Friday, July 30, 2010

Long ago, in a land far away

There's no way for me to tell this story briefly, so settle in, grab a cup of something, and get comfortable.

I decided to follow Christ as a child.  I was in church every time the doors were open, my parents were Sunday School teachers, and my life was centered around that building.  Somewhere around 8 years old, I walked down an aisle and asked Christ to come into my heart.  As I reached my teenage years, I questioned that moment over and over.  Had I known what I was talking about at 8 years old?  Did I do it the right way?  Did I do it because my friend did it?  Do I need to try again?  I would talk it over with adults who I respected and I remember one specific night in junior high that I sat down and said, okay, this is it.  If I never knew before, I know now, and I choose this now.  It seems so funny looking legalistic for such a young girl.  I was worried because people talked about a time and a date, and I felt like for me it was more of a gradual understanding.  But I was a rules girl, and man I wanted to know a date that I could spit out if someone asked.

The honesty of the commitment I had made was tested pretty early on.  My family had some rough times as I finished junior high and entered high school, and suddenly I found that it was just me at church every time the doors opened.  It had always been me, mom, dad, and my sister and brother.  It was a family event, a family belief, and it was understood that we were all going.  But out of nowhere, I had a choice.  And I ended up being the only one who chose church.  There is no doubt in my mind that was a turning point in my life.  There were several rough years, and God placed people in my life - my friends at church, their families, and Godly men and women who knew and loved me - to keep me afloat.  I look back and I see the way He orchestrated my life, providing for me in so many ways.  If I had not made that commitment to follow Christ, I really don't know who I would have become.  I needed a refuge, and I don't know where else I would have found it.  I have to think that all of my early questioning was just laying the groundwork for the tough times ahead.

Even as I got older, there were times that I thought, I've never done anything that really needs "saving".  I was a good kid, I came to faith early, and I made the right choices.  In hindsight, it kind of seems like I was daring God with that train of thought, and oh did I get what I asked for.  The worst thing I had done as a teenager was talking trash about a girl...whom I asked forgiveness from...and discovered she had no idea what I had said.  And then we became friends for life.  (Hi Amelia!)  So you can see how maybe I was missing out on a depth of understanding when it came to redemption and God's grace.

I struggled with my faith as I became an adult.  Wrestled with what it all means.  Made decisions I wasn't proud of.  I walked away and said, I know what is right, but I choose this instead. (If I could only tell you how well that went)  But I have always found a loving, forgiving God at the end of that rope.  I have learned lessons that I wish I could have learned another way.  I have seen the consequences of choices that I made that didn't line up with the life I have chosen in Christ.  But they have made me who I am.  They have given me a sense of compassion that it can be easy to miss in life.  I'm thankful that I made mistakes.  I'm thankful that I had to choose early on which path I wanted to follow, and that I learned early on that even that choice has consequences.  I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to learn that choosing to live for Christ does not make me better than anyone else.  The Christian life is not about perfection.  It's about choosing every day, sometimes every minute, to honor the God who created the universe in every way you know how.  It's about realizing that apart from Him, you don't even know how to do that.  It's about knowing where your forgiveness comes from, because my don't we all need it.  It's about loving God, and living with the grace He has afforded to you.  Loving other people and letting them know that grace is there for them too.

I feel like a "testimony" is a work in progress.  It's not just an account of history, it's a story that grows with you each day you live.  I never want to stop learning more about Christ.  I want to continue to be surprised by something new, even after 20+ years of believing.  Sometimes I fail to look, but sometimes I get it right, and I see things that I never imagined.  Faith has never been simple for me, but there's a God that understands that, and lets me hash it out.  I am forever grateful.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jesus in my heart...

My testimony begins at the age of 5 when my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs Branning helped me to ask "Jesus to come in my heart", and then I was baptized a few weeks after being saved. What is neat about my testimony is that when I was 2, my parents(who didn't grow up in Christian homes) decided to move to Anchorage, Alaska so my dad could be near his father the 6 years that we lived in Alaska each of my family members was saved. So, we went to Alaska to meet Jesus!
My mom said that when I was saved, I couldn't wait to tell every person I knew about Jesus and what He did for me by dying on the cross to save me from my sins. I grew up in a newly Christian home, and went to a private christian school K-12- so I was surrounded by biblical principals. However, when I was 14 I went to a camp in Tennessee called Christmas Challenge and it was there that I really questioned my salvation- I had struggled off and on through the years about is I had really accepted Christ in my life at 5...which I felt like I had, but felt uneasy that I wasn't 100% sure. One night while I was at the camp, I just knelt down and asked God to save me from my sins and make me 100% sure about my salvation. After doing that, I told one of the counselors, Mrs. Hill about my decision- so that settled any lingering doubts. Later on when I was in college, I did get baptized again to signify the decision I had made at 14.
Overall, my growth as a Christian has been pretty forward moving- with a few detours...that the Lord has taken those detours and used them for good...thank you Lord for that! I thank the Lord for pouring HIS grace on me- what an amazing gift! To know Christ and grow in a relationship with Him is the sweetest thing...if you don't know Him- you will never be the same!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Boring Testimony

