Sunday, December 31, 2006

Quote

Just read this quote in a comment on my friend Terri's blog.....

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is awaiting us.” —Joseph Campbell

So true.....need to let go of MY plans and let GOD's plans come to life.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Parents....and holiday wrap-up

My parents are the greatest. They love to come and visit....and they love to help me do projects! Well, at least they tolerate doing projects. I really appreciate that they will come to my house and work, work, work!

After a very laid back Christmas weekend at home, we made the trek back to my house on Tuesday. Wednesday we started bright and early by cleaning out the attic! The previous owners left a bunch of junk -- some of it might have even been left over from the owner before them because it was buried under blown insulation! There was enough scrap plywood that we were able to "floor" the attic without really having to do that project. So now, I'll be able to put empty boxes up there for storage. Thanks Daddy for enduring the dust and mess in the attic!

After the attic project, we set the bird bath that I inherited from my parents and got it filled with water. I haven't seen any birds playing in the water yet, but come spring it should be fun to watch. A few more little projects and watching the repairman not fix my refrigerator rounded out the day.

Then it was time for Christmas! I had cooked a roast and Heather & Phillip came over for dinner and to open packages. It was so fun -- I got lots of things I asked for -- one of my favorites is a flag that I'll be able to put out front of my house. My other favorite is a footstool that is upholstered from a rug that was in our living room all growing up. When my parents remodeled and recarpeted, they retired the rug (it was wearing very thin in places) and they were able to find several places that could be salvaged for stools.

Thursday we ran some errands -- finally found a bookcase for my living room, yay hooray!!!! -- and saw a move (The Holiday).

After meeting my aunt and uncle for lunch yesterday, and a trip to Home Depot in the rain to buy me a ladder, mom & daddy retired to Heather & Phillip's house for the weekend. We met this afternoon for a movie (The Pursuit of Happyness) and dinner after I bought my first grown-up pair of cowboy boots! Such a fun Christmas present to myself. Trying to break them in before we head to the Ft. Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in a few weeks.

Now the rest of my time off will be spent trying to get my Christmas decorations packed up and enjoy ringing in the new year with my good friend Sarah tomorrow night. I might even watch some football on Monday......

Happy New Year, blogfriends!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Not surprising at all.....

You Are the Furthest Thing From Grinch
You love and live for the holidays. You even love the Grinch!You're in the holiday spirit year round... because you're all about celebrating and giving.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Party Pics......


































































Xmas decor pics.....















Front door mat















Tin Snowman Head - front porch decor


































Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Another successful party.....

and the headcount this year......36! Not quite what I had last year, but there were quite a few "regulars" who were out of town or otherwise occupied. I also had several new faces -- folks that are "neighbors" now - since we live closer together. So, I am very pleased overall with the turnout. Everyone loved the house....and as usual raved about the food. Now, all the leftovers are put away and the dishes are drying. I'm too tired to deal with getting photos out of my camera, so that will have to wait for tomorrow....or the weekend. But, I do promise there will be pics! Now, off to bed with my tired feet!

Today's the Day!

Tonight's the big night......T-150 minutes till party time!

I've got my camera out to take "before" photos and final decor photos. I'm going to try and remember to take photos during.....never can quite remember to do this! I'll post an update after the party..... and watch for photos to come!

Friday, December 08, 2006

That'll teach me.....

....to try new things! I think my Sugar Krisp Chex Mix might be salvageable. But maybe not. My finger is slightly burned and my house definitely smells like smoke. Too bad it's not windy tonight....that would help!

So, I decided to try a new recipe for the party this year......a twist on the classic Chex Mix. A couple of issues:


1) my pan wasn't big enough....made stirring along the way VERY difficult

2)
multi-tasking -- stirring while talking on the phone....not a good idea. tipped the baking sheet that my roaster was sitting on and dumped cereal, pretzels and nuts into the crevices of my bottom oven door

3) moved roaster to top oven -- turned it on.....somehow, managed to burn top layer of Chex Mix -- even though oven had barely been on tonight! Yikes!!!

So, now, both back doors are open.....fans are blowing full blast.....vent-a-hood is running at full steam and my house is still smoky. Blech.

I scraped off the layer of burnt into the disposal.....we'll see if the remainder is worth saving. May need to do another recipe of the juice to get it all coated -- and split it into a couple of pans. Oh, and another project for tomorrow -- pull out the vacuum cleaner + attachments to suck all the cereal out of the crevices of my oven door!

Is it time to go to bed yet?!?!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Party Progress

Progress made on the party tonight.....

Salsa.....check!
Strawberry Nut Bread......check!
Almond Tea concentrate.....check!
Puppy Chow......check! (p.s. that is chocolate-peanut butter soaked Crispix dredged in powdered sugar)

And I finished all that by 9:00 -- in time to sit down and watch Men in Trees. Now, off to bed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Riding the Train

Today I had quite the dramatic commute home.....apparently a woman was crossing the DART tracks mid-afternoon and was hit by a train and killed. Of course, I had no idea. I just got on the train at my normal stop and found out that I had to get off at the next stop. Then we headed up to street-level to wait for shuttles to the station two stops north. After waiting for a few minutes, a DART engineer let us know that the trains were back on schedule. So, we headed back down to the platform and cram jammed on the train. At the stop where they were shuttling people, there were crowds probably 6 people deep the whole length of the train to get on. Yikes!

Even with the delays and the reroutes it only took me about 15 minutes longer than usual to get home. I just pray for the family of the woman who was killed.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's coming......



If you are in my area, send me a message - you're invited too!

Christmas Decorating....Snow....and Canton!

