Archive | December, 2008


31 Dec

Since getting back from vacation, I have felt like my whole body is filled with lead. I feel lethargic and sapped of energy. Even though I’m still carrying on with my daily activities (going to work, exercising, unpacking, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry), I feel like I’m doing it all in a haze. If it weren’t for my stubbornness and OCD-organization, I probably would have just gone to bed the minute I got home last night. That’s what I really felt like doing.

But no, I made myself cook dinner (which was supposed to be 15 Bean Soup that I got from Carolyn, Travis’ sister…until I read the directions and found out the beans take 2.5 hours to simmer…but I had already soaked them so I was kind of committed to making the soup, even if we weren’t going to eat it right away…so I trudged through it…until 10:00 PM when it was FINALLY done!). I also did all the dishes (there were a lot!), did Pilates, and put away the folded laundry. I also got up this morning at 5:10 AM to go to my aerobics class (note to self: don’t do Pilates the day before aerobics…puts a severe damper on your energy). All of this activity usually comes naturally. But not this time. I even had to force myself to read my book while waiting a whole $&%@ hour for the &$!% italian sausage to cook so I could add it to the soup (I was not a happy camper by the end of it…hopefully the soup is worth it).

The thing that’s really weird, though, is that the bed in our guest bedroom has tons of stuff piled on top that needs to be put away. We also need to take down all of our Christmas decorations. But even my anal, tidy self can’t muster up the energy to do those 2 things. I keep throwing more things into the guest bedroom, telling myself “I really need to take care of this stuff,” words that normally force me into action. But these words are falling on voluntarily deaf ears.

Eh, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow…

[Update 1/2/09: I actually did put away and take down all that stuff on New Year’s Day…but not until I had watched football and taken a 2-hour nap. :)]

I can’t help but wonder if my lethargy is a carryover from work. I’m stuck in a state of having some work, but not enough to fill 8 hours. Having to work without the motivation of a time crunch is more draining, I think, than having so much work to do, you don’t know if you can get it all done. I would much prefer the latter. This slowness is killing me…and possibly turning me into a tortoise.

We’re going to some friends’ house tonight to ring in the New Year. It’ll be good to see our friends from church…but to be honest, I would be perfectly content sitting lethargically on the couch watching movies and drinking champagne. Guess I’ll have to force myself to party too. 🙂 Shucks.

Back home.

30 Dec

Well, we made it back to Colorado. Our drive back was uneventful, thank God. We left Rochester around 9:15 AM and drove into our driveway in Wheat Ridge around 9:55 PM. Not bad.

I always feel weird saying we’re “back home” because in my mind, it’s an enigma. I feel like Minnesota is home. When people asked me about my plans for Christmas, I always said “We’re going back home to Minnesota.” But then, when we drive back to Colorado, we’re coming back to the place we live 50 weeks out of the year. We own a house here. We have jobs here. Our church is here. We have good friends here. It has definitely become more familiar and comfortable to live out here but I don’t know if it necessarily feels like home…or if it ever will feel that way.

Anyway, for our last few days in MN, Travis and I hung out with my family in Rochester, where I grew up. I hadn’t been back in about a year and a half, on account of Travis’ cat allergy (last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas were celebrated at my parents’ cabin in Pine City, MN). But this year was supposed to be different. Travis had gotten acupuncture treatment for his cat allergy and the doctor had proclaimed at his last checkup that Travis was cured. Well, he wasn’t. His allergy is still there. It may be slightly weaker but nonetheless, we were forced to retreat to the Extended Stay America instead of the nice, cozy, queen bed downstairs.

Friday night, after Travis and I arrived in Rochester, my whole family (minus Jeremy and Jen, who couldn’t come up because of Jen’s new job) ate dinner and watched Wall-E. I think that is such a cute movie. Wall-E has cute, little puppy dog eyes. Waaaaaalllllleeeee!!!

Saturday, we had breakfast around 9:30, then opened presents (I got a new 4.5 quart saucepan!), and then went to see Seven Pounds at the theater. That was a good movie. It was all I could do to not break down sobbing at the end. So sad. Travis and I were talking about it later…the movie really illustrates humanity’s desire (and need) for a Savior. [Warning: spoiler.] Tim (Will Smith) gives his life, organs, and house to help 7 people as a way to repay the 7 deaths he caused (including that of his fiancee) in a car accident. At once, his ultimate decision seems both selfless and selfish. Selfless because he’s voluntarily giving up his possessions and even his life to help random people (who he has proven are “worthy” because they are “good people”). Selfish because the decisions are motivated by his own personal guilt. He gives his life to save 7 others’–but only after he first destroyed 7 in the first place.

