Archive for August, 2007

August 29, 2007

by grace.

there’s an old saying that says something like: i couldn’t see for forest for the trees.  i guess it means that you couldn’t get the big picture because you were looking too closely at a situation or at the details of something that went on.  well, sometimes in my christian walk, i feel like i can’t see the trees for the forest.  because i was raised in the church and have always considered myself a christian (and very NOT rebellious), sometimes i miss the simple foundational truths of my faith.  i went to christian school all my life and teachers often warned us to make sure that we believed what we believed in our hearts…not just in our heads because we’d heard them so many times.  i’m sometimes caught off guard when i hear something in a new way (caught off guard in a good way).  i love to hear a new interpretation of a verse…a perspective i’ve never heard before. 

today i drove to tallahassee.  it’s a 6 hour drive and since i didn’t have harper with me, i got to choose the music for the whole trip.  i put my iPod in the front seat (my “iPod” just happens to be a tupperware container full of alphebetically ordered cd’s that we usually have in storage haha).  i ended up choosing mostly christian cd’s, but not on purpose…i was just looking through them and everything that popped out at me ended up being christian.  i had forgotten how much i love to listen to music like that in the car by myself….i can sing as loud as i want….  anyway, as i was driving i put in Shane & Shane’s CLEAN.  i’ve listened to that cd at least 50 times, but for some reason, today one of the verses in a song (which also happens to be scripture) JUMPED out at me:

by grace you have been saved

by grace you have been saved

by grace you have been saved

by grace through faith

through faith

even the faith i have to sing

hale, hale, hallelujuah to my king

it’s freely given

THAT I MIGHT NOT BOAST IN MYSELF, BUT IN HIM

if you know the song, you’re probably singing it right now.  🙂  anyway, that last line jumped out at me.  another elusive spiritual truth right under my nose all this time.

one of the things i appreciate most about christianity and about what christ did for us is that we don’t have to earn anything.  there are no required rituals, no real rules.  our only requirement is that we accept what is given to us, and once we’ve done that with our whole heart, our desire to love and serve the lord and grow closer to him will come naturally.  so, i’ve known for awhile that we’re not saved by works.  the part i had never really thought about was this:  the way the lord set things up brings the most glory to him.  the reason we don’t have to earn anything is so that all the praise goes to HIM.  the lord knew that if there were rules and rituals, then even those christians only striving to be holy could eventually take a look at all they’d “done” and turn things around and give praise to themselves.

jesus really was the only way it could’ve worked.

Advertisements
August 26, 2007

little blonde curls and big blue eyes.

ryan and i got home on friday.  my mom (sally) had been here all week taking care of harper and opie (the dog).  i’m shooting a wedding in tallahassee on saturday (9/1), so mom’s original plan was just to ride up with me…we were planning on leaving sunday (today) or monday.  i was excited at the prospect of not having to make the 7 hour drive with harper alone…she’s not a great traveler (see previous post, “the not-so-friendly skies”).  anyway, when we got home, i really didn’t feel like packing and doing laundry and repacking within a matter of two days, so i decided that harper and i would drive up probably tuesday or wednesday.  ryan has monday off, so i thought it’d be good family time.  we rented a car for mom so she could drive home yesterday (saturday).  somehow she convinced me to let her take harper with her.  it was an extremely hard decision, not because i don’t trust her or anything, but because i had just been away from harper for 5 days.  needless to say (i hope), when mom and harper pulled away in that rental car yesterday, i cried.  alot.  i was glad i had big sunglasses on because i didn’t want mom to see me crying…she might have reconsidered and i didn’t want that.  she was SO excited to get to take her home for a few days…i think she was mostly excited to surprise dad…he’s a sucker for harper ann (as most grandpa’s are).  all week on our trip i had been saying to ryan that i wanted to find some kind of thank-you gift for mom…a souvenier or whatever…  i never got her anything, but when she asked about taking harper home, i knew that had to be it.

my heart hurts.  i’m still glad i let her go (we just got back from after-church lunch with friends and it was really nice not to have harper there for once), but i am definitely having a hard time.  when we were in vegas, it was different.  we were on a trip, busy every second, away from home and normalcy.  i wasn’t sad, but i have to admit that i didn’t feel like myself.  it was so strange not to be changing diapers or cutting up food or listening to songs sung by sesame street characters.  i missed looking at her and hearing her little jibber-jabbering voice all over the house.  i think i forgot what she looked like a few times…

i’ve known for the past year and a half that i’m a mother, and i’ve known that i really love the “job”, but i don’t think it hit me until this week that it’s not just what i do.  it’s WHO I AM.  it is such a strange feeling to be so connected to another person…your own blood running through her veins…90% of your waking thoughts devoted to the little one’s needs and giggles.  i also realized that even though being harper’s mother is who i am, it’s only a part of me.  the lord has designed us as people to be able to fill many roles, and to fill them well.  i didn’t do any mom “duties” while we were gone, but i still felt like myself.  i can still be katie the wife and friend…even though i missed harper, it was encouraging to take a step outside that role and realize that i still know exactly who i am (at least for this week…). 

