Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Today was busy, but not necessarily blog worthy. However, since I have nothing else to share, I will elaborate.

Many of you know that my grandfather has Alzheimer's. About a month ago, he and my grandmother moved to a special facility that specializes in the care of Alzheimer's patients. However, in the last few weeks his memory has declined rapidly and it has caused us to make a few decisions to make sure that both he and my grandmother receive the best care that is available. The main two are he is now receiving hospice services and they gave up their suite and are now in two separate rooms. Today was full of moving furniture and their belongings.

On a lighter note...tonight, I took a CPR class. It is something that I have needed to do for some time, but just have never made the time to take. I did some investigating before I came home and found a local instructor here in Texas and she was offering a class this evening. So, as of 9:00 pm tonight I am BLS (Basic Life Support) certified. Basically that includes CPR for all ages, Heimlich for all ages, and the use of AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) device.

Well, I need to head upstairs and begin packing. I am flying to Nashville tomorrow night where I will spend a few days with my friends that live there. Then on Saturday I will head back to Tampa and return to my life. As much as I have loved being home, I will confess that I am looking to relaxing in TN for a few days.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Date

Tonight I went on a date. Okay, so I had to pick him up, I paid, we ate at Chick-Fil-A, and he had to sit in the backseat in his booster seat, but I did get a good night kiss and a marriage proposal!

Man, that kid cracks me up. And he can asks some questions that are almost more than you can handle!

Tonight he asked me when my anniversary was. I explained that you had to be married to have an anniversary. (We have had a couple of questions and discussions about marriage during this trip.) He then announced we would have to work on that part. From there he informed me that I needed to cancel my birthday this year (an earlier conversation we had in the car about birthday parties and the fact that I will be turning 30 in less than 2 weeks). I asked him why would I need to do that. He said, that if I canceled my birthday then I could wait a while and then he would marry me.

Of course the next question was, "Aunt Jane, what was the weather like in Bethlehem when Jesus was born?" I told him we would have to Google that when we got back to his house. In case you are wondering, today the high was 55 and it rained!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Time Flies

I can't believe that I have been in Texas for 4 days. Time has really flown. I have stayed pretty busy spending time with family and friends. Instead of boring you with details about the past several days, I'll post a few pictures. Before I do, let me just explain that my favorite 5 year-old confiscated my camera on Christmas Eve and discovered the Photo Booth program on my Mac.

He wanted to take a picture of our shoes b/c we were both wearing Skechers.

All I can say is that this is the ceiling and top of the fireplace.

An attempt at taking his own picture?

I have absolutely no clue.

Why not take a picture of the TV!?!?!

If two heads are better than one...what is three?

He did not like it when our pictures looked monster like. He preferred multiple heads.

Or swirly heads.

The only semi-serious one that was taken...I have lots of him sticking out his tongue though!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I made it.

On the 10:00 news tonight they showed Santa getting his physical. What made me laugh was the footage of him leaving a local clinic. He donned his black cowboy hat and climbed into a Tahoe. Only in Texas!!!

And I Think I Saw Jerry Springer

Over the last few days I have broken a rule in my life.

Are you ready?

I have been to the mall just days before Christmas. On Saturday I ran in really quickly to pick up a few things...then ended up doing the same thing on Sunday. Today I ended up back at the mall to return a few things. Tomorrow...well, I still have one quick trip to make. The shirt that I bought yesterday still has the ink tag on it. How I managed to get out of the store with it, well, I'll never know.

The highlights to all this...I have gotten unbelievable parking spaces with each trip. And today...I think I saw Jerry Springer!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And A Diva Was Born

We live in a world of equal opportunity...and sometimes Baby Jesus is actually a girl!

And sometimes Mary and Joseph are in their 30s!

And Mary's hair is actually red and Joseph, well I won't go there!

And sometimes Baby Jesus prefers "his" feet to hang out of the manger.

She smiled, she cooed, she performed...And a diva was born!

