Thursday, May 31

Jumping on the Bandwagon

I've been hearing the buzz for months now about this great book that everybody had to read and how it would totally revolutionize our marriage.

Yeah, right.

Am I the only one who, the more glowing reports I hear about just how fabulous something is, the less I tend to believe it?

Well, I was at the bookstore tonight when I saw Love & Respect for 50% off. I decided to see what all the fuss is about.

I'm only on chapter three, but it really is a great book. I'll share more once I've finished it.

Wednesday, May 30

Works for Me: Budgeting by Paycheck

For the whole of my adult life, I have been paid either once or twice a month. When Adam and I got married, his new job paid him every two weeks. This caused undue stress in my life, since I wasn't sure how to deal with the variable paycheck dates. Sometimes the first check of the month would be on the first. Other times, not until the 14th. While some bills can be put off a few days without too much problem, I've yet to find a landlord who allows rent to be two weeks late, several months a year.

I finally figured out a workable system. Rather than simply budgeting the whole month, I took a look at the billing cycle for each bill. Those due between the 1st and 15th would be paid from the second check (of the month before). The bills due between the 16th and 31st are paid from the first check. All the rest could go into either check, as funds allowed.

Then I wrote up our income and expenses by paycheck. For example, our first paycheck of the month includes expenses for groceries, gas, household utilities, and credit card payments. The second paycheck covers rent and investments.

Twice a year, we get that bonus three-paycheck month. If you make enough money that you can cover your budget with the first two paychecks, the third can simply be savings, investment, funding for special charity projects or whatever else you like. However, for the rest of us, I've found that the third paycheck tends to budget nicely for those non-monthly expenses, such as car registration and insurance, quarterly taxes, and so forth.

For more tips, check out Rocks in my Dryer.

Sunday, May 27

Life, or Something Like It

I haven't written anything serious for quite a while. I've been thinking serious thoughts often, sometimes, too often, so writing has been a bit on an escape for me.

May has been hard. Adam's been dealing with some situations at work that made it appear he might soon be out of work. I wasn't sure what to feel about that. Ecstatic that the horrible stress of work would be over, but frightened that we wouldn't have a steady income.

Among the three of us, we've been sick for more than half the month. I don't think it's in the Bible, but sickness begets tiredness. Especially when you have to get up and go to work or take care of your household even though you're not feeling well.

I've also recognized in the past 10 days or so that I've been dealing with some depression. I'm not simply sick and tired, but overwhelmed and virtually bereft of motivation to get anything worthwhile accomplished.

And in addition to everything else, yesterday, I found out that my dad and stepmom are splitting up for good. This was not unexpected, they've been separated on-and-off for nine months. I'm just...sad. Disappointed. Wanting more or better things from them, for them.

Today I'm home from church again. That's the second time in four weeks. I was up for several hours overnight spending quality time with my bathroom spiders. Chicky and Moe are doing well. After Adam got up with our daughter, I was able to sleep for a good three hours. I'm feeling better, but craving noodles in chicken broth. That's what Mom used to make when I was sick. Isn't it funny how things that would normally cause us to turn up our noses sound so good when we're feeling down?

Friday, May 25

Reading and Writing

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I keep thinking I have lots of interesting things to say, but somehow, as soon as I sit down to write a post or an e-mail or an essay just for fun, all my brilliant ideas seem to fly right out the window. Maybe I need to close the window....

Thursday, May 24

I Want a Spa Holiday

Last night, as I lay in bed, finally feeling cool after a late evening shower, I was daydreaming a day at the spa for myself.

Imagine a 90-minute massage, followed by a nap on a breezy covered porch. Waking up to frozen frothy yumminess, perhaps a Strawberry Colada. Lunch is fresh, well-balanced, a symphony to the taste buds, and I don't have to cook it.

My afternoon consists of a full-body wrap that exfoliates and moisturizes, followed by a manicure, pedicure, and hair dressing. After all that pampering, what can I do but take another nap before dinner? This time, it's in a cloth hammock on the beach...maybe strung between two strong palm trees.


I fell asleep before I made it to dinner.

Doesn't that just sound wonderful. A week off? Total relaxation? No responsibilities? Sigh. Maybe next week.

Saturday, May 19

S'more Bliss

This post originally appeared on By Hook or By Cook.

Why didn't I think of these before? I should clarify, there are other recipes out there for similar "indoor s'mores" calling for additional ingredients that I really can't see improving the flavor. I like mine. Try them both and let me know what you think.

1-13 oz box Golden Grahams (about 8 cups)
½ c butter (1 stick)
1-10 oz bag marshmallows (about 50 large marshmallows)
¾ c chocolate chips

· Pour cereal into a large mixing bowl. Set aside,
· Melt butter over medium heat.
· Add marshmallows. Stir constantly until melted (may be a bit lumpy).
· Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal. Mix well.
· Fold in chocolate chips.
· Press into a greased 9x13 pan. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 square (25 g)
Serving per Recipe 24
Amount per Serving
Calories 89 Calories from Fat 5

% DV
Total Fat 0.5g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 145mg
Total Carbohydrates 21g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g
Sugars 11g
Protein 1g


Notes to Self...