Here are some photos of my Christmas decorating, in progress:












































Thursday, we had some winter weather -- the forecasters were calling it an "Arctic Blast" -- it did go from the mid-70s on Wed to the mid 30s on Thurs. Rain, sleet, snow - we had it all....here's a few photos of my new backyard....with snow!













































I spent today shopping in Canton at First Monday with my good friends Sarah and Sara.....girls - it was great fun. Thanks for helping me carry out my purchases!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

One Word Quiz

From Udge and Little Light

You can only answer with one word. No explanations.

1. Yourself: constant
2. Your spouse: future
3. Your hair: straight
4. Your mother: lovely
5. Your father: guru
6. Your favorite item: house
7. Your dream last night: invisible
8. Your favorite drink: water
9. Your dream car: owned
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your ex: nonexistent
12. Your fear: loneliness
13. What you want to be in 10 years: mommy
14. Who you hung out with last night: myself
15. What you're not: mean
16. Muffins: yum
17: One of your wish list items: husband
18: Time: speeding
19. The last thing you did: drove
20. What you are wearing: flipflops
21. Your favorite weather: stormy
22. Your favorite book: fiction
23. The last thing you ate: stromboli
24. Your life: busy
25. Your mood: peaceful
26. Your best friend: stressed
27. What you're thinking about right now: decorating
28. Your car: shiny
29. What you are doing at the moment: thinking
30. Your summer: vacation
31. Your relationship status: waiting
32. What is on your TV: kleenex
33. What is the weather like: mild
34. When was the last time you laughed: tonight

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home Again.....

Well, just so you all know that I'm still here...... ;-) sorry for the lack of posts lately -- just kinda busy and not really anything blog-worthy going on!

I spent a great long weekend at home with my family for Thanksgiving. We had the gang over for lunch on Thursday, shopped a little (definitely NOT early) and saw a movie (Happy Feet) on Friday. My sis and bro-in-law left to spend the weekend with his family, so it was just me and the folks shopping and another movie (Casino Royale) on Saturday.

Church today, then the drive back.....which was horrible due to wrecks and construction. What should have been about 3 hours, was almost 4! Yuck. But, I'm home now.....my house is still standing (it was a little nerve-wracking to leave it unattended!)......and I'm ready to finish unpacking and crawl into bed!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Retreat

Why is that I almost always come back tired from a retreat?

This past weekend was our singles retreat at church -- totally planned and executed by folks in our group -- and for the first time in a long, long time, I was able to go and just participate! No planning, no worrying, no constant working. It was wonderful. But I'm still really tired!

We drove up in shifts after work on Friday to Turner Falls near Davis, OK. Visited and played mafia for a while on Friday night. Proved that it was truly not a youth group or college group trip when we were all up and about before 8 am on Saturday! After breakfast, we piled into the back of Brad's truck and drove into the park. Climbed up to some ruins and walked back to see the falls, then headed back to the cabin. We had our first session on missional living -- basically reforming our idea of "evangelism" to just learning how to impact every person that we come in contact with by sharing our lives with them and in turn being able to show the love of God.

After lunch, we all went outside and played a great round of Capture the Flag. I don't think I've played that since a week at camp in middle school! It was so much fun, but my legs are screaming at me today! We came back in and played a few inside games, then had the last session. After a yummy hamburger dinner, we made a campfire, cooked s'mores and worshiped by firelight.

This morning, we cleaned up the cabin and headed back in time to make it for the end of church because one of our friends was getting baptized! It truly was a great weekend!

This afternoon I spent resting a little -- but more straightening and getting ready to host Dinner Club for the first time in my new house tomorrow night!

Now, I'm off to bed......

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cold weather?

The past few weeks it has gotten pretty chilly at night. So, rather than risk blowing myself and my new house to the moon, I decided it prudent to have a licensed HVAC company come and check my furnace out before I shifted it over for the winter. They came this morning (in the 9-12 appointment slot -- they made it to my house about 10:40) and officially pronounced my heater in good shape and ready to go.

Now it is going to be in the 80s this week..... oh well, maybe winter will come anyway.

Letting go

I will admit -- Sunday morning sermons don't usually stick with me throughout the week. But the one from this past Sunday has and probably will for a while. Maybe it is just the spot that I'm in right now, but what Scott talked about really hit me.

He started off showing a clip from Finding Nemo where Marlin and Dory are trapped in the whale. The scene is showing Marlin and Dory arguing about letting go -- not letting fear and what-ifs get in the way of possibility. Scott brought it around to us asking, what do we need to let go of in order to have the relationship with God that he desires??

I know that God put dreams and desires in my heart for a reason. I believe that he might even bless me enough to make some of them come true. But I also know that he wants me to rely on Him first and foremost. And I will confess, that is something that I don't do very well. So, I must work to make him first in my life -- and not believe that his love is conditional when things in my life don't work out the way that I plan.

So, no, I'm not letting go of the dreams and wishes. I'm trying to let go of letting those dreams become barriers to my relationship with God.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Torture.....

Why do I torture myself? On the one hand I love the happily ever after of so many movies..... on the other hand it is a reminder that my life is not fairy tale with a prince on the horizon.

I wonder, when do I need to let go of the dream?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ice cream.....

You Are Rocky Road Ice Cream
Unpredictable and wild, you know how to have fun.You're also a trendsetter who takes risks with new things.You know about the latest and greatest - and may have invented it!
You are most compatible with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Update

Sorry it's been so long since I posted -- another trip last weekend (home for ACU homecoming) and a busy week, and well, it's no excuse, but that's where I've been.

I promise I will post some new house photos soon -- I just still have clutter in a few places for which I need to find a home, then you'll get to see more. Suffice it to say, a month in and I still have boxes to unpack. But, most of those are books, photo albums, etc -- the things that were the first boxes packed!

