Friday, December 31, 2010

A Perfect '10

The fun thing about blogging on a semi-regular basis is being able to easily reflect on feelings from the past year as I start to look forward to the next one. This time last year, I was more than a little bit apprehensive to move on to a new year! 2009 was just so great. But, as I said then, "life just keeps happening, doesn't it?!" I'm so glad it does (and that I chose to embrace it!), because 2010 was a special year, too....

Things I was looking forward to in 2010, as noted in my New Year's Eve post, 2009:

· Celebrating our 1st married Valentine’s Day, and our sixth anniversary of “togetherness”
· Celebrating our 24th birthdays
· Trips to Springfield
· Summer in St. Louis
· Visits from loved ones to our home
· Becoming involved at our new church 
(Other than Sunday services, we never really got involved. It is what it is.)
· Hearing about friends’ wedding planning
· A trip to Minnesota 
(Bummer that never happened. But, we're starting 2011 with a trip there! So, that's good.)
· Kelsey’s wedding
· A vacation to somewhere (...MEXICO! And it was grand.)
· Celebrating our first anniversary!

After having been reminded again & again this year about God's habit 
of keeping my nature to make plans in check, I'm planning (ha!) to 
go into 2011 with the expectation that the year will bring events 
and occasions that I haven't counted on! (And, vice-versa.) With that 
in mind, here are the things I'm looking forward to in 2011!

- Matt & Ashley's wedding 
- John & Natalie's wedding
- Brice & Rachel's wedding (noticing a theme here?)
- Mike & Rochelle's wedding
- Brandon & Morgan's wedding
- All wedding-related planning and festivities
- Rachel's graduation & bridal shower
- The birth of Matt & Melissa's baby
- Enjoying the social/familial benefits of being home
- Discovering what our involvement in a Springfield church looks like
- Celebrating our 25th birthdays
- Celebrating our 2-year anniversary
- Traveling? Perhaps? (Although I'm not expecting a tropical vaca this year...I mean, seriously, have you seen the preceding list?! Oh, and see below!)

And, the big ticket items...

Buying a house (!!!)
- Moving more closely toward starting a family (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) 
(Notice how vague and non-committal that is. Like that?)

I must admit, I feel a wee bit tired already! Ha. But, truly, with 
that much to look forward to in 2011, how could I not be excited to ring in the new year?! (I 
mean, it could rival the fun of 2009. Not that it's a competition or anything. I'm completely 
happy to have so many joyful years to enjoy....)

"Little moments", "everyday love" much joy and laughter to make 
our years great. 

Here's to another wonderful one! 

Celebrating New Year's 2008.

Oh my goodness, I'm so frustrated with the formatting of this post! I have spent more time trying to fix it than
anyone should, especially on NYE. 
So, my apologies. But, life's too short, you know?!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh, Deer.

There's nothing quite like passing by a recently-struck-by-a-truck-&-paralyzed deer sitting in the middle of the highway to (momentarily) dampen your Christmas spirit. I know this because that's exactly what happened last night. While driving home from my parents' house, after a lovely evening of apple pie and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation", Bobby and I drove past the aforementioned scene. It wasn't pretty. (Although, it was sort of a "Christmas Vacation"-type situation, the more I think about it....)

A neighbor was by the road, ready to assist the driver whose truck had been quite damaged from the incident. We stopped briefly to make sure everyone was okay and to be sure that they had help on the way. As we drove past, Bobby quickly turned the volume of the Christmas carol on the radio way up, and in the back of my mind I think I knew what he was doing. He confirmed my suspicion shortly after by saying that, yes, as we were driving away he saw that the driver was pulling out a rifle to put the deer out of his misery.

(Which, I should mention, was quite the clear reminder that we are not living in the big city anymore! I'm sure some St. Louisans carry firearms...but keeping one at the ready in the back of the truck should the need arise to kill injured animals roadside? I suspect not.)

Of course it was the compassionate thing to do, albeit thoroughly disheartening to think about the poor animal who I'd seen living seconds before being killed. (Not to mention that I was thinking of him more as "Rudolph" than "Bambi" being that it is the week of Christmas, but I'm trying to ignore that comparison.)

Post-spending time with my family, it wasn't a great night; it wasn't a great night for the reindeer regular-deer, either. But, if there is a bright spot to be gleaned from the scenario, it's recognizing Bobby's act of love in protecting me from hearing a gunshot. He knows me well enough to know that it would have been a potentially-upsetting sound. It was a small gesture, but oh, so sweet, and quite appreciated. It was as if his instinctual desire to protect kicked in, and I couldn't help but imagine him doing such a thing if we'd had little ones in the car. It made me think again about what an incredible dad he'll be someday. He's already an incredible husband.

I love you deerly..."Sparky".

