Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Moondrops, Halloween Style

So my friend, Apes, who works with Bright Side Crafts, brought over some other colors of moondrops a few days ago.  I'm really excited to try out the different colors.  Most of them are translucent, but they make black ones that are totally opaque.  I knew those would be the moondrops of choice for some Halloween cards.

I started with a card, complete all but the dimensional elements:
I got this paper, seriously, like ten years ago.  And then forgot about it.  It was a huge surprise when I was digging through my paper box the other day.  And it was perfect for what I wanted.  I wanted some kind of busy paper.

About the "spooky" silver sticker at the bottom - I bought those stickers at Staples - they are Martha Stewart brand.  I really wanted to stamp with white on them, and then emboss the stamp.  I wasn't sure it would work, though, with the slick surface of the sticker and all.  So I gave it a shot.  It turns out that any errant particle of embossing powder that is sprinkled on the sticker, and then not removed grain-by-grain, is there to stay.  But it's okay, because it gives the stamp kind of a misty, spooky effect.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Kay, so I got out five black moondrops and trimmed the little nubbins off them with my fingernail clippers.

My nine-year-old took these pictures tonight.  He did a pretty bang-up job, no?  My hubby is out of town.  Again.  (But not in China this time.  He is in the exotic land of Minnesota.  And only until Thursday.  But still.  I was like, "But you just got hooooome!")

Now.  I used Elmer's glue the last time I used these moondrops, which mainly worked great, but one of the moondrops did pop off when I slipped a card into an envelope.  So this time I used Zots.  You can buy Zots at any crafting store.  They're a little spendy, but when you want to glue something and don't want it to move until the year 3012, you'll want to invest in them.  I used to use glue sticks on my cards, until all my family members teased me about them, saying that their cards came to them in pieces.  I've been a Zots girl ever since.  They have a mini size that is perfect for the diameter of these moondrops:
Then I just pressed those babies into place - anywhere I would normally put a brad or an eyelet.  And soooo much easier to use:
The finished product:

I painted white acrylic paint on the edges of my orange cardstock with these cards.  Something I saw in a magazine and decided to try.  What do you think?  I'm not sure I'm sold on it...

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Bills Game

I'm going to get through these New York pictures if it kills me!!  Kay.  Here are some pictures from the Bills vs. Patriots game we went to.  We had really fantastic seats.  We got there a bit early so that we could walk around amongst the tailgaters and then go in and watch Spence at work. 

I wish I had taken my camera when we were walking around the parking lot to look at the tailgaters.  I've never really seen any proper tailgaters.  There were people who had been there for two or three days!  They had their big campers all set up.  I saw several campers that had rugs - like, dining room rugs - set out nicely next to their campers.  One gal had decorated with fake, lit-up palm trees on each corner of her rug.  There were couches on these rugs.  TV's set up.  Pots of mums.  Of course, there were tarp-like coverings over each of these areas, because Buffalo is known for its frequent rain.

And the food.  Don't even get me started.  People were going all OUT.  Stuffed lobster.  Grilling steaks.  And of course, lots and lots of kielbasa sausage.  Beads says there is a huge population of people of Polish descent in the Buffalo area.  So there was lots and lots of sausage.

I just kept walking around with my mouth wide open.  It was so interesting!  Like camping, but in a parking lot, awaiting a football game.  People were throwing footballs in the areas between the cars.  Every camper and car was decorated with Bills colors.  These guys are hard-core. 

It's funny - I almost felt like...that the Bills are almost like a religion to these particular tailgaters.  Does that make sense?  They spend their time and money thinking about, promoting, and talking about the Bills.  I couldn't help but wonder, if I didn't spend all my time, energy, and a lot of my money on my religion, would I do something like this instead?  It's just interesting.  I'm not judging.  For sure.  It's just so interesting to see a different way of life every now and then.

Enough of my ponderings about religion and professional football.  On to the game.

