Thursday, January 31, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 31

Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God. (John 8:44; 2 Cor. 10:4-5)
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's definitely winter.

Today was off to a great start - I got up on time (more or less), got my morning routine completed quickly and I was ready to leave for work right on time.  And then.  Why does it seem like there is always something in life that throws things off?

Because of the bathroom work and the winter weather, our garage is being used as a work area/supply staging area.  Which means our cars are outside.  And there was a big winter storm last night into this morning, and the temps won't make it above 25 all day (and the meterologist said that 25 was perhaps wishful thinking).  Where am I going with this?  

You may have already guessed, but it was a shock to me this morning - I couldn't get my car doors open because they were frozen shut.  Not the lock, but the doors themselves.  Best of all was that I then tried to come back inside and the front storm door handle was frozen and I had to call my husband to come downstairs and let me back inside.  Because of course, the garage door was also frozen shut so I couldn't come in that way.  I could have rung the doorbell all morning and he wouldn't have heard it, so I'm glad he had his cell phone near him.  I suppose one of our houseguests might have heard me ringing the bell/pounding on the front door, but I'm also glad I didn't have to count on them waking up either.

So I've emailed work that I'll be in late, and now I'm watching the morning news and reading blogs.  I'm hesitant to even try the doors again since if traffic patterns are typical, I don't want to leave now anyway; it's the height of rush hour.  I'll try again in 45 minutes or so.

But, I am grateful that we're all safe and the storm last night only brought power outages and frozen doors; there was major damage in other areas according to news reports.

Praying for My Husband, Day 30

Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything. (1 Cor. 10:13; John 7:17-18; Col. 3:23-24)
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 29

Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray that his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home. (Eph. 5:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:4, 7)
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Thankful Tuesday

It's Tuesday! Still my least favorite day of the week so all the more reason to focus on how blessed I am instead of what I don't like about the day...
  • We're going to have a brand new master bathroom soon. I'm not sure what "soon" really means, but sometime in February. Right now the bathroom is gutted, and the new tub, shower, closet, and toilet areas are framed and plumbing is in place. Today the tub area will be tiled. I don't know what happens after that.

  • The master bathroom comes complete with a family visit for L - two of his brothers are in town along with a good friend and they're the ones doing the work. He is LOVING having his brothers here for a visit. I love how happy it makes him. ;) I like his brothers too, don't get me wrong, but he just lights up having them around. It's great how close he is to his family. 

  • L's one brother is a general contractor who does lots of custom work in high-end homes, so he does AMAZING work. And what a relief completely trusting the guys doing the work and not having to worry about finding a reliable plumber, electrician, etc. The three of them can do it all. 

  • Work is being very flexible with me where I can take time off as needed. For example, this morning I'm going in late because first I need to go pick out some tile. We got some last night, but they didn't have enough in stock so we've got to try some other stores to see if we can find what we need.

  • We've been saving for this for almost 4 years so we're able to do it all with the money we saved for it. No home equity loans, no credit card debt, just paying as we go. That is a huge blessing.

  • Did I mention the whirlpool tub that's being installed? And the lights they're installing so I can read a magazine while soaking? Because that is going to be great. 

Monday, January 28, 2008

Making My Home A Haven Monday

It's Monday, so that means it's Crytstal's Making Your Home a Haven day. :)

1) Refresh Your Spirit

Begin today with the Lord. Brew yourself something delicious to drink and sit down for a few moments of quiet before the Lord. Pray, read and meditate on Scripture, ask the Lord for His blessing upon your day, and commit this day to Him.

Even with a house full of guests, I managed to have my quiet time this morning. I read some Psalms and the first few chapters of Hebrews. I don't know why I never before thought to ask God for His blessing upon my day, but I've done it now & committed my day to Him. Thanks for the reminder Crystal! Oh, and it was tea. Twining's English Breakfast to be exact. In the red box. :)

2) Tackle your Morning Routine
Once you've committed your day to the Lord and spent some time communing with Him, attack your morning routine with a smile!
  • Dressed & ready for the day
  • Tidy a bathroom
  • Pray
  • Go over memory verse
  • 5 minute room rescue
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Eat breakfast & take pills
  • Read daily devotionals
  • Read Bible passage(s)
I didn't tidy a bathroom. My one bathroom is completely gone (post to come about that), and another is so full of our guests things I didn't have time to clear the counter to tidy it.  The third (half bath) can use some attention; I'll take care of it this afternoon when I'm not in such a rush to get out the door.  

3) Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
Once your simple morning routine is finished, if you've not sat down to make a short to-do list for today, take time to do that now. A few minutes of strategic planning before you begin your day can not only help you to be much more productive, but it can also save you a lot of time.
  1. Work
  2. Call for prescription refill
  3. Pick up prescription & other items
  4. Piano
  5. Clean bathroom a.k.a. finish this morning's routine
  6. Fix dinner / clean up kitchen
  7. Clean out fridge a.k.a. # 5 for this post
  8. Update blog
  9. Work on course 15 minutes
  10. Take pictures of bathroom progress

4) What's For Dinner?
Post your dinner menu on your blog so we can all be inspired!

Dinner is planned for the entire week! Tonight is soup, salad & fresh bread - fresh from the bakery that is. The soup's homemade though!

