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Friday, October 7, 2011


So I have to say October in Florida is a little weird.  Where is fall??  I'm excited for October though--all of the snowbirds/seasonals return to Florida (good for business, bad for traffic/overall driving conditions), my parents come back, Brook's parents are coming at the end of the month, Halloween, and my brother Brett starts his new life in Colorado!  Wow, busy month and a lot of travel by family members!  Please pray for safety and security for all.

Speaking of travel, Brook and I travel to Orlando tonight, or early morning, (we haven't decided yet) for his work softball tournament.  This should be fun--it is all of the area Zephyrhills branches competing in a day-long tournament.  Go Bradenton!

I decided I would fuel their game with some cookies.  These sound awesome, huh?
White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I better get to baking : )

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Busy and Blessed : )

This will be just a quick update post because it's my day off, the house is a mess, and I have a lot of editing to do before Brook gets home!

First off, I have some family updates:

I told you a couple of posts back that I was going to be an aunt, well turns out I will be making a lot of bows for this babe because it's a GIRL!!  Michelle and Donnie just found out a couple of days ago, and they also were reassured that everything is healthy with Michelle and the baby--VERY good news!  (For those of you who don't know Michelle had the scare of chicken pox and possible cancer---prayers still needed daily!) precious it this?? Can't wait!

Also, in family news my brother Brett has reserved a U-Haul and housing in order to move to Colorado the first week of October.  I'm so excited for him and wish him nothing but the best in his new adventures there.  He is truly an incredible guy with so much to offer the world!  Good luck Brett!

My parents are in Italy for the month and I am missing them like crazy!  It's weird when you are used to being able to call someone up on the phone and tell them something, or ask them a question and then you can't!  I think I take that for granted.  I am excited for them, though, they are with the Collins and Mitchells all celebrating early anniversaries.  The women surprised the men this time which it pretty cool.  They start off on a cruise and then spend time in a villa on Lake Como (yes, right by George Clooney!)

Lake Como-How Gorgeous is this??

On another blessed note, I was presented with the opportunity the other day to be an editor of a book--cool, huh?  Even cooler how God works--it is actually a faith-based inspirational/motivation book where I will be mentioned as the main editor!  Right up my alley!  I'm really excited about this opportunity and the opportunities to follow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I try avoid Wal-Mart at all costs.  I hate every part of going to Wal-Mart-from trying to find a parking spot in an always over-populated parking lot, to navigating myself around a family of 3 Rascal Scooters that can't go over 1 mph because the 400 + lb. operator's weight and total lack of concern for anyone around them, just to try to get a cart, and then actually finding a cart that functions somewhat properly.  I haven't even entered the second set of automatic doors yet and I am in a full blown nervous sweat.  It's just more than I can handle.  I am a deal hunter and love nothing more than to save money--but I draw the line at Wal-Mart.  I will pay Publix prices any day to not have to enter Wal-Mart's doors.  AND, when I do need something I send my poor husband (because he passes Wal-Mart on his commute home from work) haha.  A trip for two cartons of juice and some strawberries is even a big deal when you have to wait in a slower than molasses line because the cashiers have a total lack of interest in their job, and have no concern for you or your stuff (gallon of milk in same bag as a loaf of brea, really?  I didn't buy flat bread)

Well, I had the night off work last night and was in an exceptionally great mood, that I thought nothing could bring down, so I decided to make the trip to Wal-Mart to buy bikes for Brook and I.  Easy trip in, easy trip out, right?  The bikes would be in the driveway to surprise my hubby when he got home.

We both sold our bikes recently and decided we wanted cruiser bikes, nothing fancy, $80 a piece at Wal-Mart, great for our little rides around the back roads we live on.

