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Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

I had the most wonderful day today.

Correction, I had the most wonderful afternoon today!

I had been sitting by my computer All. Day. waiting for McMommy to announce the winners to her most recent giveaway. (Persistent, yes. Also, Sad and Pathetic, yes.)

The reason was that I had entered one of her giveaways.

A Pre-Made Blog Design by Designer Blogs, to be more exact.

*here is where the heavens open up and a chorus of angels sing an...um...angelic chorus.*

Sorry for the redundancy.

You can imagine my glee when I saw the page had been updated (don't mock me,) and there, near the top of the page, was the announcement for the blog design winners, and...

I won!

I never win anything!

Not to mention the fact that I have been asking for a blog makeover since Christmas!

AND with Ian (my husband,) and I losing our jobs, and having to move out of state to stay with my parents while we job/house search, I was/am in need for some great news.

Okay, okay. I'll admit. When I found out I won, I cried.

Seriously.

And then, 2 minutes later, when Ian pointed out that my chosen blog design was "taken," (I think that means someone bought it,) I cried some more.

Though this time it was tears of dispair.

Because, people, don't mess with a woman and her blog.

Ian calmed me down though, and helped me find a new design that I love. It's a little different from I am used to, but I think it will turn out beautifully!

I am still waiting to hear back from Designer Blogs and/or McMommy, so there might be a chance that the original design is still available.

I guess you'll just have to wait and see!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

R-Can-Saw

Last Monday, Ian and I hit the road for a little adventure. We had decided, only 24 hours prior, that we should visit our friends, Russ and Jennifer, and their three girls, Emily, Kate, and Sarah, in Arkansas!

Now, I have been to Arkansas, on a family vacation in 1998 (seriously, our best vacation ever!) but Ian hadn't, so he was a little skeptical.

So, we packed a suitcase, put gas in the car, and set off on the 5 hour drive across the wonderfully elongated state of TN.

A first highlight of the trip was going across the mighty Mississippi. It wasn't so mighty here, but we could imagine.


Ian was just excited to be adding another state into his USA travel repertoire.


After, a couple of phone calls by Russ to his contacts, he located us a new home! It's a parsonage in Earle, Arkansas that is not in use, and that they offered for us for 6 months free! Unfortunately, it doesn't make sense to go to a place with no job, where there is really no industry for a prospect of a job, since we have free housing here.

Sad. It is so cute!

We spent most of our three days there just hanging out with the family. Talking, eating, watching TV, talking, and taking the girls to the park.


It was a time of great encouragement, for both families. Russ and Jennifer are supposed to be going over with the Company too. Only they sold their cars, house, and all of their possessions already, and had moved in with his mother when they got the news.

They are doing alright though, and Jennifer has started homeschooling their 7, 9, and 11 year old girls, which is totally fascinating to me.


It was a great trip, and I am so glad to have rekindled this friendship that began at our conference back in May. Hopefully, we will both get voted on in the next two months, and that we will be together again at our appointment in March and our training in April to June.

Please keep both our families in your prayers as we go before the board in September (us,) and October (them.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Up and Running

Bound to Books (version 2.0) is up and officially running.

Not that is was over down, per say.

I just hadn't added a blog post since the vote came in saying that we were going to use Bound to Books for a hybrid book review/book club site!

Some new additions to Bound to Books include....

A brand new blog design, compliments of Simply Fabulous Blog Designs!

The Follower Link- so add yourself, and become a fellow book nerd! (on the right)

The Book Club Billboard- an update on our current Book Club book. We'll be reading one book every 3-4 months, so that it is more manageable.

Previously Reviewed Books- a gadget that will have a link list of all of the books that are reviewed.

Book Reviewers- Eventually, when I get some of YOU to review books, there will be a list of the reviewers, so that your blog will be linked to from Bound to Books!

AND, I am looking into getting a button designed, so if you do a book review for Bound to Books, you could receive a blog award!

Anyone wanting to do a book review?

Daily Checklist

I have alot to do today, since we have been gone Monday to Thursday. So much to do. And yet, I have spent the first 2 hours of my day raging mad at the internet.

It doesn't help that our internet (on all four of our computers,) has been blocking blogger since last night. And that I went to bed frustrated at my lack of connectivity.

