Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Memories

Gauging by the flatline of inactivity on my blog and the fact that I have at least 348 emails from myself to myself containing blog material, I figured I better get a post in before the world collapses. Or something like that.
Anyway, as it happens every year, Christmas came and went far too quickly. Since I can remember, I've always been sad to see the last gift waiting to be opened because at that point, I know the day we've been preparing for for months is finally essentially coming to a close. (As it is right now, we're a one-shebang kind of Christmas family - we actually are still able to celebrate all together ON Christmas day.) But whether it be a sign of getting old or just flat out fatigue, this year really seemed to last a 'good long time.' I mean, with church and lunch and then gifts and eating again and so on, it was really quite a long-winded festive event. As we're cleaning up, we always comment about what a nice day we've had and how blessed we are, and this year, Michael kept saying, "any Christmas that lasts longer than a work day must be a good one." Indeed it was. We were given far more than we deserve, in more ways than one, and the day with family was an absolute blessing. Probably another possible sign of age, but I actually often find myself enjoying the quiet times of Christmas - my sentimental, nostalgic senses are on overload during the lull after dinner on Christmas Eve when we all just sit by the fire and enjoy each other's company; breakfast on Christmas morning when cinnamon rolls and ham biscuits taste their very best; and Christmas night, when all is well. It's so nice. I'm so fortunate to have and enjoy these times. Makes for good memories.

One thing I forgot to include in the post about our decorations is a new, very special decoration this year. We have several ornaments on our tree dedicated to our animals, but I wanted something that documented them specifically. Enter a kit that can be found at your local Walmart:

So, on Thanksgiving night, we followed the directions, mildly tortured the dogs, and created a lovely keepsake of our furbabies for 2011.







Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Decorating

I have always loved to decorate. I used to get my own decorations and decorate my room when I was younger. Once, in elementary school, I talked my dad into getting me a live tree for our basement so I could decorate it, which he did. Happy as a clam, I decorated that tree with hand-made glitter and paint ornaments and paper chains that I made myself. I was so proud. In college, I would decorate my apartments from top to bottom (and would be SO annoyed if finals got in the way of my decorating plans.) Even when I was single, I still found the time and gusto to decorate. It was always something I looked forward to when Christmas rolled around. I really enjoyed it and was always pleased with the fruits of my labor, even if my roommates and my mom were ever the only ones to see all the hard work. After years of watching my mother, aunts, and cousins decorate every manageable surface for Christmas, often with multiple trees, I'm assuming I got that same gene which I have acted upon just about every year since. I think I burned myself out a few years ago when it took two - three full weeks to get everything done. I won't ever do that again. Maybe. But for whatever reason, this year I found it strangely difficult to decorate for Christmas. Not because I was sad or depressed or that I didn't have time or even that I didn't want to (quite the opposite in theory, thanks to Pinterest) but it just seemed to take every ounce of willpower to get the trees and boxes out of the attic. Possibly because part of me couldn't get over the whole "I'm going to do all of this work to look at it for a month and then spend a weekend cleaning and putting it away" issue. And then I got wracked by a migraine on the official decorating Saturday of the season (the Saturday after Thanksgiving), so maybe that had something to do with it. Or I could have just become a weekend slug, addicted to cheesy Christmas movies on Lifetime and the Hallmark channel. Whatever the case, it was a real feat to get the decorations out, so while they're not nearly what I had pictured in my mind (or found on Pinterest, for that matter) they'll do and I'm enjoying them all the same - I hope you do too!

A Simple Shoffner Christmas

The dining room - I think of it as an homage to the line "...We will bring Him silver and gold" from the song "Do You Hear What I Hear?"


Christmas china that we received as a wedding gift.

He posed himself.

Not satisfied with this, and yes, the garland is lighted. Is it plugged in? Nope.

My Nutcracker army of 41, a collection started 25 years ago.

The same army, now contained. You know, so they don't dance their way into Christmas havoc.


This is SO not what I pictured when I found my inspiration on Pinterest. I do love my stockings!