My Cruiser : )

Our closest Wal-Mart is in Palmetto (aka Palmghetto), which is a city of sites as it is.  So, I made the trek there, found a surprisingly close parking spot, didn't even need to search for a cart for what I was buying--the trip started out good!    
I made it back to the bike section, saw the bike for Brook, but not mine, which was OK I was going to go ahed and get his and order mine online.  One problem--his bike was on the top rack.  I looked around the bike area for someone, no one there, walked about half the store over until I found an associate and asked her if there was someone who could help me in the bike section?  No response, she walked away, went to her phone, and about 5 min later I heard a call on the intercom  for assistance in bikes--thanks for your help ma'am? So, I went back over to bikes, waited....waited a little more...saw two associates pass me by as a was looking up in the air at the bike....nothing...tried to track down an associate who ignored me.  Finally, a guy passed who could not escape!  "Can you help me, sir?" Not a "sure", or "I would love to," but a put-out "With what?" I told him I needed help with the bike.  "What do you need help with?"  "Well I would like it down and try it out."  After a couple huffs and puffs he got it down and walked away.  Um thanks? Customer service at its finest!  I know Wal-Mart is cheap, but come on!  Take a little pride in your job! 

I didn't buy the bike because I had no help, but I did pick up some work shoes for Brook and some salmon while I was there (might as well make the trip worth it, huh?).  As a proceeded to the check out a little boy spinning in circles spun right in between my legs, getting way too close to things he should not be close to, which sent the little baby girl in the cart a few feet over in to hysteria--glad my humiliation and frustration made someone happy, haha.   Only 2 of the 20-some check out lanes were open, and of course they contained a mile long line of people with fussy kids and parents yelling at their fussy kids, and when I finally got up to the check out the lady said not one word to me--the whole transaction with no eye contact, no "here is your total," nothing.  Wow!  Pretty amazing people get paid to do nothing, be rude, and get away with it.  And, of course, we support it because let's face it Wal-Mart is CHEAP! 

After some grumbling to Brook about my experience and bust in surprise, my mood was once again brightened by a swim in our pool, a movie, and kicking my hubby's butt in Scrabble!

Any Wal-Mart stories?  Would love to hear them, because let's face it sometimes you just gotta laugh and grumble a little!  

Check this out: People Of Wal-Mart

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cash 4 Gold, Freedom 4 Faith

"The Purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is.  Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God.  This will happen when Jesus Christ appears again." 
1 Peter 1:7

I heard this passage in church yesterday and it really stuck with me, and painted a vivid picture in my head.  I immediately saw the guy on the street corner dancing around with a "Cash 4 Gold" sign in his hands, thought of the probably 3 or 4 cash for gold coin commercials I had just seen earlier that day, and then just had to laugh to myself.  How silly do these people look?

What's even sillier is how consumed we are with wealth, success, and the attitude that bigger and more is always better.  We always want to one up the next guy, have the better job, have more money, buy more things.  Money is our source of power and entitlement.  This sense of entitlement is something that has really bothered me lately, and yet as I read this passage yesterday I realized that I myself have fallen in to the trap--I have a false sense of entitlement.  

Business has slowed down a lot because the summer vacationers are gone, school is back in session, and the seasonals and snowbirds have yet to return from their northern homes.  Customers know we need the money and the business and are taking advantage of that fact left and right.  They have the money which gives them a sense power, yet they are doing anything and everything to try not to spend that money.  We have these coupons circulating which have strict rules on the back, 1 per table, 1 per visit, etc.  Wouldn't you know every table tries to use 2 of those things, complains when they can't, says they are regulars (which is funny because they just asked the most common 1st time guest question 5 minutes ago), and then lets my tip (aka my income) suffer drastically over something I have no control over.  Awesome!  You can't believe the ridiculous fusses and complaints I have heard lately just so people can get a little bit more free.  So, I go home and complain to Brook about these cheap people who have no respect for me and how I need a job where people respect me and I make more money.  I mean I have a degree, I am a good person, why am I stuck waiting on these people?  

Umm ya, that has been my attitude lately--no bueno!  It has really made me a grump!  See the hypocrisy here?  It's really easy to fall in to the worldly view of wealth and importance.  Money and success are everything, right?  

Wrong!  That is why I love how this passage is put, we can all relate to it.  "The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith...and by passing the test it gives praise, glory, and honor to God."