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I had to go to Walmart yesterday to return a couple of ornaments. (Look at me, getting so much blog inspiration from trips to the store!) Even though I only had to walk ten steps from the door to the return counter, the guard greeter at the entrance not only had to check my receipt, but she put little stickers on each of the two ornaments. (I mean, truly, the return counter was right there.) I expressed some surprise at this seemingly tedious and largely unnecessary procedure, the lady agreed, and profusely apologized for having to follow protocol. She said that customers yell at her "all the time about it", and she was oh, so sorry for slowing me down. I told her that "really, it's fine" and that it was not a situation worth fussing about. 

Today, I was scheduled to substitute teach again. (Oh, yes, by the way, I'm subbing now...a turn of events that is certainly deserving of a blog post--or several--of its own. I am accumulating quite a collection of stories!) Anyway, I was told yesterday that I was needed as a para. sub. all day, only to find out this morning (after getting up/getting ready, making it to school by 7:00 a.m., & getting started in the classroom) that the regular guy had actually only requested a sub. for the afternoon...and I wasn't really needed until 11:30 a.m. The secretary who had scheduled me was "very, very sorry" and said she'd make it up to me. (I'm not exactly sure what that means in the "Subbing World" but I do like the sound of it.) 

In each of these recent experiences, both of the women seemed quite prepared to have to deal with someone who was notably upset at the given circumstance. Their ready apologies and timid manners lead me to think that they've had to deal with that before, which is sad. Sure, the situations were annoying (and could have been upsetting), but it was fun for me to be able to respond to the cards I was dealt with a positive attitude, reacting with a smile and an upbeat state of mind. 

When a situation or circumstance is less than ideal, I have been known to make a stink about it. (I know, 'tis true.) And, I used to get quite bent out of shape when things didn't go according to plan. Suffice it to say, 'Flexible' was not my middle name. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is now, but between my maturing and my husband's constant example of having a "roll with the punches" attitude, I am far more easy-going and (probably) more pleasant to be around.

That's not to say that I don't still have the confidence or gumption to stand up for myself or someone else, when necessary. But, these days the definition of when it is necessary has changed for me, and I'm learning to keep things in perspective. Taking a stand or trying to exert change has somewhat taken a backseat to the pleasure I'm finding in expressing joy no matter the circumstance...and surprising those who least expect that reaction. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Food for Thought

I went to Wal-Mart yesterday for my weekly grocery shop. (I should mention how very much I'm enjoying living 2 minutes away from a Wal-Mart again!) As I carried my bags inside after the shop, I couldn't help but consider how wonderful it is to know that we could afford all of it....

When I shop, I don't have to obsess over prices or wonder if our bank account can handle the total bill. Of course, we have a budget, and I feel as though I've developed a pretty good eye for sticking to it. I usually know if a product is overpriced...or priced well-enough that it's worth stocking up on! I use coupons when I can, and that's a habit (skill!) that I hope to keep developing.

So, I'm a conscientious shopper, yes.

But, I never have to think so hard about what I'm buying to the point of questioning whether or not I should put the milk back on the shelf because the utility bill is due this week, and we really need bread instead.... Not even close.

This is the time of year when we're typically more sensitive to things like this, and more acutely aware of our cozy condition compared to those less fortunate.

I'm prayerful that God will provide clear direction for how Bobby and I can demonstrate His love and use it to bless others this Christmas season, as we ourselves have been so richly blessed....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Big Move!

The empty apartment before we...

...said 'goodbye' to our first home!
 (Don't be fooled by the smiles. There were most definitely tears a few minutes later.)

And suddenly, we're Springfield residents once again! (And when I say "suddenly", of course I mean "after a 5-day whirlwind full of eating, special time with family, driving, packing & unpacking, loading & unloading, sore muscles and decorating".) The apartment already feels (immediately felt, really) like our home and we're very much enjoying the contentment and comfort of living in the city that has for so long been exactly where we wanted to be.

It's good to be back; it's good to be home.

No tears now...ALL smiles in our new home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chapters and Memories

Our apartment is looking less and less like our home, and more and more like a room with four walls. I keep reminding myself that all of the things that helped make our space the cozy, comfortable place it has been get to come with us. That helps. But, it's what has happened within these four walls that is making it difficult to think about leaving. We're "packing up the memories, too" as my mom said. And, that's the hard part. We've had some wonderful times here, and most of my memories from our first year of marriage are from our time in this first little home of ours....

I think on some level I've associated being married with living in St. Louis...that's how it has been since the beginning! We drove up here the day after the wedding and started building our life together. To move away means to end a chapter of our marriage. (That we've been married long enough to have chapters is strange--and wonderful--in and of itself!) But, I suppose this is where the real heart of being married comes into play. It's incredible to start a life...but to build on that life, to change, to adapt, to start a new chapter...that's where the "we're husband & wife, and we're doing LIFE together" aspect becomes real. After all, a marriage is built on chapters, isn't it? Beginning and ending them...together.

As much as we longed to be closer to home so often this past year, I wouldn't trade our time away for anything. We are called to "leave and cleave"...and boy, did we ever cleave?! For better or worse, by living in St. Louis as newlyweds, Bobby and I were forced able to completely rely on each other, spending time together, uninterrupted by other relationships and distractions that exist in our hometown. I doubt we recognized it all the time, but I think we benefited greatly by our time away and all the time we had to spend together.

