Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Goals

Like so many people do at the beginning of a new year or new season, over the past week I've been trying to internally evaluate my life in many areas in order to prepare for 2009.
I thought I would post some of my goals for 2009 on my blog in order to hold me somewhat accountable. I'd love it for some of you to ask me how I'm doing throughout the year, seriously. I've thought it would be great to establish a strong accountability partner.

I'm not putting these in any priority order; just typing them as they have come to my mind over the past few days (I started this post on Monday 12/29).

***Rise earlier in the morning

***Exercise 5 times a week

***Eliminate caffeine

***Drink more water

***Eat less sweets and candy. NOTE: I did not say elimiante!! :)

***Have a daily quiet time BEFORE I leave for work

***Work on a more intensive Bible study in the evenings

***Do not blog, surf the internet, read, or watch TV unless I have had a prayer time and bible reading for the day.

***Watch less TV/Movies. This may be hard as I love American Idol, The Office, and Biggest Loser. But since those are only 2 nights a week, maybe I will be okay!!??

***Do not distract Bryan in his last semester

***Pray DAILY (no exceptions) for our future child

***Pray DAILY for guidance in the adoption process

***Cook 5 meals a week. I'm thinking leftovers one time and eating out the other night

***Read a fiction book every other month instead of all the time. I'm finding reading fiction takes away from how much I read my bible and pray

***Rewrite and organize recipes into recipe binder

***Show the love of Christ regardless of what others say or how they live their life

***Be Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger, Quick to Hear EVERYDAY

***Fold clothes each day they are washed instead of leaving them in the dryer or the basket for several days or even a week

***Be a good steward of the resources God has given us. Stay in line with our budget we have outlined

***I would really like to have started the adoption process by this time next year. It would be even better if we had our child. I'm needing God's help in a big way on this goal!!! :>

***Consistently maintain our yard work and flower beds

***Clean out the office closet

***Reduce the storage items in our garage. Translation: Get rid of stuff!!!

***Maintain/clean our house on a daily basis so I don't have to do a full day of hard cleaning

***Use my time at work wisely

***Cherish each moment with Bryan and be less selfish. We don't alway have to do what I want to do.

***Spend less time thinking of sadness in my life and more on others'

***Finish Bible translations study
Thank you for being my friend this year.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day and a great year in 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

Bryan and I had a great Christmas holiday. It was filled with family, fun, and relaxation. I really enjoyed the slower pace we had this year. I think it helped to leave work at noon on Christmas Eve and then I had the next 2 full days off. Counting the weekend, I had 4 1/2 days off; like a mini-vacation.

We started our Christmas Eve at Granny's house and then she went with us over the Bryan's MeMaw's to eat Taco Salad and participate in Dirty Santa (with good gifts). I love these pictures of Bryan and I with our grandmas. My other grandparents live in Oregon and MeMaw is the only grandparent Bryan has left so we are really trying to savor every moment we have with them.
(This one was actually taken Christmas Day)

On Christmas Eve we were blessed with this sunset at Granny's:The weather was amazing and mind boggling all at the same time!! I think it was in the 70s on Friday!!

After our Christmas Eve at MeMaw's Bryan and I spent the night at his parents and we opened our gifts from them on Christmas Eve. Bryan's mom does a fabulous stocking for me. My stocking often costs more than a wrapped gift because she gets nice "undergarments" from VS. (I'm trying to type code here! :> ). This year though she fooled us only briefly and this was the only thing we each had in our stockings:
A lump of coal!!
Don't laugh at my stocking. It's been my stocking since Bryan and I were dating in high school and he "decorated" it in 1995!!
Donna did eventually bring out a sack full of things for us. I think she meant these for a joke but I kind of like my new sun shades:
You can't tell but they have OU on the side. Boomer Sooner!!
On Christmas Eve Bryan and I went to Granny's for breakfast and she made fabulous biscuits, gravy, sausage, coffee, and juice!!! No one, absolutely no one can make biscuits like Granny!
On Friday morning, Donna, her friend Gayla, and I went into Ada and hit the 50% off sale at Hallmark. I was able to get nice lined paper for $2.50. The engineer in my husband insisted I get the paper that had the grid on the back so he could properly and evenly line everything up when he wraps! I got packages of bows for 50% off. It was a great bargain day!!
On Friday night, we drove back home to the city and spent Friday evening with my family. My sister bought our nephew, Jackson, a train set and he was enthralled with it. Bryan and I loved watching Jackson.
I didn't get many pictures at Jennifer's but I did get this one of Bryan and our nephew Will. Will is such a loving boy and I think he loved our gift. I broke down and bought him an OSU t-shirt and camo pj pants. It was a sacrifice for me, but I was willing to do it for family.
On Saturday, my cousin James came up from Texas. Whitney and Jesse came over to visit us too! We all enjoyed playing with Jesse. (I had to cut Bryan out of this picture guessed it, his eyes were closed!)
I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas without Children but still Touched by God

I'm not sure how to title this post.

