Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sweet, sweet summertime!

One of the things I love most about spring and summer is all the beautiful flowers, fresh fruits and veggies.  I love going to farmers markets and finding all the fresh goodies.  Well, this year I don't need to go any farther than my backyard for the freshest fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  My small garden in my backyard is providing me with more than enough.  So far I have zucchini, tomatoes, hot and bell peppers, strawberries, onion, sweet corn, and cucumbers.  Not to mention all the important herbs like cilantro and dill.  Is there any better scents than those two, to make you think of summer?

 Now that my husband is away for work, I have to do all the picking... and if I miss a day, my zucchini ends up looking like it's on steroids.

But the reward for all my labors... Delicious and nutritious GUAC-A-MOLE!  Everything except the avocados came from my garden.

Don't get me wrong, this gardening thing is hard work.  My muscles were so swole for about a week from all my the flower beds.  But check out my work.  Ain't in purdy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Animal Lover

One of the best qualities I got from my mom is that I'm a total animal lover.  I love all animals, big and small.  I grew up on a farm with a huge feed yard full of cattle.  I had pet cows, horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, snakes, and turtles.  I'm the type of person who will catch a mouse in a live trap, and take it out down the road (away from my house) and let it out.  For almost three years of my life, I was a vegetarian.  I probably would still be if I didn't get severe food poisoning while living in Mexico.

This whole attitude towards Earth's creatures totally changes when we start talking about bugs and spiders.  About two weeks ago, we receive a lot of rain.  Mix that with 98 degree weather, and you are just asking for bugs to take refuge in your house.  That's exactly what we got.  A compilation of spiders, cockroaches, and ants trying to stay dry and cool.  I quickly called the exterminator and got him to come out right away.  Yesterday and today I've finally noticed all the remains of his work.  Dead bugs!!  I LOVE IT!

I think this response might be a little insane, but having cockroaches in my house is just something I'm not prepared to live with!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Frapp kinda day

Wow!  Today was crazy busy.  I worked all day on projects at both my jobs like a mad woman.  I knew when the clock turned 5:00, I needed a sweet treat.  So I decided to use my Starbucks gift card to treat myself.

I should have took a picture before I got this yummy baby, but this is definitely a happy face!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Purpose of a dog

My dad sent me this email last weekend.  He's a veterinarian, and an animal lover, maybe that's where I got my love for all Earth's creatures.  I thought this was a great explanation of how we should view life, and I wanted to share it with everyone.

A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old boy).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker.  The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.  I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.  As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.  Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, ''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?''  The Six-year-old continued,' 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be
pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle
them gently.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, well one of my wedding anniversaries.  Jade and I decided to legally get married my home town courthouse last summer.  We didn't tell anyone except my Dad before we did it.  Needless to say, our family was a little disappointed they didn't get to be a part of it, so we did it again last December.  Here is a photo of us standing in front of the Stafford County Courthouse last summer after the judge announced us husband and wife.

To celebrate our anniversary, we went to The Melting Pot.  It was my first time, and I would definitely go back.  So yummy.  I wish I would have gotten some pictures of us and the restaurant yesterday, but I forgot my camera.  I found these images online. If they don't make you want fondue, I don't know what will.

The Melting Pot may have inspired me to learn how to make some delicious fondue.  I might have to purchase one of these 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No HATE- To all my LGBT friends

Most people who know me well know that I have struggled with my faith for several years.  While I don’t associate with any religion, the question of a whether there is creator will always be unanswered.  A devine, omnipotent, and omniscient God sounds more likely to me to be the creator of such a diverse and extraordinary planet than pure random chance.  But would this God who is all-powerful and all-knowing create anything on accident?  This brings me to the question of sexuality.  Many people who are opposed to gay rights site religion as their basis for these beliefs.  While this is foreign to me because I feel the entire message of any religion worth following is, “treat your neighbor as you wish to be treated,” I do feel like it is a subject that needs to be addressed. 

In the last few weeks there was a lot of media attention around the suicides of homosexual teenagers.  I am heartbroken that young people feel like they had to take their own lives instead of feeling free to live as themselves.  Many people against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transvestites site ancient bible verses as a basis for this belief.  The bible also says some pretty ludicrous (in my opinion) things about women’s rights, charging interest, slavery, and eating shellfish.  Why then do some individuals take a very short sentence out of Leviticus out of context and use it to create and facilitate such hate about a group of people?

The following is an excerpt from Gweneth Paltrow’s blog.  If you would like to leave a comment, please be respectful.