I've had a handyman at my house most of the last two weeks doing odds and ends -- little things that showed up in the inspection, but all bigger than I could do myself (or at least, was willing to do!). He insulated water pipes under the house, fixed a leaky bathub faucet, repaired and sealed grout in my shower, removed a cabinet above the bathtub in the front bath, repaired/replaced weatherstripping around my doors, installed a couple of locks that required moving the hole in the door, ripped out the old fake garage door and framed for the garage door installers, replaced the door from the garage to the kitchen that I busted in, sealed around my kitchen sink, etc, etc, etc......

I have done a few things myself -- today I replaced the doorknob from the kitchen to garage so that I have a key that works! I also repaired the latch on my fence gate to the back yard so that it could be opened from inside the fence and could be locked. Over the past few weeks I've also installed curtain rods (with mom's help), changed all the light bulbs to more efficient flourescent, installed smoke/carbon monoxide detectors....and so many other little things I can't even remember!

Now I'm off to my small group....then home to relax a bit tonight before another busy week!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Technology and Sweet Friends

I've written before about my roommates and great friends from college. These are the girls that we try to get all 6 of us in one place once a year. I say try, because it doesn't always happen. But we do try! It is so fun when we get together. We talk, cry, sing, laugh, pray, and don't sleep very much!

Last night we used a bit of technology that is usually thought of in a business setting -- a conference call! It was so fun! We coordinated the timing (we're across three time zones) and all called in. For one glorious hour we talked, shared what was going on in our lives, laughed, and rejoiced in the blessings of God and answered prayers.

Now, we'll see if we can keep it going on a regular basis....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Locked out.......again

When I moved to Dallas, I had an interesting experience. One weekend shortly after I moved, I went back to Abilene for a visit and to get a few more things. Upon my return, I managed to lock myself out of my apartment on my balcony......you can read the whole story here. Suffice it to say, it was a stressful evening.

Well, there must just be a thing with me, new houses and locked doors. See, I've been in my new house for about 2 weeks and managed to lock myself and my mom in the garage last night.

I've had a contractor working on re-converting the garage back into a garage from an exercise room. Mom and I were out there looking what needed to be done to rearrange boxes and shelves so that I can start to park my car in my new garage. The door from the house to the garage is a pretty flimsy interior door and, now that the garage is a garage again, I'm going to have David replace it with a steel, insulated door. Thankfully, he hasn't done that yet!

So, you can probably figure out the rest.....the door from the garage to the house was locked and it accidentally got closed behind us. We could get out of the garage since they installed the door and opener yesterday, but the front door was also locked. So, what to do? Well, remember I mentioned it was a pretty flimsy door from the garage to the house...... so I did what anyone would do - I busted the door open. Amazingly it only took about 3 hits with my hip to break out the striker plate and we were back in.

So, I definitely need to find strategic hiding places for keys to help me out in case this drama ever happens again!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Home Again

Well, I made it home from Zoe safe and sound.....and TIRED!! It was so great to meet so many of you blog friends!!! Thanks for all the compliments and excitement about my new house -- it is so much fun to share!

Now, I'm off to bed......I'm doing the speed-read catch up on email and blogs, then I've gotta crash. Mom's gonna be here this week, so I know we'll stay busy in the evenings. Then next weekend is ACU Homecoming.....maybe one day the merry-go-round will slow down! Ha!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Zoe

On the way out the door for a few errands before my flight to Zoe.....not bringing the computer this year, so no posting (or reading) blogs this weekend.....

So excited to see and meet many of you! Catch you later.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Public Transportation, part two

So, the first few days of riding the train have been really good. The newspaper here puts out a condensed version called "Quick" that they hand out for free at the train station. I can read it through in the time it takes to get to my stop in the morning. Today I even started working the crossword puzzle.

In ther afternoons, I've been reading magazines (catching up, actually). And it has been great - definitely faster and less stressful than driving.....at least until today. I don't know if there was something crazy going on today or if it was just that I was about 30 minutes later leaving work, but it was seriously standing room only - and really no room to stand. We were packed in like sardines. The bad thing about DART is that, unlike subway systems in other major cities, there really aren't good handrails for folks standing in the aisles. Around the doors there are a few, but not nearly enough for the kind of crowd that there was today.

So, yes, it did still only take about 20 minutes. And although it was a fairly uncomfortable 20 minutes, it beats sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Photos....

Ok, so I thought I was going to use Flickr for photos rather than sharing Snapfish albums, but apparently there is a quota! And I don't really know how to downsize my photos to upload so that I can put more out there.....so, for now, I'm just gonna share another album. Here's a look at the progress to date.....my house.

Yard Work

Ah, yes. The joys of home ownership -- a yard to maintain. Blech. Not one of my favorite things, but yes I mowed my yard this morning. 45 minutes, start to finish - including trying to mow the alley*, learning how to put oil and gas in my new-to-me mower, and remembering how to start it. Plus a couple of minutes out to talk to the next door neighbor who walked over. All-in-all, not too bad. Of course, that was just mowing. Now I think I probably need a weed eater and some hedge trimmers. Thankfully, we are almost out of the lawn mowing season, so I have plenty of time to get ready for next year.

*the alley was really the priority in this adventure today. I had a letter from the city dated 3 days before I moved in (but about 5 days after I closed) that my alley was in violation of some neighborhood code. And I only had a few days to take care of it. So, I called and got a little extension. But, not a total reprieve. Hence the yard work today. The yard didn't really need mowing, but since I was out I did it anyway.

Now, I'm off to continue nesting.....then later, a trip to the grocery store and figuring out my new washing machine!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Public Transportation

I rode the train to work today......left my house about 7:15, caught the 7:24 train and was in my office about 7:45. A few minutes longer than it would have taken me to drive (maybe), but so much more relaxing. The real proof the merits of DART will be shown this afternoon -- it has taken me 30-45 minutes at least to drive home from my office the past few days, in slow traffic on a very crowded freeway. The trip home on the train should be just like the trip in. Even if I don't ride the train every day, since my company will pay for a monthly pass I think it will be totally worth it to ride as much as I can.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

First guests

I just had my first guests! Royce & Barbara, a couple from my church, just dropped by with a house warming plant. What a fun surprise to open my front door and see them! They are big outdoors / gardening people, so I may just have to get them to come back after I get settled and give me a lesson on how to take care of all the plants in my yard!

