Friday, December 29, 2006

Back to the basics

Well, it's been awhile. So I decided to write. I figured the returning readers were getting sick of staring at that Christmas tree clip art.

I am on my last month-long "break" of my life. Next year at this time, I will have a job, and there will be no such thing as having 4 weeks off to run around and do as I please. Today is the first day that I have had to myself, believe it or not. Every other day has been packed with activities, helping, and socializing.

I awoke this morning and laid there for a few minutes, trying to guess what time it was. "About 9 or 10," I thought. I felt refreshed, but the day was bright and it seemed like morning outside.

Wrong. It was after 12. I shuffled downstairs and helped myself to the box of Krispe Kremes that was sitting on our kitchen counter.

"Dad suggested we get those for you, but I figured it is because he wanted them," my mom told me. I don't care why anyone bought them, just so long as I got to eat one! They melt in your mouth, I tell you.

After breakfast at noon, I showered, picked up a few things, and played a game of online euchre. I am now officially bored. I guess I forgot how boring having time on your hands really is. After this post, I plan to get out of the house and start the productive part of my day, but it's sad that it is already 4 p.m. Sad, but not really- as far as I am concerned, EVERYONE should be allowed to have at least one day like this entitled to them a month- a day where you get to kill time in whatever way you please. Because when it comes down to it, relaxing is something no one ever finds time for anymore.

I leave for Arizona in a week. I am taking 5 of my great friends down to stay at my aunt and uncle's place, and am I ever excited. I have been checking every day, and it stays in the high 60's and sunny. I just hope that people don't think we're crazy when we're out in our swimming suits and everyone else is in winter coats. That is winter to them, as they are used to 110 every day in the summer. I'll take high 60's, thank you- I can't wait for the gorgeous weather and scenery! I know that no matter what, we will have fun because of the amazing people I will be with, and the wonderful place we have for our stay.

Another milestone coming up is my 21st birthday on January 2. It's so weird. I still feel like I'm 16. If someone asked me what age I would always feel like, it would be somewhere in the teen years. Time goes by so fast, and I don't realize it until I look back on pictures and remember all of the memories I have from Jr. High & High School. It is amazing how fast you grow up and mature, not only in how you look but especially in how you act and make choices. It is also exciting to see how you have matured in Christ-- an area that is so important! One thing I am so thankful for is the idea that I gave my life to Christ so long ago, so my relationship with Him has only strengthened through the years.

Alright. Well, this post made me hungry, so I am going to go eat a banana with some peanutbutter. If we're out of bananas, maybe an apple. Love you all. T

Monday, December 04, 2006

Top Ten Christmas

Everyone has a favorite Christmas pastime. To me, the excitement of the holidays is everything we do to prepare for the day itself... such as decorating, baking, and caroling. It's the joy that is in the air that is contagious. What is your favorite Christmas delight?

Top Ten Christmas

1. Putting up your Christmas tree and hanging ornaments on it
2. Singing Christmas carols
3. Making Christmas cookies
4. Eating candy canes
5. Stuffing stockings
6. Wrapping gifts
7. Shopping
8. Ice skating
9. Mistletoe
10. Christmas music

I have an anecdote to each one...

1. Putting up your Christmas tree- Every year, the tradition has been this: the day after Thanksgiving (a Friday), our family would get up real early and go to a tree farm and pick out a live tree. There was typically a fight between two split groups about which tree was "the best." Soft needles, or hard? Tall, or short? Full, or skinny? There are just so many decisions to be made. However, sadly enough, a few years ago we discontinued this exact tradition. It all changed when we built an addition onto our house, and ended up with a great room with a tall ceiling. Much to my mom's dismay, we decided to buy a "fake" Christmas tree, something she thought she would never do. Despite the doubts, we have really enjoyed our "tall" tree with lots of ornaments that seem to multiply on a yearly basis. We now use that Friday for a great big breakfast to fuel ourselves for a day of splashing our house with decorations.

2. Singing Christmas carols- Our church goes Christmas caroling every year on a select Sunday evening. It is always fun going around with one of five or six groups and harmonizing in beautiful Christmas melodies. Our audience always enjoys it, and so do the singers! Afterward is a yummy supper of chili, hot dogs, and hot chocolate.

3. Making Christmas cookies- Mmmm. What is Christmas without good, Christmas baking? Every year, my friends and I get together and bake all day long, and then deliver our goodies to the elderly. It is such a fun tradition that we promise we will never let die out!

4. Eating candy canes- I LOVE candy canes. One thing I would note, though, is the shape... I mean, I know they are called candy CANES but it is such an awkward shape to eat. A favorite of mine is to make brownies, frost them with chocolate icing, and then crush up candy canes to put in the frosting. What you get is a delicious blend of chocolate and peppermint. Who could resist?

5. Stuffing stockings- Or pulling items out of them! My siblings and I always "opened" stockings on Christmas morning (and presents on Christmas Eve). I love the idea of reaching into a deep, soft stocking and wandering what it is your fingers are grasping.