I have been filling out application after application thinking what is wrong with me--I am a hard worker, smart, ethical, etc.  Why won't I get any bites, and when I do they don't pay enough or the hours are bad.  I truly believe it's a testing of faith and patience.  I believe God has a great plan for me and that he was just testing my heart a little first and he found some things he didn't like in there--greed, a little hypocrisy, and a false sense of entitlement.  

I think we can all relate to this, we are not entitled to anything, but with God's grace and love he has given us the gift of love and salvation, and that through faith in Him all things are possible.  So instead of a Cash 4 Gold type mentality let's shift to a Freedom 4 Faith mentality, because in the end what good is cash if you don't have your freedom?  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"God Gave Me You"

There has been a song on the radio lately that I have fallen absolutely in love with; it's "God Gave Me You."  Both Dave Barnes and Blake Shelton have a version of it and every time I hear it my heart beats a little faster, I start to sing (which it a little scary haha), and can't get it out of my head.  Both Dave and Blake do the song very well, but I recently watched Dave Barne's video and fell even more in love with the song:


Awesome and catchy, huh?  

Brook and I celebrated our one year this past weekend and this song kept playing in my head through the weekend.  Fortunately we have had more ups than downs in our first year of marriage, but I think back on all of the things we have done and encountered in the past year and I know that God gave us each other for a reason.  Last year we danced to the song, "Then," by Brad Paisley for our first dance which goes:

"I remember trying not to stare
The night that I first met you
You had me mezmorized
And three weeks later
In the front porch light
Taking 45 minutes to kiss goodnight
I hadn't told you yet
I thought I loved you then

Now you're my whole life
Now you're my whole world
I just can't believe
The way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than its ever been
We've come so far since that day...
And I thought I loved you then"                                             

Well, I think we've come even further since that day and have learned to lean on each other and God even more.  One year down, and another song added to our soundtrack of life. Marriage truly is a blessing!

We celebrated with a whole weekend together--that hasn't happened in a long time!  One of my co-workers was nice enough to pick up my shift on Saturday so that we could go to Tampa.  Our plans were to go to the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo, but upon arriving it started to downpour, so instead we decided to catch a movie in Ybor.  The Muvico theater is pretty awesome, they actually have a bar in the movie theater, so you can drink beer and wine while watching your movie!  We saw The Change-Up with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman--very funny!!  Although the movie has the cheesy "I wish I had your life body switch" plot they added a really funny twist and despite the comedy the movie did offer a good message. Realize what you have and be grateful for it.  Somehow we always want what we can't have.  Why is that??  

We also hit up an arcade in Ybor (yes we were the only non-parent adults in there haha), ate at Blue Dog Bistro, and went to Coyote Ugly.   

Sunday we walked around and ate in St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, floated around in the ocean and shelled at Lido Beach, went to Sunday night church service, and ate Bonefish.  Great day!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Live a little, love a lot

This time last year I was frantically trying to put together the last little details of our wedding.  I met and re-met with the tent people, the wedding planner, the caterer, and the musicians.  This week last year was spent making sure that everything would be perfect for our big day.  As it turned out, like many things in life, not everything happened according to plan.  My fears were held in the catering and the music, and my trust was held in the decorator/wedding planner.  When it came down to the day, the one I trusted flopped, and the two I was skeptical about went above and beyond my expectations.  Funny, huh?

The wedding planner/decorator was suffering the loss of a relative as well as battling the flu and she was totally unavailable on our wedding day.  My amazing family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the whole bunch gave up the day on the lake to pull together and decorate.  My dad, Brook's dad, and my brothers ran errands endlessly, Pastor Ben and his wife Lisa pulled together to execute the timing and coordinating of things.  My mom, Brook's mom, and Brook worked together to stay calm and keep me calm (even when I snapped!).  The ones I love pulling together to make our wedding day is what truly made it special.   I married my best friend and I had all my loved ones there making sure it happened.  We are truly blessed to have such amazing friends and family in our lives!