Moved in....

Well, I'm moved in...... it took the movers about 6 hours yesterday to load and unload everything. Unfortunately, I have a lot of stuff and their truck wasn't quite large enough. So, we had to make another trip to the apartment last night and get the rest of my stuff. We got started unpacking a bit yesterday afternoon and got several of the immediate projects done - change the locks, replace old squishy toilet seats, etc..... now, I've just got to start finding a new home for everything!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Moving day....

.....is tomorrow! Say a prayer, please for a smooth, easy move and quick unpacking and resettling!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's really real....

Well, it is really real now.....I've signed all the papers, I have all the keys and the house is empty and ready for moving......well, after it's been cleaned at least! Funny how dirty things look when you remove all the furnishings!!

I've added my Flickr photos to the sidebar....jump over there if you are interested in photos of the "before."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

4:00 pm......

Tomorrow at 4:00 pm I will get the keys to my house!!! I think then it will really feel like I own it. Right now, there's just still a little bit of unease, because on paper it belongs to me, but I don't actually have possession yet..... I can't wait!!!!

Packing

Packing, packing, packing....... yep. That's my weekend in a nutshell...... How in the world did I ever accumulate so much stuff?!?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Signing my life away.....

Well, at least that is what it felt like......man, so many papers to sign. I sure hope no one compares my signature on the first page to the on the last.....the quality just kinda disintegrates over time.

The seller is actually renting back the house from me for a couple of days - her apartment wasn't ready until tomorrow. So, come Sunday evening, I think it'll really feel like I am a homeowner!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Too busy to post anything other than another silly quiz....

Your Personality Is
Guardian (SJ)


You are sensible, down to earth, and goal oriented. Bottom line, you are good at playing by the rules.

You tend to be dominant - and you are a natural leader.

You are interested in rules and order. Morals are important to you.

A hard worker, you give your all at whatever you do.You're very serious, and people often tell you to lighten up.

In love, you tend to take things carefully and slowly.

At work, you are suited to almost any career - but you excel in leadership positions.

With others, you tend to be polite and formal.

As far as looks go, you are traditionally attractive. You take good care of yourself.

On weekends, you tend to like to do organized activities. In fact, you often organize them!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cleared to Close

I got the call from my lender yesterday afternoon that we are cleared to close! 6 days and counting until I am officially a homeowner!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Moving along

The inspection was yesterday and I have been so nervous all weekend! I really haven't slept well - the fact that I woke up about 3:30 this morning, then heard my electricity go out about 5:00 and was anxious for it to come back on so that I could get my emailed report this morning didn't help!! The power clicked back on about 7:30 and I finally got up about 8:00 - then the inspection report dropped into my mail about 8:15.

All in all, it is a pretty positive report, although the inspector has to point out each and every place where the house doesn't meet current building codes. With a house built in 1955, there are lots of little things. But that didn't surprise me at all. There are a couple of things that we are going to try and get the seller to pay to repair, but even if they don't agree, I'll just figure out how to pay for them myself! So, I think this move is really gonna happen.

I've started accumulating boxes and started packing -- with mom's help of course! I've got 9 boxes down so far and many, many more to go. Better get busy!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Um....yeah....not so impulsive, I guess

You Are 32% Impulsive
You're a pretty stable and serious person. You don't take things lightly.This doesn't mean you can't have fun - you just have fun responsibly. You definitely have a spontaneous side, but you only let loose when it's appropriate.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Closing.....

Well, closing has been moved up a week and is now set for Sept 15 -- yes that is 2 weeks from tomorrow!!! I'm so excited I can't even help it.....

I'll post some pics when it's mine (and empty.....then full!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Got it!

Well, folks, I got the house! I still need to sign the contract, but the seller has executed so we're well on our way.......inspection later this week, then closing on Sept 22! Whew.....gotta get busy packing, I guess!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday afternoon

Well, this Sunday was spent in a totally new and different way for me.....I went driving to look at houses. I had my friend Kimberly with me ...... for the past several years, she has bought and remodeled homes to re-sell. Now, she does mostly new construction -- buys a lot and builds a house. And she does some pretty nice houses!

Today, she put on her realtor hat for me and we went shopping. I had found several listings that I wanted to see in a relatively unfamiliar area for her. We saw most of those listings and a few others that had open houses (dodging some pretty major thunder/lightening storms along the way)......and then, by the end of the day, we put a contract on a house! It is an amazing place and I truly think it is the house for me. Of all the things on my "must have" and "wish" lists, it met every single criteria. It has been on the market for about 6 weeks and has been reduced in price a couple of times. We didn't offer full price, although it is within my range to do so if I must -- I'm always lookin' for a deal!!

So, please say a prayer for me that it will go through --- if of course, it is the house that God wants me to have! (And keep your fingers and toes crossed too!!)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lake House

I spent the better part of the afternoon at a beautiful lake house on Cedar Creek Lake celebrating my college friend Sam's 30th birthday. He is on vacation from his life as an ER resident in Kansas City and came down to Texas and invited a bunch of people to come help him celebrate. So, Sarah and I decided to drive down for the afternoon. It was fun -- we got spend more time talking and catching up in the car -- and we got to see Sam and really talk with him a bit more than we had talked in the 8 years since college. Plus, we got to meet some of his friends from Oklahoma City where he went to medical school.