This year's addition to the collection.

And the tree. I love the lights reflecting in the window.

Abbie is absolutely convinced tree skirts are designed specifically for her nesting purposes.

Our sweet little tree in the master.

I wish I could say this was my grandmother's and it's very old and dainty, etc...but it's not. Pretty sure I got it at Kohl's a few years ago. But it matches our master decor, so it works.


So there you have it. In my mind, it was gorgeous. And trendy. And I had a tree in every room. It just didn't happen that way this year. But it will do. Jesus' birthday will still be just as special.


Christmas Tunes

I have a real affinity for music. Especially Christmas music, probably because of the nostalgia attached to it. But when Christmas music is bad, it's B-A-D. Some Christmas tunes I love to hate:

Last Christmas, by ANY artist. I swear I think we heard this at least 400 times during our one and only 3-hour visit to the mall this year. And each time I wanted to grab a clothing hanger and jam it into my jugular. (Hmmm, that's a little excessive, but you get the point.)

The Christmas Shoes. Okay, okay, it's a sweet story, I get it. But the song is horrible - the melody and arrangement is just absolutely hideous, not to mention the performance.

All I Want for Christmas is You, by Mariah Carey and Justin Beiber (I think.) This should be banned from airtime on the radio for the warbling that commences at the end of the song. Heinous.

Where Are You, Christmas? I'm probably going to take a lot of heat for this, because ultimately it's a pretty nice song, and I do like the premise for it. However, the year The Grinch remake was released, it was my first year as a married gal and my dad was very sick in intensive care. Christmas was not at all the same that year, and just like the good nostalgia linked to songs from the past, the difficulty of that Christmas is forever linked in my mind to that song because, (as songs tend to do), it would always find a way to work itself on to the radio every time I was in the car driving to see my dad. Sad.

Santa Claus is Coming To Town, by Bruce Springsteen. A lovely little children's Christmas tune is RUINED by this rock performer. This should be sung at elementary Christmas pageants, not on a stage with a rock band. What, is he crying at the end when he can't even complete a full line of the song as he becomes so breathless? I don't get it. Come on, Bruce - bad choice.

Happy Xmas (War is Over) I don't care who sings this song or the sentiment behind its writing - I detest it. First of all, was it too difficult to spell out the word Christmas? Secondly, while Christmas is a time for celebration, it's a celebration of the birth of Jesus, not celebrating the triumph of men in a bloodbath. Christmas is about Jesus, let's sings songs about that joy.

The River, by Joni Mitchell. OH MY. Talk about exalting the lonely, cold-hearted, unfortunate side of the holidays...this song takes the cake. Much like Dolly's "Hard Candy Christmas" (which I have been hating since I was exposed to it as a child), this song talks about running away from the holidays altogether and how the hollowness of people is amplified during such a joyful season. Yikes. This song should come with a warning: Do not listen to this song while driving as it could cause an unexplained urge to drive into oncoming traffic.

So while that's my list of putrid songs that claim to be for Christmas, I will err on the joyful side of things and celebrate some Christmas music I LOVE:

I will forever love all of Michael W. Smith's Christmas albums, but his It's a Wonderful Christmas is indeed WONDERFUL. I LOVE every last track on this album! Every song is performed by a 67-piece orchestra and each is absolutely heavenly. It reminds me of my days in choirs and orchestras.



Christmas would not be Christmas without the soundtrack from The Nutcracker. I am the idiot who drives around listening to instrumental music in my car and I don't care. You can't listen to this music and not be happy.

Speaking of the nostalgia I referred to earlier, Amy Grant's A Christmas Album will always bring fond childhood memories flooding back. Every time I hear "Tennessee Christmas" I'm immediately 8 years old again. The Statler Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas albums do that to me too. You can't go wrong with these country classics.

