Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Is Your Soul Today? - Shoe Shopping Edition

The "How is your soul today?" check in that I described before doesn't have to always be serious and solemn.  At the highschool retreat the other weekend (my first ever, more on that later maybe) my small group did a check in Sonic drink style.  "If your soul was a Sonic drink, what would it be?"  Example: My soul is a Dr. Pepper with lime because I'm peppy and excited about retreat like the sour lime but looking forward to some good worship and smooth quiet times like the smooth Dr. Pepper."    It doesn't always make a ton of sense and doesn't have to, just another fun way to check in.

So today's check in is a shoe edition.  If your soul was (were?) a shoe, what type of shoe would it be?  Could be an old ratty pair of sneakers that are just about worn out and need a rest. Or a set of slippers that are totally comfortable.


It could be my current soul combo of brand new sassy, classy boots and high heels that I got last night! 

Black boots to replace my previous pair that are
literally falling apart!

Herringbone heels to go with my little black dress
for the office Christmas party this Friday!

I have determined that shoe shopping is good for the soul....maybe just the female soul.  Let me rephrase.  Successful shoe shopping is good for the soul. Unsuccessful shoe shopping, aka the first 1.5 hours at the mall last night, is so not good for the soul, but is on the contrary discouraging and feels like a waste of time. But my last ditch effort of checking Sears to see what they had sure paid off.  I found both these pairs of delicious footwear for WAY on sale.  I swear Sears is a forgotten gem among department stores. I have had a lot of success there in the past with clothing and now with shoes.

Ok, ok, I know some of you out there (or maybe just the boys) (do boys read my blog?) are thinking "Wha? Soul? Shoes? Those don't go together. I don't understand females."  That's ok. *Pat on the back*  You probably never will, sorry.  ;-)   I know it may be a loose connection between my true soul and being happy about some new shoes, but let's just roll with it.  There are silly little things in everyone's life that make them SO happy, even if just for a short time, and I think it's important to find those things and then revel in them.  Today I wore my new boots and I'm happy as a kid in a candy store. (or an Anna in an ice cream shop...) Last night as we were driving home from the mall, my husband, who tagged along despite the shoe hunt "just so he could spend time with me" (true love) was on the phone with my M-I-L who must have asked how I was because he said "Oh she just got two new pairs of shoes, so she is grrreat."  To which I grinned even bigger at the oncoming traffic and *might* have bounced in my seat a little.

My cat baby also likes it when I buy new shoes...or anything that comes home in a plastic bag really...

So my soul is sassy, classy and happy, all because of some sale priced shoes...  This shoetopia feeling will probably only last a couple days, maybe through Friday when I get to wear my new heels.  And that's ok. We shouldn't have to rely on these little happiness highs to keep us afloat, but they sure are fun in the meantime.

How is your soul today?

P.S. For Steph's sake, I really tried to work a soul/sole pun into this post but I just couldn't. Alas, she is the queen of puns, not me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Boot Shopping Blues

I spent part of this afternoon on a wild goose chase for some boots (with a sweet, participating husband in tow).  I was hoping to find an after Thanksgiving mix of good prices but not as many crazy people as Black Friday, while hoping for products to actually still exist in the stores.  I was looking for some nice, casual, brown, knee-high ladies boots, preferably with some buckles or doo-dads, kinda like these:
I've been wanting some for years and this is the first time I've actually made an effort to search for some. Well either I was being picky or the stores were just picked over, because I didn't have any luck. I did find one gorgeous pair that I loved but they had a scary three digit price tag. No sanx.

So I ended up with these wondermous knitted things with super fuzzy interiors and pom-poms, on sale for $11:

They count as boots right??  Mission accomplished...ok not really...  Maybe I'll renew my efforts and look again soon for some nice brown ladies boots.  Or maybe I'll put it off yet another year...

How Is Your Soul Today?

Since I have been hanging around the youth ministry scene for a little while now, I have encountered a neat exercise or "check in" that is done at camps and retreats, etc. Trent and I do it occasionally at our own youth functions too.  It's called "How is your soul today?"   I know it's kind of a weird question to think about at first and it caught me off guard the first time I heard it. My soul?  How is my soul?  What is that supposed to mean? It's a deeper question than just "how are you?" It's not exactly the same as "what's on your heart?"  It can't really be answered in physical terms like "my soul is tired because I didn't sleep well" or "my soul is annoyed because someone cut me off in traffic."  I think it goes deeper than that, deep down to your core, your whole being.  I believe your soul can be weary.  Your soul can be angry, struggling, yearning, ecstatic, full of love, overwhelmed, hurting, broken, giving, peaceful...  Who knows...  It doesn't have to be summed up in one word.

