Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A public apology

Dear "everyone-else-on-the-road",

I am sorry. I don't even know you and yet I judge you. I'm sure you hardly think about me (in fact your driving proves that you don't) and yet I am amazed at the rage I am capable of feeling because of your actions. 

I wish you understood that driving isn't just about you. Nor is it just about me (that is where my apology comes in). But first, we must establish that driving is about us as a collective group of people trying to accomplish something. 

When you want to switch lanes, part of being a productive member of society involves using your turn signal. Today I watched a shiny silver car (because we all know I didn't pay attention to the brand) switch lanes 6 times and eventually turn onto 12th from Cambie, all without using a signal! This almost caused 2 accidents in the 4 minutes I was watching. Who knows what happened before or after that. 

Driving isn't just about following the rules (though that does matter), it's about being strategic and thoughtful. If you are turning right, it is thoughtful and strategic to pull over to the far right, rather than turning from the far left of your lane, especially if there ample room to be on the right safely. Turning from either spot is technically following the rules, but pulling towards the right before your right hand turn allows others to go around you - and helps create a situation where you can't turn onto a cyclist. When making turns, pushing yellow lights, stopping for parking, etc, it is important to think about how your movements might affect others. That will help any number of accidents from happening. 

As much as I wish everyone drove thoughtfully, strategically and with regard to the rules and to others, I realize that this isn't the case. So this is my apology for my own road rage. It shocks me how quickly I become a mean, rageful human being. It amazes me that one drivers small act of ignorance can spark such feelings in me. And I am sorry for the places my mind goes in those moments. Driving makes me realize how much of a sinner I really am, and reminds how truly deeply I need Jesus. I can't even stop myself from being rageful at a poorly executed left turn situation, of course I'd need Him in the rest of life! 

For me driving is interesting - I love to drive. It's in me. Mitchell's love to drive. I also cycle every day, commuting to and from work. I love to cycle. It's becoming a huge part of who I am each day. For years I have been a pedestrian and walked or taken transit. When I'm on the road I try to keep view each situation from all of these perspectives. And sadly, when I'm a pedestrian I hate bikes, buses and cars. When I'm on a bus, I hate pedestrians, bikes and cars. When I'm driving I HATE cyclists, I distrust pedestrians and am bugged by buses. So fickle with my feelings. 

So to "everyone-else-on-the-road" I am sorry for thinking terrible thoughts about you. I wish I could say I didn't. Please accept this sincerest apology and know that when I drive I will try to think of you in nice ways, and drive so that I help you get where you are going...even if I think a few mean thoughts about you on the way. 

A very confused commuter,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And now for something completely different

*written Saturday on the ferry*

I am livid. 
I wrote a beautiful long blog post.

And then my ipad seemed to have closed and now it's all gone. This is two ferry trips in a row where somehow I have lost long blog posts. I wish I thought to save throughout. UGH. it's just such a process on the blogger app. 

Anyways, I'll attempt to recapture some of what I was talking about. 

So, I'm different than other people. Sure there are ways I'm the same as everyone else but there are many ways I'm not. Often in groups I'll say "OK, I'm just going to go ahead and say what everyone else is thinking". Usually someone else pipes up, "Tara, no one was thinking that"

Oh. Really?!

On top of being different I'm also quirky. 

So here goes:

I feel bad for the clothing that I have to hang on wire hangers, everyone knows plastic is better. Guilt. 
I sort my underwear by favorite type, so I can wear my favorites first. I feel guilty when I wear the less favorite underwear, we both know it's out of pity or desperation. 
A good book and a bowl of chips is almost a religious experience for me. 
I LOVE eating at restaurants alone, as long as I have a book. 
Books are friends that I get to visit with. 
I HATE the classics. Worst English major ever.
I miss Trading Spaces
When I use a public washroom I lock the door, wipe the toilet seat and then go back to the door and check that it's locked (by unlocking it and relocking it) and then I wipe the seat again and sit down. 
I wear 3 pairs of socks in my boots
I play favorites in my wardrobe and I feel like I'm telling some of my children that I don't love them as much, but I can't help myself. 
I love going on road trips and adventures and feel such a thrill from them. 
I feel a thrill when I get to leave work or a meeting early - even when it's something I like doing. 
I don't listen to music by album, I listen to music by type. Happy. Sad. Melancholy. Dance music. etc.
I hate using a cone for ice-cream, even waffle. I would prefer a bowl.
I constantly touch my hair. I started doing this at 13. my English teacher Mrs. Stoutley would do this and I thought the way she combed her fingers in her hair and the way that the hair then fell and framed her face was beautiful. I am 30 now and I haven't stopped since. 
When I experience joy I have to tell people around me. When I'm having a nice time with a friend, something in me tells me that they need to know how much I like this/them.
Sometimes it's physically painful to stop talking. 
It's a labor of love to remember to shut up.
I also LOVE listening to others and getting to know them. I feel torn so much of the time. 
I  rock at Ticket To Ride
I am not great at Settlers. 
I love playing games and can't help but get involved/excited.
I HATE getting back massages. HATE. 
I like my feet.
I hate washing dishes but love cooking. 
I feel guilty using the dishwasher.
I feel rich and fancy using the dishwasher
I feel rich and fancy when I get to drive ONTO THE FERRY rather than walk.
I feel like a phony when I shop on Robson. Even when I go and buy something. 
I talk to God and myself in my head all day long.
I hate to run out of things - I try to keep my phone totally charged, I try to keep an extra book on me at all times, I make sure our food won't run out, I buy in bulk. 
I long to be on time, but it is a struggle for me. 
I don't like weddings as much if I have no role in them. The ADD in me finds it hard to just sit. 
Dancing with Paul hurts my hip. 
Dancing with Paul makes happy - I never danced with a guy at any school dances or activities - high school was my first dance, and even that was in a hallway. 
Because of our height difference I think Paul and I look silly together. 
I think Paul and I make a great team and I love him a lot. 
But I still think we look silly together. 
I prefer 7-11 toquitoes to many things. 
I love McDonalds Breakfast Sandwiches (Sausage and Egg McMuffin)
I would stop at every Timmies I saw for steeped tea if money and time weren't issues (3 milks, two sweeteners and a sleeve)
My Dad converted my whole family to splenda after he was diagnosed with diabetes and now I hate tea with sugar. I carry splenda on me at all times. 
I feel like a fancy rich person when I eat on the ferry. 
I clearly don't think I'm naturally a fancy rich person
I don't like Vancouver, particularly.
I love the people in Vancouver that I know, I love our families, I love our church...and I love our home. I have a good job and a great/amazing life here. It is beautiful and very convenient for bike riding and USA trips. 
I wish I could have all of the people I love/like move with me to the Island. Preferably Nanaimo. That would be were I would prefer to live.
I tend to pick a place to visit and will visit it often and then switch. For years I visited Victoria regularly or Nanaimo or I visit Washington regularly. I seem capable of only visiting one place a season.
I never grocery shop without a list. My list is on an excel spreadsheet. I know how much, roughly, that I'll spend and am usually right. 
I can't imagine not having ADD and living a life with a different mind - how does that feel?
When I sit at google and don't know what to type i always type "horses".
I don't even really like horses.
When I do adventurous things and then take photos of them I always end up looking terrible

You're welcome for those 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Menu Plan Monday and a top ten for happiness

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Monday:  Stirfry
Tonight is a night filled with much food prep: I'm making thursdays dinner (times two, so I can take a batch to my dear friends Nate and Leah as they have just had a baby girl), maple treats (for my maple loving friend Stef's bridal shower) and chocolate chip banana bread. I wanted a quick and easy dinner. 

Tuesday: NADA
Paul's BBQ'ing with the guys from lifegroup and the rest of our household is out. I'm out at a Stef's bridal shower that night. 

Wednesday: Paul's Chili
I'm out at my friend Rebekah's Stagette (she gets married Saturday!) for dinner, but then at 8pm we're all heading back to my house. So Paul's in charge of feeding our gang and then getting them all out of the living room and upstairs so we girls can party. 

Thursday: Tomato Basil Spaghetti with Meatballs
I'm away in washington doing wedding prep and hanging out with the soon to be bride, so I'll make this ahead and leave it for people to heat up. 

Friday: Paul's French Toast
I'm still away at the wedding so Paul is making his other famous dish, French Toast. 

Saturday: YOYO (You're On Your Own)
Both Paul and I will be away at the wedding at this point.

Sunday: YOYO (You're On Your Own)
After church we are heading out for an engagement dinner party for friends, so our crew is on their own again. 