He's also one handsome dude! I can't wait to hang out with these two next week! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Here is my conundrum of the day...On the short trek from my car to my apartment I found some money on the ground. What should I do? I can tell you that is not my roommate's. I asked her. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


1. Slept through alarm
2. Ran
3. Missed new exit on the Veteran's and ended up in S. Tampa. (Opposite direction from where I work.)
4. Packed my desk
5. Saw new office
6. Packed supply closet/work room
7. Moved boxes
8. Mailed Christmas presents
0. Took Aleeve for backache from moving

Why are we moving offices the week before Christmas? When is all the construction going to be finished?

Oh, the questions....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Top Ten

Tonight I had to run some errands and on my way home I heard three absolutely horrible Christmas songs. Granted I was on a secular station listening to a nationally syndicated program, but nevertheless...So, in the spirit of trying to redeem the 15 minute ride home, I am going to share my top ten favorite Christmas songs (in no particular order).

1. One Wintry Night by David Phelps
2. Magnificat sung by Christy Nockels and on Todd Agnew's "Do You Hear What I Hear"
3. Hallelujah (Light Has Come) by Barlow Girl
4. God Is With Us by Casting Crowns
5. Drummer Boy by Jars of Clay
6. Oh Holy Night by Mandisa
7. Born in Bethlehem by Third Day
8. God With Us/We Three Kings by Todd Agnew
9. O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Selah
10. Ring the Bells by Travis Cottrell

What about you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas Tradition

Over the past few years, I have begun my own little Christmas tradition...I began painting Christmas ornaments and attached them to my families' presents. Each year, I have had an extra, so my Christmas tree benefits. Not only does it give me something special to give my family members, but it gives me a "creative outlet".



2007...Last year I decided they would also serve as the tags for the presents.

The day after Thanksgiving, I found some wooden ornaments at Micheal's. I decided to combine the two idea...an ornament and a tag.

Apparently, from the first picture to the next one of the camera...well, I was very busy! I painted each of the ornaments. My goal was to keep it simple...two colors maximum. I actually also bough two other cutouts that I did not use. One was a present with a box and the other was a bell. They didn't turn out the way I had envisioned them. It took a couple of coats of paint, but I didn't worry to much about making things perfect. Once I was satisfied with the colors, I took some sand paper and "aged" the ornaments. I really worked on the edges so the brown wood would show through.

I was really pleased with the way they all turned out, but my favorite is the candy cane. Because it is so thin, it had to be either for my mom or my dad. There is no way I cold have squeezed "Madeline" in there!

I chose a very basic paper. Originally I had wanted a plaid, but I found this simple blue paper with some holly, birds, and snowflakes at Wal-Mart. My favorite part is that printed on the paper is "We are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3" I kept the bow very simple as well by using brown raffia.

Now, if I would only finish my Christmas shopping, then I could get all these tags attached and hit the UPS store!

Mustard, Oven Cleaner, and Cloves

You might wonder what those three things have in common. Give up? Actually those are the three things that were on my list when I went to the store. I know, it is kind of sad, but it is what it is.

Cloves actually bring back childhood memories. The pain. Who knew such a task could be such a pain...literally! My mom would have me stick the cloves in the orange for her wassail recipe. But I am getting off track a little. You see, I needed cloves...and I mean a lot of cloves for a little project that I am working on. Let me show you exactly how many cloves I am talking about.

My guess is that this will make about three of...well...what I am making. You'll just have to check back in the next day or so to figure what I am going to do with approximately 1 1/2 cups of cloves!

Oh, the mustard is because I was out and the oven cleaner is because last week when I made this...

Well, it made a mess in the bottom of the oven, but homemade pumpkin cheesecake sure was worth it.

Really, it was!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


There is something about this time of year that makes me want to be crafty. I pulled out my paints earlier in the week and I have been working on a little project this week. I finished it earlier this morning and will try to post some pictures tomorrow. I have another semi-crafty project that I began last night, but I ran out of cloves, so I have to make another trip to the store. I will also post pictures of this project as well. There is a third project that I may pull out of the depths of the closet. It was started two years ago, but never finished. I am beginning to think this might be the year that it gets marked off my "to-do" list.