Certainly, we have dearly missed our friends and family, and being able to be around all of them again is undeniably the biggest reason we're moving home. We are both so very excited to have the opportunity to spend our Friday nights going out to dinner with friends, and I know Bobby will very much enjoy playing football with 'The Guys' on random weeknights. But, a part of me is very much going to miss our Friday night routine of pizza, beer, and a movie. Admittedly, it's have Bobby all to myself.

We'll still have plenty of time to ourselves, I'm sure. But, it will be different, and likely less frequent than it has been here. I'm confident that our relationship is such that we can willingly "share" one another with other people that value spending time with us as individuals, and that we'll value our time alone together all the more. Our year in St. Louis has strengthened our marriage; I'm curious to see what life in Springfield will look like for us as we continue our life together there.

What an exciting time ahead! For now, though, I'm just going to continue the deep-cleaning process, and look forward to one last quiet night in this cozy, first home of ours...amid a whole bunch of boxes and a whole lot of memories.

I'm thankful to have lived in St. Louis.
I'm thankful to be moving back to Springfield.
I'm thankful to be sharing life with my husband, beginning and ending chapters...together.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Years Ago

Celebrating Bobby's proposal to me, two years ago today.
Happy, happy day!

"There is no bond on earth so sweet, nor any separation so bitter
 as that which occurs in a good marriage."
 Martin Luther

Friday, November 12, 2010


The packing process is underway, and so far I've discovered that...
  • I apparently collect scarves, as I have far too many for any one person. I will be purging my winter accessories when I unpack them. (Mark my words, Bobby!)
  • We have p-lenty of hoodies and sweatshirts. And, because I am sentimentally-attached to (almost) all of them (MIZZOU!), I will be keeping my collection. BUT, we must not accumulate any more sweatshirts any time soon. No need.
  • I should have gone through the bedroom closet a long time ago. It is SO ORGANIZED NOW, and so refreshing to see it that way every time I open the door! 
  • It truly is amazing how much stuff we've managed to fit into this 683 square foot apartment! I'm kind of impressed, actually. Every nook and cranny has been utilized to hide our belongings...and it's a bit of a treasure hunt to see what has been hidden in small places for the past year! 
There is much packing yet to be done, and because we have weekend company coming (yay, John and Natalie!), I've tried to keep some semblance of a household and am avoiding piling boxes...too high. With that said, next week is GAME ON...and I'm kind of really excited about it. 

I hope that packing/moving/unpacking is not something that Bobby and I have to do too many more times, but there is something to be said for the organization, deep cleaning, and sense of achievement that comes as a result. (I guess that's why, for the non-movers, they invented 'Spring Cleaning', huh? Good thinking.)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Commercial for Christianity

You may have seen the latest ad campaign by the Mormon Church. The commercials are all similar in style. They each tell the story of one of their members and conclude with a phrase like the one I saw last week, "I'm so-and-so. I'm a blonde. I'm a Texan. And, I'm a Mormon."

(Let me just say right off the bat that the following statements are not intended to be a 'Mormon vs. Evangelical Christian' reflection. These observations could likely have just as easily been made of another religion, and I am only contemplating how we ought to live as Christians comparatively.)

The purpose of the commercials, as I have interpreted them, is to show just how "normal" the Mormon is, how his or her life is so similar to that of the rest of us...that the individuals are "just like you". It isn't until the end of the commercial that you learn that these people (who could be your neighbor!) are actually of the Mormon faith.

As I see these commercials and listen to the stories told, I can't help but imagine what a commercial for a Christian would look like. Comparatively, if the Evangelical Christian community made a 30-second national commercial, I would think that instead of showing how we as Christians are "just like you", the purpose would be to show how we stand out. We should look different than those around us. If we look the same as our non-Christian neighbor, if our action/speech/motivation is so comparable with others...there's something wrong with how we're living our lives as followers of Christ.

Secondly, in the list of the individual's defining qualities at the end of the commercials, their defining themselves as a member of the Mormon Church falls at the very end of their stated characteristics. I would hope that in a commercial for Christianity, if there were such a thing, the first defining characteristic would be that the person was a Christian. Before defining an individual as a mom/wife/sister, or a teacher/nurse/chef, the first and most important description of one's self should be that they are a Child of God.

Forget needing a national commercial to show the world who we are. The world is watching us, anyway.

"Do I stand out from those around me?"
"How do I define myself?"
"Is being a Christian the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about what and who I am?"

Some things to think about.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big News!

Morgan called me the night when she got her first kiss;
I was happy for her then.

Today, she called me to say that she got ENGAGED;
I'm ecstatic for her now!!!

