Saturday, November 30, 2013

#117 He Counts His Blessings

One of my favorite Christmas songs has always been, "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)".  In case you aren't familiar, here's a little bit of it:

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
I fall asleep counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
I fall asleep counting my blessings"

I have an immeasurable amount of blessings for which I am beyond thankful.  This isn't even the tip of the iceberg, but I find it of utmost importance to sit down and recognize my blessings every so often so that when I have a moment where I find myself wallowing in a pool of my own tears I can put everything into perspective by remembering all that I have been given.

1. Family

Dad: My dad recently started a new job and up until two days before Thanksgiving, he was committed to working Thanksgiving day.  That meant missing my delicious dessert breakfast and coming home to a late Thanksgiving dinner, and then getting up early the next morning to do it all over again.  I'm thankful my dad found out he didn't have to work Thanksgiving and was able to spend the entire day home with his family.

Mom: Every year my mom makes our entire feast and doesn't ask any of her children for a lick of help.  Do I think she's crazy?  Yes.  But I'm so thankful for a mother who provides, doesn't demand, and loves unconditionally.

Gram and the memory of Pop: My grandfather, Pop, would occasionally volunteer to pray at our holiday meals.  It was a deeply emotional prayer thanking God that he was alive one more year and able to spend the holiday with his family.  I'm thankful for his memory and thankful to still have my Gram with us.

Siblings: This Thanksgiving, not only am I thankful for my birth siblings, my siblings by marriage, but also for those that are my siblings not only through birth.  I'm grateful for those I got to spend part of the day with and those who are always with me in spirit.

Hubby: My blog says enough for why I'm thankful for my husband, but this picture says even more:


2. Food

My love for eating food has been ever present.  However, my love for cooking food has not always been.  My mother dragged me to a pampered chef party at my Aunt Terry's house the year before I was to be married.  All the women were going around answering the question, "What do you like to cook?"  When it came to me, I honestly blurted out, "Nothing.  My husband is going to starve."  I'm thankful for this inexplicable love of cooking, baking, and being in the kitchen.

I'm also thankful for the tradition of my family dessert breakfast.  You can read about how it began and what last year's was like here: Thanksgiving breakfast.  I'll be posting over at a few new recipes I did this year.

Like this candied bacon:


And these cinnamon rolls:


And this cranberry butter:


3. Relaxation

It is hard for me to take time to relax.  I have to be severely ill or interested in watching a movie to actually "relax".  Thanksgiving is one of the few times during the year that my couch and I cozy up together with absolutely no regrets.

4. Holidays

Holidays and the traditions within them are a blessing.  I know that I can take the likeness of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof when it comes to traditions and holidays.  I have a controlling love over them.  Unlike Tevye, who followed tradition because it was all he ever knew, I think I have such a firm grasp to mine because some of the best times of my life have been spent within moments of family traditions.

This was a last minute cell phone shot.  I love it.
5. Home

There are many who can't be home during this time of the year.  Sickness, location, careers, and more keep many separated from their loved ones with no consideration of what time of year it is.

This is a tough one to remember to be thankful for.  It is something that we often take for granted.

Of course we will be home for the holidays.

Of course we will hug our family members once again, eat together, laugh together.

I'm thankful, just as Pop always was, for another year to have the privilege of being home with my family.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#116 He is Humble

I love my blog.  I love being able to write about what I want, whenever I want.

I do have a confession though.  Sickeningly sweet displays of affection between significant others disgust me.  When I see PDA, I want to barf.  When couples baby talk to each other in my presence, I want to bonk their heads together and say, "Yo! You're thirty-something-years-old for crying out loud, knock it off!" 

Now, I realize I'm a hypocrite.  I throw sickeningly sweet displays of my love for my husband at you all the time.  In other words, feel free to give me, as Liz Lemon from 30 Rock says, "an exaggerated eye roll".

Sickeningly sweet, or seriously scary?  You decide.
No, you know what, you deserve two.  Go ahead.  Two exaggerated eye rolls for you for putting up with my nonsense.

Blogging, or even let's just say the social media world period, has given people a power that they have abused.  We speak like we know everything, when really half of the content out there is plagiarized imitations which seek desperately to wow peoples' news feeds with yet another post that states something opposite the usual like, "Why I Don't Love My Children" but really in the end has a moral (or not in some cases).*

*Note: I don't have children, so don't get any ideas.