6. Wrapping gifts- I actually despise this task. I am not a good gift-wrapper, and usually resort to finding a holiday bag that I can stick my gifts into with tissue paper all pretty spraying out of it. On the other hand, my mom is probably the best gift-wrapper I know, and always adds little bells, ribbons, sparkles, and bows to her gifts as an extra touch. My dad is a very computed wrapper, with all of his creases and folds measured out to the inch. Then there is me... if there was a way to wrap presents in Adobe Photoshop, I'd do it. I think I am just too impatient.

7. Shopping- I LOVE to shop, but another pet peeve of mine is people, people EVERYWHERE! Not that I don't love people, and not that I don't love seeing them out and about during the holiday season. Sometimes, though, people in big crowds tend to move very slowly and less seldom, and my natural instinct is to move at a very different pace than that. I can become frustrated when there are large auras of people who are blocking where I need to be, when I need to be there. However, I must say that everyone who is out always shines Christmas joy and it is an exciting time of year to be out... especially for shopping deals. :) Yay for door busters.

8. Ice skating- Who doesn't love the notion of ice skating on a desolate frozen pond OR on Michigan Avenue in Chicago on a frosty evening? How romantical and fun! Especially when you can pull off a triple axel!

9. Mistletoe- Hmmm... all I can say is, watch where you're standing.

10. Christmas music- One of my favorites!! What a way to share the joy of the season... I love tuning into my most-listened to station to hear Christmas music playing hour after hour. I know it is a little over-the-top to play it nontstop from Thanksgiving until Christmas, but it honestly gets me pumped. LOVE it.

What are your anecdotes, stories, memories, or thoughts? Please share them!

Love you all, T

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Top Ten Tuesday G-A-B

Good, it's Tuesday and I am going to bring you an excellent post!

This top ten is going to honor my most dedicated Top Ten Tuesday reader who at times is freakishly prompt at letting me know how many more minutes are ticking a way in my Tuesday before I have become a failure at NOT posting and top ten. But where would we all be without her? Well... let me just say that there would be a lot less top tens.

Why is she so superb?


1. Fulfills my purpose of having nails. She lets me scratch her back every time I see her.
2. Is always up for pretty much anything. Spontaneous.
3. Appreciates Dairy Queen. I mean- anyone who orders a banana-strawberry-blueberry-raspberry blizzard is committed.
4. Gives great spiritual advice. She is a fountain of wisdom.
5. Listens. She lets you talk, and talk, and talk, but doesn't try to interrupt.
6. Lets out a big, appreciative laugh when she finds something funny. She does not hold back- she lets you know just how hilarious the situation is by the size of her laughter.
7. Always has something nice to say about someone.
8. Has successfully saved the Top Ten Tuesday endeavor.
9. Is crazy with me.
10. Is a lot of fun!

Comment if you appreciate Gab. Love you all! T

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Beau Richard

Here are some pictures of my newest nephew, Beau Richard. He was born last Friday night, 3 weeks early. He has had a few complications with oxygen levels because of how early he was, so if you could keep him in your prayers that would be great! Otherwise, he is a healthy baby boy who is what his name says- BEAUTIFUL!!

Love you all, T

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Top Ten Thanksgiving

One of the main reasons I am writing this Top Ten is because otherwise, I will get a furious e-mail from my most avid top-ten-tuesday reader demanding that I post something. So I better beat her to the chase before she sends me a log of how many times she has pushed "refresh" on my blog (which last time was close to 100). Reader- you know who you are.

Today's Top Ten is about Thanksgiving dinner (because I'm really hungry right now). You have to pick the one food item that you wouldn't mind EXCLUDING from the meal on Thanksgiving day if you had to pick one. Remember that you can always come back for seconds or thirds, so choose wisely. I mean, this IS Thanksgiving dinner and all, it's the one time that it's socially acceptable to eat as much as you want!

When you're done with that, then pick the one item that if it was the ONLY thing you could eat on Thanksgiving Day, you would choose.

1. Turkey
2. Mashed potatoes and gravy
3. Big, warm, cinnamon rolls with icing
4. Fruit salad (made with YOUR favorite fruit and topped with whipped cream)
5. Vegetables (broccoli with melted cheese, buttery corn, and salad)
6. A cold pasta salad (your favorite recipe)
7. Homemade pumpkin pie with whipped topping and Grandma's warm Apple Crisp with an ice cream scoop drizzled with caramel
9. Your favorite coffee blend
10. Silverware to eat the food with (I know that obviously this isn't a food item, but I needed another obvious "keeper" because I'm running out of ideas. If any of you choose this option, I'm coming to your house and stealing all of your silverware on Thanksgiving Day because I want to see how you think you could pull this off.)

Love you all, and we have much to be thankful for! God Bless, T

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Top Ten Tuesday Halloween

Per GR's request, I am going to conduct a Top Ten Tuesday. Seeing as it is Halloween, let's stick with that topic...

You must pick the costume that you most likely would, at your current age, pick to dress up as and go trick-or-treating in if a big group of your friends decided to go.