5) Do Something! (10 minutes)
We're working in the kitchen today! Light a candle, put on your apron, turn on some uplifting music, and then set the timer for ten minutes (this job might take a bit longer, though!) and get busy! !

Bonus Project: If you have extra time, I encourage you to cook or bake something special for your family today! Involve your children or other family members and make a double batch for the freezer. It's so helpful to have a well-stocked freezer on evenings when you're short on time or for the unexpected guests which stop by!

The biggest need in my kitchen is the refrigerator itself so that's going to be my project.

No baking today - I made bread pudding yesterday and will make an apple/pear crisp tomorrow. And I still have some cookies from last week and more in the freezer so I'm actually pretty well supplied for baked goods. I try to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and get my freezer stocked. :)

Updates to come!

Update 1:
The bathroom is clean as is half of the fridge - that's all I can get to today, but I'll finish it tomorrow or Wednesday (Tuesdays are usually busy days for me, so I don't know that I'll get to it). I'm about to start dinner.  The guys will stop working on the bathroom in about 45 minutes, so sometime after that I'll take pictures of the progress they've made.  

Update 2:
Dinner is done, and L is finishing the cleanup.  I won't be working on my course at all because we ended up having to run out and buy tile so the guys have it to work tomorrow.  That took up about an hour and a half so after I finish this update I'm headed to bed. After taking pictures of the progress of course. :) 

Update 3: Tuesday evening and the fridge has been cleaned out completely. It took about 40 minutes because of the really poor design of my fridge - the drawers and bottom shelf all have to be done together - you can't remove just one of them. And they are very difficult to put back together, so it took awhile to get it reassembled. And because it's such a pain, I don't do it often enough so once I do get it apart it takes longer to scrub out the drawers. But it's all done now! Someday we hope to get a different fridge and I will be checking how the drawers and shelves are engineered - I don't want to choose one that has the same problem! This fridge came with the house so I didn't pick it but if I have a choice I will be getting a different design.

Menu Plan Monday

We've got family visiting this week, so I'm trying to cook bigger meals that three guys will like. Fortunately they're not picky and pretty much anything I cook they like (as long as it's not too fancy).

Monday - Rachel Ray's Hungarian hot sausage and lentil stoup. My one brother-in-law had this with us before and still talks about it over a year later. So yes, we're having it again for him. :)

Tuesday - Bruschetta chicken bake. I think this sounds like something they'll like.

Wednesday - Shepherd's pie.

Thursday - Broccoli cheese soup. I need to find a recipe for this.

Friday - Pioneer Woman's chicken spaghetti. I made her lasagna Sunday night and the guys all loved it.

Saturday - Meatloaf.

Sunday - Chili in the slow-cooker. I may also make some Pioneer Woman Chili Con Queso. It does seem appropriate what with the football game and all to have some more snacking kind of stuff.

That's the plan. I will need to get to the store but fortunately that's close.

Praying for My Husband, Day 28

Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times. (1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 22:46; James 5:16)
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Memory Verse

Psalm 5:3, New International Version

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

Praying for My Husband, Day 27

Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20, 9:27)
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 26

Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity. (Jer. 29:11; 1 Cor. 10:31)
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Friday, January 25, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 25

Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks. (Ps. 31:24; Eph. 6:13; Ps. 27:14)
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 24

Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52; Prov. 13:15)
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 23

Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:1-2)
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm back

After no internet access for entirely too long that is. I don't realize just how addicted to/dependent on the internet I am until it is unavailable. I don't know what was wrong with it, only that it is fixed now and that is a good thing. Now I just need to catch up on things. My first attempt at that was to post the Praying for My Husband as if I'd had access. I don't know what that was important to me, but it was to have those on the correct day. Not that I actually managed to pray it yesterday since of course, no internet access meant I didn't know what was on the schedule.

Next I've got to post my menu plan, because how else can I check it over lunch time when I'm at work and remember what I've got planned for the evening? Yeah, it'll be backdated too so it appears on Monday.

Praying for My Husband, Day 22

Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord. (Eph. 4:32; Heb. 12:15)
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Holiday version of Menu Plan Monday because that's right, I'm home today. Ok, so I had to take a PTO day to get the day off, but still. I am home and not at work. Woo-hoo to that!

Ahem. On to the menu plan.

Monday - Slow-cooker fajitas. yummmm. I'll be modifying the recipe I linked, because I'll saute the veggies separately. Or at least the peppers, because I hate how mushy peppers get in the slow cooker. If I'm really inspired, I'd like to make a pineapple upside-down cake, because I have buttermilk to use up. Oh, and because I love pineapple upside-down cake. I do not love maraschino cherries however so I leave those out.

Tuesday - Sundried tomato & bacon risotto.

Wednesday - Minestrone soup.

Thursday - Bayou stroganoff. The "bayou" means it's over rice, not noodles.

Friday - clean-out-the-fridge-'cause-I'm-not-cooking night.

Saturday - BLT pasta.

L was supposed to be gone this week, so I planned & shopped for meals I wasn't sure he'd like. Then his trip was canceled, so we'll see how he likes the risotto & pasta. I already know he's not crazy about stroganoff so that meal may have to be changed. Sigh. I love stroganoff.