Morgan and I have known each other for around 12 years, and our friendship has grown ever since we first met. We shared high school together, and all of the happiness & laughter, frustration & tears that those four years entailed. We encouraged each other throughout college, and though time together was infrequent during those years, I knew she was only a phone call...or a Facebook message...away. Our coffee and breakfast dates helped us stay in touch, and I cherish those times together. We've grown as individuals through the years, and our understanding of each other and our deep-rooted friendship has, too. It's a blessing.

My best friend is getting married. It is entirely surreal, and although the timing was somewhat unexpected, the engagement itself is not at all surprising. Morgan and Brandon have dated for over six years, and anyone who knows the two of them at all can tell that they are a great pair, perfectly matched and exactly 'right' for one another. Bobby and I have increasingly been able to spend time with them, and we always have a blast together. They are a joy to be around because it's obvious how much they enjoy being around each other, and I know there are many more memories to be made by the four of us.

I could not have chosen anyone better suited to marry my dearest friend....

It will be a joy to see them both in a few weeks, to give each of them a hug, and to see that one-of-a-kind ring on Morgan's finger in person. (Thanks to FaceTime on the iPhone I got a first glimpse. Technology is so impressive.) I am beyond excited. And then, what fun it will be to watch the wedding plans unfold! (Add that to the growing list of reasons why I am thrilled to be moving home...yay!) Morgan's sense of style and her taste in fashion is unparalleled and I am oh, so excited to hear about what she plans for their big day. I am absolutely certain that her wedding will be every bit as stylish and fun as she is! (As they both are!)

Next year is full of weddings for our closest friends, and Bobby and I cannot wait to help them all celebrate. But, I know that the Weatherford/Goodwin wedding will be one that I look forward to all best friend's wedding! Wow.

Morgan has been around for my "big" moments. She stood beside me in line for dance tickets the day I met Bobby, and she stood beside me the day I married him. She is a once-in-a-lifetime friend, and this "big" moment of hers is one that I readily celebrate with her. This is a chapter in the story of our friendship that I have been waiting for...celebrating her engagement to the man of her dreams, and watching as she prepares to become his wife. What fun this will be!

Congratulations to the future 
Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin! 

You both deserve the very best,
and I know you've found that in each other.

(P.S. I stole your photo. Had to choose one I knew you would like!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

His Whispers

Yesterday was (another) discouraging day in terms of the job search process. There were tears, there was frustration, and I was most certainly in an unemployment-induced funk. I'm exhausted with...

a) looking for jobs,
b) not finding any jobs that jump out to me and say "you were meant to do this",
c) filling out applications,
d) not hearing back from anyone, and
e) being rejected.

I'm losing confidence in myself, and truth be told, it's wearing me out.

I am so incredibly thankful to have a husband who calls his paycheck, "our paycheck", and that said paycheck more than meets our needs. (Let me repeat: I am so incredibly thankful.) I do love staying at home and being a housewife. It's a worthwhile job, but as I've mentioned more than once, I think it would be all the more fulfilling if there were little ones running around to take care of. And as it stands, since there aren't (little ones), it seems like I 'should be' working outside the home, too.

See, my plan has been to have a "real job" for a while before we have children. My plan has been to make use of my college degree and really feel like I did something before I stay at home and raise our kids. Having children is not an immediate goal, but it is a whole lot closer on the timeline than it was when we got married a year ago...and I still haven't really had a job that I can say I'm particularly excited about or proud of.

Judy is a lovely lady from the church we attend in St. Louis, and Bobby and I sit in the pew in front of her just about every week. (I know this seems a bit disjointed. Stick with me here.) We usually visit with her briefly, and her love of the Lord is always evident and encouraging. This past week, she was telling us about how she's been studying about how God whispers to us, and her last words to us before we parted ways was to "listen for His whispers this week!"

This morning, I did. As I was straightening my hair, pondering my lack-of-employment situation, I heard,
"you're not letting Me lead....

It took me but a moment to make the connection. Notice a couple paragraphs up, what has been the operative phrase..."my plan". Not His.

It was as if in that whisper God said,
"You're doing it again, Emily. Haven't we talked about this? What have I said about making plans?"

Maybe my having a job outside the home before we have kids is not God's plan. Maybe my timeline is all wrong. In which case, I've been impatiently trying to force something to happen outside of God's will. Which, is probably not wise. (And, it's certainly not doing anything to help my mental health.)

Maybe it is exactly God's plan for me to find a job and work for a while before children come along. (And, if that's the case, great!) But, (and here's the kicker) if that plan falls into place while I'm operating under the subconscious belief that it's mine, the likelihood that I'll recognize and appreciate God's hand in making it happen is unfortunately slim. And that would be really, really wrong.

I wasn't deliberately trying to take control of my life and ignore God's purpose. But, I suppose that's my human nature. (It's happened before; I'm sorry to say that I'm sure it will happen again.) I'd prayed about the job search, yes, I wasn't purposefully allowing God to take the driver's seat. (And, He is the best driver!) My frustration has come from continually trying to make something happen on my own. Which is exactly the point. I'm not on my own, and I shouldn't be acting like it.

