Friday, September 30, 2011

Pilgrimage to the Steakhouse 9-30-11

It's September 30th, and that means that around dinner time, Trent and I were found at our steakhouse four our six year anniversary of togetherness!  On September 30th, 2005, Trent took me on our first date.  Click here for last year's blog post about our other trips to the steakhouse. :-)

Normally we dress up a bit, take our time sitting on the patio of the restaurant, enjoy the sunset, maybe stop by the suspension bridge further down the river. This year wasn't all that big a deal, in fact we didn't dress up at all (hence the Winnsboro Powerlifting shirt below) and barely squeezed in an early dinner in between a minor motorcycle vs stupid lady episode, getting the house ready for my parents and sister who are coming in for the weekend, fielding some texts and phone calls to minister to a couple of our youth in need and attempting to attend a Robinson football game that we thought existed but was nowhere to be found, neither at home nor away.   We enjoyed good food, some sunshine, the river and reminisced about our first date and other trips to the steakhouse since. 

Happy 6 years!

I thought he was kissing me...should have known better. :-)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Time-Starved Marriage?

Note #1  I had an eye exam this afternoon and had my eyes dilated, so my vision is still somewhat blurry. My apologies for any typos...  In other news, stay tuned for new glasses!

Note #2: We don't have any kids yet, duh. So anything I say in this post applies to our marriage sans children for the time being and I don't claim to know anything yet about how these things will change or apply when we do have kids.  I hope that we will still be good at them.

Few things are more encouraging than reading a marriage related book and realizing repeatedly throughout it "Pssh, we are already super good at that."  Not gonna lie, it is pretty encouraging.  In fact, I might be in favor of couples reading books about marriage related stuff that they already know they are good at, just for the boost. 

I mentioned yesterday that my lengthy reading list includes Your Time-Starved Marriage by Les and Leslie Parrott.   

Well, no longer, because I finished it.  I mentioned that it was a skinny book to begin with, which I thought was smart since people with a time-starved marriage don't have much time for reading.  But about the last fourth of the book is a long appendix in which you find your Time-Style and match it up with your spouse's. I read the 3-4 pages of that appendix that I thought were the section that applied to each of us and called it a day.  Done. Check.  What's next?  Oh wait, that's not the point of this book.   The point of this book, I think, is to take back control of time instead of letting time control you.  Does that mean being busy is the devil and a recipe for disaster?  Not necessary.  But if that busyness is totally wearing you out, stealing your sleep and taking away time with people and things you love, some re-thinking might be in order.

Why did I buy this book?  a) my mother-in-law and father-in-law used it in their marriage ministry that they lead at their church and recommended it, b) I found it for one penny on (plus $4, and c) Trent and I have spans of days or weeks here and there where we tell each other "I miss you" even though we technically see each other everyday.  That's kind of sad.

I don't want to ramble on and on about this, but here are a few things recommended or talked about in this book.  

Is your marriage slipping into the future?  "Some people spend their entire lives indefinitely preparing to live."
...once the kids are older...once I get my raise...once we get a new house...
...someday, we'll go on a vacation...someday, we'll add on that room to the house...someday...

Sound familiar?   ...What about right now?

What busyness does to your marriage:
-Corrupts your conversations: "Busyness deludes us into thinking that we're conversing when we are actually just trying to make it through the hectic speed of our day."  
-Depletes your love life: "When you are scattered too end up with a zero balance in your love bank."
-Steals your fun: "If you're exhausted from just trying to keep the hamster wheel of life turning, you're never going to enjoy the ride."
-Erodes your soul: "If you are busy enough, long enough, you will become spiritually bankrupt."

How to battle busyness:
-Umm...slow down
-Examine your "secondary gains": "What exactly is my busyness getting me besides the belief that I'm getting more done?"
-Quit serving leftovers: "Too drained, too tired, or too preoccupied to be fully present with the one we love the most"
-Say no!

Time bandits to look out for. Don't let them steal your time:
-Unfinished business (aka, your past)
-The clock

So I mentioned above that it feels good to read a marriage related book and think "sweet, we are already good at this stuff". Or at least some of it.  While I read this book, I had some "sweet!" moments and "ah man, fail" moments.