It’s a wonderful, heart-wrenching story, really. But it made me think about how much more amazing the true gospel is. Jesus didn’t do anything wrong. There was absolutely no reason why He should even think twice about dying for us to have life. And yet, He did. Moreover, Jesus didn’t prove that we were essentially good people. In fact, we’re the very opposite of good. We’re depraved. We’re children of wrath. We can’t do and don’t do anything right or good on our own merits. Like it says in Isaiah 64, our good deeds are like filthy rags to God. But still, Jesus died for us. He died that we may have life. And while for Emily (Rosario Dawson) in Seven Pounds, the gift of life meant not being able to spend that life with her love, Tim, we in Christ not only have life but life with Christ. He is risen and alive. That was the purpose of His death and resurrection: so that we could be with Him in heaven forever.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend seeing that movie. After the movie, we dropped Travis off at the hotel so that he could rest in a cat-free environment and the rest of us went to the house and played Chickenfoot with dominoes–a very fun game might I add (especially with my family, who gets all riled up when someone thwarts their strategy). Then we picked Travis back up and drove to Mantorville to eat dinner at the historic Hubbell House. Very cool. I love seeing pictures and reading about people who lived hundreds of years ago. Ulysses S. Grant and Charles Mayo are 2 of the many famous people who have eaten there. But if you ever go there, though, don’t get a salad. They’re nothing to talk about.

Sunday morning, after a quick breakfast at Panera with the fam, Travis and I started the long journey back to Colorado. And so ended our Christmas Vacation. It went by so fast and it was felt very different not spending Christmas Eve with my family, doing our traditions of fondue, present opening, and the candlelight service at our church. But alas, getting older means letting go of things you used to do and people you used to see. Life moves on.

I would be sad that our vacation is over and that we’re back in Colorado without our families if it weren’t for our upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta in March. My parents’ Christmas presents to all of us kids (and signficant others) was a weeklong stay at the all-inclusive Vallarta Palace. We just have to pay for our own airfare, which Travis and I did yesterday. We were able to find tickets for about $500 a person out of Denver, which is a lot better than flying out of Minneapolis–tickets out of there are more like $700 a piece! Yowsa! My parents, 3 brothers, and their wives/girlfriend are all going, as well as my uncle, aunt, and their 3 sons. A big, fun-loving group! I can hardly wait.

Our upcoming Mexico vacation and the overabundance (and overconsumption!) of Christmas cookies and sugary treats have led Travis and I to a sort of detox plan: we can’t eat sweets (chocolate, ice cream, donuts, candy, cake, bars, etc) or drink soda until we are sitting on the beach in Mexico, with a waiter asking us what kind of free alcoholic beverage we would like to sip while watching the dolphins swim through silver hoops. If you remember, I have been trying to limit my sweets intake for the past several months but to no avail. Finally, Travis has agreed to do it with me (and in fact, it was his idea!) so I think this time it will work. I can let myself down, but I can’t let Travis down. We’re also going to keep each other accountable for exercising at least 3 times a week (I’m shooting for 6 days a week but realize that may not always be possible). Travis also wants to learn about portion sizes so that he knows how much he is eating (I can tell you right now that he eats about 3 servings of cereal for breakfast and about 2.5 servings of pasta when we have it for dinner).

Here’s to a healthy 2009 and 2 Mexico-ready bodies by March 15th!!! Wish us luck!

Thawing out

26 Dec

Travis and I have been in Minnesota for Christmas since last Saturday (a week, tomorrow). I am sitting in my childhood home right now, filling with the scents and sights of everything I love about growing up. *Sigh* it doesn’t get much better than this.

After working Friday, Travis and I pulled an all-nighter to Minnesota from Colorado. It wasn’t as hairy as it could have been, although we did get into a bad enough fight about my inability to sleep while Travis is driving that I thought to myself “This is the road trip from hell.”