So, this morning I prayerfully surrendered my frustration and discouragement to God, asking specifically for His direction and for my desire to be to follow His plan in this (and, of course, every other) aspect of my life. Amazing what intentional surrender to Him will do in bringing peace.... I'm quite convinced that He's been waiting for me to learn this lesson...again. And now, He's got my attention.

Maybe God's plan is for something entirely different than anything He's shown me yet. And, that would be okay. When you're listening for His whispers...and letting Him lead...anything can happen.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Going Boxing

For anyone curious about the status of our box collection for our upcoming move, the update is as follows:

Consider it a non-issue. 

Thanks to an overzealous storeroom worker at Schnuck's, we are set! (The store recycles the boxes, anyway, and apparently makes somewhere around $100,000 annually from doing so! I should perhaps be looking into getting into the cardboard industry....)

Yesterday I walked into the back room with my shopping cart, expecting to leave with ten or so boxes as I had the day before. Au contraire! The worker directed my attention to a mountain of boxes stacked halfway to the very tall ceiling. I kid you not. I had asked them to save "some", but had no idea there would be so many! ("Ask and ye shall receive!") Unfortunately, we had to break all of the boxes down, but I figure it's nothing a little packing tape can't fix.

Bobby's face says it all....
("Emily, what have you DONE?")
Needless to say, it didn't take long for me to realize that it would be in my best interest to bring my strong husband...and his Dodge...back with me after work. (The first time his truck has come in useful for actually hauling things...for us, anyway! Ha. So...yay!) It was a humorous scene, I'm sure, as we navigated the store aisles (I chose the wine aisle, stupidly enough), precariously balancing all of that cardboard on the cart.

We avoided a near disaster trying to get out the door, but that's neither here nor there.

In any case, we now (thankfully!) have boxes coming out of our ears, and I would go so far as to say that if YOU need any boxes, we can share some!

After all, our living room is starting to look like a UPS....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Reminder

A few quotes reflecting some of the negative emotion I have as I head to the polls to vote today...

The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is... the ultimate indignity to the democratic process. 
-Adlai Stevenson-

We'd all like to vote for the best man but he's never a candidate.
-Kin Hubbard- 

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, 
but there is no party of principle.  
-Alexis de Tocqueville-

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.  -Winston Churchill-

...and a few quotes reminding me just how important it is that I (that we all) proudly do so. 

The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.
 -Dwight D. Eisenhower-

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
-John Quincy Adams-

No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass.
-George Washington-
(Letter to Benjamin Lincoln, June 29, 1788)

Friday, October 29, 2010

No, No, 'No-Shave!'

Me: "You're shaving?! On a Friday morning?"
Bobby: "Yeah, I'm doing it for you."
Me: (puzzled look)
Bobby: "It's almost November, and you know what that means!"
Me: (thinking, "Ugh...yes, I do. 'No-Shave November'.") 
        "! I thought you'd forget about that."
Bobby: "Well, that just shows how ignorant you are. I invented it...why would I forget about it?!"

He's got me there.

Looks like I'm in for another scratchy November. Oh, well. I'll just enjoy his smooth, ever so handsome face for the next two days and try to embrace this "tradition" of his...part of what makes Bobby, Bobby! 

And, I do so love the man.

Sure, it's funny...when it's fake!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Incredible Weekend: Part III

I'm still riding the high that was this past weekend. (Seriously, it was that great.) I think the past two posts have exhaustively covered the highlights of the trip. But, reflecting on the entire experience, I can't help but think about four elements of the weekend that helped make it so special.

The People :: We met and were surrounded by some really neat people throughout the weekend. Our  friends from the airport, yes, but also: the flight attendant who shook the hand of an elderly man wearing a Marines cap and thanked him ever so genuinely for his service...the man seated next to me on the plane who was ever so friendly and bantered with me throughout the flight...and, the dozen or so people at the airports that commented on our Mizzou gear and were excited about the big win. There are a lot of nice people in the world...and it makes all the difference!

The Time with Family :: This was the first "family" trip that we've taken together since Bobby has been a part of the picture...and it was absolutely wonderful. (True, my dear sister couldn't make the trip and that was a huge bummer. It would have been even better if she'd been around.) But, really, Bobby fits in so well with all of us, and is most certainly a dearly loved member of our family. It was really nice spending precious time with extended family, but also wonderful to be able to spend so much (quality) time together with my parents. It made me really excited for family vacations to come, with husbands and little ones along. This new chapter of family life is a fun one, and I'm looking forward to all of us going on more adventures together!

