Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Evolution Of A Blog Post (And Those That Never See The Light Of Day)

Did you know that a lot of my blog posts end up being published as something very different from what I originally set out for them to be?   For example, this post that summed up my faith in three words did not start out with that subject in mind at all.  When I started writing it, I actually intended it to be about this post's topic, living intentionally for the Lord here and now.   Sometimes once I sit down and get to writing, my ideas evolve and I find myself in a totally different place.  So I roll with it.  I change the title and stash away the original idea for another time perhaps.   I figure y'all will never know the difference!

Did you know that I have lots of blog post ideas that fall by the wayside and never see the light of day?   You see, whenever I have an idea for a blog post of any kind, I go ahead and open up Blogger the next time I have a chance and save a new draft with what I think the title of my new post will be.  So at any given time, I have lots of drafts, most with nothing in them but a title.  I currently have 19.   Well, for some blog post ideas, they don't seem so hot after they hang out in my draft list for a while, or I simply realize I'm never going to tackle that subject or do that craft...sometimes I just get so far past the point when I had the idea that I really no longer have a clue what I wanted to say.

Just for grins, here are a few blog post drafts that sadly went to the land of DELETE:

Who Do You Dress To Impress?
Why I'll Never Own An E-Reader
When Young People Give
The Day Trent Preached In Big Church
Snooze And Snoozability, by Jane Austen

Now you're curious, huh? If anyone out there particularly wants to see one of these be posted, let me know and I'll try to conjure up the idea again.  But for now, they have gone bye bye.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

DIY Money Saver - Homemade Haircuts

Trent likes to keep his hair pretty short these days, but he hasn't always...   Fro my goodness!   

Christmas 2006

Haircuts weren't as frequent back then as they are now, but nevertheless, Trent didn't like spending money on them.  Probably one of the reasons they were few and far between!   Not terribly long after we started dating, I began cutting Trent's hair.   Does that sound scary?  It's really not.  I don't actually cut it, I buzz it, with a trimmer guard so it's pretty much fool proof.

We went to Wal-mart sometime in 2006 and bought this trimmer set:

It was $26.  I remember standing in the Wal-mart aisle while Trent lamented how much money that was at the time for us po' college students.   We analyzed the high start up cost compared to the money he could save on haircuts going forward and went for it.   I decided to try to sum up approximately how much money.

Cost of Wahl trimmer set with guards: $26

Cost per haircut Trent would get at SportClips, prior to our homemade haircut endeavor: $20
Approximate number of haircuts per year:  4 (2006 after purchasing trimmer set) + 8 (2007) + 10 each (2008-2011) + 5 (2012 thus far) equals 57
Total savings: $20 x 57 = $1,140

Um...fro my goodness!   $26 vs $1140?  Yes please. 

Any men out there who prefer an evenly short haircut?  Any women whose man likes that type of haircut?  Give this a try!  It's super easy and with the guards you can pick your hair length and there's no danger of an oopsie bald spot or cutting off an ear.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Proper Attire For A Youth Lock-In

Trent and I are gearing up for one of the necessary evils of youth ministry: a lock-in.   This overnight event is something that our kids luuuurv and beg for since they have not yet gained such an appreciation that we have for this thing called sleep.  Nevertheless, we luuuurv our kids so we give in and have a lock-in every once in a while.   But, since we are in charge, our lock-ins actually involve sleep!!  Bwa ha ha.

I thought I'd enlighten you on the proper attire for a youth lock-in.  This is what I have devised after some purposeful thought and reflection.

1. Athletic shorts. There is potential for basketball, killer pong, hide and seek, capture the flag...be prepared.    Also, athletic shorts can double as pajama bottoms at bedtime .

2. Socks and Sneakers.  See item #1 above.  Plus you can shed the shoes and still have warm tootsies inside your socks if the youth room is chilly.

3. Sports bra.  Get warm playing volleyball outside?  Eh, don't sweat it.  Want to be modest at bedtime, but still comfy?  Gotcha covered.  (Puns very much intended, you know it)

4. A youth t-shirt.  Of course.   Creepy stalker Jesus t-shirt designed by one of your very own youth?  Total win.

So, in conclusion, basically wear to a lock-in what you would wear to the gym.  Yeah.  Youth ministry is a workout.  Burnin' calories and losin' sleep for Jesus!  Even creepy stalker Jesus...

