Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend Rewind

After last weekend's crazy schedule, Hubby & I were both due for a relaxing weekend filled simply with us doing almost whatever we wanted. We achieved just that. However, before the weekend even began Hubby went to the doctor to have his stitches removed. All I can say is...WOW!! His head looks amazing and I really think it won't be long before you can barely see the scar. I'd be lying if I wasn't thinking that a plastic surgeon would be one of our next appointments, but that definitely won't be necessary. It's healing so well and Hubby's certainly pleased with not having to wear a patch on his head anymore.

Friday night we decided to just stay at home with dinner & a movie. It was finally fairly warm outside so Hubby volunteered to grill pork tenderloin. Oh how I have missed using the grill during these winter months. There's just nothing like a great home-grilled meal at home with the man you love. We finished off the evening with a movie and an early night to bed. Doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday morning Hubby had to work (as normal during tax season) so I managed to do a whole lot of nothing. I was seriously lacking motivation so I can't claim that I accomplished hardly anything but a few loads of laundry & transferring pictures from the computer into my Adobe Photoshop Elements program...that was quite a task in and of itself since I realized that I have over 5000 pictures on this computer. Think I might need to get a second hard-drive to back those up soon!

Saturday afternoon we relaxed for a bit and then headed out for date afternoon complete with dinner & a movie. But first, Hubby needed a new phone. Literally needed, since it frequently turned off on it's own and the back plate practically came off on it's own with the battery not far behind. We managed to get out of the AT&T store within about 30 minutes, new phone in hand. I think that might be a new record for any type of cell phone transaction.

We then headed to a matinee showing of Valentine's Day. I highly recommend it as a feel-good love story & I'm pretty sure even Hubby enjoyed it. Of course, there are always those moments in a movie that disappoint you & make you think..."Now why did they have to go and include that?" but for the most part it was a good movie and a nice way to spend my Saturday afternoon. We followed up the movie with dinner at "The Pizza House" our local pizza joint that makes cracker-thin crust pizza. So good & so delicious. We were home by 8:00 with plenty of time to catch some Olympic coverage and bring Bogey inside for a bit.

Hubby & I have decided that we love our date afternoons. Not only are the movies cheaper during the afternoon but it's so fun to spend the afternoon together & get home at a decent hour.

Today we had church and grabbed a quick sandwich for lunch. I'm so happy to be able to type these next few words...We spent the rest of the afternoon working outside. It's been such a brutal winter that it was wonderful to be able to spend the afternoon outside in the sunshine. We cleaned out our front flower beds & did some serious pruning of our shrubs. Bogey also got to go on a walk for the first time in a very long time. The night was finished off with small group, which was a blessing as always.

Oh, and I can't forget. Saturday was made even better when we checked the mailbox. Inside was a package just for me! A few weeks ago I won my first ever giveaway over at Megan of Tales of the Trees. I won the most adorable notecards with my name on them from Notably Noted. They've got some adorable stationery so check them out! Hopefully I'll be able to use these soon to send out some snail mail. I'm fairly sure that most of my readers already do, but if you don't read Megan's blog you should check her out...that girl seriously makes me laugh on a daily basis! Thanks again Megan!

Tomorrow is March 1st which means only 45 more days to go in tax season. We're over half-way through! Yippee!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Courtside VIPs

Thanks to my Hubby's firm, or more importantly a client of my Hubby's firm, last night we had VIP treatment. Mr. Client decided to treat Hubby's entire firm (+ a guest for each employee) to a free meal & courtside seats to the Missouri State Bears final home game. What a great experience! Sure, it's just a mid-major Division 1 basketball game but there's just something extremely cool about walking down the aisle, crossing over the barrier and sitting courtside in an arena full of 8,000 people. We had a great time, & enjoyed ourselves even more by listening to the fans behind us heckling the referees. I even managed to get on the big screen during one of the timeout promotions.

We had a great time but you have to watch yourself, since you never know who's watching you when you're down in front of everyone! Definitely no picking your nose or biting your nails! ;o) I did sneak in a small little wave to my parents who were across the court from us...I'm imagining myself looking like a kindergartener during their first school play when all you want to do is find your parents & wave real big. Man, I probably looked like a big dork! We also didn't really know what was allowed...are we allowed to stand up on the sidelines or do we have to remain seated since we're practically on the floor?