Does anyone else feel the need to be especially crafty around Christmas?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Well, maybe only on my blog....The Christmas tree is up in my apartment, but the ornaments are all in boxes beneath the tree. The nativity scene is back in its spot with the new animals added that I received last year.

Anyway, I hope you like the new look. More updates to come during the week.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Apologies and Excuses

Sorry I haven't blogged this week. I had a great post being composed in my head about Thanksgiving: The Forgotten Holiday. I also planned to make a list of things I was thankful for, but between shopping, cooking, hanging out with family/friends, begin to decorate for Christmas, and enjoying some down time, I never managed to do it. Oh and I won't lie, there has been some tv/movie watching going on as well.

I do hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sooner Than I Expected

I was very surprised when the photographer from the Gala, Billy, dropped by a disc of all the Gala photos. You can check out his blog for some other pictures from the evening! I hope you all enjoy!

2008 A Woman's Place Staff

For the record, I am working!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Ramblings

There are pictures from the Gala. However, I did not take them. Which means we will all have to wait to see them. As soon as the photographer sends them, I will post some. (Of course that means I will only post the ones that I think are good!)

Everything went really well at the Gala. A few small issues, but nothing that couldn't be handled. Everyone also seemed to have a wonderful time.

I have spent most of the weekend catching up on sleep and general housework. And because I believe in a little transparency, here are some before pictures that I took on Friday:

I pretty much feel into bed about 2 am on Friday morning.

I pulled out the vacuum earlier in the week...I never got it put back up though.

Notice my dress and shoes from the Gala...along with other assorted things strung about the ironing board.

And some after pictures:

Not only is the bed made, but the sheets are clean.

So many books still to read.

I even dusted my dresser

It is a rare sight to not have the ironing board out. You can also see my dress outside my room which needs to go to the dry cleaners. The bags all need to be dropped at the hospice thrift store.

Ahhh...a clean bathroom too!

Other than that, I had a pretty quiet weekend. I'll also confess that I am looking forward to a short week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ready Or Not

It's Thursday, November 20th. It has arrived much sooner than I thought it would. It seems like it was a couple of months away just yesterday. But, it is here. So whether or not we are ready, in 10 hours over 500 people will gather for the Annual Light of Life Gala. The name tags are printed, the programs are complete, the table host packets are assembled, and slide shows are burned on discs.

In a couple of hours I will meet the rest of the staff where I work, and we will set up the ministry displays, cut all those name tags, make last minute trips back to the office, and make sure all the center pieces are perfect. Then we will all dash to our respective homes and exchange our jeans for dresses/suits and return looking our absolute best.

The "nightmares" of forgotten name tags, whole tables of guests showing up that I wasn't expecting, and most recently the keynote speaker's husband singing the Bunny Song (from Veggie Tales) during her speech will be gone.

Ready or not, it's here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Interesting Things I Witnessed Today

1. A woman who made quite a scene over $1 at Michael's. Even after they said they would correct she continued to make everyone else quite uncomfortable as she explained she taught math and she wanted to know how many other people had a mistake on their ticket.

2. A car driving down Dale Mabry without any headlights...oh, and it was 7:15 pm.


Well, that's about it. Anything else that I witnessed occurred within the walls of my office. Thursday night is our Gala so hopefully I will be more interesting and exciting after that.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For Stuart and Michelle

Stuart and Michelle,

Here is the picture you requested.

Oh and in case the rest of you are wondering...yes, I did get my haircut this past week. It's taken a couple of days to get adjusted to it, but I must admit that I love it!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Saturday is the one day of the week I can actually sleep in. So why I am up? I have absolutely no idea, but maybe I'll catch up on a few things around the house that have neglected. I'll try to post something more exciting or insightful later in the day!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Someday I will think (and breathe) before I speak.
Someday I will not let the pressures of life become the main focus.
Someday I will learn to take things in stride.
Someday I will be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Someday the intentions of my heart will be evident to all.
Someday the time I spend reading God's word, praying, and worshiping will carry over to the rest of my day.
Someday I will actually be able to put into practice out all the things God is teaching me.
Someday I will have the rights words.
Someday I will learn to take criticism.
Someday I will not take things personally.
Someday I will not allow the way I am treated affect the way I treat others.
Someday I will not hold a grudge or keep a record of wrongs.
Someday I will not have to keep learning the same things over and over again.
Someday I will have the courage to say the things I should.
Someday I will have the wisdom not to say the things I should.
Someday I hope people will understand me.