Fast forward to this year and we are in Florida, with a couple of friends, no family here at the moment, and nothing bigger to plan than our next day off together.  That being said we have grown so much as a couple even in the past year.  We went from relying on everyone on our big day, to living about 2 miles from Brook's parents, to living with my parents, to living 45 minutes from my parents, and now we are on our own in Florida, learning to rely on only each other, and falling more in love for it everyday.

This past Sunday we had the whole day off together (mostly because my scheduler goofed and thought our anniversary was this past Sunday), and all throughout Saturday night and Sunday all I could think about was how happy I am to be with this man.  Sunday morning at 3 a.m. when we were at a totally disgusting Waffle House eating soggy waffles next to bikers with horribly bad B.O.,  I felt a sense of perfection--as if there was no other place I would rather be and no other person I would rather be with.  Sounds silly, but our time together really is precious!

Sunday we enjoyed our pool for a while, helped wrangle an alligator in the pond behind our house, watched Weeds (our new show addiction) on Netflix, went to dinner at SKOB, and then watched and danced to the drums on Siesta Key beach.  Perfect day I must say!

The new Steve Irwin?

Today is meeting with the lawn guys about an armadillo problem and then work.  Hope you all are having a great week so far!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Full Moon? Twilight Zone? Weird Dream? Who knows?!

I truly believe that Sunday morning church can set your tone for the entire week.  I love going to church on Sunday mornings and getting fired up for God and encouraged to be the best me I can be.  This past Sunday Brook and I decided to try another new church, an Assembly of God Church.  We attended an AOG church in Newburgh and loved it.  This church, however, made us feel like we were in the twilight zone, and I feel like I haven't come back ever since.

Brook and I both have just been in a "funk" of weird occurrences all week.  Sunday night my phone decided not to work unless I talked through speaker phone and remained that way until Wednesday, on my day off, just before I left to take it in to Sprint to get a new phone.  I still took the phone in anyways, they did some software updates and said it would help, then last night the speaker phone option went out and it only works in reverse now.  Ahh really?

This week we switched our computer systems at work from Aloha to POSI, which has made for interesting adjustments at work.  I have caught on pretty fast, but there are still kinks in the system that make for not-so-smooth nights.  Anyone who has been a server knows what I am talking about when I say the "weeds dream," or should I say nightmare.  The weeds dream is when you are running around the restaurant frantically and can never get caught up--they are crazy and awful.  You wake up in almost panic attacks because you can't leave work even in your sleep!  I lived out a real-life weeds dream last night as part of my twilight-ish funky week.  My first table was an old couple as odd as odd can be.  They didn't know what they had ordered, kept ordering and reordering the same thing.  They must have gotten into a fight while they were at the table because they asked for their food to go and the guy asked for another glass of wine, while the women insisted "NO!" And no, they weren't already drunk or buzzed-just old, confused, and sick of each other.  When I said "Have a great night," the man responded, "You really think I'm going to have a great night?"  Ha ha touche!  Weird start to the night only to move on to more weird situations and people.  Things were happening like my food tickets were running through, but my salads weren't--which they are supposed to go through at the same time, and so on.  I had a split party go awful, and not really sure why or how.  Oh, and when I thought I was cut, and had finished all of my side work and tables, a ten top walks in at about 9:40 (we close at 10 and I was cut 8 of 12, not including closers), and the host sat it as a split party in my section and left me and cut 7 to take it.  AHHH!!  We were the last two to leave at 11:30.  Fun stuff!

Brook has had some weird requests and stops at work this week as well.  Out of product cups for a residential stop..really?  Also, there is a somewhat mysterious guy Brook delivers to that has all sorts of weird requests and will even "accidentally" call Brook at off work hours.  He even tried to talk Brook in to coming to work for him this week.  That being said, we have no idea what this guy does.

I am probably missing little weird details to the week-but you get it we are in a funk this week. Pray that we get out of it haha!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tornadoes, Tomatoes, and TVs---a scattered and random post from the weeks happenings

It has been an entire week since I have written!  Let's play a little catch up.  Our house guests left a week ago today, which meant Wednesday, my day off, was spent restocking everything from toilet paper to tomatoes and trying to pick up the tornado that hit our house!

holy guest room!  yikes!