I was making an effort this holiday season to put my focus on family, friends, and the sweet children I am privileged to know. I have not allowed myself to dwell much on the fact this is another Christmas without us buying gifts for children of our own, another Christmas without us establishing traditions with our very own children. Instead I have found joy in buying for others. If I allow myself to dwell to much, it brings sorrow. And I am determined to be happy. My prayer for this week is that I will guard my mind and emotions and find peace and joy in God.

This morning I heard this song by Third day on KLOVE as I was driving to work. I was moved so deeply by these words. I missed hearing the title and the artist and I actually missed the first two lines of the song. As I continued to listen and control the lump and tears in my eyes I kept thinking this is talking and describing adoption.

I got to work early and immediately called KLOVE and got a receptionist. I was able to tell him the song played from 8:13 - 8:20 and I told him the song pertained to adoption. The sweet guy was named Stephen or Stefan and he spent a few minutes researching it and came back with the artist and title. I was so excited and pleased. I started crying on the phone and thanked him and told him how much he blessed me by finding this. I'm sure he thought I was a loon from Oklahoma.

I know all of us are busy getting ready for the holidays and reading so many blogs, but please listen to this song. It describes a waiting mother's heart so accurately.

I don't want you to misinterpret and think we have decided to adopt internationally. One reason why we are waiting to adopt is simply because we have no idea what God wants us to adopt. We have thought international, domestic, or through the state of OK. That initial decision is so hard for us. I recently thought God had placed 2 specific ladies, through blogging, to lead us toward a state adoption. Now I'm confused all over again.

I was down emotionally as the song progressed and then the last verse makes the song end amazingly. I honestly believe in my heart when we begin the official process sometime next year God has the power to speed the process along and I can shout out this last verse at Christmas in 2009.

I listened to the song twice after I found it. I am sad yet happy because God touched me so gently this morning.

Thank you to Kelly Stamps for helping me post the YouTube video.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Hair

I did it. I had bangs cut Friday night! This picture is of me and Melissa who colors and cuts my hair.

I have had all one length hair for 8 years but I have just felt so plain and boring and I wanted something different but I didn't want short hair. I told her to do whatever she thought with subtle bangs. Melissa is absolutely the best! I'm so glad she does my hair. I love seeing her every 5-6 weeks! She is just the kindest, sweetest, amazing young lady. On top of all that she is just gorgeous!! She is so fashionable!! I love going in to the salon and seeing her and the hair stylist next to her, Candace. We always have a ton of laughs!!

Bryan and I had the best Saturday. We laid around watching DVDs of The Office Saturday morning and then had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, went to my niece and nephews piano recital, and then came home and laid around some more and wrapped some Christmas gifts. It was so relaxing!!

Sunday was a great day as well! Jorge and Brooklyn had Boston's baby dedication at church. He was so cute and did so well up on stage. He just cooed and giggled! So precious!

After church Whitney, Katie, and Jesse came over and we had our Christmas with them. It all went so fast that I didn't get any pictures. After opening gifts, Katie had asked me to take her shopping for her mom so we made a few quick stops and I came home to this!

Bryan was actually asleep too with Jesse. I think I woke him up when I flashed the camera!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Festival of Lights and Festival of Fun

My bosses are my great friend Brooklyn's in laws. Our office consists of 4 individuals including myself and at times not all 4 of us are in the office at the same time. I think we are becoming a little family though! Thursday Ava and Stella (Brooklyn's girls which would be my boss's grandchildren! just in case you couldn't figure that one out) had their program at the children's day out center. Brooklyn is so good to include me in the things her girls do. I love her girls and they warm my heart. I see them when they stop by the office and at church. Brooklyn does such a great job with them. I'm so grateful she lets me be a little involved and when I'm down with not having children of our own, I love those sweet children a little more and I'm grateful a little more for our friendship.

