together. After sewing buttons on for the whole length of "A Knight's Tale" (RIP Heath Ledger), it was done!

It's a mixture of flannel, satin, plush and cotton squares. The backing is that flannel polka dot fabric.

K'Lee opened it for him at Christmas.

I promise he liked it! He was just not happy about being put in his seat...

Here ends the tale of my first adventure in quilt making!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Two blog posts in one day! Holy smokes. Luckies.

I guess you are supposed to make your new year's resolutions known ON new year's. Oh well. Here are a few of mine. I'm not going to share all here. I am proud of myself for keeping up with these for four whole days already. Whoo hoo, go me!

1. Continue my endeavor to read the whole Bible in a year.
I actually started this on December 1st because I had the idea then and was really excited about it. I wanted to read my Bible more but didn't really have a clue what to read. So I figured I'd just start from the beginning and go all the way through! Well, it was exciting until I got into Leviticus the other day. Oh dear. But I shall persevere!

2. Get in the habit of working out.
I am not setting an expectation yet of how many days per week but I plan to try for at least three. My plan for January though is to do the 30 Day Shred DVD workout by Jillian Michael's. It is a 20 minute (she lies, it's actually like 24), intense workout to be done every day for 30 days. It claims you can lose 20 pounds in those 30 days if you stick to it, but we'll see. I'm not as focused on number pounds lost as I am on creating the habit of working out and getting more fit. Yes, I want to lose weight too, I am just not setting a certain number. I don't even own a scale. I weigh myself when I'm at Kim and Caleb's house but that's all. (except for when the scale is missing from the guest bathroom....I don't know where it runs off to) I don't want to become obsessed with the number on the scale. Rather, I want to focus on how I feel and look. I have done the workout the past four days successfully and have gotten past the awful soreness of days 1 and 2 and I'm already seeing an improvement in my stamina and strength. Yay! We'll see how this resolution fares when tax season rolls around. Ugh.

3. Simplify my schedule.
Here's on I'm not sure how to carry out. I just want to somehow get rid of the feeling of "Oh my gosh, I have been running 100 miles an hour and have barely been at home at all in ten days!" I am a homebody and I get really strung out, exhausted and plain not fun to be around when we are running, running, running. A few weeks ago, in a fit of "We are so busy!", I made a list of all my time commitments, partly to see why I feel that way and also to see what I might be able to cut out or combine or streamline. I don't really know what I could cut out but there are a few things I can sort of phase myself out of over time. I can also learn to say no to new requests for commitment, unless they are required of me or I am the only person that can do them. So maybe this resolution will take longer than a year, but it's something I want to work on. The world will continue to turn if I reduce my commitment list.

4. Make more time for things that are important to me.
This includes things like reading, journaling (for real, not blogging), cleaning our house, cooking meals at home. I don't love to clean and cook but I don't mind it. And a clean house does wonders for my attitude. I even have a stupid "vacuum dance" that I do in the den when the carpet is freshly vacuumed and so pretty and clean and oh my gosh I just love it, I just have to jump around on it... Ooookaaaaay...anyway. Coming home to a messy house after being gone and busy puts me in a bad mood. If I can figure out a system for cleaning and stick to it, meaning find time for it, then that will make my life so much better.
Regarding meals, we just need to get better at eating at home. In the long run, it's cheaper and better for us. And, as long as I'm trying to get my schedule straight so I can be more of a homebody, I might as well start honing some other homebody skills, like cooking. Trent likes to cook too, or rather he likes to invent. So that's always a fun adventure and I appreciate the help.
The time for reading and journaling is a big deal to me. I was able to journal a whole lot over the past week or so, mostly because we were in holiday mode which meant random days off as well as regularly scheduled things being cancelled. Now that the holidays are over, we'll go back to being busy so I think I'll dedicate a portion of each Sunday to journaling if I can. That'll hopefully work and give me the dose or brain/heart dump that I crave.

That about does it. I'm four days into 2011 and doing great on all these so far. Hopefully this 1.09% of the year will be indicative of the remaining 98.01%.

Setting An Example By Being Ourselves

Trent became youth minister at our church shortly before I was done studying for and taking my CPA exam sections and was ready to jump back into volunteering with the youth again. I was excited to help out and see where I could be handy, useful or meaningful. But I also had some doubts. What the heck did I know about working with youth? I know most of the Bible stories but that's about the extent of my theological knowledge. I had a very stable, loving family growing up, went to small schools, etc. so I felt like I couldn't entirely relate to kids with broken homes, eating disorders, sexual activity, depression or any of the other serious stuff youth face these days that I was not exposed to. I didn't even really date except a short relationship senior year of high school and then Trent, who I married, so I didn't think I even really had any dating advice to give.

In these little fits of inadequacy, Trent always would tell me things like "Just be yourself, just be you. Love on them and show them you care and that's better than a seminary's worth of knowledge or a world's worth of experience."

I came across this paragraph in a blog post on More Than Gossip, a girls ministry blog I recently started following. The post is about reasons why a youth ministry team should include female leaders and, per the nature of the whole blog, it was directed just at youth girls in the blurb below. However, I think it's a great thought for any youth leaders to consider, whether they work with girls or guys. Here you go:

The What Can I Become factor. The girls in our ministries need living examples of what their lives can become both in professional and in personal areas of life. Being around an adult woman who shares similar passions for life and career can be a constant encouragement to students that they too can succeed. At the same time, girls need to see women in healthy dating and married relationships to give them the right kind of aspirations and goals for themselves, girls aren’t usually getting these positive messages anywhere else.


Trent and I hold hands all the time, including in front of the youth. Their reaction is great. If they see us holding hands, they “oooh” and “aaaaaaaaw” and tease that it’s “sooo cuuuuute.” We just laugh and keep on. It’s silly and fun but I also really like those moments because it’s a chance for those young girls and guys to see a seriously in love couple, happy, committed, going through life literally hand in hand. (That's our "motto" for our marriage actually.) We are able to set a good example for them just by being ourselves! And it's a fun one to set too! Who doesn't love holding hands?

So maybe I don't have a lot of extreme experiences in my past, but I'm me, and that's something to offer. I've been asked out and broken up with, I have liked, loved, married, fought, made up, been mad at my parents, been reeeeeal mad at my siblings, made mistakes, corrected mistakes, had a bad job, have a great job, deal with money stress, been busy, been bored, been happy, been hurt, lost weight, gained weight, had my feelings trampled on, stood up for myself, laughed, cried, failed, struggled, questioned, succeeded. It's all a part of who I am now and I feel like if I just allow what all that STUFF has made me into today shine through honestly, I can touch lives of others...somehow...even if it's indirect, just me being myself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year Thoughts from Jesus

I thought I'd share the January 1 blurb from my little daily devotional, "Jesus Calling." Some good thoughts.

Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek My Face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind. As you focus your thoughts on Me, be ware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye, because My attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely; My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love. I also know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My Presence.

Romans 12:2
Jeremiah 29:11