The day was finished off with dinner and a movie with my hubby.  Spinach and berry salad, Grand's biscuits, ribeye steak, grilled chicken, and the movie Hall Pass.  We cherish nights like these since it's rare that we get them!

yummy and healthy!
hey stud!

The movie Hall Pass stars Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, and Christina Applegate and is a comedy based on the idea of two women giving their sex-obsessed husbands a week off from marriage.  Very funny-I recommend!  

Unfortunately our big screen plasma went out last week : (.  I keep telling Brook I broke it because he has been too mesmerized with HGTV.  The sound still works on the TV, but there is no picture.  We thought it might be something simple to fix so we called a TV repairman to come out Thursday.  You know how I talked about the rude people at Carrabba's and the rude man in church a couple of weeks ago?  This TV repairman must have been a love child of those two.  What a jerk!  Rude from the second he walked in to OUR home.  "What do you expect when you buy a piece of crap TV like this from Walmart?  Why would you even try to fix this it has way outlived its life expectancy.  Why would you move here it sucks?"  He continually contradicted everything I said and had a rude comment back.  Grr!  Charged me $65 for 100 rude comments and not even an effort to make a repair.  So we are in the market for a new TV-if anyone knows of any good deals or brands to go for or stay away from as we shop let me know.  


After work I went out with some co-workers to Legacy Grille for ladies night (free drinks!!).  It's right next to Carrabba's and has a nice outdoor bar area.  We had a good time and it's always fun to play with your co-workers outside of work.  

Friday night we played with Brook's co-workers.  I met Brook and the other guys at Aces Lounge in Bradenton to see Chris Duarte play.  He is a pretty incredible blues/rock musician.  Brook works with a great group of guys-they are always a lot of fun to hang out with. 

My amazing hubby completely cleaned the house on Saturday-which means today, on my day off I can write, shop, and play outside a little!  He's the best!  

I worked Saturday night, and to my surprise our friends Tim and Ashton came in to eat.  They moved to Sarasota a couple of months before we did to start a Young Life movement in the Sarasota area.  They are an amazing couple that is doing amazing things with the Sarasota youth.  They have been at camp for what feels like all summer and they are finally back, so it was good to see them!  

tis picture pretty much describes why we love them!

We decided to try Woodland Church in Bradenton with Tim and Ashton sunday morning.  Unfortunately the church had lost their worship leader to cancer on Friday, so the service was directed towards honoring and remembering what seemed to be an incredible man of God.  Of course it was an odd first visit for us, but I couldn't help but hold back tears the whole time and I didn't even know the guy.  I really admired the church for taking the whole service to honor this man.  We really felt a sense of "realness"  in the church.  I'm not sure if most churches would take the ENTIRE service to talk about this one person-with the risk of there being people there who didn't even know them, but this church did and we admired that.  

After church we went out to eat at First Watch in Lakewood Ranch with Tim and Ashton.  They told us it was like "old people's crack"  haha!  It was pretty delicious-I recommend it!

I'm off to do some grocery shopping and play in my pool!

that lounge chair is calling my name!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Momma!

She has made so many birthdays so special for me and I hope that she had a truly special day herself.  
My mom has always poured her heart and soul in to making the best life for her kids that she possibly can, and she has succeeded.  I am so grateful for her!

Thanks Mom, and Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Treasure Hunting

These guys are always all over the beach looking for that wedding ring you lost, loose change that fell out of your beach bag, and only God knows what else.  They crack me up!  

My mom and I were on Venice Beach a couple of years ago and there was a guy with shorter shorts than I wear, shirtless with a belly that stuck out too far for him to be even be able to see the treasure his metal detector picked up, and what looked like was the latest and greatest equipment in metal detecting. 

 It was a little chilly on the beach and I was feeling a little ornery, so I asked my mom for some change.  I tried to plant a penny trail for him to follow--you know get him excited like he found all of this stuff and then they would just be pennies.  I text Brook a picture of him and told him I had found a man that can provide me the finer things in life and I also told him about the penny trail I had planted.  

