Monday, May 23, 2011

Life is an Adventure

Sometime in the spring of 2006, Trent's parents took a road trip to Florida with two of their friends. On the drive back, the car they were in broke down in Mississippi. This was on the weekend and there were no shops open to help them until Monday. Trent's mom and dad had to be home on Monday for work, so they called Trent, who was actually already on the way to Winnsboro to visit highschool friends, to see if he might be able to come get them. In Mississippi. He was only about 45 minutes out of Waco when he called me to see if I wanted to make the trip with him. I had taken my GMAT exam for grad school that morning, bombed it (you see your score at the end, ugh) and was having a huge pity party in my apartment room, so I declined. Plus he would have had to wait for me to trek the part of the trip he had already made.

"What is your point Anna?"

The point is that I didn't go on the trip with him but later wished I had. His parents visited us at Baylor a short while later and Donna and I were talking about his rescue trip to go get them. I said something like "Yeah, I wish I had just gone ahead and gone with him. That would have been a fun adventure." She looked at me and told me that she was pretty sure I was the one for Trent. (Keep in mind we had been dating for, oh, 7-ish months at this point) I asked her why. She answered,"Because Trent needs adventure in his life, and you view all of life as an adventure."

I have never forgotten that. And it's true. I do view this crazy, big, sometimes scary life as an adventure, from the big things, like getting married, that anyone would think an adventure, to the little things like quilt making or dishwasher repair and meal planning.

I think partly why I view everything as an adventure is because I'm not the most confident person in the world. Driving in the big city is an adventure because I'm scared to death of it. Not to mention bad at it. Making Asher's baby quilt for Christmas was an adventure because I had never made a quilt before. Actual adventures like sky diving or surfing scare the patooty out of me and I'd never try them so I think that's why all kinds of little regular things seem like adventures to me.

But I think I also view everything as an adventure because it's more fun that way! Going to the beach with my sisters the past two summers was an adventure each time just because we were headed to a different place and having different experiences. Marriage should always be an adventure in my opinion. It should never become so mundane and routine that it's no fun. Even if it does get to be mundane and routine, simply switching your mindset to adventure mode for all the little routine stuff can be fun. Shake things up, do something different sometimes. And if you can't, treat tackling chores together as an adventure because you are doing it together.

Being married to Trent is an adventure in itself. I knew that going in, if for nothing else, just from hearing of all his childhood accidents and trips to the ER. Our wedding day was also a day of "Here we go! No turning back, he's all mine now." And I love it. He adds some bigger adventures to my little adventures and overall, we just have a grand time living life.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Baby Quilt for Youth Auction

Our youth are having their annual auction fundraiser tomorrow after church. I wanted to make something to contribute as an auction item so I decided to make a baby quilt. You may remember back in December when I made a baby quilt for our nephew Asher for Christmas. I opted for the quilt kit route again this time to get the benefit of the already matched fabrics. This one also had satin in the mix, which I learned last time is impossible to work with easily. It is such a shifty, silky fabric, that it will not stay put when I try to cut, pin or sew it. I had some pink swirly cotton fabric on hand from a previous project so I just swapped that in for the satin. So now I have a 14" by 14" square of pink satin, should I ever need it. After one evening of cutting and another evening and a half of sewing, the top was done:

Then this past Wednesday was our 3rd anniversary (yay!) so I took the afternoon off and hung out in the youth room while Trent worked. I first sewed the quilt top to the backing real quick at home, then I sat on a sofa for about 3 hours and first whipstitched the hole closed where I had turned it right side out, then stitched the front to the back on certain corners. I actually bought some flowered felt buttons like the round ones I used for Asher's quilt, but decided they would make the front of it just too busy. Plus I wasn't sure where I would put them since this wasn't just squares the whole way across. So I just stitched up and down here and there to tack it together and decided that was sufficient.

All done!

Hopefully it can bring the youth some $$. I also put an item in the auction for Beginning Sewing Lessons. That should be a fun adventure!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fan Money

I am sure you have heard of "sock money" right? You know, the habit of stashing money away for a rainy day in your sock drawer? My mother in law has a different definition of sock money. Her's means she gives us socks for Christmas that have money already in them. Well, she took that a step further over Mother's Day weekend when we went to visit them. Have you ever heard of fan money?