Let me just start out by saying that I totally understand what people mean when they refer to their testimony as "boring," however, I completely disagree! There is absolutely nothing boring about the fact that Jesus Christ died for me and the fact that I get to experience complete freedom in Him.

My story, quite like my other gals pals, started with my Bible-believin', church-goin' family. My parents were very involved in the church, and it was very clear to me from an early age that they loved the Lord and that their relationship with Jesus was of high importance. I accepted Christ's gift of salvation at an early age and was baptized shortly thereafter. While attending a camp during junior high, the camp speaker was going on and on one night about how to know if you're really saved. He had a serious list, and a couple of things included knowing the exact date and place where this took place. Well, I have very little memory from anything before 6th grade, so there's no way I could tell you that information. But, I felt so convinced by this speaker that I had to know those things that I accepted Christ again. Did I need to do this? Nah, but I understand what the speaker was trying to stress in that you do need to know for sure that you have made this decision. It's not as simple as saying, "Yeah, I'm a Christian." when you're asked. I had made that decision, and then I (whether necessary or not) definitely reaffirmed it. I had a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Lord has given me an incredible faith. Faith that is really hard to shake, and I am so thankful for that. I am definitely nowhere near perfect, but thankfully, the Lord has never allowed me to veer too far from His path. He has, however, taught me many lessons along my journey. Even though some of those were quite tough to learn, as the others have said, that's what makes me the woman I am today. I love that He is shaping me, molding me to be more like Him (hopefully He'll work on my thighs, because surely His aren't like this!) There is so much He is even teaching me now, and I love that I will always have new things to learn in my walk with Him. I have a very long way to go, but then God's redeeming love wouldn't be so great if we could be a "know-it-all" at the snap of a finger. Do you have a relationship with Him? If you do, is it growing? We all get "stuck" every now and then. If you need a hand, reach out, and any one of us would be glad to help you! The gift that we have been blessed with is too amazing and wonderful not to share it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Amazing Grace

My testimony, much like Beth's, starts long before I was born. I have the great fortune of coming from many generations of God-fearing, churchgoing folks. I'm not sure I was attending church with my parents when I was 2 days old, but I will say that I was born on December 13 and played the role of Baby Jesus in the nativity play at our church that year. Not too shabby :) My dad was the music minister at our church, so I grew up in Sunday school and choir and Vacation Bible School and GAs (Girls in Action) and the whole works.

On my first day of school, in 1984, my mom gave me a red Zondervan NIV Bible. My first big-girl Bible. While the pages have long since separated from the binding, I still have that cover, because written on the inside, in my 6-year-old hand, is the following:

APRiL 7, 1985
EasTeR Sunday
I ask'ed JeSuS into my heaRT

Like I said, I was 6, so my memory isn't crystal clear, but I'm pretty sure I was sitting on a bean bag in one of the back bedrooms at my Mema's house after church; my mom answered some questions and made sure I understood, then prayed with me. Even now, I remember knowing that something big and wonderful had happened, that I was changed.

Due to my apparent need to document these types of things, I have another Bible (navy blue this time) with the following written inside (in my 11-year-old very round cursive handwriting):

I was baptised on:
5/13/90/ Mother's Day

My brother and I were baptised together. I love the words I always heard said during baptisms - "Buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk in a new way of life." If you dissect that phrase and really think about it, it's deep. It's awesome. Your old life, your past mistakes, your shame, your guilt is GONE. It DIED WITH CHRIST ON THE CROSS and your life is new. Praise God!

I think one of the great things about a testimony is that it keeps changing and growing. Those pivotal moments of salvation and baptism are obviously constants, but the rest is an ever-evolving story. I have had dark times in my life, times when I strayed far, far, FAR away from God. Times that I was too ashamed to tell people I was a Christian because I knew my actions were not an accurate reflection of the Christian life. Even darker times when I stopped worrying about that.