Praying for My Husband, Day 21

Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress, find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord. (Neh. 8:10; Prov. 17:22; Ps. 16:11)
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Still Waiting

My hopes were up yet again. Maybe this would be the month when our prayers would be answered and the pregnancy test would come back positive. I've been using a fertility monitor for just under a year and what I've learned from it is that I only ovulate every other month. So the pressure is on even more since if this month doesn't work, it's two months before we have another chance. Last month (which following my pattern was going to be a non-ovulation month) I took Clomid, which is supposed to stimulate ovulation. All it did was make me feel miserably crampy and like I had the flu. It was an awful week when I was on it, and in the end it still didn't get me to ovulate. This month was one when I should have, and according to the monitor I did. About two weeks ago, and our work schedules and health issues all cooperated as far as doing what we need to do to try & get pregnant if you know what I mean.

But the test this morning was negative.

And I know, I KNOW, even with perfect timing there is only a 25 or 30 % chance of conceiving any particular month. And I know that I took the test a little early, but the test itself claims to be the earliest detecting test around. According to them, I should be well within their test accuracy window.

I still have a couple of days until I should start, but I'm not the most regular, so who knows really how long I might wait, & until then I still have a tiny bit of hope. But sometimes, that tiny bit of hope is harder than no hope at all.

So I pray, and thank God for the many, many, MANY blessings he's given me. And I repeat that I want His will. But, oh, please, if His will is for us to not have children, would He please remove the desire for them from our hearts?

And I continue to pray. And hope. And wait.

Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 14:20, New International Version

Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

Praying for My Husband, Day 20

Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography. (Prov. 27:12; 2 Cor. 10:5)
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Washington DC: Day 4

Today started out just like yesterday - breakfast at the next-door deli. We even saw a lot of the same people also having breakfast or a snack.

Metro straight to Capitol South, although Federal Center was probably just as close. We were hoping to tour the Capitol, so we went there first, but it took awhile to make our way to the booth where tickets are distributed. A big group was in front of us, discussing tour options, and they eventually decided not to take tickets because there weren't enough for them all to get into the same tour, or the tour was later than they wanted or something. For whatever reason, they didn't take any tickets, and it's good for us that they didn't. We got the last two tickets for the 2:45 tour, and there were only about 6 tickets left for the entire day, so if that group had taken them, we'd have been out of luck.

Now we had a lot of time to kill however, and not much interest in walking that far away from this part of town. My big wish was to see the Library of Congress (Thomas Jefferson Building, of course). We got there about 5 minutes after a tour had departed, and it was 2 hours until the next tour, so instead of waiting for that we gave ourselves a tour of the building. They had a good exhibit on Bob Hope and other vaudeville/variety/TV performers which had lots of fun stuff, and the building itself is so beautiful.

After admiring the Jefferson building, we went to the Supreme Court, which was much simpler than I'd imagined. We peeked into the Courtroom, then went downstairs to see their exhibit. That was the type of exhibit that gives museum exhibits a bad name. Very very dull stuff. We almost had lunch in the Supreme Court, but L wasn't very hungry and I'd read in my tour book that there was a cafeteria in the Library of Congress' James Madison Memorial Building with great views of the city. The Supreme Court cafeteria's views were somewhat lacking.

Unfortunately, we should not have been swayed by the hope of nice views, because the cafeteria was mostly closing. The menu board said they'd still be open, but most of the stations had closed and the food available was very sad looking. We passed.

We still had some time to kill, so next we tried the National Museum of the American Indian. I'd heard good things about their food, and thought it'd be fun to try. Having had virtually no lines our entire visit, we were shocked by the long line to get through security and into NMAI. Once we did, and found the cafeteria, we realized that we didn't have time to actually find something, wait in the long line to pay, and eat. So we went back outside and found another hot dog vendor. ;)

And now it was time to tour the Capitol. There was a LOT of security to go through to enter the building, and it took a long time to finally get inside. But once we did, oh it was so worth the wait. The rotunda is so beautiful. I have no idea what our guide said about lots of the paintings in there, I wasn't really listening, instead just admiring the artwork. Fantastic. The National Statuary Hall was impressive as well, with the National Statuary Hall Collection, and I was glad to hear that Alabama will soon be swapping out one of their statues to replace it with one of Helen Keller. Cool!

After a long time in the exhibit area, and a ton of pictures, we finally made our way outside again. Debating trying to see the Lincoln Memorial at night again, we decided against it. The single hot dog we'd had in our late lunch meant we were hungry and ready for dinner. Back to Federal Center SW for a ride back to Arlington.

Dinner had been selected already - Tom Sarris Orleans House, near the Rosslyn Metro stop. Since it's famous for prime rib, we knew we had to try that. Happily, our orders gave us access to their salad bar, which was great - lots of fresh lettuce and great variety on the other items. When our orders arrived we were surprised to see our "roasted potatoes" side meant one large red potato. It was fine, just not what either of us had imagined. The prime rib was delicious and definitely made for a great dinner our last night in DC. We both had pinot grigio, and while it wasn't as tasty as the Toscana Grill pinot, it was good enough and complemented our dinner nicely. Desserts of course, key lime pie for L and carrot cake for me. L liked his well enough, but my cake was a little dry. All in all tough, we enjoyed our dining experience and were glad we'd been there before they closed - a sign on the table top said that the restaurant would be closing in mid-January because of development in the area. A diner next to us said they were going to tear the building down and put in luxury condos. I can see why it'd be prime real estate, with its convenient location to the Metro.