Ava and Stella were stars in the program!!! They were just adorable! Stella even sung a solo of Jesus Loves Me!!Ava did the Welcome and had another small speaking part!
I was afraid both of them would get cold feet. But they didn't. They sang their songs and said their parts so clearly and loudly!

Ava and I nearly had on matching sweaters!! If I only had a pink tutu skirt!!!

I loved this picture taken at CDO. This is my boss Judy and Ava. Does she just have the look of love for her sweet grand baby!!

It was the day and night with the Gortons!! Thursday night we piled into 2 cars with Brooklyn and Jorge and the children along with Brooklyn's friend, Courtney and headed to Chickasha to eat at Jakes Ribs and view the Chickasha Festival of Light.

Ava was so excited to get the huge plate full of curly french fries! She sat next to Bryan or as she calls him, Mr. Haskins, and she just thrilled his heart. She did so well at dinner. At one point I looked over at her and she had a huge handful of french fries in her hand and working it up to her mouth but I didn't click the camera fast enough.

My battery died at the festival of lights and Brooklyn is going to send me some of her pictures but I love this picture we were able to get.
I am so blessed to have the relationship with Brooklyn and her family. I have to admit throughout the night I was inwardly wishing these were my children I was leading through the park. Bryan and I loved hearing the joy in their voices and the excitement they had. Children say the cutest things sometimes. They are not mine but because my friend is so kind to me, she allows me to borrow and practice on hers!! Thank you Brooklyn and Jorge. My heart is truly full today!!

Brooklyn sent me some of her pictures of the night:Bryan is really working on keeping his eyes open!!!
The Ladies and Boston!

The festival has this really tall red Christmas tree you walk under and look up into it. Everyone likes to look up into the tree and spin! Last year I had a terrible fall so it was the joke of the night this year. I was very careful. It seemed everyone stayed close by me to make sure I did not have an accident! :)It looks like I'm giving Ava a big bear hug, but she had asked me to spin her around. So of course, I had to oblige. Bryan was nearby though!!
I hope you are all having a great weekend!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bon Bon Bonanza 2008 !!!

Bryan had asked me if I would make some goodies for him to take to his office and share with his team. I made the Cowboy cookies he liked so well on Tuesday and then on Wednesday night I made Bon Bons using his MeMaw's recipe.

There is 2 pounds of powder sugar, 1 full bag of coconut, 2 sticks of butter, pecans, and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. I'm telling you this is deadly and sticky!!

Led to this:

Which became this:

And ended up like this:

It was a lot of work over the past two evenings and I've spent more time in my kitchen than I have in a while but I was honored he asked me to do it. Now I just hope no one gets sick from my cooking.

I will have to make another batch of Bon Bons for Bryan's family but thankfully I have this weekend and Monday to work on it!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Thoughts

I just remembered my friend, Mandi, at Immeasurably More tagged me for a Christmas Tag and I thought it looked like fun. Sorry Mandi I'm a little late. :)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Hot chocolate....and the best comes from Ihop!! I love the whipped topping!!!!! I'll even order it in the middle of summer.2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa wraps! The presents in the stocking are not wrapped. Sometimes the present left on Christmas day isn't wrapped.

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white lights?

I love white lights on the tree. But I like to see some colored lights on the house. We do not have any on the house because we do not want to spotlight not having the siding/trim finished on our house!!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

No. But I need to find some soon! :)

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Usually Thanksgiving weekend or very close thereafter.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding desert)?

I make this corn green chili dish that I love and I also love the taco salad we eat on Christmas Eve.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

I liked having a place to go to for Christmas. I always enjoyed spending Christmas at my granny's. One year my Poppy took me and my cousins ice skating I mean tennis shoe skating on the pond!!!! Luckily, no one fell in, that I remember! :) That same year Granny got all 7 grand kids sweatsuits!!! I wish I had that picture and I'd post it.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I think I was about in the 2nd or 3rd grade and I hear my parents setting out or putting together a present. I felt so deceived!!! :0

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Yes!!!!!! Bryan and I exchange our gifts with one another and then we get in the car and drive down to Ada to spend Christmas Eve with his family.

10. How do you decorate your tree?

An assortment of ornaments. The majority of them are snowman and OU/Sooners. It is amazing how the two can tie together and look ok.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
LOVE it! But I don't see too much of it really. I hope we get some pretty snow this year!