Ten things that make me really happy (not in any order)

1. Sunshine on my face, and feeling the wind - being outside
2. My House
3. Great food and drinks
4. A good book, yet to be discovered
5. Travelling / adventuring
6. Friends - strong, lasting relationships
7. Family
8. Being Married to Paul
9. God - so thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made that I might have adundant life!
10. Church Family

There is so much more that also makes me happy, but this makes a good overview of Tara's life happyness. It feel kind of weird to mix the trivial (food, books, etc) with the profound (God, family, friends) but both combined make me the happiest. 

This past weekend has been filled with a lot of happiness. Friday night I sat in the sun with a beer and a book, then I went out for dinner wtih my Nana (love love love her) and then I got to have her over to our new house and show her all around. Nana left by 9pm, so I got to sit at home with a book, a drink and some chips and rest before getting into bed at 10pm...ON A FRIDAY! Love it. 

Saturday I was up bright and early for a trip to Nanaimo. I caught the 8:30am ferry easily and had a peaceful time - reading, drinking tea, staring out at the water and typing away on my ipad. happy happy. 

Then I spent the day with Crystal (she's getting married in October and I'm in her wedding) making wedding crafts and chatting with the other bridesmaids. I also had a great time connecting with Crystal's sister Savanna - she's great to chat with and it was so nice to pray together before she dropped me off at the ferry. God is so good. 

On top of that I got the best seat on the ferry and got to drive a stranger home - years of HATING transit after the ferry ride has made me always be on the lookout for others who might want a life home whenever I have a car. 

Plus when I got home Paul was home from 3 days away in Oregon, and our friends John and Nellie were over - they were staying at the house for the weekend. It was great to all stay up and chat and John and Nellie got me the most beautiful flowers. I spread the bouquet out over a few vases and flowers in almost every room makes me smile.

Sunday I got to sleep in with Paul, hang out with Lindsay while doing some planning, and then host at church. After church we had friends over for dinner - I hadn't seen them in years and years and it was so lovely to see them. Cora is a friend from Nanaimo, and is also my friend Lisa's cousin. Due to her not being on facebook we'd lost touch for the past 5 years or so but thankfully I literally almost ran over her a couple months back and we made a plan to get together. It was great fun. 

And now it's work time - ready for a new (short) week. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Volume 6)

--- 1 --- 
My last Quick Takes Friday was April 12th - over a month! How does that happen?

[The answer is, I didn't write one, that's how it happened]

--- 2 --- 
Lately we've had a house full. We have 3 full time students living with us, we've had a revolving door for our fourth student room and we've had guests on top of that! Strangely, Paul has been absent most weekends (field trips, hunting, etc) but even so, the house has felt full and bustley - and I have been loving it. 

--- 3 --- 
This weekend I'm headed to the Island to visit my dear friend Crystal. Crystal is getting married in October and I'm in her wedding party, so we're getting together this weekend to do wedding prep stuff. I love any excuse to visit Crystal and a chance to get to the island. 

On top of that I visited the Target here in Delta and liked it, but Nanaimo friends don't think their Target compares to America, so I'm on a quest to find out how different their Target is from the one here, if at all. 

--- 4 --- 
Speaking of Target, as I mentioned above I went last weekend and I loved it. Having recently been to an American Target (and having mad memorization skills) I knew what the layout of the store should look like, and what stock should be in and what prices should be to be comparable to the US. And I'll say, they did a dang good job. Very similar stock, very similar layout and great prices, despite the fact that we live in Canada (home of the pricey item). 

For example, I bought this purse for $24.99, same as the American price as you can see online!

(Also I have been looking for a casual black cross body purse for over a year now - score!).
(Also this purse is rocking my socks off. I LOVE it)

Other than the purse, most items were within $.50 to $2 dollars in difference from America for the same items - that's phenomenal for Canada. They had much of the same clothing, much of the same housewares. I was VERY impressed. 

And I felt like I was in America, so there's that. 

--- 5 --- 
This next Quick Take was copied over from April 12th. Normally I copy and paste for format and then go in and change each paragraph. But I was about to write something identical to it. Weird. So here you go...

"Last week I cleaned my room - put away all my clothes - finished organizing my bathroom. It has been one week of me PUTTING MY CLOTHES AWAY right away. This is a miracle. I'm praying it continues. What a lovely feeling it is. The next big project will be our bedroom. Because as I've mentioned before a pretty space helps motivate me to stay tidy. So if our room is beautiful, I'll try to keep it that way."