After a very short Metro ride to our stop at Court House, we extended our evening by going to the movie theatre next to the Metro. National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets was open and L couldn't wait to see it! The movie time was just soon enough where we decided to not go back to our hotel first, but just find some good seats and enjoy the wait.

As a disclaimer, let me just say that I'm not really a movie person. I much prefer to read, and so it's pretty rare that I got to the movies. But L loves them so I try to go whenever I can find one I think I can sit through. So when I say the movie was so-so don't take that as that meaningful if you're into movies. L loved it. That type of thriller/action is his favorite sort of movie so it was perfect for him. I loved that he loved it. :)

Finally made it back to the hotel where we talked about our plans for tomorrow which we once though would include Arlington Cemetery, but after considering our sore feet, we decided it would instead involve just sleeping in and leisurely departing, knowing that we'd be back another day to see more of what we missed.

Praying for My Husband, Day 19

Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses. (Rom. 14:19; Ps. 34:14)
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This is generally not an area of difficulty for my husband. He's usually very easy-going and even tempered, except for when he's driving, watching sports, or playing video games; then it's like he's a completely different person.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Winter Reading Challenge

I recently stumbled across the Winter Reading Challenge on A Joyful Heart's blog, and since I'm always up for reading, and the chance of winning an Amazon gift card (my most desired gift card of all time) is too good to pass up, I'm in.

Boy was that a convoluted sentence.

Moving along, and trying to write in a more intelligible fashion, this winter I'm continuing reading the Bible in the Message translation. I'm following the Robert Murray McCheyne plan, which takes me through the New Testament and Psalms twice, and the rest of the Bible once during the year. I'm a little off track with it, but I'm trying to get back where I'm at the same day in each column at least. Based on this, I should finish Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Luke, John, Romans,1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation.

I'm also doing something I rarely do - rereading fiction. I'm working my way through Sharon Newman's Catherine LeVendeur historical mystery series. There are 10 books & I've just finished the first two. These are just such good books. The final one in the series is new to me, and I'm really looking forward to it, although I'm enjoying them all. Since I want to be able to cross items off as I finish them, I'll go ahead & list them all
  1. Death Comes as Epiphany
  2. The Devil's Door
  3. The Wandering Arm
  4. Strong as Death
  5. Cursed in the Blood
  6. The Difficult Saint
  7. To Wear the White Cloak
  8. Heresy
  9. Outcast Dove
  10. The Witch in the Well

Other books I have out from the library and would really like to finish before I run out of renewals include:
Truck: A Love Story by Michael Perry. I loved his book Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time so I was happy to see he had a new book out. I didn't like this one anywhere near as much as I did the other one, and it took me quite awhile to finish it. I kind of wish I hadn't bothered, not that it was bad, just that I could have spent my reading time on something I'd enjoy more.

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose . I've started it but need to get back to it.
Ok, I am officially giving up on this one. I just cannot get into it.

3 Seconds: The Power of Thinking Twice by Les Parrott. I heard an interview with him and thought he was a very engaging speaker, so I'm interested in the topic and how he presents it. I've started this one, and am enjoying it so far.

The Beautiful Ache: Finding the God Who Satisfies When Life Does Not by Leigh McLeroy. Because the subtitle called out to me.

Finally, a few books that I own:

Mac OS X Leopard Edition by David Pogue. A late Christmas present, this will be useful since I'm new to using a Mac. And by "new" I mean since last May. That still counts as new, right?
I'm using this as a reference rather than reading straight through it.

Canon Digital Rebel XTi Digital Field Guide by Charlotte K. Lowrie. Another one that will be useful as I learn how to take advantage of all the great features on my new camera.
Another one I'm reading as a reference.

The Mother of All Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas. At least the first part of it where it talks about pre-conception and conception things. I don't think I'll read the parts about pregnancy itself unless I actually become pregnant, because I just don't think I can take it. I actually did read the entire thing, and had surprisingly few pangs while reading it.

The Hour That Changes the World: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer by Dick Eastman. I want to establish a better habit of prayer.
And I'm already rereading it.

I'm sure there will be more, but this'll do for now. I'll update as I go along & cross out books I've completed.

Update: In addition to the above, some of the other books I've read since posting this are:

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy. An excellent poetic juvenile book about the Holocaust

Shell Game by Sarah Shaber. A light mystery that was perfect when I wasn't feeling well and anything involved would have been too much.

Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. Another great juvenile book, this one about a young mill girl in Vermont in the early 1900s.

Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff. Another juvenile book about a young girl during WWII.

A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What by Gordon MacDonald. I thought this was great.

Praying for My Husband, Day 18

Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective—living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life. (Matt. 6:33; Deut. 6:5; Eph. 5:16; Ps. 90:12)
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Playing Hookie

From work that is.

I had an eye appointment today, at 10. I knew that would last until around 11, which would put me getting to work only a little before noon. Yes, it takes that long, especially since it takes close to 15 minutes to park and walk in from the parking area & make it to my desk. Soooooo, I just took the entire day off instead. I can't stand driving in for only a half day - it just seems like such a waste of gas & commute time. It helps that I currently have a lot of leave time accrued.

