Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

All in all, it's been a pretty awesome 2010. I've seen a space shuttle launch, travelled to Europe, met wonderful new people, deepened friendships with others, watched my children mature, making mistakes all along the way.  I've been a great mom, and wife, and on some days, a pretty horrible mom and wife.  I've transitioned through three bosses at work, worked part time and full time, experiencing great successes and failures along the way.  In short, I've grown a lot this year and learned more about what I am capable and not capable of.

My father doesn't make resolutions.  In fact, he is known for resolving each year not to eat watermelon, which is one of the few foods my dad hates.  So I was anti-resolution until a few years back, but I have thought about a few things I would like to do.

1)Read through the Bible
  I got way behind with this last year, and while I think there is a very good chance of that happening again this year, this is one of those resolutions it just can't hurt to try every year.  I am trying a new reading plan that has you read in 10 different places each day.  I always enjoy some parts of the Bible more than others, so I think the variety will help me.  Don't you feel so much better when you are in the Word every day?  I have been doing a few different devotionals through my You Version Bible app and on the days when I am not reading, I always seem to look back at my day as unbalanced and disconnected.  Since I do not like feeling that way, getting into the Word seems a good way to go!

2)Keep up with the house
  I've been home a lot more this past month, and I've seen that keeping up with the house is more about doing a little bit each day and keeping on top of things than grand cleaning days.  So with the help of another app, I am going to work on being more consistent with the home.  The goal is 15 minutes and a few standard things each day.  Hopefully when I have a fiber flare, I can still do a little, and not be as overwhelmed when I get back to normal.

3)Wash my face every night
  It is sad that I have to make this a resolution.  I love wearing makeup, but I am baaaaaaaad about taking it off each night.  Hopefully, now that I have my new Clarsonic Mia, I will be more motivated to do it.  I love that little face cleaning wonder!  In case you are curious, Each night I put on a little coconut oil (available at your local Whole Foods) before I brush my teeth, wipe that off with a wet washcloth to get all my varied makeup off, remove eye makeup and then wash with a little cleanser and my Mia.  As a side note, did you know that coconut oil has similar antimicrobial qualities to breastmilk, which help acne? If I don't wear makeup that day, like today, then I just do the cleanser and Mia.  I still brush my teeth though.  Because that's important, according to my dentist and mother.

So, my friends, I hope you have had a wonderful 2010, and if you haven't, I pray that 2011 is a blessed year for all of us.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Belated Christmas, Ya'll!

This was one of those rare Christmases where I got everything on my list. From the practical, to the luxurious, everything I asked for was received. But this wasn't my favorite part of Christmas. 

The highlights:
-Christmas Eve services at my older sister's home church. I haven't attended my home church for Christmas eve in years, so going with Anna and her family with my family is the closest thing I could get, and it was very nice.  The children were well behaved and the music was lovely. Joe even mentioned something from the sermon today, so obviously he was paying attention. 

-Putting out gifts for Christmas morning. One of my favorite things every year is arranging gifts around the tree for maximum impact. I also get to scope out my gifts a little, which is sneaky, but I do it anyhow.

-Watching the kids opening their big surprise gifts. I didn't even know Joe was going to get a video camera, but it was on his list, and I didn't think he was going to get it. Somehow, Kim's aunt found a kiddie camcorder and Joe was pretty excited by it. Julia got the skateboard she was asking for, so she was happy, and the clothes and boots were also a big hit.

-Ok, I admit it, getting the gifts I wanted was pretty awesome. I am currently typing this up on my new iPad, which makes blogging way easier than an iTouch does. 

I hope all your Christmases were full of joy and everything you wanted!  Have a wonderful last few days of 2010 and a happy new year!  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Today was an excellent day!

I woke up, had clean clothes to wear because I actually did my laundry and put it away, and left the house looking pretty cute! Then I passed the torch to my replacement at work and breathed a sigh of relief as I left the office with my coffee cups and pictures of the family and iPod docking station. I came home and got busy cleaning while I waited for Joe to come home from school while watching one of my favorite movies. I was doing crazy Martha Stewart kinds of cleaning. Taking damp cloths and a butter knife and scraping off junk from the floors kind of stuff. Moved things out to the curb for trash I have been meaning to get out there for years. I put on Christmas music and danced with the children in my clean living room. I made dinner. I played games with the kids. I read Christmas books to Joe. I played more games. I felt like supermom. Superwife.

I felt like the Proverbs 31 woman, even if it was only for a few hours.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

About my kids...

Julia is my little Anne of Green Gables. She has this amazing vocabulary, and is champion of the underdogs. She has such a sweet naivety despite all she has been through. She writes beautiful poetry. 