Sadly I can tell you that within a week of that being written last time I had reverted to being a huge mess and by the time I cleaned my room a week ago it was a disaster. When will it stick!!!?? So far 7 days and counting. 

--- 6 --- 
I got an iPad mini for my 30th birthday from my family. Paul's Mom and Dad and their spouses, Katie, my parents and my aunt all chipped in to get me this gift and I am so so so happy. I am loving it. I even got a little keyboard for it, so blogging has been a lot of fun with that. I do the final edit and post from a real computer but do much of the writting on my couch using my iPad and keyboard. I love catching up on tv while doing tedious tasks - like laundry and cooking, etc. My ADD appreciates it, that's for sure. I am so pleased with my gift. Thank you to my awesome family for getting me such an awesome gift. 

--- 7 --- 
I loved this season of The Office, and in particular LOVED the finale. That, my friends, is how a finale should be done. It gave us a glimpse into the future, it gave us hope for our "friends" and it wrapped up lose ends - all while maintaining the humor that we love in it. 

I loved the Erin moment at the Panel - so beautiful. I for sure actually cried. 
PB&J or JAM's moments were great - loved seeing her big gesture and how hard they worked on their marriage and how much they obviously still enjoyed each other. 
Loved seeing Angela loosen up a bit
I LOVED the moment where Andy goes out to find out why no one is at the panel and they start chanting Nard Dog and his little tune. Oh!

Well done, The Office. You've left me satisfied and smiling.
That's what she said
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bloggy favorites

Five of my favorite blogs and what I love about them

iHeart Organizing - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Jen's organizing ideas. I use so so so many of them. While Jen's blog is filled with tips and tools and could easily make people feel discouraged for not having as nice a home/space/whatever, Jen writes in such a way that makes you feel like you are on a journey with her, and that you can have a great house. And that no matter where your house is at, if it's working for you then it is excellent. She does reader features and they are so helpful to me - helps me see how to make any space functional. Her blog is the inspiration behind my Command Center, Organized Drawers and Chalkboard Calendar

Living in Yellow - Erin is hilarious. Also she's adorable and dresses fabulously. And she makes me laugh. She has helped spur some of my bolder colored outfits onward, and introduced me to the bubble necklace, which I love. 

Young House Love - John and $herdog feel like friends, and watching them make their homes beautiful gives me so many ideas. They write with joy and fun and they also write great tutorials for building and decoration. I haven't done many of their projects yet, but I love the ideas I get from them and have plans to do some of their projects. Thus far, they inspired my decorative figurine

Paraphrases / The Porters Lodge - Written by Laura and LeAnna respectively. 
Laura is a friend - She's a wonderful photographer and a great writer. She has helped get me back on track for regular blogging by challenging me to two different blog challenges. If I'm taking too long to get a post out in a day, she'll pester me to get it done so she can read it. I love it. 
LeAnna is my cousin and the reason I got into blogging at 16. I love how she writes and I love getting a glimpse into her life, especially with her across the pond. And she is one of the only people who ever comments on my blog, which is nice of her!

Conversion Diary - Jennifer is an athiest-to-Christian/Catholic convert who writes with wit, faith and amazing authenticity. 

Honourable Mention: Cake Wrecks - Paul and I read this every day, it's a favorite together activity. Cake Wrecks is a blog that features terrible professionally done cakes. Mostly it makes us laugh. 

Other "must-mentions":
Siriously Delicious - great food blog! I never make almost anything she writes but I sure do love reading her recipes.
J's Everyday Fashion - fun fashion blog (and the other bubble necklace junkie). I have recreated a bunch of her stuff
I'm an organizing Junkie - Canadian organizational blog, love it! It has helped inspire much of my organizing and I followed along with her 52 week challenge two years ago and was able to accomplish a lot in that time!
La vie petite - Cori's blog is filled with great outfits and excellent photography. I often copy her outfits as well. 
Boo Mama - read by 10's of people every day - hilarious southern woman, awesome. Oh she makes me laugh.
My Life as a Mrs - best recipes. period. Baja Fish Taco's (my take) and her Chicken, Mushroom Piccata were both amazing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Menu Plan Wednesday?

With the holiday Monday at the start of the week, and a blog post on fear on Tuesday, it seems confusing to be writing about the menu now, but I love having the record of our food!

Monday:  YOYO (You're On Your Own)
It's a holiday monday. Rachel, Ana and Water were all going to be out. Only Duncan would be home, and I needed to be in Surrey picking Paul up (and enjoying my first Target Canada visit). There were a LOT of leftovers in the fridge though.