But we really know nothing.  We over glorify our opinions and write them in a way that seems so convincing the reader looks at it and thinks, "Wow, this is written so adamantly, it must be true".  

Me?  I am not a verified source in anything.  I hold no more than a simple bachelor's degree and a few master's credits.

It doesn't stop there.  Social media allows us to boast proudly of accomplishments that others from the outside looking in stare baffled by the hows and whats that it took to reach such incomprehensible feats.  In other words, we make out that we are living perfect pinterested lives when really we should be reaching out to those who can't even spell pinterest.

Wait a minute.  Pinterest isn't even a word.  So, who cares if you can't spell it? 

For the past four days I have been unable to speak much higher than a whisper without sounding like a croaking toad.  

Laryngitis is for the birds.  

So maybe it is the fact that I've had to listen more, or maybe it's just something that getting old does to you, but I'm tired.

I'm tired of people being against people.  I'm tired of people who think they know everything.  I'm tired of people caring more about who liked a picture they posted than if a friend in need has made it through the night okay.  

Bottom line: I'm tired of people caring only for themselves.  

When did we allow ourselves to become so numb to the people around us?  To not realize that every single life matters and should be treated in such a way?

I have a million things swimming in my mind that I want to post about Thanksgiving.

Like these beautiful, sinfully scrumptious scones
I've been planning and preparing and prepping for my favorite day for weeks, but the feeling that has been overwhelming me right now is want for my fellow man.  Want that each person would feel valued.  Want that each person would have exactly what they need in life.  Want that we all could treat every person we run into with love and warmth, regardless of who they are, what they stand for, or what they did to us.

We have so much to be thankful for.  Thanksgiving really isn't the day to do it.  Everyday is.  Instead of making Thursday about giving thanks, why can't we give to others so they can have something to be thankful for?  

I don't mean in the typical way.  This is the time of year when you'll hear it most: food drives, clothing drives, gifts for children.  All of that is wonderful and certainly something worth participating in, but how about the things you can give without spending a dime?  How about the things that you can give when it isn't the giving season?

A smile
Holding the door for someone
A compliment
A conversation 
A hug
A word of encouragement
Letting someone get in front of you in the check out line
Your time

I'm not really a wishy washy person and you certainly won't hear me constantly ragging on issues such as this, but it's one that is on my heart for the moment.  Again, I'm not a verified source on anything.  But, I believe the main focus of our lives is not meant to be ourselves, but others.

Who can you give to so they have a reason to give thanks this holiday season?

Phone Pictures 062

Thursday, November 21, 2013

#115 He Knows Everything About Me

Facebook has a way of eating life away.  I've noticed the most current "trend" is to give someone a number which will tell them how many things they should write about themselves that most people don't know.  I thought about it and realized after perusing most people's lists that most things on there most people would probably learn after only spending a short amount of time with that individual.*

*And I also just realized I used the word 'most' in that sentence a lot.  I'm sorry.

I decided I would come up with a short list of things that you would learn about me if given a short amount of time alone with me.  I'm sure they will fascinate you to no end.

1. I'd do anything for my family.

This is a smack your forehead 'duh' statement.  But let's investigate a few examples of how I've lived this out recently.

Exhibit 1: Helping my grandmother apply fake eyelashes twenty minutes before we need to leave for my brother's wedding, a concept which certainly sounded much easier than it really was.


Exhibit 2: Crouching down on my hands and knees in a bridesmaid gown in a three foot corner of a room for what felt like eternity trying to figure out what went wrong with my sister-in-law's train as my husband held it high in the air and the rest of the bridal party sat around snacking on hors d'oeuvres.*

*Wow.  What a sentence that was.  Or, perhaps I should say: That was a quite a sentence!**

**Sorry, grammar and me don't get a long.  Wait, is it grammar and me, or I?  Or is it, me and grammar?  Now I'm confused.  

Not one of my better moments in life.  I may or may not have gotten a little snippy with one of the bridesmaids.


Good thing all you can see is my back.

2. I can't stand the sight of blood.

It only takes a 9-year-old shoving their bloody hand in my face at recess for everyone around to realize the truth of this point.

