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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rory

I am a Rory.

And I'm alright with that.

I carry multiple books in my purse at a time.

I pull a book out on the bus or train, standing or sitting.

I walk to the grocery store with the book in front of my face.

I laugh out loud at the adventures that are in these fictional worlds.

I smirk when the characters are witty, or get themselves into trouble.

I have stars in my eyes and books in my hands.

I am a Rory,

and I'm alright with that.

{Rory Gilmore, from Gilmore Girls, was a character known for her penchant of having books always around her, by the way. Also, I love Gilmore Girls, minus the inappropriate relationships. The humor and fast talking is enchanting.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The 13th Week

Today we ate pizza...at a Mexican restaurant. And it was good.

Today also marked the day of our second long weekend. Well, really Thursday marks it. But we finished class at noon and only have an hour long meeting tomorrow. We get two long weekends during the four month training and besides that we're not allowed to use any vacation time. When we stood at the beginning of our training in April and looked ahead to this long weekend, I didn't think it would ever get here. And now, we're in week 13 out of 17! We're pretty excited to be this close to the finishing point.

I've been pretty melancholy this week, hence the lack of posting. I'm not really sure what's up. For now, I'll blame it on the weather.

I powered through book 2 and 3 of the Anne of Green Gables series. They are amazing. LOVE them. I'm on book 4 and it's a little different then the rest, but still good.

Ian's computer is ancient. Okay, not as ancient as mine was 3 months ago before replacing it, but his is pretty old. I'm pretty sure he bought it the week before he left for Jordan in 2006 to study. He brought it back all sandy and desert infested. He used it through the last year of college and all through his Masters degree. The battery gave out and he got the blue screen of death several times but it's still hanging in there.

The problem is this: Ian LOVES his computer (trust me, it's utter junk,) and he wants to get as much "mileage," as possible out of it.

Me? I like to see the surface area of our ONLY table every once in awhile.

But since his power chord dependent computer can't be moved with out it turning off and taking another 15 minutes (seriously) to turn back on, he leaves it out on our kitchen table.

I find myself eating on the couch ALOT lately because we have no table space!

I finally had a meltdown yesterday over it and begged (how sad am I?) him to buy a new laptop. Because when we get overseas they will be a lot harder and more expensive to come by.

He's reluctant and asked for awhile to think it over and mourn over the loss of his computer (how pathetic is that?!) So I, being the good wife said okay, and have been carefully and cautiously reminding him. Today, we went to two electronic stores and perused.

Then he spent the following 4 hours researching the functions and capabilities of the different memory cards and video drives.

He's torn.

I say, bite the bullet and get yourself a fancy new computer man!

But never mind me.

We finally are going to get to do some touristy things this weekend, I'm so excited. I hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Fluted Pan

I have a fluted caserole dish from Crate and Barrel that is my favorite.

It's blue, and my friend Katie K gave it to me for our wedding shower.

I still remember those things (mostly.)

It's beautiful. I love it. It is my favorite piece of bakeware.

I love it so much that I packed it in one of our footlockers with extra bubble wrap and have brought it all the way to Canada. And it will continue on to the UAE.

It's perfect.

But those flutes, they are a catch all for sticky, burned on residue.

After first using it here to roast two chickens, I noticed a speckled grease stain, and I washed in vain.

They just weren't coming off.

So, I dried it off and put it back in the cupboard.

It was used almost daily for brownies, potatoes, lasagnas, etc..... with the fluted edge becoming more and more speckled looking.

Actually, it was darn right brown.

I would wash it by hand, using a sponge to get between the flutes and still, nothing. So, I accepted it as a stain to the ceramic.

Flash forward to 2 months later. After using the beloved bakeware, I had a hunch, and stood in front of our double sink for over and hour, using my fingernail to scrape off the stains.

And they came right off.

Now, putting aside how disgusting it was that I was using it with those stains still on, I'd like to draw a little parallel that came to my mind while scrubbing.

Our lives are like a fluted pan.

(still with me?)

We have nooks and crannies where bad habits and sins can settle in and take up residence. We can become compliant and accepting of them, telling ourselves that "there's nothing I can do," or "it would take too much work," or even "That's what other people are doing."

We continue to live in our dirty, filthy, grease stained selves thinking that this is the new normal.

Until one day, when we feel convicted, and we scrub away at a sin in our life, asking God to use His mighty hand to do what yours could not do for so long.

Now, sometimes you settle for one clean flute. You know that it can be done now. You're just not sure you are up for all of that hard work.

So you live with it. Dozens of dirty flutes with just one good one, which if you think about it, that one clean one makes the rest look even dirtier.