God is merciful. God extends grace. God forgives. Thank you, God. He never let me go; He never turned his back on me. He kept showing up, and waiting, and drawing me home. I am not perfect, and neither is my life. I have a list of faults and foibles a mile (or two) long, but I have learned that a life without God is meaningless. I have learned that I can't do life without Him and I don't want to try.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.


Monday, July 26, 2010


Hi my name is Beth Harris and I am a Christian!! This is the most important title I will ever have!! So this week each of us will give our testimony.

I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior in March of 1985 (I was 7 at the time). I had been going to church every time the doors were open since I was first conceived (my mom even delivered me on a Friday and we were at church on Sunday). So I had heard about Jesus hundreds of times. I distinctly remember riding my bike in my neighborhood (it was safe to do this back then and I didn't have to wear a helmet) and having a conversation with God. I told God that I knew who His son was and that I knew that He sent His Son to die on the cross for my sin. I immediately went home and told my mom. And that day I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I went forward and prayed with our pastor on Sunday and was baptized the following Sunday, April 7th which was Easter. So Easter is always an extra special time for me! And of course I was only 7 years old so my sins consisted of things like disobeying my parents and being mean to my sister. My relationship with Christ has always been pretty strong, and of course there were times when I strayed from what was God's best for me. But those were times God was allowing me to mess up so I could learn from my mistakes and strive to be more like Him!

I hear people, that started their relationship with Christ at an early age, say that they don't really have a testimony like someone who was radically saved later in life. And my comment to that is that how much more of a testimony do you have that because you were saved at an early age you were kept from years and years of darkness. I am so so so glad that I can say that I have known Christ for 25 years!!

If you do not know Christ I encourage you to seek Him! Ask anyone of us and we can share Christ with you!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I have to say, it's been tough trying to pick my favorite vacation. I've been to some really fun places with family and friends: a cruise many moons ago with my family, two trips to Las Vegas with friends, New York City, Destin, Florida, several trips to Mexico, and so forth. This post made me think back to all those trips and the fun memories made, and I'm so glad to have pictures that documented each adventure. If I had to pick though, I think my favorite vacation to date would have to be my honeymoon.

Scott and I went to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico on our honeymoon and stayed at the Grand Velas Resort. We enjoyed a breathtaking view of the ocean from our room, meals that were truly delectable, and a staff that catered to your every whim. While all this was fabulous, it was our excursions that definitely made the trip so memorable. One day we went and swam with the dolphins. I have always loved dolphins and how beautiful they move in and out of water, so to be able to swim with them was so exciting. I was pretty intimidated at first, but these dolphins were so friendly and well-trained.

Our other excursion was to go on a whale watching tour. We just so happened to be going to Nuevo Vallarta at a time when Humpback whales migrate to the area, so we jumped on the chance to go on a tour. We loaded up in this little motorized raft boat (no joke - I could have leaned over a bit and put my hand in the water - Mary would not have approved) and set out into the ocean. Our tour guide was awesome and taught us all about the whales we would be seeing. There were several other tours going on in various size boats, but what made our little raft so fabulous was the ability to take off quickly when someone spotted a whale. I was truly blown away at my first whale sighting. Remarkable. Graceful. Beautiful. God's magnificent creation. I fell in love instantly (which is probably why I love watching Whale Wars on Animal Planet). An unforgettable experience!

To top it all off, I was able to experience everything with my new hubby!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Homebody on Holiday

As someone whose favorite place is curled up on my own sofa with my husband, my dogs and a good movie marathon, vacations can be a tricky thing. I have a vacation routine that begins with anxiety, transitions into ecstasy, but winds up with a good dose of near misery.  By day 5 in a different locale, I'm pretty much ready to be back in my own bed, no matter how wonderful the week has been.

I never really figured myself for a beach girl.  I begin to wilt when the thermostat creeps above 89 degrees, so I was surprised when I absolutely fell in love with Mexico.  My first trip was with a few girlfriends approximately 7 years, 4 husbands, 3 children, and 1 baby-to-be ago.  We stayed in Akumal, and as we stepped out of the cab that first day, I was struck by the unbelievable roar of the ocean and the miraculous breeze coming in off the coast.  Add in some white sand, crystal clear water, a stack of books, and the smell of the sea...and I was hooked for life.  Growing up in the burbs sandwiched between two concrete jungles can really make a tropical locale seem just a bit magical.  But even on that trip - which was truly one of the best ever - I'm pretty sure I had a meltdown by day 5.  There's something about missing the familiarity of home, coupled with the realization that home is so much more complicated than a week away. It always gets me. I end up feeling like a toddler who's been kept too long at the in-laws. The grandparents spoil you, but it's just not your crib.