Monday, August 20, 2012

This IS Where I Belong

Remember this blog post from a little while back, about my faith being summed up in three little words?  Click here if you don't remember.   Well, when I started to write that post, I actually intended to write the post that is about to unfold below.  Funny how things change in my brain as I typity type type.

In that post I said my faith boils down to three words: Jesus Loves Me.   I have a simple faith, not an intellectual faith, and that's just fine.  There are a few topics, however, that make me bristle and think and find my belief in the particulars.    I realized one of these topics when I found myself singing along heartily to a catchy new song on the Christian radio station.   It is called Where I Belong and it's by Building 429.  The chorus goes like this:

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this life and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

A punchy rhythm got me into the song and I soon knew the words without really thinking about them.   But then I thought about them...and audibly said to my radio "Hold the phone, this IS where I belong!"  

Allow me to explain.

I totally know where this song is coming from and what it is trying to stay.  As children of God, we are not of this world.  This is not our eternal home.  We have a place prepared for us in our Father's heavenly mansion, with streets paved with gold where we can engage in eternal praise and worship for our Lord.  

...But I feel like some people are in such a hurry to get there that they miss out on the Kingdom of God that is already upon us right here on earth...

Maybe I'm not truly home yet.  Maybe I should be more consciously eager for the streets of gold and the end of this worldly life.   Maybe I should be more focused on eternity with Jesus.  But honestly?  I feel pretty at home in this world, in this life.  I believe I was placed on this earth for a purpose. I believe that purpose involves more than just looking forward to the day when I will no longer be on this earth.  

God put me in this city, in this job, in this family, in this church, in this marriage.   I want to serve Him and love others every day that I am alive.  I don't know God's timeline.  He could take me away from this earth any instant and bring me to His side.  And you know what?  Whenever that happens, I will rejoice in His glory and dance on the streets of gold.  

But in the meantime?  This IS where belong.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Exercise From The 90s

Remember when I got an aerobic step and step DVD for some 80s exercise?  Well that was rather short lived, as most of my DVD workouts are, because I get sooooo booooored with doing the same thing over and over on the DVD.   So I decided to try something else:

I bit the bullet and now pay $36 a month to attend unlimited Jazzercise classes at the Waco location.  Now, I don't know if Jazzercise is truly from the 90s, but I remember all the ladies at my dad's law firm going through a phase where they all went to Jazzercise and that was in the 90s, so let's just roll with my post title.  

I'm loving Jazzercise.   Reasons:

~The women attending do not look anything like those in the picture above.   We are not an already slender, ripped group of women in full makeup and color coordinated workout clothes.  We are a bunch of regular people trying to be healthy and have fun doing it.   Even the instructors themselves aren't exercise goddesses.  

~It truly is fun.  The songs are current and upbeat, the instructors are peppy and encouraging, and they show you different routines so you don't get super bored like I do with DVDs.  I find myself simply smiling through many routines.

~It really is a good workout.   They ain't playin' around.  Cardio, weights/strength work, abs, it's all in there. 

~I will actually go and do it.  Since a) I am paying for it, b) I like it, and c) it is at scheduled times that I can't postpone or put off...I will go.  I roped my friend and coworker Kristin into coming with me. It's fun to have a buddy to keep accountable with too.

~I get to live out my little girl dream of going to dance classes, which was never realized.  Hey mom, I can shake my booty and wear tight outfits in Jazzercise class all I want!   :-P

I've been going for a couple weeks now and I'm really enjoying it.  So far so good!

This post was in no way sponsored or perked by Jazzercise and all opinions herein are simply my own genuine thoughts. ...hahahahaha, yeah right, like I would have blog sponsors.  Pssh!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear Men, You Shouldn't Be Expected To Read Your Wife's Mind

Dear Men,

Your wife should not expect you to read her mind.  

Have you ever experienced either of these situations?