And now it's just before noon and I'm home and waiting for my husband to come home, because he's taking me out to lunch. What a guy. I don't know yet where we'll be going, but who cares? I'm out with my sweetie.

After lunch, I want to get to the grocery store and take advantage of being able to shop before most people get off from work. I've done it before on days I'm not working for whatever reason and it is just so nice to have the store not be so crowded. My grocery list is all ready so I'll be able to go immediately after lunch.

Following that, I haven't decided what I want to do with myself. Groceries away of course, and some tidying downstairs. I think I may make a chocolate cake or some sort of baked good, perhaps with the pears I still need to use up. I'll also take a look at my month's goals and see if I can make any progress on that.

Praying for My Husband, Day 17

Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength. (Eph. 3:16; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Cor. 10:11)
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apple-Pear Crisp

I had several pears and some apples that needed to be used before they went bad, so Sunday night I made an apple-pear crisp. No real recipe to share, because I modified it so heavily from the basic apple crisp recipe I use.

I used about 4 cups of fruit, about half pears & half apples. I forget what type of pears & apples they were. The apples were pretty tart though. I peeled them & sliced them into semi-thin pieces (my knife skills aren't the best so I can't claim that the slices were truly that thin). Since the apples were pretty tart, I tossed the fruit with a little sugar (2 tablespoons?) and some cinnamon, then put that into a greased 8x8 baking dish.

For the topping I mixed brown sugar, flour, and old-fashioned oats with additional cinnamon & then cut in butter.* Spread that over the top & baked it at 350 for about 40 minutes. It was delicious! I wish I'd had whipped cream or ice cream with it but even without it it was very good and a nice end to what had been a not-so-great Sunday.

*Let's see, amounts. Guesstimating, I'd say equal parts sugar & flour, like maybe a 1/2 cup each, then about 2/3 cup oats & a teaspoon of cinnamon, to maybe 1/2 a stick of butter. I love butter.

Praying for My Husband, Day 16

Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit’s control. (1 Cor. 6:12, 10:31; 2 Tim. 2:4)
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We both need to establish some healthy habits - specifically exercising. L's downfall is TV & computer time, mine is reading & computer time. Either way, it means too much time sitting and not enough exercise.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • There was a very bad accident on the interstate last night, and although I was caught up in the traffic snarls, I am so thankful that God has kept us safe on the roads, especially with the snowy road conditions we have during winter.

  • One of my big annual projects for work is done & that is a HUGE relief. It involves accounting stuff & lots of spreadsheet work and is very time-consuming. It took my entire week last week but I'm done now and everything matched up to the penny. The finance department won't have any complaints about us. :)

  • Laundry is all caught up. Considering the mountain there was, this is big news.

Praying for My Husband, Day 15

Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin. (Prov. 13:20; Prov. 27:17)
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For today's prayer, I just have to say how blessed we are that my husband has some TERRIFIC friends who are Godly men and I think they strengthen each other. I know how lucky I am not to be married to someone who has friends who encourage him to go out drinking or worse. Thank you God for the blessings of Godly friendships!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge

Crystal is back with another Making Your Home a Haven Challenge. I love those!

1) Refresh Your Spirit

I had some really good devotional time this morning, especially a reading about work, and how we should work as if Christ is our boss (because really, he is). I *know* this, and yet it was still good to read it again, especially because of some work frustrations & issues with my boss. I need to remember that ultimately, I'm not working for her and it doesn't matter how she is, I need to honor God with my work.

2) Tackle your Morning Routine
  • Dressed & ready for the day
  • Tidy a bathroom (did this the night before actually) :)
  • Pray
  • Go over memory verse 
  • 5 minute room rescue
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Eat breakfast & take pills
  • Read daily devotionals
  • Read Bible passage(s)
I didn't completely finish my morning routine before I had to leave for work. I'd done so many dishes the night before I didn't get the clean & dry dishes in the dishwasher put away. I did get everything put away that was in the dish drainer & on the counter next to it, so at least the kitchen *looked* better. I emptied the dishwasher when I got home from work. ;)

3) Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)

  • Work
  • Menu plan for week
  • Practice piano
  • Laundry load 1 - wash/dry/fold/put away
  • Laundry load 2 - wash/dry/fold/put away (Finished Tuesday)
  • Laundry from yesterday - put away
  • Post menu plan
  • Post MYHAH challenge
  • Library books ready to return
  • Clean computer keyboard

I know, it's a short list but the first one takes a long time. ;) Laundry load 2 won't be finished tonight - it's still drying so I'll fold & put away tomorrow. It's just socks & underwear & other things that won't be wrinkled by hanging out in the dryer. 

4) What's For Dinner?

Dinner isn't very inspiring - it's leftovers a.k.a clean-out-the-fridge. I cooked a lot over the weekend (family visiting) so we still had quesadillas, mac & cheese, lentil soup & beef stew to finish in addition to typical fridge & pantry items. Some of those leftovers can & will go in the freezer (well, not the beef stew, the potatoes in it wouldn't freeze well) but there was still enough to take advantage of it all and not cook anything new. L had the quesadilla. I had cheese, sourdough bread (leftover from lentil soup night), a tiny bit of summer sausage & an aging apple.  

