Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cookies

I am super pumped about Christmas this year. I really do LOVE Christmas (thanks, mom!), but this Christmas Ronnie is off. Since I've known him he has always had to work during the holiday. It's nice to know that he won't have to worry about going to work during Winter Break.

I really can't wait to share some of my winter break stories.

It seems like for the longest time, Christmas just hasn't been what it once was for me. We used to spend a lot of time at my grandparents house. Amber's guest blog spot made me think a lot about past Christmas seasons. It was mostly that awful Christmas candy (I can't believe you bought that stuff, Amber!). There was always candy at my grandparents (or in my PaPa's pocket - perhaps it's his fault that my purse weighs 30 lbs. - I feel the need to be prepared because he always was???). The cookies. Oh how I remember the cookies!!!  My Granny would always make a TON of cookies...like 10 different kinds and it was like bottomless. I guess I can blame her for my affection towards sweets (especially cookies).

However, since my PaPa passed away and my Granny suffers from Alzheimer's it just isn't the same. We don't celebrate with my mom's family. So, you can imagine my excitement over what I have planned for this evening. We have a cookie sale coming up on Saturday at our church (Annn Naz - 10AM-2PM). So, tonight Debbie, Sandy, Crystal and I are going to bake cookies together! EXCITING!!!!!! (Kate, you should bring your stuff and just bake with us!)

I always look forward to Christmas morning with my family and then we have all of Ronnie's family that gets together. We started this "Naughty Santa" exchange tradition a few years ago that I really like. What I love most of all is that the rules change every year because no one can remember what the rules were the year before. We argue about it and come to a sensible solution and continue. It's awesome!

So, as you can see I'm looking forward to whatever Christmas brings this year, but most of all I'm just looking forward to spending time with the people I love!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Else?

Pray for me, people!

My heater at the studio is not fairing so well. 60 degrees is better than 47 degrees, but I need it to stay about 65 degrees to keep my piano happy.

So, today I had not water. We've figured out that a pipe under the display area probably froze because we didn't know to shut the outside vents (live and learn). Heater is on the wall and pipe. I'm going back to check a little later tonight. Please pray for God to warm and thaw the pipes.

I am also hoping that closing those vents will warm the place up at least 5 degrees. Time will tell, but that requires me to be patient...NOT one of my virtues.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pick a Tiara

I have limited the selection to 2. Which one do you like better?

#1

OR

#2

In Session

That's right, ladies and gentlemen...Cairo is the only school in Southern IL that is in session today. Why, you ask? Well, that's a good question, but I don't really have an answer for you.

My agenda for the week:
  • working - last week before Christmas break in Cairo
  • working - last week before Christmas break at the studio
  • wrapping presents
  • baking cookies for our 1st annual cookie sale at church (its at Anna Naz this coming Saturday - come and get your Christmas goodies!)
  • catching up on some DVRed shows
  • perhaps scrapbooking a little
  • and then there are those pesky things that I can never get rid of - paying bills, laundry, cleaning the kitchen
I'm really looking forward to Christmas break and perhaps I'll get a break on Wednesday or Thursday - they say we could get a little more winter weather. Not getting my hopes up, though. After all we ARE the ONLY school in session today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This week in Cairo...

So, its been a pretty crappy and frustrating week in Cairo. Satan is stupid!

1. There was a car wreck last weekend that involved a Cairo police officer and 3 kids from Cairo. The cop was on his way to a call-lights and siren-but the kid driving didn't yield. 2 of the kids were seriously injured (I was told paralyzed).

2. 3 students/former students (17, 18, and 19) were arrested on armed robbery charges. And 1 of them is suspected in the arson of the city's chinese restaurant that left the owner and his family without their business and their home.

3. 2 former students (18 and 19) were arrested on murder charges.

4. I found out that 1 former student has HIV.

I am most certainly ready for the weekend...I know that God wants better for this city than what I have seen this week. Please pray.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ready and waiting

I know. I know. I did SO well for a month and then no blogs for a week! What is that all about?

Well, it seems that December is just too busy. Anyone else feeling this way???? Christmas shopping, decorating, getting ready for Christmas break at school and at the studio...I just don't know where time is going these days. It most certainly isn't because I've been sleeping more.

What have I done this past week? Well, other than the normal, everyday stuff, I've celebrated a birthday for my friend Amber, went with Crys and Chris to get a water heater for their new house and have dinner (and found out that the new Altell commercial - reindeer sweater couple - was filmed at Longbranch Cafe in C'dale), I finished my Christmas project for the studio (gifts for my students). I'm sure there was more, but I am currently too tired to figure out what it was.

I promise that I will blog more in about a week when I finally get a break from everything.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 30 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge...I MADE IT!

My Dream House
My dream house would be a bungalow style with a pretty open floor plan inside - built in book shelves, 3 levels (upstairs, main floor and basement). I have this picture. This house is right down the road from Ronnie's parents:


This house is really close to my studio:

I haven't seen the inside of either house, but from the outside, I'm pretty sure I could live with whatever the inside looks like because I like the outside so much!

Travel
I have traveled quite a lot in the US. I have family spread out all over the place - West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee. We had many family vacations (UGH! Car trips SUCK!) - Florida, Georgia, Texas, Kansas. I've been to Iowa. I took a bus trip to NYC (flew every time after that!). Gatlinburg. Branson. Good grief. If it's a tourist spot in the midwest, I've probably been there! I was able to see New Orleans before Hurrican Katrina

I would like to go to Seattle, Las Vegas, Paris, London, Ireland. I want to see Niagra Falls and the Pacific Ocean

I Believe...
I believe that I actually made it through this 30 Day Challenge (barely). I guess I can still blog and be busy. I'm not certain if I've said anything this month that's of any interest to people other than myself, but it's kept me on my toes.

I believe that life is too short to not tell people that you love them.

I believe that dessert should be enjoyed (sometimes that means before dinner since you never know if you're going to be too full after dinner).

I believe that I CAN lose this weight before our wedding (perhaps I should stop eating the dessert).

I believe that we will not always understand why things happen the way that they do but that God most certainly has a purpose in everything.

Computer Giveaway!

Angie Smith posted this awesome giveaway. Check it out!

Monday, November 29, 2010

3-in-1

So, for the next 2 days you are going to get 3 blog topics in 1 blog. I am behind. Imagine that!
20 Favorite Things
1. Fresh's Sugar Lip Balm
2. Chi Flat Iron
3. Chi Blow Dryer
4. Freshly Baked Cookies
5. Laughing
6. Kids being kids - I work in Cairo where everyone grows up a little too quickly. It's fun just to watch them play games and have fun for 5 minutes.
7. My studio
8. Christmas
9. Happy endings
10. My bed
11. Singing
12. Days when I am able to listen to music and not critique the singer
13. Buxom Mascara
14. Urban Decay Eye Primer
15. Shopping (I like shopping for nothing in particular. If I find something it's like a nice surprise.)
16. Simplicity
17. Nook Color
18. Musicals
19. Rainy days where I don't have to get out of bed.
20. Fall

  
Favorite Songs
This blog topic is tough for me. I listen to a LOT of music, but trying to nail down some favorites is a little difficult. Sometimes I will really like songs for a while and then grow a little tired of them. So, here's my list of songs that will never grow old.