Tuesday: Angus Beef Burgers from Costco with Bacon Ranch Devilled Eggs and Yam Fries
It's my cousin John's birthday at Lifegroup and I know what he likes, so I made it

We have a meeting to go to afterwards, and this meal needed assembly the day before. Perfect! The ingredients are marinating over night, ready to be cooked up quickly when I get home.

Thursday is my sister date night, so I always need something easy and fast and tasty

Friday: YOYO (You're On Your Own)
I am seeing my Nana and Paul is out of town, so the crew is on their own.

Saturday: YOYO (You're On Your Own)
Both Paul and I will be away so it's every man for himself!

Sunday: Forgotten Chicken, Corn on the Cob, roasted vegetables and pasta
After church we are having friends over for dinner (yay for Cora and Russel) and since we haven't seen them in ages and they'll be coming over straight after church I wanted a dinner that could easily be cooking away in the oven during church. 

And that is that. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fear itself

The thing(s) you're most afraid of

This is harder than it seems. There is a lot I am afraid of but most afraid of?
There's also a lot that I am not afraid of. But I guess we're not here to talk about that. 

  • Spiders - I realize I am bigger than they are, and Paul always tells me that they are probably more afraid of me than I am of them, but I'm not buying it. I'm super afraid.
  • Mice - living with mice for the last year before moving out cemented this fear in my mind - particularly the day that a mouse jumped out of my pantry, hit my neck and rolled down my body. *shudder* disgusting.
  • Spicy Food - it hurts! I fear things that hurt me (duh)
  • Scary movies - I get so scared during scary parts of movies - I tense up and feel awful. Plus after watching a scary movie I will usually have a nightmare. It's like double fear.
  • Dark places - growing up I hated being home alone at night, we had big windows and I never knew what was on the other side of them. Even now I can convince myself a bad guy is just around the corner when it's dark - I'm thankful that my husband is large.
  • Main and Hastings / Pigeon Park - I wish the downtown east side didn't scare me - and I've even spent a day down there with no problems, but the very real truth of the saddness and trauma that exists there makes it a place I am afraid of. 
  • Debt - as a spender debt is something I know I can wrack up - and the reality of debt scares me. A lot. The thought of how easily I could spend money and then be shackled to that debt is a fear that thankfully helps drive me towards good spending habits. 
  • Coyotes - a few times I've run into Coyotes while on 53rd avenue and every time I freeze up and try desperately to get into a house or car. 
  • Wearing something that is see through and not realizing it - I check ever outfit numerous times to ensure that it is not.
  • Being told I'm not funny, right after telling a joke - oh! the fear.
And on a more serious note, I'm afraid of...
  • Disappointing people - I would like to be perfect and never let anyone down. I find I'm super afraid of the very real truth that I will disappoint people and that it's life.
  • Rejection - Similar to above. But growing up with years of being bullied and teased, sometimes even by "friends" has made this fear very real. Plus I have lost friends - people I valued as friend who have chosen not to be my friend anymore, and I know from experience that rejection hurts. 
  • Not measuring up - I want to be enough. I'm know I'm not. 
These three fears are a helpful reminder that I need God. My significance and security are in Him, and not in my works or my relationships or my perfection. He died for me and loves me, even when I disappoint people, or am rejected or don't measure up. He loves me for me, because He made me. Remembering the truth of the Gospel is what combats my fear - and gives me something hope filled to cling on to. 

And lastly, I'm afraid of...
  • What alzheimers will or could do to my mom - She's already fading, and she's already changing, and I fear what this disease will do to her. I want her final years to be dignified - disease steals that so often. 
Gosh. These are all terrible things to think about. Must write post entitled "reasons life is awesome", immediately to combat depression. But seriously, I know God is bigger than my fears - but there they are - sitting under the surface, waiting to bite. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Menu Planning for Dummies

I love to menu plan. Now I didn't always know that it was called "menu planning" but I have always known that I like to have a food plan for the week. 

I have ADD - which makes focusing hard. This affects menu planning. It makes menu planning necessary. My mind gets cluttered really quickly/easily, so I need to have a food plan or all day my mind is jumping around for different meal options. As much as I love being at church/work/school I will inevitably get bored, and with all that is swirling through my mind, focusing for a moment to write down my meal plan for the week really helps. I can get back to what I'm supposed to be focusing on, and have a productive plan. It ends up working really well. 