My parents have season tickets so we get to enjoy lots of games, but it's always fun to be treated like a VIP every once in awhile.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Forgive & Forget

While I haven't had a chance to listen to our pastor's sermon from Sunday, just going to small group on Sunday was enough to wake me up when it comes to forgiveness. This week the choice was this...The Relationship Choice: I evaluate all my relationships, offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me, & make amends for harm I've done to others, except for when to do so would harm them or others.
"Happy are those who are merciful to others...Happy are those who work for
peace." ~ Matthew 5:7, 9
I don't know about you, but just reading that statement makes my heart begin to race. Not only are we called to ask for forgiveness when we wrong someone else, but on the flip side we are to genuinely forgive those who do wrong to us. As humans we are created with this innate desire to see justice, to harbor resentment, & feel that we have seen others pay for their mistakes. I think this is just another area where we are to TRY to be like God but we will never be able to reach his level. Forgiveness is something our human minds have a difficult time of grasping. God forgive each of us so quickly even when we fail him over & over & over--I can't even wrap my head around that kind of love.
"How often should I forgive someone who sins against me?"..."Not seven times,"
Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!" ~ Matthew 18:21-22
I think the one key point that will stick with me from this week's series is that when you look at the basis of forgiveness, it's really not about the other person or the offender. It's about you, & yourself, & finding healing once you release that person from the hurt they have caused you. I've found that the longer I hold a grudge or pass judgment against someone for their actions, the more it affects my daily life & my other relationships. Regardless of what happened, the offender is still winning--they are still controlling your life by wrecking havoc on your day. We would be so much better off if we would give this all to God & release our hurts.
Forgiveness is an everyday process, for some hurts it may be something that has to be given to God on a daily basis in order for you to move on from whatever hurt you have experienced. For other issues, it may be a quick realization that God's peace can transcend & making amends will be a much quicker process.
When it comes to forgiveness & fairness, it's simple. Forgiveness really isn't fair in the eyes of the world. It isn't fair that we should have to forgive someone seventy times seven...but it's also not FAIR that God forgives us over & over and forgets any transgressios we have when we confess our troubles to Him.
"Be gentle & ready to forgive; never hold grudges.
Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." ~ Colossians

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wear Sunscreen...A Public Service Announcement

This week's Life's Healing Choices series will be postponed in order to bring you a public service announcement from the Layman family. Wear Sunscreen. Period. No Questions. Everyday.

For what seems like as long as I've known Hubby, he has had a mole in the center of his forehead right between his eyebrows. However, in the past several months I had noticed it was changing and even growing quite a bit. I encouraged him to at least have it looked at, so he made a phone call to a dermatologist only to be told that he had to have a referral to even make an appointment. Unfortunately he didn't have a local primary care physician either and it took about 4 months to get an appointment as a new patient. January he saw his new primary care physician who then promptly referred him to a dermatologist.

On February 2nd he went to see Dr. Swann and came out minus the mole. At that time, the dr. immediately thought the mole was probably basal cell skin cancer which would requre more treatment at a later date. The mole was sent off for biopsy and was positively identified as basal cell. A second appointment was scheduled for Friday, February 19th during which Dr. Swann would perform a surgical procedure called Mohs Micrographical Surgery. You can read more about it with the link provided, but based on the biopsy they will remove a layer of skin cells, perform an immediate biopsy to determine if all of the cancer has been removed and then repeat until they are positive that all cancerous cells have been eliminated.

I went with Hubby to his appointment and I'm happy to say that we were out of there 2 hours later. After just one series of the procedure, Hubby walked out with 13 stitches but most importantly cancer free. I won't even begin to act like what we've been through is anywhere close to the cancer issues that face so many people, including our friends & family. However, had we not caught it when we did...the situation could be much worse & much more cosmetically damaging to Hubby's face.
His bandage that he had to wear for the first 48 hours...remember, our busy weekend? Yup, he was out in public the whole time...Love you Hubby!
We've learned a lot in this process...most important that you can never underestimate the importance of suncreen or the damage that sun exposure can cause if you don't protect yourself. Hubby is a huge golfer so most of his sun damage normally comes from being out on the course and failing to reapply his sunscreen during the round. We've both spent time in tanning beds in the past but I can tell you that will NOT be happening anymore. The C word is definitely scary, no matter how small a spot and even if they are able to completely remove it. It's been a huge wake-up call & we'll be taking much better care of our skin in the future.