Top Ten Halloween Costumes
1. The color white
2. A giant bowl of popcorn
3. Beast from "Beauty and the Beast"
4. Big Bird
5. A rainbow
6. An elephant
7. Lloyd
8. a blue M&M
9. Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon
10. A Christmas tree

Pick one... just one, now. I know the choies are good, so try to narrow it down. :) I had the help of some of my friends in coming up with the choices. Vote away, and have a great day!

Love you all. T

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fall Photogaphy

I rolled over in bed this morning and glanced out the window, only to let an overwhleming sense of bright sunny blue envelope me and tempt me to get up. If I was a crowd of people watching fireworks, I would have "Ooed" and "Ahhed" about the amazing contrast of the vivid orange and yellow leaves against the Fall day sky. My joy was not yet over...

After a bowl of Golden Grahams, I took my camera outside to finish a photo lighting assignment, but I couldn't resist. I grabbed my Canon and begtan snapping away, capturing close-ups of the Fall flowers prospering in my mom's garden. The aroma of pumpkin was evident in the air, and the crisp day cooled me and allowed for a very refreshing feeling as I made my rounds in the backyard.

I felt in my element as I shot photographs of flowers. There is something about zooming in so deeply on a tiny little colorful flower and bringing vibrance and life to its presence that would have never been captured with a scanning, un-assuming eye. I thrive off of bringing something spectacular out of ordinary objects. It is my passion, not only with flowers but with any picture. I often look out the window of my car and see scenery and objects in terms of pictures rather in terms of what is really there.

Photography brings for me an outlet, and it's an important one, because it lets me capture memories and visuals. The other day, someone said to me, "I noticed you take A LOT of pictures. I think that's great-- but, what are you going to do with all these pictures when you're older?"

I love questions like these! I told her that first and foremost, it is essential for me to take pictures in order to liven memories. Often, if I don't take a picture of the event, I don't remember it very well. Pictures allow me to "re-live" the exciting times again and again, and this reinforcement in my mind helps my memory. Also, I don't just print my pictures and then let them sit and collect dust in shoe boxes. I hang them up, share them, give them away, print them in bigger sizes to be framed, archive them in albums, use them in movies, and sometime in the hopeful near future, sell them.

I am not going to school to be a photographer. I feel like it comes as more of a hobby to me, and it is there to enhance and add to what I AM learning about- media, design, and communication.

I thank God for His beautiful creation, from everything to the tiniest flower to the most vivacious and friendly person. It is all picture-worthy, and the beauty of it is owed to Him!

I love you all, T

Monday, October 09, 2006

Our Hope

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

A good perspective to keep...

Day by day, we are being RENEWED on the inside. When we die, what will we take with us? What will count? Where do we spend most of our time... nurturing the materials that will burn and rot away, and that will not accompany us to Heaven, or practicing and bearing fruit that will produce for us treasure in Heaven?

Love you all, T

Thursday, October 05, 2006


My blog is stale.

I have let it sit in the cupboard too long, and now it is dull, flavorless, and ignored.

It has been awhile since I last posted because my time is precious these days, and unforunately, or perhaps fortunately, blogging has fallen to the bottom of the to-do list.

Today started off cloudy and cold, and has now developed into a blue sky beauty. My spirits are high because my afternoon class has been cancelled, which frees up a whole afternoon for me to enjoy. I just finished peanutbutter and honey with banana slices on toast, all while talking to room mates and friends and listening to jazz.

Since it just so happens to be a Tuesday, I am going to throw in a Top Ten for everyone...

On Monday night, we had game night at the Willow House (new name for the previous T House + Steph and Abby). We started off with a couple of board games and ended up bringing the whole group together at the end for a game of "I Have Never." Most of you know that this game is played by starting someone off in the center who says, "I have never..." and then fills in the blank with something they have never done. Everyone who is seated who HAS done this must get up and find a new seat, all while the person in middle frantically tries to find a free space to sit down. One person will always end up in the middle, and then has to make a new "I have never" statement. This is one of those games that is fun to play, sometimes even aggressive, but really has no end goal or final winner other than someone brave enough to say, "I have never been so sick of this game" and ends it.

Anyway, my theme for Top Ten will be 10 "I have never..." statements by myself, and you can all pick one that you HAVE done and tell a story about it. Essentially, we are playing the blog version of the game. Except that you don't have to worry about finding a seat.

I have never...

1. Been to Hawaii

2. Received a speeding ticket

3. Enjoyed mushrooms, olives, or seafood

4. Had younger siblings

5. Gone sky diving or rocky mountain climbing

6. Had permanantly straight hair

7. Missed a trip to DQ in the summer

8. Lived without a pet cat

9. Seen Forrest Gump all the way through

10. Been to Heaven, but someday I will go there...

Love you all. T

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Still, Small Voice

"What is a miracle?"

Last night, we had girl's bible study at our house, and I led a group of girls in a study centered around "God is Speaking... Are we Listening?" The central theme was that often, we misinterpret God's "silence" as Him being completely absent, or not caring. Too often, we disregard what the Lord is really trying to say to us because it is not what we want to hear or when we want to hear it. Yet what we forget is that God's most powerful messages come through a still, small voice. Sure. God could write it in fireworks up in the black night sky. He could reach down and quake the earth as easy as we can break a cracker. He could spell out His will for our lives with daisies in an open field. But more often than not, He chooses the silent whisper of the wind, the soft encouragement of a friend, or the gentle hug of a parent to speak to us. Are we hearing it?