I've never really been a lake kind of girl....and I generally think of lake houses more as rustic cabins.....but this house was amazing. With a great house like that, I think I could become a lake girl.....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Alone

Today I think all the pent-up emotions of the past few weeks decided to emerge. The grief over my grandmommy dying, the stress over dealing with work to get enough done to be able to go home for the funeral (and the resulting catchup all this past week), and the drama surrounding the house just all have fallen in on top of me.

At church this morning (I was singing on praise team today), I started crying during our tech rehearsal and had to get up for a few minutes to go really cry in the bathroom. Then I came back in and lost it again. They stopped rehearsal for a few minutes to gather around and pray for me, but that didn't stop the tears -- and it didn't really make it easier to sing. I don't know what exactly the trigger was, but that floodgate was opened today. I made it through class, but then broke down again in church. I had quite a few people give me hugs and tell me to let them know if they could do anything, but really what could they do?

I decided to come home after church and just let the emotions come and cry as much as I could to try and get it all out. But there were no tears. Until I watched the end of a sappy movie a few minutes ago and now I'm crying again.

I am feeling very alone right now. I know that I have family and friends that love me and would do anything for me, but I have a VERY hard time letting anyone know when something isn't going right, let alone seeking out a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Because what is there to say, really? I have one friend in Abilene that came to the visitation and to the funeral, but I really felt that I was going through it all alone. My parents had each other, my sister had her husband, my cousins are all married, I know my granddaddy was alone too, but the focus was on him (and rightly so). So, really I was the only one out in left field by myself. Even though the burial was here in the metroplex, none of my friends or church leaders came. I didn't think that would bother me, because I didn't really think that I needed it, but I did. And now I'm feeling bad that I'm upset about the fact they didn't come.

I know that my life will not be magically 100% perfect when (if?) I get married. But it just seems like it would make times like this easier to bear if I had someone to just hold me while I cry. But in the meantime, I guess I'll just cry alone.....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Guru?

Your Aura is Green
You're very driven, competitive, and even a bit jealous.However, you seek out balance in your life - and you usually achieve it!
The purpose of your life: inspiring others to be better
Famous greens include: Tony Robbins, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart
Careers for you to try: Guru, CEO, Talk Show Host

Friday, August 18, 2006

IQ Test

Thanks to Phillip-in-law for an interesting diversion.....

Go here to get your very own IQ test......

By the way, my score was 138.....

Painting

Who Should Paint You: Andy Warhol
You've got an interested edge that would be reflected in any portrait. You don't need any fancy paint techniques to stand out from the crowd!

Contract Terminated

It's done. The contract has been terminated and I feel so relieved. I really debated whether to send a copy of the inspection to the seller or not. Part of me wanted to keep it because, after all, I bought it! But, according to my realtor, if the seller has a copy of the inspection report, it is supposed to become a part of their disclosure. I have no idea if this particular seller will do that or if they'll throw it in the trash. But, I would hope that my lessons learned might be a benefit to whomever buys this property. So, I sent the inspection report along with the contract termination form. Here's a copy of the email that I sent to the seller's agent (who is married to the seller, by the way).

Ms. ______,

Please find attached a signed contract termination. While I was initially very excited to purchase this home (due to its prime location, great storage and many exciting features), after much consideration and a thorough review of what I would be undertaking to get the property up to the standards that I would require, I have decided not to purchase this home. Knowing that the property had been rented for many years, I expected some renovation and updating to be needed. However, after visiting the property again during the inspection and reviewing the extensive inspection report, there were many more items that caused me great concern than I could manage to deal with. Thus my decision to terminate the contract.

I am forwarding to you copy of the inspection report that I received in hopes that it might be of benefit to someone else who desires to purchase this property.


Now, to figure out how to revamp my search criteria to start the search again!

Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Walking away.....

Well, after reading the written inspection report and the general feeling that I had being back in the house yesterday, I'm about 99% sure that I'm walking away from this one.

There are just so many things that need to be fixed, updated, replaced because they weren't maintained properly, etc. I really think that if this house had been occupied by the owner, things would be in better shape. However, since it is fairly obvious that it has always been a renter, things have just not been kept up.

So, I think we are back to square one. I'm also thinking about changing realtors.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Inspection

Well, the inspection was today and it didn't really go as well as I would have liked. Good thing about an option period -- I can still walk away with relatively little money involved.

I am waiting to get the full inspection report before I make any final decisions, but as of this moment, there are far too many things that are possibly very costly repairs and I get the feeling that the seller will be unwilling to make many (if any) concessions on the sales price. Also, the utility bills are very, very high and that really concerns me. With the age of the house, I am just not sure that I'll be able to afford to get things to the point they need to be for me to be happy and comfortable living there -- and to be able to continually afford just routine things like utilities.

So, I could be back at square one......

Monday, August 14, 2006

Chicken Spaghetti

for That Girl......

Chicken Spaghetti

8 oz dry spaghetti
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
2-3 C diced cooked chicken
1/2 - 3/4 C milk
3/4 lb Velveeta
salt & pepper to taste

Cook and drain spaghetti. Stir milk and soup into noodles. Add chicken, cheese, seasoning. Pour into ~2 qt dish. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until bubbly. (Vary amounts of milk, cheese and seasoning to taste. May need to add more milk when reheating leftovers).

All the measurements are pretty loose -- reallocate as suits your taste!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back home....

Yes, I do call Abilene "home," but Dallas is really my home now. I love Abilene and would love to move back there someday (read: with husband and kids in tow), but Dallas is where I love to live right now. And the fact that I'm buying a house makes Dallas even more "home" to me!

Heather and I got back about 5:00 today. Then I unpacked, opened mail (including several cards - thank you friends!!), and started getting ready for Dinner Club at my house tomorrow night.

Yes, you read that right. DC is at my place tomorrow. I guess I probably could have switched it out, but I had already pretty much decided on the menu and figured that it would be easier to just go ahead and do it.