3. I'm a bit of a hypochondriac.

It is for this reason I do not go on webmd.  Ever.

4. Christmas is my favorite time of year, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.


As can be seen by the fact that my Thanksgiving decorations were up before Halloween and I am currently gazing at my beautiful Christmas tree that my grandmother gave me.

5. I have never been to Disney World.

When I was younger Disney World was this fantastical land of mystery that all the other kids my age went to, but I never could.  You might recall my recollection of this pastime from this post.

At this point in my life, thankfully, the desire has completely faded away

6. I will never eat food that is past the expiration date.


See number 3.  Trust me, they go together.

7. I have never broken a bone.

I have, however, awkwardly stepped down off of a brick step upon leaving a restaurant and 'strained' my ankle.  (Yes, this was the medical term for what went on down there).  The following day I couldn't stand up without yelping in pain.  I got dressed for work, literally used my arms to scoot my bottom halfway down my staircase before I realized I wouldn't make it into work and had to call my boss and embarrassingly explain that I had severely hurt my ankle.*

*Note: I've heard of this happening to girls who have been, well, a little intoxicated.  Sadly, I can't even use that as my excuse.  This was unfortunately a completely sober me who apparently just didn't know how to walk that night.

8. I have perfect vision.

I take after my father in this department.  He is my only immediate family member who I share this trait with.  However, now I stand alone because he uses reading glasses.  Not because he has to or anything (you know, like, because of his age) he just thinks they look cool.*

*Note: Yes, I'm kidding.  He needs them just like he needs hearing aids and continues to torture my mother to no end by not getting them.

9. I cut my food with my left hand.

Every time I do this in front of my grandmother she comments on it, then double checks with me that I actually do write right handed.

In other words, we have the same conversation about ten times a year.

10. I get bored with lists like this easily.

As in, I almost made up the last three points on this list just to reach an even ten.  It took all day, but I finally came up with something.

Therefore, I am done.  Sorry for having eaten away as much life from you as Facebook.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#114 He Has Made Me Dependant

This past week has been the worst week of my life.

Now before you start thinking that I'm just a typical woman complaining about life, please make note: I'm not that kind of woman.  I don't normally complain about bad days.  I try to make the best of each day.  I don't take sick days.  I never milk a cold, a headache, my period, etc.  I am a woman, I have all the issues that come with being a woman, but I do my best to not allow that to have an impact on my day.

This week I've learned that without my Hubby, I am nothing.

Many women hate such a statement.  I suppose it does have a way of making one seem less empowered and more dependent.

If needing my husband in my life makes me that, then so be it.

On Monday, Hubby left me for a week and a half long business trip.  I expected to begin missing him somewhere along the third or fourth day, yet by the end of day one I was already feeling as if my reason for waking up each morning was completely gone.

I wasn't even excited about food.

That is a serious problem.

I quickly (quickly as in within minutes) had a new found perspective for the military wives out there.  My husband was barely gone a day, and I was feeling completely helpless without him.  I can't imagine how they do it for months on end.

The first day, my brother, Jonathan, came over and hung out with me to keep me from missing Hubby too much.

The second night, I planned to get a few things done around the house, then batten down the hatches for my first night alone.  I cooked myself a miserably lonely, pathetically lacking gourmet quality, dinner of frozen meatballs and macaroni.  Somewhere around 8:15 pm my carbon monoxide alarm began going off.


I was instantly annoyed and found it rather odd because only a week ago I had changed the batteries because it had started to go off.*

*Note: I had also turned the heat off because something instinctual inside of me said that it going off wasn't the batteries but was connected to the heat being on.

Since Hubby was away, that left me completely alone to make the decision of what to do about the screaming piece of plastic on my wall.  I did what any sensible grown woman would do.

I called my daddy.

After explaining about the batteries already being changed, he instantly hypothesized that my chimney was backed up.

Great.  Just great.

He asked if my heat was on, and when I said yes, he told me to turn it off.

I happen to have a serious paranoia problem.  Even though my father said I would "more than likely" be fine now that the heat wasn't pumping dangerous gas into my home, I packed up my laptop and headed to Starbucks.  As I sipped on my Caramel Macchiato and graded some school work, I pondered the thought of sleeping at my parents' house if only for my piece of mind.  Then I considered the fact that I left the batteries in the alarm and it was probably still going off.  I secretly hoped that my neighbors didn't care enough about Hubby and me to knock down my front door to try and save us.