It's a good thing to check in on, and I'll do so here from time to time.

So, how is my soul today?  Rested. Time off of work, time at home, time with my husband, tv, books, pets. Got some chores done; did a bit of shopping after all the crazies cleared out after Black Friday.  Time tucked away in our little hideaway called home does a body and soul good.

P.S. Thanks to my hubby for helping me create the above graphic. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wannabe Runner

I'm trying to become a runner... I dream of setting out with good music, good shoes and cute running attire and jogging a few miles, no biggee, returning feeling like a rockstar.

But...it's not working.  

The reality is that I set out most mornings with whatever comes on Pandora, decent shoes, Nike shorts and one of my hubby's big T-shirts and "wog" one mile.  Wog = walk + jog at intervals. It's a real term, ask Steph, she made it up I think.  Anyway, I either run till I feel like I'm going to die, then walk for a while, then run again or I actually time my intervals and run two minutes, walk one minute and repeat.  Either way, I come back to the house not really feeling like a rockstar runner, but more like a wannabe.    

I cannot run a mile straight without stopping. It's true. Not even one stinkin' mile.  There are some f'real runners at my office who do not understand that but it's true. I've tried. Duh.  In fact, I've been trying for almost a year now.  I partly blame my sisters.  My dad used to be a runner back in the day. I think my sisters got all the running genes from dad and I got all of the office nerd genes... I have never ever been good at running but Katy and Sarah used to go out and run for a long time and when I asked them how far they went, the answer was usually "eh, just two miles" or "oh, probably about three miles."  WHA?  Rockstars I tell ya.  

But you know what?  It's all good.  I think I would totally enjoy getting out there and running several miles straight. I'd enjoy the solitude and the time to think and the feeling of accomplishment.  But it doesn't appear to be in the cards for me, so oh well.  Doesn't mean I'm going to quit trying!  

Is anyone else out there a wannabe runner?  When you say "I'm going for a run" do you actually mean "I'm going for a wog"? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Do It

Trent and I lead a pretty crazy busy life. That's no secret.  Amidst all the craziness, normal life tasks sometimes fall through the cracks, sometimes for days on end or weeks at a time.   We get behind on laundry, my back seat fills up with random junk, dishes hang out in the sink, the bushes in front of the house sprout crazy limbs and need a haircut, our huge trees dump leaves on our porch.  You name it.  It happens and then usually we aren't able to remedy it for a while.  That kind of drives me nuts honestly...I'm an accountant, I like everything to have a place and everything be in its place.  The problem is I don't want to spend time putting everything in its place!   When we have bits of free time, I'd much rather read or knit or hang out with my husband.  Usually I give in and just do those fun things and look into the future for a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon or free weekday evening when I can turn into a tornado of organization and accomplishment and set everything to rights.  Well, I usually don't get as much done as I wanted to and then get sad that I had to spend so much time on it and use up a big chunk of time.  So lately (as in, the past three days), I have been applying a new strategy:

Basically I'm trying to put the "I don't wanna"s aside and chip away at things more gradually as they are needed instead of hunt for these big chunks of  available time here and there to do damage control.  I'm trying to JUST DO IT when it needs done. No excuses.

Example #1:  We live on a corner lot by a rather busy residential street. Apparently these days people aren't taught that littering is BAD so random trash blows up into our yard a lot.  Buuuugs me.  So yesterday I got home from work, changed into shorts and flip flops (even though it's November...silly Texas) and headed out to the yard with a bucket before I could think of a reason not to.  Only took about 20 minutes but I cleared up the front and back yards and the random area in front of where Trent parks his truck. (And then I washed my hands really well.) And it was done!  Now I don't have to stare at the stuff anymore, for a little while at least until more blows in. 

Example #2:  I warmed up leftover spaghetti for lunch today (happy girl) then stared at the dishwasher full of clean dishes and the sink full of dirties.  Just dooooooo it.  So I did. Clean ones to the cabinets, dirties to the dishwasher, 15 minutes, take that, done, bam, and now I don't have to come home to those after youth tonight and can actually read or hang out with my hubby instead!  