So we went inside and found our seats, then had a good time going down next to the field and taking some pictures.  Here is Spence, helping some of the team members to get warmed up:
Since the Bills were playing the New England Patriots, we got to watch the famous Tom Brady warming up:
Some of these guys are so huge.  Look at this dude that Spencer is facing.  Enormous!!
Dad, Ben, and me:
So then it was time to welcome the Bills onto the field:
Ben took like five thousand pictures of the Bills cheerleaders, who, I believe, are called the Buffalo Belles.  I deleted all but this one.  Seriously.  He used his zoom lens, and when they did a dance at some point, there are a billion pictures of them doing the kick line.  Sheesh.  Men.  Next time any of you see him, could you please punch him in the shoulder for me?  Thanks.

Spence taught us something cool - the players' numbers correspond to their height and weight.  The bigger the guy, the higher the number on his jersey.  You can tell from this picture the difference with the numbers and the height and weight of these guys:
This dude was a few rows in front of us, and it took us so long to figure out if he was a boy or a girl.  He was obviously wearing fake whiskers and hair.  But he had really feminine hands and an extremely slight build.  I thought for sure it was a girl, but then he finally turned around and we saw his adam's apple:
 A boy.  Who knew?

The Bills' quarterback, Fitzpatrick (Fitzwilliam?  I can't ever remember.  Fitz-something.)
Beads says these guys come to every game dressed in banana suits.  I thought that was funny. And probably really uncomfortable:
 Tom Brady in action:
 Spence in action:
The game was really exciting for the first half. The Bills were leading by several points.  But then, after halftime, the Patriots came back and kicked the Bills' butts soundly.  I wonder what the Patriots' coach said to them in there.  He must have really lit a fire under their butts.  So then the second half of the game got really boring and disappointing.  Mom even fell asleep:
 One of the Bills players tackling a Patriots receiver:
 And me and my Buffalo Belles-loving husband:
This was my first pro football game!  It was a riot.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

July in October

My mom and her best friend, Cheryl, hit the D.I. a few weeks ago - Cheryl is making some jean quilts, and she wanted to load up on some denim.  They came across the cutest little denim dress Sadie's size. It had bedazzled stars and stripes on the left breast, and Mom decided to buy that dress and add some cute red, white, and blue buttons to it.  It turned out so cute, eh??  Sades loves it. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm going under the knife.

Sighhhh.  I only wish the title was a joke.  Or a cute play-on-words.  Pretty soon I will be joining these ladies:

Really, I just want to join because of the cool name.  Rhymes are very compelling things to me.

So I was diagnosed this last spring with a prolapsed uterus and a prolapsed bladder.

My symptoms with the prolapsed uterus have mainly been constant cramping of the abdomen and lower back (it feels like menstrual cramps.  All.  The.  Time.)  I've found that birth control takes the edge off the pain, but it's still there.  All day.  All night.  Every day.

With the prolapsed bladder, I have stress incontinence, which means that sneezing, coughing, or jumping are very adventurous activities for me.  If I'm going to work out, and it involves any kind of bouncing, I have to wear a pad.  If I can feel a sneeze coming on, I have to cross my legs and squeeze really, really tight.  I also experience pain when urinating.  I also have urgency feelings all the time.  Like you feel when you're about to pee your pants.  All.  The.  Time.  Then you go, and it's like...drip, drip.  And that's it.

I was really hoping that maybe I could just...deal with the pain.  Because having major surgery isn't something that has ever interested me.  Call me crazy.  But the pain has gotten worse in recent months, and my OBGYN assures me that the pain will eventually get worse and worse and worse until I will have no choice but to have this surgery.

So they are going to do a hysterectomy, as well as something called a "burch," which is a process where they "pin" my bladder up.  In regular hysterectomies, they don't have to make an incision.  However, with the bladder pin, they will have to.  They are CUTTING ME OPEN.  Which freaks me out.

