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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Frustration

I'm a bit frustrated with Bloggie recently. I keep trying to post about everything that's been happening, especially a recap of the Color Run and our Thanksgiving holiday. I've not been able to get photos to upload, or the Blogger app on my phone to work, which is causing massive delays to posting.

However, we are still alive and doing well. The decorations are up, we have the BEST Christmas tree possibly we've ever had (I know! Don't you want to see a photo?! Sorry...), and everything is ready for Christmas! Yay! (Well, except I don't know what to do about decorating our front door. We're currently wreath-less and it's driving me CRAZY.)

Hopefully soon photos will work and I can get caught up. What're you up to this week?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I try to be grateful year-round, but today is just about my favorite day of the year! EVERYONE is thinking of their blessings and most people are with those they love, eating yummy food. No presents to think about, no shopping to think of (I'm talking about for the actual holiday, not the after). It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Today I am thankful as always for my family. My friends. Friends who are family. Jesus, of course. And pecan pie. Because who isn't thankful for pecan pie?!?

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bucket List

I've been hoping to come up with some sort of bucket list for a while now. Maybe not stuff I want to accomplish before I die necessarily, but some sort of written-down list of goals to make them more concrete. Concrete so they seem real. So they might happen.

I'm still debating what I want to put on this list, but once I figure it out I know I want to share it with you.

Do you have a list like this? If so, what kind of things are on your list?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let's Be Friends, For Reals!

Today I've been cleaning out my inbox and responding to way past due comments on ye ole' bloggie. Just a reminder for those of you this applies to- if you can please change the settings to reflect your actual email address when commenting (not noreply@blogger blah blah blah), that is extremely helpful!

If you comment, I would like to respond. From there we can become besties even if you live far far away from me. I like making friends in person and through the virtual world, so let's get that comment thing changed, please!

Also, if I can't respond to you, I think you might think I'm being super rude and mean. And I'm not. At least I try not to be.

If you need a refresher on how to do this, click here. And muchas gracias for taking the time to make the change!

In other news, this weekend is the Color Run! Woohoo! I can't wait to report back on how it goes! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Final Recap: Happy Day Project!

Well, I'm terribly late in updating you on how the rest of the Happy Day project went. I know you've been wondering and I hate to say it, but life got busy and I didn't keep up. I always feel awful when that happens, but I try not to guilt myself too much. After all, life happens to us all- I can't be the only one who started and then didn't finish.

Day 3: Treat someone.

Day 4: Blessings Bags

Day 5: Appreciate those in service.

Intentionally. I didn't consciously, intentionally finish.

Because not to toot my own horn, but because Jesus lives in me, He found opportunities for me to still participate, even while I wasn't realizing it. How amazing is that?!

Day 3:

The task was to treat someone. Be a blessing to another person. That was Wednesday and I had a coffee breakfast date with my friend, Blake. I hate saying this because it feels like I'm trying to puff myself up, and I'm not. I did buy her coffee. But to be honest, the church bought us both coffee. Which was a treat for us both. In fact, subtract out the coffee and it was still a treat because we spent a fun 45 minutes together! Which obviously made the rest of my Wednesday that much of a happy day. Always a good thing (Wednesdays tend to be rough because it's at least a twelve-hour day.).

Day 4:

Today was to give a blessing bag to someone in need. I've never officially made or given a blessing bag- a collection of everyday needed items (examples would include a toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, stuff like that) and a couple of fun things like chocolate. I've participated with Operation Christmas Child before and that's fun, but again, life got busy and there just wasn't time to get it done before the deadline came and went. So, to sum up, I didn't do this one.

What I will say about it though is that earlier last week we donated to the Raleigh Rescue Mission, remember? The rescue mission doesn't just feed our local homeless folks, they also give them shelter, clothes, 'blessing bags' in their own way, and help them on the road to finding jobs and homes. So I'm going to count that one twice. For now. Because I am still on the look-out for ways to help others.

Day 5:

Friday's project was to appreciate those in service.

Thankful for our super kind and helpful police force!


Obviously this was targeted to our military since Veterans' Day was this past Sunday/Monday. The reality is that though he's not the only military dude I know, my favorite military dude is my hard-core Marine commanding brother. Who is TERRIBLE at communication, which makes it ultra difficult to appreciate him from three hours away. So I didn't do this one.

Unless... Friday I made Ginger Sugar Cookies. Hannah made me do it. 