August 26, 2007

4 days in the desert.

ryan and i just got back from our vegas vacation.  we had a great time.  the trip was to celebrate our 5 years of marriage.  it was great.  my mom (sally) kept harper, so i had no worries at all.  ryan and i had a very laid-back, relaxing trip, and didn’t get sick of each other at all (except for the last night when we both admitted being a little annoyed with each other as we lost $80 in the casino).  for anyone interested, here’s what we did:

sunday:  arrived in las vegas around 9:30.  waited on our luggage for about an hour and then discovered we could have it delievered to our hotel when they finally found it.  took a taxi to the hotel (MGM Grand).  looked for an open food place in our hotel…the 24 hour restaraunt food looked good, but it was pricey so we ended up eating mcdonald’s (i usually detest it, but it was friggin delicious at the time).  got to bed around 12:30 (that’s THREE-thirty in florida)

monday:  neither of us could sleep in, since our bodies are used to eastern time.  we woke up around 7:30 and laid in bed watching tv until 9:00, when we had our suitcase brought up (it’d been delievered around 2 am…had a broken zipper and was in a plastic bag because all the clothes were falling out…hmmmm).  we spent most of the day just walking the strip, in and out of casinos, exploring.  we had lunch at the mirage buffet…crablegs, prime rib, chinese food, shrimp cocktail, salad, etc…  i give it an 8.  (side note: obviously it was very hot when we were walking around…you know, with it being summer in the desert.  i saw a 7-11 sign from about 5 blocks away, so we had to stop and get slurpees.  this 7-11 had TWELVE flavors of slurpees.  wow.  i was impressed.)  we headed back to the hotel sometime in mid-afternoon and headed down to the pool.  they have a lazy river which was fun.  we took about 10 trips around it, laid in the sun for a few minutes, and then went back up to the room to change.  we had dinner at wendy’s (disappointing, but cheap), and then set out to explore more of the strip.  we ended up riding the “manhattan express”, the roller coaster at New York New York (that place was my absolute favorite…anyone interested should google it for pictures…it was amazing).  the ride was really fun (not $12 fun, but what’re ya gonna do?), except that i told ryan afterwards that there were several seconds when i feared for my life.  the cars are made to look like ny taxi cabs and seemed really cumbersome.  i felt like i was in a car driving over a bridge of railroad tracks.  we only rode it once.  🙂

tuesday:  we’d decided that we were going to try to rent a car and drive to the hoover dam (about 40 minutes away).  there were no cars available that day, so we reserved one for the next (to drive to the grand canyon) and signed up for a tour that would take us to the dam.  the tour was fun.  our driver was cute…about 75, and you could tell he was lonely, but loved his job…couldn’t put down the microphone.  that night we decided to walk down to fremont street, which is “downtown” vegas…the other casino section of town, seperate from the strip.  i had looked at a map and didn’t think it was that far of a walk.  we walked for about two hours, every 15 minutes thinking it was right around the corner.  finally we got to the sahara (the north end of the strip, for those of you who know about vegas) and we were very hungry and ridiculously tired of walking and mad that we had walked that far and long for nothing.  we at the $10 dinner buffet that compared closely to golden corral.  sahara is ghetto.  we asked a valet how much further of a walk fremont street would be and he said, “whoa.  at least 20 minutes.”  no, we took a cab back to the MGM.  (later we’d discover that that was a very wise decision…downtown is NOT a good place to be after dark.)

wednesday: picked up the rental car around 8:30.  arrived at the entrance to grand canyon national park around 1:00.  (thank you satellite radio in the rental car!)  walked around the information center, took a long short-cut to the bus, then took the bus to a trailhead.  we hiked down a dusty trail about a mile, rested for a few minutes, then hiked back up…all in all, about 3 hours.  my family went to the grand canyon when i was a kid, but it was christmas and there was snow, so we couldn’t hike very far (plus, i’m sure we were complaining the whole time that we wanted to watch tv or get hot chocolate for something), so it was cool to actually be IN the grand canyon.  we got a workout and we got dirty.  stopped at a cracker barrel on the way back to LV…yummy breakfast for dinner.  we didn’t get back until around midnight, so it was a full day, but we both commented on being really glad that we made the drive and took the time to go.  hopefully it won’t be the last time we’re there.

