Monday, June 30, 2008

First of all, I just want to thank everybody who showed support for me and my family either through e-mails, cards, messages, or coming to my uncle's wake. It was definitely one of the worst weeks of my life, but the body of Christ is definitely an amazing thing. Example: a man from my church handed Chris an envelope on Wednesday night with a Bible verse and $100 inside to cover our travel expenses - not from him, from someone else who wanted to remain anonymous! It was definitely a small glimpse of God's provision in the midst of a horrible time, and I'm really thankful for whoever that was - you know who you are! :)

Anyway, some of you already know that Chris and I are leaving in an hour and a half (!!!) for the Dominican Republic with the team from our church. It has been a ridiculously crazy week - house inspections, my uncle's sudden death, travel to Connecticut, taking my final and test 3 for class today....and oh yeah, leaving the country. But seriously, I am SO excited for this trip. I am really glad to be away from sadness for a while, and to be able to concentrate on other people's needs. I think it will be very healing.

Be back in 12 days or so..........

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dear Friends,

My heart is very heavy today. Some of you already know from Facebook that my Uncle Jason, my dad's youngest brother, died suddenly this morning. It was very, very fast. He was admitted to the hospital early yesterday morning and quickly became deathly ill. He already had lupus, and something else complicated matters - they're not sure if he contracted bacterial meningitis or some other deadly bacterium, because it takes days for cultures to grow in a lab and they can't tell yet. His organs shut down and his blood became toxic and a lot of other things too horrible to have to write out let alone live through.

He died this morning at 4:30 am. He is only 35 years old. He was married, and had two kids - Ava, 5, and Jake, 2. He was not a Christian.

I know that people always "perfect" those who pass away in their minds, but my Uncle Jason really and truly was one of those great people that you were so happy to know. He was hilarious and was always, always making you laugh. He was a total goof-ball. He was a social worker in inner-city New Haven, working with kids on probation and helping them to get their lives back on track. He was an amazing Dad to his kids. Last time I saw him was when I was in Connecticut and he had come up to visit with Jake and Ava. Ava sat on his lap and he was telling us all about her little boyfriend and school and he was teasing her and she was laughing. He told us the different activities she does every day at school and big things coming up for her (things a lot of moms know, but not dads). He had such a zest for living. He was an incredible, mouth-watering, self-taught cook. He was always so sweet and kind and loving and happy and good.

We prayed so hard for a miracle, and God chose not to give us one. I don't even know the words to describe the emotions I feel right now besides total devastation and heartache and sadness. My cousins have no dad, my aunt has no husband, my family has no Uncle Jason anymore! I honestly keep trying to picture the world without him in it, and I just can't. I can't. I can't believe he's never coming back.

My uncle knew about Jesus, and I am thankful that he knew he could die before they put him in a drug-induced coma....only so that maybe he would have cried out to God in his point of weakness, even though he couldn't speak at that point. It's not really possible for me to believe at this point that he could be in eternity without Jesus. That's way too overwhelming for me right now.

I'm not asking you to pray; I need you to pray. There will be a memorial service in the area that my parents live on Wednesday, then a wake and a funeral down toward New Haven on Thursday night and Friday. A lot of you do know us personally, and I need you to pray for my extended family - all of whom are unsaved. I need you to pray that God gives us immense grace as we look for ways to share Jesus again with our family if they are open to it. I need you to pray for my Dad and brother, especially. They're really not doing so well.

If anyone happens to read this who does not know Jesus, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to talk to you about the life and joy and peace that can be found in knowing Him.

Thank you, dear friends.
The prayers of the righteous can accomplish many things! - James

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Accepted Offer!

Well, we finally got an accepted offer! They accepted yesterday and we signed more paperwork last night. We have our inspection Tuesday night - which is the part that I'm really scared about (where things broke down for us last time, remember?). At least things are finally moving! Thank you God! :)

We're off to buy a new camera today for our trip to the D.R. Mine is from 2004 and is basically a great-great-grandpa in the camera world. Isn't it crazy that a four-year-old camera is considered ancient in the technology world? lol Anyway, those of you who know my brother know that he is an amazing photographer, so I called him this morning to ask his advice. He said that Sony makes really good cameras in the $250 and under range, so I think that's what I'm going to set out to look for. Does anyone have a camera that they love/hate? I'm not sure I'll actually purchase one today, so I'm open to suggestions!

