Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Before Thanksgiving, we had our city Christmas parade, which was a lot of fun. We don't go every year (usually just watch it on tv), but this year our friends wanted to go and I'm so glad we went!
We even stayed to the very end! Santa was really great this year. And unlike past years, the reindeer didn't have evil devil-red eyes anymore. Yay!
Even our milk got in the Christmas spirit! (Am I the only one who buys the specific carton of milk based on the expiration date being a special date?)
Our Thanksgiving was wonderful! This year was different because instead of hosting and cooking for up to 30 people, we only had three others come. It was a blast though, more intimate and relaxed, than running around all crazy. We ate, we laughed, we played at the playground for the toddler that came, we ate some more.... good times. (sorry, no pictures of the good times. I did get one photo of the stuffing I made, which was yummy, but I figure that might be a bit anticlimactic.)
After Thanksgiving, as is our tradition, we spent Black Friday getting our Christmas tree up and the house decorated. We rocked us some Christmas decor this year! Lots of garland, lots more ornaments, lots more as much as I can cram into our apartment! You can't really tell here, but there's tons. Trust me. CC's letting it fly this year, but I'm sure he's having red and green nightmares every night.
Here's my Black Friday find at Kohl's... the Shark Steam Mop I scored for $45! SOOOOO happy!
The weekend after Thanksgiving, we helped decorate the church. See my pretty tree?
Okay, it's not MY tree, but I did help with it. We put more stuff on it after this, so now it is rockin' the pretty Christmas... I was GLOWing by the time I left the church that day. SO much glitter. Those that know me well know that I like glitter when it can be contained. I do NOT like glitter that stays with you in odd places for weeks on end. This was the latter type of glitter. The good news? Hubby took one shiny glance at me when I got home and made me go take a shower. Fortunately, that gets rid of the glitter apparently.
Also, helping with our Christmas spirit... peppermint mochas from Starbucks! Woot! Woot! We went after watching "Arthur Christmas" which was AWESOME! What was hilarious was walking into the place and seeing every table taken up with a laptop, and only one person at each table.
Are you all playing Words With Friends or having virtual small group? We weren't sure, but this chica definitely knew I was trying to snag a photo. I must not be as sneaky as I think I am.
We stayed and talked and hung out for a while at the 'Bucks. Love that place. Fond memories. Like this one.
My hubby App store loves me. Awww!
I've dearly missed the blog world these past two weeks and am looking forward very much to reconnecting with you! During this season of gratefulness, it's been impressed upon my heart how thankful and blessed I am to have you be a part of my life. So thank you!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
For those of you who don't yet know this, I am OBSESSED with office supplies. I get them for my birthday, Christmas, anytime of the year works for me! My hubby used to call me the Pen Queen because I was always on the ever-elusive search for the perfect pen. If we're ever at Target and he's looking for me, I can usually be found on the pen aisle (he can be found on the video game aisle).
So you can imagine my excitement that my planner from Erin Condren is FINALLY here! I am in LOVE! I've drooled over it for the two days it's been in my possession, talked about it endlessly (the guys I work with are sick of hearing about it), shown it to as many people as I possible can, facebooked Erin herself to thank her, and on and on and on... (in fact, you might be sick of hearing about it!).
Well, once I saw the cuteness in person, I decided nothing but the best would do and I proceeded to order new colored pens so I can color-coordinate my work items from my personal items. I typically do this, but boring blue and black ink wasn't going to cut it for the adorableness that is the planner.
Staples finally delivered (Ha! Do you like my pun?) and the pens are here! I'm so happy. Heaven! Okay, anyway, so yes, I did just post an entire blog entry about the planner arriving and pens that make me happy. And I'm not sorry you just spent your time reading that. Okay, maybe a little, but now that I can write in my planner, I'm happy again. (Are you as confused as I seem to be? Here's the summary: Pens + Planner + Susie = Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Today marks CC's and my 15th year together. Almost half my life has been spent side by side with my bestie. (We dated for five and a half years before we got married. When you date for that long, you can start counting with the marriage, but you don't ignore those first dating years.) Our first date was November 16, 1996. In case you haven't heard what our first date included, here we go- keep in mind, this is the VERY condensed version so you don't have to spend the next eight hours reading!
To start with, CC and I were both in the same high school youth group at our church (where we still attend). We didn't go to the same high school, but that was okay because we had youth group together. I met his entire family (two parents, two brothers) before I ever met him. Loved them all immediately. Wondered who the mystery brother was. Finally met him when I was 14. Fell in "LUV" immediately. Pined away for two years. TWO years. Forlorn, beet-red blushing girl I was, he had no clue. You want proof of clueless males? Exhibit A.