Trent's parents gave me and Trent a lovely fan and K'Lee and James the same fan as well, for our anniversaries, which are 11 days apart (plus a year difference). Ta-da, very nice:

We weren't going to open them then because there was a picture on the box so we could tell what they looked like and because usually things like this are packed very strategically into styrofoam packaging that never, ever goes back in the same way once it has been pulled out. But Trent's mom urged us to open them anyway. So we did. Then we looked closer:

There was money in our fans! We asked her how we were supposed to get it out and she just looked at us and said "I don't know. Happy anniversaries!" We had a good haha over it and managed to get them back in the boxes more or less how they were before.

So we brought it home and it sat in our den in the box for a week until this past Saturday when I decided to tackle it and get that money out. I got out my toolbox (yes, I have my own toolbox, complete with tools) and tried to decide the best way to get it out. I thought I might have to unscrew the front part of the fan but decided to try needlenose pliers first and see if they would reach in far enough and do the trick.

Success! Apart from the money being somewhat crumpled from being yanked through the fan cage (there is probably a better name for it), it was a win. Crumpled money is still money. So that ended up a lot easier than taking out a bunch of little screws, making sure not to lose them and then getting it all put back together. I guess I don't have to add fan surgery to my list of accomplishments. I was a little sad though that I didn't get to use my handy dandy, 8-in-1 ADORABLE screwdriver:

So that is the story of my mother in law's latest silliness and how she took her sock money concept to the next level. I guess we have to work for our gift money now. But hey, we got a fan and twenty bucks out of it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Husband and Wife Team in Ministry

One year ago today, Trent was hired as youth minister at our church. It has been one crazy adventure of a year that really threw us for a loop at first. Youth ministry ain't no regular 8-5 job and is a whole different ball game from what we were used to before. Suddenly what Trent was volunteering to do in his free time became his job and what I started doing in my free time on top of my job was helping Trent with his ministry. That was a wee bit tricky for me to figure out at first and I really was a pouty partner for a while. See, I like to know what I'm supposed to do and what is expected of me, and neither of us really knew what either of us was supposed to do or what was expected of us for a little while there. What the heck does it mean to be a youth minister's wife...while being a CPA? I didn't know. And I started out in the wrong direction. But with time, trial and error, some of our polar opposite traits rubbing off on each other some more, and some good conversations, we finally got on the same page, started to figure this crazy thing out and began rockin' and rollin' as a team.

So, in honor of Trent's first anniversary of being a youth minister, I thought I'd share some of our "secrets"...that should not be kept secrets at all! Please spread them around to any and all new youth ministry couples you know!

What are some tricks and tips for being a husband and wife team in ministry?

~ Be exactly that: a team
It's just like the rest of a marriage should be. Should be a team, not two individuals. Share goals, troubles, effort, down time. Simply be in it together.

~ Patience
Patience with the youth, patience with the youth parents, patience with other church members, patience with volunteers, patience with each other. Just gotta be able to take a deep breath sometimes, tell ourselves that such and such is really not that big of a deal, that this and that will blow over. It's all gonna be ooookaaaaay.

~ Communicate...everything
Talk about expectations, hopes, dreams, frustrations, successes, failures, tricky scriptures, obvious mistakes, faith questions, specific youth, the group as a whole, etc, etc. Run stuff by each other, ask each others' opinions, share doubts and hesitations. Keep things out in the open.

~ Don't rely on assumptions
This mostly means that the spouse that is the minister should not just assume that their non-minister spouse who has a real world job otherwise can or will be there at every single event and service. Run stuff by them to make sure it will fit into their schedule or plan and that they even want to help with that particular item! Treat them like you would another volunteer, make sure stuff works for them and that they have the chance to say no if you need to. Trent is very good about this now. I have an "I don't work for the church, you do" card, to put it bluntly, and he reminds me that I can play that card when I need to, and I appreciate that.

~ Capitalize on differing strengths and capabilities
No two people are the same and therefore no two people can offer the same strengths and capabilities in ministry. Trent can put together a cool Songshow Plus slideshow, talk baseball and football with the boys, set up a projector...I can write thank you notes to snack supper providers, go jogging with the girls and talk about chick flicks. He goes paint balling while I have slumber parties. One youth mom told me this past January, "Anna, you are just so calm and so nice and that is just what these girls need." Calm and nice? I can do that. Deep theological discussions? Not so much. That's all Trent. We both can offer different things to different people and between the two of us we can do a lot of good.