Brook just laughed and said you do realize that metal detectors don't pick up copper. 

Joke was on me!  

The picture above was from yesterday at Siesta Key beach.  The beach was so crowded I'm sure he found all sorts of goodies!  

Brook and I laugh at these guys, but we are like little kids when it comes to finding little treasures-whether it is a good deal, the perfect snack, or just the right piece for our home.   We love feeling like we found something that no one else could find at a price no one else could get it at.

I figured I would share a couple of our restored "treasures" that have filled our new home.

The Before:

Chandelier:  $30 @ thrift store
Shades: $2 clearance @ Stein Mart

The After:

We white-washed it, antiqued it, and added new shades for a new look. 
 (and yes, I realize some of the shades are crooked--Brook accidentally bought the the candle-like curve-tipped light bulbs--you live, you learn--bulbs to be changed soon!!)  

The shades match the patterns and colors in our favorite rug in our living room:

This is the remains of what the previous owners had:


We love the shop Pamaro here in Florida.  They have some of the coolest furniture that fits our style perfectly.  It's kind of the rustic beachy look.  I found this sofa table for $25.00 at Blessings thrift shop and figured we could put our own Pamaro twist on it:

The chest was actually white with all of the hardware that you see here.  We painted it the same blue that we used to paint our kitchen, antiqued and stained it, and turned it into a new piece!  Maybe not quite a Pamaro piece, but it is a one-of-a-kind piece!  

This desk is another thrift shop find: $30 and we painted it, antiqued it, and stained it. We still need to finish it with bead-board backing and a cute rug underneath, but it's a start to our office.

We have several other projects and goodies up our sleeves, but I will continue to share them as we fit them in to place.  Oh, and of course we do have some pretty sweet new treasures too--pictures to come!

Hope everyone is having a great start to the week!

Friday, July 8, 2011


So I haven't gotten much of a chance to write on here this week because we have been busy with visitors.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Donnie and Michelle, came in late on Friday and are here until Tuesday.  I recently found out that I am going to be an aunt to their baby.  I had been having the aunt cravings lately, not mom, but aunt cravings.  I am super excited for them and for myself haha!  She is 9 weeks in to her pregnancy and has been pretty sick so far.  Poor thing : (.  

Of course all I can do is look at cute baby clothes online, but until we know the sex in a couple of weeks I guess I will have to stick with funny little onesies:

Donnie and Michelle are huge St. Louis Cardinals fans, so on Saturday Brook took them to the Tampa Bay Rays/Cards game.  Unfortunately the Cardinals lost, but I think they had a good time anyways!

I had Wednesday off work so Michelle and I went to Venice for the day.  Of course we stopped by my favorite thrift shop: Blessings Thrift Shop.  It's a little hole in the wall place that is part dry cleaner and part thrift shop.  Super cheap prices, treasure hunt atmosphere, and super sweet people.  Didn't find anything this week, but next post I will have to post some of my past finds!  We then did a little shopping and spent a couple of hours on Venice beach.  For dinner we went to Pop's Sunset Grill and each had a tasty salad.

It has been rainy in Florida this week, so we are hoping that turns around this weekend and we can spend some time on Siesta Key beach!  

On another note, my brother Jim passed the GARP Energy Risk Professional Examination test he took a month or so ago. I am so proud of him-I know that he worked his butt off studying for this exam, and it's nice to see it paid off! Less than about 1,000 people hold this certification, and now he is one of them! Good Job Jim!

I am excited to see what God has planned for my family-all sorts of exciting things going on in their lives! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The things we take for granted...

My eyes, due to allergies (I'm assuming), have been awful lately.  They are itchy, bloodshot, and fuzzy.  It seems like this past week all I have been doing is been complaining about them.  Poor Brook, haha!