I jumped in the backseat though and that helped me sleep better. So after I had a little sleep (the equivalent of an hour over the course of 3 or 4) and had gotten over the fact that I would be tired all day Saturday, the road trip really wasn’t that bad.

At 8:30 AM, we rolled into Minneapolis. I met my 2 good friends, Brittany and Holly, for breakfast at Bruegger’s (oh, how I love their hazelnut coffee!!) while Travis went to have breakfast with 2 of his friends, Nick and Ben. As we first stepped out of the car and felt the brisk air whipping around, we both said “Ah, Minnesota.”

Even though I have been waxing poetic about cold temperatures and snow for many weeks now, it took me only 2 days to realize that I don’t miss those things as much as I think I do. As we walked to church at Bethlehem Baptist’s downtown campus Saturday evening, the wind was bone-chilling, whipping my hair around my face, making it stick to my lips. I could barely breath due to the cold and I instantly felt annoyed that Travis didn’t walk faster to catch up with me. I was definitely NOT waiting around for him in that cold. (Just for a point of reference, I’m pretty sure the temp was near zero without the wind…with the wind, probably somewhere around 20 below zero. Brrrrr…)

The weather didn’t get any warmer on Sunday–walking to the Vikings game (against the Atlanta Falcons, which we got to go to for FREE thanks to a salesman that Travis’ dad works with), the wind was gusting even harder…so hard that it literally takes the air out of you. I can’t even find words to describe it. Frigid comes the closest. As we got in line to get into the Metrodome, I told myself “THIS is why I love Colorado.” It makes me realize how much I love–but don’t nearly appreciate enough–how the weather in Colorado allows you to enjoy being outside during the winter, instead of cursing under your breath at everything and everyone who walks across your path.

Atrocious weather aside, I love Minnesota. I love the snow. I love seeing my old college campus, my old friends, my family. I love seeing roads that I know and passing landmarks that hold memories. And as much as I hate the way the freezing wind can chill you so thoroughly that you can’t seem to get warm no matter what, I do love the way Minnesota makes me feel tough. Not everyone can endure weather like this.

After the Vikings game on Sunday (which the Vikings lost 😦 ), we drove up to Grand Rapids, MN, where Travis’ parents now live. Travis’ dad, Al, got a new job and so he, Beth (Travis’ mom), and Matthew (Travis’ bro) moved to Grand Rapids from a tiny town called Nevis (about 2.5 hours apart). They still own their house in Nevis and are renting it out to the Nevis superintendent and his wife, who still own a house down in Minneota, MN. They go to their old house for holidays so Al, Beth, and Matthew can go back to Nevis for holidays too.

We spent a day and a half in Grand Rapids. Whether it’s the aftermath of our all-nighter or just the subconscious knowledge that we’re on vacation, it has been a struggle for Travis and me to peel ourselves off the mattress each morning. Today was the first day all week that we’ve gotten up earlier than 9:00. Travis and Matthew shoveled the foot of snow off the driveway and deck while I read the Bible and Beth watched a made-for-TV movie. We took a tour of Grand Rapids and bought Travis’ dad an ice fishing rod at a store called something like Dave’s Army and Navy. Then we ate dinner with Al (who had been at work) and went to see Yes Man. I thought it was a pretty good movie…not a classic slapstick comedy, but humorous and light-hearted nonetheless.

Tuesday, we headed over to Nevis. The men chopped a Christmas tree down on their property, while Beth and I went to Park Rapids to get groceries. When we got home, she cooked, I read Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (which I finished in 2 days–it was a good book), and the menfolk rode snowmobiles and worked on the 4-wheeler. That night, we decorated the Christmas tree and then Travis and I went to Park Rapids (again) to visit one of Travis’ good friends from high school, Jesse, and his wife, Emily. We looked at pictures from their trip out to Estes Park, Colorado, in August (we had tried to meet up with them then but it just didn’t work out)–they attempted to hike Longs Peak again (their 2nd time) and made it to the last 800 ft ascent but decided to turn back due to the altitude. Jesse told us that that was the last time he’ll ever attempt that mountain…Emily, however, is keeping the dream alive.

Wednesday, we just bummed around the house…I finished my book while Travis and Matthew went snowmobiling and played Madden 06 on the Playstation.

Thursday (yesterday) was Christmas Day! We went to mass at the Nevis Catholic Church and then Travis’ aunt, Cheryl, came up. We opened presents, played some Apples to Apples, Travis and I went snowshoeing, and then we had our Christmas dinner, complete with apple AND pumpkin pie.