Joey is my sweet man. He is genuinely hilarious and makes me crack up every day. He is all boy, but gentle. If I had a dollar for every time he said "mom, look at me do this" I would be rich. 

They are both awesome kids and while they each have their challenges, I am honored God has given me the gift of parenting each of them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hi. Remember me?

Ok, so clearly I've been slacking on the blog post front. In my defense I now do all my web surfing on my itouch, which has a great benefit of me spending less ime on the web. But I figure I can crank out a post and let you (Internet ether people) know what I've been up to.

1) Working full time. I took over the scheduler position at work which meant less time with patients, more time at work, and much less time with the family. I finally had to let my boss know this wasn't working for me, and I am due to let go of that position next week and hand it over to another aide. This makes me very happy. I am looking forward to more time at home and getting things in order.

2) In a spiritual wilderness, but I'm out now. I was a sad, dry sponge, but my friend Penny really helped me get out of it. I am in The Word again and entirely much more joyful.

3) I've been in a lot of pain. The fibromyalgia is rearin it's ugly head, but I am hopeful that withess pressure at work and a little time off I can get this under control. I am cheerfully enduring the pain. Which sounds weird, but it's true.

4) I've been thankful. I've spent the month of November really concentrating on thankfulness and it's been very uplifting. I am thankful for my God and the gift of His Son, autumn, sunshine, music, my husband, friends, spices, technology, missionaries, and many other things.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I have not done my daily Bible reading in a month and a half.

There. I've said it.

And my house is a mess. And I've barely cooked this week.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reading the Bible in a year update

So I am still chugging along in my quest to read the Bible in a year. I am pretty much caught up, just 3 days behind, but there are days built in for that. I am learning interesting stuff, and reading things I've never read each day. Sometimes I encounter something I have read several times before, because I mark all over my Bible and can tell. I underline, highlight, bracket, and note why I was where I was. I have a bunch of abbreviations like MM for Mike Minter. BM for Beth Moore. Sorry Beth that your abbreviation is the same as bowel movement, but I'm sure you knew that already! SG is for Shepherd Group, and so on and so on. Sometimes I have no idea why I've highlighted or underlined something, but I find it reassuring to know I was at least perusing the Bible when I come across it.

When I went to the women's retreat for RBC this year, a bunch of us played a game called The Bowl Game. I don't know if this was the official title or just one that this group of friends use, but it's a nifty game. Everyone writes three things on different slips of paper. One time we did Bible character, movie and book. You do several rounds with the same words, the first is like Taboo where you can't say the actual words in the answer or variations of it, the second is charades, the third you can only say one word, and the last is like like charades except you use a member of the opposite team to act it out. One of the Bible characters that someone put in was Baal. I had NO CLUE who Baal was, but everyone else seemed to know. (For the record, I put in Peter because I am lame like that) But I finally got to the part of the Bible with Baal in it! I was very excited! Ok so Baal is a god the Israelites worshiped after God kind of made clear that you weren't supposed to worship other gods before Him. Israelites, how you disappoint me over and over! Most of the tiem when I read the OT, I think "Dang it's hard to be a Jew! I'm glad we have Jesus." And maybe that is the whole point of Christians reading the OT. Or at least one of the points of reading it.

I am also through my phase of finding the Psalms to be whiny. Yes I know David was being persecuted and was hiding in caves and all that, but I was in this place where I was just thinking "David you whine soooooooo much." And I would read the Psalms in this whiny David voice which was just exacerbating the problem. Everyone I would tell this to would look at me like I was crazy. So when I would start reading them int he whiny David voice, I began to consciously replace that voice with the soothing voice of Ed Nalle reading Psalms in church. That worked better and I retrained my brain a bit.

But these are the things that happen when you read the Bible for the first time. You have to reconcile your earthly attitudes with a Christian attitude. You have to realize how little you actually have read of the book that is supposed to be your handbook for living as a Christian. It's humbling, but I'm digging the process.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

We missed all of the snowfall in the DC area and fully expected shoveling ourselves IN to our parking space. But when we arrived home, we saw that our spot was all clear and someone had shoveled a path to our door. Turns out a friend had emailed our address to the people we hire to remove snow so they would clear it with a Bobcat. The pile of snow on our front yard is taller than Kim. Yay for neighborly neighbors!

We were out of town so we could go see the space shuttle Endeavour launch. It was amazing! I will never have adequate words to describe how it felt.

