Friday, December 17, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

1.   Giving is    the best thing ever. It makes me happy and I wish I had millions of dollars to do more of it.    .

2.  Receiving is   pretty rad as well. However, I care less about that than the giving. But I do like getting presents. I like getting things especially when it's from a fellow "I love to give soooo much" type of person. THE  thought, excitement and the happiness you see behind the gift is what is really awesome. A nice pot holder from Anthropology isn't bad either.  .

3.  The best gift I ever received was       I sure did love my Casio key board and my chalk board I got in the 80's. I still remember being the most excited about those. I am sure I have gotten more substantial things but I remember feeling like I was going to be the greatest artist ever once I unwrapped that chalk board/ paint easle.  .

4.  The best gift I ever gave was   sentimental things like shadow boxes and family pictures put into awesome albums   .

5.  Something intangible that I wish I could receive is     cello playing skills.

6.  Something intangible that I wish I could give is     contentment    .

7.  The one gift I always wanted as a child, but never got was       an Easy Bake oven...and the game Mall Madness       .

Play along here

Happy Weekend!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fill 'er up

{ @weheartit)

1.   I wish       that I could learn lessons in life without having to hurt or experience sadness    .

2.  Yesterday I   got a new do and got puked on by a baby  .

3.  Today I will       finish a tiny sewing project and go to a far far away Christmas party .

4.  Tomorrow I will  help the youth group at church with handing out supplies to homeless people in St. Louis and come home and be oh-so-grateful that I have a home and heat and the essentials  .

5.  Maybe     I will have a baby before I am 30 .

6.  Someday       I will be one of those wives/moms that is crazy about traditions and celebrating the smaller things by having a party (i.e.: party just because it's Tuesday and going for ice cream after doctors visits.)   .

7.  I love       consistency and non-awkwardness, kittens, cats , food, pina coladas and getting caught in the rain     .

Happy Weekend. Stay Warm!

Link up HERE

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trying new things

With more time at home lately, I've been trying to get more creative and really enjoy cooking dinner.
So I am trying  new things. John is game for anything and is really honest if something really sucks. So that's nice.
Last night, we had a success!

After watching Anthony Bourdain in Sicily eating Paella, I decided to try to make it. In soup form.

This is the recipe and it's WONDERFUL!
You should try it!
Super easy.
Super fast.
Super healthy.
Super delicious.

Paella Soup
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup chopped red sweet pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oil
1 14.5 ounce reduced sodium, no MSG added, organic chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon tumeric
8 ounces cooked pork, cut into small pieces
8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoon fresh oregano

In a large saucepan cook green onions sweet pepper, and garlic in hot oil for 2 minutes.

Stir in chicken broth, rice, bay leaf, salt, red pepper, and tuermic.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, shrimp, and peas. Simmer, covered, for 3-5 minutes more or until shrimp turn pink.

I kept mine on the heat (very low) for 2 hours to get all the meat very tender, and to get the spices soaked in really well.

Tumeric is really fragrant and makes the color of the soup really pretty. ( I learned tumeric used to be used in perfumes. Interesting. I don't think I'll be splashing some on anytime soon.)

Remove the bay leaf and stir in the oregano.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tree Time!

I finally decorated my Christmas tree that has been up and undecorated for almost 2 weeks.
I didn't have lots of money to spend on a theme so I had to work with what I had. I did by a couple spools of ribbon but that's it. I could have easily gone overboard since I love decorating the tree
This year's theme is Mint Chocolate Chip.

I don't even really care for mint chocolate chip ice cream.
I guess I could have called it:
"after dinner Olive Garden mints"
"green and brown".

But like I said, I had to go with what I had.
And it made for a cute combo, don't you think?

Dante' doesn't seem to mind the theme so much.
Bonus: the cats sparkle after lying under the tree because of the glittery skirt. 
So Christmas gives me glitter cats. That's always fun :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Loose lips sink [friend] ships.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bittersweet thankfulness

Going home for Thanksgiving was bittersweet this year.
I can't say that I ever thought that I took the "smaller" things like family, health and sameness for granted. But I suppose now, I did.
This year has been weird for us in a lot of ways. 
And this Thanksgiving I think we had a different perspective on those said "smaller" things. 