  • At Last - Etta James
  • Respect - Aretha Franklin
  • Beat It - Michael Jackson

 Favorite Films
  • Singin' in the Rain is my favorite movie musical. I have NO idea why...it just is!
  • August Rush was a favorite. I'm a sucker for a happy ending and it had some great music.
  • Love Sandra Bullock - Miss Congeniality and The Blind Side
  • Cheaper by the Dozen was funny. (The Steve Martin one.)
Cartoons:
  • Finding Nemo
  • Up

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I Love About Life

Wow, this whole 30 day blog thing has been crazy! I've never blogged this much since I started blogging! So, I guess it's been good, but I may be a little behind the 30 day mark. Sorry for the days of multiple posts...some days are better than others as far as having time.

So, today, I LOVE the fact that I can hang out with family. It's strange how life changes your perspective. For years, I tried to stay away from home (typical teenager) and now I would rather spend time with family than just about anything else.

I love that I have my own studio to teach in and that I have such wonderful, talented students to work with.

I love that the girl who never wanted to get married is now planning her wedding.

I love love love my girls and I love how our friendship has grown and changed through the years. I honestly don't know what I would do without Crys and Kate.

Life has this way of changing you for the better, if you will allow it - that's what I most love about life!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Favorite Websites

A few websites that I frequent:

shirt.woot.com
This website offers one t-shirt everyday for $10. The t-shirts are American Appearl and are often pretty humorous! I have a "Moses Parts the Red Tea" shirt. Moses is a tea bag standing on the edge of a tea cup where he is parting the red tea. Awesome!

http://www.sheetmusicdirect.com/
This website allows you to print sheet music and you can even change keys before you print.

http://www.teavana.com/
Yummy tea!

http://www.kaldis.com/
mmmm....COFFEE!

http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/
A great way to keep up with all things musical theater!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Einstein

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

I've thought about this quote alot over the last few years of my life - different situations, but we really can be creatures of habit. I typically don't have issues with change. I mean, if change is going to make things better, then why not? Don't get me wrong, though, some people insist on change for the sake of change - that's a different kind of insainity.

Others just refuse to change.

I don't ever want to be the person who does the same thing over and over and expects different results.

It happens in education.
"Well, I've done it this way every year and I've taught for 22 years. I am not going to change now. It's worked for others, so it will eventually work for these students."
Are you kidding me? That's INSANE!
I LOVE the educators who say, "This isn't working. Trash it or tweak it, but something has to change. I'm not getting the results I want."

I feel like we frequently do this in churches - not every church, but the church as a whole. We do things because "that's the way we've always done it" not because it's reaching people for Christ or empowering Christians to do more and expect more from Almighty God.

Here's a thought: It is 2010 (almost 2011). While the TRUTH never changes, perhaps our methods should.

Stop the insainity. If something isn't working...STOP. Try something else. Change is ok.

What's in my purse?

What's in my purse? I'm not sure, but it weighs a TON!

Here's a list - no rude comments. You may NEED something from my purse one day!
  • phone
  • wallet
  • checkbook
  • keys (2 sets)
  • ipod
  • 2 packs of gum
  • camera
  • lotion
  • ear plugs
  • 3 pens
  • 2 pencils
  • throat drops
  • lip liner
  • lip gloss (3)
  • lip balm
  • glass cleaning kit
  • moleskin notebook
  • credit card case
  • comb
  • nasal spray
  • medicine
  • mirror
  • more lotion
  • bag with all of the following: wet ones, tide stick, nasal decongestant, perfume, eye drops, splenda, flavored splenda for coffee, propel, band aids, neosporin, nail clippers, nail file, some pills that I don't know what they are (hmm...probably not good), ponytail holders, barrettes, dental floss
No wonder it weighs a ton. Perhaps it's time to clean out the purse, eh?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Miss...

I miss the simple life.

(NOTE: Simple - when I didn't ALWAYS have somewhere to be; when I didn't have bills; when I had plenty of time to spend with friends; when my biggest concern was whether to have poppyseed chicken or chicken nuggets and curly fries for lunch)

I miss performing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE musical theater. (It WAS my major after all.) While I love teaching voice at my studio, I miss performing terribly. I can't explain it. It's just a part of me. And if someone gave me the chance to perform Elphaba in Wicked, I'd drop everything and begin rehearsals tomorrow!

I miss the days of thinking that all people who go to church make it their goal to walk out their faith everyday. Ignorance really is bliss sometimes. I miss not being frustrated with 'church people'.

I miss thinking that ANYTHING is possible. Now don't get me wrong, I know that all things are possible with God, but I'm talking about those crazy dreams we used to have when we thought we were unstoppable. I now realize that I have limitations.

A Few Good Reads

Ok, so I am a little behind on this 30 day blog challenge, but I haven't felt well for a couple of days. In fact, I have been more sick than I can ever remember being before. I'll spare you the details, but I am going to attempt to catch up while I'm sitting at home. I tried to do the craft fair thing - I survived half of it.

So, books. Yeah...I have several favorites, so I tried to think of a few of my all-time favorites - books I would read multiple times.
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - This came as a recommendation from Ronnie. It was fabulous and I highly recommend it.
  • Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala - I HAVE read this book multiple times. It is part of a series, but this is by far my favorite.
  • Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell - LOVE LOVE LOVE Rob Bell! Ronnie has bought me every book he has written. This is such a wonderful book.
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - A recommendation from Crystal and I really loved this book.
  • Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster - I would read anything that she writes! I think I love her because I can totally identify with her AND she's hilarious!
There are so many more that I have read and loved. A LOT of them were recommendations or books that I borrowed from friends. What are some of your favorites? I'm always looking for a good recommendation.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Life Goals

As I look at this topic, I'm a little torn with which way to go. When I was in high school or college, my life goals revolved around career. I don't think that I really thought about much else. Marriage and kids...hmm...wasn't really my cup of tea.

Don't get me wrong. I still have career related goals. However, they just don't seem as high on my list of priorities as some of my personal goals. I want to be a great vocal instructor and coach - giving my students shots that I never really felt like I had, but in those sessions, I want to be a good mentor and I want to point them to someone who could make more of a difference in their lives than any human ever will.

Time has a way of changing our desires. I'm getting married next October. Its important to me that I am a good helpmate to my husband. I want to be a wife who strives to keep Christ the center of her marriage.  Along with that comes growing into the Proverbs 31 woman. I say growing because I'm not even on the same page.

I guess if I had to narrow my goals down to 1, I would say my life goal is to be the woman God created me to be in every single area of my life. It's a work in progress.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Wedding...Hasn't Happened Yet

So, weddings....

