Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jealous... Be Very Jealous

So this week has been incredibly busy. And not just at work, which is unusual for me. This week included some brief business travel, meeting lots of new people, hanging out with some good friends and good food.

So I started this week by going to the new church I've been attending for a while... I can't really bring myself to say "my new church". If I have talked to you recently, you probably know I'm not going to the Branch much anymore - if not, sorry for the surprise! I have been visiting around trying to find a church closer to me and I really enjoy this one... its AWESOME.

Sunday I also went to the McKinney Trade Days and visited my friend's booth: Cool quality jewelry at a great price!

This week I also went to our corporate headquarters. Let me just say I LOVE flying on our corporate planes. No security checks, lines, or layovers. Just show up with your employee badge and climb on board, pick your comfy seat that is all by itself - not squished up next to someone else - buckle your safety belt and relax! Open up the cabinet and grab a coke or a beer and a snack and kick back for the ride! Yes, I said beer - I don't drink it but it's there and to be fair, I've only seen someone drink one on the way home at the end of the day. Don't worry- it wasn't the pilot. :) So... those of you unlucky ones forced to fly commercial, be jealous... be very jealous, indeed.

In this week was one of my cofriendworker's birthdays, so a few of us went to lunch together at Brio - a very yummy Italian restaurant. It was lovely enough to eat outside and I love doing that! I also decorated her cube (a tradition in our department) which caused another coworker to remark "You are the MacGyver of cube decorating!". Be jealous... you know you wish you could decorate cubes like me.

This new church I've been visiting has a Friday night service in which I sang on the worship team... very different, but fun.

After Friday night service, I met the aforementioned cofriendworker for dinner for her birthday... once again at Brio. :) We had a great time and great food, then we hung out at my place watching clips of The Big Bang Theory. If you haven't watched this show yet... you need to!

And so today, I have done three of my favorite things: read a good book, shop at Target and watch Hairspray.

Be jealous... be very jealous.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

World Without End, by Ken Follett

It is time for my first book review of 2009! I finished this book in January and it was great!

The continuing story of Mr. Follett’s epic novel The Pillars of The Earth, World Without End proves itself a worthy sequel. Like the first, you experience large events across a sweeping landscape through the story of a few individual people. It almost leaves you breathless – you follow the compelling characters through 14th century Florence, France and London during the beginnings of The Hundred Years War and the Plague.

The four main characters of the story meet at the beginning as children and their stories are intertwined throughout the book in surprising ways. When they meet, they witness a murder and one becomes the keeper of a deadly secret. This story has a bit more intrigue than the last, but at its core, it is still a story about the relationship between the characters and the larger effect these relationships have on the surrounding community. The ways these characters cope with things like war with France and the deadliest plague humankind has ever known make this a tale that grabs you and reels you in to experience major events in history in a relatable way.

Mr. Follett is writing about a time in which the church and government were closely related and both were filled with corrupt men and women who sought to manipulate and control the masses. However, Mr. Follett seems open to the possibility that some people practice their religion sincerely and devoutly. Prior Philip, in the first story, for example, is someone who genuinely tries to do God's will. Unfortunately, this idea didn’t seem to carryover into this book. There are “good” characters in this story, but they express their own doubts about God and religion and use the religious system to manipulate things the way they think they should go. So in a way, they are using religion in a similar way the corrupt characters do, but for a nobler purpose. The sad thing about these stories is that no real character in the story seems to know the gospel of Jesus Christ, which would give the story much more hope than the humanistic version of hope it depicts.

The most compelling thing for me about reading these stories is that it gave me a better picture of why these were called “the Dark Ages” and why Luther’s reform was so amazingly refreshing to the masses and threatening to those in corrupt leadership. I am so glad I live in a more hopeful time!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blogging from my Bathtub

It's not what you think...

I have lived in the Dallas area most of my life. Years and years went by with no tornado warnings.

