6.29.09- Day 43

Welcome home Nicole and Sarah! We picked up these two at the airport this evening. It was fun to see them and hear some stories about their time in Sierra Leone. I like the look on Nicole's face as she is coming out of the customs line. It pretty much sums up how Eric looked the entire time we were waiting at the airport (he was so eager and excited to see Nicole). I think Sarah looks concentrated on being back. We ate dinner at Anthony's pizza and then had dessert at Coldstone. After that, we dropped off Eric and Nicole and took a little tour of all the hard work Eric did on their house while Nicole was gone. I'm also really happy to have Sarah back for a few days- then we leave for China!!!!

Also today-
Two false alarms on our security system. Why?
A little extra work on the bathroom.
Studied from 12-3 at Barnes and Noble.


6.28.09- Day 42

Today: helped a new powerpointee at church, popped my neck and as a result got a crick in it- I can't sidebend my neck to the left at all!, ate cereal for lunch, Becca came over an worked on my neck to no avail, went over my last practice test, fell asleep for a short nap, started dinner (breakfast- cinnamon rolls, eggs, ham), woke Alan up, ate with Alan really quick, left for Financial Peace, drove home, threw the ball to Nig for a while, created a list of free and cheap things to do in Denver for my FPU class, now for a little relaxing and sleep.

Financial Peace University...
Although both Alan and I were raised by parents who instilled good financial truths and gave us good head starts in life, we decided to take the FPU class to reassess where we are at financially. We do have some school loans and a mortgage that we need to pay off. We are also really good at spending all of the money that we make. It is so easy to do when you don't have a budget and tell your money where it should go (rather than the alternative of watching it disappear). I'm really thankful to have a husband who is also interested in making wise financial decisions. We also have a lot of financial goals (like sending Alan back to school without going into debt or me working full time for living expenses). And travel- we really like doing that. I really believe that the FPU course principles work (even though we are only 1/2 way through the class). I would encourage anyone in debt or that needs a new framework to view their financial situation to take the class.

That being said, I also have some questions about the class. An uneasy feeling that wells up in me whenever Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else, so that someday you can live like no one else." Or "I'm not saying that you don't deserve to drive a nice car, I'm just saying that maybe you should drive like no one else so that later you can drive like no one else." Or, "Save money now so that you can take that much deserved vacation without bringing the vacation home with you" (implying not to pay for it with credit). Or "Your heavenly father owns everything in the earth. He's rich. If had a really rich father, I would talk to him if I were broke." I really don't believe that Dave Ramsey believes in the prosperity gospel, but I can't help but think that maybe he is preaching a little too material. I appreciate when he says that if we get out of debt, we will be able to "save, invest, blow, and give." I truly think that he believes giving is a large part of our responsibility with our money. I also believe that we can do much more with our money for God when we are not giving it all to credit card companies or spending it on clothing. I just wonder. I wonder about the millions of poor Christians spread through out the world. I wonder about those dying of hunger. I know that it is human greed largely that causes the problem. Where is the balance between financial wisdom (and most of what Dave Ramsey teaches is straight out of Proverbs) and justice/mercy/compassion/responsibility? I realize there are issues with trying to reach out to a Christian and secular audience, but I wish there was a little less focus on "me" and a little more "outward" focus.


6.27.09- Day 41

Today... Saw an even more BEAUTIFUL sunset while I was running tonight in Stapleton. And, a picture of what I see the whole time I am running- blurry Nigel on the end of a leash :).

Also today... Took another practice test- passed with flying colors! (okay okay it was really only about a 73%, but it was 12 questions past what I need to expect to pass). Watched "Return to Me." Do you remember that movie- it's an oldie, but a goodie. It's the one where Minnie Driver gets a heart transplant when David Duchovny's wife dies and then they fall in love unknowingly... It's a classic. I cried, of course- how could you not? Ate dinner with Alan (brats on the george foreman and boiled corn- what a MAN meal- haha). Moped for a while because I miss Al (we're midway through a long work stretch- he works nights). Got up and mowed the lawn, then went on a run. SO glad I went. Running and sunsets are good for the soul.


6.26.09- Day 40

Studied from 9-3 with Becca. (with a few side conversations and lunch at Panera.) Nap. Quick Quesadillas for dinner (because said nap was slightly too long). A lovely walk in at Stapleton Central Park. The pics are from the walk. Beautiful- and it wasn't even as pretty as I've seen it. It was a nice time of enjoying God's creation. I LOVE Colorado. Later tonight- finish bathroom painting. SLEEP.

Here's the lyrics to a song I was listening to on the way home from my walk. They spoke to me, so I thought I would share.