Kate LOVES a good wedding. I never have cared for them, however, I am a little excited about mine and Ronnie's.

October 15, 2011 - Save the Date

I have already picked out reception decorations - Aunt Sandy is in charge - SUPER excited about this!! I have a reception site, a photographer, a caterer, cake is in the works (since that's the most important part), I have talked to my favorite DJ (Chadd-o - I still have to confirm details, but I think he's game), and a dress paid for (not ordering it until Feb). John Windings is going to marry us and I'm working on the guest list (the least fun part). There WILL be a peanut butter and jelly unity sandwich! The girls picked out their dresses. We're way ahead of the game, but the part I am struggling most with??? MUSIC! Why am I (a music person) struggling with music???!!!

It will all come together. It will be beautiful and exciting and NOT HOT (because we're praying for normal October temps), but most exciting is that fact that Ronnie and I will begin a new chapter of our lives.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Video Favorite

This is one of my most favorite videos EVER! So much truth...

Enjoy!
Sheena

Monday, November 15, 2010

Afraid of...

Oh, this should be fun.

While I am not afraid of everything, I most certainly have fears...some of them irrational.

I am not afraid of heights or flying or dying or finishing last

I am afraid of spiders, snakes and flying bugs in the car. I will pull over to the side of the road and 'abandon ship' until that bug or spider is out of the car. Ronnie doesn't understand, but it really freaks me out! Irrational? Probably, but I don't care!

I am afraid of disappointing certain people in my life. People in general...pfft...I don't care, but there are certain people that I care about more than life itself and I never want to let them down or disappoint them.

I have an irrational fear of going blind and deaf. I could still play the piano and sing if I were blind, so I guess I fear going deaf more, but it sure would be difficult to teach voice if I couldn't see or hear.

I am afraid that I am going to suck at this whole marriage - being a wife thing. Pray for me, people! Well, pray for Ronnie. Bless his heart.

I am afraid of not being a good example of a Christian woman. I look at some people and think, "Man, they sure do have it together. They have this whole walking with Jesus thing down!" I'm certain that I just don't see their faults, but when I look at my life compared to theirs I secretly hope that they have as many faults as I do (is that wrong?) and that others can somehow look past my faults and see that I'm not perfect, but simply redeemed!

OCD? Me?

Well,  I missed blogging one day this weekend, so you're hopefully going to get 2 today.

OCD. Hmm. It would probably be easier to tell you what I am NOT OCD about. I AM getting better, though. I am a perfectionist. Well, I like to think that I am a former perfectionist, but sometimes it just creeps back in.

Matching. I like for things to match and be symmetrical. I call this balance. I like balance in my life, so whether its decorations or the desks in my classroom, I like matching and symmetrical.

Clutter. I HATE CLUTTER! It makes me feel like I'm going to have a panic attack. My grandparents were pack-rats and I swore that I would never let crap pile up. Right now there is a Rubbermaid tub in my room with wedding stuff at the end of my bed and it's driving me NUTS! I tried covering it up but I still know it's there.

I'm going to stop there because the list really could be quite extensive. Rest assured, however, the list has dwindled through the years.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Little Red

Ok, so one of my new favorite foods is Pag's Little Red pizza with wheat crust! Crys and Chris had us try their Big Red but tonight we ordered the thin crust. YUMMY!

Other favorites?? So many...mostly desserts.
Coconut Pecan Cookies
Jaime's Butter Pecan Cupcakes
Jello Sugar-Free Pudding (no kidding...the Boston Cream Pie rocks!)
Crystal's Shortbread
Debbie's Cubed Beef Steak
Almond Cream Scones from Long Branch

Friday, November 12, 2010

Defying Gravity

I don't really like concerts, so I'm going to have to take the show route. I LOVE musicals! I have seen a ton of them and I have 2 favorites out of the shows I have seen.

#2 is The Lion King. The staging and costumes were nothing short of AMAZING! It helps that my friend Chris starred as Simba in the show, but it's one of my favorite for reasons other than him (no offense, buddy). If you ever get a chance to see it, I highly recommend going. I could brag all day on Julie Taymor's costume designs.

#1 is WICKED!

















Hands down I LOVE this musical more than any other!!!!!! The score is fantastic, the story was adapted very well, and the set and stage mechanics blow my mind. Ronnie took me for my birthday after the show came to Chicago. I would love to have a chance to play Elphaba.

#1 show I haven't seen, but would like to: In the Heights

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Favorite Picture


My Favorite Photograph


I LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture! David Michael Webb, a photographer friend, loved having guinea pigs (until he got a permanent one in his wife) for all of his new 'toys' and this was from a shoot a few years ago. This photo never fails to make me smile. I am pretty sure it captures how 'off' we really are.

Through the years our friendship has grown and changed - thank God because we may have killed each other. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these women and we really do have fun wherever we go. I went back to the bridal shop to pay for my dress and the lady there wanted to know where my girls were. I am not sure why she thought that they would be with me, but I thought it was awesome that we made such an impact that she was disappointed we weren't all coming back to entertain her again. That's because we're awesome (and a little on the crazy side)!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friends

My Friends

Well, let me begin with my girls. These ladies are two of the most important people in the entire world to me. Through good times and bad, they have been there. I can't imagine my life without them. We've been friends for so long that I can hardly remember life before them. Love ya, girlies!

Kate...with a goat! She got Ronnie a goat for Christmas one year. You'll have to ask her-it's a good story.
Crys' 30th birthday. 30 looks good on you, sis!

Crys and her Favorite! I'm pretty fond of him too!
Kate and Amber looking like a million bucks!
Here's Jaime! I call her Jaime, hair genius sometimes, but mostly I just call her friend. She's quite an amazing woman and I'm so thankful to know her and call her friend.
Jaime at her studio showing off some photographs.
Off to Chicago. Yep, I have friends EVERYWHERE! Todd and Jen are such a blessing. I SO wish that we lived closer to each other. Micah and Beth (don't have a pic) also live right around the corner from Todd and Jen. Ronnie, Todd, and Micah went to Olivet together. They were 'borrowed friends' - now they're MY friends! :-)

Chicago - August 2010
Another 'borrowed friend'
Kevin. I am quite certain that he would've been my friend first if I would've known him first! :-)

My Cairo Pals
Jesse and Stacy
Heather Carney
I don't have a pic of Melissa G, but she's another one of my Cairo pals.

Mom - She's my bud! Love her!
Dad - How can you not love someone who you act so much like?
Mom and Dad-in-law
Aunt Sandy and Uncle Jason - their friendship provides plenty of entertainment!
Jake! Oh how I love him! Honestly, how can you not love that face?


My Best Friend
At Brian's HS Graduation
At Ronnie's Graduation - SIU - May 2010
Love this man!


I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TV. What's that?

First of all, TV??? WHAT?!!!?! Who has time for that?