So with grocery list in hand (I did that chore in Abilene!), I headed to Tom Thumb about 6:00. Man, I forget why I don't go to the store on Sunday evening -- it was packed! Made it home, mixed up a quick batch of brownies while my dinner was cooking, then got the chicken spaghetti ready to pop in to heat tomorrow after work. All that remains is the strawberry pineapple salad -- which I think I'll have to do in the morning, since my cool whip isn't thawed yet!

Now, I think it is time to wash my face and crawl in bed -- ready to face another week. Hopefully this one will not be quite as eventful as the last.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tired

It has been a long, hard, tiring, HOT day. We started off with Grandmommy's service at 10:00 this morning. It was so good - and a good start to some closure. Even with the visitation yesterday I didn't really feel like she was gone. Today, I really did feel it. Then we jumped into our cars to drive to the DFW National Cemetery for the burial. Since my granddaddy is a WWII vet, they decided to be buried there.

After the service at the cemetery, we went to my aunt and uncle's house (my dad's brother) to visit a bit and eat dinner. Then we got back in the car and drove back to Abilene. We got here about 9:00 and are just worn out.

On a very exciting different note, though - I finally made an offer on the house that was accepted! So, tomorrow begins the craziness of getting everything done to be ready to close in a short three weeks. I can't wait!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A favorite photo


This is one of my favorite photos of my grandmommy -- she had this mink stole from I guess back in the 1960s. It is made up up of several minks -- with heads and claws intact! Kinda creepy, actually. Sometime when we were visiting several years ago we got it out and she got so tickled....she just giggled and giggled. Somehow we managed to capture it on film....and what a priceless photo to have.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Prayers please

This morning, about 7:45 am, my grandmommy, Lanita Pearl Lawrence Smith died at age 91 1/2.

Grandmommy had been in somewhat declining health the past several years, but was still able to get up and about and live with her husband of 66 years, Howard, in their apartment in Abilene around the corner from my mom and her sister.

Yesterday afternoon she fell while getting up from the dining table in their apartment and gashed her head. They took her to the ER and kept her strapped to a backboard for several hours while performing various tests. Finally, about midnight they decided that with the possible broken bone in her neck, they really needed a neurologist to see her sooner rather than later. Since there wasn't one in Abilene over the weekend, they CareFlighted her to Harris Hospital in Ft Worth. Somewhere along the way, I think when they were moving her from the helicopter to the ER at Harris, her heart went into arrythmia. They got it restarted and put her on an external pacemaker. She was admitted to Harris about 2:15 am. I have no real idea what happened the next few hours, but I think it was after they were doing another MRI to determine the severity of her neck injury that her heart just gave out.

I KNOW that she is whole again and celebrating being in heaven, but very selfishly I wasn't ready for her to die. Over the past year or so each time I'd see her and ask how she was doing she'd say something about being ready to quit hurting and just die. Of course we didn't want that, so we encouraged her and basically tried to talk her out of giving up!

The irony or coincidence (or God-incidence) of the time that she died is that is the moment that I was on the phone with one of our ministers at church and he was praying for her healing. He asked that she be completely healed -- and she was, just not in the way we were expecting.


So, please pray for our family during this trying time -- for my granddaddy Howard (he'll be 94 on Aug 23) as he looks to life without his sweetheart. He was always taking care of her, so I just don't know what he's going to do without her. I really am afraid that he might not make it long. Also pray for my mom Lana, and her sister Sharon as they help him to make the arrangements. I think the funeral will be later in the week, but we don't have that figured out yet.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday

You guys are doing great with the songs! I hope you're having fun with the game so far -- feel free to continue adding comments as long as you want......I'll post another category sometime in the near future when I have nothing else to say.

As for today, I sure am glad that it is Friday. I drove up to Lewisville last night to have dinner at my friend Kelly's new apartment. It is directly across the parking lot from her old place, but she has so much more storage space -- and a garage now! It was so much fun to hang out with her and Jenny, but I am beat -- didn't get home until about 10:00 and then it was almost 11:00 before I wound down enough to make it to bed. Definitely looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow!

As for a house update for me -- I haven't found anything new that I like. BUT, the duplex is still on the market, so I'm going to try again. We're submitting the offer today. The prayer request specifically is that the owners will want to sell me the house -- but not just for me to have a house. I have been told with increasing frequency that I have a spiritual gift of hospitality -- and I really want to be able to use my home to serve God and to nuture and continue to develop that gift of hospitality. To host small groups, bible studies, dinner parties, etc. I can do that in the apartment, but not to the extent that I would like. This duplex would be a great space for entertaining like that. And that is how I want to use it. So, that is my prayer today -- that God would allow me to buy the duplex so that I can in turn open my door for kingdom business. I'll keep you all updated....

For now, though, I must get to work!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Let's Play a Game....

On our retreat last weekend, one of the fun things we did in the late night hours was play a variation of a game that I can't remember the name of.

We each wrote themes and specific words on slips of paper and put them in a cup. Randomly drew out a paper and each team had to come up with songs (and sing at least six words) that contained the word or theme. For lack of anything better to post, and because I haven't had many comments recently, we're going to start playing here.....

Today's theme is "songs containing proper names." Put your song in the comments, with enough lyrics to cover the theme.....

I'll start -- "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles..... "Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been....."

Now, it's your turn.

Thursday am: Here's another one: "Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel ..... "Cecilia, you're breaking my heart...." c'mon....I know you want to play!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Quick catch up post

Quickly catching up.....
  • spent the last 3 1/2 days with a bunch of ladies from church at a scrapbook retreat -- and I started my FIRST EVER scrapbook! Lots of fun conversation and laughter, but not much sleep, so I'm off to bed shortly. 87 blogs to read when I got home.....whew.
  • Zoe conference registration is now open! Can't wait to see so many of you blog friends there --- we'll have to do another blog-meet this year!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The end of Monopoly as we know it.....