Oh, and leftover apple-and-pear crisp.  Post to come about that later. ;)

5) Do Something! (10 minutes)

Sorry, no pictures. The living room is in pretty good shape because of cleaning it up in anticipation of family visiting last weekend. So I spent 10 minutes in my closet. I don't think I really have that many pairs of shoes, but they seemed to all be strewn across the floor of the closet. It's a huge closet which is really nice, but it seems that it just means that much more space to get out of control. Lots of general straightening in there, & it's much nicer.  

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - leftovers

Tuesday - chicken, marinated in pineapple juice & soy sauce. I have leftover pineapple juice & this is a good way to use it up.

Wednesday - pumpkin corn soup

Thursday - skillet penne with mushrooms & onions

Friday - spicy black beans and polenta

Saturday - leftovers

Sunday - Italian beef sandwiches

That's the plan as it stands now. I don't think I have ever followed a week's plans exactly however. ;)

Praying for My Husband, Day 14

Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language. (Prov. 18:21; Eph. 4:29)
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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Memory Verse

2 Peter 3:18, New International Version

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Praying for My Husband, Day 13

Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13; Phil. 2:3-4)
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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Washington DC: Day 3

We hoped for a little less walking after the workout we put our feet through the day before as we toured lots of monuments and memorials,

For breakfast, we tried a deli that was right next to our hotel. L loved his breakfast burrito, and I appreciated the egg-free bagel & cream cheese I had. Toasted even. Yummm! A soda for each of us took care of our caffeine requirements.

Metro to Federal Triangle, then a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, admiring the Old Post Office and FBI buildings. A sign pointing to Ford's Theatre National Historic Site made us take a slight detour, but then we were quickly back towards our destination, the National Archives. As I already hinted, L HAD to go here, because of his enjoyment of the movie National Treasure. I am so glad he pushed to visit it, because I loved the exhibit area. The display of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights didn't do that much for me honestly - too dim and hard to see anything really, and the crowds of teenagers were very pushy.

But the exhibits were great!

After spending a long time in the Archives, we finally made our way out and headed for the National Museum of Natural History. Neither of us are all that interested in Natural History Museums, but we thought we should at least stop in and see the elephant and Hope Diamond. And they had a big cafeteria where we got some lunch. ;)

We actually ended up looking through the Mammals gallery pretty closely, and a brief glance in the gem gallery to see the Hope Diamond. We spent a long time admiring a special photography exhibit, then while L rested his poor sore feet (newish shoes spelled disaster for his feet with all the walking we'd done) I poked my head in the insects and bones galleries.

Since we had a little over an hour before most of the museums closed, and we wanted to stick around the area so we could see the Lincoln Memorial at night, we went to the National Gallery of Art (West Building). They very nicely had a brochure that had a list of "highlights" so if you only had an hour, there was a list of some of the most famous pieces. That timing worked out perfectly for us, so we hit the highlights and then went back outside to wander towards the Lincoln Memorial.

Slowly making our way West, we stopped at the Washington Monument to take pictures of the Capitol, which is just amazingly beautiful, especially at night. And that's when my camera battery died. I could not believe it. I'd charged it fully the night before, so I have no idea why it lasted for such a small amount of time. Since the camera is so new, I'd had no time to get a backup battery, and we hadn't carried our old camera with us so we were out of luck. What a disappointment. So, instead of taking pictures of the Lincoln Memorial, we just sat on the cold marble seats around the Washington Monument and admired it from a distance. We decided to save L's feet some work and just head back to the Smithsonian Metro stop. Dinner that night was in the Hotel - a cheeseburger for L and a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich for me. Tasty enough, but my wine wasn't that great. I did get a piece of chocolate torte packed up and took it back to our room. It made a nice addition to the other desserts we still had waiting. Sadly enough, this meal was pricier than any other meal had been. Overpriced hotel food. But it was nice to just walk upstairs and not have our clothes be super smokey smelling like they'd been the night before.

Our hope for tomorrow is to get tickets to tour the Capitol. Hopefully they won't run out of tickets before we can get there!

Praying for My Husband, Day 12

Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15, 18; 1 Cor. 7:3; Song of Solomon 7:10)
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 11

Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33; Eph. 6:6)
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I can't believe I forgot to do this on Tuesday like I normally do, and I didn't want to wait until next week, so here it is on Thursday...
  • L's family has had some health issues but it looks like his grandmother at least is doing much better & his grandfather is at least out of the hospital, though he's not doing all that well. Different sides of his family, so it's not one couple with both of them having trouble. And, his parents were able to travel to be with their parents and everyone involved appreciates that.

  • A new nephew has recently joined the family. Everyone is healthy and doing well. 

  • Our water heater has been slowly dying (20 years old so I don't guess we could expect all that much more out of it) and the new one was out of stock so we've been waiting for it to arrive, hoping that the old one would work well enough to last until the new one could be installed. And very happily, the heater is in, it should be installed tomorrow and we haven't had to take a single cold shower. Lukewarm ones maybe, but no cold ones, and that's good enough. ;)

Praying for My Husband, Day 10

Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:7; 1 Tim. 1:5, 3:7; Eph. 6:10-12)
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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 9

Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:5)
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 8

Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character—persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:11; 1 Cor. 15:58)
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Monday, January 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Inside-out Pizza-dilla Margarita. A Rachel Ray recipe, these are really good & very easy.

