Tuesday, March 31, 2009

i think so, too

I was in Barnes & Noble the other evening and I saw this piece of artwork. I instantly loved it. About 5 minutes later, I took it to the cash register and purchased it. It's now in my office.

There are certain times in life when I see something and I am instantly in love. It could be a pair of shoes, a piece of dessert, or a quality in a person. It happens just enough to keep life exciting... and when it does, I almost always take some sort of action. Whether I buy it, eat it, or become inspired by it, something happens. Sometimes, I can't buy it or eat it, but I can always choose to be inspired. That has no price tag. In fact, I am at my best creatively when there is some sort of meaning to my madness, and often that comes in the way of enlightenment from others or life in general.

I agree with Andy Warhol. I think everybody should like everybody. It is not that everyone has to be best friends, or even friends at all. But it is of my belief that within every individual lies authenticity and potential, and we do a good thing when we see that instead of the negative. You may ask, how can we like those who seem plain evil? To which I respond, hate the sin, not the sinner. It is our hearts of love and our spirits of true joy that may speak God's Truth.

Love you all.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

spring clean

My office is currently a disaster. There's a blue mug of 3-day old coffee and a tall green glass of almost-evaporated pink lemonade from Friday's lunch sitting on my desk. Among other things that add to the clutter is a spoon, a pen, a highlighter, a pair of scissors, a couple of receipts, a copy of this year's Easter program design for next week, a handful of invitations that I just stuffed into 100+ envelopes tonight, a head band, a chart of a coffee table book mapped out in pencil, 2 church phone books, and a post-it note with some scribbled words.

This is the picture of how my office desk appears 85% of the time. Now, the floor is another story... it is also littered with a myriad of items that I choose to hop, skip, or jump over every time I exit this room. By the end of the night, I am sure I will have it tidied up. Or perhaps this wonderful task will get pushed off until tomorrow morning, but the nonetheless, it will be shifted into place by the time I start work. If I'm super busy, I can work in clutter because imminent deadlines drowned out the fact that the environment around me is utter chaos. Otherwise, it drives me crazy until I straighten the place up. I consider myself a creatively organized person. For the record, I tend to be tireless when it comes to record-keeping and document-creating in order to file away very important information. I can almost always go back in time and tell/show you proof of something happening because I find it important to record the important details in some way or another. However, in general, one could say I have my head in the clouds. Especially if you would walk into my office tonight.

Yet the good news is that while I can be cluttered, chaotic, and downright messy at times, it's never for long. The floor may be covered for a night, but in less than 5 minutes I can have it looking spotless. My oldest sister, Tonya, always joked that Tasha (my other sister) and I have a talent at "tidying up" quickly... but who knows what we have done to make it that way. Our cleaning style could be likened to the comics that show a little kid cleaning up his room, only for the child's mom to open up his closet door, and all of the clutter comes toppling out. It's not always a painstakingly thorough job that we do, but it's always an efficient one. That's how I roll. There's pros and cons to both ways. My mother and my oldest sister can organize and make sense out of a room like none other, but they'll spend all day doing it. At the end, it's a picture perfect project that should likely belong in a Martha Stewart catalog. To the contrary, Tasha and I could tidy up a disastrous room in 10 minutes, and while it may be done efficiently, it's not always with precise attention to detail. So there was have it.

Spring cleaning is always a good thing. This weekend, I did a little bit of "Spring Cleaning" in my closet. It is always nice to bring out the Spring time clothes and get rid of some old stuff. That was a project that was spread out over a few days since it took me so long and isn't something that usually happens in 15 minutes.

Among other exciting parts of my weekend include dinner out with a friend at One World on Friday evening and then a little bit of Barnes & Noble + coffee action. I love that store and never tire of browsing books and reading material.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend an experimental photo shoot with many other photographers in the area at a very old, cool house in Peoria. It was a cold, rainy day, but fortunately we were inside. It was fun to photograph some models and experiment with different rooms and lighting.