I also became a hairdresser over the weekend as Hubby wasn't allowed to get his bandage wet during the first 48 hours. So...I remembered back to my childhood and had him lay up on our island with his head over the sink & washed his hair. It was definitely an experience to remember & quite the hilarious sight I'm sure.

Yesterday, Hubby was able to take off his initial bandage and replace it with something a little smaller...just a little. He'll wear that until Friday when his stitches are taken out. With my incredible squeamish stomach, my dear daddy & my sister-in-law (who's a nurse in practice) changed and cleaned his head the first time & thankfully he'll be able to do it the rest of the time on his own.
Contemplating the next step...

If you have a weaker stomach than me...which I can't hardly believe would be might want to close out now. I've included a picture of his stitched up head. The incision looks so much better than we expected and with proper treatment I think the scar will become much, much less visible in the coming weeks & months.
Right down the least it maintains the symmetry of his face! ;o)

The moral of the story and the finale of this public service announcement is to wear sunscreen & please, please, please avoid those tanning beds!!! And also, if you have a mole or a spot on your skin that you are concerned about...have it checked out because you just never know! Sure, we still have plans to go to Mexico in May & soak up some sun...but sunscreen will be in our routine much more prominently than it would have been before & we may enjoy the ocean from the lovely shade of a palapa instead of baking ourselves out near the water. Hubby & I would be the first to say that we were naive and young and never dreamt we would have to deal with anything like this so early in life. Thank goodness that God put us with the right doctors to take care of things.
Ladies & Gentlemen of the class of '99...If I could
offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term
benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my
advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

~ Baz Luhrmann

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend Rewind you ever have those weekends where you feel like you need to go back to work just to catch your breath? We had a pretty crazy weekend with tons of stuff going on that definitely included lots of fun. Friday night we took it easy due to the schedule for the rest of the weekend & also because Hubby had a medical procedure on Friday deserves it's own post so I'll have more on that later this week. We had dinner at our local "dairy queen" ...cheeseburgers, spicy curly q's & fried's the best. We came home and just spent the rest of the evening watching a movie before heading to bed.

Saturday morning we both had to work...but that didn't mean the rest of the day wasn't fabulous. Hubby drove home from work to basically pick up my mom & me so we could head back to Missouri State University (my college alma mater) for their ESPN Bracket Buster was very exciting and even better because we won!!! After the game we ran a quick errand to pick up my wedding set from the jeweler...I've decided my fingers have gotten fat in the last 3 years. We met up again with my parents & my brother & sis-in-law for my brother's birthday dinner. He chose a sushi place, Kai & we had a great meal.

After dinner Hubby & I took advantage of my parents' season tickets to the local theater & watched STOMP! It was a great production & if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. Some of our best friends were also at the show so we made plans to meet up for drinks & dessert after the show. We had a great dessert platter with a sampling of 8 different desserts...YUM!

Needless to say, after the extremely busy & long day we had on Saturday we were exhausted & I think Hubby probably over did himself after his procedure on Friday. So...when the alarm went off for church this morning we did something we have never done. I asked Hubby if he was getting up and he said no. We both went back to sleep for awhile and just managed to get a little bit refreshed before another busy day today. Our church has started having a live stream on the Web for sermons so with that along with our small group study from tonight I'll easily be able to continue on the Life's Healing Choice series later this week.

Around noon we headed down to my parents' house for a birthday party for my little brother. We took Bogey so he was able to burn off some energy. My brother & his wife live in KC while he attends law school and she is getting ready to start an accelerated nursing program so it's always great when they're able to come into town.

My little brother...who's definitely not so little anymore! Love ya bub!
My grandpa with Josie & Romo
Make A Wish!!!

Tonight we finished off our crazy-busy weekend with small group & as always it was so refreshing to spend time with such a wonderful group of people. Whew..I'm tired just writing about all we did this weekend. I guess we start all over again tomorrow...

See? Even poor Josie is worn out!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's's really mine!

Today after payment #47, Hubby & I have paid off my car. Woohoo!

I bought my car back in March 2006 and while I only had to take out a small loan, it was the first debt I ever had. I had a fairly low payment and decided from the beginning to pay about $50 extra each month. What a difference that made! We have paid off the car an entire year early. (due to some different circumstances we've also been able to pay extra on our mortgage & it's making a big difference in our equity as well)

Currently the only debt that Hubby & I have is our mortgage and I don't really consider that in the same category since we are earning equity in our home. Our plan is to keep "paying ourselves" the monthly car payment and put it directly into a savings account so we can start building up a downpayment for our next vehicle.