Some "dang it, we stink at that" items:
-I am not good at saying no to things or people, but I'm getting better at it
-Sometimes we each think the other is less busy and have unreasonable expectations, instead of working as two busy members of a team to get stuff done
-I am a planner and Trent is a go-with-the-flow guy, which are each fine, but we clash with those sometimes

Some "sweet, we are good at that!" items:
-we eat almost all our meals together, sitting at a table
-we make going on dates a priority and plan to keep that up when we have kids
-we have a ridiculous bedtime routine involving pillow stealing, singing, poking, laughing, and me exclaiming "calm down, I haffa go to sleep!"
-we get a decent amount of sleep and don't stay up late
-we are aware that each of us has different busy seasons in our lives and are sensitive to those (tax seasons for me, summer and random times for Trent)
-we allow ourselves some down time, even if there are other things we "should be doing". Right now the dishes aren't done but I'm blogging and Trent is performing surgery on an Xbox while surprisingly not yelling at the Cowboys.
-we remember where we have been and savor what's going on in our lives right now

Are we busy?  Yes.  Do we get freakin stressed out sometimes? Yes.  Do we often miss each other even though we physically see each other every day? Yes.   Do we somehow make it work and manage to have time for each other and stay connected?  Yes.

Now we just need to ask these same questions whenever we have kids and make sure the last answer is still Yes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Trent Is Rubbing Off On Me...

Allow me to share an amusing email exchange between me, Trent and Laura, a lovely lady at our church who is going to lead a girls' study with me this Fall.  Trent was first emailing to let us know the books for the study had arrived.

Trent: The books are here.  I can bring Anna's home to her.  Laura, would you like me to bring it by your office?

Me: Yaaay!  Holy smokes, this means I'll be reading FOUR books at once.  When did I turn into Trent?

Laura: It's contagious.  After 16 years of marriage to Wes, I now tell corny jokes.

Me: Does that mean soon I will be walking around singing like a kazoo like Trent was this morning?  Uh oh.

Laura: Anna, there is no way to predict or control how this turns out.  Unfortunately, you are just an innocent victim when it comes to this.  You have my condolences. Kazoo Trent?  Seriously?  What an awesome way to start the day!

Trent: Yes a kazoo.  Y'all crack me up.

So, yes, my husband did spend a morning singing like a kazoo (and several days thereafter), but that's not my point.   Anytime we go to Starbucks to read, I normally bring my one book I'm working through and Trent brings, for example, a fiction book, Christianity book, Bible, phone with news and Nook with multiple additional books at his fingertips.  Maybe he'll just read one in our sitting at Starbucks, but at least he has the option of all the others with him and they are all books he is actively reading.  

I'm reading four books right now!   Ok, maybe the Bible doesn't count as a regular book since it is one that should always be on one's reading list, but I count it in this because it comes with me in my stack o' books that I have been bringing to Starbucks lately to choose from:

When did I turn into Trent with my A.D.D. book reading?  Oh well.  You can check the "I'm Currently Reading..." box in the right column of this blog page to see at any time what books I have my nose in.  The list is long right now!   I'm still reading the Bible in a year and have finally (oh my gosh, so glad) made it to the New Testament.  I am a little ways into Crazy Love, by Francis Chan but it is sort of on hold for Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild, which is the book Laura and I are using for the girls' study in a few weeks.  Homework!  And finally, I am breezing through "Your Time-Starved Marriage" which my mother in law recommended after they used it in their marriage ministry that they lead at their church.  It's a good book  and I am amused that it is a skinny book.  People with a time-starved marriage don't have time for thick books!  Oh wait, I'm reading three skinny books + the Bible.  Hmm.

Anyway.  I heard that your spouse will rub off on you and vice versa and I guess it is true...  Now we both go to Starbucks with our stack o' books to choose from.   Dooooorks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Evidence That I Am A Youth Minister's Wife

There's no denying the fact that I'm into this youth minister's wife thing whole-heartedly, and I have noticed a few things recently that seem to be loud and clear evidence of it...

~Youth ministers are cool and Teva sandals are cool, therefore YMs and their wives should have matching Teva Sandals, right?  

 ~Showing up to work on a Thursday with a leftover "tattoo" that Stephanie drew on my hand at youth group the night before that didn't quite wash off in the shower...

 ~See above argument for the Teva sandals and insert "Converse".

 ~Purple sheep bunny from Carlie just chillin' in my cup holder.

 ~Leftover "FREE HUGS" signs in my car from a failed attempt at giving out said free hugs at HEB.   We ended up not going...

It's true.  I'm head over heels for this youth minister's wife gig. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm baa-aack!