And new favorites and memory-makers are being born as Josh Groban's album Noel has become a staple as will Michael Buble's Christmas. These crooners make me swoon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Light a Candle

The holidays are challenging - for everyone in some form or fashion. Like I said in a post last year, our problems don't pack up and head to Florida for the holidays, they hauntingly stick around, trying to steal joy and ruin festive blessings. We've all experienced it. I've admittedly spent far too much time during holidays past sulking about my circumstances. And even though Michael and I are maneuvering some treacherous times right now, we are still extremely fortunate, especially in comparison to what others may be facing.
In years past, usually around Christmas Eve, I find myself wishing I had done more for people much less fortunate than myself (regardless of the nature of what my holiday season may have been.) My heart breaks for those that don't have a loving family to share a delicious meal with in a home warmed by a fire, those who are dealing with the terminal illness of a loved one, and most recently, the children who may never know the joy of all things Christmas. Without fail, even amidst my own warmth and joy, I look back with regret that I didn't choose one more Salvation Army angel, or donate more of my time serving others.
While we can only do so much to support donation-based charities and have limited time to serve outside of heavy work schedules, I prayed for God to show me a way we could help, in spite of these limitations. The answer came clearly.


Avalon's song, "Light a Candle" became one of my favorite songs several years ago when their Christmas album entered my regular rotation. It speaks volumes to what this season is truly all about. Then it hit me: correct me if  I'm wrong, but in some religions, it is a common practice to light candles in a church for each person you pray for - the key is not the candle, but the prayer the candle represents.
I can pray. For free. And I'm going to.
Each day this Christmas season, I will diligently get on my knees as ask God to bless those that are experiencing loss, tragedy, illness, etc. I will pray for those who need God's transformation. And I will especially pray for those "children who need more than presents can bring." Please, if you know of a person, a family, or have an unnamed request, please email me your request and be confident that a prayer will be said for that person(s). Maybe you can do the same - a whole army of prayer warriors may just make a difference this Christmas, even if for one person.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. ~Edward Sandford Martin



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pit Dwelling

I haven't posted in a bit. You can add that to your thankful list because unless you want to sit down at your computer for some good ole fashioned barkin' and moanin' then be glad I've withheld. At the same time, it's sad to me that someone as blessed as I am can say that. I really shouldn't have anything to complain about. I really should be so grateful for all of our blessings. And while I try diligently not to complain and to be as thankful as possible, sometimes my flesh gets the best of me and I fall flat on my face into self-pity, worry, and distrust. It's so destructive - to my relationships, my health, my job - everything. My faith shrinks until it's tiny, my body aches, my prayers hit the ceiling, and my joy is nowhere to be found. It's horrible. While I know all of these things, it seems I can't do anything to turn back around and regain the strength I need. That's where I've been - thrown back into a pit. It gets dirty down here. Wanna come play?

You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. - Psalm 30:3

All joking aside, I do have to admit that I'm tired. I'm tired of living in survival-mode. I'm tired of Murphy's Law applying to every single thing of every single day sometimes - just when we think the momentum has shifted and we're enjoying a tiny bit of life, something comes along and knocks the wind out of us and leaves us breathless, AGAIN. I'm tired of constantly having to work at everything; NOTHING is without constant attention and WORK. (I'm not a naturally positive, glass-half-full kinda gal...it takes a lot of work to smile all day, to hide the pain.) But most of all, I'm just tired of being tired.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. - Isaiah 40:31


I'm a smart person though - I know a lot of things: I know things could be much worse. I know that I have a family who loves and cares about me. I know God is much bigger than all of the things I struggle with. I know that I have received more blessing than I deserve. I know that those who believe, receive. I know that the Bible it says that God disciplines those he loves. I know he must love us A LOT.

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. - James 5:11

So by now you've probably figured out that our first round of Clomid was not a successful attempt. In fact, it was a big fat EPIC fail. I guess we keep trying. And hoping. We also have been reminded of the shroud of financial troubles from the now almost 3-year-old company closure that still haunt us. That's getting old, but it looks as if I'm going to have to suck it up, take it as it comes, and be as much support to my husband as possible. No time to be tired. It takes a lot of work to believe for miracles, but regardless of how much work it is and how dark this pit gets, I guess I'm still just crazy enough to keep believing.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. - Matthew 21:22

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Got Nuthin'

I realized it was November and I've planned more for Christmas than ever before, but have accomplished suprisingly little toward those plans.