Why didn't I implement this strategy sooner?  I guess it's more of a mindset. I'm going to do my best to keep it up and hopefully it will take away a bit of the crazy from our life and also take away some of the chore attacking marathons. Maybe I'll print out a "Just Do It" sign and tape it to a kitchen cabinet...eh that might be overkill...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sacrificial Super Mom Powers

When I went home to Fredericksburg the other weekend (which was a stupendous trip), I failed at sleeping in as usual (Trent and I were up at 7:00 both mornings of our vacation...we stink at sleeping in) so Mom and I turned on the fireplace in their den (I would love to have a fireplace that I could just turn on and off) Saturday morning and chatted over coffee while we toasted our toes.  (I know, I need to cool it with the parentheses.)  We somehow ended up talking about parenting and she stated flat out that it is a very "sacrificial" time in your life and you just have to be selfless.  (Whatever inklings of baby fever I might have had that day, if any, promptly went away, to come again another day)  (...oh yeah, no more parentheses)

Aaaaanyway, Mom cited the example of my sister Katy and the nighttime chipmunk epidemic in her room during her toddler career.  When the light was on, there were no chipmunks to be found, neither in the closet, nor under the bed, but as soon as that light was off, they were there in all their furry scariness and there was no cure except for Mom to climb in the small, uncomfortable twin bed with Katy Poo for the rest of the night.  Katy got peaceful, chipmunk-free sleep. Mom, not so much.

Remembering this story reminded me to ask Mom something I had wondered for a long time:  How in the world did she know when we needed her?

Allow me to set the scene, from my own experience this time.  Maybe Katy just barged into mom and dad's room and said "Mama, there are chipmunks in my room again", thereby clearing alerting mama to the fact that a sacrificial night was ahead. But me?  I was the quiet one, didn't want to bother people...was mostly just scared of people.  So when I needed mama in the middle of the night, I was torn between sticking it out myself in order to not wake her and giving in to my little kid fears or needs.   I would creep across the hallway, push open mom and dad's bedroom door, which was always cracked open, never shut, and...stand there.  Mom slept on the side of the bed right by the door.  As I would stand there weighing my options, not sure what to do and therefore not doing anything, she would miraculously, without fail, wake up and whisper "Anna Pie, what's the matter?"  Not only did she know one of her five children was there needing her, she even knew which one!  

Mom's answer to how she knew was "she just knew."

I got to thinking about the sacrificial part of this whole story.  Think about the suspense Mom must have felt each time she whispered "John Boy/Anna Pie/Katy Poo/Sarah Grace/Abigail, what's the matter?"  It could be anything...

"There are chipmunks in my room."
"I heard a cat howling outside."
"I'm thirsty."
"I'm worried about Bell because it's raining."  (our childhood dog, RIP)
"I threw up."
"I wet the bed."

I'm sure she dreaded those last two...  Regardless of the reason, some worse than others, it meant getting up and sometimes staying up for a while, sleeping (more like not sleeping) next to a comforted Katy, changing sheets in the middle of the night, quarantining sick children, tripping over toys...the list goes on.  And that's only at night not to mention all she did for us during the day!

The last time I remember pushing open that door in the dark and standing there awkward and unsure, I was actually in highschool.  Even when I was a teenager and figured I had long outgrown Mom's super power...it still worked!  

"Anna Pie, what's the matter?" 
 "A scorpion fell off the ceiling fan and stung me on the stomach..."  

Ok, so you gotta gimme a break for getting help for that one, even though I was in highschool!  That was so not fun!  Both mom and dad got up that time (dad waged an ongoing personal war against scorpions in that house) and helped me doctor my sting then resettle on the sofa for the remainder of the night.  There was no way I was going back to bed with a rogue scorpion in the sheets somewhere...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unexpected Follower

Recently while perusing my stats page on this blog, I noticed a site in the "traffic sources" section that I didn't recognize.  It is www.nexttograce.com.  I clicked on it of course, giddy with excitement that I had picked up an unexpected follower. I realized that it is the blog of Tammy H., with whom I have some really loose connections... 1) I briefly met her and her now husband Jonathan at a college ministry back to school BBQ at FBC Woodway at the beginning of my sophomore year of college in 2005 (yes, I have a stalkerish memory of people's faces and names and no, I don't expect them to remember that day).  2) My amiga Steph lives in the same city as they do now and randomly mentions them to me sometimes because we are all four accountants.  3) Jonathan was photographer #2 at our wedding to help out the very talented Abigail Criner.  Proof:

Anyway, now that I have established those loose connections...   I went to her blog and started poking around, then noticed that she did not just show up in my traffic sources because of happening upon my blog once or twice, but rather she's got my blog listed in her "Friends and Family" blog list.  Saweeeet!