Hubby & I were both incredibly blessed as we came into our marriage with no debt except for car student loans, no credit card debt...and now those cars are paid in full. It's such a great feeling to know that we don't have to make those monthly payments anymore.

Financial responsibility and discipline can be a lot of work, but it sure does pay off in the end.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wrestling with God

This week in our sermon series "Life's Healing Choices" the focus was on The Transformation Choice: Voluntarily submitting to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly asking him to remove my character defects. So far we've accepted the fact that we're not God, we begin to believe in the fact that He has the power to help us heal, we choose to commit all my life to Christ's control and we've confessed our faults. Now it's time to begin the transformation of our character into something that begins to look more like the character of God.

Our pastor focused on the story of Jacob & how manipulative he was. His manipulation lead to many, many broken relationships and a how even being successful was meaningless when his relationships were such a mess. All of us have conflicts with others and it's in these conflicts with others that we can realize something is actually out of whack in our relationship with God. Jacob was certainly struggling with God and one night it all came out...

"Jacob got them safely across the brook Jabbok along with all his
possessions. But Jacob stayed behind and was left alone in the camp, and a
Man came and wrestled with him until dawn. When the Man saw that he
couldn't win the match, he struck Jacob's hip and knocked it out of joint at the
socket. Then the Man said, 'Let me go, for it is dawn.' But Jacob panted,
'I won't let go unless you bless me.'" Genesis 32:23-26 (NLT/MSG)

I have never read this story and actually gotten out of it what I was supposed to. Jacob actually physically wrestled with God. He was frustrated with Him for a variety of reasons but the important issue that instead of walking away in denial of the problem, he faced God head on and fought with Him until he was satisfied with the answer. It's in the wrestling where healing comes. Consider any of your important, great relationships (your spouse, a best friend, your siblings, parents, etc.)'s the intense discussions and communication that make those relationships strong. Those relationships never grow if we simply give in and ignore any issues that might arise.

The same goes with our relationship with God, the thing is...He is God. He can handle our emotions, big or small, happy or angry, He can take it and we're not going to hurt his feelings. Jacob fought with God until He promised to bless him and heal him of his problems in life. We need to have that kind of desire and commitment to having a life reflective of God's character.

Jacob's name meant deception and following his wrestling match with God, God changed his name to Israel (Prince of God). However, God didn't simply change his name...he TRANSFORMED Jacob's character and gave him a name that more resembled his new life. First we have to choose to give a name to our pain, our habits, or our struggles. Once we name it specifically, God can then give his a new life, a new name in which we can strive towards each day of our Christian walk. Because in the end, it is the struggle that becomes our strength.

We can truly be transformed into a new creation if we will CHOOSE to submit to God and accept His help in improving our character. Transformation certainly isn't an instant thing, but if we keep our focus on God & surround ourselves with thoughts and people who will help us, He will create us anew.

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about
things that are pure...Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.
~ Philippians 4:8 LB

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Rewind

Fortunately for me, our office is closed today for President's Day so I'm able to post the Valentine's Weekend Rewind from the comfy, cozy location of my bed. I don't really have any other plans for today except heading out to meet Hubby for lunch. The only thing that could make today any better was if Hubby was off work...however, no rest for accountants during tax season.

We had a great weekend that started out with a fun night on Friday. We had french toast for dinner (breakfast for dinner is one of my favorites) and then headed out to some friends' house for card night. We watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony and played pitch until a winner was declared. The boys were the winner this time, but I know for sure there will be a rematch.

Saturday Hubby had to work which gave me plenty of time to put together one of his Valentine's day gifts. He is obsessed with the cookie cakes from the Great American Cookie Company so when Bakerella posted this I knew I had to give it a try. My mom had the heart shaped pan already so I got all of my ingredients and got to work!
Valentine's Day M&M's...check!

Homemade heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie...check!

The finished product...Yum!! Hubby was thrilled and we still have plenty of cookie cake to enjoy for the rest of the week!

We decided to not go overboard on the Valentine's day gifts and save our money for a new set of patio furniture that we can enjoy together once the weather warms up. However, that doesn't mean we didn't do anything...while I made Hubby a cookie cake, he had these delivered to my office on Friday.