Football season is at it's peak. I inherently think it is my duty to attempt to watch/listen to/keep up with every game. For some reason. (CATS win! TOPS win! TEBOW WINS! BAMA...er, well...it was an interesting game.)

The time changed. Good for many reasons, but namely because now I won't be driving directly into the sun on my way home.

Looking back on the past couple of weeks, I've felt remarkably "normal." I'm very thankful for this. Michael is too.

Our weekend was unexpectedly busy, but in a good way - so much so that when I sat down tonight I couldn't even remember what I meant to have accomplished by today. I'm sure blogging was one of them. So that's why I'm blogging. About nothing. 

I am so unbelievably torn up about my first "class" at work tomorrow. Months of preparation and I feel so unprepared, nervous, and ill-equipped. I dreamed last night that I had to perform 4 different interpretive dances, one using Christmas lights as a prop, to be judged by an interesting panel of celebrity judges with just minutes to prepare. I blame my job-induced worry/panic for such a dream.

I need to organize my Pinterest boards, as they do not come close to reflecting my interests. Maybe that was one of the things I was supposed to get done.

After all the aforementioned worrying about work, I have failed to capitalize on the joy that is having a four-day week to look forward to this week. That certainly puts a positive spin on all the fretting...

So I hope all of you are enjoying your November! Don't get so wrapped up in Christmas preparation that we forget about the glory of this season of Thanksgiving. (It's as much a reminder to myself as anything else.) I'm thankful for so much. SO MUCH. God is so good.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some Traditions Die Hard

I wasn't going to do it.
I wasn't going to write a post about marching band - particularly Glasgow High School's marching band. I just wasn't going to do it. With the whole uniform debacle last year, emotions were just too high that I didn't feel I could appropriately and adequately express my feelings on the topic without sounding like an antiquated die hard. I didn't feel like I could express in written word how rich the tradition of the Glasgow Scottie Band marching in plaid kilts truly is. I didn't want to distort my own memories with the opinions of others who were in the thick of said debacle. And, others wrote blog posts to end all posts on the topic, so I couldn't justify my time doing so. But my passion has forced me to give in.

To be quite honest, my opinions on the topic wavered. I mean, I can see both sides - I'm not so narrow-minded to believe that perhaps the face of competitive marching band has changed so drastically that the Scottish uniform could genuinely be causing problems resulting in lowered scores. I'm perfectly aware that sometimes things have to change and traditions have to be modified. And truthfully, with the rocky era that was 2000-2010 in GHS marching band, dare I say perhaps the uniform had slightly been tarnished and the respect and admiration for the kilt had faded. So maybe it was time for a change. I could deal with that. And lo and behold, they win the state championship in class AA last year. Point taken.

*Let me first say this before I go any further - the uniforms alone did not win them the championship. The director worked his tail off getting the fundamental marching elements up to par and more importantly, taught the kids how to play like a chamber group on the least intimate settings of all music performance (a football field). Did the uniforms help? Possibly - there were a lot of body movements, leans, shifts, etc. that may or may not have been as effective in a kilt. Whatever the case, the entire quality of the band reached a new level in all areas - performance, attitude, presentation, and ahem, maybe even tradition. It seemed our answer to the call to attention (everyone say it together - PRIDE!) was back in full force, even without the kilts. I thoroughly commend everyone who played a part in last year's modification movement - I think it's safe to say that with a Governor's Cup on your shelf, it was a successful one.

However, with all that said, I sit here today with mixed emotions on the topic once again. Yesterday, I was carrying on with my regular Saturday activities when it dawned on me that the state band championships were being held right here in Bowling Green, at WKU, which meant that preliminary competitions were going on all over this region. After two seconds of internet searching, I found that the AA prelim was being held right down the road at Greenwood High. Glasgow marched in the 16th position. Out of 16 bands. At 3:15. Now if I know anything about anything, I know that 16th is a PRIME draw and not only did it suit my schedule (since I was just realizing all of this at lunch time) but it would all but guarantee them one of the top four spots in the finals competition. I had to go. It was my duty as a Glasgow High band alum.