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sweet summertime

Well, sorry about the lack of recent updates this week! We have been having a lot of house drama - too much to list here - and I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that we are still waiting on the bank to accept/reject our counteroffer so that we can hurry up and get our inspections done before our 10-day time limit is up. This wouldn't be a problem, except that the time we will be in this country is quickly drawing to a close. We leave for our 10-day trip in the Dominican Republic on June 30th. Technically, we have internet in the mission dormitories, but I really just wanted to be completely focused on this trip and the people I was serving and not be stressed out everyday about the house.

So if anyone from Fannie Mae is reading this, could ya hurry my house along?!


Anyway, I did get to go strawberry picking on Friday, and it was great! I got nine pounds of strawberries, and only have about two cups left. Yes, we love us some strawberries up in these parts. ;)

Two of my favorite things to do with this most delicious of all fruits:

Strawberry "shortcake" (on biscuits is the way I really make it):

And strawberry jam.....(disregard the clutter on my counter - everything once again had to be pushed back from the wall since we found more ants last night! ahh)

The thing about jam: my sister-in-law and I made freezer jam on Saturday, and it really, really is SO easy. Anyone can do it. Freezer jam doesn't require any kind of special seals or boiling. And it is soooooooooooooo good. You will want to eat it plain. By the spoonful. Trust me on this.

Hope you're enjoying warmer weather and strawberries and sunshine and all of that good stuff that June brings. ;)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tonight we put an offer in on house number two!!! Here's hoping! :)

Oh and I got a 101 on my first test in my math class! Good day, good day!

Thanks for the tip, Mary! I guess I would need to get an egg slicer first though (and thanks for that hint about the dishwasher...did you all read that?). Another thing to keep my eye open for at yard as if I need another excuse to go....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I was saddened today to realize that a fellow blogger had copied one of my blog ideas only a day after I originally posted. This is not the first time she has done this. She's not a regular commenter or anything, but I knew that she read my blog and vice versa. She's not anyone I know in real life, but she does profess to be a Christian.

She has recently been writing about/asking others for new ideas for her blog, saying that she was fresh out. I guess I'm mostly disappointed because she has a ton of readers, and I have...well, not a ton :)...and maybe she has figured that since so few people read my blog, no one would realize she was copying my thoughts almost exactly?

I e-mailed her today about it. Because even though we live in this virtual world, as Christians we are supposed to admonish one other when someone has done something unpleasing to God. I was very kind - not rude at all, although I wanted to be! haha

I've just always hated when people condescendingly say, "Copying is the sincerest form of flattery."

No, actually, it isn't.

It's unethical, lame, and just plain rude.

*Whew* Okay, had to get that off my chest!

In other news, has anyone gone strawberry picking yet? I've been waiting for about 3 months now and I think I'm going to go this Friday, since I don't have class. My mouth is dying to taste strawberry shortcake again. Does anyone have a great strawberry recipe? Please share!

Monday, June 9, 2008

[new to me] Good Things

I have two things I wanted to share with all of you today.

First, this amazing book, which I discovered at our local library:

This woman is seriously a genius when it comes to organization. And it's not your usual lame tips like, "Have a way to sort your laundry." :) She is hard-core about home organization, and offers a lot of tips that I never even thought about - just little things that make you think, "duh!".

For instance, one of her little ideas is to designate certain areas of your dishwasher's silverware holders for certain silverware. Rather than having spoons, knives, and forks scattered in each little holder, put only like silverware next to each other. You can grab it in a bunch rather than spend 5 minutes picking each fork out of the holder, then the spoons, etc. Of course, I don't have a dishwasher right now, but hopefully that tip will help all of you fancy people out there who are lucky enouch to have this most basic machine that every woman in 2008 deserves to have to save hours of unnecessary work every day machine in your kitchen.