But I can try. We got on the tour bus at 1:30am for the second night in a row, hearing on tv that it was about a 60% chance of launch. On the way there our expert guide, Wayne Owens regaled us with details about the launch and NASA in general. You would think after three days with us he would run out of stuff to say, but because he is awesome, he didn't. Once we got there, the skies were clear and we heard over the speakers that mission control was giving a green light for the weather, which had not been the case last night. Kim set up the camera as close as he could, so I spent a good portion of the countdown sitting on a blanket with my back to the shuttle, vaguely wondering if Kim was looking out for alligators.

The built in hold at T- 9 minutes was when excitement really began to build. As each positive report came in, the 4000 folks sitting in the area got just a little more excited. When the countdown started again, people were practically giddy. Someone sang the national anthem over the loudspeakers and by the time they were done there was 5 minutes until launch. Those five minutes went slow and fast at the same time. Everyone counted down from 10, and then there was this tremendous light, with no sound, like there was a rip in the planet and the Sun was on the inside. So bright and beautiful. As it ascended, It turned night into day, and I stood there slack jawed in awe. Then the rumbling and noise came. The engines sound like a rapid fire pop pop pop pop pop with a low frequency bass sort of feel running through your body.

I had my eyes on Endeavour until it disappeared into the sky, which took about 5 minutes. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

While we were in Florida we went to see Sherlock Holmes at Disney Downtown. All the pizazz of Disney, with none of the money spent! Woot!

I met two astronauts this week. We just know them as Andy and Richard, but they were so great. Andy has logged about 150 days in space, which is a very long time!

It was really nice to spend a whole week with Kim by ourselves. Even when the weather was bad, or we were waiting for a flight we were just blessed to be spending time with each other. We make each other laugh so much, which is, in my opinion, a crucial part of marriage.

I like to bust out with a goofy face or two during picture time:

I miss the kids. Kim is on his way to pick them up now, but I won't see them until later. :(

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reading the Bible in a Year

So, as a little background, I grew up Catholic, with a Charismatic Catholic mom. And while my mother is quite a captivating lady and can spin quite a yarn, that's not the sort of charismatic I mean. According to Wikipedia the Charismatic Catholic movement is like so:

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a movement within the Catholic Church. Worship is characterized by vibrant Masses, as well as prayer meetings featuring prophecy and sometimes glossolalia, or "speaking in tongues." This movement is based on the belief that certain charisms (a Greek word for gifts), bestowed by the Holy Spirit, such as the abilities to speak in tongues and to heal (which Christians generally believe existed in the early Church as described in the Bible) should still be practiced today.
A dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, who is believed by Christians to confer various gifts.

A Catholic church in Ann Arbor, Michigan describes charismatic prayer:

"A charismatic style of prayer is common at Christ the King. People are free to raise their hands in prayer and during songs, many pray their own prayers audibly, some pray in tongues, etc.... They pray with expressive or charismatic prayer at monthly parish prayer meetings, at the beginning of parish meetings, and most especially during certain moments in the Holy Mass. These are some of the external markers of a charismatic parish. Internal markers include a radical surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all parts of life, a strong adherence to the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the pursuit of strong friendships centered on Christ."[1]

So the Catholic I grew up with, and the Catholic you may know are a little different. There are stories told about my youth where I thought sea gulls were the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and I thought Jimmy Swaggert was the President since I saw him in front of a podium wearing a suit a lot on TV. And while I definitely felt a strong connection to Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, it was a childlike connection. I didn't reach a point in my walk with Jesus where I felt strongly compelled to engage in the charismatic activities my mother was involved in. I didn't read my Bible with joy, but rather in this fashion of "I need to read this thing all the way through." I did not know the Catholic Bible was different than the Bible non-Catholics read.

So even though I have been a baptized believer since I was about four, I knew very little about the Bible. In fact, what I did know about the Bible came from one book, and it wasn't the Catholic Bible. It was this Jehovah's Witness children's book of bible stories my grandmother had been given.

As far as Bible stories go, some of my favorite grand slams are in there. but flipping through today, I got a big giggle of "Dinah Gets into Trouble" hehe

Anyhoo, back on track. I could tell people a bit about the Bible, but not oodles. I am now at the point in my walk where I want to know more. I've taken several very good Bible studies and feel as if I have a few tools in the tool kit before I set of on this Bible reading on my own. But starting off at the beginning and just reading through didn't work so well. What do I know about reading the Bible? Should I read straight through and get stuck at the begat-o-thon? Jump around by whim? No, I needed a plan. A plan with checklists. A plan with places to read through the Bible, but which isn't sporadic.

I needed(and Elizabeth Garn had recommended it ):
The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
*raise the roof* blogistsas, because it keeps me organized AND competitive. Because I need a little competition to get me through Leviticus.