And from everything I've heard, I'm going to be basically useless for the following six weeks.  I can't lift Gage.  (We're going to have to transition him to a toddler bed so he can get in and out by himself, dang it.)  I can't do dishes.  I can't vacuum.  I can't do laundry.  I can't lift laundry baskets.  I can't sweep.  Basically, anything where I would twist my body or bend over to do something, I cannot do.  Oh, and pushing grocery carts.  Can't do that, either.  Not to mention the pure exhaustion.  I have a relative who had a hysterectomy, and she was just wiped OUT for six weeks.  If she overdid it one day, she was dead meat the next day.  So this is going to be a really frustrating thing.  My house is going to be a pit.  Well, it's already a pit. So let me edit that.  It's going to be even pittier than before. 

I have let my Relief Society president know about it and asked her to arrange for a few meals to be brought over.  And I think I'd better start getting some freezer meals prepared.  I'll have help from my mom.  And Ben is going to just really have to help me when he returns from work each day.

The big day - November 15th.

I think it's safe to say that I won't be cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe we can order Chinese...(Good Chinese.  Americanized Chinese. I can handle that.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curse you, pumpkin chocolate chip bread!!!

Welp, this morning was my weekly weigh-in, and...I knew I wasn't going to do very well.  I stayed at the same weight.  And the reason why is:
Yes, yes, yes.  One of my weaknesses.  I try not to keep things like this in the house, but I knew Ben was coming home, and I knew that this is one of his very favorite things in the world to eat, so...I may have bought a loaf. Or two.  And I may have eaten a slice.  Or two.  Or three.  Yikes.  Bikes.

But hey, at least I didn't go up in weight, right?  Inch-wise, I still did really well.  I lost 1/2 an inch in my neck, half an inch in my chest, half an inch in my waist, and half an inch in my thighs.  Just in one week. 

My grand total stats - I've lost a total of...
9 pounds
1/2 inch in my neck
2 inches in my chest
2 inches in my waist
1/2 inch in my hips
2 inches in my thighs

Can we say no more chafing???

Though I was naughty and had some pumpkin chocolate chip bread in the last couple of days, I really was good in my meal planning and cooking this week.  I've started looking up 500-calorie meals online to cook for Ben and I.  The kids won't eat things like quinoa or salad with goat cheese dressing, so we've been giving them corn dogs, bean burritos, mac and cheese, etc.  And I know that we should be forcing them to eat like we do, but...I just cannot stand making something and having it go to waste.  So expensive.  And they refuse to eat, and then they're starving the rest of the night and begging for snacks, and I don't feel like fighting that battle with them right now.  So for now, they get that other stuff (but I do add lots of fresh fruits, veggies, yogurt, applesauce, and string cheese on the side - that makes me feel a teeny bit better).

And by the way, eating healthier isn't more expensive.  I thought it would be.  I was pleasantly surprised when I went shopping on Saturday.  I think it was a little cheaper than usual because there was so much produce in my cart!  Haha!

The site I've been going to for low-cal dinners is here.  It really is a whole new world.  Sunday was my first time ever making quinoa.  I've decided that it's not that good by itself.  I'm going to have to add stuff to it next time.  I made a low-cal chili that was pretty good.  We're making gnocchi tomorrow night - another first.  And we're having a southwestern-type pizza with whole wheat crust, barbecue sauce, beans, corns, and fresh peppers later this week. 

It's a really different way of eating than I'm used to, and it's been hard to let all the carbs go, but I really want to change my eating habits for the better, for the long run.  Once I reach my goal weight, I'll be darned if I let it pile up again.  I need to accept the fact that I'm not the kind of person who can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.  I have thyroid disease, which means my metabolism is shot.  This is my reality, and I need to learn to eat within this reality if I want to reach and keep my emotional goal - not to cringe when I see pictures of myself.