1.  Your wife is crying.  You're not entirely sure why.  Maybe it's work, maybe it's kids, maybe it's the house, maybe it's PMS.   She's being choppy and unintelligible with her explanation in between her tears.   You honestly don't know what to do to help or make her feel better.  Does she just need you to hold her?  Does she need a bit of alone time without you?  Does she need to go take a bubble bath or go for a jog?   There's no telling.

2.  It's chore time, house cleaning mode is switched on for everyone in the household and your wife is the fearless leader of the charge.  You look around the house and it honestly doesn't look all that bad to you.  You aren't really sure what to tackle because nothing looks all that dirty.

The short answers to each of these situations, in my opinion, are:

1. Ask.

2. Ask.

Now here are my long answers:

1.  Women cry.  For a lot of reasons or no reason at all.  Please accept this and respect it, rather than just blowing it off as dumb or whimpy.   But it is not fair for us to blow up at you if you don't know what is wrong or how to make us feel better.    Not being able to read your wife's mind does not make you a bad husband.  It makes you, um, human.   There have been many times when I have been upset and Trent has gently said to me "I'm not sure what to do to make you feel better.  How can I help?"  This should be a direct, caring invitation for your wife to share with you what is going on with her, and how you can help, or if you can't really and it just needs to run its course.   I personally love and respect these inquiries from my husband.  It shows that he realizes a hug and a kiss on the forehead might not be the answer, or it might be exactly what I need, but he is unsure and so...he asks.    Do you ask?  Or do you just go for the kiss on the forehead and hope it covers all the bases?

2.  Admit it, some of you men can be pretty messy.  Sometimes your definition of "clean" does not match up to your wife's definition.  Hopefully your wife understands this and doesn't blow it off as dumb or insensitive.  So you're standing in your living room during chore time and look around and honestly have no clue what to work on.  This was a new one for us a few weeks ago when we were doing some cleaning to get ready for Sunny to move in.  Trent calmly and sincerely told me "I really am not sure what I need to do.  The house looks pretty good to me."  My initial reaction was a blip of anger.  How could he not see what we needed to work on?!  But then I realized, he doesn't have the eye for dusty bookshelves or splotchy mirrors like I do.   I appreciated that he told me he was not sure where to start instead of just poking around and not accomplishing much of anything.

Ladies, I sincerely challenge you, from the bottom of my heart, not to blow up at your husband if he can't read your mind.  Newsflash: that capability does not exist.   It is not possible.  So please don't expect it of him.   If he asks questions to better understand what is on your mind or what he can do, please don't view that as a failure in knowing you.  Please view it as his desire to know you better.

Men, I challenge you to just ask.  Give it a try.   I am not telling you to spout off "I can't read your mind ya know" to your wife.  Ask calmly, gently, even humbly.  Show her that you care about what she needs and want to learn how to best meet those needs.

A wife who respects her husband for simply asking

Monday, August 13, 2012

An Addition To Our Household

Raise your hand if you clicked on this link from Facebook because you thought this was an announcement that we are having a kid.   Lol, sorry, nope.  But we do have someone living in our guest room.   She has already graduated from college though so if you count her as our kid then I guess we are past all the hard work. 

This is Sunny:

I shamelessly yoinked this picture from her facebook page.   Sunny is a friend of Trent's cousin.  She graduated from Baylor this past May, her apartment lease ended July 31st and she is leaving on a 9 month long mission journey through her church at the beginning of September.  She was kind of stuck between a rock (July) and a hard place (September) with no place to lay her curly head, so we swooped her up for the month of August.   Sunny is a delight.   She is a sweet, sweet young lady with a big heart for our Lord.

So.  If any of you hear Trent and I talking like there is someone else living at our house, well, there is.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Grocery Bag Repair

Trent and I are really into reusable grocery bags.  They make it so much easier to tote home our loot from grocery trips.  They hold a ton and you can sling them over your shoulder.  Oh and there's that whole saving the earth thing too.  We make a pretty giant grocery trip every two weeks around pay day and then a fill-in trip in between.

Well, our giant trips have started to take a toll on our reusable bags and the handles started ripping out...whop whop.

The bags were only a dollar each when we got them, so I debated just replacing them, but only for about, oh, two seconds.   It was sewing that ripped out of them.  So I decided to just add more sewing back to them.