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life


6.25.09- Day 39


Picture 1: Continued progress on the bathroom. Bought a few towels, floor mats, accessories for the bathroom. Need one more coat of paint on the walls, a few touch-ups, longer screws for the knobs on the vanity, and a frame for our mirror. Then it will be a new bathroom! (mostly- besides the floor, sink, and tiles.)

Picture 2: Updated pic from my wildflower garden. It's getting so big and colorful!

Also today: walk with Nigel, shopping for bathroom stuff, completing the cash flow planning worksheets for FPU, making delicious peanut sauce pasta, watching replays of 2008 Olympic gymnastics, chatting with my mom, listening to the rain and hail, and finishing study of "other systems"

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!! You truly are the best mom ever and an inspiration to me. I can't even express all the things I love about you but here's my top 5 list:

5. You love nature so much and are awed by a bird or flower or sky. You've passed that love on to me!

4. You love to chat (rather than doing a variety of other mind numbing activities). You are always ready to talk and listen, whether about daily life or deep thoughts. And on the same note, when you are chatting with others, it sounds like someone either died or won the lottery no matter what the actual situation is! You know how to make the events in people's lives feel important.

3. You are dedicated to the children in your life (whether your own children or those you teach).

2. You talk to God, and he answers your prayers. He speaks to you and you encourage others with what he says. Thanks for being a spiritual example to me and everyone around you.

1. You are my mom and you've always been supportive of me in whatever I have done. It has meant the world to me to have your love, guidance, and friendship in my life.

Thanks for being you!

Happy Birthday- wish I could be there!

6.24.09- Day 38

First off... Happy Birthday Aunt Karen! I hope that you had a wonderful birthday. Wish I could have been there to celebrate with you!

This picture is bathroom in progress. The walls just need one more coat of paint, then I can start moving everything back in! I hope that it all comes together! I'm liking it so far.

Also today: sleeping in a little, studying at barnes and noble, watering plants, chatting with my sister and Meggie and Bethany for a minute, and watching Mama Mia (it was okay- not the world's best, but it was a fun movie).


6.23.09- Day 37

Hiking today! We were going to go with Carissa and Andy, but Carissa ended up having a meeting, so we rescheduled friend hiking. Al couldn't sleep all night, so we left around 7am to go hiking at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. (so he could get sleep later in the day). He was really great and packed lunches and water. Then he patiently got me up (sometimes that's hard since I'm not so much a morning person). It was a nice drive (only 1 hour) to the park entrance. We registered our car then drove to the start site of our planned hike. We thought we had found the trail and started following it, then ended up at another campsite. We asked a couple park rangers about the trail, since the markings were misleading and we thought we knew where to go from there. However, after walking through the woods, we ended up on a dirt road that lead back to the same campsite we were at before! We did see a hummingbird though. It was really cool. It was flying, then perched on a branch for a while. Needless to say, we were both frustrated that we could not find the trail. Finally, we went back to our starting point and found a different path. Luckily, after a while we started spotting trail signs! We found raccoon trail! It was really funny- I told Al, "look there is a raccoon" (he thought I was serious and started looking everywhere), but I just meant I saw a sign for the raccoon trail. So, as if to make up for having no signs at the trailhead, there was a sign about every 20 ft later on just to make sure we still knew we were on the trail. We had a very lovely hike after that. Awesomely huge aspens, beautiful scenery, Panorama Point (a picturesque view of the continental divide), and time with the hubby. After the hike, I drove home (because Al was very tired, having not slept the night before). It felt so good to get up to the mountains.

Also today: mailing my mom's bday present, returning some items to Walmart, maxing out our grocery envelope (we're using the envelope system currently), a nap, some tv, and painting. Also got a good rain this afternoon!

6.22.09- Day 36

We are painting our bathroom! This is a "before" picture. Today we painted the ceiling (we got it retextured a couple months ago)and the vanity. The ceiling is staying white and the vanity is going black. I'm excited to see the final product. Tomorrow we will put on another coat to the vanity and paint the baseboards white. Hopefully after that we'll get to the walls (they will be a steel blueish color). Yay for home projects!

Also today: studied in the morning with Becca (after staying up ridiculously late finishing a library book), got netflix, and did a really nice yoga session.

Side note: Yoga today is no longer free! It's been several months since I've been on to do a workout and when I went on I found that they have one free session per week if you join and then to get other workouts, you have to pay 9.99 per month. Oh well. I never do more than 1 yoga session in a week anyways. I guess anything worth paying money for is never free.


6.21.09- Day 35

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Sorry I can't be there to wish you a happy day in person! This is the best I can do. (also sorry that the card is not there yet- I'm working on the whole card on time thing).