~ Grow in faith together
This is pretty important. Being in a position of spiritual leadership is a crazy ride for your own spiritual journey. People revere you as some kind of guru when really you are realizing more and more that you don't know all the answers, not even close. God is big and it's impossible to know everything about Him or know answers for everyone's questions. You just have to humble yourself and say "I don't know" sometimes. But it's always good to keep learning and growing in Him, praying for His strength and guidance. Pray together, study the Bible together, read books together. Not only does it strengthen your own relationship with God, but it also strengthens your relationship with each other.

Here's to our first year as a husband and wife team in ministry. Let the adventures continue!

March 2011, Spring Break Skate

Weight Loss Motivation

You may remember I started out this year with a resolution to get in the habit of working out so that I could lose the 21 pounds I was wanting to kick to the curb. I am down 14.2 pounds from where I started, yay! I thought I'd put together a list of the things that motivate me in this process, in case any of these things might be helpful to others who are trying to shed some pounds or create healthy habits.

1. Stickers!
See this post for a full explanation of my sticker process. Basically I put a sticker on the calendar when I work out. It's really that simple. But it is a physical reminder of when I follow through and when I don't, placed in the kitchen in a spot where I pass it every day. Those big, bright stickers make it pretty obvious when I do and don't exercise and I can see at a glance how long it has been since I did work out. It's an at a glance kick in the pants. Haha, I just came up with that...that's funny. Anyway, works great for me. I look forward to putting a sticker on the calendar and I'm sad when I don't. Silly, I know, but helps me a lot.

It's a calorie and exercise tracker website with a great database, iphone and droid apps, and a feature set up like facebook where you can add fitness friends for encouragement, motivation and accountability. Helps me stay on track. Check it out!

3. My husband
This should probably be the number 1 motivation in any list of motivations I ever make actually. CPA studying and testing? He was all there for me, encouraging me, helping me, scolding me when I didn't want to study. This weight loss endeavor? No different. He is so good about a) motivating and encouraging me but also b) not letting me obsess over this. This is a process that of course takes lots of thought and effort, but it shouldn't take over my whole life! That's why if I miss a day or two of exercising, eh whatever, because I know I'll get back into it. If we go out to eat for a special occasion (or no occasion) and I splurge on a 1300 calorie meal, it's one day, and I sure enjoy those splurges! I'm not so cracked out on weight loss that it consumes my every thought and I refuse certain fun or tasty things because "I have to go run" or "I can't eat that." That's lame. I know weight loss doesn't and shouldn't happen overnight, it takes a while to lose a big chunk like I want to. So anyway, Trent is very good about encouraging me to accomplish my goal but also reigning me in when I get a little nuts about calories. Thanks babe. Trent is the person for me, who is it for you? Ask your spouse or sibling or parent to be that personal accountability to you. is good at it, but it's good to have someone in your life daily, that you see in person and that loves you and wants to see you succeed. Ask them to be encouraging but also be hard on you when they need to be. There are days when I tell Trent "MAKE me go run this evening. I know I won't want to." And since I state that, he sticks to it and sometimes practically pushes me out the door. Not really, but he makes me stick to my daily plan since I ask him to. Believe me, he can be a meanie sometimes, but that's what I need! Find someone like that to help you along with encouragement but also some scolding when necessary.

4. Planning one day at a time
Trent and I have a wacky schedule. Between my 8-5 job and extra commitments, plus his ever changing youth ministry schedule, no two weeks are the same back to back when it comes to time commitments and daily schedules. So I just plan my diet and exercise day to day. It's as simple as taking two seconds at the beginning of the day to look at the whole day's schedule and think "ok, I've got a recruiting lunch for work which will require eating out so I need to be careful there not to pig out. I've got (fill in the blank) meeting at church at 7 so I will go run in between getting off work at 5 and going to the meeting." (Or whatever your schedule is of course) So far I haven't gotten any bad looks for showing up to some church meetings or events in work out clothes (having changed my shirt if necessary and splashed on some fragrance). The point is to plan at the beginning of the day what diet dangers might come in your way that you need to be smart about, and plan when you are going to exercise, so you know that is what you expect of yourself for the day. Then just follow through.