Oh, I pray SOMEDAY is TODAY!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Day

4:30 am- Alarm goes off, contemplate not getting up
4:35 am- Pull body from bed and begin to get ready
4:55 am- Out the door for a run
5:35 am- Back from my run and hit the shower
6:15 am- Breakfast
6:30 am- Begin the book of Acts (just finished John)
7:00 am- Make lunch
7:30 am- Realize the skirt I thought I washed last night is still in the hamper
7:55 am- Out the door yet again this time for work
8:15 am- Arrive at work
12:45 pm- Lunch break out of the office
1:40 pm- Back at work
5:55 pm- Leave work

Tomorrow- Do it all again

Monday, November 10, 2008

Too Tired...

...to blog. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Busy Weekend

My parents are somewhere between FL and TX. We had a wonderful weekend. There was shopping, lots of shopping and great food. There was laughter and catching up on all my family. There was reminiscing and stories from the past. We also caught up with some various extended family members who all live in the area.

I did not manage to take one photo during the entire trip. I always forget to take the camera or forget to take pictures. This time I always left the camera at my apartment.

On a separate note, I am all ready for the Gala. The black dress is a keeper. On Friday, my jewelry arrived and then Saturday my parents and I went and picked out red shoes. I ended up not getting the pair I put on the blog last week. They are very similar, but a brighter red. (They matched the jewelry a little better.)

Well, I need to get ready for a busy week...10 days until the Gala! Oh, and I am getting my haircut this week...which may not be as exciting to anyone else besides me! :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Mine are in town. I have just gotten in from picking them up from the airport and then on to their hotel...which is probably less than a 1/4 of mile from my apartment. We'll be spending the next couple of days together, so maybe I'll actually have some pictures to post.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Do You Say?

I could post about a bunch of random things tonight. Like how I learned that the steam of cilantro has a bitter flavor today. Or how I find it ironic to see cars here in FL with Canadian license plates...I wonder how long it took them to drive here? Or how my grandmother once again told me how Nancy Grace had twins at 49. (I think that is supposed to bring me comfort as I approach my 30th birthday.)

But that is not what is on my heart. Today many woke with a heavy heart. Others were excited about the days and years to come. For those that know me at all, know I am in the first group. It's hard to know what to even say. It was discussed at my office. I've read numerous blogs today as well. I don't even begin to think I am as eloquent or knowledgeable as some of the ones that I read, but I must share a tad.

I am grateful to live in a country were I have the right to vote, where leaders are chosen by the people. I am thankful that people are elected despite their race, ethnicity, gender, or any other type of demographic data. I am blessed and I am very aware of that fact.

I am saddened though. I've never seen these last few months based on race, gender, or even a certain political party, though I definitely identify with one more than the other. It always boiled down to issues. Issues of morality, issues of life.


Four letters that no one can quite agree on. I think my friend summed it up best today during a phone call we had. "I can only think of all the babies." I know, Abbey. Trust me, I know.

Of course there are other issues, but this is the one that is heaviest on my heart tonight. The one that makes me all teary-eyed. The one that some of us have to weep over. You see a couple of weeks ago, a woman was sent to one of our offices by the abortion clinic next door. It had been two weeks since her abortion and she needed to talk with someone. Not knowing what to do with her, they sent her to us. We will help her. We will share with her. We will stand with her. Her answers are not far off, just up. We will point her in the right direction. He will do what He always does- love, forgive, love, forgive...offer salvation and abundant life. We will help her learn to walk in the Light.

So, what do we do now?

What is done is done. We prayed. We voted.

What do we do now?