That afternoon, I attended G3, which is a program that my friend started for girls aged 6th-8th grade. We modeled this after the Washington and Peoria groups, and have had fun with it so far. Last month was our kick-off meeting, and we met at my house for tacos & games. This month's activity was a Busy Baker night. We made all sorts of cookies and baked goods, and piled them up on plates to deliver to the elderly. We opted for a visit to Parkside since it was rainy out when we finished, so we could make our deliveries indoors. :) We had a blast cooking w/the girls, and it was a very fun evening!

My mom's friends were over when I returned home with Kristi, so we all played card games and ate popcorn later that night. My mom and her good friend have played this one card game called Nerts for as long as I can remember. They used to play it WAY back in the day when they were newly married with one kid. They would play until 3am and then go get home made donuts in Morton. Nowadays, these sessions don't go until so late :) although the joys of this game have been passed down to the daughters. I taught this game to Kristi a couple of years ago, and so we started to play the game quite a bit with each other. Now, every once in awhile Kristi and I get together and play partners against my mom and her friend. Although they have many, many more hours and years of practice than we do, we can usually hold or own. It's always fun playing this game with them. For any of you who don't know what Nerts is... it's kind of like a cross between Solitaire and Dutch Blitz. You can play it with 2 people or with doubles. It's usually very fast paced and it's a lot of fun!

Today was a good day. Great messages at church... and then I came home and was quite productive all day long. I love days in which I feel I accomplished something. I had dinner with my family. I actually also made a delicious chocolate cake today... the recipe used a Devil's Food cake mix and had sour cream and instant chocolate pudding in it, so it was very moist. We had homemade fudge and ice cream on hand, so my sister's fam came over after dinner and we all had some yummy dessert. This dessert was actually suppossed to be for a girl's night I had planned for this evening, but it was rescheduled because one of the girls could not come and then the rest of us had other back-up plans that we reverted to instead. And trust me... I NEVER waste a chocolate cake. So I'm glad the family could enjoy it.

Alright... all this talk about chocolate cake and I've worked up an appetite. Furthermore, it's getting near that time when I need to be thinking about sleep. I'm thinking: bowl of Lucky Charms, then lights out. It's been a pleasure. I may post a Top Ten this week, so come back on Tuesday.

Love you all.


Friday, March 27, 2009

5 Truths

1. I am hungry.

2. I am meeting Heather at One World for dinner...

and I'm going to be late.

3. I will most likely order dessert.

4. My blog found a new look!

5. I have to run!

Love you all. Be back soon. T

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Next time, I'm knocking

As it turns out, last Thursday when I posted, I should have been knocking on wood. Literally.

Not 4 hours after I wrote about my 5 thankfuls, I awoke to the stomach flu. Actually, at first, I was in denial. I woke up in a terrible sweat and just told myself I was thirsty. I got a drink of water and tried to go back to sleep.

Well, sleep was going to be a lost cause that night.

About an hour later, I had successfully made myself a bed of pillows and blankets in the downstairs bathroom by the kitchen. I actually had company for about an hour-- I was texting a friend of mine at about 3:30 am as we had an appointment together the next morning, and I found out not too long afterwards that she had also come down w/the flu for the second time in 3 days. Yuck!

Misery loved company that next day. We would text back and forth, "So, how are you feeling? Have you graduated to popsicles yet?"

I will say, though, that I made it through this episode without a hospital visit, which is always an accomplishment.

So that was my Friday. I didn't get out of bed until 4pm that day. It was weird-- I couldn't remember the last time I had slept all day long like that. Anyway, I finally felt like living again around supper time, so I actually made it downstairs to the couch for the evening stretch.

My goal was to be better by Saturday, because Imagine Artists was shooting a wedding that weekend! Fortunately, the good Lord gave me health enough to do it. You know, one always feels a thousand percent better the day after the flu, anyway, but it could have been worse. I kept hearing horror stories of people getting sick twice in a row or it turning into some 5-day sickness, but for me, with a big bubba keg of ice water in hand, I strapped my camera around my neck and enjoyed the gloriously sunny Saturday snapping images.

It was a great weekend, and a beautiful wedding party with some awesome people. Kristi and I had a blast, and we are really happy with how everything turned out. It also didn't hurt to have a highly photogenic bride, groom, and wedding party! Check out our blog w/i the next couple of weeks for some highlights, or just check out our website and use the password=oesch for a sneak preview of some of the images.