So bring it on, goat cheese dressing.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Lesson - How did the Savior compare gospel truths to familiar objects and experiences? - What I Did.


1.  Read together and mark Matt 18:1-6 (The Savior uses a child to teach about the kingdom of heaven.)

2.  Read together and mark Matt 5:14-16  (The Savior compares his disciples to light and candles.)

3.  The lesson wants the students to explore why the Savior used objects.  A good answer is in a quote by Elder Boyd K. Packer.

Quote #1

Elder Boyd K. Packer said:

“In teaching the gospel, we do not re-create the material world around us; we deal with the intangible world within us, and there is a big difference. None of the ordinary tools are available to us. To convey to a youngster the idea of a cat is much simpler than to convey the idea of faith; faith is very difficult to describe.

“For instance, how big is faith? We soon learn that size is not helpful. Only vaguely can we talk to a youngster who knows nothing about faith by talking about an amount, such as much faith, or little faith. We can't tell him what color it is. We can't tell him what shape it is. We can't tell him what texture it is.”

Then Elder Packer shared a teaching tool we can use to teach about intangible principles: “Tie the invisible idea...to some tangible object the student already knows about and then build from that knowledge” (Teach Ye Diligently, 31-32).

4.  Bag of objects - the lesson suggested to provide the students a bag of random objects and have them decide what gospel principle could be taught using the objects.  Each student drew one object out of the bag.  Here were the contents of my bag:

I basically raided our storage room.  A camping lantern, pedialyte, waterproofing spray, a box of kraft mac & cheese, a pack of playing cards, a bar of soap, a miniature treasure box, a set of keys, a rock, a dime, and a toothbrush. 

5.  My object - a bachelor button.

I showed the students a picture of a bachelor button bloom (since mine have died back for the season) and read them this blog post I made a few months ago, comparing the bachelor button plant to overcoming trials:

Kay.  So I had these flowers called bachelor buttons in one of my front flower beds.  I was initially tickled with them - they were sooo hardy.  And they grew at an astronomical rate.  And they looked cool and were a cool color when they bloomed.  But then I got upset with them, because they grew too tall and covered everything behind them.  And then they started to choke out all the other plants.  They were driving me nuts.

So I took them out.  I had plans to put them into the back flower bed.  But then my elderly neighbor came and talked to me for like seventeen hours.  And the plants lay there on their sides, totally wilting in the hot son.

To add to the indignity, I planted them in very inhospitable soil.  Very clayish and hard.  Nothing much is able to grow back there.  I should have mixed some potting soil in with the clay.  I should have given them a little haircut, too.  But I was out of potting soil, and by the time my neighbor stopped talking to me, sunlight was fading fast and I had to just hurry and dig holes, stick them in, fill in the holes, and get inside.  I also should have immediately watered them, but I didn't.  Too late.  Too busy.

"If they die, oh well," I thought.  And they look HORRIBLE.  I still need to trim them down quite a bit.  They have wilted and died.  They have, as my dandelion weed killer bottle says, "experienced plant death."  And I was okay with it.  I don't like plants that behave like weeds.  It makes me mad.

So today, as I was mowing, spreading lawn food, watering my back plants, and then throwing away the little plastic pots from some callies I just planted out front, I saw one of my little bachelor buttons.  One that I supposed had experienced plant death.

And the dang thing hasn't died.  Well, most of it has died.  But it has a little bit of new growth and even a bloom. This plant has risen from the ashes.  When I thought it was done for.

I thought about my situation.  I had a really hard week.  One of those I-want-to-wilt-and-turn-grey-and-lie-down-and-experience-plant-death weeks.  But if this little guy can withstand all that I've put him through and still bloom, I can go through the things I'm going through and still bloom.  I can thrust my roots into this nasty clayish soil I'm in right now and just hang on and push through and emerge more spiritually beautiful.