They aren't small at all.

They are huge.

You never know how awesome consistency is until it isn't there. 
We indeed have so much to be thankful for.
And we are all praying that next year at this time that things are so amazingly different (normal) that we won't know what to do! 

Lisa, my husband's mom is still in the rehab.Which is great in and of itself that her progress has prompted her therapist to still be working with her for an extended time!
And though we are sad that she isn't the same...yet and that she wasn't there at the house making sure things were just right and planned out, funny, awkward, busy and celebratory we are indeed very thankful that she still is alive and making daily progress. 

I guess it really is all in how you look at things. 
It's what you make of it.
I couldn't get any more trite if I tried.
Trite is usually true though.
And we are trying to make the best of it and look at things in the best light possible. 
Sometimes it's just not that easy though. We are reminded by friends and other family of what God continues to do in her life and are encouraged when we see her doing something new everyday.

Things aren't the same.
Hopefully soon they will be more normal-ish.

I helped John's little sister redo her room while we were up there. 
That was an experience!
I was very glad to see the finish line to that project. It looks great and she was so excited to get a makeover.

We put up the family tree and decorated the house a bit too to help get everyone in the holiday spirit.

I caught this sweet moment of my husband and his mom while she took a small nap after lunch.
This makes me thankful.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Aaaaand I'm back..

The past month has been nuts!

Thank you for your kind words and e mails about my last post.
I am pleased to report that my mother in law is doing much better than the doctors expected. She is now in a wonderful neurological rehabilitation facility and continues to improve. Her brain is having to be completely retrained and she is showing progress. God has done a miracle in her by keeping her with us. We continue to pray for more miracles in her recovery. We hope that next Thanksgiving we will be able to look back at this and be completely floored at the insane amount of miracles God has worked in her.
'Tis the season to be thankful.
And already we are thankful, indeed!

Soooo..  I was in the Chicago area for a while.
Then I brought my 11 year old sister in law back with me for a week- we escaped a bit and took a rest from the chaos.
I am back and "normal" again.
Although this new normal is weirder than I anticipated.
Not bad, just different.

The leaves aren't the only things that have changed during the past month, that's for sure!
A career change or hiatus, whichever way you choose to look at it.
Changes in my home.
Changes in my relationships.
Changes in family.
Changes in my preferences.
Changes in my heart.
Changes in my attitudes.
Changes, changes everywhere!

That may seem a bit ambiguous but that's the shortest way to list the changes ;)

Change isn't always a bad thing. But then again, it's not always an easy thing either.
I guess I am being jolted into reality in more than one area at a time.
For a girl who likes to compartmentalize, that's kind of hard!

With a dramatic change in my work situation and the amount of time I have to blog and post various things, my blogging will decrease a bit. But I look forward to reflecting the good changes of life in my blog.

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction” correct?

So here's to a new season outside and inside of my life.
I look forward to seeing what this side of reality looks like.
I am a bit nervous about the adventure but doing my best to stay positive along the way.

'Seeing you again soon!


Thursday, October 14, 2010


Sorry for my lack of blogging.
I don't know if anyone has noticed or not :)

I've had some changes going on in my life personally and professionally.
Also, we have had a crazy past 2 weeks. My mother in law suffered a heart attack and then two days later had several strokes. She is only 45.  She was not expected to live. But 7 days later she is starting to show signs of improvement.  I have been watching my 11 year old sister in law and taking care of house stuff up here.
Today is a crucial day for my mother in law, Lisa.  They are taking her off of the ventilator to see if she can breath on her own and sustain her own life.

God is doing amazing things already. Her progress is a miracle.
We are hoping for more progress today.

Be praying for her.So far so good our God is awesome.

I hope to be back soon!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weekend Update sans Amy Poehler

Sidenote: did you watch SNL!?!? Holy cow!  It was hilarious..Amy Poehler is the best :)
watch here
My favorite was Brox Beat minus the Katy Perry part..
check it

ANYWHO...I am fortunate enough to have a large handful of very good friends. Some I  have had since grade school, some since college, others are military friends and other newer additions i.e.:  my  Bible study group girls are amazing. UH-mazing. That's right. They got the misspelled word separation emphasis, that's how great they are.
Each are special and add amazing things to my life.
Perspective, encouragement, laughter, realness..
I love it all.