But it doesn't have to be that way!

Suddenly, with one little flute cleaned in yourself, it contrasts so heavily with the dirty ones that you surge ahead, not wanting any of them to be stained with bad choices, repeated sins, and horrible habits.

So you scrub.

And you cry.

And your fingers may even bleed.

But the point is that your life can be clean again.

So, don't settle.

Don't accept the dirty pan.

Be refined,
Be cleansed by God,
Become that beautiful, clean, shining pan that you were created to be.

“Come now and let us reason together,” says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

That's all.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Confession

I have a confession to make.

Scratch that, I have two confessions to make.

Of equal importance. So, you know, don't give up after one.

The first confessions, is that I have fallen of the Project 365 bandwagon. And I'm alright with that.

It's pretty surprising considering how I stuck to my guns last year and finished my crazy new years resolutions (300 blog posts and 50 books.)

But this year? Well, I'm glad I have documented the first five months of this crazy journey. And I very well may pick it back up in August, when things get exciting again. But right now? Right now we are living in suburban Canada, which isn't that different from Suburban America, and I just don't have the motivation to take the pictures here. I am guessing that when I move to the UAE, I can be that crazy American woman who always has a camera around her neck.

And I'll be alright with that.

I just thought ya'll should know.

Also, please watch this clip, specifically the ten seconds following 1:10 and 2:18


Alright, with that said.... I HATE WEB MD.

phew. Glad I got that off of my chest.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!

It's horrible.

It sends me into a hypochondrical meltdown.

But you want to know something?

Yesterday, it was RIGHT!

I did a little research before I went into the Dr.'s and I self diagnosed myself (scary, yes, helpful in calming my nerves, no,) so when I went to the dr.'s I was all "snooze fest, I already knew that."

And when I asked the Dr. if there were any treatments and he said "no, just let it run it's course," all I heard in my head was "liar, there are several home remedies that will speed recover, according to WebMd."

Yes, that is my confession.

And no, I'm not an actual hypochondriac, but I think we all have those tendencies sometimes, don't you?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Hubs

Well, hello there Handsome man.
Yes, you.

If I were to tell you I was making you a delicious dinner with a dessert of oatmeal cookies what would you say?
Now, now, don't get too fresh.

If I were to ask you to look like a zombie, what would you do?

Pretty good!

If I were to ask you to completely freak me out and make me scared of sleeping in the same bed with you, what would you do?

Yep, that'll do it.

Please, honey, help me forget that image that is burned into my mind. Anything, how about flashing them dimples?

Yup, that fixed it. All is right in the world now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

{How} I Blog

It's hard to believe that two years have gone by since I became a "serious," blogger.

And by serious, I mean I could actually remember my password on a weekly basis.W

I technically began Far More Than Rubies on June 3rd, 2008, eleven days before I was to be wed due to the inspiration I got from reading Kaylyn's blog. She was also my first commenter, which I remember made me so happy. I had fallen in love with this form of documenting and sharing your life. I wanted to take part, so I did.

Don't you love the instant gratification that is our electronic era?

I said it's been 2 years, and not 2 years and a couple of weeks because those 2 posts before my wedding were lame and didn't really count. And then we had our honeymoon and I wasn't about to be blogging from the Keys. Though I really wanted to, ha!

Well, our honeymoon was cut short, due to Ian getting an interview for a job, so we had to hightail it back to our new home. The interview turned out to be a bust, and he started his full time Masters degree, leaving me home, alone, in a new town where I knew no one.

Enter my fascination/obsession with blogging.

My first post, found HERE was all about our honeymoon and it's wonderfulness and the daunting task of finding a new church in our new town. Oddly enough, I must have not figured everything out, because that post is not visible unless you highlight it with your mouse. Ha!

My second post, the first visible one, ha, is found HERE and is all about, you guessed it, BOOKS! Looking at those pictures of our beautiful first apartment and that lovely office furniture that was our haven during that stressful time brought tears to my eyes just now. That desk is where I first began blogging. I loved the green on the wall. I dusted those shelves religiously. And now the shelves are all dismantled, the books are in boxes, and the desk is wrapped up in a cargo container in a warehouse that we won't see for two years. Boo. Anyways, looks like that was my first post with pictures too. haha, I'm so proud of the progress.

And, my favorite post of all time was within that first week or so, found HERE. Remember, for the two of you that were following me then, how funny that time was? We had our first house guest, Ian's friend from Egypt/Japan/Norway (I know, weird,) came for an undisclosed amount of time. And we hadn't even been married two weeks!

