Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas and peacocks

Sometimes I look around and think, "life is pretty stinkin' fun." I had a glorious weekend, topped off with my first family Christmas of the season (my Dad's side of the family- always a highlight.) After a beautiful mountain bike ride around Grapevine Lake on Sunday, I got to sit and watch the sunset over the cliffs by the water. Does it get much better than that?

Here's a couple more reasons life is fun from the family Christmas:
1. I came out of the "Blanks family annual white elephant exchange" (which typically results in the most ridiculous junk ever) with a sweet laptop whose only crime was a faulty battery. (Understanding some of my extended family's very comfortable financial situation, I suppose this is unacceptable laptop behavior. Fortunate for me, indeed!)
2. My nieces and nephew are hilarious and constantly giggle. Throw in holiday foods with high sugar content and the prospect of gifts and it's almost heaven for them.
3. There was a peacock watching us open gifts through the second story window. I'm not sure how to explain this one.
4. I spent time reading my grandmother's textbook for her high school homemaker's class from 1935. Girls, let me just tell you we would have all failed that class MISERABLY. No wonder her house was always so amazing and she seemed to be able to do ANYTHING. And if you ever need advice on how to properly store a hat, just let me know.
5. It doesn't matter how old we get, the grandkids will always sit at the "kid's table," which is cool because we can still throw food and escape scolding by the "adults."

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! Looking forward to seeing you girls from up north soon! Wee!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

They say it's the little things...

And one little thing that makes me smile is a Sonic drink. Why? Well, the reasons are many, so here's a little list to start the ball rolling. Additional reasons are welcome and expected.

Why I love Sonic:
1. Because it's America's drive-in and I'm an American.
2. Because I feel like a wish is granted as I push a button and a drink appears at my car window.
3. Because they put a little picture of a tater tot wearing a santa hat on the cup.
4. Because it's an acceptable excuse to leave the office- almost like golf.
5. Because I can order a "Large Diet-Cherry Coke with easy ice and three extra cherries" and not be considered high-maintenence.

The holidays always bring about these deep thoughts and life ponderings for me. Heavy stuff, I know.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am a homeowner!!

Well, people, after what seems like months and months of paperwork and waiting, I am officially the owner of my very own little house and I couldn't be more thrilled. I am so thankful I just feel like I could burst. I moved a couple days ago and am still in shock. I'll post pics soon, but in the meantime, I have a question for you artistic/interior design-savvy types: I would like to paint the boring white kitchen but the counter tops are a dark pewter almost green-ish color. The cabinets are a natural medium-color wood. Suggestions? Anyone have a favorite paint color they have used or seen? I welcome any ideas!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ever been referred to as a "filly?"

Why is it that sometimes the most ridiculous songs get my feet tapping and have me singing along until I realize the stupid lyrics I'm rockin' out to in my car? Ok, so it's difficult to to assign the term "rockin' out" to country music. I admit to liking country music. But only some of it. And only sometimes.

I found myself cranking up the volume on a song yesterday and feeling my mood lighten the way it does when you hear a particularly fun and favorite song on the radio- except I've only heard this song a few times and here's what I was singing:

I gotta go before she runs like a fast little filly
She's a five alarm fire, a hot bowl of chilli
An' she's burnin' a hole in this hillbilly
An' I can't let her get away
I gotta say somethin' kinda funny, just a little bit crazy
That'll make her want to think about bein' my baby...

A HOT BOWL OF CHILI? You've got to be kidding me. Yet... I find myself humming along and loving this song even as I'm typing these dumb phrases. How does that happen?

Now, there is a line that must be drawn on the stupidity. So don't even get me started on how much I can't stand the "Two Pink Lines" song. Anyone know what I'm referring to? It's so awful I laugh out of sheer horror every time I hear it- I simply can NOT believe they even play that song on the radio, much less that it's a HIT.

Any stupid lyrics in your head that you have a hard time admitting? If so, why not confess it and entertain us all on the world wide web.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why I love my job...