My suspicions were confirmed when I returned an hour later and my door was still in tact.  I wasn't sure if I should be offended or grateful that I didn't have to deal with a broken door and an awkward situation.

After an unsettling hour pretending to myself that I would be fine staying in my now heat-less home, I decided at 10:20 pm to go sleep at my parents' house.

Thus started my horrible week.

The fourth night Hubby was gone, I finally came back to my house to venture sleeping in my own bed.  But first, I went to dinner with my dear friend, Amy, at Longhorne Steakhouse.  Either it had been a long while since either of us had been there or we were both extremely famished, because everything we put in our mouths we instantly wrote love sonnets to.

But our dessert, oh our dessert....


This was worthy of not a sonnet, but an epic poem.

Pumpkin Spice Lava Cake.  I don't know what more to say than: warm icing, cream cheese goodness, happy tummy.

At this point we were ready to pass out.

The fifth day I finally had more than one hour in my home in which I could be a little productive.  I did something that I never, ever do.

I dusted.

I would be ashamed admitting that I never, ever dust my home, but I just can't be.  There are too many other important things in life for me to be doing than to spend any large amount of time dusting my home.

But with Hubby gone, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Amid dusting, I decided to give our bedroom a deep clean.


I think Hubby has an Under Armor addiction.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Kristina, invited me to dinner that night.  Being around other people made the time move a little faster, but still not fast enough.

During our time apart, Hubby and I did something that we hadn't done since high school....

...we talked on the phone for more than five minutes.

In fact, we stayed on the phone for a little over two hours most nights.  It reminded me of how thankful I am that I don't ordinarily have to talk on the phone for so long to Hubby anymore.

It was about this time that I started complaining that he wasn't sending me any pictures of the places he had been going.  After all, I take pictures just about every where we go together, and here he was alone and not sharing his journey with me.*

The first picture I received was of this crazy building:


I'm not exactly sure how I would feel to be in one of the offices above the empty space.  I hope they get a special bonus at the end of the year.

*Note: Hubby made me clarify this business with the pictures he sent me.  He wants the world to know that he didn't just start sending me random pictures on his own.  Apparently, that's a strange thing for a person to do.

Oh boy, am I in trouble.


He didn't get too much free time to himself because it was really a work, work, and more work trip.  Saturday and Sunday, after he spent a little bit of time at the office, he was able to take a few hours outside of the work zone.


I know he truly loves me, because he took pictures of his food for me.  This sign alone makes me know I would love this restaurant.


Oh my stars.  Does life get any better than this?  Kale and butternut squash salad with grilled ham and cheese.  Hubby was on the phone with me as he was eating this meal.  Afterwards he kept telling me how full he was and I just couldn't believe it.  That must have been one crazy sandwich!


Saturday morning there was a film crew outside of Hubby's office building.  He said they offered him the leading role for the scene they were shooting, but he turned them down.

Such a modest man I married.


Pink's is a top ranked, high rated, widely reviewed hot dog joint in Hollywood.  With specialty hot dogs like the "Martha Stewart", the "Lord of the Rings" and the "Three Dog Night" I can only imagine how wonderful his was.   


Hubby shopped in Hollywood a little and then sent me this picture.  It reminded me a lot of our trip to Vegas, only minus the casinos.  

Tonight Hubby will be home.  I'm just a tad beside myself with excitement to have him back.  While I never ever want him to go away for this long again, I have to appreciate this week spent without him.  The old saying ,"You don't know what you have until it's gone" certainly applies.  Here I started the week thinking I was this tough chickie who could certainly handle nine days without her man.  Now I am awakened to realize how essential he is to every single moment that takes place in my life and how much he truly completes me.  

Sappy?  Yes. 

Should it be any other way?  No. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

#113 He Dislikes Daylight Savings Time

We all moan and groan in the spring when we lose an hour and have to spring forward.  This cruelty and unfairness is completely gone from mind when in the fall we gain an extra hour.  Hubby, the ever rebellious individual that he is, not only dislikes daylights savings time during "Spring Forward", he also hates it during "Fall Back".

This I can't imagine.  How could anyone ever dislike having an extra hour added to their day?!