12. Can you ice skate?
I have never been ice skating. Bryan went during lunch last week!! He's a city employee...need I say more! :o

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

Last year Bryan bought me real diamond earrings. He bought them with "secret" money he had set aside throughout the year. So I didn't have to write the check to pay for them!! And the year before that he bought be a trio diamond necklace that he had the jeweler design. Nothing fancy but I had wanted 3 diamonds stacked on top of each other and Bryan came thru! He is the best and I am spoiled.

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays for you?

It is a time set aside to celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is important to me each of my family members realize they must have a personal relationship with Jesus and they must accept him as savior to have eternal life in heaven. None of the gifts, the food, the parties, the commercialism, the materialism matter if you do not have Jesus.

It is important to make each family gathering joyous, stress free, and a time of sweet memories.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

We go to Bryan's MeMaw's on Christmas Eve, eat Mexican food, play dirty santa (with good gifts) and then go to Bryan's parents to open our gifts.

Also, the past 2 years I've made MeMaw's famous Bon Bons since she is not able to make them anymore; after all she is 85! I feel honored I can makes these for her. I'll be making them again this year. It is a pretty tedious undertaking!
This will also be our second year to go with Brooklyn and her family to eat bbq and see the lights in Chickasha!

17. What tops your Christmas tree?
Absolutely nothing!! The 2nd or 3rd year we were married, Bryan accidentally knocked off my beautiful and cute snowman topper and it broke into a million pieces. I have not found anything to replace it. :( Can I get a poor thing, please??
18. Which do you prefer-giving or receiving?
I have to admit when I was younger (not just last year :0 ) I did like to receive gifts. But as I've gotten older and see how incredibly blessed Bryan and I are, I love to give. I love to buy for my nieces and nephews and I love to watch people open the gifts.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Oh, I'm so sorry. I have not established a favorite Christmas song. But I'll try. I tend to lean more toward those we sing in church such as Silent Night, Joy to the World, and Away in the Manger. I think I will always love Away in a Manger. Can you just picture sweet little faces singing this song!!
Santa: If you are reading this blog, I have always admired this Willow Tree nativity scene from afar. Or maybe I should actually say covet??? :o

20. Candy canes-yum or yuck?
Yum if not in in excess!!! I like the fruit flavored.

21. What do you want for Christmas?

I do not want anything in the way of material things for Christmas. In my heart I would really like to be sharing it with a child that is ours, that's all. I approach this new year with anticipation what will happen with establishing our family.

I just remembered, there is one thing I did ask for:
(I had to take this photo from google)

It was the Write Plate. Brooklyn has one and I love it. You can change it out for the seasons and obviously write messages/greetings on it.
22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party?
We have our Sunday School party that we've attended. When I worked for the mortgage company, we had 3. I'm glad we do not have so many this year.
23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs?
I dress casual for Christmas; usually jeans and a sweater. On Christmas Eve, once we are back at my in laws, I sometimes put on PJs. But sometimes I wait to see if I get a new pair!!

24. Do you own a Santa hat?

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
Bryan and his family. I usually see my Granny for breakfast.

I tag Guyla and Brooklyn.

Enjoy the holidays and make memories!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It is Beginning to Look and Feel Like Christmas!!

Bryan and I had a good time together. We definitely had some adventures on this trip! This could be a long post with pictures. In summary, the 3 1/2 day weekend was way too short and went by way to fast!!
Bryan and I waiting for the Glenn Beck Christmas Sweater to start in Tulsa!!
We tried taking this picture twice because Bryan's eyes were closed the first time. I love the ladies expression in the background. I think she got a kick out of us! I wish she would have volunteered to take the picture for us!! :)

We left Tulsa around 10:45 pm and we finally made it to our condo at:2:15 AM !!!!!!
Of course we slept in as much as we could, got up, grab some quick lunch at Steak n Shake and headed to Silver Dollar City. The park directed us to park about 1 mile away and they bused us in. It was crowded. But it made for another memory for Bryan and I. We had not been on a school bus since high school! So of course, another picture!! Don't you just love his expression!!

Right inside the park they have this huge tree set up with tons and tons of lights and big ornaments. It was so pretty and really set the atmosphere for the rest of the day.