6.  Pickles and Cucumbers

This lesson talks a lot about Elder Bednar's talk from the spring general conference in 2007, which compares the process of making cucumbers into pickles to spiritual conversion.  First, I had us all read the beginning part of his talk together, each student reading one paragraph:

Cucumbers and Pickles

A pickle is a cucumber that has been transformed according to a specific recipe and series of steps. The first steps in the process of changing a cucumber into a pickle are preparing and cleaning. I remember many hours spent on the back porch of my home removing stems from and scrubbing dirt off of the cucumbers we had picked. My mom was very particular about the preparing and cleaning of the cucumbers. She had high standards of cleanliness and always inspected my work to make sure this important task was properly completed.

The next steps in this process of change are immersing and saturating the cucumbers in salt brine for an extended period of time. To prepare the brine, my mom always used a recipe she learned from her mother—a recipe with special ingredients and precise procedures. Cucumbers can only become pickles if they are totally and completely immersed in the brine for the prescribed time period. The curing process gradually alters the composition of the cucumber and produces the transparent appearance and distinctive taste of a pickle. An occasional sprinkle of or dip in the brine cannot produce the necessary transformation. Rather, steady, sustained, and complete immersion is required for the desired change to occur.

The final step in the process requires the sealing of the cured pickles in jars that have been sterilized and purified. The pickles are packed in canning jars, covered with boiling hot brine, and processed in a boiling-water-bath canner. All impurities must be removed from both the pickles and the bottles so the finished product can be protected and preserved. As this procedure is properly followed, the pickles can be stored and enjoyed for a long period of time.

To summarize, a cucumber becomes a pickle as it is prepared and cleaned, immersed in and saturated with salt brine, and sealed in a sterilized container. This procedure requires time and cannot be hurried, and none of the essential steps can be ignored or avoided.

I had cut up portions of the latter part of his talk to give to each kid.

Just as a cucumber must be prepared...before it can be changed into a pickle, so you and I can be prepared with “the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6).

Just as the cucumber must be...cleaned before it can be changed into a pickle, so you and I can be...initially cleansed through the ordinances and covenants administered by the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood.
“And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
“Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins” (D&C 84:26-27).

And after we come out of the waters of baptism, our souls need to be continually immersed in...the truth and the light of the Savior's gospel. Sporadic and shallow dipping in the doctrine of Christ and partial participation in His restored Church cannot produce the spiritual transformation that enables us to walk in a newness of life. Rather, fidelity to covenants, constancy of commitment, and offering our whole soul unto God are required if we are to receive the blessings of eternity.

Just as a cucumber is transformed into a pickle as it is...saturated with salt brine, so you and I are born again as we are absorbed by and in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we honor and “observe the covenants” (DYC42:13) into which we have entered, as we “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 32:3), as we “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart” (Moroni 7:48), and as we “serve {God] with all [of our] heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2).

Significantly, salt is the key ingredient in the recipe. Salt frequently is used in the scriptures as a symbol both of a covenant and of a covenant people. And just as salt is essential in transforming a cucumber into a pickle, so covenants are central to our spiritual rebirth.

Spiritual rebirth...typically does not occur quickly or all at once; it is an ongoing process – not a single event. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. This phase of the transformation process requires time, persistence, and patience.

We progressively become purified and sanctified as you and I are washed in the blood of the Lamb, are born again, and receive the ordinances and honor the covenants that are administered by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The Holy Spirit of Promise is the ratifying power of the Holy Ghost. When sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, an ordinance, vow, or covenant is binding on earth and in heaven. (See D&C 132:7.) Receiving this “stamp of approval” from the Holy Ghost is the result of faithfulness, integrity, and steadfastness in honoring gospel covenants “in [the]process of time” (Moses 7:21). However, this sealing can be forfeited through unrighteousness and transgression.

I made a chart. On the top left, it says "making pickles."  And on the top right, it says "becoming converted."

After I cut apart the quotes from the latter part of Elder Bednar's talk, I stuck them onto the back of some pieces of cardstock.