I watch The Breakfast Show on KFVS-12 in the morning while I am getting ready. And I watch a lot of things like NCIS at Ronnie's each evening. There must be a 24-hour CSI/NCIS channel, because dad can ALWAYS find an episode on!

There are 2 shows that I DVR and try to watch at some point during the week.

GLEE.


Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE LOVE LOVE musical theater. This show embodies everything I think life should be - I mean, honestly, who wouldn't love a life where you and all of your friends spontaneously break into song complete with 4+ parts harmony???!!!!???




I also love The Big Bang Theory! I think I love it because it reminds me of so many people that I know. It is certainly one of my favorite TV shows.







Other shows I love to watch when I can catch them:
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

American Pickers

Monday, November 8, 2010

SING!

My Blog Title

I am totally unoriginal! My blog name just reinforces this truth. I like to sing. My life revolves around singing. Some of us do it better than others, but most of us do it, so Sing! was a pretty obvious title choice for me.

30 Day Catch Up - A Recent Photo AND The Town I Live In

A recent photo I took:

So, Crystal and Kate decided that I needed to try on this crazy dress! And while I'm certain that someone would think this was THE dress, I just felt like I needed to be hung from the ceiling to light the room.
My attempt to take a pic of the "chandelier dress"


A better view - Thanks Debbie!


The town I live in...hmm, well I technically don't live in a town. I live about 1.5 miles from town. It's a little town in Southern IL called Olmsted. SMALL. REALLY SMALL! I lived in town until I was in college. Our house burnt and we moved to 'the country'. Olmsted is about 20 miles from the very southern tip of the state (Cairo - where the rivers meet...that's where I teach). Olmsted had a bank, a restaurant, a library, a post office and a Fill-Up Mart (small gas station). It is also were they are building a new Lock and Dam. They've been working on it for years. I lost track of where they are at or how much longer before it's complete, but its apparently a pretty big deal.

Olmsted has one main road that leads to 2 hills that meet at the bottom. One hill takes you by a park. The other hill is really steep and is good for sledding in the winter. I used to live "uptown" very close to the Ohio River. Since we've moved out of town, things seem to have changed quite a lot, but it's still a quiet little town with the appeal of any 'small town America'.

Wedding Dress Success

While I can't post a picture, I did indeed find a wedding dress. It's actually the first dress I picked out on-line. It's an Alfred Angelo gown. My mom and I went to Anne's Bridal in Paducah because that's where Alfred's site sent me, but they only had bridesmaids dresses. I thought I was going to have to go to Nashville or St. Louis to try on this dress just to see it in person, but after some additional research, I found a bridal shop in Jackson, MO that carried the bridal gowns. As soon as I walked in the door, I spotted the dress I had been looking for. I tried it on that day and loved it. However, I wanted to be certain (it's a little expensive!). I value the opinions of others! :-)

On Saturday, mom, Debbie, Aunt Sandy, and my girls (Crys and Kate) joined me on a search. I tried on several gowns at David's Bridal. I found a couple that were ok, but I really couldn't wait to get to Jackson to try on THE dress for them. Everyone agreed that the Alfred Angelo dress was THE dress. So, while I haven't purchased the dress (at this shop, you custom order gowns) I have most certainly found my wedding gown and it's absolutely gorgeous!

My girls also found dresses! They are going to look stunning! So exciting! (We won't talk about their dress search. I really wish we had pics of 'the really good ones' - think of the craziest prom dresses you've ever seen and multiply it by 10!)

Now, 30 Day Blog Challenge - I promise to catch up this week. Most to come this evening....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Not slacking

No, I am NOT slacking. I simply had a very busy day. I will fill you in later and catch up on my 30 day challenge.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Shuffle

I always tease Ronnie about how random shuffle is on his iPod, but after this little exercise, I think some people would probably say that my music collection yields a pretty random shuffle.

1. Call Me Beautiful – Ginny Owens
2. Always Enough – Casting Crowns
3. Theme from Schindler’s List - Itzhak Perlman, John Williams & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
4. Come Round Soon – Sara Bareilles
5. Apathetic Man – Lauren Kennedy
6. The Lord’s Prayer (Deliver Us) – Selah
7. Crazy – Willie Nelson & Johnny Cash
8. To Know You – Nichole Nordeman
9. My Romance – Carmen McRae
10. They Can’t Take That Away From Me – Ella Fitzgerald

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pet Person?

Pets

I don't currently have any. However, I have had plenty through the years. Let's see if I can remember most of them.

Snowball, a white rabbit.
Baby, a cat (still think dad dumped her...he is NOT fond of cats)
A goat (I don't remember naming it, but we should have named it Garbage Disposal.)
A raccoon (no, I'm not kidding)
Several dogs:
- a husky
- a pekingese (Sparkles)
- a mut that followed dad home (Betty)
- a dalmation (Blossom)
We had 2 horses at one point - Big Boy and I don't remember the other's name.

That's all I can remember. I'm not a pet person. I like them, but I can live without them. And YES, we actually had a raccoon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh Weekend, How I Long For You

Day 3 - My Weekend Plans

This week, several of the students in my studio are performing in Seussical, The Musical at Shawnee College. So, Ronnie and I have tickets for the Friday evening performance. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product that these guys have worked so hard on.

Saturday, I'm going wedding dress shopping with Crystal, Kate, my mom, Ronnie's mom and Aunt Sandy! WOOT!
Saturday evening, I plan to stop by Monarch Studios in Cobden for a Trunk Show.

Sunday is our church's annual Veteran's Day program. It's always spectacular and I'm really looking forward to it, as well.

That pretty much sums up my entire weekend...don't think I'll have time for much more!

Getting Rid of Songs with ! (Missing) in iTunes

So, I had to reload EVERYTHING on my computer after I got it back from BestBuy. When I reloaded my music into iTunes, I had duplicates of EVERYTHING. Half of them were dead tracks, though. I don't know how or why it happened, but I wasn't about to delete thousands of songs manually, so I did a few internet searches to figure out a shortcut.

If you are ever in this situation, here's your solution:

1. You have to isolate the missing tracks.
-Create a standard playlist called "Not Missing".
-Drag your entire library into that playlist. Missing tracks cannot be copied to a playlist.

2. Then, create a Smart Playlist called "Missing" where Playlist - is not - Not Missing.

3. To delete the matched files in the "Missing" Smart Playlist, Select All (Ctl + A), hold down Shift (or, on a Mac, Option) and Delete keys at the same time.

Hopefully it never happens to you, but this is the 2nd time it's happened to me, so an easy solution if you do have this problem.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wedding Dress Shopping

Day 2 - Looking forward to something....

So far. So good. I really like blogging, but finding time to do it is like trying to find time to exercise. It isn't a priority, but I'm trying (to blog-I don't care about exercise right now! Whoever says, "If you're tired, you should just exercise" has obviously never experienced my level of exhaustion).

What do I look forward to? Let's see....