Here is a picture of the tree lit up at night. After the official lighting, the lights blink to music. It was so fun to watch. I'm sure I looked like an 7 year old throughout the whole day!!
Nearly every building in the park is covered in lights:
Rudolph's nose would light up and blink on and off!
They were just really creative on the holiday decorations! I kind of want to make a snowman for our front yard next year.
Silver Dollar City did a great job displaying the true meaning of Christmas. I loved this nativity scene and then this narrative:
For funnies, Bryan and I visited the children's section where they have this huge gym/climbing/play thing where you can climb up into it and run around. It's like a fort type thing (can you tell I don't have children by my description). Bryan told me how he and his best friend would play up in it when they were boys. There wasn't a height or weight limit so we went through it, plus we saw other adults up in it as well. I even went down a slide!!!
It was hilarious. As I was getting in the slide (Bryan was down at the end to take my picture) a little girl was behind me and she said "You know, you can get down another way!" It was just hysterical. I nearly got stuck because my bottom just would not slide!!! Why I took my purse with me on the slide, I have no idea! Maybe that was what was weighing me down! Doubt it!!!
There was a presentation of Frosty the Snowman and I sat and watched some of it while Bryan walked around. Again, I felt like a little child but I loved it. We kept wishing we had little children to enjoy this with. Kept thinking of our friends and family and how we should have borrowed their kidos!! I highly recommend Silver Dollar City around Christmas time, especially if you have small ones. It is spectacular. They even have a parade they run throughout the night as well. I kept oooing and awing and yelling at Santa and Frosty as they walked the parade! Loved it!!

Bryan and I took some time out to watch A Christmas Carol. It was a wonderful drama presentation by those at Silver Dollar City. We were impressed with the acting, the set, and the the costumes. If the park didn't put you in the Christmas spirit, the drama did! While we were in the auditorium, we had our phones on silent and at one point we noticed Bryan had 2 missed calls from his mom and I had one from her. We got a little concerned thinking something had happened to his MeMaw but we weren't at a place where we could easily get out. When the play was over and Bryan checked his message, Donna was calling to tell us Sam Bradford had won the Heisman!I threatened to yell Boomer! Sooner! but Bryan would have no part of it!!
I have no idea who these children are but I just had to take a picture of the Santa.Bryan and I thought he was the best looking santa we had seen. His beard was real!
We really enjoyed our day and night at Silver Dollar City! We were there 8-9 hours!! We had to call it quits at some point.

We slept in and then went shopping Sunday afternoon at Tanger Outlet mall. Bryan needed some new dress clothes for work and we found him some good prices and knocked out a Christmas present or two. While we were there, we saw 2 families we go to church with! They were up in the Branson area for a cheer leading competition! Who would have thought we would be all the way up in Branson and see people from our church!!
My boss and his wife joined us on Sunday night. We had tons of fun eating with them and they taught me how to play spades. We stayed up until 11:30 Sunday night playing cards. It was fun. They are so kind and generous to Bryan and I.
Bryan and I left on Monday to come back to Oklahoma. During the night, ice/snow/wintry mix had hit NE OK and the Springfield/Branson area. We ate breakfast at a Shoney's. We ate there for old time sake. Bryan and I had not ate at Shoney's since high school. We pigged out on the breakfast buffet. Bryan was hilarious! He had 4 different types of meat. He came back with another plate and said he needed his fruit!!! If you look closely, although there is pineapple on his plate, he has a cake covered in strawberry sauce and cool whip!!!!I was really anxious to get home but Bryan really wanted to stop at Bass Pro in Springfield. He called me little Ed (after his dad) because he said his dad always had to be persuaded to stop there when they would come up to Branson when Bryan was a child. Bryan trying to be cute and persuade me to stop:
And of course, guess who got their way:
Bryan was like a child just enthralled by all the mounts:
It was so cold coming home. Parts of the turnpike on the OK side were only one lane each way due to ice.
To get home, it took us 8 hours to make a 5 hour trip !!
This was the parking lot at the McDonalds we stopped at.
I'm not a big coffee drinker but I do drink it occasionally when it is bitter cold outside. I don't know what happened to me but I had 2 cups at breakfast, took one to go for the road and then we stopped again once we crossed over into OK and I got another cup!!!! I drank more coffee coming home than I probably have in 8 months!! I think I'm turning into my grandparents because they drank a ton of coffee! Bryan was excited I was drinking coffee because he likes it in the mornings and usually has to make his own. I think he is hoping I will begin making it for him!!
If you got to this point, thank you for putting up with such a long post! I didn't post during the trip because we didn't stop long enough!!
I hope you had a great weekend!!