Tuesday - Macaroni Scramble OR Burgundy Beef Stew. New recipe for either one, and it depends on what time I get home. The macaroni dish is quicker.

Wednesday - Hearty Lentil Soup. New recipe, but we love lentil soup.

Thursday - Salsa Chicken. New recipe but it's basically chicken + salsa + cheese. What's not to like? Or I may make whatever didn't get made Tuesday. ;)

Friday - clean-out-the-fridge

Saturday - Possibly go out, or have spaghetti if we don't.

Sunday - Italian Beef Sandwiches. It's almost always a slow-cooker meal on Sundays.

Most of the recipes above are from Light and Tasty magazine, but they're all subscriber-only on their website or I'd link to them.

Praying for My Husband, Day 7

Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Prov. 6:23-24, 26; Rom. 13:14)
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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Memory Verse

John 1:12, New International Version

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Praying for My Husband, Day 6

Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Prov. 27:12; John 17:15; 1 Cor. 10:12-13)
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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Washington DC: Day 2

Our first full day in DC! After studying the weather forecast, we'd decided that today sounded like it would be the safest bet for more time spent outside than any other, so today was to be our monument/memorial tour.

Breakfast at Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, which was semi-near the hotel and Metro. It was kind of meh - L liked his breakfast sandwich, but I don't like eggs and there wasn't really anything else available so I ended up with scrambled eggs on an English muffin. And I do mean "ended up" because there were some problems with the order and it took them a couple of tries to get me what I'd ordered. The fruit salad that accompanied our orders were very tasty however, and my cup of Earl Grey tea was delicious.

Our Metro stop today was McPherson Square, then we walked past the White House (and took pictures of course). There were several emergency vehicles and fire trucks nearby, and when we got back to our hotel that evening we found out that Cheney's office had been on fire.

Anyway, continuing on past the White House we saw the National Christmas Tree, set up on the Ellipse, and the 56 trees for all the states and territories that are around the main tree. Each small tree is decorated by a school, institution, group, or individual from the state or territory.

The Washington Monument was our first stop, and though we didn't try to get tickets to go inside, we still really enjoyed the view from it. It's really neat to turn and see the White House, Capitol, Jefferson Memorial, WW2 Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial from one spot.

Just west of the Washington Monument is the (fairly) new World War II Memorial, which we though was beautiful and very well designed. I took lots of pictures there, and even found L's grandfather listed in the computers there for his service. I took a picture of the screen, and it came out really well so we'll send that to his family (I know, they could look it up online, but it'll still make them happy to see it and know that it was viewed in DC).

After leaving the WW2 Memorial, we headed south towards the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. That was a fair amount of walking around the Tidal Basin, but it was pretty. I'd love to see it in the spring when the trees are blossoming! The Jefferson Memorial is so impressive, and the little museum in the base was fun too. Next up was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which we entered from the back, but it was still really nice.

Not too far away from our next stop we found a concession stand that was open and serving snacks, so we stopped for some refueling. Then we backtracked and walked through the Korean War Veterans Memorial which I thought was really nice. I'm not sure what my final picture count was at that memorial, but it was up there. Backtrack again and we were at the Lincoln Memorial. Unfortunately the exhibit area there was not open.

Continuing on the tour our guide book recommended, we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is so powerful. I've seen the Three Servicemen Statue before, but didn't remember seeing the Vietnam Women's Memorial.

We were flagging a bit now, having done a lot of walking, but we continued east and walked through Constitution Gardens, and saw the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial.

We were now done with being outside, so we headed south east some more towards the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which the book said gave tours, and it was open until 5. Perfect! Unfortunately, we walked down 15th Street and the tour entrance was on 14th Street so we had to go around the block (and that's a long block). And then really unfortunately, the tours had ended at 2:30 so we'd missed that.

Despite the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum being right next door, we decided to just call it a day and head back to the hotel to give our feet a break. According to the pedometer I was wearing, we'd walked over 11 miles! We were so happy that the Smithsonian Metro station was close and we could get off our feet.

But before we got to the metro, I realized that my hat was missing. It had turned sunny and I didn't need it so I'd tucked it into my purse, but it was no longer in my purse (It wouldn't fit with it zipped, so it was just smushed in the top as best I could get it.) L was not pleased. I was not pleased either because I love that hat & I knew it would be cold again later and I'd be wanting it! So we tried to retrace our steps, and turned back around and walked around the (very large) Bureau of Engraving and Printing. After we turned the corner of the (very large) building and headed back the other side, L spotted my poor hat in the middle of the sidewalk! I dashed ahead & grabbed it, pulling it down tight on my head. I was NOT about to risk losing it again! I had been praying the entire time we walked back over our path, and I was so thankful that my hat was there & hadn't been walked on or had the birds in the area mark it. What a relief! But oh, our poor feet - they had not needed those extra steps.