Even still, there's just a vibe about being on vacation that really can't be replicated at home. If you could bottle it, I'd need a 12 step program.  I've had a few less than stellar vacations, but even those beat the pants off of a regular week at home.  It doesn't take much to please me when it comes to time off work.  I love long weekend road trips, and Mark and I take plenty of those, but the beach has been calling my name.  We both agree that we are long overdue for some R&R in a foreign land.  I don't know where the next trip will take us, but I'm sure hoping it promises plenty of this:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vacation is my love language!!!

I LOVE to travel...over the years I have been able to visit some fun places- so it's hard to say what my favorite vacation is???? So, I may have to include a couple of trips...
I guess my most memorable vacation is when I backpacked in Europe for 7 weeks- I was able to visit several countries...France, England, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy. I felt like it was the experience of a lifetime just seeing so many different ways of life and meeting to many different people from around the world during my travel. Each country had such a rich history and culture...even just thinking about my experiences makes me want to go back. I did go on this trip by myself and just made friends along the way at the different hostels I stayed at...some of the highlights were- seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, kissing the Barney Stone, Hangliding in the Swiss Alps, Hiking in the Alps, touring the southern part of Ireland-amazing, touring the Colleseum in Rome, all the amazing museums- it was priceless to see so many works of art that I had seen in books right before my eyes...I could go on and was an amazing vacation with lots of big moments and little moments that warm my heart to think about.

Another favorite vacation has been going to Kauai and Maui with my hubby. We have been twice and both times have been an absolute Kauai we did so many amazing things- hikes, ATV tour, helicopter ride, a luau, Na Pali coastline tours, and just spending time on the was such a lush and majestic place...
Maui was such an amazing place beautiful! The Road to Hana was probably my favorite thing to do there- we just loved the drive there- such beauty! Plus, we were able to pull over on our drive there to take different trails leading to waterfalls. We also we able to see the 7 pools- which was priceless...we ate at Mama's Fish House- which was FABULOUS- it was such a treat to eat there...I could go on and on about our time there- it is definitely a place that is worth going to!

I can't finish this blog without mentioning my trip to New York with my hubby...we LOVED our trip there. There was so much to do- and we had so much fun exploring the city... there are so many things we enjoyed there...Greenwich Village, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, going to Brooklyn and attending a service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, eating at Grimaldi's pizza, shopping, ice skating in Central Park- overall the amazing feel of the city just created such a fun trip for us.

Really, I could go on and on about vacations because I LOVE to travel- to just get away and experience something new...

The pictures above are of NYC, Kauai, NYC, Kauai

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Have to Pee on my Arm??!

I can't say that I will talk about my favorite vacation today, but I will talk about a very memorable one. To talk about my favorite, probably our honeymoon, I would have to go digging through my external hard drive to find photos. Actually, I don't know whether that would be my absolute favorite or not, but it was definitely the last time I had a kid-free, care-free vacation... and it was great. Another favorite would be our trips to Ouray and Lake City, Colorado. Amazing. We're hoping to get back there next summer, and I am really excited about that.

Now, I'm just going to give you a few highlights (or maybe lowlights) and pictures from our recent trip to the coast. And when I say coast, don't go picturing crystal clear water and white beaches. I'm talking Port Aransas, right on the Gulf of Mexico.

1. You do not go through the Padre Island National Seashore to get from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas. We pulled up to a guard office going into the National Seashore, and he told us how much it cost. I said, "We're heading to Port Aransas.", and with a big grin, he said, "No, you're not." We had to go back 15 miles or so to take our proper turn.

2. Just because seafood is near the gulf does not mean it's fresh from the gulf. I love, love, love seafood, but I have to say I was disappointed in our two seafood dinners while we were there. I even researched some places ahead of time. I'm pretty sure I ate some previously frozen shrimp, just like I've bought at the grocery store. Darn.

3. It is not fun to go to the bathroom in the beach porta-potty with three children. Actually, this event is not fun anywhere we go. But this was an extreme situation (For your benefit, I will not go into greater detail!), and it was definitely not fun.

4. Sand gets everywhere.

5. Only one of us had to pee on what we think was a jellyfish sting.

6. The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Chrsti is lots of fun!

7. My children love to press elevator buttons. Every time we left the room, they would establish who would press the button on the outside and inside of the elevator, both for the trip down and the trip back up.