I had the kids read the quote on the back of the paper, then write on the front of the paper, in their own words, what Elder Bednar says about each of the elements of becoming converted. Then I had them tape their piece of paper across from the correct procedure.

2.  Stories (a.k.a. Parables)

1.  Your Favorite Parable

Give the students this handout:

Your Favorite Parable

Directions: Think of your favorite parable. Find it in the scriptures. Prepare to retell the parable to the class and why it's meaningful to you. Here are some parables if you can't think of any:
  1. Matt 25: 1-3 – ten virgins
  2. Matt 25: 14-30 – talents
  3. Matt 25: 31-46 – sheep and goats
  4. Luke 8: 4-15 – sower
  5. Luke 15: 1-7 – lost sheep
  6. Luke 15: 8-10 – piece of silver
  7. Luke 15: 11-32 – prodigal son
  8. Luke 10: 29-35 – good Samaritan
  9. Matt 24: 32-42 – fig tree
  10. Matt 13: 24-30 – wheat and tares
  11. Luke 18: 1-7 – woman and unjust judge
  12. Matt 21: 28-32 – two sons
  13. Matt 21: 33-39 – wicked husbandmen
  14. Matt 13:3-8 – sower

2.  My Favorite Parable

My favorite parable just happens to be the parable that Elder Holland talked about this last spring in general conference - the laborers in the vineyard.  I'm planning to just retell it to the kids.  The text of Elder Holland's talk is here, and the parable is found in Matt. 20: 1-15.

3.  Why parables?

The lesson again wants the students to know why the Savior used parables.  I'm going to share 2 things that address this.

a.  The first is the first paragraph under "parables" in the Bible Dictionary.  We're going to look it up and just read that first paragraph.

b.  The second thing I'm going to share is quote #2.

Quote #2:
From Teaching, No Greater Call:

Everyone likes good stories. Stories enrich lessons and capture the interest of learners as few other teaching methods can. Stories can be used to answer questions, introduce or reinforce principles, or summarize lessons. They can be especially effective to clarify and teach gospel principles by giving examples of righteous living, reaching all listeners on their own level of understanding.

When stories are used well, they engage learners' values and emotions. They can help learners apply gospel principles as they share in great scriptural events, moments of decision, hardships and struggles, and the blessings of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. They make principles easier to understand and remember. They show in vivid and inspiring ways how gospel principles can be applied in our lives. For example, to teach about faith, you might share Alma's explanation that if we have faith we “hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). But you would make your teaching more complete if you also told a story in which someone exercises great faith, such as the story of David going forth to battle Goliath (see 1 Samuel 17:20-50, particularly verses 26, 32-37, 45-47).

4.  Make your own parable

The lesson suggests having the students make up their own parables.  According to the lesson, it's easy.  There are only two steps.  1)  Pick a gospel principle.  2)  Pick a setting for the parable that's familiar.  3)  Fill in the details of a story.

I made this handout to help the kids do this, and also a place to jot down their parables:

Making Your Own Parable

Directions: Now you get to try to make your own gospel-related parable! It's not too hard. Here are the steps – 1) Pick a gospel principle that really speaks to you. Something you love, or something you've been thinking about lately. Faith, the atonement, trials, etc. 2) Think of a setting or a situation for a parable that is familiar to people. Fitting things into lockers. Trying to find clean jeans in the morning. Selecting what to eat for lunch. Whatever. And try to make a correlation between the two. It's surprisingly easy! Jot down your parable below:

5.  My parable

I made up a parable, not meaning to, and put it on my blog.  I might actually share this with the students before they get started on theirs, just as a model of how easy it is. 

I went to yoga (which, like I have told you, makes me feel like a goddess.  Seriously.  It's an extremely spiritual experience), and we did a series where our teacher told a story.

She had us start with the lizard pose, which is sometimes called the Broken Warrior.