thursday:  we slept in.  our bodies had just about adjusted to the time change…unfortunately.  on tuesday night, while trying to find fremont street, we had seen a ross on the strip (you know, ross dress for less…).  knowing that our suitcase wasn’t in service anymore, we went in and checked it out and they had a ton of suitcases.  thursday morning we bought a bus ticket and rode up to buy a new suitcase.  stopped at the bellagio on the way to try their lunch buffet.  it was a TEN.  SO good!!!  $20 for flank steak, salmon, shrimp, and all kinds of other fancy salads, pastas, desserts, and side dishes.  after we got the suitcase, it took us an HOUR to get a bus that wasn’t full (the bus system is really popular because you can ride it all day for $5).  we had to walk quite a bit before we finally found a stop where people were getting off (thank you fashion show mall).  we were exhausted when we finally got back to the room.  we (meaning I) ironed clothes for that night and packed up the new suitcase to have that out of the way.  we went down to the pool to have another go down the lazy river…i wish i had one of those at my house….sigh.  even though it was full of drunk adults and obnoxious kids, there’s something so relaxing and fun about floating along with a current while hanging onto a plastic doughnut (mmmm doughnuts…).  after the pool we went up to the room and it was time to get ready for the show that night.  we went to see “Ka”.  a cirque de soleil offering in our hotel.  it was absolutely astounding.  definitely one of the best shows i’ve ever seen.  i would highly recommend it.  they have a huge moving stage that cannot be explained and alot of the actors are hanging from the ceiling through most of the show, which is also hard to explain.  it was incredible!  after the show we went out to take the bus down to fremont street.  once again…what a friggin pain.  we had to walk about 10 blocks down to the bellagio, where we knew people would be getting off to see the fountain show (i haven’t mentioned it before, but holy crap it was amazing).  it took us an hour to get down to fremont st.  it was cool, but i think ryan and i were both a little sick of the crowds and the smoke by that time.  they have blocked off one of the oldest streets so that cars can’t drive on it anymore, and they installed a HUGE canopy.  the canopy makes up big tv screen and they do video shows on it every hour.  pretty impressive.  we gambled at the golden nugget for a while and then waited on the bus to take us back to our hotel, which took another hour.  back at the room, we had to finish packing and then set our alarm for 4:30 am…which just happened to be about 2 hours from then.  ew.

friday:  flew home.  gave harper about 100 kisses.  went to bed around 9:00…thanks to 2 hours of sleep the night before, we easily adjusted back to eastern time.

Afterthoughts:

Our hotel had a lion habitat.  The lions were tame (licked thier trainers and played ball with them and stuff).

Starbucks has an empire in Las Vegas.  There was at least one in every hotel/casino we went into…some were open 24 hours.  What is it about that little green circle?!  I resisted whatever it is.

Props to satellite radio.  Our rental car had it (Sirius), and that was definitely was sustained us during the 10 hours we spent in the car on Wednesday.  The Blue Collar Comedy channel was great.

August 19, 2007

transition.

ryan and i are sitting in the airport waiting for our flight.  the plane was late arriving, so i’m going out on a limb and saying that we’ll be leaving late, but i barely care (i just hope we don’t miss our connection).  we are harper-less.  and it’s nice.  🙂  i tried really really really hard not to cry as i kissed her 20 times and practically ran in the airport.  and i didn’t.  🙂  so far so good.  i just talked to my good friend, cathleen, uninterrupted for almost an hour.  so nice!  yes, we are on a trip to celebrate our 5 years together, but for ryan and i this trip is also about independence, so it’s been nice just to sit and chill and watch other people deal with screaming children (thanks mom!!!!).

next post will be a report on our adventures in LAS VEGAS!!!  woo-hoo!!

August 18, 2007

bob.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROBERT FRANKLIN!

today is my brother’s birthday.  i didn’t send him a gift.  he’s really hard to buy for (i feel like all i ever buy him is books or giftcards to bookstores).  we’ve kind of grown out of the giving birthday presents to siblings thing, but i still feel bad because i didn’t even send a card.  here’s a little poem to explain what a great brother i have… 

(i usually hate poetry, but i’m in the mood to rhyme right now…maybe i should call it a rap…)

bob is my big brother.

i wouldn’t want any other.

he is very smart and likes to read.

he has a wife and son, indeed.

that bio-chem degree has come in handy,

the beer he brews sure is a dandy.

he has a strong faith and knowledge of the Word,

he’s a servant to others and pleases the Lord.

he makes his home in springfield, missouri,

and works very hard, even in snow flurries. 

he has a great sense of humor, though not very loud

and when i think about him i feel very proud.

i love my brother!