8. There's no place like home. As much fun as I had, it was so nice to get home and to sleep in my own bed. However, it was really nice to have someone wash towels and sheets and make breakfast for us. I could get used to that! Here's some of our fun pictures:

Me and the hubs
Look out Baywatch...
The dolphins at the Aquarium were tons of fun, and the shark was pretty awesome! Why are their eyes so crazy looking?? I think the otters were my favorite, though. They were so fun to watch!
At the Aquarium, there were three scuba divers in one tank trying to catch a wounded fish. Aidan is already fascinated by scuba divers, so he was really excited to watch them. I think he thought they were cooler than the shark, etc. One of them came right up to the window and posed for pictures and gave hi fives. The kids loved it!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to do a lot of traveling in my life thus far. I've been to Europe (4 times), Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Tibet, Nepal, and various places in the good ole U.S. of A. Scuba diving, sight-seeing, many fun things! And there are so many more places I hope to see! I've never really taken a trip I didn't enjoy, and I peruse my photos and journals often, remembering the little stories and funny things that happened.
Out of all the awesome trips, though, my all-time favorite destination so far has been Kauai. I have a hard time writing this (remember my earlier post about how difficult it is for me to decide on favorites?) because, like I said, I've been to some really incredible places, but the trip to Kauai with Adam was different and neat in so many ways. First, we found this outstanding cottage to stay in (click the link and definitely give this place some serious consideration if you're ever planning a trip to Kauai!) - staying there almost made it feel like we lived on the island, not just visiting. Second, we planned only a few scheduled activities (zipline, massages on the beach, the requisite luau), but really left most days completely open and relaxed. Usually our trips are scheduled down to the minute! Third, the weather was awesome and the island is so incredibly beautiful! We did some amazing hikes, snorkeled in the crystal-clear ocean, and relaxed on pristine beaches. We saw rainbows every day! We also bought fresh fruit at a local farmer's market - I still can't eat a mango without being transported right back to the Aloha state.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there were a few low points. I got SO INCREDIBLY CARSICK driving up to the Waimea Canyon lookout and on to the Alakai Swamp. Getting back down was just as bad, if not worse. It took several hours for me to recover. Yuck. Also, Adam got really sick with some kind of viral throat infection a few days into the trip and we had to make an appointment with a doctor. So, Adam might not call this his favorite trip of all time (I'm pretty sure Disney World would walk away with that title), but we both agree it was a blissfully magical trip. We can't wait to go back, maybe with our little guy in tow!!

Monday, July 19, 2010


So this week we are blogging about our favorite vacation. But before I get to that I have to talk about the event that rocked my world this past Friday.

Friday was a normal day. Did our normal routine. When I got Reagan up from her nap she had 102 temp, but had not shown any signs of being sick. So I gave her meds to bring down her fever and then came downstairs to play for a little bit before lunch. My husband John had come home for lunch to mow (his parents were flying in that afternoon). He had finished mowing and came in to grab a quick bite before going back to work. He gave Reagan a couple of pieces of cantaloupe and turned to me to get some more and when I looked at Reagan she was hunched over to one side, her eyes had rolled into the back of her head and she was shaking. I screamed for John. He rushed over and grabbed her out of the seat. We thought she was choking so he did the heimlich, but there was nothing there which meant she was having a seizure. She started turning blue and I called 911 while he breathed into her. Ambulance on the way, she started breathing but was totally limp and moaning. She slowly started being able to move her legs and arms. Ambulance showed and up and took her. I rode in the front and John followed behind in the truck. We got to the ER and they hooked her up to all the machines. By that time she was screaming and crying. She was saying mommy and daddy and Abby (her doll) and giving high fives and kisses. Another one of our pastors came in to make sure we were ok and he offered to pick up John's parents from the airport. Very grateful for that! They put in an IV in Reagan and drew some blood for tests and took some x-rays. We were there almost 5 hrs. The x-ray showed a little bit of bronchitis which caused the fever. Which caused the febrile seizure that she had. The ER dr. said that 1 out of 25 children have a febrile seizure and 1% of those children have more than one (we are hoping and praying she is not in that 1%). She checked out just fine and we got a prescription. The next day you would never have known Reagan had a seizure. She was back to her normal crazy fun self. Today I took her to her pediatrician to do a follow up and Reagan checked out just fine. I am so thankful to the Lord that He protected my precious baby girl! It was the scariest moment of my entire life, but I can clearly see the Lord's protection over our family! And I have to give props to my husband for just doing what needed to be done without any hesitation or freezing up. And as a result of this event, I am definitely going to get CPR and First Aid certified and I encourage all of you to do so!!! Here is my husbands blog post about what happened.