In less than a year in Collin County I have taken cover in my bathtub 3 times. Three.

Am I a dork who freaks out over storms? Yes.

Thankfully, I and my apartment have made it through unscathed in each instance.

I am now out of the bathtub and looking forward to a hopefully sunny day tomorrow. :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Fun Times

Saturday I had a great time catching up with an old friend from childhood. I really don't think we're old enough to be old friends, though! She is in town from Connecticut and we met for dinner and then she came over to my apartment for a bit. We had a great time catching up and wondering why there were so many golf carts (seriously, one came by every five minutes).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Christmas with your families, I know mine was great! May the celebration of the birth of our Saviour remind you that God makes all things new.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned...

"For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
"Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

Isaiah 9:2,6-7

Book List Update

So I finally got around to updating my book list for 2008. My goal was 20 books and if I exceeded that, then 10,000 pages. I read 23 new books for a total of 9,141 pages; reread at least 4 and left 3 unfinished. Here are a few extra comments on the rereads and unfinished.

Redeeming Love
by Francine Rivers
The story is so good at getting down to why we resist the love and salvation of God. It's a romance, so that obviously makes it interesting.
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
I'm rereading this slowly to Grandmother - I got her a copy for Christmas '07 and read a chapter here and there when I visit her. Anne is such a classic character and so easy to sympathize with. The story makes you laugh out loud with every chapter. Reading it to Grandmother will be among my treasured memories of 2008.
Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
This is where Anne agrees to marry Gilbert. Good times, good times.
The Book of Hours by T. Davis Bunn
It is a fictional story with a good mystery that involves a historical castle with hidden clues and ultimately a great historical find.

Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
Good at first, but ultimately boring… it goes on too long without pulling you in.
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
Not nearly as funny or engaging as previous Plum books… still working on finishing it.
Wideacre by Philippa Gregory
I did not like this story! Main plot involves incest and the heroine is so obsessive you cannot relate at all. Downright weird and sick.

Well that's all folks for 2008 - I'm already started on the first book for 2009... Happy New Year!

Shoe Addicts Anonymous, by Beth Harbison

I got some chuckles out of this story of 4 women who bond over their love of shoes. This is actually a very nice story about the importance of female friendship and it is good without being preachy or sappy. Each of the four women struggle with a different issue and come together in reponse to an add online for a shoe trading club. The club initially offers each the escape from their daily troubles, friendship desperately needed and eventually brings resolution to the difficulties in their lives.

Good Man Hunting, by Lisa Landolt

This book is by a local author and set in Dallas, so it intrigued me on a trip to B&N. The heroine of this story is an assistant manager in a pizza joint who thinks her life is never going to change. However, she meets the members of The Hunt Club at a friend's wedding and they promise her the opportunity to find her dream (read handsome, rich and/or famous) man and guarantee they'll be able to get him to marry her. This is obviously too good to be true and our heroine ends up involved in some serious scheming to get her dream man and unbeknownst to her, these plots involve murder! As she tries to back her way out of the situation, funny hijinks ensue and ultimately she does win her dream man and finds out a little more about who she is in the process. I liked this story because I identified with the heroine's view of herself as someone who could do better, but is stuck and doesn't know how to improve her life. But, when presented with an opportunity, she goes for it and has an adventure that changes her life.

Finished November 2008

A Wicked Wench, by Anne Herries

I can't believe I picked a book out with this title from the library. This is a bit of a raunchy tale about a revolutionary era younger daughter coming of age in England after her mother dies and her father becomes burdened by excessive debt. Her older sister is the dutiful, plain daughter who marries money to pay her father's debts; however, she turns out to be vengeful, mean and unmerciful to the younger, impulsive sister. The younger sister runs off with a cad, ends up penniless in a brothel and is rescued by a man she hates, but ends up falling in love with. I didn't like this story because the person who does the prudent thing is painted as evil; but the morally errant does suffer the consequences of her behavior, but she doesn't seem to learn from them until the very very end, if then. There is a happy ending for the heroine, but it's not very satisfying because you don't like the heroine. Not a good choice from the library. :(
Finished November 2008