The Joy of Being a MIZZOU Alumni :: I am very proud to be a Mizzou alum, and never more so than I was on Saturday. It was a blast to cheer on the football team in a huge game (vs. OU!), and feel the pride of being a Tiger! (We don't always get to be cheering for the winning team as Missouri sports fans...but I think we could get used to it.) We danced to "Eye of the Tiger" and watched the score on Bobby's phone at the wedding, gave high-fives with every touchdown back at the hotel, and responded with a couple of "Z-O-U"'s to well-wishers at the airport. Wearing an MU sweatshirt in Virginia and Georgia suggests "I'm not from around here" (in a cool sort of way)...and that's kind of fun! I felt like a rockstar at the airport, really, sporting my Mizzou gear. (I know, I know...operative phrase being "felt like".) Oh, and don't you know it made Bobby's day when the flight attendant asked if he was "ON THE MIZZOU FOOTBALL TEAM" when we boarded the plane?! That's how spirited (and athletic) he looked! (I was proud of him...he said "no".) Anyway, there are a lot of Tiger fans out there, and it was fun representing the Zou away from home.

The Benefit of A Long Weekend Getaway :: Bobby and I have been fortunate enough to take two tropical, weeklong vacations...which, don't get me wrong, were amazing trips. A week in a tropical paradise is, well, amazing! But, this trip was such a nice reminder that taking a long weekend getaway can be completely refreshing, too!  (For someone who lives in the landlocked Midwest, seeing the ocean always does a body good!) Sure, when you pay for a costly flight, it makes sense to stay at your destination for a while. But, when that isn't feasible, just a couple of days away from the "every day" can really boost one's spirit and go a long way in reminding you that there is a lot of world out there to be explored...and that you can choose to be grateful for the little corner of it that you enjoy every day.

And so concludes what unexpectedly became a three-part narrative of one incredible weekend.

That it was.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Incredible Weekend: Part II

Now, where were we? Oh, yes.... So, we got to Newport News, VA, rented a car, parted ways with our new friends, and drove 50-ish minutes to the hotel. The four of us had a lovely dinner at Joe's Crab Shack, Bobby and I spent some time in the jacuzzi, and then we called it a night. No other major happenings to report.

But, then Saturday came. Ah, Saturday. I'm pretty sure I woke up with a smile on my face. "It's WEDDING DAY, it's Mizzou GAME DAY...does it get any better?!" I was pumped.

I decided that you don't get THAT close to the coast and NOT go to the beach, so it was critical to me to find time in the day to make that outing happen! So, around 9:00 a.m., after a quick cup of coffee, my parents and Bobby and I got in the car and drove to the nearest beach, 30 minutes or so away. I am so, so very glad we took the time to do that. It was a GORGEOUS morning, and the beach was absolutely beautiful. (Perfect day for a wedding!) I don't think I could ever get tired of having sand under my feet and feeling waves tickle my toes. Being able to experience that is such a fun thing, and it made for a really memorable way to start the day. We walked around and Mom took some photos, and it was just enough time for us all to feel really refreshed. I'm glad we got to share all that together.

We got back to the hotel just in time for Bobby to catch a little bit of ESPN'S College GameDay from Mizzou, so he was a happy camper. (Seriously, of all weekends for there to be so much sports action! If we could've been in two places at once.... Bobby was definitely a trooper, participating in all the day's festivities, knowing there was a big game on. I owe him one!) A little lunch, a little visiting with the rest of the family, and it was time to start getting ready for the main event!

Kelsey and Jared's wedding was wonderful, and so very "them". The dress, the flowers, the music, the was all beautiful! (Not that I would have expected anything less! You'd think she was an event planner or something.) I know there were so many details that went into making it a special day for the two of them and for their guests, and it was all the more joyful knowing that Kelsey and Jared had waited so long for their big day and that they are such a great match. It was a pleasure to finally meet Jared (you know, Kelsey's new husband!) and it was so great to be able to celebrate with them. Congratulations, you two!

We ate (a lot), we danced (to "Eye of the Tiger", appropriately enough), we watched the MU score on Bobby's phone (while we danced)...and Bobby and I had a great time catching up with family and enjoying each other.

After the happy new couple left, we headed back to the hotel. The beautiful thing about our being on the East Coast was being able to catch almost the entire second half of the game, since it started at 7:00 p.m. CST! So, we all sat in the lobby and watched Mizzou pull off an amazing win over Oklahoma, thus ending a wonderful day in perfect fashion. (M-I-Z!!!)

One more post to come, with a few final thoughts about the weekend. Reflection is a good thing.

Monday, October 25, 2010

One Incredible Weekend: Part I

You know those days that are so great that you just don't want them to end?! This past Saturday was most certainly one of those days for me. Actually, the entire weekend was pretty stinkin' great.

Bobby and I got to spend Thursday evening with Morgan and Brandon (who were in St. Louis for a wedding this weekend), complete with dinner, apple pie, and board game fun. It's always a blast with those two, and I'm so looking forward to many, many more fun evenings together once we're living in the same city. (Although, I will miss having them as overnight guests. But, Morgan says we can still have slumber parties. And, I'm going to hold her to that.) Their visit was a great way to get the weekend started, and I'm so glad they made the trip a bit early to hang out.