Sparing the details of the day for the sake of a far too lengthy post, I went, paid the outrageous $10 to get in (to see 5 bands perform and hear the announcement of the top 4), and cheered with everyone as Glasgow was announced as a finalist band. I was almost as excited as I had been as a band member myself. I loved it. My pride was definitely in tact. I quickly convinced my overworked, non-former-band-member husband that he needed to accompany me to finals at WKU and he obliged.
We arrived at WKU in time to see the beginning of the class AA finals competition. We got excellent seats (much to the surprise of my husband who thought I was crazy when I told the ticket guy "I want the highest seats we can get.") The competition was stiff. Kind-of. I was a bit...um, confused I think. Marching band has changed. I mean some things stay the same: most all bands still work a rotating box into their drill; the show cycle of a stirring opener, a 'slow piece,' and building, crowd-engaging closer is still maintained; and impeccable musical balance and clean lines are still a direct goal. But so much else has changed: entering the field to a synthesized beat booming through on-field speakers was seemingly the norm. (Um, bagpipes anyone? ) The use of recorded voice-overs during the performance is really popular. Moveable props, lifts, banners, and outlandish color guard drill was almost an absolute. And the days of an on-field warm-up is over - no West Coast Warm-ups; no fight songs. From the second the pit crew drives up, the 'show' begins. It was odd, but I can take it, and in some cases I liked it.
Glasgow took the field at 7:30. They performed well. Their music was high-quality and high-difficulty. Check. Their marching was clean, intricate, and stylistic to the show. Check. The color guard was small, but delivered a story line VERY well. Check. Overall, it was a solid performance. One to certainly be proud of.

I wasn't moved. They even played one of my all-time favorite pieces, 'Nessun Dorma' from Puccini's Turandot (that I performed with the wind ensemble at WKU under Dr. John Carmichael - GLORY! - and was played at our wedding) and while impressive in it's own right, I was still somewhat unmoved. (Video above. Check out my mad skills videoing from an iPhone.)

But again, I just wasn't moved. Perhaps it was because it was quite chilly sitting in those stands (my poor parents endured 4 years of such torture). Maybe it was because I had developed a migraine during the afternoon. It could have been because the lovely people behind us wouldn't quit talking. Or maybe...maybe I missed the kilts.

For those of you who don't understand the history of the GHS band, our uniform was a full, 12-piece traditional Scottish uniform, complete with sporans made from real horse hair and 100% wool tartan and kilt. With 70-100 people in such attire, it commanded attention, if anything because it was so different. It sparkled under the lights of a stadium. It. Was. Awesome.
Left - First time I put on the uniform for competition; Right - Final time getting ready for competition
But the uniform alone wasn't the point. It was the history behind every single kilt - each person that ever wore it - each performance that ever took place in that kilt - every place those kilts had been - all of that was carried down from generation to generation in a single garment.

When the decision came down that Glasgow could not be considered a competitive marching band in today's environment because of the distraction of the sporan movement, the way the kilt hid knee movement and body delay, and because the limitations of range of movement the kilt held, it caused quite a stir. It was subsequently announced that the band would still march parades and perform at events in the Scottish uniform, so it wasn't like they were putting all of the kilts on Ebay or something, but it was still a drastic change. Like I said above, I get it. Honestly, that uniform was designed for marching in a parade setting, not running from the 20 yard line to the 50 in eight counts. I get it.