Had no clue until my "friend" told him. TOLD HIM! At 16. In front of me. Mortifying. Again with the blushing.
Fortunately, we had the same group of friends and hung out all the time. He was extremely shy and quiet. But when he opened his mouth, he was hysterically funny. And his dimples showed. Oh the dimples!
On a retreat one weekend in November (in 1996, if you hadn't yet guessed) that same 'friend' orchestrated a double date that became a single date. CC SAYS he asked me out officially, but he didn't actually. It just kind of worked out. I think he might have actually asked my mom if he could take me out, but never to me. Kinda funny. Well, after the retreat I was having eye surgery and wouldn't be able to see for a few days until I got a new pair of glasses.
My mom told him I could go if he'd take me to Lenscrafters that Friday night to get me some glasses. (Kill two birds with one stone? Sure!) So CC being the sweetie pie that he is, he for some reason said yes.
To make a long story short, I couldn't see him the following Friday when he picked me up in the big brown Bessie minivan. I'm blind as a bat without help and I literally could not see the guy for my first ever date. It was weird.
We drove forty five minutes away to the mall where Lenscrafters was. He had to pick out the frames because I couldn't see anything. Fortunately, he has some killer taste. We had an hour to kill, so we MET HIS MOM to switch cars. We got the super-cool date car, the Ford Taurus. We used that car for almost every date we had after that. Miss that car. Saw some other people from church who knew we were on our first date, so they waved and ran away so it wouldn't be weird. Haha!
After we got my glasses and the other car, we did go to dinner and a play that was at his school. It was a lovely evening and obviously things went well, but I find it hilarious that I couldn't see him and we spent part of our first date with his mother (who I love dearly). I don't know if you find that funny but we sure do!
All these years later, I still love you, baby! In fact, more every day. Happy dating anniversary, Lovey!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Here's the thing about our beloved little puppy... as small as she is, she's a chewer. And not just a chewer, but a destroyer of all things good and happy. She doesn't just chew toys and MacBook cords, she EATS them. Literally eats. It's a good thing her toys don't have calories, because she goes to town on anything we let her chew. A chronic problem we have is trying to keep her entertained with toys and treats and various and sundry not-sock items that she's allowed to have.
Last week she got a dog toy in the mail to product test. Supposedly, this company makes nearly indestructible toys. They say "nearly" because apparently 99% of all dogs that've tested their products can't destroy their toys (They have to account for the 1% that can destroy their toys, so thus the 'nearly.'). So I asked them if they'd let Scout participate and test them, since she's such a ferocious beast.
They happily shipped us a 'sample' which apparently means free actual toy. This is what came in the mail. Looks durable, right? The videos on their website show all the ways they've tested the awesomeness of the toys. Blending for a dog toy milkshake, punching it with a metal machine, more blending, a lab taking a crack at it... I especially love the competitive test result video, which shows all the other toys that were destroyed while the Bionic toys remained intact.
Okay, to be clear, I think it's AWESOME and AMAZING that they sent us a sample toy and agreed to let Scout test it. I hope we can continue this. People are often surprised at how chompy Scout can be, especially when they find out how little she is (12 lbs., 13 on a bloaty day).
We waited for us both to be home since CC and I both wanted to see what happened. Scout LOVED her bone toy from the second she realized the box was for her. I guess she could smell it. She's really smart about knowing when something we bring home is for her, versus for us. Crazy how brilliant she can be (yet, still stubborn and sometimes disobedient. Crazy dog.). Anyway, we were both home and let her go to town with it.
And here were our results...
1. Scout LOVED it! She was obsessed with it the entire time we let her have it. To the exclusion of all else. Nothing else mattered. Not her mama. Not her daddy. Not her other toys. Not the TV she loves to watch. Nothing. Bright neon orange goodness was all she cared about.
2. In less than ten minutes, she had deep gashes in the toy. Uh oh. This isn't going like we were hoping it would.
3. In fifteen minutes, she had a chunk bit out of it. Fished it out of her mouth since it's not edible. Hmm, this seems more normal to us.
4. In about thirty minutes, Scout had three chunks chewed off and we had to take it away from her. She was NOT HAPPY. I repeat, NOT happy. Forlorn, angry, lots of glaring in our general, specific, pointed direction. We had lost all coolness points with the furbaby. Who is apparently a truly ferocious beasty beast.