Alright, enough reflection. How I love thee Memory Lane!

So now, blogging is still my favorite hobby of all time but it looks a little differently. Before, I didn't know what to write about, and would generally just write about the daily happenings. Well, 100 followers later ( yeah, I hit my goal mark of 100 followers earlier this week, so exciting!) and I Blog differently.

Now I use my computer's sticky note system to keep track of blogging ideas.

Here's a shot of my desktop, I just love my background! And to the right is my sticky note system. You can change the colors and more them all around, but I'm all about symmetry and straight lines.

And yes, the middle one is a Hebrew prayer. I told you, I accidentally signed a contract to work at an all Jewish camp one summer. That was the summer I learned some Hebrew. haha

Here's a close up of my blogging post it.

It needs to be updated, but you get the idea. As a theme or post comes to mind, I jot it down there, and wait until I actually want to write about it. Sometimes I never get around to a topic, or it gets outdated or old, so I just remove it and there is no love lost.

But somedays, when I REALLY want to blog, but don't feel like writing about the snooze fest that is our life that day, such as how we walk to the train, ride the train, walk to class, sit through class, and reverse our travel home, everyday, then I can refer to this list and see if there is anything that strikes my fancy! This How I Blog post has been on that sticky note for a month, but I wanted to wait until my 2 year Bloggiversary.

It's important to me that blogging always remains fun, and not a chore. But, just as I approach everything else in my life, what I do, I want to succeed.

I know. I'm an overachiever. ha!

Another blog writing thing that I do is I try to keep my writing as fluid and professional as possible. I'm never attracted to blogs that write in text or colloquial language (picture a valley girl typing,) and I know that I wouldn't be proud of my work if it sounded like I just typed my words without thinking about them.

I also usually listen to music while I write. Write now, my favorite is Chris Tomlin (anything,) if I want to sing along, and David Garrett, the violinist, when I want some awesomely amazing instrumental (seriously, check him out! My favorite is his cover of MJ's Smooth Criminal!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vertigo

Lately, I've been feeling odd.

And I really wrestled with writing about it, because, well, frankly I am boring myself.

All this talk about moving around I'm SURE ya'll are just bored to tears with the topic.

But I suppose that IS what is going on in my life and this thing is getting really weird.

It all started a couple of nights ago when I was lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep, when suddenly I didn't know where I was.

Weird, huh? It was like I could have been in any of my past 6 beds in the last 12 months. I actually got a little panicky after a minute and had to roll over and feel next to the bed to figure out where I was. You see, the nightstands in each place have been a little different.

Weird weird WEIRD.

It happened again last night. Except the panic was doubled.

Then, tonight, after Ian and my date, as we stood up in the movie theater to leave, it hit me that I didn't know what city I was walking out into. Isn't that ridiculous?!?

I'm dubbing it Transitional Vertigo.

Too many moves. Too many "homes," and too many new places.

Bleh.

I know what's causing it too.

We're supposed to get the pictures of our new apartment in the UAE any day now. And it's all I can think about.

All day.

All night.

It's ridiculous.

I mean, these pictures will reveal what will be my home for the next two years.

TWO YEARS people! That's longer than anywhere I've lived in, well, the last two years.

These will be the pictures of my home, not just my housing. All of that to say, I'm an anxious wreck.

I'm not worried, just anxious to see.

Anxious to move.

Anxious to start what we've been working towards for so long.

And all of that anxiety is leading to quite the case of transitional vertigo.

Spinning walls and all.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This Week by the Numbers

1 trip to the beach so far...

2 times I have seen the sun grace us with its presence;

3 times I have shaken my fists at the heavens as it begins to rain and cry out "why?!"

4 batches of Oatmeal crispies have been prepared..one baked, and three frozen

5 new dresses that have been bought- all to be worn over jeans when we land in the UAE

6 weeks left in our Canada training!

7 places that are on our "must see," list for Vancouver. We better get busy!

8 times that I have said "Eh?!" in the last week. I'm becoming one of them.

9 weeks left until we move to the UAE!

10 meals that were eaten out last week. I miss cooking, but it's just not practical here!

11 bugs that have snuck into our home, no air conditioner and no screens on the windows will do that to you!

12 missed phone calls. We only have Canadian cell phones and a vonage home phone. Meaning when all of our friends and family call from back home, if we aren't at home then we miss the calls. I can't believe this is what the olden days were like!

13 weeks until I start language school. I am SO excited to begin studying Arabic...even if it is one of the toughest languages in the world!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

{Cared} For

Well, we've been in Ol Canada for 2 and a half months now (feels like a lifetime, really,) and we have 2 months left! We were told by some of our overseas supervisors to learn to look forward to little tastes of home whenever possible. And look forward we have!