BUT, I do think the new, 'standard' uniform could have been designed so much better. I cried when I first saw it. It's black. It's dull. It has very little semblance to the former uniform. It looks like Adair County's uniform without the reflective 'A' triangle on the crossbelt. It looks like a uniform for any 'ole run-of-the-mill band. Not Glasgow.
Formerly when Glasgow took the field, there was NO QUESTION who it was. Oh, plaid kilts? That's GLASGOW. Love it or hate it, it was part of our legacy. Our claim to fame. Not only did we sound great and march great, we were unforgettable. People who had never seen us before would go away from seeing us perform talking about us and write us letters about our performance. It didn't matter if we didn't peform at top condition - we were GLASGOW and we looked GOOD. Recognizable. Authentic. Unimitated. Take all that away, and it's like putting the New York Yankees in solid white uniforms with no pin stripes, or sending the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on to the field in tennis shoes and t-shirts instead of their boots and tied scarf tops. Sure, the Yankees may still win the pennant, and the Cowboys' Cheerleaders will still do their infamous kickline with razor-sharp precision, but it's just not the same. It's not tradition.

That's not the case anymore, but it didn't have to be that way. The new uniform could have been designed with respect to the new way of doing things, allowing the band to be more flexible in pants, but with stand-out features that stirred similar emotions as the plaid kilts did. There is very little plaid on the uniform. Plaid could have been infused ALL OVER the jacket - the sleeves, tails on the jacket, an attached tartan on the back, something.  Who said they had to wear those crazy hats with plumes - what was wrong with the balmorals? I'm sure those were not affecting the scores. And for crying out loud, what went with the spats? If you're wanting to draw attention to your impeccable marching, put WHITE spats between those black pants and black shoes and there you have it, all the while paying homage to a former piece of the old uniform. Something that screams GLASGOW, but allows for all the flexibility of a standard uniform. Oh, and please, please, why not put the field commander in the full Scottish ensemble?  She was in a prom dress last night and it made NO sense to me. SO sad.
Top - State Finals 1995; Bottom - State Finals 2011

I'll say it again, I am so very proud to be a Glasgow High School alumni band member whether they're wearing kilts or jeans and t-shirts. But the tradition is lacking. The visual ambience is sorely disappointing. I'll go as far to say that last night's show possibly would have been better with the Scottish uniforms. But whatever the case, I'll always support the Scottie Band and their new budding tradition of being a consistent championship-winning band. They certainly have the talent for it. In the meantime, I will always be so thankful for the memories of my experience of marching in the kilts. And I will try not to be sad those championships are being won in a uniform that just anyone could wear.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tech-Savvy God

I was cruising Twitter on my phone during lunch the other day and stumbled on a retweet by someone that led me to Lil' Light O’ Mine, a website with a new blog. The post I was directed to was a beautiful, touching infertility story (of all things.)

Okay, you’ve got my attention.

Then today, a new post about waiting and God’s timing in EVERYTHING.

Um, is someone recording my life and saying, “here, Cissy, here’s some hope, a little strength, and a dab of comfort for you to know that you’re not alone in your struggles?”

Already a blessing, this blog and subsequent website popped up out of ‘nowhere’ essentially (as most blogs do, I suppose) on a day when I needed renewal so desperately that I actually avoided my usual outlets for motivation and couldn’t find any solace in my go-to readings; a day when I was questioning my motives and had concerns about blogging altogether (more to come on that); a day when I needed something NEW to speak to my heart when I was all but slamming the door on God’s promises. He knew how to reach me, how to permeate my hardening heart in a relatable way, even if it was via social media. He reached down to my then unknowing mind and spoke through someone else’s words to reach my heart and draw me close to Him. It’s not that this hasn’t happened before – God loves to show up in unexpected ways in my life. Heck, I met my wonderful, precious husband online, so I know that God isn’t scared of technology. But I am so thankful He did it again, when I was wounded, crushed, and losing grip on the knot I have tied and re-tied at the end of my rope. So thankful.

Friday, October 21, 2011

True Colors

I won't go into another dissertation about how much I love all-things-fall - everyone is well aware. But I have to say, it's possible that my love of fall goes beyond just the aesthetics maybe because I'm an October baby (today's October baby as a matter of fact) or maybe just because it's a 'nature' that people refer to. Whatever the case, I had a bit of an epiphany.