We keep praying. We keep seeking. We keep fighting. We keep standing. We keep on. We press on.

At least that is what I am going to do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's 9:10 pm...

...what are you doing? Most of you are probably watching the election returns, but not me. I turned off the TV at 8:00. I headed to my room were I have done a little cleaning since my parents are coming in town on Thursday.

It's now a ten after nine, and I am ready for bed. Maybe it is because I have been up since 4:30 this morning. Maybe it has to do with my 2 mile run this morning. Or perhaps it was a long day at work. Or the trip to the gym after work. I don't know but I'm going to check the headlines to see how the election returns is going and I am calling it a day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

What Can You Get For Your Vote?

  1. At Starbucks, a free cup of coffee.
  2. At Ben and Jerry's, a free scoop of ice cream.
  3. At Krispy Kreme, a free donut.
  4. At some Chick-fil-a's, a free sandwich or 3 piece chicken strips
  5. At The Melting Pot, $9 chocolate fondue.
  6. And apparently if you live in Pittsburgh a free car was at Haddad's on Curry Hollow Rd.
What's your motivation?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Can't Take Texas Out of the Girl!

I am approaching my third anniversary of living in Florida. I have come to love living here. I love the fact that I a two minute walk to the bay and about an hour from the "nice beach." Mickey is also about an hour away. The weather is great (well maybe not the summers) and people like to visit Florida which means people are always visiting me (or at least talking about it). Florida has become home.

You can take the girl out of Texas, but you just can't take Texas out of the girl!

I love Mexican food. Tampa lacks Mexican restaurants. I know two have actually shut down in the last year or so. Now, you can get some great Cuban food, but it just isn't the same. I have had to resort to cooking my own.

Tonight I tried two new Mexican dishes...both that are considered staples: homemade refried beans and homemade tortillas. Okay, so the tortillas were just something to try my hand at.

Refried Beans

2 cups of dried pinto beans
Lots of water
Seasonings: Seasoned salt, cumin, garlic powder or fresh minced, cayenne pepper, onion powder
I was suppose to add some butter, but I forgot

I also forgot to take pictures until about halfway through. :)

Rinse the pintos well. Place in a crock pot and fill with water. Cook on high for 8 to 10 hours. I only cooked mine about 8. About halfway through the cooking process I gave it a little taste. They smelled good, but were very bland tasting. I went ahead and gave a quick shake of all the different seasonings into the crock pot. I gave it a quick stir and put the lid back on and let it cook about 4 more hours.

Remove all the beans with a slotted spoon and placed them in a bowl. Don't discard the liquid in the crock pot just yet.

With a potato masher, give the beans a good mash. Then season to taste. I did throw in fresh minced garlic at this point, but did not add any onion powder.

Mainly because I had some fresh green onions and cilantro to garnish with at the very end.

Once I got it seasoned the way I liked, I added the liquid from the crock-pot until the beans were the consistency that I wanted. Discard the remainder of the liquid and place the beans back in the crock pot on low.

Meanwhile, I cooked some fajita seasoned chicken and prepared my tortillas.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups flour
4 tbs butter (note it should be softened a little)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c water

Combine the ingredients, adding the water slowly until you get a slightly stickier version of bread dough. Knead, knead, knead...well about 30 times or so...until it looks like this.

Cover with a wet towel and let sit for 30 minutes.

This is actually when I mashed my beans and seasoned them. I also cooked my chicken and cleaned up the kitchen.

Divide the dough into approximately 8 balls, keeping the dough covered while you roll out the dough on a floored surface.

Place the rolled out tortillas into a skillet that has been heated to medium high. Turn when puffs begin to form on the top side. This means the underside is brown. Place in an airtight container to keep warm.

Now, I made one mistake...I didn't get my skillet hot enough to begin with. This is my first tortilla.

In case you are wondering tortillas aren't supposed to stay parallel to the ground when you hold it! :)

Once everything was finished this is what I had accomplished.

Note: The fresh green onion and cilantro "made" the beans. Of course the cheese didn't hurt. :)