So on a lighter note.... John and I have been on several amazing vacations. But my all time favorite vacation was our trip to NYC we took 2 years ago. John surprised me for my 30th birthday with a 6 night/7 day trip to New York. We stayed in the DoubleTree (a couple of blocks from Time Square). And if you have ever stayed at a DoubleTree you know they have the most amazing chocolate chip cookies ever. I mean ever! We had such a great time eating at incredible restaurants and sightseeing. Here is a brief list of all the things we did.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
took the subway down to Ground Zero
cruise down the Hudson River and up the East River
top of the Empire State Building
toured NBC studios and SNL stage
top of the Rock (whoa that was high up)
American Museum of Natural History

But the highlight of our trip was going to see Mary Poppins on Broadway. We got to sit on the 2nd row and it was just phenomenal!! It was just an absolute fabulous vacation and I can't wait to go back! Here is a pic of us on top the Empire State Building.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's Gettin Hot in Here

So take off all your clothes! It is so stinking hot that we've stripped down to the bare essentials at our house. I love Texas, but man, the summer can be brutal. Makes you want to just stay inside and hibernate.

Hope everyone is having a great summer. I'm off to go stand in front of the freezer door for a bit.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Clinically Proven

Ah stretch marks...gotta love em, right? My body went through the rigors of pregnancy and now my tummy is adorned with lovely stretch marks. At my six week appointment after having my baby I asked the doctor if there was anything I could use to get rid of them and she said no. Well this was the doctor I do not like, so I didn't take what she said very seriously. Fast forward a few months and I finally decided to do something about my stretch marks. I am using Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy. Now on the box it says "clinically proven to reduce the appearance of stretch marks" and "noticeable improvement in 4 weeks." Well we're going to see about that. I debated on whether or not to try it out because it is pricey ($39.99 for a 5.29 oz bottle), but I found a coupon online that I could use and took the plunge. I've been using the product for almost a week now and following the directions:

"Gently massage into all areas of the body where stretch marks occur 2 times a day. For best results, apply a sufficient amount to the affected areas in the morning and evening and massage into your skin in a circular motion until absorbed."

It says that with consistent use, I should begin to see noticeable improvement in about 4 weeks and optimum improvement in 12 weeks. The cream is supposed to reduce discoloration, improve texture, and enhance softness.

This may seem a bit silly to do, but I don't care. I'm willing to try it out and see if a) the cream works and b) if my stretch marks disappear even a little bit. (Every little bit helps, right?)

So here's my before picture (I'm comfortable enough to show you my belly...stretch marks and post-baby flab):

(a picture adds 10 lbs, right?)

And in 4 weeks, I'll post another picture to show if there's been any progress. (here's to hoping...and maybe I'll start doing some crunches during that time too)

In the meantime, I wonder if there's anyone out there willing to share what they did in order to get rid of their stretch marks...would love to hear from you.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Wisdom of the Veggie Patty

I had a slew of new things I wanted to try this week, but they all required more of a financial investment than I could justify, so I give you….

...Burger King.  Not exactly what you had in mind, right?

I’m terrible at bringing my lunch to work.  It bores me.  I’ll have a good streak, and then one day I’ll suddenly decide that if I don’t physically remove myself from the building for at least an hour a day I might self destruct.  The trouble is that there aren’t a whole lot of great options near my office.  I work in an area that I like to call the Industrial Ghetto.  It’s a little piece of no man’s land sandwiched between four intersecting highways, a railroad, and a river.  It is stuffed with warehouses, manufacturing plants, and beaucoups of 18 wheelers that are the bane of my existence.  The neighborhood is all business during the day, but I wouldn’t advise visiting at night.

The location makes it tricky to get in and out of the area if you’re not familiar.  One wrong exit, and you’re stuck in a series of loops that will set you down 10 minutes out of your way and leave you scratching your head wondering how to get back.  I can’t tell you how often people get lost on the way to meetings we’ve scheduled.  All of that to say, getting out for lunch is a hassle.  My lunch of choice would be fast casual – Jason’s Deli, Pei Wei, something like that, but fast food is much more accessible from here, so it becomes the default. 