So there is really not much point to this post other than it is super cool to find semi random people who truly follow this blog!  And since Tammy follows: Hi and thanks!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Remember when Trent and I took the youth down to Galveston this summer for our mission trip and helped out Galveston Urban Ministries?  Well we pretty much fell in love with the city and have been wanting to go back since.  We started talking about a weekend getaway back in August...and the first weekend that we could both be free is this coming weekend.  (Well, the church employee's version of a weekend: Thursday-Saturday.)  That is proof right there that we neeeeed a getaway since it took over two months from first thinking about it to being able to find a time that we weren't busy and could actually go on one.  Yipes.

Anyway, I'm taking off Thursday and Friday, we'll leave Thursday morning and come home sometime Saturday.  We are sooo excited for a mini vacation and have been randomly chanting "Galveston! Galveston!" and "vacaaaaation" to each other this week.  We are dorks and we do not deny it.  I suppose it's a random time of year to go to the beach, considering it is November, but hey, we like it down there and stuff's cheaper in the winter! 

This trip will be just a little bit different from the mission trip...

~Trent and I will be able to sleep in the same room instead of apart in girls' room and guys' room and actually in a bed instead of on a church floor.
~We will have one shower and two people instead of one shower and twenty-one people

~We can stroll through the GUM building in normal attire and see its progress instead of showing up in work clothes with water jugs and pulling insulation down upon ourselves.  Itchaay.   (Although we might end up helping with some projects if they have anything for us!)
~We can hang out with the Dorrell family over a meal at a table instead of scarfing sandwiches or pizza on our feet at the work site. (Baby brother Dorrell has since arrived!)

~We won't have to count heads...although we dearly love all of these heads...

But there are some things that I think will be the same as the mission trip too...

~We'll eat at Shrimp N Stuff, Bada Bing and Banana Cabana Cafe again fo' sho'
~We'll grow closer as a couple
~We'll add a "Remember that time..." to our memory list

Sooooo excited! Caaaaaan't wait!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

This Makes Me Sad

My agenda for this evening includes some tv watching, pasta eating, knitting and reading.  Oh and some laundry and dishes.  I'm already on step one with a few episodes of Big Bang Theory (funny show) and have seen a commercial several times for this tv show:


Disclaimers: I have not watched this show. It may be funny.  It may have lovely endings for each episode that show moms not really hating their teenage daughters.

But still...


I don't very often say "What is this world coming to?" but...this makes me sad.   Part of what Trent and I try to do with our youth is build up self esteem and sense of value.  I know teenagers can be tricky for parents but I wish tv didn't send a message that they are worthless and hated.  Lame!!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

God Is A Radio DJ

Lunch break post!

I'm pretty sure that in His spare time (He has that right?), God is a radio DJ for Air One, a Christian station I have as a pre-set in my car.  "Huh? What are you talking about Anna?"  I really think God plants certain songs on the radio just for me to hear, that relate to something I'm going through.

Example #1:

One day at the beginning of April this year, when I was just about burnt out from tax season overtime hours, I left the office after a huge day and got in my car, exhausted, ready to just go home and go to sleep and the song that came on the radio was Third Day's "Light At The End of This Tunnel" which I had never heard before:

There's a light at the end of this tunnel
There's a light at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you
There's a light at the end of this tunnel
Shinin' bright at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you

So keep holdin' on

It's a great, energetic, encouraging song and you should give it a listen sometime.  Whatever your tunnel is, this song gives some hope that God is with you the whole way and that an end to struggle will come.  I sat in my driveway after I got home and finished the song (I love living one mile from work) and bounced in my seat a bit to the rhythm.  I gave myself a little pep talk and thanked God for the pep song.

Example #2:

This summer, Trent left for two weeks of church camp, and I took over Wednesday youth duties while he was gone.  Really there was no agenda except for a trip to the skating rink the first week and a trip to Kiddie Land the second week.  Easy peasy.  But by week two of my husband gone, I was really ready to have him back and wasn't doing so well in the lonely department.  Then I didn't leave myself enough time between work and Kiddie Land to call in the pizza order, go to Bush's for tea, go to Walgreens for plates and cups, go back to Bush's for ice, go back to Walgreen's for a cooler to put the ice in, go to Pizza Inn to pick up pizza and be back to Kiddle Land in time for any possible early kids.  So I was super rushed and trying really hard to be a rockstar YMW while fighting tears from missing my husband.  I pulled into the pizza parking lot and was about to get out of the car when "Strong Enough" by Matthew West came on the radio.  Another one I had not heard before.  Normally I wouldn't pay attention amidst my stressed out state and rush in to get the pizza, but I paused to listen and ended up sitting there for the whole song with my head leaned against the steering wheel.

