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


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.
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.'

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