I love you so much, Dad. When I was little, I believed you could do anything and fix any problem. I ran to you when I was hurt or sad and I went to you to be silly and have fun. I learned about God from you. Not only about what God the Father looks like through having an earthly Dad that loved me, but also through thousands of theological conversations. I learned to work hard from you and always to do my best by watching you in your jobs and ministry. I watched you love our mother and through your example, I found a wonderful, Godly husband who loves me too. Dad, thanks for who you are. When I was little, I believed you could do anything. Although I know now that you are not perfect, I still believe that you can do anything. I'm so excited to see the ways God is using you now and in the future.
I love you.


6.20.09- Day 34

I have been using these two books (Bible and A Guide to Prayer) for over 4 years now for my devotional time. I love the way A Guide to Prayer puts you on the liturgical calendar with themes to fit the season of faith (for example specific to Easter or Lent or Advent, etc).

This week is one of my favorite weeks. It is titled, "Our weakness, God's strength." I need reminders about this daily. Below is one of the quotes in the readings for reflection section reflects well how I feel today and many days. It is so easy to say, "God, I trust you for the future" or " God, change me (tomorrow)" and still to hang on to the present worries and habits. It is much harder to let go. To say, "will you take care of me now?" To open yourself to transformation NOW. Yet, I believe he comes and meets us in our vulnerability and honesty. That he will answer us when we call (and not days or weeks later). That he is already with us when we cry out for Him to be near. That he is already transforming us when we cry out for him to change us. That "All the time we are pursuing Him, we are already in His hands." (A.W. Tozer)

"And Lord, I am going to trust thee to keep me. I have tried keeping myself, and have failed, and failed, most grievously. I am absolutely helpless. So now I will trust thee. I give myself to thee. I keep back no reserves. Body, soul and spirit, I present myself to thee as a piece of clay to be fashioned into anything thy love and thy wisdom shall chose. And now I am thine. I believe thou dost accept that which I present to thee; I believe that this poor, weak, foolish heart has been taken possession of by thee, and that thou hast even at this very moment begun to work in me to will and to do of thy good pleasure. I trust thee utterly, and I trust thee now."
- From The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith


6.19.09- Day 33

" On being the most ridiculous person alive..."

I have self-titled this post because, in fact, I AM the most ridiculous person alive. You see, although this may be TMI for some, I come to believe I am pregnant about 2-3 times each year. If something slightly goes wrong with my period or birth control wasn't used exactly correctly (we're actually really good though) or I just FEEL pregnant, I start noticing the signs. "What signs," might you ask? Well, the normal early pregnancy signs like indigestion, nausea, cramping, light bleeding, breast tenderness, etc. It kind of reminds me of the movie "He's just not that into you." It's really easy to notice signs when you are already thinking something. Alas, the last few days I was absolutely convinced that yes, I was pregnant. There actually were a few things that made me think that, but not really enough to be legitimate. So, the picture above is when said "baby" was to be born (Al got this due date calendar thing at work from a meds rep). hahahahaha. I'm actually laughing to myself thinking about it. I was very convinced. Now, after taking a pregnancy test and consecutively starting my period the next day- I'm sure I'm NOT pregnant. (funny how many of the early signs of pregnancy are also menstrual signs.) Sorry if this post is TMI, but really, I'm ridiculous. And, I'm glad I'm not pregnant because I really want to work for a year at least before going down that path. I worked so hard for the past 3 years that I think it would be a very good idea to hold off. Not to mention Greece/Italy 2010! (not yet set plan, but good possibility) Anyways, just wanted to make all of the rest of you feel better about yourself!

6.18.09- Day 32

Ahhh, another evening of studying- this time at Panera. I did something a little crazy today... I got up this morning to take my routine Practice Exam (I do this every 1/2 to full week ish). I did really good on it actually. Then, I got online to sign up for my real test, feeling confident that I could do it. Well, the only test days open were in CO Springs on June 22 (which would be in like 3 days) or in Hays, KS on July 1 (which is longer than I wanted to drive or wait). Who knew there were only 4 sites in all of CO to test at? So, I devised a plan in which I would retake another exam from a different publisher to make sure I was ready to take the test. If I passed, I would go for it and take the test on Mon, if not, I would drive to KS on July 1 to take the test. Well, I studied, then took another test from a different source, only to fail by 2 questions. I then faced a dilemma. Was it just fatigue (considering that I sat in front of a computer answering questions for over 5 hours today and studied for another 2 ish) or am I not ready? Well, I decided to check out what was still available and the 22nd wasn't even an option any more, but a day opened up in Denver on July 2nd, which seems like the best option right now to me because I don't really want to drive all the way to KS to take the test. So, I signed up for the date, which means studying for longer than I wanted to and possibly cutting it close on receiving my Special Education Certification for APS in time, but I think it would be worse not to pass the test. Okay... If you are still reading, you are a trouper. Such is my crazy train of thought at midnight after taking a 3 hour test. Good night!