Sadly, I do not own this super cute bowl. It's a total fake. Which not everyone apparently knew.


I DO own super cute mason jars. A LOT of them. They are currently empty and cookie-less. I am sad.

And by MADE me do it, I mean that when I asked for the recipe along with her other ten trillion friends, she put it on her blog. Which, really, Hannah? That's just rude. Then I have to make them. And report them to MFP. All eight of them. EIGHT. I don't even like ginger. Well, I stand corrected- I like ginger in COOKIES. I ate eight cookies just on Friday. So obviously they had to go. (In my defense, I made them itty bitty like Hannah said to. Obey her- she knows what she's talking about.)

Couldn't ship these bad boys off to work- I was off for two days. Couldn't send them to work with Hubby- I made them while he was at work. CC came up with the genius idea to share them with the apartment office staff. So I took the Ginger Sugar Cookies to Ginger. For reals. We like to be literal. (Our apartment manager is Ginger, in case you're confused. She's super nice and does not smell like ginger, which I appreciate.)

Then we had more left. Yep, it made 51 cookies from one batch. We took the rest to church on Sunday and made them eat them shared them with the worship and tech teams. Not even crumbs were left, so I guess we ended up blessing others after all!

So there you go with the Happy Day recap. I hope to do better next year, but I figure if we're all focusing on others year-round instead of on ourselves, every day can be a happy day.

Linking up with Jeanett!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Day 2 Happy Day Project Recap: Feed The Homeless

As you know, I'm participating with the Happy Day Project this week! It's a wonderful opportunity to share Jesus and bless others before the craziness of the shopping Christmas season takes over any remaining sanity we may have. You can visit Jeanett's blog for the details.

Yesterday's task was to feed the homeless. It doesn't matter how, as long as you're SEEING them and blessing them in some way. Ideally one might go get a gift card and give it personally to someone on a street corner. Smile and show them that God's not given up on them. If you can't do that, donate to a worthy cause or organization that helps the homeless. Jeanett's idea was to gift someone around the world through Compassion's Christmas Catalog.

I love this idea, but you see, my soft-hearted hubby wanted to participate too. His brilliant thought was to give to somewhere local, that really impacts the homeless right here in our community. We immediately thought of our local rescue mission.

The statistics are staggering

I grew up going there often. We were never technically homeless that I know of, but we often ate there, volunteered there, received help there, and loved on people there. What better place to think of than somewhere local that has directly impacted my life for the better?

They're currently hosting a campaign to help folks especially during this upcoming holiday season. For $2.80 you can feed someone a Thanksgiving meal. That's less than a coffee at Starbucks. That's less than a meal at Wendy's. How can you help these people see Jesus? Feel loved and cared for? Get a new start? The true stories are touching, of course, but I'm thrilled to see this particular man on the road to his dream job. How wonderful for him that this place exists! How wonderful for me that they were there for me!

If you're interested in helping or learning more, visit the website and donate here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day!

Today is election day and I don't care who you're voting for as long as you GO VOTE!


I went early last Friday and waited for 45 minutes to do my duty. Hubby went on his way home from work that same day and had to wait in the cold for an hour. And you know what? I was happy to wait.

Typically, there's better voter turnout for presidential elections than other smaller elections. However, everything I'm hearing and seeing indicates that voter turnout might be even more than anticipated, which would make me personally very happy. It's like 'they' always say, "If you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain." I kinda think there's a nugget of truth to that.

I saw this quote on Instagram this morning, and I loved it so much I'm stealing it to put on here:

"My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man. My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood. It's to a King and a Kingdom." ~ Derek Webb

One reminder I think that's gotten lost in all the negativity and nastiness is that there are strong, Bible-believing, Jesus-following Christians on BOTH sides. I think people tend to forget that. I think if we keep loving everyone as Jesus tells us to, then we can't go wrong.

So to that end, I say I'll love you no matter who you vote for. But go vote!

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Happy Day Project Is Back!

 
Do you remember the Happy Day Project from last year? A full week of happy to bless others before the craziness of the Christmas season and all that that entails is upon us.

life rearranged

Well it's back! This week only (or whenever you want to bless someone else) we'll be blessing others either through an act of thought or service, or through giving to a related organization. Each day has something easy to do to participate AND you get a free printable every day! Super fun!

Here's a link to the deets. I'm going to participate and I sure hope you do too! If you're wondering if you even have the time, I'll let you know it's easier this year than last- five days' worth of happy instead of seven. Do one day or do all five. Extend it to ten if you're feeling extra happy.