I started off with a question that was brought out at one point in our group. "What is a miracle," one girl wanted to know. What defines it? Why did God choose to speak through miraculous wonders so often in the Old Testament, and what constitutes it?

A MIRACLE, according to my Bible's concordance, is a "divine act, unexplainable by the laws of nature."

Science tries to explain away everything that exists. Searching deep within the heart of science allows us to give meaning and logic to WHY things work the way they do, whereas before, we lived perfectly fine without knowing and had faith in the God who created it. I am in a Genetics course, and as I journey back through the makeup of the smallest unit that makes up everything that is living- the cell- I am amazed again and again at how intricate our human bodies really are. I came to the conclusion that God is very creative! For these amazing units to work together to form a living, breathing soul, a miracle must take place. We hear, "every baby is a miracle." That means that you are a living, breathing miracle and testament of God's love... He created you in your mother's womb, and knows your every detail. Not only that, but he CARES about what you think. He may have different plans for you than you do, but He wants to know your thoughts. That is why we pray.

We pray to God- why? Sure, we have requests. But the focus is on His kingdom, and not our own.

This morning, I was reading in 1 Corinthians and a verse stuck out to me that I had previously highlighted: "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."

We all talk A LOT. Even as Christians, there is a lot of edifying TALK that goes on. We go to church on Sunday and hear ministers talk to us. We fellowship with others. We go to girl's and guy's bible studies and Wednesday church and singings and church activities, and we talk and are uplifted at all of these events which are SO very important. Yet, how easy it is to let this TALK constitue the larger portion of our life and forgetting to let the POWER of the Holy Spirit work through us on a daily basis. Many of us do both, and our balance is amazing, but I know for me... sometimes finding that happy medium is difficult. Sometimes, attending all of the uplifting events and talking about what could be takes place of just going out and doing it. My prayer for all of us is that we can learn to make use of the power that is available to us through Christ Jesus to further His kingdom, and that all of the talk that we do that is so encouraging can serve as a springboard to do it!

I love you all, and thanks for reading. T

Monday, September 04, 2006

Items of Business

Announcement: Anyone interested in seeing pictures from the Labor Day weekend in Michigan (if you, perhaps, went on that trip and want to relive the excellent glory), please head over to Kristi's blog, as she has some great pictures posted.

Answers from my previous Tuesday's Top Ten:
1. T
2. B
3. C
4. B
5. C
6. C (note- when I calculated the %, I took into account all 6 of us. No trick intended)
7. A
8. B
9. A
10. A

Today's Inspiration:
Romans 12
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Could we get through the day succesfully without God's grace? Probably not. Yet let's remember who He gives it to- the humble. Step forth with a renewed mind today and let the Spirit lead you within the AMAZING will that He has planned for your life.

Love you all, T

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Top Ten Tuesday 20

Guess what... it's that time of Tuesday again... time for a Top Ten!!

Today's Top Ten is better titled "Top Ten Who's of Random Trivia." Test yourself on the top ten trivia and see how well you do... post your answers. Winner gets a surprise.

True or False
1. Central Illinois is "the center of the universe" (socially).

2. Who wants to help me make m&m pancakes?
a. Tricia b. Steph c. no one- everyone thinks they sound gross

3. Who is my life-long Euchre partner?
a. Kristi b. Gab c. Cody

4. Which one of my friends wanted me to do a "Top Ten Reasons Friends with Condos in Morton Rock?"
a. Tony b. Luke c. Cody

5. Which one of my friends wanted me to do a "Top Ten" on Euchre?
a. Cody b. Kristi c. Kenton

6. What percentage of my room mates is going to be a teacher?
a. 33% b. 50% c. 66%

7. Who's arm is pictured holding the ipod in this picture?
a. Gab's b. Tricia's c. Laura's

8. Who is driving?
a. Gab b. Tammy c. me

9. Who ate the peanutbutter cup?
a. Gab b. Tammy c. me

10. Who's Yankee cap did I wear today?
a. Abby's b. Tricia's c. Steph's

Love you all. Happy guessing. Sorry it's not very exciting-- any new top ten tuesday ideas would be welcome. I'm sure there are things I have never thought of... T

Monday, August 21, 2006


I am sitting here on a new kitchen chair in the new room of our new house. In a new neighborhood. But fortunately, the campus isn't new :) or else I'd be in trouble. When I think back to how "new" everything felt last year at this time, I shake my head in awe of how quickly it all flashed by. Life only gets quicker as the years go by, which teaches me to enjoy the times of "youth" while they are still near.

This past week before school started, I had off. I was able to have a snapshot of "summer" during this week and I kept myself busy with activities that I might have enjoyed throughout the summer had I not worked. One day was spent going out to lunch with my mom, sisters, and aunts. Another day I took my older neice and nephews to the water park with Kristi. Dairy Queen trips were frequent, and hanging out with friends late at night occured nightly. I was thankful for a week to enjoy before the rush of school came flying towards me at full force.