I look forward to going to bed. I LOVE bedtime!
I look forward to going to the studio to teach (even though I've already worked all day).
As much as I look forward to going to the studio, I'm looking forward to having a week off at the end of the month (and 2 weeks in December).
I am looking forward to going wedding dress shopping with my most favorite girls this weekend!
I am looking forward to Ronnie being off during Christmas this year.
I am looking forward to our wedding day and to being married.

YAY! Two days in a row of blogging. Everyone should be proud!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nae - no, NOT the sound a horse makes (well, maybe...)

So, I have committed to the 30 Day Blog Challenge along with my friends Crys and Kate. I am a poor excuse for a blogger, but hopefully, I can find a few moments each day to commit. We'll see. If not, check out their blogs. They will post every day. They are NOT blogger failures!

Day 1 - Nicknames You Have

Nae. Only one. My middle name is Renee. My older brother Randel started it from what I remember. Not because he couldn't say my name (he's 9 years older than me), but I think he was just always looking for a shortcut. So, it's pretty much stuck through the years.

In high school, I put NAE 1996 on the plates of my car.

Very few people call me by my nickname. My brothers, and a few of my friends. I don't mind it. In fact, I kinda like it - mostly because it's reserved for special people who know me a little too well.

Friday, October 29, 2010

O Christmas Tree

I am going to try to make one of these. I will keep you posted on the progress. Don't hold your breath. This craft project has FAIL written all over it!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Boots and Cooler Weather

I am completely exhausted! And for the last few weeks something has been really bugging me...I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but I'm 'bugged' by something!

Why am I complaining? I seriously have a great life. I am engaged to a wonderful guy. I have a job (and honestly feel like I am where God intends for me to be - at least for now). I have my studio open and running. Things are going great there. I get to see lots of singers and help them develop gifts that God has given to them. I am healthy. I have 2 awesome moms and dads. All of these great things and yet I am still totally exhausted with life and would prefer to sleep most of my days away.

Regardless of my level of exhaustion, I still have a couple of things to be super excited about.

1. New boots! Check 'em out! LOVE them! So comfortable!

2.  Cooler Weather

Thursday

High - 60°        Low - 40°

Friday

High - 58°        Low - 32°

LOVE FALL!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Political Hopefuls and Gap: A Letter

To all political hopefuls running in upcoming elections for any sort of public office:

I ran across an article today that talked about Gap scraping its new logo and going back to the one they've used for the last 20 years simply because people were upset about it. First of all, I think the fact that people were 'outraged' over a change of logo shows a slight detachment from reality, but that aside, Gap set an example that I feel you should follow. They LISTENED TO THE PEOPLE. Hey, there's a new idea for you. Stop doing whatever you feel like simply because it will benefit YOU and LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE and try to do something beneficial for them!

Regarding the logo debate and scrapping Gap said, "I think we learned a lot from this...It's clear we did not go about this the right way."  In the future, the company will make more of an effort to "engage with the online community."

May this serve as a lesson for you, Mr. or Ms. Political Hopeful - Gap is smart. Be like Gap!

Best Wishes,

Sheena

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baptist Chiclets or Catholic Wafers

So, I know this is probably totally wrong of me, but I admit that during communion on Sunday I couldn't help but have a few thoughts regarding the "bread" - the "body of Christ, broken for me". Now before you go thinking that this is some sort of moment of divine inspiration, please think again. If you are going to be offended by my ADD and child-like curiosity, just stop reading because I promise you that what follows is missing a whole lot of linkage to divinity.

I grew up in a Baptist church. For communion, we always used these things that my friend Michael refers to as "Baptists Chiclets" (mostly because they look like the Chiclets gum that we used to buy). Well, at the Nazarene church, we used said Chiclets for a while and then switched to what Kate refers to as "Catholic Wafers". I have always been disturbed by these. They taste funny and they have an iridescence about them that is disturbing. Call me crazy, but I don't think anything I put in my mouth should look blue from one angle and purple from another.

So, during communion I decided to investigate said bread a little further. Did you know that when you break a Catholic Wafer in half it looks like styrofoam inside. NOT KIDDING! STYROFOAM!  So, curious me thought...hmm, let's lick it and see if it disintegrates. Nope! Didn't even start to lose it's form and I licked on it for quite a while.

I am disturbed and thinking of mounting a campaign against Catholic Wafers! What's wrong with some real unleavened bread, people???

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tuna Casserole and Cinnamon Cheesecake Bars

Here are 2 recipes for you to try out.

Tuna Casserole


Ingredients
• 6-7 T butter, divided
• 1 (8 ounce) package uncooked medium egg noodles (I use whole wheat)
• 1 pkg. frozen mixture of celery, onion and green peppers
• 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 cups milk
• salt and pepper to taste
• 3 cans of tuna, drained and flaked
• 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat (or cooking spray works just fine). Stir in the onion, celery, and peppers, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Increase heat to medium-high, and mix in mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

4. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, and continue cooking 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tuna, veggie mixture, and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl, mix with bread crumbs, and sprinkle over the casserole. Top with cheese.

5. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.


Cinnamon Cheesecake Bars


Ingredients
2 pkg. cream cheese
1 stick butter
2 pkg. crescent rolls
2 Tbs. cinnamon
2 cups of sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Roll out 1 pkg. of crescent rolls in an ungreased 9x13 pan (glass works best).

3. Mix both packages of cream cheese with 1½ C sugar until smooth. Smooth this mixture over the layer of crescent rolls in the pan.

4. Roll out the 2nd pkg. of crescent rolls on top of the cream cheese mixture.

5. Melt a stick of butter and pour over the top of the 2nd layer of rolls in the pan.

6. Combine ½ C sugar with 2 Tbs. cinnamon and sprinkle on top of butter.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Place in refrigerator overnight for best taste.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

cheers

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.....and sometimes you're glad that someone doesn't know your name.

The security guard at school doesn't seem to remember my name. I know this because he keeps asking me my name. Am I offended? Heck no! He only remembers the names of teachers who require his escort services. I am perfectly content to keep reminding him of my name.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

a little GM product 'trick'

Last night I did the usual Sunday night routine: Women's Prayer Group (awesome therapy!), church service, dinner with Ronnie's family...

However, I forgot to get gas, so before I could go home, I had to run back into town. I was TIRED!!!!  Well, that really isn't anything new or different. I am pretty much always tired (anyone with me?)! I pulled up at Casey's, shut off my car, pumped my gas, got back in the car and when I tried to start it.....NOTHING!

Some of you may remember that on Friday, the 10th, the same thing happened at school. I had to have my car towed to my local repair man (Ronnie's uncle), who said the car "started right up" when he tried it! UGH! So, fast-forward and here we are again. So I call Uncle Jason AND Ronnie and they try everything they know to do. Uncle Jason decides it's something to do with the anti-theft system. We send Ronnie to get the spare key thinking it may have something to do with the chips in my key.