Well, I am going to wrap it up. I'll be back soon with something fun and exciting, I hope. Love you all.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

my 5 thankfuls

Tonight I will write about what I am thankful for.

1. Bella
My mom rented a movie last week, and it has been sitting around in our house the whole time. Tonight was the last night we could keep it without a late fee (although that usually doesn’t stop us from forgetting to return it!) so she was going to pop it in tonight. I almost didn’t watch it with her, but after seeing a few seconds of the trailer online I decided it looked like a good find.

First of all, all of the previews were fantastic. I feel like there are all of these hidden treasures… inspirational films based off of true stories… that I don’t know about. A lot of low budget films or movies that don’t make it to the big screen and go directly to DVD may be easily overlooked, or even ones that may win awards but don’t make it big in the US. Needless to say, we scribbled down all of the names of the movies that were previewed. Ever browse through a video store for 25 minutes and reluctantly pick up one that you are skeptical about just because you’re sick of walking in circles? I’m hoping this list that we are compiling of films that actually look worth the time to see helps to remedy that very problem.

Anyway, the movie we watched was called Bella. It was one of the best pictures I have seen in a long, long time. It was built off of a foundation of solid values centering around family, friends, and love. It was so inspirational. The photography and videography is very unique, and at first, it seems to jump around a little. However, sticking with it does not leave you disappointed; what results is a beautiful story and an honest portrayal of life and love. I highly recommend it.

Two of my favorite quotes from the movie:

“The best way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans.”
(The movie is based off of this quote).

“I used to worry; but then, I did some research and found out that 10 out of 10 people die.”

If you are interested in checking out this film, this link shows the trailer of the film + an interview with the man behind it all and his outstanding proclamation of his faith.

2. Jimmy John’s
Tonight was one of those nights where I waited too long to eat supper and then I was seriously ravenous. What better way to fix this than take a little trip to Jimmy John’s?

Around here, it is actually almost easier done than said. All that I have to do is walk out to my backyard, out the back fence door, across the field, across the street, and into JJ. I order my Billy Club with no tomato, I throw a bag of BBQ chips on the counter, pay for my meal, walk to the end, and the sandwich artist is usually standing there with my food all packaged up and ready. The service is THAT quick. I pay, and it’s in my hands. I walk out, and about 2 minutes later I’m walking in the door.

It’s crazy, really. Round trip, it’s about 5 minutes, and I can be chowing down on my meal. So you can see why when the hunger pains struck tonight, JJ was my very first choice. I am thankful for how close it is in these emergency situations. What else would I do?

3. My Health
*Knock on wood* I hesitate to even post this, but since this is my thankful list, I must say that I am very appreciative of my current health. It seems as though everyone is sick right now, and whether it’s the stomach flu or a cough & cold, it’s all spreading like wildfire.

My sister-in-law called today and proclaimed, “We’ve been hit.” My mom panicked, thinking our country had been attacked, when really Melissa went on to explain that her oldest daughter had come down w/the flu. Not 8 hours later, both her and my brother also joined the club.

Both of my sisters and their families have gone through it, as well. In fact, I baby-sat my sister’s kids for several hours the other night only to learn the very next day that her oldest son came down with the flu. Somehow, I have steered clear so far. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I washed my hands 3-4x that night. Can we say paranoid? Yeah, a LITTLE, and it's a good thing I was! And hey, anything to keep the sickness away!!

4. Chocolate
Always have been, always will be.

I know today isn’t a “Not Me Monday,” but I did NOT eat 2 pieces of chocolate cake today… no, that wasn't me.

5. My parents & family
After seeing the movie, Bella, tonight, it has caused me to be extremely thankful for the parents that I have been raised by, and the loving family that surrounds me. Not everyone has such a luxury. It’s not a choice of ours, really. We don’t get to pick our parents or our family; we’re born into it. And those of us who have been so lucky as to grow up in a family with at least even one loving member has more than a lot of people in this world.

I was talking to a friend last night who is going through training at the Women’s Pregnancy Center this week with another one of my friends. Last night she was talking about this very thing, and she made the point that we have no excuse. We really don’t. With as much as we’ve been given from even the family and surroundings we have grown up in, there’s no reason not to share the love and to live a God-glorifying life. It’s been set right in front of us! And there are so many out there who are lost, hurting, or scarred because of a broken family, poor examples, and a downright unfortunate upbringing.