However, I am looking at a pretty light 'n easy semester- photography, graphic design, communications, and genetics comprise my learning palette for these next few months. I am looking forward also to working 2 days a week at Cat in Mossville, interning in the same business unit that I stayed with all summer, Cat Electronics.

Another area that looks exciting to me is our ISU Young Group. I am serving as treasurer this year on an amazing committee, and I look forward to planning, facilitating and participating in events throughout the year! I can already see how God is working through each member and the individual talents lying therein, and I know it will be used for His glory! I look forward to seeing people at ISU Bible Study this week. I remember last year, that was the one night a week I always got excited about, because I was able to see so many faces from all around Central IL.

I can't end this post without a mention of my room mates. I can already tell this year holds a lot of fun and fond memories, and it only took me one night to figure it out. Actually, I knew it ever since we finalized the 6 room mates living here. But at any rate, we all have much to be thankful for-- and hopefully, our house here on Willow Street can be a shining beacon of God's love as we live out this next year here at ISU.

It is exciting to note God's almighty ways and how His purpose for each of us is simple, but the way in which He works it out is so beyond our understanding. It does me good to remember that I am not always suppossed to have all the answers or figure out all the mysterious ways in which He works; I am only here to glorify Him and further His Kingdom in where he has me in the present. Simple to say, so hard to follow through. I recently dug out "The Purpose Driven Life" and got slammed in the face with the "It's not about you," statement starting off the book. No, it's not. Yet I wake up every morning with a self-centered approach, and the only way to break loose from this perspective is to keep consistency in reading the Word, praying to God, and being open to opportunities that surround us each and every day.

Some applications...

Try denying SELF. Start with the small things-- give your friend the bigger half of the cookie even though you are STARVING and it's your favorite kind. These types of behaviors, if enforced habitually in the small things, will soon come naturally and will be more easier to apply in the big things.

Pray OFTEN. Pray for the driver who just cut you off. Pray for your boss. Pray for your attitude. Instead of worrying about how something will work out, pray that it will.

Treat every "job" or "task" you are given during the day as if God gave it to you. It doesn't matter if you know you can "take advantage" of the situation and do it quicker one way or easier another way, and it doesn't matter that the task seems unnecessary to you. It doesn't matter that the job you were given is frustrating and time consuming, or that it's the last thing you really feel like doing. Whether your mom gave it to you or your teacher gave it to you, treat your work like "God's work" and every time, I guarantee that your attitude will be nicer, your finished product will show quality, and your "self" will be taken out of it.

Love you all! T

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tricia, Part II

I have had multiple requests to update, so I best please the crowd. I have also had a few topic suggestions, but the one I am going to go with is actually close to brilliance, because the timing is astounding.

As I sit here and think about school starting back up in ONE week, I become extremely excited about my living arrangements for the Fall semester. We 4 T's will be collaborating with 2 newbies, so I need to make sure all of my T-House Tributes are complete. I have covered Tracy, Tammy, and Part 1 of Trish. Looks like TP needs to be closed up with a Part II before my new room mates enter into the mix.

So here we have it: Tricia, Part II

Randomalities & Greatnesses...

Just in case you get real hungry late at night, she is always willing to make a Krispe Kreme run.

She likes to laugh. Trish and I can laugh until we have tears in our eyes and our tummies hurt.

Rather than trying to butt in with stories and words, she will always lend a great listening ear to any story.

She is a natural encourager.

She has a unique style with a flair-- in every way.

Good & easygoing conversationalist.

She would support ideas of post-it notes on kitchen walls, rearranging living rooms at midnight, and watching the best episodes of The Office... even if we've already seen them.

She's a creative thinker.

Needless to say, I look forward to some super times with this girl starting next week. Thanks to TP for making sure there is never a dull moment.

Love you all. T

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Novel Piece: Weekend Events & Spiritual Tidbits

I took my two nephews towards the front of church today and sat with them during the morning service. Actually, I offered to take one of them, and Noah was the first to jump at the suggestion, but as he trailed along behind me, I glanced back to see an upset and left out Oliver. Needless to say, I cannot turn away sad and tearful faces, so I took them both.

Noah, Oliver and I plopped down in a bench mid-way in the sanctuary with three bags of toys- oh, and I also brought my Bible to church and a purse. So it’s a good thing at ages 4 and 6, the boys can carry their own bags. ☺ I enjoy spending time with my nephews, but an older lady sitting behind me had it right when she leaned up and said, “You have a busy morning ahead of you.”

We started off coloring with those magic markers that only produce color on the special paper to eliminate staining. It is amazing what accident-proof toys they have come up with over the years. Back in my day, you used to have to just be real careful to stay inside the lines or within the edge of the paper. Anyway, once we got through the excitement of that (which lasted about 6 minutes, which equals about 2 songs out of the Zion’s Harp), we made paper snow flakes. I showed Ollie how to fold the paper into a triangle and cut it to make pretty patterns.

“Let’s make another one,” he would say every time after opening the snow flake up and seeing it’s beauty.