But here’s a newsflash for you - fast food is kind of gross.  I don’t really like burgers, so chicken is usually the choice, but fast food chicken can go terribly wrong.  And don’t even get me started on most fast food salads, with their droopy wet lettuce and tasteless tomatoes.  Ick.  The exception to this rule is Chick-Fil-A, but everyone knows this, thus the line is easily 20 minutes long in the drive thru, with nary a parking spot to be found. 

Why did I start this post again?  Oh yeah, Burger King.  So I passed a Burger King while on my quest for non-disgusting lunch today, and suddenly remembered that a friend had mentioned that BK had a veggie burger.  I threw caution to the wind and gave it a whirl.  I ordered the veggie burger with apple fries.  The first thing I noticed when I opened the bag was a sort of sickly sweet smell.  It was the burger.  Hmmm.  While the smell was off-putting, I chose to ignore it and took a big bite.  Again, hmmm.  It was a little mushier than I’d like, and it did taste a little sweet, but it wasn’t terrible.  I love black bean burgers, but I’ve never had a straight up veggie burger before, so I don’t really have a good comparison for the quality.  Would I order the burger again?  Maybe.   I think some mustard would have helped, rather than the sweetness of the ketchup and mayo that are the standard, so I’d probably give that a go before writing it off entirely. The apple fries, however, were fantastic.  They were lovely fresh-tasting little slices of apple with a small packet of yummy caramel sauce.  Yes, please.  They far exceeded McDonald’s apple slices.

Did I mention that before eating, I spilled hand sanitizer on my pants and it left a big mark that I’m pretty sure isn’t going to come out?  Or that a random man came up to my car window while I was eating in the middle of a fairly empty parking lot and asked me for a dollar?  And then when I said I didn’t have cash he asked me for change, and then I just felt really bad for not giving it to him, because I did have change, and clearly he needs it more than I do.  But wouldn’t it be a better idea not to approach a woman alone in her car who might be afraid of you?  If I’m rooting around for change in my console, then I can’t be looking at you, and then you could then catch me off guard and try to carjack me.  That’s what’s going through my head.  So wouldn’t it be a safer bet to go with a man, who is statistically less likely to think you might attack him?  It was a weird lunch.  And kind of a weird burger.  I guess we’ve found a theme.

So what have we learned by trying something new today?  Let’s see… At least with fake meat you don’t have any expectations?  Burger King wins the fast food apple war?  Hand sanitizer stains pants?  Panhandlers shouldn’t target women alone in their cars?  That every sentence in a paragraph probably should not end in a question mark???

Who knew you could learn so much just from trying a veggie burger?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Something new...well sort of

Yesterday I tried something sort of new, that is- I haven't been able to do this in while, so it feels new to me. I got to take a REALLY hot bath for the first time in 9 was fabulous! Since getting pregnant in September, hot baths have been on the no-no list. This has been a tough "prego" rule to follow because hot baths have always been my way to unwind and wash the day away. My doctor finally cleared me to presume normal activity- so this was first on my to-do list for today.
I love getting in the bath to where it stings just a little bit from the heat- yes, mam- and sometimes I go crazy and add really is such a decadent treat for me. So, last night I took my HOT bath and ate my almond butter and jelly sandwich while soaking the day away- it was yummy in several ways...

This brings me to another new thing, that is almond butter!!! Hallelujah, hallelujah...I LOVE this stuff- it takes pb&j's to the next level- like more of a grown up sandwich. You have to try it at least once...I can't seem to get enough of the stuff.

One more new thing is I ran for the first time on Monday with my new Garmin Forerunner 110 watch. (Hopefully the picture will show up below)
805130.jpgThis watch has GPS capabilities that tracks your run, measures your pace and gives you your time. During my run on Monday, I couldn't help but smile every time I would glance at my new handy dandy watch to see my really motivated me to push harder and try to improve my run overall. I am going to be training for a 10K in September and a 1/2 marathon in December- so this watch will help reach my goals for each's like my accountability partner in running- LOVE it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The New Girl