Today, we got up early (6 AM!) and left Nevis around 7:45. We stopped by Travis’ aunt’s and uncle’s house in Blaine and then continued down to Rochester, where my parents live. We go to my parents’ house around 2:45 and have been just hanging out and talking (and I’ve been blogging), waiting for my brothers, Chris and Brian, and Meg (Chris’ wife) and Lindsay (Brian’s girlfriend) to show up.

I have been excited to blog this whole week and only now have I had access to the computer!! But now I am going to stop being antisocial and hang out with my wonderful family.

You win, Christmas cookies

19 Dec

I had been doing SO WELL! I made cookies for a charity poker event…and didn’t eat any. I made another batch for the 1st Annual Dare 2 Share Cookie Exchange…and didn’t eat any. We exchanged our cookies and I had a whole platter of delicious cookies sitting behind me at work…only had one small piece of peppermint bark (which was delicious). The cookies sat on my kitchen counter the whole week…I only ate one little measly cookie.

But then yesterday, I had the bright idea to make more cookies (2 batches of 48 cookies is just not enough I guess). I should have just gone to take a nap because let me tell you, me tired + delicious cookies = me stuffing my face. But no, I decided to push through my tiredness…as I simultaneously pushed 700 calories of cookie dough into my mouth before the cookies had even set (they’re the no-bake kind).

You know when you’ve eaten about 3 lbs of a certain food because you thought it was so delicious and then 10 seconds later, just looking at that same food makes you want to puke? Yeah, that was me. I definitely paid for it too because last night, around 3 or 4 in the morning, I woke up with the *worst* cramps. That’s my stomach’s way of telling me, “Don’t you EVER do that again!! Do you hear me? Huh? Never!”

But I will say that these are some of the best cookies EVER. I just absolutely love them. And they’re not horrible for you…they’re just not that great. Let me delight you with the recipe (that I pathetically have memorized now):

I call them Grandma Dee’s Special Cookies but you could just use Unbaked Almond Bark Cookies

1 lb. Almond Bark

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups Captain Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch

1 cup Rice Krispies

1 cup dry roasted peanuts

1 cup small marshmallows

1. Melt almond bark in the microwave according to package directions.

2. Stir in peanut butter.

3. Pour mixture over rest of ingredients.

4. Quickly (it’s a race against time!) drop mixture by spoonfuls onto tinfoil.

5. Let cool/harden.

These are so easy to make and so delicious. Too delicious.

By the way, watch out for the jumping spoons. They just jump right into your mouth without notice. It’s a dangerous job, making these cookies.

But it’s oh so worth it.

Feeling somewhat like The Grinch…

18 Dec

I am a member of The Nest and on days like today when there’s not much happening at work, I hang out on the boards when I am *ahem* on my 15 minute break. Today, I posted a poll about Christmas presents, asking the ladies on the board 4 questions:

1. Who do you buy presents for?

2. Who buys you presents?

3. Do you buy presents because you want to or because you feel it’s expected of you?

4. If you could only have one Christmas present, what would it be?

Most of the ladies who responded had long lists of people they buy presents for…but they said that they like buying all those presents and that they would buy more if they could.

Am I the only one who doesn’t like buying Christmas presents, who finds it more of a chore and annoyance than an actual joy? It’s not that I don’t like getting people presents. I just don’t like that presents at Christmas are expected. I don’t like getting lists from people of the things they want for Christmas. I don’t like wandering the mall for hours searching for something to get [insert name here] when nothing seems to fit their personality or needs.

I LOVE giving gifts when I am walking around and randomly see something that makes me think of that person, something I know they’ll love and use. I LOVE giving gifts when they aren’t expected, when they have more thought in them than just “I thought you might like this…(and it was the only thing I could think of to get you).”

Travis and I don’t even really buy Christmas presents for each other. Last year, we had planned on our “Christmas present to each other” being a romantic weekend at a B&B in the mountains. Due to financial constraint, it didn’t happen…and it was never rescheduled. This year, Travis wanted to buy new $180 hunting boots, but he didn’t want to spend all of his Blow (personal spending $) on them. So the deal was I got $180 to spend on myself. So we kind of did Christmas presents but not really, because we both picked out and bought what we wanted without the other person (although I was with Travis when he bought his boots).