And while I am one that generally thinks that quality is to be valued over quantity I am blessed to have both at present
So let's get specific. Here are a couple of dear-hearts I've recently weekended with.

Last weekend I went with my friend Rebecca to downtown St. Louis to finish celebrating my birthday.
I'm glad she gets that I  like to keep the celebration going throughout the month.
We ate at the Fountain on Locust. Which is the swankiest old soda fountain that also has pretty gourmet stuff. yummmm

Then we went to a vintage trunk show at Eve's Apple. Which I only tried on a pair of vintage Dior sunglasses that took up most of my face. But it was fun to go and look!

Walking downtown and eating fun things, going for coffee (or in R's case, water) is always fun!

my friend Tricia came to visit this past weekend from north of Chicago
This is no small feat since she has two sets of twins under the age of 4.

But she was able to get away and we had. a. blast!!
walking in the sunshine
playing mad libs 'til our guts ached from laughing
eating some more
and talking, talking, talking
It was wonderful.
Few people get me like Trish does.

Aren't we a pair?

She shares my love for organization for shiz.

It great to be understood and share life with lovies like these.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lists and thoughts to live by

I am forgoing the blanks for Fill in the Blank Friday today.

I'm going for something a bit meatier at the moment.
Look for the blanks again next week!

I want to be a counselor. I don't know when exactly I will get the official title or when the necessary coursework will ever be done (or started for that matter) but it's something that I read a lot about and try to glean as much as I can from professional counselors to use in my everyday relationships,random encounters and on myself too!  Hopefully one day soon I may get to rub elbows with these people.

I found a couple of things that were very helpful to me and wanted to pass them along, but if I post them all today, it will be completely random and disjointed, long post soooooo  I am going to start something. Who knows how long I will do it.  It's my blog, I call the shots so we will see :)

I am going to start Thriving post each week.
Wouldn't it be appropriate if it was on Thursday?
THriving THursday- get it!?
We will see. Maybe I'll be feisty and do it on Monday.
This week, it's Friday.
I like to keep you on your toes.

So instead of 7 blanks, today it's 10 thoughts stolen (as probably all of these Thriving posts will be) from another author.

I hope you are inspired, reminded and encouraged while reading these things.

10 Thoughts On Whole Living
by Terri Trespicio 
published in Whole Living Magazine October 2010

1. If you can successfully change one bad habit, YOU'RE LIKELY TO CHANGE ANOTHER

2. Don't assume you know what someone need you to do. ASK.


4. Sometimes all it takes to get through a tough time is a single, powerful word.

5. When you shine a light on a negative thought, IT LOSES ITS POWER.

6.While you can't shut out illness entirely, you can make your body a place where health thrives.

7. Do something that makes you sweat.

8. Embrace frayed edges worn pages and laugh lines. TRUE BEAUTY LIES IN IMPERFECTION.

9. Remind a loved one that she's NOT ALONE.

10. learning to LOVE requires as much openness as it does strength.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Turkey in my belly and other fall things

Today is the 

Ever since I learned the proper names for all the seasons in 7th grade, I must call them accordingly.
Mrs. Tidball taught me well.

As you can see, I am celebrating by my little themed background..
(side-note: I change the background with my mood. I am not a locked-in kind of girl when it comes to lay outs. So enjoy the rainbow that is my background)

Today I wore a sweater even though it's 5,000 degrees out.
And I am keeping my office on the chilly side. I plan to make hot tea and burn my autumn candle at my desk.

This season I look forward to (just to name a few..)

brisk mornings and pleasant afternoons
fall colors in nature
pumpkin picking
sweater wearing
sock wearing
BOOT wearing
scarf wearing
chai, chai liquid pumpkin pie
pie baking
pie eating
Thanksgiving and lots of turkey in my belly
Fall fests
family gatherings
my house smelling like cinnamon and punkins
rainy Saturdays where I wear sweatpants, read books, watch movies, bake pies, and drink copious amounts of tea or hot cider
walks where I don't sweat
scenic bike rides with this guy

No looking back at summer, even though it was filled with wonderful fresh veggies, sunny days and vacation time. I am hoping for the day when I check the weather in the morning and find that the high won't be exceeding 70. 