In the meantime, savior Bruce arrives on scene. Bruce is a friend of Big Brother Brad and works on cars. He shows me how to reset the stupid anit-theft system that has apparently decided to go haywire. If your GM piece won't start, turn the key 1 click to the on position. The Security light will flash for about 10 minutes. When it stops flashing and stays on, turn the key off. Wait 5 seconds and try to start it again....amazing!

Today I am praising Jesus that my car started and that even if it didn't, I would know how to fix it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wedding: Would you change anything?

Ok, ladies. As we begin to plan our wedding, I am getting helpful suggestions from women who have 'walked a mile in my shoes', so here's your chance.

Is there anything that you would change about your wedding? Things you wished you would've done, but didn't? Things you did and now regret it (i.e. playing the entire song so you had 5 minutes to stare lovingly into the eyes of your beloved)? Or, perhaps something you just wish you would've done differently?

Help me out here. I'm looking for helpful suggestions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ode to Alex

I think anyone who has experienced the loss of a dear pet can understand why someone would be upset by this sort of loss.  This is special for Crys who lost her sweet Alex this morning. Find some dirt to roll in buddy!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ashamed

My friend Kate says according to the Pioneer Woman you should blog everyday....

The Pioneer Woman obviously doesn't have my schedule, but I am making a commitment to attempt to blog at least 3 times a week for now. While I have NO idea what I am going to write about. Today a friend said, "How is that we are so busy yet when someone asks us what's new we have nothing to tell them?" My response, "Probably because I spend everyday doing to the same stuff!" Get up (not in a good mood and not happy to be up). Take a shower (hoping that will help my disposition). Make-up and hair (which takes a LOT longer than it should because its 6AM). Fix breakfast (because on this dumb diet I can't just grab cereal - a real shame because I LOVE cereal!). Rush to gather all of my things (that I should've gotten together the night before but I didn't because I was way to exhausted). Go to school and try to impart knowledge to students (some days are more successful than others). Go to the studio and teach. Eat dinner with Ronnie. Go home. Fall into bed.

There you have it - my cycle of a day. Next day? Repeat.

So, today I left school early because I was feeling like crap! I decided to make the most of my day. I went to Verizon to get help with my phone (which is a piece!). No luck. Went to Best Buy (where I actually bought it). Since I have the insurance plan I inquired about how to make a claim. He told me to flush my phone in the toilet and drop it from a high building then bring it in. I asked about running over it with the car. He thought that was too obvious and since the insurance only covers "accidental" damage.....I'm thinking a can of Coke and my phone may meet in the near future.

Then I went to Hobby Lobby where I had a really great "God" moment. So, I'm finishing up shopping for reception decor. I want fall decorations and what Hobby Lobby has now is all you get because they won't be getting anymore. I have been waiting for candle rings to go on sale, but they haven't. So, I decided to suck it up and just buy them ($10 each - ouch!). I got to the register and asked the girl if they were to go on sale next week could I bring them back and get a price reduction. She said yes. We talked a little bit and I told her they were for my wedding and I was just afraid that if I waited until they went on sale, I wasn't going to be able to find what I wanted. She rang me up and the total was far less than it should have been. She handed me my receipt and said, "so you don't have to come back I just gave you 50% off.' I thanked her and cried when I got to the car (I'm a little hormonal AND I don't feel good). I was overwhelmed by how God takes care of us even in things as small as getting a sale price on candle rings that weren't actually on sale.

Right now, I am at the point in my day where I go home, fall into bed and get ready to repeat. Hopefully tomorrow will bring another "God" moment. I pray I never miss them when they come!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Long Weekend

I am so thankful for an extra day off any time that I can get it, but this weekend has been quite productive! Ronnie and I completed Round 1 of our guest list. On Saturday, Kate called and mentioned a possible reception site, so when mom and I went to get groceries, we decided to go and look for it. We knew the general location, so with my handy-dandy smart phone we were able to find it. And boy am I glad we did! It is stunning! I am taking my dad, Ronnie's parents, and Crys & Kate to see it tomorrow! Ronnie and I love it and are pretty much settled on using this place as our reception site: http://theeditionat315.com/.

So, today we went to church, had lunch with a new couple visiting at church (super individuals), and then after a brief nap, Kate met Ronnie and I. We went to the park in Vienna to meet Ronnie's parents, Sandy, Jason and Crystal. We watched Aunt Sandy roast hot dogs 'rotisserie style' and we made smores.

If you haven't met my friend, Kate, you have NO idea what you're missing. She's a funny girl! Here a  few Kate quotes from this evening:

When talking about Kate's dislike for touching raw meat, but deeply desiring to be the Pioneer Woman when she 'grows up'..."I LIKE MEAT! I can't be vegetarian. I don't like many vegetables!"
(Definitely a problem, friend, but to be like the Pioneer Woman, you must cook like her raw meet and all!)

When talking about how Wyclef Jean is no longer running for President of Haiti (apparently someone decided they didn't like the idea, complained about the way the paperwork had been filed...I don't know! Long story short - he's not gonna be President and while I don't live in Haiti and shouldn't have an opinion, I think the people of Haiti are losing out!). Kate said it was a shame because she would like to see who the US would send to a world leaders summit when Haiti sent Wyclef and Ireland sent Bono. She speculated "Steven Tyler". HA!

On her way home, she called me again and wanted to know if "weasels were native to this area". WHAT???? We ruled out all obvious possibilities and finally decided on mink...we think she saw a mink!

Oh, Kate...how I love you!!!!

Night, all! More to come on wedding prep later.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Best Part of My Day

So, I wasn't having the greatest of days until my 4th grade class.

In the middle of our music lesson, one of the girls in the front row says (rather loudly), "Ms. Sheena...ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED???" (she was excited and proud of herself for noticing). I said, "Yes." It was followed by a question of when to which I replied, "next year sometime...I need time to find a dress." I thought that would be a perfectly accepted response by 4th graders. Well, it was only questioned by one student who said she she would be happy to make me a wedding dress. She asked what color I wanted and said if a wedding dress what the only thing keeping me from getting married sooner, she would make me a "beautiful dress".
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bucket List

Look what you've started, Sarah! Crys and Kate have joined in on the fun. I can't miss out! Like I have time to do a bucket list right now, but I can't seem to help myself! Here's my first 25!

1. Star on Broadway

2. Marry Ronnie

3. Work full-time at my studio

4. Go to France, Italy, and Ireland

5. Record an album with Crys and Kate where we actually have a name.

6. Own a pair of Jimmy Choos (or a pair of heels that doesn't make me think beauty is pain)

7. Lose 75lbs. and maintain it

8. Spend an extensive amount of time in Memphis at blues clubs

9. Go to cooking school

10. Own a house

11. Read a book in a day

12. Spend enough time in NYC that I can see every Broadway show worth seeing

13. Spend a day at St. Jude's

14. See Niagara Falls

15. Go to Africa

16. Learn to play cello well

17. Learn how to make guacamole.

18. See an opera at The Metropolitan Opera

19. Invent something useful

20. Torture Ronnie for a whole day with my iPod and Broadway tunes!  :-)

21. Sing with a jazz combo

22. Become a great hostess

23. Find the "perfect" wedding dress

24. Re-do my website from scratch

25. Grow an orchid.

Monday, August 30, 2010

you know it's gonna be 'a day' when...