I have been MIA recently, on the battle ground/at the office fighting the September 15th tax deadline.  Pretty much everything but individual returns are due on extension 9/15 and this was a doozy for me.  I don't think I have recovered yet!  

Some stats:

-Previous personal record for longest pre-deadline week: 78 hours
-New personal record for longest pre-deadline week: 78.5 hours
-Days in a row at the office: 18
-Battle field commanders: 2, thanks Connie and Dennis for working with me and being patient with me
-Loads of laundry to catch up from three weeks of not doing any: um, still counting...
-Tax season themed gifts from dear friends:  1, thanks Steph!

-Tall vanilla lattes consumed: unknown, but a lot...

-Lil kitties that missed their mama: 1

-Handsome husband that missed, supported, fetched lattes for and encouraged his wife: this guy. 
(Photo by Abigail Criner Photography)
I really don't think I could do tax seasons without my loving, supportive husband. Thanks, babe.  I'm glad to be back.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thoughts on God and Jogging

Note: The jog and thoughts described below actually occurred yesterday morning.  I wrote the majority of this post over my lunch break, then intended to finish it last night, but I ended up working until 10:00 pm so I didn't get to it.   I'm leaving it as is and just finishing up and posting today.  Needless to say, I did not run this morning...

God and jogging? What does God have to do with jogging?  Well, based on my run this morning and the fact that my mind was going about as fast as my feet (ok, at times that wasn't so fast) on the subject, they have plenty to do with each other.  Here are the some of the connections I came up with:

~ Creation
Unless you have a treadmill or a gym membership, neither of which I can afford, you are jogging outside in God's creation.  Ok, the City of Waco built the paved road I run on, but you get my point.  Creation and nature were all around me this morning in the grass, trees, sky, barking dogs, chirping birds, etc.  One thing I love about running in the mornings is the chance to see the sun rise.  I don't run so early that it is too dark and I feel unsafe in our hood by myself, so I usually get out there right as the sun is coming up.  Here is the sunrise from this morning:

It's not the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen but it was still really pretty and it put me in awe of God's creation, enough to stop and take a picture of it.  That's what started my mind going about how jogging and God might go hand in hand.

~Your body is a temple
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."  1 Corinthians 6:19-20
We are supposed to honor God with our body, which can be done by honoring our body itself, treating it as a temple, taking care of it.  Exercise = taking care of your body.  Jogging = exercise.   Therefore, jogging = honoring God!  Ok, ok, maybe that's a dorky connection to make, but at 6:38 this morning it was quite an epiphany to me.

~Finish the race
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."  2 Timothy 4:7
I started out this year with the goal of losing approximately 20 pounds.  Well, I've done it.  I'm there.  And it's great.  But I haven't made a big deal about it really because now I'm kind of stuck in a "now what?" phase...   That was a goal for me for 8 months.  Now what is my goal?  I've decided to focus on running as its own endeavor and accomplishment and let it also help me maintain my weight loss.  (I don't really want to lose more, then I'd have to buy all new clothes and that would be stupid)  My puny goal right now is to be able to run one mile without stopping.  Don't laugh.  It's true.  I positively stink at running and always have.  So that's my goal and I'm sticking to it.  I think it's important to have things in your life that you are purposeful and earnest about, things that push you to work hard, that require you to focus on sacrificing a little for the betterment of something, including yourself.  So maybe this is a bit of a loose connection between jogging and God, but I see my purposeful attempts and progress towards being able to run one mile as a way to honor God through just being intentional about something in my life, seeing it through, finishing the race.

Happy jogging!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Flashback to Highschool-My Youth Minister

Since I'm married to a youth minister and talk about youth ministry a lot, I thought I would introduce y'all to my own youth minister from my highschool years (and some carryover into my early college years).  His name is Paige and he is super.  He has made a huge impact on the lives of many students, been a friend, listener, adviser, joke cracker, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" singer, goofy dancer, accountability partner, lover of baseball, hater of soccer (even though like half the youth group played it) includer of all and stranger to none.  He has the heart of a servant and gives out bear hugs like candy.  Exhibit A:

"Hey Paige, can I get a picture with you?"  "Sure thing, friend!"  *HUG*

MTXP 04 = Mountain Top Experience 2004 spring break ski trip
Dallas, Paige, Me
Paige decided to try out snowboarding for the first time...he spent most of the trip on his butt, just like this picture!

What's Paige up to now?  He left youth ministry a few years ago to start a new little church in my hometown called South Church.  