Yet Hubby still declares to me twice a year that it is preposterous that America has adopted such an idea as to adjust our clocks to fit in accordance with the seasons.*  In fact, early in our marriage I distinctly remember his standpoint and my urge to challenge him leading into a wham bang drag out argument.  

*Note: There are more reasons and Hubby would probably have my neck for simplifying it to such a basic point.  Unfortunately, this is the way my mind summed up his issue.

One hour, even as an adult, can be like a million years.  The freedom and possibilities that lie within one hours are endless.  Somehow the knowledge of that one extra hour made this weekend more glorious and noteworthy for me than ordinary 48 hour weekends.*

*Second Note: My weekend really begins around 5:00 on Friday.  In my mind, the weekend is truly 55 hours long, but for argument's sake, I wrote 48.  Whew, glad we cleared that up.

I zoomed from work to home to Hubby's work on Friday night to pick him up.  From there we headed back to that famous highway that I recently wrote about to go to a wedding of one of Hubby's coworkers.  In my mind, this was the start of the loss of my extra hour.  The wedding started at 6:30 pm and the reception would go until midnight.  This left the certainty that we would not arrive home until at least 1:30 am.

We pulled up to High Lawn Pavilion in West Orange, NJ and everything changed when I saw this:

NYC view

Instantly I regretted not being in the habit of carrying my DSLR on my person at all times.  Yet, it would have been quite impossible to squeeze it into the little clutch I had brought along that night.  I was left with a smart phone picture of the breathtaking view of one of my favorite places.  

If it hadn't been so cold out, I would have stood and enjoyed the view deep into the night.  But it was cold and Hubby had friends waiting inside, so we walked away--translated: Hubby dragged me away.

From the start of the wedding, to the cocktail hour, to dinner, and even, gasp, dancing* I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

*Dancing ordinarily isn't my thing.  Ordinarily as in never.


The bride was gorgeous, and the love between her family and her new family was strongly represented.

I had such a good time, that I actually lost track of time and didn't mind the fact that I was still up at 11:30 pm and over 50 miles from home.

I'm Blue

Does this picture make anyone else want to start singing Eiffel 65's "I'm Blue".  Da boo dee da boo die?

With this late night start to my weekend, one would imagine that I would spend my extra hour on Saturday recuperating.  Unfortunately, Saturday mornings do not lend extra sleep time for me since I teach piano lessons bright and early.

Somehow, I managed to find enough sleep, teach my lessons, and still be in a decent mood by the afternoon.

Because of a series of boring reasons and events, Hubby's car was at work and we needed to get it before the weekend ended.  After giving me a variety of options for how and when we could get the car, I told Hubby the best choice was to go shopping fifteen minutes north of his work at the Jersey Gardens Mall and then get his car on the way home.

Shopping is always the best option to make a long trip worthwhile.  


Even at this point, I only thought I was spending my extra hour shopping at the mall.  But before I knew it, it was 8:00 pm (really 7:00 pm) and I was back at home.  We had a quick bite to eat, then decided to go back out shopping because apparently we hadn't already had enough.  

Operation Christmas Child

Our next shopping trip wasn't for ourselves.  At least, it didn't start that way.  Somehow a few things for me found their way into our basket.  

Our church is participating in Samaritan's Purse: Operation Christmas Child.  Hubby and I decided to put together two boxes, one for a boy and one for a girl.  It was fun picking out little gifts to bless someone else this Christmas.

Saturday night I found myself in bed at my normal Saturday night time (irregardless of Daylight Savings Time) and Sunday morning, when Daylight Savings actually occurs, I woke up at my normal time.  When I turned over I was met face to face with a tray filled with breakfast delights that Hubby had prepared for me.

Looks like the extra hour gave him something extra to do as well.

Of course, I was half way through my eggs before I thought to take a picture of Hubby's thoughtful surprise.

Sunday afternoon, I was still left with time on my hands.  Hubby asked me to sew a button on a jacket he planned to take on a business trip this week.

What started with just this:


turned into this:

Sewing room

and then this:


The moral of this nonsensically long post is that one hour extra provided by Daylight Savings Time isn't just an hour.  It is a world of possibilities for things that can be done and accomplished if faced with the right attitude.

I wonder if I'll feel the same around March, 2014.