I am just behind by Acts for right now. I find it very repetitive at this point with Saul and Barnabas roaming throughout the ancient world. I know I should thoughtfully pray and try to glean information from it, but I figure reading the Bible at all is better than giving up because I'm not doing it right. So speed reading through Acts it is.

Ruby Rating 3/5
Bible progress 23/300 or 7% done.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Kim!

Eight years ago:

We had a full Catholic Mass (I grew up Catholic, Kim was baptized at Bible church during college) then promptly left the Catholic church.

Look how little Julia was!

Thanks for being the butter to my bread. I love you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls

Proverbs doesn't mention cleaning snow off your car while it is dark out, but I think we can agree this is implied.

So the house is bad. It's really bad. Sooooooo bad. But one thing I have been totally on the ball about lately is making sure I have a plan for dinner each night. I have been very guilty of letting Kim do this entirely too often after his long day at work. Granted, sometimes I do legitimately have migraines or overwhelming fatigue and pain, but I can admit I allow myself to get lazy and rely on my husband who can cook a little too much.

So I've made sure to make a plan each day as I am driving home. We have vacuum packed most of the meat and poultry we have bought recently, so I can defrost it quickly in the sink. I haven't copped out with chicken nuggets in a few weeks! I've even made... salad. I know. Salad. Though I am not good at salads. I like salads, but I lack salad creativity. My mother in law can make a mean salad, so I should ask her for some tips when she comes in March.

This weekend I HAVE to start working on the house. I am putting the Christmas decorations away, so that should help motivate me. But it's really not good over here. I'm scared!

Ruby Rating - 3/5

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dry & Chapped Hands: A repair guide for Nurses and Mothers Alike

So, working in the nursing industry, I wash my hands a lot. Because I don't do the laundry or dishes much at home (Kim's office is by the laundry room and he does it most of the time and we have a dishwasher) and haven't been changing baby diapers in quite a while I don't wash my hands ridiculously often at home. I wash them, let me clear, but just not as much as I did when the kids were little. On the other hand, I wash my hands countless times a day at work, and I hand wash dishes a lot for my clients while I am there. As a result, this past week my hands have become terribly chapped. On the verge of having cracking knuckles, which would make using hand sanitizer intensely uncomfortable, I set about repairing my hands with vigor.

So, my guide for preventing and caring for chapped, cracking hands:

1. Don't wash your hands in hot water. Use warm water. It works just fine and will dry your hands out a lot less.

2. Pat your hands dry instead of rubbing.

3. Use hand sanitizer if you can instead. For me, this is a lot less often than you would think at work because I have to wash my hands between patients, and after dealing with patient incontinence, including diaper changes and taking out the incontinence briefs in the trash. I wear gloves the whole time, but regulations state you should actually wash your hands with soap and water. I use hand sanitizer as much as I can in between.

4. Use gloves when you do dishes. At work, I use medical gloves, but dish gloves would be more cost effective and ideal at home. This protects your hands from the hot water you should use on dishes.

5. Use hand cream after you wash your hands. Honestly I don't have much time for this at work. It makes the gloves slide around and I don't like that. But if you can prevent your hands from getting over dry with plain old hand lotion, why not try to do that? At home I use lotion every other time I wash my hands.

6. Let's assume you abused your hands this past week. The baby was sick and you had to wash hands every 10 minutes. Now for the choose your own adventure portion of the post!

If they are:
a. chapped (looking like a dry dessert or red, but not cracked open) put on an intensive hand cream and some cotton gloves to lock in the lotion. I am typing with a pair on as poor English.

b. If the lotion stings, or if your hands are cracked and possibly bleeding, break out the aloe with lidocaine from summer. Put some of this on the sensitive/cracked areas, then follow up with an unscented, dye free balm like A&D ointment or Aquaphor. After THAT you can put on the hand lotion and gloves. If you have one of those paraffin hand things like my sister does, this would be the time to break it out.

Your hands could potentially look swollen and very red after moisturizing them because they are damaged. Mine looked like I had a run in with a toxic chemical and were very VERY attractive. Throw in some ragged cuticles and... can we say hand model awesomeness? Or not. At all. But the next morning they looked much better. Still dry, but not horrible. Or red and puffy. You will have to keep on top of them until they are normal, which for my OCD hand washing sister is never, or for the non-OCD folks reading the post probably a few days. Start protecting them now, because cracked hands are awful.

Recommend products:
A&D Ointment
Sally Hansen Salon Severely Dry and Chapped Hand Remedy
Neutrogena Hand Cream (the ointment stuff)
Gloves in a Bottle Shielding Lotion

Feel free to post your suggestions in the comments and I will add them to the post.