Well, there's lots of reasons, really, which I won't go in to at this time. But one reason that I love my job is that you just never know what the day may hold around here. For example, yesterday I spent 3 hours in a very interesting lecture on some pressing theological issues, followed by participating in a photo shoot which was intended to mimic the Beatles Abbey Road album, and then put together a powerpoint slide of pictures of people hoarding Pop Rocks and fart putty. Like I said... you just never know.

Speaking of Pop Rocks, that has got to be one of the weirdest inventions in modern culture. Seriously, I don't think we gave whoever invented those got nearly enough credit. You think he's rich? Still alive? I have a vague memory of Christina getting a Pop Rock in her eye in junior high. Did that really happen? I also remember her getting a blood vessel sucked out of her eye at the dentist by those sucking tubes they stick in the back of your mouth. Sorry if that grosses anyone out. It looks grosser in print than when you just say it. I don't know how this post has ended up on this subject.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Anti-Melanie

So, I made a momumental discovery last night. I have found her. The person who is my exact opposite- the person who I could NOT be more different from in the way we think, talk, communicate, process, and basically exist. She is an amazing woman- the kind of person I love to have around because she loves to do the things I hate to do. She actually finds great JOY in the intricate details and administrative tasks that send me into fits of yawns. This amazing discovery hit me last night as she requested to have a meeting with me about a meeting. And meet we did. And no detail was left untouched. I tend to overlook details because I get bored or distracted.

It's funny how seeing differences in others can shed light on things about yourself. I love comparing communication and personality styles. The Myers-Brigg is one of my favorite tools in counseling because it's one of the most fun tools and people always get a kick out of looking at how differently individuals think and process. Most of you have probably taken some version of this. Do you know your letters? I'd be interested to know.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Seems like a loaded word to me at the moment: REMEMBER. Hundreds of times a day we tell ourselves to "remember something," from remembering to take the sheets out of the dryer or set the Tivo. REMEMBER to smile. REMEMBER to go to the bank. REMEMBER to call your mom. I send these little reminders to remember to myself constantly. (And yet still manage to lose more of those mental sticky notes than I seem to retain.)

I did a lot of remembering this last weekend. I remembered what it felt like to be 18 and going off on my college adventure. I remembered the emotional connection I felt with the stretch of sidewalk between the campus center and Moody Colliseum. I remembered that stupid grin you give "the GATA next to ya" when you sing about why all the girls on campus are guy-less. But mostly, I remembered the role so many people have played in my so-sweetly blessed life.

So, in no certain order, here are a few highlights I "remember" from my wonderful weekend of remembering.

1. Summer tearing up when she came into breakfast.
2. Seeing the Bible Building and tower outline in the skyline as we drove into town.
3. Seeing Titus and Korben together in matching pj's. So cute.
4. Christina still taking up the whole bed- even tho it was a king size. Ha ha.
5. Titus smiling so big at me that his eyes disappear.
6. Summer tearing up at The Lord Bless You and Keep You.
7. Eating at Rosa's with so many old friends!! It was so great to see everyone. And Rosas rocks.
8. Singing around the fountain.
9. Remembering Olive Garden dinners and late-night Sonic runs.
10. Summer tearing up when we said goodbye. (Precious every time, Summer.)

In the middle of all this remembering, I thought about how we struggle sometimes to really remember just what Christ did for us. A strong sense of "remembrance" includes more than just a mental picture- it's encompassing of all your senses to your very soul. And I think that's one reason we all feel such a strong "soul connection" with ACU and the people there: Because Christ moved in all our lives so evidently in those years, and that is one of the sweetest memories a person could have.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another year and countless more blessings...

Thanks for all the birthday highlights, everyone. In looking back over the years, some of my best birthdays were spent with you guys. Surprise parties in the lobby of Sikes, chicken dinners in La Casa, and our frequent visits to Olive Garden. Does anyone ever eat there anymore?