Sometimes it is easy to look at those who make awful or evil choices and say, Why? How could they? But… do we know their story? How they were raised? What they were taught? What they lived with, and who they took care of? We don’t. And I’m not saying I have a perfect life or that anyone else does, either; we all have heartache or our own dose of baggage. Yet, those of us who have grown up in a Christian environment… truly, we have been so blessed. May we share this love in honesty and with a genuine heart, so that the joy of living in a life with Christ may be communicated to anyone who wonders how we have it… especially those who have never known how to find it in their own life.

Love you all!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Me!

One of my dear friends, Katelyn, has begun blogging again and has added a fun little post on her blog that I will now participate in. This activity seems to be for young mamas, but I decided I'd practice now so that when someday I do have kids, I'll be a pro at "unconfessing" all of the wonderful moments of my motherhood. Besides, just because I'm not a mom doesn't mean I don't have a few things to confess...!

Here goes...

I did not wake up at 6:30 am this morning only to accidentally turn off my alarm instead of just hitting snooze. I did not then wake up at 7:30 am wondering why it was suddenly so bright in my bedroom.

I did not eat a delicious grape fruit for breakfast only to add a chocolate cake donut and cup of coffee on top of it just 30 minutes later. I did not have a prioritized to-do list for the day, only to work on it quite backwards, as I usually do not tend to do.

Since it was absolutely beautiful outside today and the sun was shining down with it's warm rays right as I was fixing lunch, I did not go ahead and sit outside during my lunch break and I did not let the sun's warmth encapsulate me for a few extra minutes, because it did not feel so very glorious on my skin. And I did not decide, after the lunch-time sun session that I did not have, to change my post-lunch activity to a marketing project in which I could not do while sitting outside in the sun. I did not promptly take all of the supplies needed to the porch by the driveway and sit outside to complete this project, because it was not nice out today.

I did not work until 5:30 pm today, and I did not drive to Monical's to find out the sex of my sister's 5th baby at a family dinner. I did not eat pizza for the 4th time in 3 days. I did not find out that I was not wrong in guessing a boy, because my sister is having a baby girl for the addition coming in August.

I did not go on a run after eating a lot of pizza, because it was not an amazing evening to do such a thing, and I did not enjoy all of the wonderful fresh air just a little too much while songs from my ipod drifted into my ears.

I did not watch last Thursday's episode of The Office on NBC.com, and I did not laugh really, really hard at certain parts. I do not like to quote Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute, because at times, they are not really funny.

I am not going to stop writing this only to eat Dairy Queen for the second time today.

Love you all!


Saturday, March 14, 2009


I am currently in a bible study with 3 other girls. We meet at Eli's Coffee every 2 weeks and are working through a Beth Moore bible study called Living Free. Two of the girls are working nurses and one girl is a married teacher. I love the group, because we are a good mix of personalities and insight, so the discussions are great.

I was completing one of the sessions in my book yesterday. This week's focus is "To Glorify God," and the day's study was titled "A Mind Captive to Self." That seems to be our natural instinct as humans-- to wake up and think about no one other than ourselves and how we are affected by every decision we make, right down to the outfit we will wear that day and what we'll eat for breakfast. It's fascinating, really.

The study says, "Mark 4:19 describes our automatic thoughts before we begin to focus on spiritual things. We find our thoughts captive to "the cares of this world," and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things." Beth Moore was talking about our natural mindsets before we know Christ, but quite honestly, I find myself in this pattern if I don't daily center my focus on God. Becoming a Christian does not make us completely selfless. Our hearts are desperately wicked and our flesh so carnal. This is not an excuse to completely self-focus, but it's a reminder that there is nothing good in us apart from Christ. Our goal is to glorify Him, not ourselves.