My parents sent us a care package about 3 weeks ago, with homemade cookies, Ian's favorite jelly (a honey pecan spread!) a book, and a few forgotten items (my beloved pillow case!)

Then, in perfect timing, I found a delivery notification for a package.

I rushed to the post office, picked it up, and walked home in the rain with this prized possession.....

A care package from my sister and her husband! Woohoo!

Ian was just as excited about this little adventure....even if he doesn't know it! lol.
Heather, my sister, got me a cute Old Navy Top with a beautiful summery scarf....
They got us a plethora of magazines and candy. ( By the way, I have an embarrassing love for People Magazine. It all started when a family I babysat for always had it....)

Ian was super cheesed over his National Review magazine. He loves that thing.

And Ian got two Old Navy polos...the yellow one will replace the yellow polo I shrunk in March.

These may not be hard to find items now, in Canada, but in two months, when we move to the United Arab Emirates, they will be hot and hard to find commodities! Thanks sis!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Photo Shoot

So.... Yes.

Saturday was awesome and amazing in the fact that I got to do my first ever photo shoot.

Even more amazing in the fact that it wasn't a high pressure situation since they are my friends, I have tons of experience with this baby, and I've informally "shot," him many times before.

And then the panic set in.

I realized, if I don't get them good photos, they will have lost the chance to have "1st Birthday Portraits," forever!

Well, I took the plunge and headed to the park to meet the family at 4:30. As soon as we got there, I just had this sinking feeling in my stomach. Something wasn't right. The baby was happy, I was {semi} confident, and the day was gorgeous. But what was it?

Oh, yes. The sun. I had forgotten, in my time calculation of when baby would be well fed, well rested, happy, and when the sun would be less harsh and more diffused, to take into account that the Vancouver Sun was setting later and later.

Translation: The 4:30 sun that I was shooting in, was as harsh and bright as the 2:00 pm sun. And who chooses to shoot at 2? (unless they have more equipment then me and my camera and 1 extra lens, not many people would!)

Well, we made it work and did our best. I learned that I'm going have to become more confident in controlling the photo shoot, like telling the parents to stop making noise on either side of me, but to get directly behind me.... I couldn't get a straight on head shot!



So, after I got home and reviewed the pictures, I wasn't too happy with them. The focus on most of them just wasn't right and the shadows and lighting were unflattering. AND I didn't capture the type of "frame it and put it on the wall," kind of portrait that I knew they were wanting. I am very hard on myself, and I'm okay with that, because it drives me to be better.

So, I asked my friend if, about 30 minutes before our small group Bible study (aka house church,) I picked up J and took him downstairs to the adjacent park. It would be at 6:00 pm and I wanted to see if I could get a better portrait or two.

So when I picked him up, my friend warned me that he was in a funky mood, probably tired and hungry, but we persevered and tried gallantly to get him to smile. Unfortunately he kept doing this maniacal laughing and waving his arms, but I thought I captured I few cute faces of his despite that.

Over all, I think it went great! I wish I could have gotten that crystal clear, tack eyes that I've gotten with him before, but now that he's mobile it's much harder. I will just have to keep practicing!

An urban shoot with a 2 year old girl is scheduled for Sunday! I'm so excited!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preview

I'll post more about how the photo shoot went on Saturday, but the gist of it is this: I didn't plan very well for the timing. So I'm pretty bummed about how alot of the pictures came out due to the harsh sunlight. I'm going to go over tonight, around 6 and get a few more shots in a more filtered light situation. For now, here is a preview!


Monday, June 14, 2010

The After Feeling

Two years ago, about this time, I felt like this:

That is, complete and utter relief. A chance to "let my hair down," though it really was already down.

And relax we did! Our reception was an excellent example of how Christians can have fun Sans alcohol, haha.

And to this day, I've never been to a wedding that had a better or bigger crowd out on the dance floor!

(The secret, invite those kids! I was a nanny and a teacher for years so I invited all of my families I had worked with, and it was SO much fun! They kept people of all ages excited and dancing. And we had NO meltdowns ever. And by "we," I mean the kids. So many people leave them out, and then wonder why the dance floor only gets 20 people or so for four or five songs!

The other secret, choose music that is widely known, not just those special songs that mean alot to you and your husband. They are special, for sure, but no one else knows them or wants to dance to them! We did alot of iconic big band music, ones that got you singing along as you were dancing, think Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Louis Armstrong.....and apple bottom jeans, lol!)