Then, I woke up, and nothing. It still didn't work! My sweet husband put up with all of my grumpings until, about 20 minutes ago, Voila! Repaired Internet.

I thought that maybe blogging would help me to refocus on what needs to be done today. So, for accountability purposes, here is my to do list for the day.

Walk the dog and take the mail out ASAP.
Shower (duh.)
Start two loads of laundry.
Read 2 chapters in class textbooks.
Watch 1 online lecture.
Finish the book of Matthew, and the outline with it.
Watch 2-3 DVD lectures.
Blog about recent trip.
Work on Cleaning up guest bedroom, so my sis has somewhere to sleep in a week!
Pray, pray, pray that a job comes through for Ian.
Call my friend Katie R, since we have been playing a ridiculous game of phone tag for a week now.
Fold and put away all clothes.
Hope that I win blog makeover from @McMommyblog

*Maybes on my list*
Clean bathroom counter
Vaccuum
Make some sort of baked good for the weekend

I'll let you know how my day goes!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boys will be Boys

The other Saturday, Mom and I got home from getting pedicures and running to S@m's Club, to find our men, outside, acting like boys.
There was a fire involved,

And baseballs and bats,

And a tractor.

Have you ever caught a man in your life acting like they were 8 again?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogging Book Goal- Book #23

I had one more gift certificate to use from a bookstore, and I knew I wanted a piece of fiction. Correction, I really wanted the book "It Happened In Italy," about a town in Italy that defied the Nazi's and took in and hid victims of the Holocaust. That book, however, was 25 dollars, and I had a 10 dollar gift certificate, so that would be pointless.

I picked up a copy of Francine Rivers' "and the Shofar Blew," because :
1.) I love Mrs. Rivers' writing style
2.) I know a song about the Shofar.


Seriously. About 3 years ago, my friends Jessica and Katie worked with me at a Synagogue running their childcare for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. Don't ask. It's a very long story. However, we were exposed to a different culture and got to learn a neat song about the Shofar.

I dove head first into the book, which reminded me slightly of a book I have read before. The premise is about a small dwindling church with an aging congregation, that needs a new pastor because theirs is retiring. The new pastor, his lovely wife, and toddler son come to the church and accept the position. The rest is a great look into churches, church leadership, pastoral priorities, and how our own ambition can get in the way of what God wants to accomplish.

It was heart wrenching at times. This isn't a "make you laugh," type of book.

But it is a "make you think," type of book, and I have definitely come away thinking about what the purpose of the church should be. Mainly, I have a new respect for churches that grow in the depth of their congregation instead of the size, and that stick to teaching instead of entertaining.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fair Weather

Today, my parents took Ian and I to my first fair! I am not sure how I have gone so long without going to a fair, but I surely did enjoy myself!

The Wilson County fair is one of the biggest and best fair in the United States. Deemed better than the Tennessee State Fair, it ranks in the top 50 fairs overall in our country.

My parents have been telling me about this fair since March, so I was very excited to be here for it. After almost 7 hours of partaking in fair activities, I am about to just fall asleep on the keyboard.

We spent most of our time in a historic reenactment area, called Fiddler's Grove.

Here is a glimpse into what we saw at the fair:

Some goats, on display and to be judged,

A bluegrass band, a family affair,

A cute little girl, whose path kept crossing with ours.

The only picture of Ian and I, in one of those photo frame things,

A civil war reenact-or

A llama,

Another reenact-or,

A Ferris wheel,

The Midway, we didn't ride any rides, but they looked fun!

A sugar glider (kind of like a flying squirrel, but much more cute!)

My parents in their black and white garb in front of a hearse,

A neat, old car,


Adorable ducklings,

The bunny that I wanted to take home with me,

My cute, cute, cute parents, strolling along,
The inside of a one room schoolhouse!

That's It! I will have to go back to a fair and do specifically fair-y thing, like ride the rides, eat a deep fried snickers bar, and play midway games.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The 300th!

This is my 300th post, and I am very proud to say 200 out of those 300 posts have been written THIS year! (2009 for those of you who are perpetually confused over the date.)