August 18, 2007

chocolate-covered jealousy

my sister-in-law (and very good friend) just moved to switzerland.  not just switzerland, but the swiss alps.  a chateau in the swiss alps complete with (these are her words) “geraniums and shutters”, “trees and hills…and cows”.  wow.  i am jealous.  truthfully, i LOVE my life.  i adore my husband and he truly is my best friend.  i absolutely love being a mother and couldn’t describe the feelings i have for harper.  i even love our dog and miss him when we’re away.  but, truth be told, i would love to trade places with erin right now.  (well, ryan and i leave for a kid-free trip to vegas in two days, so maybe not right this second, but you get the point…)  i am very appreciative of the life the Lord has blessed me with, but who wouldn’t want to live in a swiss chateau for 4 months…soaking in new knowledge, new friendships, and new country?!  i spent a semester of college living in a flat in london, england.  those short 3 1/2 months instilled such a love of travel and adventure in me… a love that is very much left wanting when the most exciting thing i do every day is…um…run errands?  not that i would want to leave my husband and child to go travel in europe, but just let me say that i will definitely be living vicariously through my adventuresome erin.

still, i find comfort in the fact that there are probably plenty of gals out there who wouldn’t mind trading places with me!!  🙂  i definitely have ALOT of blessings to count… 

August 18, 2007

michael vick.

what an unbelievable disappointment.  i knew he was too good to be true.

August 14, 2007

oh hostess!

okay, so i’m in the middle of trying to get through a huge pile of ironing while harper naps, but i just had to come write this. 

I LOVE TWINKIES.  i am a junk-food finatic, but i have to say that i think twinkies are my favorite.  i love the taste, i love the texture, i love the smell.  i would lick the wrapper if i knew i wouldn’t remember doing it.  alot of people (including my husband and/or previous roommates) wouldn’t know how much i love them because i don’t buy them very often, but there’s a reason i don’t buy them…because i eat them.  all.  i once went through a box (10) in TWO days.  the worst part was that ryan saw them in the cupboard one day, and then didn’t see them the next.  he asked me where they were.  yikes.  i had to admit that i had eaten all of them by myself.  that’s why i never buy them.  🙂  there are many many different snacks/junk foods that i love (double-stuff oreos, anything little debbie makes, cool ranch doritos, publix marshmallow delight), but for some reason, twinkies are my weakness.  i can never eat just one. 

(the reason i’m writing this is because i just finished off a box…that one actually lasted a week!  still, it will be months before i buy them again.  i don’t run 2 miles a day just to burn off my twinkie calories          …there’s ice cream and french fries too!!)

August 13, 2007

um. yeah.  i just read a few more posts from that girls blog (see previous post) and here is something she said about her 3 year old: 

“He did decide that I could wash the shirt that he’s had on for the past 3 days though! I had to promise it would be clean in the morning. ) He is so awesome!”

i do detect a note of sarcasm, however who allows their kid to wear the same clothes 3 days in a row?!  i’ve had harper in her pj’s until 1:00 pm before and felt a little guilty about it…but 3 days?!  also just discovered that these people are into UNSCHOOLING … never heard of it before, but it’s an interesting idea for sure.

gotta go seperate change…i’m seperating our spare change into baggies for the slot machines!

August 13, 2007

ew.

 i’ve mentioned before that i love reading other people’s blogs…most of the time i start out on someone i know, and then click, click, click, it’s onto an interesting stranger.  this morning i found a christian mom’s blog.  here’s an excerpt: 

“We met at a church and there was a playground right outside the meeting room and most of the older children were out there, including mine. Mesa was about 22 months old at the time and she slammed open the door, looked for me, who was leading the meeting at the time, and ran over. She lifted my shirt, nursed for maybe 30 seconds, and ran back off to play.”

okay, ew.  is this weird to anyone else?  the wierdest part is, after reading more of her posts, i figured out that this girl and her husband share a bed with their kids, anytime they want.  her son is almost three and still sleeps with them.  he is three and he STILL NURSES before he falls asleep!  sorry if anyone reading this has done/is planning on doing the same thing, but in my opinion, it is just wrong to be that attached to your kids.  they WILL have issues.  i always think about what the girls did in bible times with their babies…still, that was in bible times when everyone slept in the same room.  personally, i don’t want my kids to feel “at home” in my bedroom, much less in my bed with me and my husband!  how/when do these people have sex?  in my opinion, one of the most important cornerstones for a good family is for the kids to know and understand that their parents’ relationship with each other comes first.  how is that message communicated when kids know they can barge into bed with their parents whenever they want?!