“I used coffee mugs to make it a circle shape at school,” Noah informed me.

The things these kids learn at school… he’s going to be smarter than me before I know it.

Next, we played “Guess what Picture I’m Drawing.” Oliver had a fixation with drawing a circle and a smiley face with about 5 legs coming off of it. The first time, it was a spider, and the second time it was “nothing.” Noah drew a long squiggly line.

“It’s a snake,” I guessed.

“Nope,” Noah replied.

Ollie and I put in about 2 more guesses each until Oliver said, “It’s a snake.”

“Yep!” Noah said.

“That’s what I guessed,” I told him, slightly annoyed, “and you told me I was wrong.”

“Ohhhh, I thought you said STEAK,” Noah said.


I love them both- I really do. Being with them reminds me of the important task both of my sisters, and my sister in law, all carry in their day-to-day lives. I look at their life sometimes and I don’t really envy it; but other days, I come to stand in awe and appreciation of how they raise their kids. It’s not a blow-off task. It is so comforting to know these kids are being raised in homes where the love of Jesus is taught and their morals will be set as a solid ground beneath them. I know that teaching those things to kids doesn’t always guarantee they will all grow up and be perfect, but by having those morals instilled in them, hopefully they will be carried in their minds all throughout their life.

I look at myself and my life so far, and a lot of the choices I have made and the convictions that have tackled me. Almost every one of those instances can be traced back to how I was raised. Why I think the way I do, why I act the way I do, why I say the things I say… it all comes down to the amazing parents I had who raised me up in a loving and caring environment, and one in which encouraged the good and admonished the bad. I have always had a never-ending source of wisdom and advice to go to at any time throughout any of my family members, and it has been what has molded me to who I am today.

Being with kids makes me nostalgic- I wish that I could go running back into the days of my youth… sometimes I walk down the alley that now leads to me sister’s house across the street, and I stroll right by my old best friend’s backyard. I remember those summer days when we would run barefoot through the neighborhood until it was dark out, catching lightning bugs and finding wounded animals to care for. Those were the days… but how great to think that one day, I could raise kids of my own who can do those same things. Sometimes, life seems to connect in ways that are like a dot-to-dot-- a series of events that look scattered… but occur in chronological order that all relate to each other and when it is finished, it creates a beautiful picture that just makes sense.

I am done being philosophical for the moment. I’ll dwell on my weekend for a second… it was a good one, but a busy one. I went out to eat and then to the riverfront Friday night with some friends to celebrate Tricia’s homecoming from Europe. It was good to see her and welcome her back! We then wrapped up the evening back at my house.

Saturday, I got to help at the Cat Electronics picnic all day, helping sign people in and answer people’s questions. We had a good turn out with volley ball games going on, great music, food, and other activities for kids and adults. Saturday night was another out-to-eat deal with bowling and games… you can never go wrong there.

Today was church in Morton, which was very good, and then volleyball with some people in Goodfield in the beautiful afternoon weather. My mom and I met my sister and her husband and kids for supper, and then spent the evening together.

I look ahead into a very busy week with lots of plans… in life’s busy-ness, it is so easy to overlook my purpose. It is my prayer that we can all learn to stay focused all the way through… you know, today in church, we read out of 1 Corinthians 15, and there was a verse that stuck out to me:

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (15:58)

When I think of “purpose,” I feel like that verse supports a world of answer. What is my purpose? What is anyone’s purpose? To further and build His Kingdom while we are here on earth, and we do that by being firm and unmovable, proclaiming His name boldly, and giving of ourselves FULLY to the work of the Lord, in all that we do. Not just at church or after bible studies or during singings… it’s an “always” thing. The singings and bible studies and church services are supportive worship services and opportunities to serve and encourage and learn, but the real “doing” of Christianity happens outside church doors and worship singing circles. The real “doing” happens every day in our day-to-day lives at work, at school, and at home. Let’s do this, knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain!

I love you all! T

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wednesday's Wisdom 3

Tonight in church, the minister told a story about an old lady he was visiting in a nursing home. He said that she stated, "I love everyone- I do. I don't like some people, but I love everyone." The minister then pointed out how we all should have that brotherly/sisterly love for all, even if we don't all always "like" the same things and click perfectly. That isn't always going to happen because we aren't all the same, and it's a good thing we aren't. But that doesn't mean we can't all love each other.

Anyway, I sat there and thought, "Old people are so wise." One of those revolutionary thoughts that I knew, but the notion hit me tonight in an awe-inspiring way.

Then tonight, I read in Proverbs 16: 31, "Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained by a righteous life."

I feel like the thoughts that the elderly have just spill with wisdom and experience. The perspective is so... right. But how is this attained? Proverbs says "by a righteous life." Sounds like a tall order to me. Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel... as we strive to continue down the path of glory and obedience to our Father in Heaven, we will be led into the way everlasting and perhaps someday be adorned with a "crown of splendor."