As a mish-mash post, I'd like to inform you on what our day was like yesterday.

Two days ago, Ian got a call from a company that he had applied with. Ian was out for a jog, so I answered the phone and tried to get the company name, or, you know, which state she was calling from, but, alas, she was a vault. So, I checked my incoming calls, found her area code, and looked it up. And wouldn't you know, she was calling from Louisville, KY.

Ian called her back after her lunch break, and set up an interview for the following day. He was also able to get the name of the company from her (come on people, the man has filled out almost 200 applications....give a guy a break!) but we couldn't find anything out about the company online. We mapped out our 2 1/2 hour trip from Nashville to Louisville, and planned to leave sometime between 10 and 11 to make his 2:15 interview.

I woke up yesterday (Thursday,) morning, with a terrible feeling in my stomach and was very stressed. I went about my morning, showering, ironing Ian's clothes, checking emails and online classes, and was finishing up when it dawned on me....

Time zones.

Did you know that Nashville is in the Central Time Zone? And, it came to me that maybe, just maybe, Louisville was NOT in the Central Time Zone.

Ian looked it up.

It wasn't.

It was in Eastern.

Darn it.

We ran to the car and left in such a hubub.

I was stressed near tears while we started our journey at about 11 (Louisville time.) And wouldn't you know it? It POURED for the first hour of our drive.

We made it in time however, and Ian thought the interview went well, though he isn't holding his breath, because the guy is looking for someone very permanent (like, for a decade.)

We went and explored Southern Seminary, and bumped into our Sunday School teacher from Gainesville! Hi, Todd!

We also snuck by my (now) professor's office, and debated on whether we should introduce ourselves. I decided that was weird, since it is online and all.

Then, we hit the road.

I was hoping on having this really fun day in KY, exploring the city, maybe looking at some apartments, but it didn't turn out to be that great. Not the city. Louisville is beautiful! But our stress levels are so high we just weren't in the mood to kick back and sight see.

Please be in prayer that some sort of work opportunity will present itself. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The People Have Spoken

Thanks for all of your input! I probably could leave the previous post open for another day or so, and I am sure more comments would roll on in, but I have to tell you, I agree with your choice!

In case you are confused, here is a synopsis. Yesterday, I realized how long it had been since I had worked on my Bound to Books blog. It had been a fairly successful online book club blog, but had petered off over the spring months.

So now, with your help, I have decided to make it a new hybrid book blog! Most of the posts will be about book reviews, either from me, or from other people I ask to do a guest posting.

However, to keep myself (and maybe you,) motivated to read, we will be doing the online book club thing once ever 2-3 months! So, head on over HERE to find out what our Fall book is going to be!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Opinion Please!

All right ya'll! I need your opinion on something.

My book club blog, (you didn't know I had a book club blog? Well I do! It was rather unsuccessful, hence this opinion post.) needs some revamping. Check Bound To Books out first!

The intention of starting the book club blog was to encourage myself to read more classics. I thought I would need alot more accountability, and a book club seemed like the perfect solution. Well, after a successful Fall (we read Jane Austen's Persuasion, John Steinbeck's The Pearl, and F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.) Discussions were awesome, though it took awhile to figure out a format but then we took a break over the Christmas season, and petered out in the Spring.

So, my question is, what should I do with the site?

I could:

A.) keep it as a book club, and get it started again this fall.

B.) Nix the book club idea because people are so busy and instead, use it s a site for book reviews. If I did this, I would do some book reviews, and then ask some guest reviewers (you!) to chip in.

C.) Do a hybrid mix of the two ideas, with the main purpose to do book reviews on a more regular basis. The less dominant aspect of it, would be to have maybe one book per semester. So I would announce a book, we would go out and read it at some point that semester, and then we could comment at the end of the 3-4 month period.

So, What do you think? Which one would you most prefer, or are you not interested at all.

Let me know!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blogging Book Goal- Book #22

My next book was quite a big one. An autobiography of Queen Noor of Jordan. She was the last queen of Jordan before the current one, Queen Rania.

Since Ian's internship in Jordan, his one year stay, and my one week visit, I have been very interested in learning more about the region, the people, and the history. But please! Spare me the long drawn out details of their 3,000 plus year history!