What I really wanted to post about was the material she ended with in this day's study. Ultimately, a lot of selfishness roots from our human nature of pride. She points out that you don't have to be self-righteous to be proud. Often, pride contaminates even those who have extremely low-worth and choose to sit around in self-pity. Whether you think you're all that or think you're worth nothing, pride can seep in and poison us. Either way, it's a selfish mindset, and we do a good thing when we humble ourselves before God. True humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it's realizing your place before God. To truly realize God's amazing character, and to know you were created FOR HIS GLORY, that should speak volumes that we are so very loved and cherished by the Lord. Are we little before God? Absolutely. But are we worthless? No, we are worth so much in the eyes of God! And if our goal is to serve Him daily, we can only please Him more.

Beth Moore shares a powerful excerpt about the dangers of pride in your life, which I will close with. Some of its facets sounded all too familiar to me...

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny...
because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment...
because you "deserve better than this."
I cheat you of knowledge... because you already know it all.
I cheat you of holiness...
because you refuse to admit when you're wrong.
I cheat you of vision...
because you'd rather look in the mirror than out a window.
I cheat you of genuine friendship...
because nobody's going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love...
because real romance demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven...
because you refuse to wash another's feet on earth.
I cheat you of God's glory...
because I convince you to seek your own way.
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I'm always looking out for you.
I'm looking to make a fool out of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don't worry...
If you stick with me,
You'll never know.

Love you all!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Top Ten Random E-mail Lines

I love to write. I also enjoy supplying certain friends in my life with frequent "updates," usually sent over e-mail. Any excuse to write, and I'm there.

I have a particular friend who loves receiving these long-winded messages, and I appreciate her for that. She gives me a reason to continue to write in a free-spirited, story-like way. I can do this at times on my blog or when I write fictional stories, but often I feel inhibited when I know I'll be sharing it publicly. However, I know that with a close friend I can say pretty much anything that comes to mind, and at times, that can be entertaining at best but unpredictable and scary at worst.

Today's top ten will focus on 10 separate lines that have been extracted from some of my e-mails to her. Fortunately for you, you won't have the full context, but I'm hoping that will add a little bit of twist and excitement.

1. "A 4-year-old little girl who was absolutely precious and sang a song beautifully. I cried. She was adorable."

2. "Whoa! Did a movie star just walk into the building?"

3. "We had coffee, tea, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, licorice, and popcorn."

4. "Once I sent her a Cheese-It cracker in the mail that I taped to my letter (brilliant idea, Taryn) and by the time it got to her, it was crushed (obviously) and a huge mess, AND they had to pay extra postage."

5. "Anyway, I read these sappy Lori Wick books, and back in the day, writing letters was like the BOMB, the "cool" correspondence, the Facebook messages and e-mail forwards of today."

6. "He came over to my desk the other day and said, "Since the economy is so bad right now, Hollywood is having to cut back on their budget and is going to have to start making black & white films again."

7. "Three Things I would eat right now:
A cookie monster from Cheddar's
A chocolate molten cake from Chile's
A peanut butter chocolate dessert from buffalo wild wings"

8. "Shawn: You’re great. You know, I should take you golfing this afternoon. I love to be seen with younger women."

9. "Lady: Wow, I just want to take a bite of your banana, that looks so good to me right now.

Taryn smiles.

Lady: You know, I used to work at a film festival, and we would have bananas there for all of the Hollywood stars. In the afternoon, they would take a banana break instead of a coke break."

10. “See, the neat thing about me is that I don’t snore.”

Vote for your favorite.

Love you all.


Monday, March 09, 2009

knowledge gaps, grammar, coffee, chocolate... the like

A couple of years back, I took a handful of these fun tests and posted them on my blog. Tonight, I was immersed in a very tedious and "be patient & wait" type of computer projects, and I'm still not done. However, during some of my waiting room sessions, I took a few of these tests. Some of them are utterly ridiculous, but they did make me laugh out loud more than once. Below, I am sharing with you a few of my favorites. These are the ones that either a) created a good laugh, b) are a true story in my life, or c) both.

There Is 1 Gap in Your Knowledge

Where you have gaps in your knowledge:


Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:







I was pleasantly surprised by the above results... only one gap! Although, I could have told you I would fail the history section. I have always been awful at that subject and cannot remember dates, facts, and people to save my life.