Over the years I've had quite a few systems. Most often meal planning involved looking at the calendar and trying to remember meals. But I found that it was hard to remember all the things I liked cooking, or all the different recipes we liked having. It also meant there wasn't a lot of time to try new recipes. Now I try to do a mix of old favorites and new recipes from pinterest. It keeps it fun for me. 

Also once I use a recipe I copy and paste it into a word document and save it in drop box. That gives me the freedom to have all my recipes safely saved for later use, and allows me to access the recipe from work (to make a grocery list) or from home (to follow the recipe). This works very well for me. It also prints easily to read. 

When it's time to pick my menu's I do a few things, 
1. I think if there are any special meals I need to be aware of - special birthday dinners, guests with allergies, etc. 
2. I think if there are any items in our fridge or freezer that need using up
3. I take the above info and look through drop box for recipes that fit that bill
4. I also look through pinterest for recipes that I want to try. I have a board called Food just for this reason. 

I go through and write down different menus I want to try and make a list of all the dinners I'd like to make and if a particular recipe needs to be on a particular day, I make note of that. 

When it's time schedule the meals I do all of my charting online in google calendars. Here is what my calendar looks like
The yellow sections are the menu planning ones - it's actually for my menu planning calendar. 

To enter a recipe I like to make note of the site I got the recipe from, and write out what we'll be eating. It looks like this as I make it.

Typically I then take my list of meals and input them into the calendar. I try to rotate through the main starches, I try to not have pasta two days in a row or potatoes two days in a row, but rather switch them up in the week. A general rule of thumb is to have a different food type each night: Italian, Casserole, Mexican, Asian, BBQ, etc. Some people have the same type on the same week day, but I like to keep it rotating. 

I pick where to put my meals based on what my calendar is showing me. For example, every Thursday I have sister date with Jenna and need to be at her place by 6:45 to tuck in my nephews, so on Thursdays we normally do a crockpot meal so I can pull dinner together quickly. I also use quick meals when I have 7pm meetings. On days that my calendar shows me we have guests or evenings free, I schedule more elaborate meals. 

Also, if I realize, for example, that we aren't going to be eating Mac and Cheese one day like planned, then I go into my calendar and simply change the date to a date in the future that doesn't yet have a meal planned. Easy!

I do anywhere from 2 weeks to a month at a time - depending on how many menu items jumped out at me on pinterest or on dropbox. 

Then each week when it's time to buy groceries, I go through my meal plan and check each recipe for items that aren't standard to buy and add them to my standard list. My standard list allows me to always have the basics in the house. This helps keep my budget down. I only buy extra's as needed. 

I have to say that this system has made my life so much easier. 

Hopefully this helps someone get on track! And if not, at least I gave you something to read today. 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cabin Weekend

A couple weekends ago we went away with a few of our friends for my 30th birthday - we couldn't invite everyone I love, so I picked a few couples to come with (hardest decision ever - only 10 people could be there overnight and only two more couples could come up for the day) and we headed off to a cabin. It would have been wonderful no matter what the weather but the Lord is good and it was gloriously sunny. 

[The boat ride from Harrison Hot Springs at Killer's Cove Marina, to the cabin on Harrison Lake]
 photo GettingthereCollage_zps26e57f37.jpg

[The Roth's cabin - designed and built by Mr. Roth]
 photo Cabin2Collage_zps508e7d79.jpg
We got there just before sunset and the girls were still driving on the log roads - the guys went to fill up the wood fire fueled hot tub and I unpacked the coolers and food and then sat on the porch for a few minutes with a beer and a book. It was heaven.

[Cabin views]
 photo CabinCollage_zpsdc9fc76e.jpg

I was in charge of the food. I love planning meals, especially for groups. And especially when it's not a retreat, and I know that I can go a bit fancy/fun. So, we ate very well all weekend - Breakfast Burritos in the morning, Smokies, cheeses and vggies for lunch and bacon wrapped steak, baked potatoes and veggie skewers for dinner. Awesome. Plus lots of snacks!

[Pictured, dinner and breakfast]
 photo FoodCollage_zpsbfe4bc94.jpg

Friday night we hung around the fire, waiting for the Hot Tub to heat up. Some people decided to hit the hay by minight but a few of us stayed up until after midnight when the tub was finally ready, and man, a hot tub in the dark with no lights around and a sky full of stars is awesome. 