Monopoly Ditches Cash, Goes Plastic

While Monopoly is the paragon of good 'ole fashioned board game fun, the "old fashioned" part had to go. Parker Brothers is phasing out the cash-based version's funmoney and replacing it with an "Electronic Banking" flavor that could leave Mr. Moneybags turning his pockets inside out as his stash is replaced by a magnetic strip. New kits are completely devoid of the famous multi-colored bills; instead, you'll find phoney Visa debit cards and a calculator / reader which keeps a running tabulation of your riches -- or lack thereof. A deal was struck with Visa to design the mock cards and readers, presumably after surveys showed that 70% of adults used cash less often now than they did a decade ago (no surprise there). When asked about the dramatic change, Parker said replacing cash with plastic "showed the game was moving with the times." For those anxious to get their swipe on, or if you've simply forgotten how to use bills, the new version will set you back £24.99, while the now "antiquated" cash version can be had for £12.99, but only while supplies last.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Girls Reunion Weekend

Well, this weekend I think I laughed harder than I have in a really long time. My college girlfriends came and camped at my place for our annual girls reunion weekend. This year 5 of 6 made it.... Mollie was in Abilene this past week for camp, but had to head back to New Mexico on Friday so she didn't make it this year -- and we definitely missed her!! Dara lives in California and made a comprehensive Texas trip for family business, her Mary Kay seminar and 15 year high school reunion; Sara came in from Nacogdoches before spending the week at Parkland Hospital doing some training before bringing her nursing students from SFA for clinicals in the fall; Katie came over from Keller and provided us with many yummy cookies to snack on; and Sarah enjoyed a break before packing to move to Denton to start grad school at TWU.

I cooked spaghetti Friday night for dinner and of course we stayed up late telling stories and catching up. We slept in a little on Saturday, made omelets in a bag, then did a little running around and shopping before coming back to crash and just continue to visit, laugh, sing and pray (and stay up waaayyy too late!!). It was precious time with girls that know me better than I sometimes know myself. Their friendships are very special -- it is amazing how God wove our lives together to create the foundation for these relationships -- even after not being in the same room together for more than a year, we just fall back into easy familiarity of deep solid friendship.

Now, off to finish washing sheets and towels. Then, probably an early to bed night....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Even more photos

If you are interested in even more photos of our Germany trip, click here or on the title of this post.....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tired

Very, very tired today. Catching up at work from being out for 2 weeks is really harder than it seems it should be. I was up at 5:00 and worked from 6:45 am to 5:45 pm yesterday, then drove an hour north to help my friend Kelly finish packing to move apartments (just across the parking lot). Got home about 10 pm. Today, up again at 5:00, worked from about 7:00 am - 5:45 pm. Tuesday night dinner at Casita with Martha for the first time in at least a month. Now, I'm home and headed to bed. I think I've about got a handle on all the critical stuff at work -- so maybe the rest of the week will be a little calmer. Good thing, too, this is a college girls weekend -- here at my house. Gotta finish cleaning, make beds, grocery shop etc before Friday at about 5:00 pm.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Prayer Request

George, the eldest son of one of my elders at church, is a college student in Washington D.C. studying international affairs or something similar. This summer he was studying abroad in Beirut, Lebanon. The last information I heard was that his school was trying to evacuate the students to northern Lebanon. I know that he has communicated with his parents since all the fighting began, but I can't even imagine what it is like for them as they wait to know details. So, please pray for George and his fellow students, his parents Cooter & Claire and brother JB as they wait to hear encouraging news.

update Tuesday 7-18-06: in case you haven't read the comments here, news has been received that George is currently on a boat headed to Cypress. Praise God!

Friday, July 14, 2006

A few more photos

for some reason, blogger won't let me append these to the previous entry!!



Family!
(L-R) Ute K, Phillp & Heather R, Ernst & Lydia K, Thomas K, me, mom & daddy










Schloss (castle) Linderhof -- a mini Versailles built by King Ludwig












Schloss Neuschwanstein













the family on "Mary's Bridge" with Schloss Neuschwanstein in background




A few photos.....


Wurzburg Castle















Rathaus in Rothenburg















All of us on the wall around the town of Rothenburg













Biergarten in Augsburg














Hofbrauhaus in Munich
















Gate into Dachau (near Munich)













man in traditional Leiderhosen in sqaure in Munich








Thursday, July 13, 2006

10 days later.....

Ok. I'm back. 172 emails and 361 blog entries to catch up on...... after my 10 day vacation in Germany with my family. And what an adventure it was.....

Last Monday, July 3, we headed to the airport. My dad earns a lot of frequent flier miles, so we were able to fly using miles, but that does also complicate travel plans when you are trying to arrange for 5 people to travel together! So, no direct flights for us.....first day, a flight from DFW through Chicago to Frankfurt. Well, when we got to DFW (way early, I might add), we were beginning to discover that our flight was being delayed. One delay after another, we began to realize that we might miss our connection. Luckily, there was an earlier flight to Chicago that left in about 10 minutes and they had 5 seats, so we hopped on. Unfortunately, taking a different flight means that your luggage is still on the original flight and might or might not make the connection. We got to Chicago and made our connection no problem. Turns out our original flight was delayed so much that we most likely would have missed the plane to Frankfurt.

Long flight over, passport control, then baggage claim. One problem - only 1 of 5 bags made it. Normally that would just be a slight inconvenience, however on this trip (unlike any other we've ever taken), we were renting a car and driving all over Germany staying in a different city every night. Ugh. Thankfully, my sister and I had both packed toiletries in our carry-on bags, so both hotel rooms had at least minimal supplies. We were able to find a store and buy a fresh set of clothes.....with a trip to Europe, you know it will be at least 24 hours before your bags get there, but in our case, it would be 48 before they made it to us, since we were driving to the south of Germany.