She covers a ton more stuff in her book....most of it really easy stuff like that, but stuff that really makes sense.

She even inspired me to organize and label the shelves of my closet.

I realized that I was buying duplicates of an item (like lightbulbs, for instance) because I didn't know they were already in my hall closet. I realize this list makes me seem OCD, but this is my only closet (yes, you read that right - I don't even have a clothes closet. Yes, you have permission to feel bad for me.) and I really wanted it to be organized. In all honesty, I actually had fun doing it (gasp!).

The second [new to me] item is this website: I just discovered her today, but boy-oh-boy am I excited. This woman gives step-by-step pictures of all of her recipes, and ohmygoodness do they look amazing!

Be inspired! Have a wonderful day. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Update on the Ants

Well, the ants aren't gone. Yesterday I did kill about 45 (literally) within about 3-4 hours.

It. was. not. a. good. day.

My husband may or may not have gotten some desperate voicemails.

Anyway, I sealed, I killed, I sprayed, I doused papertowels in rubbing alcohol where there was a big gap between the carpet and wall (hard to describe). I bought some ant spikes and put them outside. I killed more ants. I started to feel like I was going nutso.

Chris came home and poured gasoline over the line of hundreds (literally - no exaggeration) of icky black ants walking in a line across the driveway into the corner of our bedroom wall.

That made me smile.

Has my landlord done ANYTHING yet?


God bless my friend Lindsay, who offered to let me come over tomorrow, since I don't have class, to watch Friends and escape my house. Friends and a place of escape. Now that's true friendship. ;)

(By the way, Mary, I'm taking a 3-credit math class for the entire month of June to satisfy the 6-credits of math required by PA for me to be a music teacher and/or subsitute teacher next year. You don't even want to get me started on their logic for that!)

Thanks for sharing your stories, you guys! It really makes me feel better to know you guys have dealt with this, too. I keep telling myself it could be worse.

It could be spiders.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Ants Come Marching Into My House, Boo Hoo, Boo Hoo

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I feel as though my LIFE is being over-run by these insects!! I'm literally on the verge of heart palpitations, I kid you not. We discovered itty bitty ants about 2 or so weeks ago in our kitchen - I had labored for hours over a hot stove (no really, I did) to make two beautiful apple pie tarts, left them cool on the counter, and came home to find them swarming with ants. So, we borrowed some Terro ant killer from my mother-in-law (once we realized where they were coming in), and they have all but died off. Still a few every now and then, but they go straight to the Terro and then leave. Okay. *Sigh of relief*. I can deal with that.


Last night, we discovered carpenter ants in the bathroom. Waaaay worse (in my opinion, anyway). They move like 80 million times faster, and I swear, these things have 9 lives. You can whack them with your husband's Adidas sandal like, 12 times (hypothetically, of course), and they will not die. It's like they enjoy testing you or something. Or the more likely conclusion that I've decided on: they want to ruin my life and make me paranoid.

Well, DH and I spent about 45 minutes last night sealing off - with duct tape; classy, right? - every possible hole they could be entering. We live in a basement apartment, and saw some coming out of some holes and some other ones coming out of a hole in the dryer pipe/vent. DH sprayed Kilz for good measure, and then we turned the empty dryer on high to teach those mean ants a lesson.


This morning Chris and I found one in the kitchen, which totally thwarted all of our ideas about entry. Chris told me it was probably just a renegade ant from last night.


I came home from class (have I mentioned I'm taking a class yet?) and saw 2 in the kitchen, and 5 in the bathroom. One ant was even carrying another ant! The nerve.

Of course, if this were my own home, I would have called an exterminator (or at least some ant killer!) first thing this morning. isn't. Chris called our landlord last night and then again this morning after I called to tell him I'd found more. (In all honesty, while they're just horribly annoying to us, they really could be eating the inside of his house - apparently these are the house-eating ants.)

Meanwhile, the ants are free to terrorize me. Which means I want to cry.

If anything happens, I will let you know.

As for me, I'll be looking at ceilings, floors, and walls anxiously for the rest of today, feeling like a crazy person.

And wishing I was as cute as Elizabeth Hasselbeck on The View.