I got to visit South Church and see Paige this past January, for the first time in probably...years.   He squished me in a big hug as usual and we got to chat and catch up for just a bit before and after the service.  I told him that I'm now a youth minister's wife and that I am so thankful for what he did to pour into our lives as students.  His wife was not actively involved on a regular basis with youth activities because they had little kids at home, but I am thankful to her as well for giving up her husband for so many, many hours so that he could minister to us, help us grow spirituality, provide us with fun activities and give us a safe place to gather with friends and learn together.   It's a crazy adventure and I'm so grateful that he was, and forever will be, my youth minister.

Speaking of youth ministry, it's time to head up to church to hang out with "our" kids!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Flashback to Theater-South Pacific

Time for the first of my flashback posts!  Are you excited?  Of course you are.  I still have yet to figure out how to work our scanner (translated: Trent still has yet to teach me how to work our scanner) so this post and the next are some photos that I have buried in a folder already on the computer.  The folder is literally called "Old Stuff".  

This post is a glimpse into my life on stage.  I was involved in theater throughout highschool and a little bit still once I was in college.  The pictures below are of Fredericksburg Theater Company's production of South Pacific in July 2005.  It was the fourth show I was a part of with FTC (if you don't count turning pages in several show's orchestras for the pianist who was my piano teacher).  Auditions were scheduled to happen while I was still taking finals.  Uh oh. I called their office and left a message that I was interested in being in the chorus but was out of town at school. Jeryl Hoover, the director, knew our whole family by that time because all of us except Dad and Abby had been in at least one show, if not more, by that time. Abby has since made her FTC debut as Charlotte, the undertaker's daughter in FTC's production of Oliver! this past summer. She and mom are the only ones who have actually had a non-chorus part.  Anyway, Mr. Hoover called me back and basically said "You're in, forget auditions, first rehearsal is such and such date."   Oh...ok, thanks! 

Rehearsals ensued and it was a great show and a great time!  I got to be on stage again and work with some of the FTC regulars, including Kerry (see pic below) who I was in The Music Man with in 2003 (stay tuned for a post about that show).   For those of you unfamiliar with theater, South Pacific is a show about the life of nurses and soldiers stationed in the south pacific during WWII.  I was a part of the chorus of nurses.  No lines or solos, just dancing and acting.  So much fun.  

Enough words.  Here are the photos.  

A few of the nurses in the dressing room in our vintage 1940s-50s swimsuits.  Made out of cotton and no elastic whatsoever!

Worn for the scene on the beach when Nellie sings the song "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair"

This is Kerry, one of my theater buds!  For his sake, I will refrain from posting the picture of him in a coconut bra, hula skirt and sharpie tattoo of a boat on his stomach....   He is now the Artistic Operations Manager at FTC! 

All the nurses, in our costumes for the variety show within the show, "Honeybun." Leading lady, Nellie, is on the left in green.  

Honeybun costumes on a different night.  

They gave us fabric, newspaper, ribbons and flowers and told us to make skirts since the nurses in the south pacific would have made such costumes out of whatever they had on hand.  I managed to make a skirt out of a sheet and ribbon.

This is Darren, the gay hairstylist that for some reason adopted me and did my hair for every show while the other girls figured out their own hair, including a quick change of hairdo from up and "casual" to down and "formal" for my 10 second crossover scene headed to a dance.  He somehow magically kept it curly throughout every show.  He even gave me free highlights at his salon after the show closed.

The curliest my hair has every been.  Well, not counting Music Man when I had ringlets that only stayed in because I used "hair glue".  I do not have good theater hair...

The closing scene of the show.  The war is over!  Headed home!  Quickest costume change of my life, from the formal dress shown above to this costume...literally involved sprinting to the dressing room with another girl after the crossover, opening buttons and zippers as we went, pulling clothing over each other's heads and sprinting back onto stage.  Whew.   The dress ripped a little more down the side every time I yanked it was history by the end of the show.

Baby Abby and tweenage Sarah with me after the closing show.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Get Ready For Some Flashbacks!

I don't have a whole lot to blog about at the moment.  I'm working a lot on a big client for the September 15th deadline coming up.  Whoo.  But I have taken some time recently to dig through some old photos, just for fun.  I really only have them from highschool and then throughout college, but those are still really fun to look through.  Highschool seems SO long ago.  I was beginning my sophomore year of highschool TEN years ago.  What?  When did I grow up?  

Stay tuned for some super awesome and awkward flashbacks!  

Now if only I could figure out how to use our scanner...