Ten on Tuesday 64

1. Do you decorate for Valentine’s day?
Not really…at least not yet. Once I have my own house (soon…like few months soon, we hope!), maybe I will, but nothing too elaborate. I don’t like Valentine’s decorations in January, so it’s a pretty short time frame to have them up!

2. Does your desktop have a picture or computer graphic? Is it organized?
It’s definitely organized. It drives me nuts to have a bunch of stuff all over my desktop. I organize it regularly. The background is a graphic/image with a calendar. I look at the beginning of each month for something I like and then use it. My work computer is up to date. My personal laptop…still has November. Oops.

3. Do you use a paper planner, electric planner or no planner at all?
I have a paper planner I carry in my purse, an iPhone calendar I use to sync with my personal computer, a big wall calendar for both John and I (and any future children), plus I sometimes keep personal stuff on my work Outlook calendar. Yeah, it’s fun trying to make sure everything is correct on all of them, but I really do use them all!

4. Do you change purses or bags often or stick with a good thing?
I use one purse until it breaks or I get tired of it. I’ve had my current one for about 9 months now. It’s hard justifying to my husband buying a new purse when the one I have is perfectly usable. I guess my husband is glad I’m not really much of a fashionista and I don’t really care if it matches!

5. What’s your favorite YouTube Video?
I don’t really watch YouTube videos very often. Usually because I want to hear a song is the only reason I’m on that site.

6. Do you use Turbo Tax or a real person to pay your taxes?
I’m not sure it’s Turbo Tax that I’ve used, but I’ve never used a real person…unless you count my husband who then uses one of the online programs.

7. How many states have you set foot (or tire) in? Which ones?
I’m excited to share this one…since I want to visit every state, I have kept careful track, so here they are in order that I’ve been: California (obvious), Hawaii (this one needs to be revisited…I was 3 when we went), Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Idaho, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Kansas, Missouri, Florida, Texas, New York, Nevada, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming. 21…almost half way. Hopefully  next time we visit John’s family in Philly, we can make a little road trip up to New England so I can get all those states…then it’s pretty much just the south and midwest left!

8. How many countries have you been in? Which ones?
Other than the US…3. Mexico, Germany (just the Frankfurt airport) and France.

9. How many pillows are in your house? (Sleeping or decorative)
Just the four that are on our bed. Once we have our own house, I’m sure this will be changing too.

10. How cold is too cold for flip flops?
My feet are the first things to get cold…they can be freezing and the rest of my body is fine, yet I love being able to wear flip-flops. I could probably get away with wearing flip-flops year-round (yes, I know, you’re all jealous), but usually above like 68 is good!


Scripture & A Snapshot 18

I haven’t participated in this for a couple of months, but was thinking I wanted to, so I looked through the photos I took this past week (which wasn’t many), and chose this praying angel. It made me think of my verse for this year, so that’s what I chose!


Soul Searching

I’m in a very raw state right now. It’s been a very emotional two days for me. I’m not ready to go into too many details at this point, but I did want to share.

Yesterday we had a mini-retreat at work with just our small department (8 of us). Many of us are already close, but this time gave us the opportunity to take a day and discover what God has for us personally and as a team in 2011 (and beyond).

We started the day with a couple of worships songs from our youth pastor and the first one he had printed words for and I made the mistake of reading ahead while he was getting ready with his guitar. Before he even started playing, I was already starting to tear up.

I had never heard the song before, but wow, is it powerful, especially with some of the issues  I’ve been struggling with over the past few months.

Carry me, let Your mercy fall
Carry me, let Your mercy fall
Frail and week I run to You
Won’t You hold me in Your arms
Carry me, let your mercy fall
Jesus bring Your peace to my fallen soul

He will hold you
He will love you
He will provide for all your needs

He will hold you
He will love you
When you’re down and when you plead

The song is called Carry Me by Everman. I tried finding a YouTube video of it, but didn’t have any luck (even though according to iTunes, the album was released in 2003). I would encourage everyone to listen to this song. It will move you.

After our time of worship, we did an exercise with reading a portion of Scripture, in this case, John 13. In this chapter, Jesus illustrates the perfect example of servant leadership as he washes his disciples feet, even though Peter has some trouble with it. In this particular exercise, we read the passage three times – the first we were to identify a word or phrase that especially captures our attention, the second identify a personal struggle or opportunity God is addressing through the passage, and the third, identify what God is saying to us today.