Enter, Queen Noor.

(I SO want to look this great when I am over 50. Can I get an Amen?!)

Queen Noor, or Lisa, as was her birth name in the United States, coincidentally met King Hussein of Jordan and the married him in 1978. Anyone wondering how THEY didn't coincidentally meet a King? Yeah. Me too.

Right. Lisa (officially Elizabeth,) was born and raised in the US, and lived in California and DC for much of her childhood. She was shy, but very intelligent, and went on to assist her father in developing Jordan's airlines post college.

She met the King, the King became smitten, they "courted," and within weeks were engaged. Lisa, whose name was changed after her marriage to Noor Al Hussein, or Light of Hussein. Isn't that sweet? Right, so Noor went on to initiate, develop, and run many charitable organizations that helped to build up education, women's rights, national pride, and rural economic situations.

She also had four children with King Hussein, and was with him until he died in 1999.

The book was wonderful. So packed full of information that, I think, everyone needs to be aware of.

I came away from it really feeling enlightened, and I have a pretty good understanding of Middle East politics, customs, and history, considering!

One of the most striking features of this book was how clearly it showed me how our media, and even sometimes our government can unjustly favor the Israel side of matters. Even our school systems tend to favor the teaching that the Arabs were the ones all in the wrong in the past 60 years, and that the Israelis just wanted a place to call home.

That's not really the case however, and I thought it was interesting to finally have my eyes open to that.

One warning when you read this book, however, is that Queen Noor does write it from HER perspective. There are times when you look back and will think "she hasn't admitted to ANY wrong choices!!" and that is when you will realize that everyone has a spin on a story.

Take everything with a grain of salt. Add old information together with new. Do some research, and find out more.

Great book, if you can track it down at your library!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Long Farewell Continued

More goodbyes came at the end of last week to two families I consider almost family. The Vargas' and the Aldermans. I tried to make our goodbyes quick and painless because otherwise I would just break down and cry, cry, cry. Man, I love these families!




















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Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Long Farewell

Last Wednesday was my last girls night for awhile. It was an excellent Girls Night, because my friend Katie had just moved into her first apartment, and we had it at her new place!


It was also very sad, because most of us are at this weird point in our lives where we are really "growing up." You know, not making choices that will necessarily keep us around each other forever.


We ate, we chatted, we gave advice. We pried into each other's social lives and threw in our two cents worth as well.

All in a nights work!

And, Jaci (below,) made the BEST homemade chocolate cake. Seriously. I could have eaten four slices of that stuff, but I practiced a little self control.

If any of you don't have a designated Girls Night, I highly recommend it! Not everyone has a bigger group of gal pals like we do (most of us have been friends since 5th/6th grade!) but even a small group of 3 or 4 would work!
Ian knows the value of girl time already, which I really appreciate. He understands that girls express themselves differently with fellow girls than they do with guys. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you are making your spouse your "Go to Guy," and not one of your girlfriends.

So we said our goodbyes and went on our way. I wonder how girls night went last night? I wish I could have been there friends.

Country Life

That's me, in case you can't tell.


On our first day here, I got to take a spin out on the old "tractor."
And by old, I mean 3 months old!
It turned out to be alot of fun, except for the large amounts of flying bugs I kept driving through. Seriously! Florida may have unusual animals and bugs, but really the only flying things you need to be aware of are mosquitoes and lovebugs. Here in Tennessee, I kept driving through a swarm of unidentifiable flies and gnats!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where We Are

We are settling in nicely, yes, we are! I am especially enjoying my time with my puppy, and have been walking her, cuddling, and grooming her. Her coat already looks a ton better, but it will take awhile, I suppose to get it back to normal.

Our bedroom is working out well for us, though it is a little smaller than the last room we were in, so we can't really have all of our books/tv/wii in there with us for privacy, but it's alright becaus we have the huge loft upstairs to spread out in and make ourselves at home. (sorry for the run on sentence!)

My parents just got a new living room set that is just beautiful! I can't wait until fall comes, when the air is crisp and we can turn on the fireplace and snuggle on the leather couches!


I have alot to catch up on, blogging wise, so expect quite a few posts in the next few days.