People slept in as wanted/needed and then we gathered to eat breakfast and after that was done the guys went to go help work around the cabin and the girls hit the hot tub which was still very warm from the night before!

By 11am a few more friends came up and we all enjoyed resting, relaxing and hanging out...and of course a nice big lunch. Some of us played settlers, some of us (Paul and John) made a sauna, and some sunbathed.

[Settlers, Sauna & Suntanning]
 photo AfternoonactivitiesCollage_zps72cbd3c4.jpg
[I let Paul take these pictures - so he goofed around for a while]
 photo SettlersCollage_zps683b7e2b.jpg

This is the sauna that Paul and John built. Then they sat in it until they were so hot that they couldn't take it anymore and then they emerged, running into the glacier fed lake. It looks like Paul is emerging from a steamy cacoon.

[Sauna time!]
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Saturday evening we all ate dinner, Paul made a toast to me and gave people an opportunity to fill up my affirmation love tank. I felt so very loved by the kind things people were saying. I am blessed to call these people my friends and can't believe that God would give me such abundant relationships. Even the husbands of my friends had nice things to say!

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[The girls]
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[The whole gang]
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Sunday morning we were up, cleaning and organizing, polishing off leftovers and heading back by 10am. There was life and church to get back for. But we all left more relaxed than when we arrived, and a lot more sun touched! There were definitely a few sunburns among us.

[Saying Good Bye]
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[An awesome boat ride back]
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And that was that. 
If I ever question God's love for me I can think back to this weekend. What I really wanted for my 30th was a weekend away with friends, undivided time, great food and lots of love. God not only provided an amazing cabin to stay at, but also available friends, lots of laughter, a hot tub(!) and kind, heart affirming words. I am so thankful. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Advice & Celebration

A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.

Tell people what you think about them - when it's kind. 

You know what makes people's day? Hearing about how awesome they are. 

Hear someone talking about someone's accomplishments or bragging about them? Next time you see them let them know you heard people talking about them behind their back, and then shower them with the praise you heard. It will be appreciated. 

Ie. "I heard so and so talking about you behind your back the other day, and they said that you were gorgeous and were the most loving person in the world"

See a stranger in a cute outfit? Stop them and tell them. 

Thank a cashier at Old Navy just made your trip there extra pleasant? Tell them, and better yet, flag a manager and tell them about the employee also. 
Enjoy your pastor's sermon or small group leaders message? Tell, email or text them later - not only that you liked it but why. 
Thankful for the grace your boss gave you today? Make sure they know you are thankful!
Did you notice that your husband helped around the house more? Heck, did you notice that your husband just didn't make more of a mess? Let him know that you appreciated it. 

When I talk with people I try to think, why do I like this person? If I had to explain why this person is my friend, what would I tell someone? Is there a moment that in my head makes me very thankful for this person, specifically? And then I tell them about it. 

This might feel weird at first - and most people won't know how to react to you. But you will be making a difference - it builds intimacy in friendships and helps grow confidence. 

...and as a side benefit people will like you more. Everyone likes an affirming person!

Also? Surround yourself with friends and celebrate everything.

[April 30th, Leah Lim's birthday celebration at Chambar]
{Leah, Lydia, Jenna and I pictured, many more were in attendance}
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[May 1st, overnight stay at Sutton Place Hotel for 3 year wedding anniversary]
{This stay was a miracle gift from God and we felt soooo loved by an abundant God.
Plus in the morning I could see my work office from the outside door or the hotel, fastest commute ever!}
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[May 8th, My 30th's birthday]
{Flowers & treats from Jenna, DQ and song from Paul and housemates}
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[May 9th, family time with Auntie Lesley and Jenna's household for our birthday's]
{Xin, Ay, Connor and Austin also joined us, we went to DQ}
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[May 11th, Birthday girls Leah, Jenna and Tara for Mani/Pedi's & Brunch]
{All 3 of us have birthdays within 10 days - so we enjoyed a PHENOMENAL brunch at Crave and a wonderful spa experience at Main Nail Spa}
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[May 11th, evening - My 30th's birthday party]
{About 40 friends crowded into our house for food and a party. I felt so loved.}
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Also at one point I looked up and found Gabe, in the center of the party, reading. 
As a reader myself, I approve of this.
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And honestly, I really can't blame him. I also love to read, almost as much as I love to celebrate.
This week has reminded me though, that...
Celebrations make life seem so much more fun


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