So, I was almost to school this morning before I realized that I forgot to put on mascara AND I forgot to take my Zyrtec. Not good, people! Not good!

So, not only do I look like I'm ill...my allergies are going NUTS and adds to the looking ill factor!

I hope tomorrow starts off better because it's been 'a day'....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Corn Dogs and Lemon Shake-ups

I don't know where in the world this week came from or where it went, but I am most certainly glad that it's over! This was the first full week of teaching in Cairo, as well as having all of my students at the studio. It was a bit nuts and incredibly hectic! Here are some highlights (or possibly lowlights) from this week:

-- My High School classes are fantastic so far. Students who seem to want to learn? WHAT????!!!! My Junior High class...hmm...I don't think I'm going to have to kill anyone, so that's a plus!

-- I started a stupid diet last Monday (the 16th). To date, I have lost about 10lbs. YAY! NO, NOT YAY! I do fine at breakfast (except I HATE cooking breakfast at 6AM and I'm SICK of eggs!) and I do okay at lunch (don't have much time to think about it). Dinner is a different story. I have been very angry this week at dinnertime. I am SICK of eating the same things over and over and since I don't finish at the studio until around 7PM, I don't have time to cook dinner. So, I've decided that I am going to try to stick to my breakfast and lunch plan and then eat sensible for dinner (whatever that means!).

--  Ronnie has started his Master's program this week and seems to be doing well so far. He quit B&N, so this is all he really has to focus on. So proud of him. He won't quite be finished when we get married, but close enough that the end will be in sight.

--  currently looking for a reception venue that doesn't cost me my firstborn child

--  Completely excited about the studio! It's so nice to have a place to go and teach and everyone seems to feel so 'at home' there! I really LOVE it!

--  I'm going to the fair tonight. My lil bro is in the Demo Derby. He won at Pulaski Co! And I'm eating a corndog while I'm there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The End

Monday, August 16, 2010

OF COURSE I SAID YES!

So, it was quite a weekend! I spent Friday night with the girls. Melissa and I met Kate and Amber in Cape. We had a yummy, fun time at Olive Garden. Then Melissa and I went back to her house and hung out with her mom and Alexis....it was a great night.

Saturday night Ronnie and I had reservations at Celebrations in Cape. We have been there several times before. They have excellent food and Ronnie wanted to celebrate graduation, me opening the studio, him quitting B&N and starting his graduate assistanceship. I have been so excited all week because I was also planning to start a new diet (courtesy of the Healthy Lifestyles program recommended by my doctor).

I wish I would've taken pictures of the food. Presentation at Celebrations is a huge part of the experience that you get. It really IS an experience every single time you eat there.
OUR CHOICES
Appetizer: We had stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer. They were stuffed with a cream cheese base filling and topped with bread crumbs then baked. OH SO GOOD!
Salads: I had a ceaser salad. Ronnie had something with a buttermilk vinegarette...it looked yummy!
Entrees: I had linguini with mushrooms, squash, and tomatoes...the pasta was homeade! Ronnie had antelope. It was served on a bed of what he called 'cheddar grits' and grilled okra. He said the sauce was like the best steak sauce ever!
Dessert: Well, we ordered a peach crosata with blackberry sorbet and homeade whipped cream....

....but before they brought dessert, Ronnie asked me to marry him! He got down on one knee and held out a rather large ring box with a gorgeous ring and asked me to be his wife. I asked him where he was hiding that thing. He told me in his sock...oh yeah...I said YES! We both were a little teary-eyed.

Dessert was yummy and they brought us a small bottle of champagne - enough for 2 glasses.

A toast?
 We decided to play the 'torture her with text messages' game with Debbie. Ronnie sent her a pic of the ring on my finger. She sent like 4 messages back within a minute - did I say yes? (I tried to get Ronnie to tell her that I was bonding with the ring...I would let her know in a bit!), when were we coming home...I think she was a little excited! :-)

Ronnie told me that he had asked my dad and my dad had given us his blessing. I was curious if my mom knew, so I sent her a pic of the ring on my hand and asked if she knew about it. Apparently she did. She told us later (when we stopped by the auction on the way back to Anna) that my dad made her SWEAR that she wouldn't say anything before he would tell her. He told me that he almost didn't tell her.

When we finally made it back to Ronnie & Debbie's there was an entire welcoming committee: Ronnie, Debbie, Crystal, Chris, Sandy, and Jason. Tears and hugs all around! Come to find out Chris knew before we left. He was at the house and asked me where we were going and I told him where and why (or at least the reasons I thought we were going). Later when I remarked about his being 'stone cold' earlier in the evening he said, "Snitches get stitches." He did ask Ronnie if he came back in for the ring. I thought he came back in for his iPod. Apparently, he intentionally forgot the iPod so that he could sock the ring box! Sneaky, sneaky!

We have finally told everyone that we wanted to deliver the news to personally, so it's time to officially announce that Ronnie and I are engaged to be married. We don't have a date yet, so stop asking! ;-)

I feel overwhelmingly blessed! I was totally surprised by this proposal and the element of surprise was most certainly a nice touch. We've been together a little over 7 years (this time). We are closing one chapter in our lives and opening another. I can't wait to see what happens in this story. I am honored to wear this beautiful ring from the man who I will soon call my husband.
 my engagement ring
 Now I have some serious diet motivation, eh?








Monday, August 9, 2010

A Legacy to Strive For...The Makings of a Servant

"Life is so unnerving for a servant who's not serving..." Lumiere, "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast

I spent last night and the better part of my day today hearing the legacy left by a man who truly embodied what it meant to serve, as I said goodbye to the man who was my "other daddy" for a good portion of my teenage years. I practically lived at their house because that's where my friend Melissa lived. I was always treated like I was his biological child. He had no problems scolding and punishing when I did wrong. It sucked at the time, but OH how I love him for it now.

I watched as people came and went from the funeral home. I listened to stories told. I saw tears shed and goodbyes said, but today I realized (I'm a slow learner) that all this time, I had a living, breathing example of a servant in front of me. I have been raised in church all of my life. From the time I came into this world, my parents have made sure that I was in church. I have heard probably hundreds of sermons on service, having a servant's heart, etc. I know the scripture:
Matthew 20:25-28 (NIV)
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

I KNOW all of these things, but there is something about seeing the legacy of service left by someone else that leaves you motivated to do more. It leaves you feeling as though you could always use a little less 'selfish' and a little more 'selfless' in your life.