Well anyways,  yesterday I was at my favorite thrift shop, searching for new goodies, and I got a call as I was checking out.  It was from my Aunt Cindy.  A couple of months ago she was having surgery on her carotid arteries in her legs and arms.  As the doctor was putting in the stents they realized that it was rerouting somewhere, that somewhere led them to find a brain aneurism.  Obviously I don't know all the right terms and explanations, all I know is God is good-most people don't know they have an aneurism until it's too late!  The doctor asked her if there is anything that she would like to do before the surgery and she said that she would like to turn 50.  She turned 50 this past week and her surgery is today.  She was calling to talk to me before her surgery.  As we got to talking she shared with me that her biggest fear about the whole surgery was going blind.  She said that she would rather lose her limbs than go blind-it is just a fear of hers.  I sympathized with her and prayed with her, but it didn't really hit me until I was at the beach today.

Of course my eyes were acting up again--the sun, sand, and saltwater don't really help, but they sure are beautiful!  I could sit on the beach for hours doing nothing but looking around me and be completely satisfied-never bored for a minute.  There were dolphins up close by the shore that I saw playing around, I was able to do yoga while watching the waves roll in, and when I glanced up from reading my book I even saw a couple of fat men in speedos that gave me a good chuckle.  God has provided us with such a beautiful earth and the ability to sense it through sight, sounds, touch, and taste, and smell.

No, I don't know this guy, but if you look close you can see the dolphin in the water behind him!

See the dolphin?

As much as I have complained about my eyes itching and bothering me-I realize how blessed I am to be able to see.  My aunt is right life would be so hard without the ability to see. It's something we definitely take for granted.  Please pray for her surgery and recovery!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day...a little late

I haven't gotten the chance to write in the past couple of days, but for good reasons.  Saturday, I woke up early and fed the homeless breakfast in downtown Bradenton.  This was my first week volunteering with Bayside Church, but I am going to continue to do it every week.  Because I was a new face to other volunteers I didn't get much of a chance to interact with the homeless, but rather just other volunteers.  I met two really nice women in their 50's or so who took me out to breakfast afterwards to a cute little place called Norma Rae's.  It was a good start to the day, but then I got slammed at work the rest of the weekend because of Father's day.

Father's day always reminds me of how blessed I really am.  I have the most incredible earthly father, the most forgiving and graceful heavenly father, and last August I gained a phenomenal father-in-law.  I am extremely lucky to have been blessed with these incredible men in my life.  

My dad has always been my hero--he has been a great mentor, provider, husband, boss, father, friend, and so much more to so many people.  I truly believe that this world is a better place because of him.  I am a better person because of him.  It seems like I can go anywhere in Fort Wayne and mention my dad's name and someone says, "Kurt is your dad?  He is such a great guy."  My response: "He truly is!"  
Thank you dad for being the incredible person and father that you are!

My father-in-law has considered me his "daughter" from pretty much day 1 of Brook and I dating--and that has always meant so much to me.  He would do anything for me, and would expect nothing in return.  He is a great father and husband--I am lucky that Brook has such a great model to follow. 

On another note I had an interview yesterday that I am pretty excited about--prayers would be appreciated!!  Thanks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The unexamined life is not worth living

When we moved to Florida Brook had a job lined up with Nestle, I had a couple of interviews, but nothing that really ended up in anything, so I decided to serve for a while.  The service industry can be fun, but also pretty challenging at times.  Last Saturday I called Brook on my way home from work extremely discouraged; my back was killing me, I was tired, and I had waited on the rudest people I have ever waited on.  It's not that they didn't like me, or were downright mean, but just RUDE!!  I just kept thinking to myself "what makes people like that?"  "what did I do?"  I had mentioned to my manager that night how offended I was by these people and she responded, "Usually the rude people love and compliment you."  Funny, huh?  I am usually pretty patient and kill with kindness, but this time it took every single ounce of energy I had to keep a smile on my face and keep servicing their table to the best of my ability.  Funny enough the table left me a decent tip-but at the end of the night I couldn't help think I deserve better than this.  Why am I here?

I had the whole next day off work which never happens on a weekend.  Brook had made plans for us to go to Snook Haven--a little wilderness country place in Venice.  We decided to wake up early, go to church, and then go to Snook Haven.  I had it in my mind that we were going to Bayside, this church in Bradenton we have been trying out.  He had it in his head we were going to First Christian, the church my parents attend in Venice (that we LOVE by the way).  Well after a mix up in times and places we ended up at the later service at First Christian, which neither of us had planned haha!