Happy Autumn Everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Off of my fridge and onto my heart..

I have been thinking about Haiti more than usual this week..

John and I sponsor a boy  who attends the school at the Mission of Hope near Titanyen. He is always on our refrigerator and we have it set up to where his donation is taken out of our bank account at the same time every month.  So really, we aren't too incredibly active in our 'support'. 

Last night I was fidgeting with something on the fridge and our little guy's picture fell off.
And I was reminded that just as I lifted and put his sweet smiley picture back on my refrigerator I need to be lifting him up to Jesus on  a daily basis. That not only is my financial support needed but so are my prayers.
He wants to be a mechanic.
He wants to help his family.
He has dreams of becoming successful and beating the statistics.
He wants to be in the 2% of Haitians that graduate high school..

He has a birthday coming up soon. I am excited to send him something meaningful but I don't have any ideas. Do you?

Haiti is precious to my heart but since so much time has passed since my mission trip I find that my commitment to prayer and awareness is kind of tapering off.

I don't think it was by accident that little KC fell right off of the fridge and back into my heart last night.

{my little sister, Christianna, is holding one of the sweet, sweet children from Titanyan}

About Haiti:

*There are still 400,000 children without parents in Haiti. These children are left alone to fend for themselves on the streets.

*There are still over 17,000 children in our area that will never go to school. They have healthy minds but no money for school.

*There are still thousands that don't know the love, peace, forgiveness, and hope found in Jesus.

*1 out of 5 children will die before the age of five.
if that doesn't grab your heart, what will!?

Check out the Mission of Hope and see what they are doing! 

Since January 12, 2010 they have:

*Delivered over 6 million meals

*Treated over 4,000 patients 

*Provided rescue and medical teams

* handed out over 2,000 tents

Maybe you would want to sponsor a student there? Maybe join one of their teams? Or just donate what you can to their efforts..

If so go HERE!

I am thankful that God sends me gentle reminders like papers falling of my refrigerator.. my heart is reminded and my mission renewed.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday: Random Brunette Edition

Lauren's blanks are "random" today. Check her out, and play along!

1. When I get a day to myself I like to  savor morning coffee or tea, read something inspiring, mostly the Bible and then create something or be outside looking at creation and on good days, buy someone else's marvelous creations :)

2.  High school was....  not realistic at all.  I went to a private high school in which I learned how to do all the non-private things. I made some incredible friends and learned to love science thanks to my HS biology teacher and excelled in band (in our school, band was completely rad) but other than that, I don't think I'd like to go back .

3.  A little dream I have is  to take a spur of the moment Euro trip...Ireland, Italy, Prague..really I wouldn't be picky  .

4.  A big dream I have is  be a mom,  have a house by water (lake ocean, pond whatevs..) and not have to work but choose to work doing something I truly love.  Decorating, counseling, designing.  Wishful thinking perhaps.. .

5.  If I could drive any car my pick would be     a Land Rover LR4. That's the wishful thinking coming out again.

6.  A time that I felt really and truly beautiful was       2004-2005. I got married that year,'04. The wedding day, I felt great-looked beautiful and was pretty darn tan from living in Florida. But getting to wake up to "Mr.J.L. Culpepper, Corporal, USMC" almost every morning of that first year and having him staring at me or singing me awake with some love song (while I was completely morning breathy and bed-heady)really boosted my "feeling pretty" meter! He makes me glow.

7.  Tomorrow I will...  be waking up super early to go to a neighborhood-wide rummage sale 45 minutes away cleaning my house, hanging with my huz,  then going on a date with my friend Rebecca to a  vintage trunk show in St. Louis. Sounds fun! 

Bonus: I am now a full brunette again. And I feel quite comfortable. with my dark, dark hair. My hair is now ready, bring on the fall!
Happy Weekend!