We had done lots of warm-ups before this, just so you know.  You don't want to go into this without warming up, because dang.  Even with the warm-ups, this pose is the reason my hamstrings are so sore today.  So she said something like this:  "The warrior has been in battle, and he is broken."

Then she had us leave our right forearm on the mat and reach our left arm into the sky.

And then she said, "The warrior reaches to heaven for help.  He needs help to heal."

Then we brought the arm that had been reaching up to the bottom of our backs, almost as if we were preparing for a binding pose.

But we still kept our right forearm on the mat. And she said, "The warrior brings the help into his core and strengthens himself."

Then she had us raise ourselves to our palms, with our legs in the same position.

And then she said, "Now, the warrior is a Super Warrior.  He has overcome.  He has healed.  He has become better.  He is stronger and more able to beat his foe."

To me, it was a wonderful metaphor for life.  I was especially thinking of myself and the things I've gone through in the past year with my depression.  And I was thinking of someone very close and very dear to me who has been suffering cruelly with a similar mental disorder.

For a long, long time, I felt broken.  I actually said that in my prayers to Heavenly Father.  I would kneel at the side of my bed and weep, repeating over and over, "I'm broken.  I'm broken.  I need help.  Please help me."  I was reaching up to Him to heal me.  With his guidance and inspiration, I got the help that I needed.  And I brought that help inside of me.  I don't know if I am yet to the Super Warrior pose, but I am raising myself up slowly from my forearms to my palms.  I'm getting close.  I feel better now than I have in months.  I'm less and less angry and irritated.  I'm more mellow and calm.

I feel like ME again.

Yesterday, I shared this with my dear, dear friend who has been struggling.  She also loves yoga.  And after I showed her the poses and told her the story, we both cried together.

To my dear friend:  You feel broken.  But you are getting the help you need.  It doesn't feel like you will ever, ever be Super Warrior, but because you reached out for help and are bringing that help inside of you, it will very, very slowly get better.  I love you tons and pray for you always.

6.  How parables apply to you

I'm going to give each student a parable on a slip of paper - each kid gets a different parable.  And these are completely different from the parables they worked from earlier (the "your favorite parable" exercise).

Read the parable of the mustard seed in Matt 13: 31-32. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and tell us how it applies to you.

Read the parable of the leaven in Matt 13:31. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and how it applies to you.

Read the parable of the treasure in the field in Matt 13:44. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and how it applies to you.

Read the parable of the pearl of great price in matt 13: 45-46. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and how it applies to you.

Read the parable of the net cast into the sea in Matt 13:47. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and how it applies to you.

Read the parable of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and how it applies to you.

Read the parable of the unjust steward in Luke 16: 1-8. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and how it applies to you.

Read the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16: 19-31. Be prepared to share the parable with the class and how it applies to you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bills Tour

Kay, so I'm going to finish posting about our Buffalo trip, gosh dang it!  We've been home for 2 1/2 weeks now.  Sheesh.  Get 'er done, Kar!

So my brother-in-law, Spence, works for the Buffalo Bills.  He's the assistant equipment manager.  Which I think is seriously so cool.  I tell everyone about it.  I think his job is so fascinating. 

Spence took us on a tour of the training facilities and the stadium the day before the Bills played the New England Patriots.  This is the indoor area where they practice during inclement weather OR if they just need more practice on astroturf:
You see, the indoor practice field is obviously made of astroturf.  The outdoor practice field is made of grass.  They like to practice on both so they can be used to both.  Their field in the stadium is astroturf, but other teams' fields are made of real grass.  So they practice on both types. 

The indoor practice field had some stuff on it because they were going to do a boosters thing before the game the following day.

I had a good time tackling the tackling dummy:
 Next to the indoor facility is the outdoor practice field:
You see me taking off my sweatshirt - I kept getting hot, cold, hot, cold all day long.  Brianna said this was the first time she had ever seen sprinklers in Buffalo.  It's so rainy and humid all the time that nobody uses sprinklers.  Can you believe that????