Last year we shared sugary yummyness and water bottles on a hot day with our maintenance guys and office staff at the neighborhood. They loved it and talked about it for weeks! We helped a family raise money for medical expenses, shared our gratefulness with the military, and spread lots of happiness across the country. I can't wait to get started!

The happy details!

To that end, today is handwritten note day. Today I wrote a note to a person who's left our media team here at church. She's amazing, really good at it, and has such a huge heart to serve. She's taking some time off and I for one am feeling bittersweet about it. Of course we all need time off every now and then, so I'm glad she felt she could ask for it, but at the same time it means I won't see her as much as I am used to. She'll soon receive a happy note in the mail to let her know how loved and appreciated she is.

Write a note. Easy peasy. Linking up here!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Dave's Got Nothing On Us

About a month ago, my dear sweet hubby found a copy of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book on our bookshelf. I'd bought it on sale a while ago and wanted to read it. Of course, we're on baby step whatever-it-is where you have debt to pay off first. Because of that, I gave up on reading the whole book and never got through it. Nothing against Davey-boy but when debt's all you see, it's pretty much all you can think about, am I right?

Well CC thought he'd read the book and now both of us are on board and
kicking booty and taking names making some changes. The thing now versus back then when I bought the dang book is that we are CLOSE to being done with all our debt. By all our debt, I mean all that's left is less than a year on our student loans. We're trying really hard to be debt-free by our anniversary at the end of May. I think we're going to make it!

We've been making tweaks to deductions and tax stuff and boring words relating to our paychecks in order to see bigger money in the short-term, near future to help us reach our goal of May. We've also been coming up with other nutso ideas to bring in more money.

One idea I came up with is relating to Christmas. This is an especially big deal because we are both BIG gift-givers. It's our love language. We like to get gifts and we love to give them even more. Because of this, Christmas has always
bitten us in the tushie been an issue.

A teapot with a tea cozy. How ridiculously adorable is that?!
Back to our idea! This year, we've pared down our list of folks we give gifts to (I know, this was sad. Super sad. As in, you ain't gettin' anything. In case you were curious. Even though I found the PERFECT thing for a certain cuppa-lovin' friend o' mine. Just sayin'.).

After we pared down our peeps, we lowered almost all of our 'budgets' for said peeps. Now usually we set a budget, and then aim-ish for it. Sometimes we hit it, but the reality is that if I find a perfect gift for someone, I'm pretty much guaranteed to go for it, sometimes regardless of the price. It gets me in trouble a lot sometimes occasionally. This year, stick to the budget became the motto.

And finally, the real kicker of the idea for Christmas was this: Get all the shopping done and out of the way BEFORE the Christmas shopping season kicks into high gear and we get sucked in to the emotion of it all. Brilliant, right?! Right. Well fortunately for us, we both got paid last week, I had a couple
hooky days off work, and lots of impromptu time on my hands!

So the results are this... we're done!


Do you see the headless dog too?
We had a couple small gifts already purchased from earlier in the year, and I found four gifts on Thursday alone, but we hit the stores hard-core Saturday and Sunday and we're done! (Technically we still have each other to shop for, but even that should get done this week.) I'm going to say it one more time... because I need to. Our Christmas shopping for 2012 is D.O.N.E. Done!

I know, we're THOSE people this year. Which feels odd, but we're pretty strange anyway, so I'm going with it. This brilliant idea will probably end up saving us hundreds of dollars. I'm not exaggerating (that I know of). Every gift is still purchased with lots of thought, care, and love for the recipient. But on a less expensive, less sucked-into-the-emotion-that-goes-with-Christmas-shopping scale. Pretty cool in my book.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

More PinterTesting!

This past month as you know, I've been testing LOTS of recipes from my board on Pinterest, especially of the apple variety. We STILL have a fridge full of apples so I'm sure more recipes will be forthcoming.

Actual recipe found here
I made Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffin Tops, which I thought were good but needed pecans and to be less calories. Or at least have more protein and fiber, considering how many calories they pack. Basically, I was hoping to have yummy, Autumn-flavored, cheap VitaTops. This was not that recipe. I should've thrown the pecans in and made real muffins and just called it a day. Live and learn!

 Check out my past blog posts for all the appley goodness from the past month! In the meantime, linking up with the November PinterTest Kitchen over at Jessica's! Test something you've pinned on Pinterest, and come join us!