Immediately, on the first reading, verse 7 jumped at me…loud and clear. Jesus is attempting to answer Peter’s question about why Jesus wants to wash his feet. His response…”You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  Oh. Wow. Hit me smack in the forehead. And yet, though it’s so easy to say that I believe that in my head, it’s so difficult to feel that in my heart. To truly believe there is a reason I simply do not yet understand for why things are happening the way they are right now. The struggle I’ve had is not not accepting that, but rather, allowing myself to hurt and ache and cry and be in pain. I always thought that if I was upset or hurt by something that just wasn’t in the cards for me right now, it meant that I couldn’t believe that God really has everything under His control. I know this isn’t totally related to the verse, but it kind of came out of it as I was typing, so I’m going with it. Experiencing emotions as we do is perfectly normal and okay, even when we are question God with “Why?” As one of my co-workers pointed out to me, we have to “let God love us through the hard stuff.” Experiencing emotions is not sinful. It’s the actions and attitudes we can have in those times of extreme emotion.

Okay, I’m starting to ramble and I’m not really sure where this is going. I definitely don’t have it all figured out yet, but I’m working on it!

We met back in our group after some quiet time to examine the passage to discuss our findings as well as to share the joys we had in 2010 and the plans God had revealed to us for 2011.

After lunch, our boss led us through a series of activities to create a working life mission statement. I’m not necessarily surprised by what came out of mine (creative/artistic), but am intrigued at what wasn’t part of it (the organized, perfectionist side of me).

I’ll spare you the details of the process (since this post is getting on the rather long side), but my working life mission statement is:

“To create expressions of God’s beauty as inspiration for others to experience their own creativity and God’s love and grace.”

Then, this morning, I was reading Ann Voskamp’s blog post, aptly titled, “Why We Need to Listen to the Inner Voices of Creativity.”  Well, honestly, I was more skimming it when this just jumped out at me toward the end, “All our lives we all need to create because creativity is the life breath of our Creator Father and if we don’t create we breathe stale air and we wither dry.”

I realized I haven’t been creating enough. I am probably more naturally creative then a lot of people…it’s one of my talents…but I don’t think I’ve created for just me in a long time. It’s always been something for work or someone else or even a photo challenge on another blog. None of those things are bad, but Ann’s reminder to create because God created me to and if I don’t, I will wither dry (which is how I’ve been feeling recently), is something I needed to hear and put into practice.

Thanks for reading! I do plan to share my work as I explore my personal creativity again, since my mission in life is to have other people be inspired by my work, so if you want to hang around and check back every so often, I’d love to have you.


You may notice a few extra posts around here from now on.  I’ve decided to merge my 365 Photo blog with this one. It will be easier to manage and I’m hoping I’ll be able to stay on top of my blogs a little better!

Plus, there are some other changes in the works for me that I’m getting ready to introduce that will benefit from making my personal blogs more streamlined.

Stay tuned!

Hoo Are You? 28

I haven’t participated in this weekly meme in a while, but couldn’t resist today since it’s all about food!

1. Are you fond of cooking? Yes, I love it! I think I got the love of cooking from my mom. When we start house hunting in a couple of months, a large kitchen (or potential for it) is pretty much at the top of my list!

2. What kind of food do you prefer eating when you are out? I’m a fan of seafood, pasta and Mexican food. I do like to try different things sometimes too. I’ve gotten a bit more adventurous with my eating over the past few years since I started watching all those food shows.

3. Which do you prefer, sweet or salty? My husband is the one with the sweet-tooth in our family. I definitely love salty. Sometimes my husband complains things are too salty and I think they taste just fine or even need MORE seasoning!

4. Where is the last place you ate out at? Hmmm…I think it was Olive Garden for John’s dad’s birthday back in December.

5. What’s for dinner tonight? Chicken tenderloins that are breaded in panko, parmesan cheese and thyme and then baked. I’m also doing Rice-a-Roni (love that stuff!) and some sort of veggie.


One Word

Over the past week or so, I have been hearing a lot about this idea of selecting one word to focus on for the entire year of 2011.  Some have used it to replace the traditional resolutions and some have selected a focus in addition to them.

This year, I decided to join in and select a word for the year, in addition to my resolutions/101 list.

God revealed my word to me just minutes after I decided I wanted a word to focus on. I wasn’t totally sure that was my word right away, but when it kept coming to my mind throughout the day, I knew it was the right one for me.

So…my word for 2011 is….


I am a little leery about it, because if I need to work on being content, no matter what the situation, finding peace in the midst of chaos, I can only imagine what this year may have in store for us!

Oh, I also selected a verse to go along with my word, a verse that has been on my mind since selecting my word.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.  – Philippians 4:6-7 (Contemporary English Version)