Finally, to the metro and back to the hotel, where after a brief rest and some TV watching, we felt up to finding a place for dinner. It took some persuading, but L eventually agreed to an Irish place that was just a block away from our breakfast location. I'd checked their menu online while we were in our room resting (love that free internet access!) so I knew it sounded good, especially the desserts. :)

Ireland's Four Courts was crowded and smoky, but we were starving so we decided to deal with the smoke. I'm glad we did because the food was really good. I had a caesar salad (so Irish) and potato and leek soup. The salad was fine, but the soup was fantastic! L had a buffalo chicken wrap (again with the traditional Irish food) and he really enjoyed it. We both enjoyed the amber beers we ordered after carefully listening to all the draft choices. Desserts all sounded good, but L had to try the peach and blueberry bread pudding. I got the key lime pie, after some consideration of the apple pie. Both desserts were great - I don't even like bread pudding and I thought it wasn't bad. L LOVED his bread pudding. Best of all was the fact that the mini fridge in our room meant we could take half of our desserts back with us to enjoy them at another time.

On the agenda for tomorrow: The National Archives. L's love of the movie National Treasure demanded a visit there.

Praying for My Husband, Day 5

Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Prov. 20:6; Gen. 2:24)
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Friday, January 4, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 4

Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship—protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Eph. 5:25-29; Col. 3:19))
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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Praying for My Husband, Day 3

Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Ps. 51:2-4; Micah 6:8)
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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Praying for My Husband: Day 2

Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Prov. 3:7, 9:10; Ps. 112:1)
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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Praying for My Husband: Day 1

I came across the Revive Our Hearts website, which has an article on 31 days of praying for your husband. I'm going to try and follow it every day in January. A late start today, but that's because I hadn't found it earlier!

Today's challenge is:
Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (2 Peter 3:18; Prov. 4:23)

See all 31 days

January Goals

  1. Send in FSA reimbursement
  2. Find out about HSA reimbursement & send in
  3. Finish 2007 financials & prepare 2008 budget
  4. Archive Quicken info & backup other computer data
  5. Install software on new computer
  6. Swap out printer (or get L to do it) :)
  7. Gather tax paperwork & prepare folders for 2008 paperwork
  8. Review 2007 financials and 2008 budget with L
  9. Clean out master bedroom closets
  10. Inventory master bedroom, bathroom & closets
  11. Menu plan for month
  12. Clean out fridge
  13. Put away all Christmas stuff
  14. Finish correspondence course on the Holy Spirit
  15. Finalize bathroom plans & send to C
  16. Practice with new camera for at least an hour
  17. Get all vacation pics off L's computer and/or camera & send to family
  18. Bake something for L at least twice (banana bread & pumpkin bread)
  19. Return L's sweater
  20. Get guest room ready for visitors again (i.e., wash the sheets & make the bed!!)
  21. Straighten bookcase in my office (it is out of control!)
  22. Get caught up on filing (the neverending task it seems)
  23. Exercise 450 minutes (15 times for 30 minutes)
  24. Practice piano 480 minutes
  25. Talk to L about church - should I look for one on my own or will he go with me?
  26. Call or email S.
  27. Make eye appointment
(Italics means it's in progress.)

Goals for 2008

I love making goals. I love having something I'm working towards, and though I don't always meet my goals when I want to, I think it still helps me accomplish more than I would otherwise. I also recently read about a having a word for the year. I like that, so I'm going to choose DISCIPLINE for my word. I need to get more disciplined in my life.

A general goal I have that isn't a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) include spending regular time with L. I don't want to try & figure out how to make that specific and measurable, even though that's always recommended for goals. I do think it's attainable, realistic, and timely, so it'll just be my ART goal. ;)

So, with that in mind, my big 2008 goals:

  • Spiritual – Find a church to attend. And attend regularly.
  • Physical – Establish regular exercise habit – minimum of 3 times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Intellectual – Complete 4 courses in certificate series.
  • Family - I guess this would be my ART goal of spending regular time with L. It is his love language after all. :)
  • Social – Reconnect with friends from whom I've drifted apart. My fault, because I can be very bad about forgetting to return calls and emails. It's specific, because I know the people I've got in mind (A, B, K & S) & it's measurable, because I either do or do not contact them.
  • Household – Update home inventory. Ugh. Don't want to do this, but I know I should.

I usually also make a list of goals/accomplishments for each month, and I'll make January's a separate post.

Thankful Tuesday

As the new year begins:
  • I'm thankful for the new year! There are certainly no guarantees, and I'm happy to greet the new year with my friends and family safe and healthy.

  • I'm grateful for the refreshing vacation we just had, and the fact that I still have a lot of vacation days available.

  • Speaking of our vacation, I'm thankful that we were safe the entire trip. We did lots of driving and saw a couple of accidents so I certainly don't take that for granted.

  • I'm also grateful that we didn't get sick during or after traveling, like we often do. Watching what we ate more carefully plus frequent hand washing may have helped, and I also prayed about it.

  • This may sound silly, but I'm so grateful that I found my hat! One day while walking around DC I realized I was missing my hat. L & I backtracked a bit and eventually found it right in the middle of the sidewalk. I was praying hard about that because it was going to be cold most of the trip and I would have had several days of being cold or I would have had to try and find a new hat. Plus I really love my hat! I was just about skipping with joy when I saw it on the sidewalk ahead of us

  • I'm thankful about the timing of L's upcoming business trip. It could have been very inconvenient for us but it looks like it will be perfectly timed instead. Well, perfect would be him not having to go anywhere, but if he has to go, this will be a good a time as there is. :)