On Friday morning, Bobby and I flew to Atlanta. We discovered that day that I may have lost a bit of my travel know-how. Forgetting to take off my shoes at security..."Strike #1", Bobby said. Directing us to the wrong gate, "Strike #2". Choosing terrible seats on the plane, "Strike #3". (By the end of the trip, I think we were at "Strike 8" or so. Go figure.) Bobby gave me quite a bit of grief for all those issues, since I generally consider myself to be quite savvy at airports. (I think I must just be better at international travel. I'd better stick with that....) Anyway, somehow we managed to get ourselves to Atlanta, where we met up with my parents!

We all settled in for a long afternoon layover at the airport, and at some point we started chatting with the couple sitting across from us. John and Dinah had also flown in from St. Louis and were "enjoying" the long layover just like us on our way to Virginia. Time flew by while we visited with them! Their stories about their dogs, country living, and newlywed life were entertaining and we all just clicked! They had the sweetest story about how they met (online!) and fell in love, and it was so fun to listen to them. We learned they were Christians and I think it was, for all of us, a really neat thing to be able to so easily connect with complete strangers and know we all loved the Lord. I was bummed to end our conversation (though I was glad to finally be boarding the plane), and I'm still kicking myself for not getting John's business card. (They breed Golden Retrievers, and I would seriously love to get a puppy one of these days. Oh, well.) Anyway, we ran into them again at the Enterprise rental counter at the Newport News airport, and I think we were all a little sad to part ways. You just never know who God will put in your path, do you? They were a blessing.

And then, there was a trip to the beach and a wedding and a Mizzou game. The End.

Oh, if I could possibly not elaborate any more than that on those stories.... But, I am running the risk of this becoming a post that is far too lengthy for even my most dedicated two readers (Mom and Dad) to enjoy. So, I'll post more from our incredible weekend later. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On The Move

I am only a couple of weeks away from needing to seriously start focusing on packing and preparing to move. And, although I'm very much looking forward to having such a large project to keep me busy, the thought of de-constructing the little home we've created for ourselves over the past 14 months is making me slightly overwhelmed and a bit emotional.

What our apartment looked like after we moved everything IN.
And, what I suspect it will have to look like again in order for us to move everything OUT. Bummer.

There will be more nostalgia to share later, I'm sure. But for now, I really just need to book a moving truck and figure out how to get my hands on a whole bunch of boxes. Here we go! 

Bobby and me after emptying my apartment in Columbia last year.
(Just to remind myself that it CAN be done. )

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Proud of Him

I am so proud of my husband.

Bobby is on a business trip in Arkansas this week. And, from the moment we heard about this trip, we weren't looking forward to it. The trip means a week of earlier mornings, later nights, lack of home-cooked meals, and sleeping in a strange bed. Not to mention, our being apart from each other. I'd say that part is especially rough.

But, he never complained. (I was probably complaining about it enough for the both of us.)

It's turned out to be an even-less-pleasant week for him than was expected. There have been a lot of work-related problems to deal with, and he's under a lot of pressure to get it all done. But, again, he hasn't complained. (Not even about the $30/night hotel room he's staying in, in order to avoid a long commute every morning. Use your own imagination about how awful that must be.) For that, I'm proud of him.

Bobby got this position a mere three weeks or so before our wedding. Until that point, we had no idea what was in store for us, and having a source of income when you get married is generally considered to be a good idea. It was a major blessing when he got this job. And, it still is! I think Bobby is mindful of that more than I tend to be. That's probably one of the reasons that he works so hard, and takes the good (having a job!) with the bad (sometimes having to be away from home). And, because of that, I'm proud of him.

Bobby has a "go-at-it-with-everything-you-have" attitude that he applies to just about everything he does. I admire it. I'm thankful for it. And, I'm thankful for him. He's teaching me a lot, and I doubt he knows it.

He'll be gone six nights, and this is the longest we've been apart since we became "Mr. and Mrs." We're on the downhill slope of this week, though, and I think we're going to make it. It is "Wine-Down Wednesday", after all, which we fully intend to participate in together, even from afar. So, that's bound to help a little bit.

I miss you, handsome. Hurry home! And, until you get here...hang in there.

A much more relaxed Bobby on a non-business trip of ours.
(Remember those days, babe?)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Faith and Suffering

My last post prompted an anonymous comment unlike one that I’ve received before, and although I’m hesitant to respond publicly, the topic is such that I think deserves a thoughtful response.

The comment dealt with God’s providing for my wants…in a world full of starvation. (Pretty heavy way to start a Saturday morning!) But, it’s a genuine thought and it has given me some things to think about as I begin my day.

I have faith that God can provide for our needs and wants. And, to quote author Lee Strobel, “only in a world where faith is difficult can faith exist”. In my life, I have been blessed to have all of my needs met, and a lot of my wants, too! And, I have made the choice to try to recognize God’s involvement in my life, which includes seeing the things I receive (i.e. a new TV) as His doing. And, it’s made a difference in my Christian life to make an effort to acknowledge God’s constant work around me.