I would rather donate all the money we would spend on Christmas presents for other people to a non-profit organization that could really use it–and use it for people who really NEED it. But I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I also stop myself because I wonder if my desire for doing so is more a selfish desire to not have to go shopping for Christmas presents, rather than a desire to be generous. I think about all the things I put on my (obligatory) Christmas list and would really be ok with not getting any presents if it meant I didn’t have to give any.

Look at me, being such a Scrooge. But I’m being honest! The best part about Christmas for me is being with family, eating great food, going to church, listening to Christmas songs, drinking hot chocolate and eating Christmas cookies. Presents are really the lowest thing on the list for me. I really don’t think I would miss them at all.

But maybe I’m just being selfish. Maybe I’m forgetting the joy of thinking for other people and supplying them with things they (I hope) enjoy and (I pray) they use.

Or maybe, buying presents for the affluent is like buying cookies for an obese man. He may eat them and he may enjoy them…but does he NEED them?

Next year, I’m going to make my Christmas presents. At least then they’ll have the thought and effort behind them…even if they don’t have beauty or practicality. 🙂

The Christ in Christmas

17 Dec

When I was growing up, I wasn’t a Christian but I did Christian things. I went to church every Sunday (because I had to), I memorized Bible verses (because I had to), I took sermon notes (because I had to), and I sang in the church choir (because I had to). They were all done in a business-like fashion, just to get it done. They may also have involved complaints and groaning.

The Christmas season was not immune, though I loved Christmas so I did it without complaining and groaning. I could sing the words to many Christmas hymns and songs from memory but I never actually thought about the words. They were like a fun, musical version of the Apostle’s Creed–repeated so often that saying/singing them became second nature and void of concentration.

That’s why it’s fun to hear those same old Christmas songs now that I’m a Christian. Just like I finally understood the Bible verses I had read countless times before, I finally pay attention to the verses of these common Christmas songs. And some of them are positively moving. 

My favorite right now:

“O Holy Night”

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

“What Child is This?”

What child is this who, laid to rest,
on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping?


This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
haste, haste to bring him laud,
the babe, the son of Mary.

Why lies he in such mean estate
where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
the silent Word is pleading.

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
come, peasant, king, to own him;
the King of kings salvation brings,
let loving hearts enthrone him.

 “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together,
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the king,
and peace to all on earth!

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.

No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
o come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!

“Let Us Bow Before the Throne” (written by Steve Rosin)

Let us bow before the throne
Of our blessed Lord this night
And raise our voice in honor to his name
As a baby he was born,
As a servant he would die
And our lives were forever touched
by the love he could not hide.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

God coming to earth in the form of a baby is incredible. A Holy God came to dwell in the midst of Sinful Man. Jesus was “by highest heaven adored” and yet was “pleased with us in flesh to dwell.” These songs are so rich with theological truth and wonders. Just think about those waiting for the Christ, like Simeon in Luke 2 who was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” When he saw Jesus in the temple, he said “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

400 years pass between the end of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus. Whereas God had spoken through many prophets in the OT, for those 400 years, He was silent. But God had promised a Messiah, a Redeemer. All of Israel is waiting for the Christ. And on that night in a little town of Bethlehem, a town “too little to be among the clans of Judah,” the long-awaited Messiah was born. God had no more reason to speak–because as the Apostle John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” “Mild he lays his glory by” and takes on the human flesh, for the rest of eternity. The catalyst of God’s plan of redemption.

I have been reading through the OT prophetic books for my Bible reading plan. They all have a similar formula: predictions of the horrible things to happen to Israel and Judah because of their sins, followed by God’s promise to redeem them. How amazing and wonderful it is that God’s plan of redemption is so independent of us! He does it for His own glory, for His name and for His purposes. His plan will not be thwarted…by humans, sin, or Satan. Jesus was sent to earth as the fulfillment of God’s ultimate promise: eternal salvation.

I hope that Christians and non-Christians alike have their eyes re-focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is truly the Greatest Gift Ever Given.

Winter in Colorado. Grrr…

15 Dec

Today, when we left for work, the temperature was actually 0 degrees. It  has gotten cold here over the weekend. But I LOVE it!! Finally, it feels like winter. And the snow that fell over the weekend is actually sticking to the ground.