When I was getting my hair done the other day, my stylist, who is of course aware of our bout with infertility kept apologetically asking questions and saying, "I'm sorry" as I was updating her on the last few weeks. It dawned on me that I had an opportunity here - I can wallow and go on and on about how upsetting this battle is sometimes, or I can honor the truth that God's plan is where our hearts are and choose to admit the pain, but talk about the joys of our journey instead of the not yet reached destination. I have long known the sermons, adages, and even cliche's that spawn from the premise of character - that it's what we are when we're under pressure that makes us who we are.


Hmmm. Much like the trees that are changing...the colors the beautiful, vibrant, elaborate colors of the trees that are revealed in autumn are actually the TRUE color of the leaves - it's the process of photosynthesis that causes the green color of leaves in spring and summer, but small amounts of the reds, yellows, etc. were present in the leaves all along.

I know everyone already knows that, but it never dawned on me that maybe my love for the revelation of the true colors in fall is just a reflection of my own longing to be as true to what God wants to reveal as my true colors as I possibly can. I would like one day to be considered as beautiful for my true colors as the trees are for theirs. What an honor that would be - and what a ton of work on my part to get there. But, with every choice to be honest and transparent that I have, I can slowly work my way there - God's doing the rest.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Peanut M&M's, please

A little story:
Sunday after church, Michael and I ran errands. One of our stops was at Target, and on the list to buy were autumn peanut M&M's.
*Allow me to interject that these M&M's go in a candy dish on our side table in the living room. I made the cardinal sin of putting both plain AND peanut M&M's in said dish because sometimes I like a little more chocolate than peanut, but not Michael - he wants all peanut. Every time I would dig around in the dish for a peanut M&M, I would hear some comment from him like, "Honey, why would you put plain M&M's if you wanted peanut ones?" or "Looking for a peanut one, babe?" (Clearly he doesn't understand my method.) So after a few weeks of this madness, and an empty candy dish, I was determined to purchase ONLY peanut M&M's.
Back to Sunday...
I looked for the candy at Target and they were either out, or I just couldn't find them and asked Michael to remind me to get them at Kroger. We had a whole conversation about peanut M&M's. So, at our grocery run, I made sure to scour the candy aisle for the Peanut M&M's. We're standing among all of the Halloween candy in the seasonal aisle, Michael manning the cart, and sensing that I was struggling, my dear sweet husband asked,
(you know what's coming...)
"What are you looking for?"
Really?
Without hesitation or any obvious control, I practically shout, "I'm looking for PEANUT M&M's!" right there in the middle of the grocery store.

I think it's sufficient to say that I'm a little edgy these days. And it's about to get worse because I just took my first dose of Clomid.

That's right. We're off to the races and officially part of the Infertility Drug Club. My doctor's appointment today was 3 hours long, complete with an overview of the lovely past 10 weeks of roller coaster recovery from surgery, blood work, a meeting with the dietician (who completely sold us on Juice Plus), and three prescriptions. I got my money's worth today. And I still love my doctor - she's a-w-e-s-o-m-e.

So, hopefully this new journey with a little white pill leads us to a wonderful reward. I'm still very aware of the chances that the Clomid won't work (believe me) but at the same time, I've got to stay positive. God has blessed us with so much, and we both certainly feel that we were led to this decision.

And since this lovely little pill is notorious for causing mood swings, it looks as though we're going to have to get used to more peanut M&M incidents.

Poor Michael.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just Smile

Since my last post was...well, rather grim, I thought I would share a couple of videos that have made me smile over the past few days. It's been another rough week. But instead of further brooding about it, I decided laughter would be the best medicine, at least for now (I go back to the doctor next Tuesday) so until then, I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

This first one was posted on MSN the other night and Michael and I are still laughing about it. This dog could DEFINITELY be part of our family, as we've had more than similar experiences with our own dogs.





And these little girls featured on the Ellen show on Wednesday are just too precious for words. I wish I could bottle the joy and enthusiasm of little Sophia Grace. Just priceless. Be sure to watch when the cameras pan to their parents.