I understand this objection, though. God can provide, but He does allow suffering in the world (including starvation), which is a result of His gift of human free will. God’s answer to the suffering in the world was to come down to it, which is exactly what happened when Jesus was on the cross, dying for humanity’s sins. This response to suffering allowed for the promise of Heaven, where there will be no more suffering, no more starvation!

This is a challenging issue, one that I’ve wrestled with and one that I know I don’t have all the answers to. I learned a great deal from reading “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel, though. This book explores several of the toughest objections to Christianity. (Chapter One is titled “Objection #1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot”.) If one was interested, reading this book might provide some additional things to think about.

Perhaps this is more of a response than was expected or desired, but I’m glad to have had occasion to think through this today.

Difficult questions should not be avoided. Thank you, God, for giving me the conviction and confidence to acknowledge and explore this one…. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

26 Inches

Our apartment complex planned a social event for last weekend...a "Water Fun" day. Which made little sense to me, being that it is September, the weather is cooler, and everyone's pretty much "water-funned" out by now. Regardless, the drawing for the 26-inch flat screen TV sweetened the deal a bit, and Bobby and I decided, "why not?"

Now, although I would not have scheduled a water play day in late September, I was able to see what someone might have been thinking when they did. (Something for the residents to do on a Saturday afternoon....) Sure. But, I was very curious what they were thinking when this event was re-scheduled from its initial time slot of noon-2:00 9:00-11:00 a.m.

On a Saturday morning. In September.

I didn't get it.

Needless to say, Bobby and I were already thinking our chances of winning a TV were looking relatively good (these events aren't usually well-attended)...and once we learned of the time change, we thought "this looks promising! We'll go over there at 10:45 a.m., enter the drawing, and leave!" Couldn't hurt anything.

So, we walked the 50 feet from our apartment to the basketball courts, where we saw a bucket full of water balloons, some squirt guns, and one lone attendant hanging out, who asked "you guys live here, right? Do you want to enter a drawing for a free TV?" We looked at each other, casually acted as though we were shocked by this chance to win a TV (we were feeling a BIT lame at this point), and proceeded to BOTH write down our names on the sign-up sheet. (We were thinking SURELY we'd only get to sign once since we live in the same apartment. Wrong we were!)

Our two signatures made a total of five signatures on the sheet, and the "event" was scheduled to end 10 minutes later. This was shaping up to be even better than we'd imagined. (Only five signatures? Really?!)

I should point out that the girl there seemed genuinely surprised at the low turnout. "I guess everyone just wanted to sleep in", she said. You think? It's Saturday morning, in September, and you want them to come play water games? Figuring out the reason for the low attendance didn't seem all that complicated to me.

Oh, well. I really shouldn't criticize. They had good intentions. And, after all...

WE WON THE TELEVISION!!! Bobby got the call the next morning that he (yes, it was HIS name drawn...he likes to emphasize that point) had won the TV and it would be available to pick-up today. Yay! So, this morning I went to the office and brought it home.

A 26-inch TV isn't huge, I know, but it's our first flat screen, and poor Bobby has wanted one for SO LONG. (I'm too stubborn to get rid of our perfectly good "old school" least until we have room to put it elsewhere.) It seems everyone we know already has a snazzy flat screen.... (As do most people living in our apartment complex, I would guess, most likely contributing to their furthered lack of interest in coming to the event and entering the drawing...which worked out for us!) I'm sure we'll have another TV purchase in our future, but this will certainly get the job done for now!

It was such a fun surprise, and another reminder that we've got it pretty good these days. Our patience (okay, Bobby's patience) in not buying a new TV and being mindful of how we spend our money and being aware of what things we can live without has made this even more rewarding for me.

I like to think that this winning is another of God's reminders that He's looking out for us. A reminder that He takes care of our needs, and is more than able to provide for our wants, too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big Things

Big things on the "happening someday" list that I'm really starting to look forward to....

Buying a house
Decorating a house
DIY home improvement projects
Hosting engagement/bridal/holiday/baby/sports parties at said house
Buying baby clothes (which, by the way, I spent far too much time looking at while I wandered through the mall today)
Decorating a nursery
Being a mom

Big things on the "happening in the not-so-distant future" list that I'm really excited about....

Crossing things off of our "must do in St. Louis" list
Kelsey's October wedding
Fall festivities, followed closely by the holidays
Moving back to Springfield
Finding an apartment to call home for a while
A new job, I hope
Planning/hosting my sister's bridal shower
The 4 special weddings on the calendar for 2011...and 1 more that I'm hopeful for!
Buying a house
Decorating a house
DIY home improvement projects
Etc, etc.

"Little" things that I really need to focus on for the time being...patience and contentment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome, September!

Bring on the fall! There is a lot of excitement ahead for the Phillips family, and I cannot wait for the transition as summer turns into autumn. Change is in the air! 

A look at how we spent September 1st (in St. Lucia) last year. (Absolutely magical...although with the hurricane lurking in the Caribbean at this time this year, I'm sort of glad we're not there right now.) 

Candlelit dinner by the beach. Not on; see waves above.