The practice locker room is in the same building as the indoor facility.  Ben and me:
 We were kind of nosy and looked in a few of the lockers.  Get a load of this player's shoe size!!
We were impressed to see that the quarterback, Fitzwilliam, had some impressive-looking books on his shelf.  Spence told us he's an Ivy League graduate.

A CD (DVD?) fell down off a top shelf of one of the players.  My mom reached down to put it back up, and this is how it was labeled:
In case you can't see, it says, "Bounce that A*%, Vol. 1."  Hahaha!  Is it a burned CD of music, or.... is it a DVD??

I don't want to know.

So then we went to the equipment storage room.  They have extra gloves, helmets, jock straps, jerseys, everything.  We got to try on some helmets, which was fun:

And Spence hooked us up with some free Bills shirts, jackets, hats, etc.  He's so great.

Then it was time to tour the stadium itself.  Dad was in hog heaven:
This picture cracks me up because Micah does that same thing with his mouth when he's in really big trouble:
Ben and Micah look so much alike.

Mom wanted to pretend that we were on opposite sides of the line:
And then she surprised me by running into me:

And yes, I'm going to put these touchdown dance pictures up here again, because they're so freakin' awesome:
After the tour, we went into the Bills shop and got some souvenirs for us and the kiddos.  I didn't end up getting this hat, which I kind of regret:
What a fun thing.  I got the biggest kick out of this tour.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

5 More Pounds - Total of Nine!

I weigh myself once a week on Tuesday mornings.  So a couple of days ago, I got up, went pee, and got on the scale. 

And I had lost another 5 pounds in the previous week, making a total of 9 pounds lost!!!  Nine pounds in two weeks!!  Let's have a celebratory dance by Scooby:
Methinks he's doing the cabbage patch.

I can start to tell a little difference when I look in the mirror - I may actually be getting a waist.  It's a miracle!  The shakes still taste delicious to me, though I definitely prefer the vanilla to the chocolate.  You can order more of one shake each month, so I'm going to be upping the vanilla and lowering the chocolate this next time, I think.

And lest you get scared or think I'm unhealthy, here is a linkey-poo for you:  http://www.plentyhealth.taislim.com/pdf/products/shake_products_au_en.pdf

That is a whooooola lotta nutrition I'm getting.  I haven't "eaten" this well in years!!  Haha! I'm not ever hungry or suffering.  I'm not ever light-headed.  Good things.  Good things.

Oh, and inch-wise, I've lost a grand total of 2 1/2 inches from my boobs (let's pretend I'm just losing a lot of back fat, mmmmkay?), 1 1/2 inches from my waist, 1/2 inch from my hips (I've always had narrow hips, even at my fattest. I'm a cylinder, remember?), and 1/2 inch from my thighs.  I haven't lost any inches in my neck or biceps, which is fine.  Those weren't problem areas for me, so I'm not concerned.

So yeah.  It's so fun to be dieting and having it actually WORK.  I'm a fan. Thanks, Tai Slim.  I love you.  Let's get married.

Jewel-Toned Thank-Yous

 You can tell from my walls and decor how much I love jewel tones:

 Yep, I have a purple couch.  And love it still, even after 11 years.
Deep burgandy, smoky plum, sunflower yellow, olive green...yummy.  I never get tired of these colors.
(Try to ignore the messiness of my house, mmmmmkay?)

I fell in love with some paper that incorporated these colors and just had to use it.  I made thank-you cards with it.  My sis, Lex, already bought all the ones that I made with this background paper:
 But I have several other types available on my etsy:
Don't these cards just feel like autumn to you??
 Butternut squash soup, cornucopias, fallen leaves...
 (Autumn is my favorite time of year, can you tell?)
 I think the ones that my sister bought up were my favorite.  Which is yours?
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