The 11:00 contemporary service is a newer thing for FCC so there weren't many people there, but we were definitely welcomed with open hearts and smiles.  Well, that is until 10 min into the service when an older couple walked in and sat in front of Brook and I.  I joked to Brook--"Hey, there's us in 50 years!" and he laughed back (anyone who knows us knows that I can never make it to church on time).  During the service "meet and greet" this guy shook hands with, hugged, talked to half the people in the church, and Brook even made a comment about him being a "pimp" with the ladies. Well not 5 more minutes into the service, before the message had even started, this guy was huffing and puffing and saying things just above a whisper like, "who cares!" and other rude comments.  We brushed it off at first, later to realize he only got worse.

The verse of study during the sermon was:
 1 Thessalonians 1:3 : "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."  
The sermon was based on that verse and questions such as:
"Why are you here?"
"Why do you do what you do?"
"Why do I do the work I do?" 
"What motivates you to keep on keepin' on?"
Wow!  How powerful are those questions?  I know that they cross all of our minds, but do we really take the time to examine our lives and figure out why we do what we do?  Is it because we have to?  Is it because we want to?  Or is it inspired by the faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ?

I challenge you to ask yourselves these questions as we asked ourselves the same questions, because as Socrates once said:

"The unexamined life is not worth living." 
I started to think about my discouragement from the night before and I asked myself "Why am I server?" "Why do I put up with these rude people  for little reward?"

OK, well first came to mind is that I need the income.

Upon examination there was so much more there, and it clicked when the pastor said these word, "Our actions will always reveal what we believe."  My actions create a response in my coworkers everyday.  Comments like: "you're too nice" "I wonder what it's like to see you mad?" "You're a great worker" "You're a sweetie" and if they do something foul around me they say they feel bad like they are "corrupting me."  My actions, admittedly probably not always, but most of the time reveal my belief in Jesus Christ and the power of his love and grace.  On the same token God has me talking to and serving hundreds of people every week who see my actions that reveal what I believe.  Although I don't always realize it and I may get discouraged from time to time God has me where he wants me to be right now-even if it's not where I think I should be.

Throughout this message this guy in front of us just kept his huffing and puffing and "whispering" rude comments: "Unbelievable," "What kind of prayer is that?"  and so on...

Brook and I were shaking by the end of the service we were so offended by this guy.  The funny thing is we had laughed about that being us in 50 years just 20 minutes or so earlier.  That guy, although he annoyed us beyond belief served as a symbol of what neither of us ever want to become.  If I had let those rude people from the night before get to me and prompt rudeness in myself--I would be just as guilty.

I know this was a long post but I think it's really eye opening to take your eyes off of the destination for a while and take a look at the journey you are on.  Where are you on your journey and why?  There is a reason--the destination will come!

This is Snook Haven by the way!

Snook Haven

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Using my degree!

So friends and family and anyone who knows me really knows that I detest talking on the phone.  In fact, sometimes I wish I didn't have a cell phone because then I wouldn't be obligated to answer it the 50 million times it rings a day.  Luckily and annoyingly my husband and I just moved to Parrish, Florida where we bought a home back in the country of Florida that has little to no cell phone reception.  I say luckily because I have an excuse to get off the phone fast, annoy because realistically I have to use my cell phone even if it drops a call 3 times within a 3 minute conversation.

OK rants aside I do love my friends and family and I do love to stay in touch with them-so this is why I am creating this blog.  Brook (my husband and who I refer to as Dale above) and I are in the midst of starting our new life in Florida--new home, new jobs, new friends-the whole deal.  I figured I would put the Journalism degree to use and create a blog as a means to stay connected and keep friends and family up to date with what is going on in our lives.

I will try to post pictures, keep you up to date on current events, but there are some days you might just get whatever random thought is on my mind because lets face it--I have little to no friends here yet and some things just need to be shared : )

Brook & I on the beach--actually on our honeymoon--Florida pictures coming soon!