If you ever decide to garden again, please take note:
  • Don't wear your Tevas. They collect dirt. This is especially important if you are planning to wear them to church tomorrow.
  • The first day you are feeling better after being almost completely out of commission for 10 days is probably not the best time to weed the front flower bed...when you haven't weeded it since you moved in...over a year ago.
  • Remember how much worms gross you out? Keep that in mind when you start digging in the dirt. Wear gloves.
  • Adam is bigger and stronger than you are. Of course he's going to garden claw faster. Don't try to keep up.
  • Gardening clothes are a good idea. Jammies, not so much.
  • A big floppy hat is an excellent idea. Barring that, wear sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen. Reapply often. Bright red is not your best look.
  • Just because all of your neighbors have pretty flowers doesn't mean you have to compete. Nicely trimmed hedges and the hostas left by the last tenants are lovely all on their own.
  • This is supposed to be fun. If you're not having fun, you can always try again another day.

Saturday, May 12

Bathroom Reading

Ahem. Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on?

You may have noticed a distinct lack of new and in-depth posting on this blog lately. Or maybe not. At any rate, I've spent the last several days and nights under the weather with, shall we call it intestinal difficulties?

Which is to say, my bathroom spiders and I have become good friends. I call them Chicky and Moe.

What I really needed was this little gem. Bathroom reviews from around the world. Just that little pick-me-up I was looking for.... Thanks to Ruth for this glimpse into the world I could have been stuck in enjoying sharing with Chicky and Moe!

Monday, May 7

From the Sublime...

Our daughter has hit that scatological stage--nothing is more interesting to her than what comes out of her.

In other news, over the past few months she's started talking quite a bit more than she had been. She'll repeat just about anything we say, though sometimes she gets it wrong. She has trouble distinguishing, for example a "t" from a "p" at first. She usually catches on after a couple of tries, though.

Recently, she started saying, "Wuv ooh" (I love you) as we'd put her to bed at night or when we were leaving. Soon, she added to her vocabulary "wuv ooh, pooh" (I love you, too).

The other night she was feeling comical and she began having a little conversation with herself:

Wuv ooh, pee.
Wuv ooh, pooh!

Followed by bursts of hysterical laughter.

Tuesday, May 1

Psalm 117

Everyone, praise the Lord.
Let all the people applaud Him.
His great love has taken over our lives,
And His faithfulness endures forever.

Once upon a time, a little boy lived on a small island in the middle of a great big ocean. He looked around him and saw that his family was not like the other families on the island, but still it was home. At just five years old, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a daddy with a wife and family of his own.

Thousands of miles away, a little girl lived. The closest thing to the ocean she saw was a great lake. Growing up, she knew many things she wanted to be. First, it was either a movie star or a teacher. Later on, she considered entering medicine or perhaps law. By the time she was in high school, she knew she wanted to be a psychologist, or maybe a church youth pastor.

As the boy grew older, he suffered trials and pain, distracting him from his original goal. He also discovered the piano and the wonderful ability of music to soothe a restless soul. He left his island home to pursue his dreams. He gained entrance to a well-respected conservatory and began his study.

The girl was quickly becoming a woman, but still unsure about her future. She finished college and moved to a big city, unlike any she'd lived in before, yet it felt like home. She spent a few years working long and hard to facilitate the education and entertainment of others, but found she was missing opportunities to contribute to the greater good.

The man finished his time at college unhappily. He left school drained and confused about where life might next take him. He spent several years working, practicing and searching for something that would fill the hollow places inside. He began to attend church in his area. He heard a message of hope, trusting in God to fulfill the specific desires of his heart. The man gave God several years, as he prayed for a wife and child before he passed 30.

Finding a church home had not proven to be one of the woman's strengths. She visited churches occasionally, only to be dissatisfied with some aspect of the worship, the message, or the congregation. On one visit with her brother's family, she discovered a church unlike any she'd attended, well-steeped in tradition, but alive in the Spirit. After only a few months, she began to volunteer with several ministries, including the preschoolers' worship. For the first time in many years, perhaps her whole adult life, the woman felt content with her life, just as it was.

Time was passing quickly for the man. He'd become involved at church, volunteering with children's ministry and the prayer team. His 30th birthday was just around the corner and he was beginning to doubt God's desire to bless him with a family. He'd decided to strike out on his own seeking a mate. But his own searching was not as easy as he'd hoped. Months passed, and he had still found no one with whom he wanted to share his life.

The woman found herself unaccountably happy. She'd never before felt the presence of God with such strength. Her job was satisfying. Her ministry activities kept her busy while offering a challenge. Only one thing seemed to be missing: a family of her own. And she'd picked out just the man she wanted...if only he would show an interest in her.

Stuck. That was how the man was feeling. His job was unfulfilling, he wasn't finding a date, and one of his best friends was about to be married, for the second time. The day of their wedding shower, he was searching for somewhere else to be. An acquaintance from church invited him for coffee after lunch. He jumped at the chance.

Nervous. The woman was about to have coffee with the man who'd been invading her dreams. Would this mean something? Was he interested? What on earth would they talk about?

For nearly four hours, the man and woman talked. They shared stories from their lives and their travels, amusing anecdotes about eccentric family members, even ideas of what would make a perfect date. The woman left exhilarated, excited by the talk and the potential. The man drove away shocked, a bit afraid of what might be happening.

On a game night the next weekend, they met again and played Trivial Pursuit. Sunday lunch was shared with a large group of friends the following weekend. After lunch, they drove to a nearby park and hiked in the woods, talking for another seven hours. A dinner together at an outdoor concert, their first official date, came two weeks later. Only eight weeks after that, the two were engaged. Less than a year passed and the couple married. Within the month, they were expecting their first child. That fall, the man celebrated his 31st birthday.

And they lived (mostly) happily ever after.

Happy Anniversary, my love! I am so glad to be your wife. God has been incredibly gracious to me. Iau lala mámna iáu!