Around the time that we decided this would be our topic for this week, I had been invited (along with every other woman in my neighborhood) to attend a Book/Bible Study. So that gave me the extra push to just go. I have met several ladies on my street, but I would not say I have become friends with anyone in my neighborhood to this point. My son is beginning kindergarten in August, and I have really been wanting to get to know some families who have boys around his age. Another reason I wanted to attend was to meet some other Christian women in my community. But there were several reasons not to go, the main one being the fact that I would not know a single person there. I thought it could be awkward.... and it was awkward, but only as long as I allowed myself to feel that way. I could tell right away that a lot of the women there already knew one another. We came in, got a name tag (There were around 20-25 women there, so I was really thankful for the name tags.), then we got a name tag on our back to play that really difficult game where you have to guess who you are by asking yes/no questions. Ah, icebreakers. And I'm even one of those "game people." Once I finally figured out I was Queen Latifah, we sat and went around telling a little information about ourselves. We're reading the book Girl Talk: Getting Past the Chitchat (A Modern Girl's Bible Study) by Jen Hatmaker. It's a really long title. She starts out talking about saggy boobs and swimsuit shopping, so we're off to a good start! I think there are some really neat women there, and I'm hoping to get to know some of them better. So I went the next week, and it was possibly even more awkward at first. Several people were already there, and there were already two groups of 2 or 3 ladies in the middle of conversations. Weird. Do I just stand here? Go sit down?? But nobody else is sitting yet, but nobody is acknowledging that I'm standing here so awkwardly either.... ahhhhhhhh!!! It all worked out fine. I'll probably just get there a little later next time. :) Anyway, I did it. I did something new, and it felt good... and weird. I think it has definitely been a good reminder for me to be more conscious of new people in group settings. I think our study is six weeks long, so I'll let you know how it all goes by the time all is said and done. Oh, and we've been invited to one of the leader's homes for dinner, so I'm making friends already. Bonus - she has a son starting kindergarten with mine!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Something New

So this week we are going to each try something new and blog about it.

Last year John bought a bullet reloading machine. And last week he finally built a table and put it together. So I reloaded my first bullet today. It was really interesting to learn how a bullet is put together! Here is the process: FIrst you load the primers into the reloading machine. Then you take the brass and slide it into the first position and as you pull the lever down it reforms the shape of the old brass and takes out the old primer. Then you push the lever forward and it puts in the new primer. Then you slide the brass into the second position. As you pull the lever down it loads the brass with gun powder and bells the casing. Then you slide it to the third position. You place a bullet on top of the brass and as you pull the lever down it seats the bullet to the proper depth and position. Then you slide it into the fourth position and as your pull the lever down it crimps the brass and removes the bell of the casing. Then you slide it down the shoot and you have a reloaded bullet! And I learned that a .45 caliber automatic colt pistol bullet costs about 44 cents a piece if purchased at the store and if we reload our own bullets it costs about 11 cents. So this is a big savings (maybe i can use the difference to buy myself a new Chi since mine broke last week). And don't worry the bullets we are reloading were only used in target practice! Here is a pic of me reloading the bullets.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I need to print a retraction.  Remember the time I admitted that just maybe I love one dog a teensy bit more than the other?  I have to exercise the law of take-backs.  It seems I misjudged myself.

The pitiful looking little guy to the left got sick a few weeks back.

I had already gone to bed for the night, but when Mark brought the dogs in from their evening walk, I woke up to the sound of fits and fits of sneezes.  I jumped out of bed and went into the other room to see what was going on, and there was little Milo, sneezing violently and uncontrollably, and it looked pretty painful.  I picked him up, chunk that he is, and tried to calm him down.  He eventually went to sleep, but  I was worried when the fits started again the next morning, so I decided to come home at lunch and check on him.  Things weren't looking any better, so I called the vet and made an appointment.   I was maybe a wee bit over-concerned (I just might have called the vet back to beg for an earlier appointment), and I kept having to remind myself that he was in fact a dog, and not my child.  

The kicker came when I took him out to do his business.  He tried to sniff around for a spot, which of course reactivated the crazy sneezing, and my normally rambunctious and slightly insane dog just gave up on trying to potty and curled up on the grass at the end of his leash.  He laid his head on the ground and looked up at me with the saddest eyes you have ever seen.  And then, it heart broke into 182 pieces.  I tried to keep him still and calm the rest of the day, and he snuggled up and gave me sad puppy dog eyes and rested his little chin on my leg.  When we finally got to the vet, they flushed his nose with saline, which didn't immediately work, but eventually solved the problem.  Apparently my little explorer had sniffed something right up his nose and it had gotten stuck.  I hear that happens to two year old humans fairly frequently too.

A day later, he was back to his usual antics, stealing socks, bullying his brother, eating anything that would fit in his mouth faster than you can see what it was, and generally creating mischief and insanity in our home.  But I have to admit, I was happy to have Crazy Milo back.  I'd be just as heartbroken to lose that dog as I would be to lose his calm, gentle counterpart.  I think my jig is up.

(All photos in the post were taken by the lovely Amelia D)