It worked out tremendously.  Not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen come off a sewing machine, but hey, they are just grocery bags for goodness sake.

I'm sure our beans and cereal and eggs won't mind.

Question of the day: what little things do you encounter here and there that are broken or messed up that you just throw away?   Is there any way you can salvage them via sewing machine, hot glue, paint, etc, to prolong their life?   If you need to come use my sewing machine, just holler!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dear Men, This Is Why Women Love High Heels


Date: August 9, 2012
To: The men of this world
From: A woman concerned for your enlightenment and understanding
Re: High heels

I. Issue
I recently purchased a pair of red high heels from DSW.    In the days since, I have been the recipient of several friendly eye rolls and comedic comments, namely from my husband and a coworker who shall remain nameless.  (*cough*Keith*cough*)  These eye rolls and comments, though offered in jest and resulting in no offense on my part whatsoever, seem to indicate that the male gender does not generally understand why many women love high heels.  In fact, that is precisely one of the comments I received: "I don't understand why women love high heels."  Also the more general comment "I don't understand women."  Well men, I have decided to at least attempt to enlighten you on this one particular issue so that you may come to understand at least a piece of your female counterparts, whether they be wives, sisters, moms, daughters, friends or coworkers.  I concede that it is by no means true to say that all women love high heels.  But you can find plenty who do.  To avoid unnecessary eye rolling and jests, allow me to enlighten you.

II. Question
Why do women love high heels?

III. Conclusions
-If you are short, heels make you a normal height, allowing you to see eye to eye with the rest of your world.
-If you are a normal height, heels make you even taller, allowing you to feel like you are on top of your world.
-When wearing heels, there is an inexplicable urge to prance just a bit.  I venture to say it may even be a necessity.   I'm fairly certain prancing is acceptable when you are on top of your world.
-Heels make your legs look great.  Legs look longer, calf muscles are accentuated.
-Comfortable heels do exist, and at affordable prices. An increase in price does not automatically mean increased comfort.  For example, I can't make it three hours in a particular $60 pair of heels, but my current most comfortable pair cost $23.
-Heels themselves can be absolutely gorgeous.  This is why your female counterparts may gasp upon spying a pair and experience "love at first step."
-Heels make females feel fabulous, and we like to feel fabulous.

IV. Support
DSW, Women's category, "Pumps and Heels"
Zappos, Women's Heels, "We found 5491 items!"
Personal acquaintance with many women who love high heels, including my sisters Katy and Sarah who are fearless high heel wearers.  We are slowly wooing Abby in.  Baby steps.  (Pun very much intended)

In conclusion, men, if the fearless high heel wearing female in your life is your mom, tell her she looks spiffy and hip.  If it is your coworker, say "cool shoes", then smile and nod as she proceeds to tell you every detail about them.  If it is your daughter, hug her, tell her that she looks fancy and that she is growing up too fast.  And men, if it is your wife, tell her that she looks dang sexy.

I appreciate the opportunity to provide you with what I hope is useful information.  Please feel free to contact me in the comments section below if you have any questions on this matter.

Budding High Heel Devotee

What Do You Do When Your Sister Moves To China For A Year?

Remember my sister Katy, the adventurous one? The one who introduced us to the concept of first world problems?

Katy will get on a plane this evening in Austin and fly to Dallas, then get on another plane and fly to California. Then at 1:00 am tonight, Pacific time, she'll get on a 15 hour flight to Taiwan, where she will take one more flight, only an hour this time, to Hong Kong. 

Then she'll be in Hong Kong for almost a year.  She will be teaching English at Lingnan University in one of only three faculty positions available to recent college graduates all over.

In our family, Katy being in other countries for long periods of time is nothing new. She went to Chile for nine months, Spain for a summer, the Dominican Republic for five months and Brazil for four.  But just because we are used to it doesn't make it easy...

This past Sunday afternoon as I was bustling around my parents' house trying to get my stuff gathered up and get out the door, I suddenly stopped in my tracks as I realized I wouldn't see Katy again before she left today. Tears instantly started rolling down my face as I realized...my sister is going to be on the other side of the world for almost a year. 