Speaking of that darned snow, you’d think that the snowplows would be out scraping the white stuff off the roads and highways since the sun is not really doing its usual job of melting it all before noon. But oh no. They are not. They are still on vacation. We have seen a grand total of TWO snowplows out since Saturday. The roads are like one big skating rink and the city of Denver and its suburbs are doing NOTHING.


That’s why I am typing this at 5:19 PM, sitting at work, waiting for my dear, sweet husband to come pick me up. He was supposed to be 40 minutes ago. He was supposed to be at a doctor’s appointment (for his cat allergy) 10 minutes ago.

Doesn’t look good.

Living in Minnesota for 24 years of my life, I grew accustomed to the wonderful service of snowplowing. Sure, sometimes it was frustrating to have to move your car to a different side of the street so it didn’t get towed. Or to have to shovel the giant pile of snow at the end of your driveway that the snowplow oh-so-conveniently created. Or to get plowed in to your garage if it happened to be on an alleyway.

What I wouldn’t do for those snowplows now. Or at least some salt! They use this environmentally friendly liquid stuff. News flash gooper scoopers: It doesn’t hurt the environment AND it doesn’t hurt the snow! It doesn’t have ANY effect on the snow.

Ok, rant over.

The Writing of the Christmas Letter

8 Dec

When I was in high school, my parents wrote a Christmas letter every year.

But they never mailed it.

They always started arguing over what it should say and how they should jump the hurdle of the “I” and “We” pronouns when just my dad was writing it.

So the letter never left our house.

I love receiving Christmas cards so I was excited last year when I was finally married (finally an adult!) and could write a Christmas letter. We are doing the same thing this year. I am designing it at work (“on my break”) so that I can use Adobe InDesign. I heart that program.

Tonight, Travis and I were going to edit the letter that I had written. He didn’t like the way I had described our skiing adventures (couldn’t stand having me make mention of using my parents’ old ski equipment) so I changed it. But I added the detail that we had gone skiing 3 times in April (which is very strange to me coming from MN) and Travis promptly said “No, that’s too much detail.”

I immediately took offense because Travis is always making fun of the way I tell stories–I give names of all the people I mention as well as the lifelong history I have with them; I set the scene; I narrate. I tell stories in about 10 times the amount of time it takes Travis. (But do I get on him for leaving those details out?)

I know Travis pokes fun at me out of love (I like to think it’s one of my cute little quirks) but tonight, it just made me mad. I just about broke our keyboard. Travis left the room and only came back after much persuading by me.

We continued on, me still very angry, and Travis replying with those sarcastic comments that push my buttons in all the wrong places. I called him a mean name under my breath and that just took the wind out of his sails.

He went and watched TV. I felt bad so I went to apologize. I turned the TV off. He turned it back on. I turned it off. He turned it on. I turned it off and threatened to unplug it, which would make him have to reprogram it after we plugged it back in. He agreed to leave the TV off. 

I apologized for the namecalling. He told me that the Christmas letter was fine as it was (though a few days ago, he said that he wanted to reword the part about him). I asked him if he was sure. He said yes. I repeated the question a few more times and he answered the same.

“It’s fine. You did a good job.”

A comment that appears to be a compliment but is really just a cop-out so that he doesn’t have to deal with me anymore.

I retreated into the office and shut the door. I could hear that he had turned the TV back on. “Ouch. He didn’t even feel the need to apologize? He could just get on with his night like nothing happened? WHY are guys like that? WHY doesn’t my husband understand that I need to be loved right now? I know God is the only One who loves me perfectly…so I should just be content. But it hurts when he does that!”

After about 20 minutes, Travis came in to the office and apologized. He said that when I call him names, he feels completely defeated. I told him that I understood. After all, isn’t that what I’ve learned through reading all those marriage books–that men need respect above all?

I’ve often wondered how married couples make it through all of this “Ness” without the hope and forgiveness found in Christ. If I didn’t have the Holy Spirit and didn’t have the example of Christ to follow, I would…well, I don’t even want to know what I would do. It’s hard to be a sinful person married to another sinful person. But it’s worth it. And it’s possible. God’s grace is amazing.

So the Christmas letter will be edited, printed, and mailed after all. Hooray!