Love you all! T

Thursday, July 27, 2006

When I was little

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance. ~Franklin P. Jones

A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer. ~Author Unknown

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child. ~Frank A. Clark

Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed. ~Robert Gallagher

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million. ~Walt Streightiff

Monday, July 24, 2006

Top Ten Tuesday 19

I went to Les Mis this weekend in St. Louis, and on the car ride there, we played "Would You Rather..." My Top Ten is going to be in "Would You Rather" style, so pick what you would rather do...

Would you Rather...

1. dive into a giant bowl of peanutbutter and jelly holding pieces of bread to be pictured on the cover of a magazine

2. dye your hair a different color a day for a week

3. eat a whole pack of popcorn flavored jelly bellys a day for a month

4. take a paper-route job delivering papers at 5 a.m. every morning, and keep it for at least 3 months

5. go swimming in the baby pool with floaties on all afternoon like nothing is wrong for a week

6. take a course in html coding for 6 weeks

7. watch the whole first season of Gilmore Girls

8. wear maple syrup flavored deodorant until it ran out

9. take the lead role in the play "Beauty and the Beast"

10. train to run a half-marathon

Let's see where you guys all fit into the category of adventure via randomness. Have fun! Love you all.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wednesday's Wisdom 2

As I would expect, this past week has flown by, and it is already Wednesday again. Is it not interesting how quickly time goes when you stay busy? It's time for another edition of Wednesday's Wisdom.

Proverbs 4:23...

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

In order to stay alive, you must have a brain. However, even if your brain stopped functioning correctly and you were a "vegetable," as long as your heart was still pumping blood throughout your body, you could stay alive. You could. But the second your heart stops it's beating, you are dead. This is one way of seeing it as the "wellspring of life."

Another road I like to go down is one in which specifies each of our hearts as entities all their own; we say that no two snowflakes are the same, and if I may, I'd like to say that no two hearts are the same. Sure- they all have the same function. But so do our brains, yet look how differing our personalities can be.

We all have different wants, different needs, different desires. A lot of our natural, human desires stem from our heart- the essence of who we are. However, Who does our heart belong to? Who is the keeper of our heart? Who knows our wants, needs, and desires, and so desperately wants to give them to us? Jesus. Let's not forget that.

Perhaps this is why Proverbs says, "ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart." What does "guard" mean? If I said to you, "Name, would you please guard my plate of food?" Would you let someone eat it? Would you let someone throw it away? Would you let someone indulge in it? I would hope not. You would do the exact opposite- you would protect it from harm, keep it from damage, and make sure no one took it. That is what we should be doing with our hearts.

It's easier said than done. When we look to apply this concept to our life, there are so many different avenues to go down, but let's take the common one of the heart: desires. There are so many different desires of our heart, and it isn't always simple to sort them out and continue down the path of righteousness at the same time. A lot of times, our desires don't always match up with what is in the Word, because we are human beings, and the Bible also says that the ways of the heart are wicked. As Christians, our job becomes an effort to counteract this natural tendency... but we find that over time, as we work to align our lives with God's way, our wants, needs, and desires amazingly start to match up to what He wants for us.

In a more general sense, not all desires that come from our heart are necessarily wicked or evil. However, it is important to be discerning and remember the concept of "guarding" so that our heart doesn't allow us to become deceived and we end up twisted and hurt. Another trick of the heart occurs when we allow our heart to rule our lives instead of remembering that we have a brain that can think with a soul that needs God, and somehow our number one consultant gets put on the backburner behind "how we feel." Feelings, desires, wants.... these aren't bad things. We just need to remember to allow God to be the leader, and we need to follow the feelings, desires, and wants that further Christ's kingdom and stores us treasures up in Heaven rather than the other way around.

If we can succesfully master this concept, we can then GUARD our hearts.

Today's Application: Pick an area in your life where you know that your heart is the most unguarded. Ask God to take this area and give it to Him- don't carry around burdens you weren't intended to bear. Christ is there to help you as you guard your heart. One thing I have found is that in order to guard my heart and keep it guarded, I have to decide that God is in control and that my plans may not be the ones that come through. If God is in control, we are surrended to His will, and therefore, our heart is guarded becasue we don't allow ourselves to jump into a situation full of expectations that may be completely selfish and wrong.

This was a long one... sorry, all. If you figure out a way to make a "short" deovtion out of the subject of "guarding your heart," though, let me know. It's a great topic! I hope you all have a most excellent Wednesday. Love you all!


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wednesday's Wisdom

I am happy to announce the newest section in my blog called "Wednesday's Wisdom." Before you know it, each day of the week will have it's own title. You just wait. :) Anyway, each Wednesday (or a little before, as I may need to plan ahead for scheduling purposes) I will cite a verse from the Proverbs and then a short little commentary to follow up. I will only post one verse, because I personally feel that only one is necessary. Every time I read from the Proverbs, I am amazed again and again at how each verse is like a mountain of wisdom all its own; if we just took one verse a day and tried to live by it, we would be doing pretty good. Proverbs is packed.

Wednesday's Wisdom 1

"A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult."
-Proverbs 12:16

We are often insulted, and even more often, we are annoyed. I doubt a day goes by when you aren't annoyed at something... the car going 10 mph below on the interstate, your classmate's snide remarks, or the slow check-out clerk. How do you react to these instances?