Your Colors Say You Are Hopeful

When you are at peace, you are:

Deeply stable

When you are moved to act, you are:

Confident and optimistic

When you are inspired, you are:

Creative and productive

When your life is perfectly balanced, you are:

Philosophical and expressive

Your life's purpose is:

To find contentment

I love colors... and I thought this assessment was actually quite accurate.

You Scored an A

You got 9/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.

If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.

As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.

And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Oh my word, I am such the grammar police. This test made me laugh.

What Your Love of Peanut Butter Cups Says About You

You are hedonistic... sometimes to the point of being greedy.

You love to eat, and there's no chance you're sharing your candy!

While you may be greedy, it's with good reason. You have great taste.

The things you love are worth loving, and it's no wonder you crave them.

OK, I truly LOVE Reese's PB Cups... these results made me laugh... it's sad, but it's true...

You Are a Cappuccino

You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.

However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.

You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.

You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please


You Are Milk Chocolate

A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.

You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.

Also nostalgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

It was protocol to complete one of the tests pertaining to chocolate, seeing as it is such an important topic in my life.

You Are Made Of Passion, Tolerance, and Drive

3 parts Passion

2 parts Tolerance

1 part Drive

And a Splash of Tease

Sip slowly on the beach

This one is a complete riot. But actually quite accurate.

Alright, well this type of thing is fun every once in awhile... a definite waste of time, but oh, it's fun. If you click on my results it should link you to the website. Take a few if you have time-- they are fun-- but be careful, it's addictive! Also, I will say that some of the tests can be a bit inappropriate or over-the-top cheesy so watch what you click on.

Love you all!


Sunday, March 08, 2009

the weekend

I was trying to decide if my weekend was cool enough to post about. I guess we'll find out... :)

I'll start on Thursday. My friend, Heather, and I are mentors in a bible study for girls at the high school/early college age. I know I can speak for both of us when I say that we love it. It seems like just yesterday that I was that age and attending bible study with the "ICC girls," yet that was 4-5 years ago. Anyway, we have both had the pleasure of establishing relationships with these girls over the past 6 months through the Beth Moore study of Daniel. It was the most challenging study I have done yet. Beth takes you through a real adventure. I am not much for history and facts, but there is so much prophecy and end-times information packed into Daniel that I did not realize before. An in-depth study of all of the dates, names, events, and prophetic messages is essential in order to even scrape the surface of all that Daniel has to offer.

Back to how this has significance to Thursday: We meet every other Thursday evening for this bible study, and last week I hosted our very last session. Normally we are quite structured and on task, but this night was different. We opened up with prayer requests and ended up just talking for awhile. Then, we journeyed through the study, and normally after this is done we bring out the snacks and pop in the supplemental video to watch. However, we ended up sharing our hearts. It was very impromptu, but the night turned into a very powerful prayer session with all of us girls holding hands in a circle and each praying for someone near and dear to us who needed to either find Christ or continue to walk with Him. It was a very wonderful night of close connection and worship with some amazingly, godly girls! It excites me to think that these girls, at such a "young" age, have such passionate hearts. I was looking around on Thursday night just enjoying the uniqueness of each one of them. They are all beautiful in their own way; may the Lord bless them all for their individuality.

Friday was one of those days. Oh, Friday. At 10 am-- a walk with my friend. It was 65 degrees out and sunny, how could I not?? There is nothing that makes me happier than a heat wave, especially after a long, cold winter. Heather and I finished that walk an hour later and we were actually in a sweat!

At noon, I took a dear friend out to lunch for her birthday, and we sat outside. It was in the breezy shade, so it was a little cool, but we enjoyed the nice day nonetheless. We chatted for a couple of hours and ended up back at my house on the porch in the direct sunlight... I had pink cheeks that night to prove it! Crazy how March can bring about some power-packed rays. Anyway, I had a great time with Laura... she is one of my newly married friends, so it was nice to catch up with her. I miss her so much :) but am excited that she lives in Morton so that we can hang out this summer. There were a few summers past when Laura and I would roller blade every single night, and we plan on rekindling our roller blading skills in a few weeks as we actually now live closer to each other than before.