Christmas fun

7 Dec

Last night, Travis and I braved downtown Denver for the 9News Parade of Lights (the Colorado version of the Holidazzle parade). The traffic getting down there was crazy, parking was almost impossible to find, and there were people everywhere.

I remarked to Travis that it seemed like there were more people at this parade than the one back in Minnesota. He replied, “That’s because it’s 50 degrees outside instead of 15.”

Good point.

The parade had a few cool floats and several high school marching bands that were completely decked out in lights and tinsel. But in the middle of the parade, there was a 20 minute pause. Nobody moved. The marching band in front of us played the same 2 songs over and over while the tuba players spinned in circles.

Overall, the parade was fun but eh. Only Christmas spirit could make me want to go again (but isn’t that why these things are fun in the first place? I LOVE doing Christmas activities like that).

Today was Dare 2 Share’s Christmas party at Dave and Buster’s. It was a lot of fun. We watched clips of A Charlie Brown Christmas (which I have never seen…), listened to the leaders of each department talk about their staff members (something you can do with only 42 employees!), and ate dinner.

After the party was over, Travis and I stuck around to use the Power Card we got from the party as well as a few we had left over from my brother and sister-in-law’s rehearsal dinner. Travis is in love with the hunting games. He could literally play them non-stop. My favorite game is usually Skeeball but tonight, I found a new fave: trivia. I’m not very good at it (especially the sports questions) but it’s fun as all heck!

We also went in this wacky photo booth and found out what our future daughter will look like:

The composite of our faces for our future child

The composite of our faces for our future child

Matted hair aside, I think our “little girl” is very cute!

I also found out what I would look like as a Southern showgirl and a butch news anchor.

And these were the GOOD pictures!

And these were the GOOD pictures!

We had so much fun that I have to go to bed now.

But not before I say that I got my new Sketchers boots in the mail today and LOVE them. They’re a little tight around my ankles so I’m going to “test drive” them inside before wearing them anywhere but the cuteness factor is through the roof!! (I have been looking for boots for the past 2 years and have not been able to find ANY that I actually like…except for these! YAY!)


6 Dec

I got an email yesterday from one of my best friends in Minnesota. She wrote about how she was scared to date anyone because she had gotten her heart broken in the fall by a boy. She had spent a lot of time with him and thought he liked her but turned out, he didn’t. (When will boys understand that spending a lot of time with one girl who is “just a friend” is a no-no?!?!?)

Her email reminded me a lot of what I had to work through while dating Travis: learning to trust again.

After reading that email from my friend, I felt a renewed desire to write my memoir. I have suppressed this desire since I graduated from college. For my senior thesis, I wrote a prospectus, which is a fancy name for book proposal. I submitted it to about 5 specialized publishing houses. All came back saying “Sorry, no dice.” I put it on the back burner while I went to another Beach Project, got a real job, got engaged and then married, and then moved to Colorado.

But the dream has not disappeared. There is nothing I’d like to do more than be an author. To have books published. To tell other young women my story and share what God has taught me through the hardships I’ve gone through. They are not extraordinary hardships; they’re common ones. And that’s why I think my story would be so relevant and useful to other women.

I’ve hesitated to proactively go after this dream for a number of reasons. 

1. Every time I tell someone about wanting to write my memoir, I feel like so narcisstic. I ask myself, “Why is my story worth telling over someone else’s?” 

2. I’m scared that my dream won’t come true. I’ll put all this energy into writing and developing my manuscript, only to have it sit on a shelf somewhere, unread. I also wonder if this dream is just a selfish ambition or if it could really be in God’s will for me.

3. I’m working full-time and use that as an excuse to not devote time to writing. ‘I would have to quit work and only write for it to work,’ I think. But then what if #2 happens?

As I was doing my hair today, I was again wondering about what I should be doing with my life. Mentoring? Teaching? Volunteering? And I finally put 2 + 2 together: Writing is my passion. And writing is my gift. I should be using it.

1 Peter 4:11 says: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

I should be using my gift of writing to serve the body of Christ and to glorify God. So I am daring to dream big and start writing, in faith that God will use it for His glory and purposes, whatever that looks like. Travis is starting grad school in January (God willing) so my plan is to write while he is going to class and doing homework. I will submit my manuscript and if no one agrees to publish it, I will look in to self-publishing. I am going to go for it…we’ll see what happens.