They are so delicious...and as you can see I didn't make it home from work with all 12. I just had to share with the girls at work!
We also got each other a practical gift...I bought Hubby a pink, long-sleeved Polo shirt that will be great for Spring & he bought me a pair of skinny jeans from Banana Republic. We also always exchange cards on Valentine's which is probably my favorite part. We drove to Branson on Saturday night for dinner at Cantina Laredo (more yummy food) and enjoyed the drive along with the fountain presentation at Branson Landing. This is certainly a tradition for us and I hope we can continue this for many years to come.

Before heading out to dinner...

Sunday morning I woke up and made Monkey Muffins from PW for breakfast with a little modification. Instead of the condensed milk, I made my own homemade glaze to put on the muffins. They were so delicious and so easy! We went to church, had lunch at Chili's and then ran a few more errands before coming home to relax. We also had small group last night which was a great end to such a wonderful weekend.

Guess I should probably get out of bed about now & join the world...nah...a few more minutes won't hurt! Happy President's Day for those of your enjoying a day off!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

my valentine

I couldn't let Valentine's Day go by without a small little tribute to my Hubby for being such an incredible man. I believe that God truly made us for each other & I am so thankful that he is by my side as we travel through life together. I guess that's what I'm so thankful for...that we can live life together. Sure, the romance, the humor, & the laid back times are great...but the fact that we live life together, loving each other unconditionally, and supporting each other through all the ups & downs is so much more than I could have asked for. I love you Hubby!

February 2004~eating my favorite Valentine's Day gift...chocolate covered strawberries from Shari's Berries I've gotten these almost every Valentine's Day since we've been together!

Our first Valentine's Day...February 2004 (we look so young!)
How thankful I am that those were simply the first days of lifetime of love & happiness. I think I always knew he was the one, simply because I didn't ever have a day go by when I could even fathom my life without him. When he asked me to marry him it was simply a formality as I knew with all my heart we would be together for eternity.

Engagement picture...October 2006

And the day I became Wifey...the best day of my life!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sunshine...where are you??

I don't know about everyone else, but this week seems to have been sooo long! I'm going to attribute most of it to Megan's self-diagnosis of February funk. Sure, we don't have the 30" of snow on the ground like the East, but it's just been gross. I can normally handle the cold temperatures as long as we get sunshine every couple of days. However, I feel like the sun hasn't been shining in weeks. This morning there is a hint of sunshine coming through the clouds, but it's forecast to be mostly cloudy again by lunchtime. It's just cold, windy, and gray outside...definitely not an environment to create a cheery attitude!

I'm so ready for Spring I can't hardly stand it! With tax season in full swing combined with the previous mentioned nastiness outside, I have been lacking motivation for pretty much anything this week. I come home from work, read for a little while, fix dinner, we eat dinner & then for most of the rest of the evening we sit & watch television. Productive, not at all. In addition, some nights I end up falling asleep in our LaZBoy recliner that lends itself very well to napping. This might sound all well & good to most of you, but when Hubby wakes me up to head to bed then I just feel disgusted with myself for not being productive during the entire night. Maybe I should just get over it & get up & do something!!! I'm blaming it all on the weather. It makes me unmotivated to do anything & then I'm bored with not doing anything...and then repeat! What a frustrating never-ending cycle!

Alright, so enough of my big pity party for myself! I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend. It's a holiday weekend x 2!!! Hubby & I are celebrating Valentine's Day tomorrow night since we have small group on Sunday. I also have Monday off due to President's Day so hopefully we'll be able to grab a quick lunch together! Hope you all have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cleaning House

Cleaning the house is definitely one of my least favorite activities...while the house is never super dirty it never fails that the dust & grime seem to build up over time and before I know it my house is driving me crazy! Sometimes I am in a cleaning mood & I hop right up to clean it myself and other times I become incredibly lazy & call up my mom's housecleaner to come do a deep clean for us!

Unfortunately, cleaning the house of my life is something I dread just as much. This week our sermon focused on the Housecleaning Choice: I openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, & someone I trust. I don't know about you but actually looking at our faults & recognizing they are present is hard enough...let alone confessing those to God. There's something about actually verbalizing those faults in our prayers that make them more real, more awful, & more sinful. However, as I've learned in the past weeks its through those prayers of confession that God makes my heart pure & allows the healing process to continue.