I know how I react. I get annoyed. It's alright to get annoyed- we often can't control the onset of some feelings. However, what do we do with the "annoyance?" Do we let it pour out into a pointed look and shake of the head as we pass the slow car on the interstate? Do we turn around in class and make an equally snide remark back to our classmate? Do we let the annoyance become known as we glare at the check-out clerk?

Most of us probably don't go so far, but maybe some days, we do. Some days, it is hard to control how far we let our "annoyances" or "insults" take us. I believe that a very important truth comes out of this: We need to let God guide our minds and hearts, and not let our feelings rule us instead. It is easy to let anger, annoyance, bitter, rage, sadness, and even good feelings overtake us in a way that leads us blindly into a world of trouble. The simple solution is to hand the reigns to God, each and every day, and not only daily, but situationally... so that His presence can be there to calm us and we are not so quick to show our annoyance or retaliate in anger.

Application for today: Let God lead you today everywhere. Don't just ask God for help in the morning and then thank Him tonight. Remember that He is there always, and acknowledge that. By talking to Him continually, your attitude will be clear, and situations that may have been "annoying" may not be such a big deal anymore.

I love you all! T

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Top Ten Tuesday 18

I am going to post an early Top Ten of some of the photos that I took in Arizona and edited a bit. Vote for your favorite.

1. Stop Wining

2. Curly Green

3. Through the Window

4. RYG

5. The Walking Sisters

6. Pool Balls

7. Peeking Pink

8. The Van with Something to Say

9. Coke

10. Night Lights

Have an excellent Fourth! I love you all! T

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Final Days of the Western Expedition Featuring Photo Gallery

Days 6-9 of the Western Expedition


Well, I don’t really want to bore you with details of this day… because basically, it was our “shopping” day. ☺ Come on- a vacation with a bunch of girls… it’s to be expected. Anyway, we did meet my cousin, Stef, and her 2 daughters for lunch at Le Madeline’s.

As if the day wasn’t centered enough around being a girl, we had “girl’s night” at my aunt’s house (where we were staying), and all of my girl cousins came over to enjoy an evening of fun. We sat around, talked, and laughed the evening away.


We all awoke early to journey up to Oak Creek. Some of you who are aware of current events may have heard that there have been severe fires around the Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon area. The fire had potential to go as far as Slide Rock in Sedona, and if the firemen were not going to be able to contain it, they were just going to let it keep burning… which meant our cabin in the mountains built by my Grandpa which held so many memories would be lost forever. By God’s grace, the fire was contained, the firemen did an excellent job, and although many parts are still burning (as we were able to see on our drive there and back), our Junipine cabin is safe and sound.

We enjoyed a day of relaxation up in Oak Creek… God’s beautiful creation and mighty works are displayed so clearly as you take in the breathtaking features that paint such an amazing picture to enjoy.


After waking up to a beautiful Oak Creek and enjoying it for most of the morning, we got in the car and took a detour to Jerome. What is Jerome? It is a ghost town located high, high up in a mountain. Most of the buildings/homes there are abandoned and/or broken down, the sidewalks are uneven and cracked, and there are 3 levels of city blocks situated on one-way roads to walk through. The city has a ton of character because of its condition, and a lot of small little shops and diners have moved there to do business. A horse and carriage rides up and down the streets, and people (mainly tourists) walk in and out of the shops sprinkled throughout. Such a ghost town like Jerome was pleasant to visit, and was a joy for getting some great photography.

We caught a cheese crisp at Julio G’s on the way home, and finished the night off relaxing around the house.


Sniff*Sniff- the last day to enjoy ourselves in the sun. We went to breakfast, caught a 40% off sale, made some chocolate chip cookie dough, and then headed out to the sun. A couple of my cousins and their kids came over for the day, and we enjoyed vegging out, visiting, and then ate a dinner of brats and hot dogs that night. A pleasant last day to end on!

Sunday… The day of travel… tiring, but good to be back.

Please enjoy the Photo Gallery below:

The beginning shot of the trip at Gate 8 in Peoria

Remember the talkative man on the plane? He's the one behind Kristi in this shot

Kristi, slightly scared and tense as we are taking off

The new hat I got at the Mall of America

My mom and aunt on the elevator!

Red Balloon Discovery!

Andrea, Krystle and me (my cuz's)

Oh... dear Scottles, the bird

The afternoon that Kristi and I attempted Tennis in the hot AZ sun

A very strange shot that just had to be shared

Cool shot

The signs of a successful day of shopping

Kristi, my Uncle and I after enjoying a great steak dinner

My cousins, mom, aunts, and I, laughing... not quite sure what about, but we were having a good time!

My mom and Kristi attempting a game

My friend... Kristi didn't really like him

In the garden at Garland's before having a great supper

Beautiful Oak Creek

Kristi and I with Jerome displayed in the background

This sign was in the small diner we ate at in Jerome, and I thought it was cute

My mom and I in Jerome

On the way home from Oak Creek/Jerome, I saw this highway. I would like to drive there someday...

Kristi and I playing Nerds... the game of the trip

Last shot of the trip, loading up all the luggage

Love you all! T