Yeah, so our little furbaby's back to the pitiful chewer we had before. No toys. No fun. Sigh. I emailed video and the photos above to the company to see what they thought, but I haven't heard back yet. I am hopeful that they'll let her continue to test their products, but I don't have high hopes. I'd think Scout will throw their numbers if they let her keep testing. At least for thirty minutes she was a working girl...
Monday, November 14, 2011
Our church participates with a ministry we call Canning Hunger, which provides non-perishable food items to our local food bank. We usually donate to them several times throughout the year, and this is what I'm counting for the final day's project.
Many of you may know this, but for those of you that don't, I grew up pretty poor. Ghetto poor. Inner city poor. Almost evicted and evicted often poor. Often hungry poor. I don't say this for pity or sympathy, I say this to encourage you. People in your community are hurting. They need Jesus if they don't already have Him. You may give one can of green beans to a local food bank and never realize what a blessing it is. If you don't already serve or donate food or gifts or time or money to some organization that helps the less fortunate in your community, please consider doing this. Often. It is so easy to see how blessed we are and to give like we've been doing this week.
There's always a way to help someone else. If you don't have the money, give your time. If you don't have the time, give items or money. If you don't have either, please PRAY for these people. Many of them are actually working hard to not stay in the system, to better themselves and their families, to break the cycle of dysfunction and poverty. Not everyone is being lazy, or taking drugs, or who knows what else. Jesus is powerful. Jesus can heal these situations. You can be Jesus to someone.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
(Sheepishly after seeing the post: Never mind. The paragraphs showed up. Bizarro.)
Today's love action for the Happy Day project is to gift a book to a friend. Adapting again to make it more personal for me, I decided to go 'whole hog' with this one. You see, I LOVE to read. I adore it. I do it all the time. I also read really quickly, so I've been told. No lie, I once read 11 books in a 10 day period of time. (I think that was about six months ago, maybe.) So I'm forever in need of a new book to read. It's the best way I can relax.
That being said, I have MANY books and being in a little, nonexistent extra storage, apartment, no room for all of these books. I've been trying to decide what to do with the ones that didn't become favorites for a while now, and the Happy Day project helped me figure this out. For today's action, I'm going to take the giant pile o' books and donate them to our church library! I'm happy to do this and I can't wait. Only problem? I forgot them at home today, so I have to wait to do this day's project. Sadness. I'll bring them Sunday when I'm here next and it'll still count, but I was bummed when I realized I'd left them home and wouldn't be participating on the actual day.
What is your favorite book that you'd love to share with someone? Mine is, has been, and always will be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And anything by Lori Wick. LOVE!
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Yesterday was Day Two: write a handwritten note to someone. I won't say who it is since the person hasn't gotten it yet, but I will say it was long overdue and a really great reminder that it's not a hard or stressful thing to send someone actual mail. Via the USPS. Not hard. Anyone can do it. It took almost no time and will make someone's day. I wanted to write about ten thousand of them yesterday, but I couldn't. At least now it's at the forefront of my mind so hopefully I will write more often. If you don't mind sending me your mailing address, I'd love to add it to my address book for future notes of happiness.
Yesterday's act of love (and in fact, the whole week of spreading joy and Jesus to others) prompted a Happy Merry Chris Night/date last night. I 'kidnapped' my hubby and made him drive us to get his car cleaned (because he wanted that), we ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (which we never do), and he got to go to the Lego store to buy Lego men (because he's a 'minifigure collector'). We got Starbucks for me and had very deep and spiritual, REAL discussions. We talked to each other, we reconnected, we fell more in love, AND THEN... we went home where he got more surprises! I did dishes, I dusted (his job), and I CLEANED OUR ENTIRE BATHROOM BY MYSELF! (this was the clincher because I HATE cleaning our bathroom. It's the only room in the house that NEVER stays clean because you use it every stinkin' day. I hate cleaning the bathroom.) All of it made for a wonderful night, and I had a blast surprising him! I strongly recommend a surprise hubby day/night if you can swing it. It was definitely an unusual but very welcome change to our routine.
Today is Day Three: give a giftcard to a homeless person. I am taking license with this one. Putting that right out there. I have my reasons for not doing this one by the letter, mostly relating to how I grew up. I did not grow up homeless, praise the Lord, but we were often very close to being homeless and were many times evicted or came close to being evicted from our homes. Because of my upbringing, a ministry our church partners with is very close to my heart. H.O.P.E. ministry provides food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas presents to the inner-city children of our community every year. Every year CC and I participate to help provide these hungry people with food and joy and Jesus. I am counting this ministry opportunity as my action for Day Three. Since the goal is to help hungry people, I feel this still counts.