6.17.09- Day 31

Thank you Home Depot gift card. We're not sure who it was from, but thanks for buying us paint for our bathroom and a pretty new house plant. Lovely. Pictures to come of new bathroom (someday).

Pretty low key day overall- studying all morning with Becca (which I have to admit makes studying a little more fun, since we always slide side conversations into study time), lunch, home depot, a walk with Alan and Nigel, Alan went to youth group, more studying, and then a good time of conversation with Eric. I'm currently listening to my husband play guitar, then sleepy time!


6.16.09- Day 30

Al and I hammered out chores on the house today! Woo hoo. Cleaning, mowing, weedeating, putting things away, even planting flowers and an avocado! We had small group at our house tonight. The group was a little small (such is summer), but it was still nice to have people over for dinner- homemade salsa, white chicken chili, and brownies/ice cream. (it definitely give motivation to the whole cleaning thing...).

Right now I am missing deep conversation and spiritual encouragement in my life. I'm in the place where I feel like I really long to be challenged, stirred, and encouraged and to be able to do the same for others. Hmmm, I guess that this realization puts me in the position that I should do something about it. I just feel like it should come to me, that it should be easy to find those relationships and click into them. And it should be especially easy for me and Al to find couples that we feel that way with mutually. I'm not sure why I always expect things to come really easily. For some reason it just rarely works out that way. I guess that's what building character is all about.


6.15.09- Day 29

Well, Al decided to take the picture into his own hands today... (blog sabotage according to him...)

Today was a relaxing day. Slept in a bit, went to church to pick up Sunday School lessons, went on a run, ate lunch, Eric came over and fixed our Microsoft Office, lazed around, studied therapeutic modalities and equipment, baked brownies for our new neighbors and took them over, ate leftover lasagna, went to the dollar theater (which so happens to now cost $3.50!!!!! lame.), and now home listening to Al play the guitar while I check the computer. Ahhhh.

Our new neighbors are nice. Brian and Julia. He is a resident at Children's Hospital and she is going to school to be a high school teacher. Maybe we'll hang out more?

6.14.09- Day 28

Yay! Today we had a surprise party for Allie because Matthew came up to bring Allie her engagement ring and do a "real" proposal. We were like little kids again sitting on the floor in Allie and Lauren's pantry waiting for Allie to arrive. Matthew just kept pacing in front of the windows, waiting for Allie to arrive (he was so cute). I love looking at his face while he looks at Allie because you can just see his love and care for her. I'm really happy for you Allie!

Also today: went to church and did power point, studied a little, made lasagna, and went to our Financial Peace University class.


6.13.09- Day 27

This is the image that I see 3-4 evenings a week when Alan goes off to work nights in the ICU. I'm really proud of him for all of his hard work and his life saving treatments he gives to his patients... but it kind of makes me single 3-4 days (if not more) per week. Let me explain. If you work nights- you sleep during the day and stay up at night. Even when you're not working, it's kind of hard to switch schedules. Needless to say, Alan sleeps a lot during the day and stays up really late, and I sleep a lot during the night and stay up all day. I feel kind of bad for Al because I get kind of needy, especially after he has worked for about 4 days straight. There are a few perks that I am slowly learning though, such as being able to have lots of "girl time" without feeling like I'm not spending enough time with him. I'm really thankful that I have an established group of friends and support system here in Denver. Work well tonight, Alan!


6.12.09- Day 26

**I spent some time gardening this evening after Alan left for work. This is a picture of one of my hens & chicks that I just transplanted to a new spot. I love the colors. Succulents are some of my favorites.

***On another note: I got the official job offer from Human Resources today to work for APS! I am getting more excited about the job and planning for it. Today I bought a huge planner (I'm going to need it to organize 50 children's treatment and meetings).

****I also made Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Garlic Greenbeans, and salad for dinner. It was really yummy! I love having time to do things like make real meals and garden. Yay summer!

*****Currently I am listening to the Priscilla Ahn station on Pandora. I LOVE her music and her genre of music. So relaxing and beautiful.


06.11.09- Day 25

My reading material today:

Item 1- An excel spreadsheet of all Nurse Anesthetist Schools. We're in the process of trying to rule some out to make choosing a school for Alan less intimidating.

Item 2- Better Homes and Gardens. Props to Mom for her Christmas (or maybe birthday) present of a 2 year subscription. I love it!

Item 3- My Real Simple List. Props to Sarah for the graduation present. I love this list- just check what you need or write it in. It's a handy and fun way to make grocery lists!

Item 4- Licensure Exam Study Materials. This will continue to be constant reading material until I get the guts (and knowledge) to take the test and pass. I should take it in the next 3 weeks! Yikes!

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