Servants are available. They pretty much live a life of availability often putting others needs above their own. A servant is able to see needs and seize moments to meet those needs. They do the best with what they have and they approach every task with equal dedication. Nothing big or small. They see something that needs to be done and they do it. Servants are people you know you can count on. They are faithful and reliable. But the craziest thing is that a true servant never sticks out. The keep a low profile and never expect anything in return.

"I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me....?" Nichole Nordeman, Legacy

Bill Wood received the 'send-off' and honors due a hero. It was AMAZING - just like him! He was most definitely the embodiment of a servant. He was a veteran (served in the US Air Force), a fire fighter (current Fire Chief in Mounds, IL), a police officer and Police Chief, a Mason, a Little League coach, a volunteer at the local fair to organize the parking situation. You name it, he probably did it. He was constantly doing for others. He just did what needed to be done and didn't think about it. That was just him! He had a servant's heart.

From the bagpipe player (who blew me away), the mile-long escort of police and fire vehicles (10 police cars and every fire truck from Mounds, Mound City, Olmsted, Karnak, Ullin, Pulaski, and Cairo), the detour in the funeral procession by his fire house, the National Cemetery where 2 ladder trucks raised their ladders to fly our country's flag, the 21-gun salute and Taps, to the salute processional by the local VFW members, it was nothing short of inspirational and amazing!

Today Bill Wood went 10-42 (end of duty). The sound of sirens saluting him, his service, and his life made me weep (and I had been doing do well...).
Rest in peace my 'nother daddy. Rest in peace.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Oh, God give us servant's hearts. Help us to always reach out a hand to those who need it. Every time we remember the people in our lives who walked out the life of a servant, may we be challenged to strive for that same legacy. May life be unnerving when we aren't serving and may that lead us to do more for others.

Matthew 25:34-40 (MSG)
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't Miss a Miracle

In Crystal's Blog yesterday, she talked about belief and God being able to do above and beyond what we could ever imagine. Well, her thoughts have been rolling around in my head and have spurred some thoughts in me.

Most of you who read this blog know that I was told in 2005 that I had Multiple Sclerosis. It was a frightening time in my life and I was faced with a LOT of things all at once. It was frustrating and the medication they gave me made me more crazy than I already am and it didn't help. The one thing that I struggled with more than anything, though, was beliving - believing that God had a purpose in my current state, believing that God was going to sustain me, believing that everything was going to be ok regardless of what happened, believing that God COULD heal me if it was His will.

When we're talking about spritiual matters, belief usually means we rely heavily on faith. Faith means we probably don't see, but still believe. SO HARD! I think there are most certainly times when we are bound to be like the man in Mark 9 who begged Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief. He desperately wanted to believe because Jesus had just told him that "everything is possible for him who believes..." but there was still doubt - still unbelief.  Even the disciples were aware that there was room for their faith to grow - Luke 17:5 says, The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

There is one story from the Bible that stands high above all of the others for me, though, when I come to points in my faith journey when I am struggling with complete and total belief. Now, don't get me wrong, the MS story ends with God healing my body of the disease, so I KNOW THAT I KNOW THAT I KNOW God is able to do more than my human mind could even imagine. But just as the disciples knew that there was room for their faith to increase, so do I.  So, in those instances of struggling to belief with my entire being, I go back to the woman with the issue of blood. I never understood the size of a mustard seed thing (even after I finally saw a mustard seed), but simply having the faith to reach out...that's something I can identify with. She didn't even touch Him, just His robe! And she knew that's all it would take. So, when I need a 'burst of faith', I think of that woman - pushing through the crowd and trying desperately just to touch the edge of His garment.

Oh God, help us to believe - to simply reach out. We most certainly do NOT want to miss any miracles!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Randomness...

Warning: This is going to have some randomness...

What I saw last week:

Beautiful Limited Edition Camaro
ya...would totally drive this car!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bizarre

Has anyone else ever noticed how something that seems so incredibly bizarre through our human eyes suddenly and somehow makes perfect sense when God is thrown into the mix???

So, my dad has like a bazillion siblings. He hails from the hills of Tennessee and was born during a time when children were the closest thing that you could legally get to slave labor. If you had a lot of children, you had a lot of help. Well, that's the only reason that I can come up with as to why someone would EVER have that many kids other than being certifiably insane...

Most of my aunts and uncles live in Tennessee still. One lives on the east coast and one in Alabama. We live in Illinois, but everyone else lives somewhere in Tennessee. My dad LOVES his brothers and sisters and he had apparently been praying about God bringing them all together - unifying them somehow and drawing them all closer to Christ.

My mom and dad ride motorcycles and have for quite a while. They are active in CMA (The Christian Motorcycle Association). A few of my dad's brothers ride, as well. But the large majority of his siblings didn't. However, they decided to take this trip back at the beginning of summer to Gatlinburg...ON MOTORCYCLES! Good grief! One aunt and uncle bought a motorcycle for the trip.

Long story, short:  one uncle just bought a motorcycle - one aunt wants a motorcycle for Christmas - another aunt wants a scooter - another aunt already bought a scooter. WHAT???? Umm...totally bizarre.  Well, bizarre until you factor in the fact that God is simply answering prayers using motorcycles!  God cracks me up!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh, how I LOVE to shop!

So, I promised to blog about my most recent purchases. Some are MUST HAVES!

This is the Vera Bradly Metropolitan in Night and Day. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this bag! It's going to be my new bag for work. It has a place for my laptop and a TON of pockets! Did I mention that I LOVE this bag??? Because I do!

The Container Store a/k/a Heaven - I LOVE organization and this store makes it easy! I bought this new shoe tree. I am so tired of digging in the bottom of my closet looking for a mate to the other shoe. My closet is VERY small (more like a coat closet). Not ideal, but you have to work with what you've got, right?

This thing is amazing! I found shoes that were lost in the bottom of my closet and I forgot that I had! I am wearing a pair today. I suppose if I don't see something, it simply doesn't exist in my mind...you would think that I would remember every shoe and handbag I own. Apparently not. However, I can now find all of my shoes...check this out! 

I also bought a scarf holder. I tried the plastic shower curtain rings on a regular hanger, but they kept sliding from one end to the other every time I opened the stupid door. This is much better...I kept the rings, but this is a MUST HAVE if you own several scarves. ($10) 

Another great purchase was this tie rack. While I do NOT have ties, I have a ton of necklaces that end up in a tangled mess in my current jewelry box. This is a great solution for your necklaces. ($10) 


For my studio, I have purchased a couple of new items lately. I am hoping my friend Julie will agree to help me out by using this as a centerpiece for a wreath! 
It's in a lovely frame now. It's an actual 5th Anniversary Playbill. Notice that they changed the Playbill background to green for this special night! I <3 Wicked!!! If Julie agrees to the project, I'll post pics of the finished product!

I also purchased these 2 new songbooks: 

So, one of my students asked me to find a song for her. I knew nothing of these ladies, but as I was researching, I found out that they had written several other HILARIOUS songs like Taylor, the Latte Boy and Alto's Lament. I can't wait to dig into these and find out what's there!

 

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