"Happy are the pure in heart, for they will see God" Matthew 5:8 (GNB)

Just like the dust & grime in our house, those little things in our life & our heart begin to build up to eventually make us look at our life & wonder what happened to me? Sure, we notice those big things where we fail...but those little white lies or judgmental thoughts or jealousy seem to happen without us even realizing it. If we go to God & give EVERYTHING to Him, he will most definitely forgive us and just as important...He will forget those transgressions as if they had nevre even happened.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful & just and will forgive us our
sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 NIV
One huge point I learned from this week deals with the matter of guilt. As Christians we all feel some level of guilt when we sin, and maybe we feel an even deeper level of guilt when we continue to sin in the same way over & over again. However, while those first feelings of guilt may be a result of our Christian conscience...once we have asked for forgiveness & repented of those sins any future guilt for that particular sin doesn't come from God. It simply comes from Satan as a way of causing us to question the very nature of God. Sure, each & every time we sin we may feel guilty but once we give that sin over to God all of our guilt should be gone.
"Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my
guilt. I said to myself, I will confess my rebellion to the Lord. And you
forgave me! All my guilt is gone." Psalm 32:5 NLT
We have to get real with God for this guilt to be removed & we know we are getting real with God when we get real with one another. Find that one person, an accountability partner, that you can be completely real with & together you can experience God's grace.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Weekend Rewind

What a great weekend! Friday night I met Hubby after he got off work for dinner at Macaroni Grill. Normally he comes home & we go back into town together, but after a long work week I figured he might just want to meet up to save some time. After dinner we made a few quick exchanges with my birthday clothes. Thank goodness they had the right size in everything he had picked out! We came on home so Hubby could try out his newest toy...a Wii bowling ball. He had some gift cards to Best Buy so he ordered an actual bowling ball & a new bowling game for the Wii. I simply observed while he played but I can tell it's going to make the game a whole lot more realistic. He certainly seemed to have a good time with it!

Saturday morning we both had to work and we spent the rest of Saturday afternoon doing random things around the house. Hubby worked in the office on filing & financial duties & I did some laundry along with some touch-up painting. It never fails, Bogey's feet & tail seem to throw small mud splatters all along our walls when he comes in for visits. Thank goodness for hardwood floors or we would have an outdoor only dog!

Saturday night we had our small group meeting. With the Super Bowl being last night we decided to reschedule so we could stay on track with the Sunday morning sermons but also enjoy the Super Bowl! It was such a fun evening--we had pizza & our regular lesson & then we finished up the evening with several rounds of Apples to Apples. We may have to plan on doing that more often because it was a blast!!!

Yesterday we had church (which was another awesome sermon--more to come tomorrow) and I had a quick meeting afterwards. As soon as I got home we loaded Bogey up and headed down to my parents' house to help out with any last minute prep before the Birthday/Super Bowl party. Plus I got to witness the artist in action...

My dad working on his masterpiece!

The finished product...I may or may not have been whining a bit that we always celebrate the Super Bowl & my birthday just gets thrown in. My parents were not about to let that happen this year! We had pink cups, plates, & napkins & notice the writing on the cake..."Super Bowl? Nope! Valentine's? No Way! It's Lauren's 27th Birthday!" Haha...I Love It!

All lit & ready for a wish!

Of course there were still a few presents to open!

After the birthday celebration, we got busy eating all the wonderful food. I think this was the best spread ever! Hot wings, stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped chicken bites, cheesy bread squares, rotel & chips, spinach artichoke dip, beanie weenies, & huge fruit & vegetable trays. Oh, and of course homemade strawberry cake & apple dumplings for dessert! Wow...definitely a low-cal Super Bowl party! ;o)

Just a small part of the group resting after all the eating!

My mom broke out some old floor puzzles to entertain the girls!
There were 20-25 people there & we had such a great time hanging out watching the game & laughing at the commercials. Most of our crowd was routing for the Colts, but all in all we were just happy that it was a good game!
The weathermen were thinking we might get a bunch of snow again today...thankfully their forecast was a little off! I'm definitely ready for the snow to stop falling!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Birthday Celebration!

Last night my parents took me out for my birthday to one of the top two local steakhouses...Flame Steakhouse. I dined on calamari --YUM, caesar salad--YUM, filet mignon & a twice baked potato--double YUM, & this...
a cheesecake tree w/ chocolate dipped cheesecake bits, strawberries & chocolate mousse for dipping! YUM, YUM, YUM!!!