Breaking news in my world: I am embarking on a very exciting new endeavor these last few days- which I attribute in part to my increasing "adult-ness" with another year gone by. I am looking into BUYING A HOUSE. How insane is that? Here's the latest one I've found that I'm putting an offer on today. I am finding that since I'm not in a hurry, I can put down offers on whatever I want and just wait and see if anyone accepts. Kind of like a fun, really expensive game. I selected the pic from the backyard to post because I like the latice and the green children's toy on the left seems very happy to live here. If I do end up getting a house, you better believe you'll all be invited to a crazy-exciting party. For those of you home-owners, any advise from your wealth of knowledge? And those of you, who, like me, are blissful in your renting worlds- does this idea sound as scary and huge to you as it does to me?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Anybody remember what it was like to be in seventh grade? What a time that was. I remember spending a good part of that year giggling and making up songs with Christina (we were quite the composers in those days- brilliant and under-appreciated masterpieces about smelly feet and volleyball games.)

I went to a seventh grade girls' volleyball game last night. I had a funny, "too-bad-that-wasn't-on-film" moment: Arriving after the game had started, I made my way into the stands filled with enthusiatic parents. I recongized one of my kiddos serving- I didn't know she was on the team and watched her serve two rockets in a row (did we serve like that overhand at 13?!) Impressed with her awesome-ness, I proceeded to yell, much too loudly (as any good fan does), "GO, MEGAN!!!!" right before the ref was about to blow the "go-ahead-and-serve" whistle. Her head snapped over to the crowd and her look of complete shock and confusion was priceless. I guess no one ever cheers for this girl. Her mom is sweet, but very quiet. As the whistle blew, she completely WHIFFED the serve. The entire half of the stands in my line of sight then turned and glared at me as if I had just run out there and punched her in the head. One guy's expression as he made eye contact with me said "You idiot. If I could throw my Sonic smoothie at you right now, you'd better believe I would." I got a big kick out of this (guess I didn't totally grow out of the giggling phase), but I did apologize to Megan after the game and offer to go tell her coach it was my fault.

Do you guys remember what you were like at that age?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Saltines and Quarantines

A joke for you: "What did the mayonnaise say to the refrigerator?".........

"Shut the door, I'm dressing!"

Bwah, ha ha. I was very sick the last 24 hours and that joke is one of the few lucid memories I have from reading a magazine during my quarantine to the couch.

Ever notice how some things sound great in theory, but once you experience them, you realize it wasn't all it's cracked up to be?

Take, for example, a sudden, contagious-though-not-life-threatening illness. Ok, so being sick isn't super-fun, but don't you ever think "Wouldn't it be nice if I was then forced to stay home and relax? No work, no cleaning, no errands, no cooking..." Well, in theory that sounds like it might have some perks, but in reality it STINKS. Being FORCED to stay home somehow takes the fun out of being there. And somehow Sprite and crackers don't add anything to the thrill.

Any other examples of things that you may build up in your head as greatness, only to find you were WAY off the mark?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ah, the evening ritual-

(In repsonse to Elisa's most recent post.)
In a great effort to create some sort of routine for my days, I have been wrestling with the "evening ritual question" for a long time. My intentions: go to the gym before work so my evening will be wide open and I can slow-cook a casserole, thoughtfully chopping herbs while listening to "dance around the kitchen" music. My reality: when that alarm goes off in the morning, this seems like an absurd idea. The result: I go straight to the gym after work. My saving grace in this pattern is one essential, brilliant solution: THE SNACK.

THE SNACK, a favorite among the young and old alike, has evolved somewhat into a new staple for my energy, sanity, and in many ways, better nutrition and health. Eating a nourishing, high-protein snack (the protein component is essential) every few hours is key for me and my schedule- especially late in the afternoon (pre-workout) when you hit that slump and before you become so famished for dinner that you'd eat the rubber off the bottom of your crosstrainers.

Some current favorites of THE SNACK include:
An apple with peanut butter
String cheese and some blueberries
KASHI snack bars (especially the Chocolate Peanut)
Almonds and a banana
Smoothies (Yogurt&Fruit)
A whole wheat english muffin w/ turkey

As I look at those options, I am fully aware they don't sound as tempting as ice cream and Snickers, but I keep them around and have found that I have more sustained energy, and don't get those hunger pangs late in the day. I am on Week 5 of this method, and have noticed such a difference. Highly recommend it!! Who doesn't like snack time?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The buzz...