What do you do in a situation like that?

I hugged my adventurous, caring, talented sister for a long time. A real good hug, not the whimpy ones all my sisters say I give.

I told her through my tears that I'm so proud of her and that she's going to do great things.

I will pray for her safety as she travels to her new home today and into tomorrow. I will pray that she can settle into her tiny apartment and learn to use chopsticks.  I will smile when I think of how much taller and tanner she will be than the Chinese.  I will start to practice being mindful of the 11 hour time difference. I will be on call in case she has a debit card stop working and needs me to transfer her money online to my account then pull it all out in cash and go pretend to be her and deposit it in her account at her other bank. (not that that has happened before...)

She has already accomplished so much and is really only just beginning.  She is all set to make her mark on this world.  Love you Katy.  Go get 'em.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Sewed A Birthday Card

Last Wednesday I had an idea.  I decided I was going to sew my sister Katy a birthday card.   So I came home after youth group and that is exactly what I set out to do.  I pulled out some construction paper left over from my tax season count down paper chain and set to cutting out blue, plaid, wool flower petals from some scrap fabric.   Because, come on, who has ever seen a blue, plaid, wool flower?  

Then I played with the tension and stitch length on my sewing machine with a bit of scrap fabric and some other paper to see if this sewing on paper thing could truly be done.   So far so good.

Then I took pictures of Trent and Lu being adorable while watching the Rangers lose...

And then I went to bed.

But I continued the next day after work and began to actually sew my unique flower onto the paper.  I didn't really care about being precise or symmetrical.   I just went for it and it worked!

Then I pulled out my Crayola markers and attempted to draw some fancy letters on the card.

Fancy letters have never been one of my strengths so...just focus on the cool blue, plaid, wool flower...

It turned out cool and fun and unique!  For next time I will get thicker paper or card stock and try that out so the card doesn't end up so top heavy and floppy.

And for any family members out there thinking "Um Anna, Katy's birthday was July 26th, and it's already August", Katy insisted that there was no mailing of birthday stuff allowed just for the sake of being on time.  So I brought her card to her in person along with some birthday monies when I went to the hometown last weekend.

Do you have any birthdays coming up or other occasions?  Why not try sewing a card instead of buying one?  Need some scrap fabric?  I've got plenty, come and get some.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sometimes You Have To Buy The Red Stilettos

I spent this past weekend in San Antonio and Fredericksburg with my family.  Part of San Antonio involved some shopping, including a trip to DSW where we had a ball trying on the wackiest high heels we could find.

Hmm, I wonder why these were all in the clearance section...

Ka-razy shoes aside, this trip to DSW introduced me to a particular pair of classy, sassy high heels and it was love at first sight, I tell ya.  Not so much with the price tag though.   I sadly said farewell to them and we headed back to Fredericksburg, but the beautiful picture of them in my mind ate away at my female soul and I knew they must be mine.  So, I hatched a plan.

I called the DSW in Georgetown and asked them to put an equivalent pair of my lovely heels on hold.

Instead of the normal state highways back home to Waco, I took the way that includes IH-35, which I don't like.

I went slightly out of my way to get to the DSW.

In the rain.

Then I hopped onto 35 and cruised towards home, knowing that my little high heel hiatus was now crunching the time I had left to get home in time for Bible study.

Then my beautiful shoes went flying from the backseat to the floorboard as I came over a hill into Belton and slammed on my brakes for sudden molasses traffic. 

I began to wonder if these high heels were really worth coming this way.  I knew 35 traffic would be unpredictable.  I knew it. 

I called Trent to make him aware of my situation and to tell him "I don't want to hear it" when he started chuckling at my reason.   Boys...

I made it home ten minutes before Bible study.

I helped serve the dinner Trent had cooked so yummily.

I chimed in on our group's 1 Corinthians discussion.

I said goodnight and have a good week to our group.

And then... I did dishes in my new heels...

Because sometimes you just have to wear red pumps with Nike shorts.

Sometimes you have to go a little bit out of your way to intentionally claim a nugget of happiness.

Sometimes you have to splurge a few of your hard earned dollars on something fabulous.

Sometimes you have to buy the red stilettos.