Homosexuality in the Bible
A few months ago, in the heat of the tragic teen suicides that came about from intolerance of homosexuality, I saw a man on television who was apologizing for wishing death on gays from his facebook page. This member of an Arkansas school board was contrite for the violence in his words, but maintained that his values pertaining to homosexuality would remain, as he felt homosexuality was condemned in the bible. This concept, while foreign to me, is interesting, as it used to justify so much judgement and separation in our society. When my daughter came home from school one day saying that a classmate had two mommies, my response was, "Two mommies? How lucky is she?!" What does it actually say in the bible that will cause some people to be upset by my line of thinking?
Happy pride.
From Cynthia Bourgeault:
"How you answer this question depends hugely on what you take the bible to be. IF you believe that the bible is a single, timeless, internally consistent teaching on matters of human morality dictated by God himself, then yes, the Old Testament book of Leviticus is definitely uncomfortable with homosexuality. But it is also uncomfortable with menstruating women, shellfish and pigskin. (And for the record, it has some very harsh words to say about lending money at interest, a prohibition that even Biblical literalists seem to find it perfectly permissible to disregard!)
Like most other critically thinking Christians, I see the bible as a symphony (sometimes a cacophony!) of divinely inspired human voices bearing witness to an astonishing evolutionary development in our human understanding of God (or God’s self-disclosure as we grow mature enough to begin to comprehend it, another way of saying the same thing.) The Old Testament, whose 46 books span well over a millennium in their dates of composition, also straddles what scholars call 'The first axial period,' when spontaneously, across the entire globe, human spiritual consciousness seemed to take a huge evolutionary leap forward. In the same time frame that the Biblical psalms were being composed, the planet was also being graced with the Buddha, Lao-Tse, Zoaroaster, and Plato: a quantum leap in human understanding and ethical vision. It simply defies credibility—my credibility, anyway!— to believe that the early Old Testament teachings on animal sacrifice and 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' are at the same level as Ezekiel’s luminous axial prophecy, 'I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh' or Jesus’ stunning 'Love your enemy; bless those who revile you.'
This is not in any way to demean holiness of the Bible, but only to affirm that God reveals Godself in time, through process and dialogue, not in unchanging monolithic statements. This does not make the bible less sacred; it makes it more sacred, for it grounds God’s divine presence in the lived reality of our human experience.
As a Christian I am bound, when I listen to this diversity of biblical voices, to set my compass by the teachings and the path walked by Jesus himself. Where biblical testimony is internally inconsistent (and even Jesus experienced it this way!), I am bound to honor Jesus as my final court of appeal. And thus, the bottom line must inescapably be that nowhere does Jesus condemn homosexuality, and certainly nowhere does he wish harm upon anyone, even those whom the religious culture is so quick to condemn as sinners. His harsh words are reserved entirely for those whose certainty about their religious rectitude causes them to condemn others, or to block the Spirit’s persistent attempts to open up new channels of forgiveness and hope. Jesus is all about inclusion, forgiveness, and empowerment. In the light of his compassionate presence, people are set free to live their lives in strength and hope, regardless of whether they be considered outcasts by those in the 'religious know.'
Thus, as a Christian, when confronted by a tension between a religious certainty which leads me to violate the law of love and a deep unknowing that still moves in the direction of 'loving my neighbor as myself,' I am bound to choose the latter course. Was it not the Pharisees, those so sure that they had 'the law and Moses on their side,' who were the first to condemn Jesus to the grave? And make no mistake: The word Pharisees does not mean 'the Jews;' that utterly reprehensible piece of scapegoating was a product of the early Christian church. Rather, 'Pharisee' names the spiritual sclerotic in each one of us who would prefer the certainty of an unchanging rulebook to the radical open-endedness of God’s ongoing self-revelation in love.
If I really follow what the bible teaches, it seems to me that I need to be constantly laying my human arrogance (and in Latin, this word comes from 'a-rogo,' or 'I have no questions'), upon the altar of God’s constantly demonstrated delight in new beginnings. 'I will be what I will be,' is the name he asked Moses to know him by in the book of Exodus. With that as one line of bearing on my thinking, and the steadily increasing revelation of God’s mercy and compassion as the other, I am compelled by my Christianity to refrain from any behaviors or judgments which arrogantly demean the dignity of another human being, or cause him or her to lose hope."
Cynthia Bourgeault is an Episcopal priest, writer and retreat leader. She is founding director of the Aspen Wisdom School in Colorado and principal visiting teacher for the Contemplative Society in Victoria, BC, Canada. Her most recent book,'The Meaning of Mary Magdalene,' is now available.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sunday Funday, 10K Runday!

On Sunday we completed a 10K in Gardner, Ks.

It was my mother-in-law’s first race. She was awesome and ran faster than she planned on a very tough course. She ended first in her age group. My sister-in-law ran too. One of her first times running since finding out she was pregnant. Also running in our group was Vaunda’s BF, David. He ran really well. I did better than I thought I would too. I finished with a time of 48:27. I came in second in the women and fourth overall.

After the race, prizes were given away, and Vaunda won a $50 gift card to Target. We were all jealous. The give-away prizes were way better than the prizes we earned from running!

I will post more in the future. I’ve been overwhelmed with work and my internship. I’ve also tried to spend more quality time with my husband since he may be leaving for Mexico for an extended period of time in the near future. My little niece also needs her favorite auntie to come snuggle with those chubby little cheeks too!