The first couple of days/nights were really hot and miserable. The beginnings of what looked like a looooong week. By our third night, a storm had come through and cooled things off dramatically. It still wasn't as cool as a mountain vacation in Colorado in the summer, but much much better than the first part of the trip. Europe doesn't really believe in air conditioning like we do here in Texas, so we were dependent on the windows being able to be wide open and air flow coming through to cool the rooms. Some were better than others, but after those first few days, I was at least able to blow dry my hair without melting in the mornings!


The first night, we were met by Peter and Brigitte who showed us around Wurzburg (the hometown of Dirk Nowitzki, by the way). Peter's sister, Ute, is married to my third cousin, Thomas. We met Thomas and Ute, along with Thomas' parents, Ernst and Lydia, the third day. Thomas showed us around Munich, then we visited his home and enjoyed some very tasty cherries and apricots grown on the family farm. We ate dinner with the family, then really felt like we started our vacation because we finally got our suitcases!!!

Over the next several days we visited castles, small towns, waterfalls, Lake Konstanz, and the Black Forest. It was so nice. And we all learned that we really do prefer a vacation where you go one place and stay put. Much easier than unpacking and repacking every day!!

Our travel home was more convoluted than going: flight from Frankfurt to London Heathrow. Changed airports from Heathrow to Gatwick via bus. Flight from Gatwick to Raleigh-Durham, NC, then finally the flight to DFW. The alarm went off at 4 am Germany time on Wednesday morning (9 pm Tues in Dallas) and we finally made it back to my house about 11:00 pm Wednesday evening. So, about 26 hours of travel, with each of our connections requiring us to get our bags and go through customs! Crazy. But we did all make it in one piece, all of our flights were on time, and we all made it home with luggage!

Overall it was a great vacation -- I'm so glad that it worked out for us all to go together. And I don't have to go back to work until Monday, so I've still got a few days to continue to relax!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Packing

I love to travel.....but I really hate to pack. I wish that I could just magic all my stuff with me wherever I go, so I never have to worry about forgetting something!!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Bonus!

Yay! Yesterday my company decided to give us all a bonus holiday day.....our offices are officially closed on Monday! I was planning to not be here anyway....so this means that I just have to take one less vacation day!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random Sight

Driving home from church tonight.....I saw a man riding a unicycle -- yes, down the normal streets of big city Dallas. He was wearing full normal biking gear -- but was on a unicycle rather than a regular bicycle. It was a pretty unique sight -- wish I had my camera with me!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another Prayer Request

I got a call this morning that my uncle Freddie (my dad's brother) is in the hospital -- he will be having quadruple bypass surgery on Tuesday morning -- one artery is completely blocked and three more are severly compromised. He has virtually no history of heart disease in either side of the family, but does have quite a few risk factors, so it is only by the grace of God that he hasn't had a major heart attack before this. (Although he apparently has had several "silent heart attacks" which have added to the damage.)

So, please pray for his boredom over the next few days (they admitted him to the hospital yesterday and he is already bored!), the surgeons and for his recovery process. Also pray for his family as they wait with him -- he has three daughters, 9 grandchildren and another due in about 10 days.

Thanks!!

update Tuesday, June 27, 4:30 pm:
Thanks for praying for my uncle today -- the surgery started about 9:30 this morning. They did do all four bypasses and everything seems fine. He'll be in ICU for at least 24 hours, then in the hospital for another 5 days or so. Please continue to pray for his recovery.

Friday, June 23, 2006

No deal

Well, after going back and forth several times, the sellers just didn't seem very eager to get this house sold. We couldn't come to an agreement on price and I wasn't willing to pay what they felt they must have. So, I walked away.

I'm going to push the "pause" button for a few weeks (going on a family vacation) and resume looking in late July. Who knows - this house may still be on the market and the seller more willing to deal!


Thanks so much for your thoughts, prayers and encouraging words!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Counter

Well, we're in the offer / counter-offer phase now....... negotiation at its finest...... keep praying, please!

I don't want to walk away, but I will if the price doesn't get to be just right......

Done

Check one thing off the list for the week......put in an offer on the duplex. Done! Now we'll see what the seller comes back with.....

I'm a bundle of nerves -- but your prayers are helping. Please keep it up!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

To buy.....or not to buy

I think I've decided to buy......now, if the seller will agree with how much money I want to take off their list price to cover updates that are purely cosmetic, but desperately needed......my realtor comes back in town Tuesday, so hopefully Wednesday we'll put in an offer! Yikes! Prayers would be greatly appreciated!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Home Search

So, how do you know when a house is "the one?" I saw a great duplex tonight -- huge, lots of potential, just a few possible question marks. But, I feel like I haven't really been able to see a lot of options, because of my location and price restrictions. (Basically I don't want to increase my commute -- but I can't pay an arm and a leg either!) So, how do I know if I should step off that high dive??

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Seat Belts

I have several co-workers and friends that do not think it is important to wear their seatbelt. Their excuses are usually "it's uncomfortable" or "I'd rather not be trapped in an accident." My parents made a huge deal out of wearing seatbelts all the time, regardless of front/back seat. When I was first learning to drive, the rule was (when I was driving my friends) that I couldn't put the car in gear until everyone was buckled in. If they didn't want to, then they couldn't ride with me. I still follow that philosophy now, even though I get grief from friends/co-workers.

I just saw a new "Buckle Up" commercial that gave the following stats:

if you have a wreck at 20 mph, without your seatbelt it is like falling from a 2-story building

if you have a wreck at 40 mph, without your seatbelt it is like falling from a 6-story building

if you have a wreck at 60 mph, without your seatbelt it is like falling from a 12-story building

Crazy. So, please, BUCKLE UP!!