Friday night was one of those nights. I had a couple of different options for plans, but all of the sudden I looked at the clock at it was too late to do either. I was actually working, go figure... and all at once I was sitting there starving and without plans. My parents were headed to One World in Peoria for supper, so I accompanied them and then ended up coming back home and worked on some business items for awhile, assembling a couple of portfolios.

Saturday was nice; I worked part of it to make up for lost time on Thursday and Friday. I actually started the day in Washington at Blend. I love that place. I had never been there, but it's darling inside, very classy, and the drinks there are amazing! I ate this fantastic cinnamon roll for breakfast. The purpose of this was to meet with the girls from the Thursday night bible study to regroup and watch our last session video (we ended up running out of time Thursday night!) and discuss our next study.

When I got home, my brother came over to help set me up with a good back-up system for my external hard drives. At 1, I went and watched my nephew play in his basketball game. Let me just say that my 8-year-old nephew is better at basketball than me. There, it's said. :) He is a pretty athletic kid, though. For dinner, I hit up Ruby Tuesday's with my parents and a dear friend, Holly, and then Holly and I went to the invite-a-friend singing for my church. I was so glad she could come at the last minute, because I was feeling bad that I couldn't find any one of my friends who could come! It was a nice evening, though. The choir from our Peoria church came and sang, and they did a great job.

Let me make a side note here because this applies to last night. So, let it be known that when the women of my family get the stomach flu, it's no small thing. In fact, my sister, Tasha, almost met her death because of it not many years ago. For some reason, it gets us good. We feel completely awful and become dehydrated a lot quicker than the average person. My first experience with this was about 5 years ago. I became ill one evening and stayed that way until the next morning, when I still could not stop getting sick. It was terrible. Eventually, my mom drove me to the ER and they put my in a wheel chair, situating me RIGHT in front of a Dasani water bottle machine. I remember being so entirely thirsty but I couldn't drink anything without getting sick. I also remember just wanting to lie down; even sitting there a task. Once I got into a room, it took 3 IVs of fluid to "fill up my tank," as the doctor put it. I felt much better after that, but restoration would not have been so easy without that fix.

To make a long story short, this is exactly how both of my sisters get when they acquire the flu. In fact, we don't even mess around anymore. As soon as we get it, we just plan on an ER visit. It sounds so dramatic but it's what we have to do. So on Friday night, my sister, Tonya, came down w/the flu. After feeling awful and getting completely dehydrated within 4-5 hours, she went to the ER and at that point needed 4 bags of fluid to replenish. The very next (Saturday) night, my sister, Tasha, came down with the flu, and went through the same process. Since she is pregnant, her husband took her in shortly after it hit her and she also had 3-4 bags to replenish herself.

It is now Sunday night, and I am hoping and praying that I will not be visitng the ER tonight. :)

Let me tell you, though. It really is awful. I can't explain how terrible it is. Most people get sick a few times and then feel better, and although they are tired and weak, they are on their way to recovery. We get sick and feel worse. Our faces get sunken in, our lips turn blue, we shake, we thirst for water and can't drink it, we have terrible stomach cramps, and there is no end to the misery until medical attention is sought.

Needless to say, we had Tasha's kids on Saturday night and took a handful of them to church on Sunday (today). Church was nice and refreshing, although the day was a little cloudy and dark today. After church, Heather and I went to the symphony orechestra at Bradley and heard 2 girls that we know perform beautifully-- one on violin, and the other was a vocal. I love classical music and I felt like I was swept away into another world when I was listening to it; it was such a captivating experience. Anyway, these girls are both incredibly talented and I was blown away. After that, we grabbed some Avanti's for supper and then to Kade's to work on a creative project together.

Now I'm home... still as healthy as a lark and actually ready for a snack before I hit the sack. I'm incredibly tired. I also have this frustrating case of allergies that is plaguing my life currently... stuffy nose, lots of sneezing, and a heavy head. So I'm going to head in the direction of sleep and rest up for a full day tomorrow. I had a blonde moment today and left my phone in Peoria, so after breakfast w/friends tomorrow I'm going to pick that up and run some errands. I had a lot of other items to get accomplished tomorrow so I need to be well rested! And if resting means helping out my immune system to fight off this terrible flu that is going around, then I'm all for it.

Love you all!