Hubby & I after dinner

After dinner we all headed back to our house so I could open my birthday presents from my parents. It was definitely a wardrobe birthday for me as I got lots of new spring clothes, shoes & jewelry! My parents also bought me Adobe Photoshop Elements along with a great book so I can learn how to properly use the program...I'm so glad to have something to help me make my photos look better! My Canon Rebel is great, but it will be even better with a little bit of editing behind the photos!

Opening some presents...

My raincheck for a pair of very Springy, very red, patent leather, peeptoe wedges. They were out of my size; however, it's currently snowing here & more snow is in the forecast for the first of next week. Guess I won't be needing my cute shoes for awhile anyway!

My stack of gifts from Hubby!

My in-laws sent me the normal huge box wrapped in birthday paper full of presents for me to open & I got a gift certificate to my local salon from the girls I work with! I am so blessed with such great family & friends around me!

I definitely had a great birthday with more to come on Sunday! Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Happy 27th Birthday to Me!!!

Today is my 27th birthday...woohoo!!! I just love birthdays & love having a day all about me! I woke up a little early this morning so Hubby could give me his presents...I am such a lucky girl! He picked out some great stuff from Banana Republic, a new pair of sandals, & 2 new pair of dress pants that are great Spring colors. He may be colorblind but he's so good at gift-giving...the perfect combination of things I ask for plus his own little spin. Tonight, Hubby & I are having dinner out with my parents & then on Sunday we'll have my "family party." Since most all my extended family lives close by, we still celebrate everyone's birthday. Consider it lucky or unlucky, but the Super Bowl is now either on or near my birthday each year so we normally combine the event & I invite some close friends & the rest of my family to my parent's house for a big celebration. This year is no different. My mom has a fabulous menu planned & I can't wait to celebrate.

To copy off several other bloggers that I read, I thought I'd find some pics from birthday's in year's past.

My 23rd birthday, with my homemade cake decorate by my dad!

Funny story about the above picture, it was the first birthday that Hubby & I were dating (my 21st actually) & I had invited all of our college friends down to my parent's house for my birthday party/Super Bowl party. As you can see from the picture, my hair got a little too close to my candles & I managed to catch my hair on fire. Thank goodness for my Great Uncle...he was sitting right next to me & managed to put out the flames with a clap of his hands. Needless to say I had some smelly burnt hair & a red neck! Quite an embarrassing moment for me & I will probably never live this one down!

Sometime during high school, I'm going to guess probably 15 or 16...

Not actually my birthday, but my birthday present for my 16th birthday! Can I just say how fantastic my parents are!!!

Again, not real sure on the date but I'll guess sometime around 7th or 8th grade...please tell me why I'm wearing a plaid shirt that is 14 sizes too big for me!?

I apparently don't have any birthday pictures on my computer from when I was a little girl--and I'm not going to be scanning them in since they are all in photo boxes in my parents' basement. So...instead I thought I'd include some of my favorite "little girl" photos that I included in our wedding slideshow. Yes, I know...I was absolutely adorable!!

Probably my favorite childhood photo...don't you love my droopy underwear with pigtails!?!

Don't you love my fabulous fashion?!?

Little Miss Attitude...fortunately, some things never change.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let Go & Let God

So we've all heard this saying probably a thousand times, & while it sounds all well and good we also know that at times it seems to be an impossible reality. This week in our series "Life's Healing Choices" the choice was The Commitment Choice.

Matthew 5:5--Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

First of all, meekness is NOT weakness. It is not being timid, it is not being gullible or letting others walk all over you. Meekness is humility, it is gentleness, teachability, & letting go. Once we have recognized that we are not God & we mourn the troubles & brokenness in our life, the next step is for us to CHOOSE to commit all of our life & will to Christ's control. Thus, the commitment choice.

If we make the conscious choice to let go & let God, we are humbling ourselves at the feet of our Father & Creator. We are practicing meekness & recognizing that in order to fully experience the will of God, we must be teachable & remember that we don't know it all.

Matthew 11:29--Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle & humble in heart & you will find rest for your souls.

Humility is such a struggle for most everyone--we all have this desire to appear strong & able to take care of things on our own. However, we have such a distorted view of what true humility actually is. Meekness is God's deisgn for humanity, Jesus Christ was certainly not weak but he practied humility & meekness every day of his life. As we go through the healing process, recognizing our brokenness allows us to fully experience meekness. If we can strive to let go of our habits & hurts, God will wrap us in his arms & lead us down the path of righteousness that He has prepared for us.