The Blanks Clan is doing great amid the chaos, as usual. This is the latest pic of the Beam kids (along with the Miller crew- they're pretty much one unit.) Can you believe how big they are? The top two are Ashlyn and Brenden, the little one of the far right is Meagan, and the bottom left cheezo with the pigtails is Kayden. They are hilarious. Loud, but hilarious. Here's a copy of Brenden's first poem from the 1st grade as proof for you skeptics: (spelling unchanged for authenticity purposes...)

What wode it be to be a pese of popcorn.
I will put butter on you.
I will eat you.
I will put cheese on you.
Don't you dare.

Speaking of popcorn, my parents bought a new trampoline over Labor Day and the result of all the little bodies bouncing through the air (with side-netting, of course) reminded me of one of those old air poppers. Does anyone even make those anymore?

Monday, September 11, 2006


A bit on the serious side, but my thoughts today are more in keeping with the somber tone of this day in history, perhaps. We did a study in Daniel this summer with the youth staff, and in a recent meeting we were talking about the 3 possible scenarios that can happen when we go through "the fire." (Referencing the fiery furnace, parallelling life's trials.)

Scenario A: We can be delivered FROM the fire and the dividend is that our faith is BUILT. Scenario B: We can be delivered THROUGH the fire and the dividend is that our faith is REFINED.
Scenario C: We can delivered BY the fire straight into His arms, the dividend- our faith is PERFECTED.

I was thinking this morning about 9/11 and the reality of this Babylon that surrounds us- our culture- everything that tries to convince us that we really aren't captive. We're all in the fire at one time or another, and though you and I pray most often for Scenario A (who wants to go through a fire?), ANYof the 3 possible results are desirable outcomes. Remember there was a 4th in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. God doesn't leave us in there alone. And one of my favorite additions- as if coming out of there without being incinerated wasn't enough, it's noted that they didn't even smell like smoke! (3:27). What an idea- to be so focused on the one leading us through life's fires, that no one would even be able to tell we were touched by the Babylon that tries to consume us. Hmm...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tra la, I'm here!

SO- my roommate mentioned that she got caught up reading blog posts into the wee hours of the morning when she realized how much there was to read in catching up with old friends... so I looked around a little this morning. Folks, I'm out of the loop. It's official.

How about a story of the day?

So I pull up to the Sprint store, hoping this will be the last time in my life I have to go in there (complications...again-grr.), and as I'm walking towards the store, I hear someone honking their horn in the parking lot... loudly... and repeatedly. I think to myself, "Some psycho is really making a scene." As the honking continues (and I continue walking), I realize no one else is around- could the idiot be honking at ME? I glance over my shoulder to see a guy now jumping out of his truck and running towards a silver Honda which is driving through the parking lot. That's strange... I have a silver Honda that looks just like that one. Did you know a standard transmission vehicle gains momentum downhill at a surprising speed when you don't set the parking break?

So, Mr. Horn-Honking guy chases down my car, which rolls through 2 rows of cars, miraculously missing all other vehicles, with me in close pursuit. As I'm approaching the embarrassing scene, the guy grabs the spoiler on the back of my car and bears down in a weight-lifting competetition-sytle- manner and as his feet skid across the parking lot and he managed to stop my car as I jump in a set the brake. Oops. By this point another guy has come running to the car that I hadn't noticed, and I smile at everyone, thanking them for their help, grateful Mr. Horn-Honker was not a wee-little woman or small child.

While this was a first for me, I think it is a scenario that somewhat reflects my life when I get in too much of a hurry. I forget to set the parking break on my brain all the time. Too bad there's no one to chase me down in those instances and force me to slow down before I crash. (Ok, I have no idea what the metaphor is referring to, but it wrapped up the story nicely, didn't it?)