Update on Day One: I have not yet provided actual happiness to my neighbors, but I'm getting closer. I have everything ready to go, except the actual treat. I've decided on which neighbors I'm going to hopefully bless, and I hope to do it Thursday night after work. Please keep praying I stay with it!
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
So yesterday began the Happy Day project I mentioned last week. Super exciting! However, what I didn't anticipate was super convicting. I wonder if any of you know where I'm going with this.
Yesterday kicked off with a "Treat Your Neighbor" day. We sort of know our neighbors (We live in an apartment building.). We wave and say hi, ask how each others' doing, that type of thing. We even have neighbors that we know are Christians, so they should be 'safe' to take a treat to, right?
I was even off yesterday, with a whole day of baking treats for neighbors stretching before me. Well, plain and simple, I was scared. Scared of what would happen by taking someone a treat. Scared to come out of my comfort zone to say hello on a deeper level. I truly care for our neighbors, all of them, but it's hard isn't it? Hard to not just talk Jesus to people, but to actually live it.
Well needless to say, the day came and went with many thoughts of what to do, and no actual action. I'm ashamed to say it, but fear got the best of me.
We decided to donate to Sharlie instead. It felt good, and it felt right. A very deserving lady. I was moved by her story. However, God's not done with me on this issue and I can tell. By the end of the week, treats must be delivered to someone. I love that sweet Hannah took them to her apartment's office. A fabulous idea and one I've been thinking of doing for months. But God's telling me to do something different for this particular week and I have to obey.
If you think of it, please pray for me that I stay obedient. I want to do this and I know now that I need to. To me, it's already interesting how God is using the Happy Day project. It's obvious He's moving in our communities as I've read the recaps from other blog friends.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Friday, November 04, 2011
With the crazy that is the holiday season just around the corner, we wanted to take one last breath and share some goodness, kindness, and happiness with those around us.
Beginning Monday, Julie and I will each be blogging the day’s task on our respective blogs.
To make it even happier, we’ve collaborated with bloggers from around the web who have provided a free printable to help you carry out the Happy Day task! So you get to spread happy in the cutest way possible!!!
You should see these printables you guys. I died. Every time one popped up in my inbox. Squealing could be heard. No lie.
Does this sound fun, but you’re worried you might not be able to squeeze in a task every day? Maybe you have an especially crazy jam packed day on Tuesday and there’s no way you can pull it off, but you still really want to participate? Say you live in the country and the nearest neighbor is 27 miles away?
No worries! Each task has been paired with a virtual way to fulfill it.
You can still spread the happy by visiting the charity we’ve suggested and making a small donation! See? We’ve made it as easy as pie for you! (or, if you’re an overachiever, you can do both: the task and donate.)
Here’s a sneaky peeky:
So aren't you dying to get plugged in? Link up to either Julie or Jeanett and participate! It's going to be a wonderful time of blessing our communities, and I can't wait for Monday to get started!
Thursday, November 03, 2011
My sweet husband gave me a new Bible the other day. It was going to be my super big, awesome Christmas present, but I've been wanting it for so long that he just couldn't wait. He's super sweet like that. All the time, pretty much. It's the parallel between the NIV study and the Message. Never read the Message before, but I love the way the words come together at certain times. This is just one of those times.
Sounds great, right? We've all heard it thousands of times, and I still love it, especially the part about hope. I love that for my secret hopes, God has a future. It may or may not involve my dreams, but God will in His own way, according to His will, resolve the situation for me. And closure either way, for me, is a good thing. Then I can move on to the rest of what He has for me.
Even better in these words...
I love that this says the same thing, but the love God has for me and my dreams comes through more here to me than with the NIV.
And that's the crux of this, isn't it? Do I truly know, in my heart where the secret hopes and dreams live, that God loves ME and WANTS to give me the desires of my heart?
I read all this and still have those same hopes and dreams for my future, but in the end I am beyond grateful my Jesus saved me and I am in His will for my life. Because in the end, isn't that what is going to bring Him glory? I can still cry out in prayer for what I long for, but I do it knowing that He loves me, He won't abandon me, and He will continue to save me. And in the end, that's the biggest hope and dream we all have, isn't it?
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Now the problem is what to do with the fun-size M&Ms we have still in the house. Trouble is brewing... must. get. it. out!