Bright Lights, Big Ass, by Jen Lancaster

Another extremely funny memoir from Jen Lancater. This one is mainly focused on life in the big city and further develops her start in writing. This one gets a little bit more on the silly side and shows how Jen can kind of get out of hand, but she always manages to learn a lesson or change a habit, and does so realistically. Another fave!
Finished October 2008

Bitter Is The New Black, by Jen Lancaster

The original effort by this author, I didn't find it as funny as Such A Pretty Fat, but it was still a hoot all the same. This book is a memoir of the author's job hunt and decision to become a writer. I didn't identify with this one quite as much, but it was still worth reading. Jen Lancaster's style of witty observation (I especially enjoy the sidebar thoughts as footnotes included on almost every page) puts you right in the situation with her.
Finished October 2008

Such A Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster

This is the funniest book I've read in a long time, possibly ever. A memoir of the author's efforts at weight loss, it is a much more realistic picture of the thoughts and feelings of a person struggling with significant weight issues. But ultimately, it is just a very funny look at life in this day and age. Based in Chicago (the real Chicago, not the suburbs!), the lifestyle she describes isn't too far off this Dallas girl's lifestyle. Her observations are extremely witty, and she is a Republican! :) A must read for any modern girl.

Finished September 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I'm going to skip the apologies for not posting in a while and say I AM SO HAPPY IT'S CHRISTMASTIME!!!!

Work has slowed down a tiny fraction of bit and I have been able to do some shopping and of course - decorate! I love Christmas and I love decorating, so my tree is up as well as many other things to make the season bright.

I am also very proud of myself because I made a tree skirt for my tree. I had been looking for one for a few years and never found one I really liked. A few months ago I found some fabric I really liked and decided I would make a tree skirt. So, this week my momma and I went to get the batting and backing and I sewed it all together with the help of my awesome momma! I've included pics below:


Monday, October 06, 2008


I've been really stressed about work lately - it's the busy season. I have the tendency to think and worry about work when I'm not at work, too - so I need a little perspective.

God delivered some perspective tonight. After working late, I wanted to take a walk through a store to wind down so I go to my favorite store - Target. I walk around pick up a couple things and go to the register. After checking out I leave the store and a woman stops me and says 'Can I ask you a question?'. I say sure and let her tell her story. She lives in the area but has lost her job and home, so she's living at a motel and is 3 days behind. She has a part-time job, but needs $120 to catchup. A guy drives up, rolls down his window and she barely starts her story when he hands her some cash. She turns back to me not knowing what to say. I tell her that I'm sorry, but I don't have any cash. I asked her if I could pray for her and she says yes (I never do this!), so we pray and then she asks if we could pray for her sister...we continue praying and after we're finished we said goodbye and I start walking to my car.

I have a general rule that if I am asked for money and have cash, then it is supposed to be given away. But I didn't have cash and I was really - I hate to use a churchy word - burdened about her situation. As I'm walking to my car, I look down at the totally unneccesary stuff in my hand and think - "What if she doesn't have food? Should I offer to buy her some?". Then it hits me - i can go back in and get cash.

Obviously, I helped her out, but that's not my point and I don't tell this to toot my own horn. If I had had cash on me, I probably wouldn't have prayed for her. Which did more good? She said she felt so 'thought of' that 'God was really looking out for her' and 'it's amazing what can happen when we're yielded [to Him]'.

As I drove home in my nice car to my nice apartment full of tons of stuff, I realized how much God has really blessed me that I could help her. I won't even really miss it. But I won't soon forget that God is mindful of us. I am so blessed - work doesn't matter so much as the God who provides it for us. He has already taken care of the things that worry me. He is Great and Good.

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Matthew 6:30-33