How can you NOT smile?!
Have a GREAT weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7...

I no longer recognize the day of October 5. I apologize to any of you who celebrate a birthday on this day, as I learned today that it is the most popular birthday in America (due to it's correlation with New Year's Eve), but as far as my calendars go, it will no longer be recognized as a day. I haven't quite figured out how that's going to work, but I'll think of something by 10-5-12 because I refuse to endure the pain that October 5 inevitably seems to bring. You see, for the last three years running, October 5 has unfailingly been one of the most painful days of our year, for whatever reason. For the sake of others, I don't want to go into detail, but trust me when I say if you had walked in my shoes on these days in 2009, 2010, and today, you would agree. I'm hoping that the whole "things come in 3's" adage applies here because I'm done with the dark October 5 omen in my life.
Since I won't go into detail and since my best expression is through music anyway, below are two songs that sum up my feelings. The first is Josh Groban's "Remember When it Rained" and oddly enough, this song came on when I pulled into my garage this afternoon (where I then sat and sobbed.) It is one of my all-time favorite songs and a go-to piece when I take time to sit at the piano. I'm not sure if the 'person' he's speaking of is a girl, but to me, it's a cry to God. Whatever the case, it's cathartic and definitely reflects the pain I feel so deeply.
The second song is my light - the force that keeps me going. It's Chris Tomlin's "I Lift My Hands" and it not only represents my praise and gratitude for God's mercy in my life but also my soul's surrender that it's His plan, His timing, His will I seek.



I ask that those of you who are praying for me (us) please continue to do so.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's Fall Y'all!

Friday, it officially became FALL! I've been holding out on posting about it actually being fall because sometimes even though the calendar says it's fall, the temperatures are always going back and forth around here. But after looking at this week's forecast, I'm going to believe that summer got the memo that Labor Day is it's unofficial end and this whole "Indian Summer" notion has ended. (I've never really understood what that is anyway.) So I'm determining that it is in fact the wonderful, dreamy season of autumn and welcome my boots, scarves, and long sleeves out of hiding. I can bid farewell to that peachy-salmon summery color that looks horrible on me. I can buy candles that boast of cinnamon and pumpkin spice. I can unabashedly enjoy football season. I can enjoy the lull of everything slowing down a bit before the inevitable fast-paced swing of the holidays begins.

There are several things I'm excited about this fall:

1 - New fall fashions!
I'm certainly NOT a fashion trend follower and would not top many people's "Best Dressed List" but this fall, some preppy favorites are coming back, and I'm thrilled!

GAP


BLAZERS!
I can wear blazers with the best of 'em, even when wearing them is not in style, so that they're coming "back," all the better.















J CREW

COLORED PANTS!

I get so tired of black, brown, and navy pants. I love color-blocking with solids and love the un-ordinary aspect colored pants add to a wardrobe.















And some of my FAVORITE prints are back for fall fun:

PLAID!

HERRINGBONE!

POLKA DOTS!

2 - Fall FOOD!
I'm so excited about fall food and can't wait to try these recipes:


Apple Coffee Cake with Honey-Maple Glaze

Chili in Biscuit Cups

Fabulous Football Dip


Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins
  
Don't those all sound deliciously warm and comforting for fall?!

3 - Autumn Decor
I probably won't get around to doing many of these, but I LOVE the ideas for cute autumn decorating:

































































And last but not least, fall marks the return of all our favorite TV shows!

Survivor - predicted winner: OZZY!
The Amazing Race - predicted winners: Ethan and Jenna
Dancing with the Stars - early favorites: Chynna Phillips and David Arquette
The X Factor - haven't watched enough to pick an early winner
And of course, the non-reality shows: The Office, Community, Modern Family, Glee

So go get out a great scarf and breathe in the fresh, crisp air - HAPPY FALL!!!


The End

My incessant need for closure has led me to post a final farewell to this blog. Blogging was a whole new concept for me when I logged on l...