5. Routine
Sticking to a routine really helps me out. I have found a good route in our neighborhood that I run/walk. I know how long it takes me, depending on how far I go, so I can factor that into my schedule. And I try to do it most days, in order to keep it "normal" in my daily routine and it not be this big extra thing I have to fit in. I have not so far set an actual exercise schedule for myself like "I will run on these days and take X day off each week" because our schedule is so shifty and unpredictable. That's where planning one day at a time comes in handy. So while each week may not look like the previous or next, I still try to get that workout in on as many days as I can so it remains a normal part of my life. Have kids? Take them with you! Get one of those cool three wheel running strollers or let kids ride their bikes. Cut out a tv show and go walk or run during that time instead, with the whole family! One of my fond childhood memories is family walks/bike rides, all 7 of us.

6. Results!
Nothing motivates me more than getting on Kim's scale (I don't actually own one, part of my not obsessing deal) and seeing that number get smaller and smaller! Also realizing that my current pants are all too big was a good feeling...although now I need to go buy more pants. And I look skinnier! Results may be the best motivation of all, but easier said than done, of course. You gotta work HARD to make that number go down, make those pants baggy and get to where you can see the difference. But it sure feels GOOOOOD when it does and makes me want to continue!

Best of luck to everyone out there trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. I hope maybe one or some of these motivation of mine can help you out as well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tea Staining

My Easter dress this year was actually my bridesmaid dress for Trent's sister's wedding. I was the only bridesmaid so K'Lee and I just went to Dillard's and she said "pick one." Super easy, got a dress I loved and can totally wear again. Sad that it took me about two years to actually wear it again. :-/ Anyway, I decided to wear it for Easter but didn't think I should wear a strapless dress to church so I went shopping for a shrug or wrap of some sort. The dress has ivory colored trim on the bodice and an ivory lace hem so I was looking to match that color, but only found a white white little sweater shrug. (Ok, ok I didn't actually look that hard) Here it is with the skirt flipped up to show the ivory vs. white. Love that hemline detail.

Not a terrible mis-match I suppose since they are all light colors, but I wanted it to match better. So, I decided to tea stain the shrug. I would have been scared to death of completely ruining it but I kept assuring myself that it was only $10 and I could easily go get another one if I had to. I think tea staining is meant more for pillow cases, handkerchiefs, and things that you want to make look antique and put on display, rather than garments that will go through the wash regularly. But this is kind of a one time little shrug that will probably just go with this dress, so oh well. After some googling and a consultation with my sister Sarah who has stained, dyed, altered, mended and created a multitude of garments (she made her own prom dress, yup), I began my adventure, albeit a little bit nervous.

Step 1: Wet your garment/item with water.
(sorry for the vicadin bottle in this pic, we have random Trent broken arm stuff around the house)

Step 2: Make tea. Let it steep for longer or shorter depending on how dark you want it to stain.
Easy enough, so far so good.

Step 3: Remove tea bag and put your item in the tea. Aaaah, was freaking out at this point and Trent heard some squealing coming from the kitchen.

Step 4: Stir. Make sure all parts of the item get a good dose of tea.

Ok, side note. At this point I was really freaked out because it looked SO dark in the tea and not much lighter when I pulled it out to look at it periodically. Yikes! But I knew that rinsing was ahead and that it could be somewhat reversed/lightened if needed (will get to that momentarily).

Step 5: Rinse.

At this point I was again disheartened because it just looked...dirty. Ew. It looked stained, and not antique, ivory stained. More like "I spilled tea all over my garment." Hmm. I showed it to Trent, still damp and crinkled, and asked him what he thought. Being a boy, he didn't say a whole lot. That's ok. I still had options. Sarah (or Google, I can't remember) had told me that you must rinse but you can always just run it through the washing machine with detergent if it ends up too dark, or even bleach it if you want to go back to where you started. So I ran it through the washer with some socks.

Step 6: Run through dryer.
I don't have a picture of this part, but you have to run it through the dryer so the heat with basically set the stain. You know all the clothes with actual, unwanted stains that have "been through the dryer" therefore the stain is more set and less hopeful of being removed? This is that very process...except you want the stain to set in this situation.

When it came out of the dryer, I was very encouraged. It was still pretty wrinkled but it appeared to be approximately the right color! I ironed it a bit and put it with the dress and ta-da, success!

Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011

I guess I can check tea staining off my imaginary list of things to try!