You must, You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through
Well forgive me, forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up, I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t You cover me?
Lord, right now I’m asking You to be
Strong enough, strong enough
For the both of us

Well maybe, maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
‘Cause when I’m finally, finally at rock bottom
That’s when I start looking up
And reaching out

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be strong enough
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength

About the time the song went to the bridge, I was back to rockstar mode.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  I could get ice and cups and pizza. I could make it a few more days until my sweet husband came home.  I could do it.  And I did! 

Example #3:

A while back I found myself in a situation that was really tough spiritually and my first inclination was to just want to give up, run, ditch, forget it, say "I need a break God, you're being a meanie."  It stunk.   And then I heard this song, "By Your Side", by Tenth Avenue North:

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go
Omg, tears. Lots of them.  I love this song and it has been a great motivation and comfort to me when the reason for the above hurt comes back to bug me.   Songs really speak to me and mean a lot to me. I know that's not the case for everybody and may sound weird to some.  But I'm really glad that God is a radio DJ in His spare time and sends me these songs at certain times when He knows I need them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blog Your Heart

So, I'm taking on a challenge that I found on Angela's blog, who got it from someone named Stephanie, who I don't know.  (I know like 5 Stephanies, but not this one.)

The challenge is to blog your heart.  No rules but to be authentic.  I think I'm up for the challenge.  So here's what's on my heart at the moment.

1. I miss my mama and my sisters.
They are three stinkin' hours away either in the Burg or San Antonio and I'm busy and they're all busy and it's hard to find time to travel and see each other very often.  This coming weekend we had it all set up for me and mom to swap Abby in Lampasas (halfway between Fred and Waco) and she and I were going to spend the weekend going to the Baylor homecoming bonfire, jogging, junktiquing, fro-yo-ing, etc. Well, turns out she has a basketball game Saturday morning so the Abboo swap won't work out afterall. (This is the third time we've tried it)  I couldn't help crying when I found this out and I'm upset now about it.  Turns out I can just as easily pop all the way down to Fredericksburg for the weekend instead, since I had it blocked off, had already budgeted for gas and Trent will be at a youth retreat.  So I'll probably do that and still get to see Abby (and see her play bball!) and mom and maybe the other seesters can pop in from SA.  All that to say, I wish I got to see them more.  My sisters are funny, unique, talented young women and I miss them like crazy.

2. I miss Steph and Rach.
I miss them lots of times but this evening I was back on Baylor campus for an accounting dinner so I'm all nostalgic about our college days, roomie fun, ridiculous laughs, talking each other through tricky stuff...building forts in the living room of our apartment...  Those are days I cherish and remember fondly.  They are also stinkin' far away, Rach moreso than Steph.  I actually looked up flight prices to NC recently to see if I could afford a random jaunt to visit Mrs. Newlywed, even though I already flew there once this year, but I think all the airlines I checked on were laughing in my face.  As Roo would say "Boo urns."

3. Most of my pants are falling down.  Ok not exactly falling down, but they are loose. Like, the new pants I bought after losing weight this year.  It makes me both happy and super annoyed.  I don't think I've lost more weight (haven't been on a scale in a couple months) so I don't know what the deal is.  Whatevs.  I have clothes to wear. I'll just be grateful for that.

4. Me and God are homies lately.  It's pretty great.  I tend to think I can't pursue certain things on my own, that I need other, more "knowledgeable" people to guide me, but I'm taking some things into my own hands and finding that there is a lot of learning, growing, seeking and knocking I can do on my own.

5. I'm very proud of my husband. He works really hard, accomplishes a lot, luuuvs these youth. He is a living example of humility and encourages me to follow Matthew 6:34.

6. I'm really, really tired.  It's 9:13 p.m., that means it's time for us to be headed to bed.  Oh wait, Trent is already half asleep with his head in a pillow sandwich and holding my stuffed dog, Graham, hostage.  (24 year olds are allowed to sleep with a stuffed animal if their husband gave it to them after he bought it at the same time as their engagement ring....FYI)

What's on your heart?