Monday, August 31, 2009

Heigh ho heigh ho - it's back to school I go ...

So ... classes begin tomorrow.  In theory I should be spending my last night of academia-free bliss baking a cake, online shopping and watching Sex and the City for the fourth time in fewer months.  Instead I am curled up in my study chair, reading about Hinduism for my Three Religions of South Asia class.  That's right.  My professor e-mailed us with an assignment due on the first day of class.

Apparently the concept of "last night of academia-free bliss" is lost on some people.

But I digress.

Where was I?  Oh, right.  Classes begin tomorrow.  The first day of my last year at seminary.  I feel like I should have some wise words, some thought-provoking statements or some grandiose observation about my discernment and journey through theological education.

But I don't.  Because the truth is - I'm exhausted.  At this point I feel like I'm just going through the motions - I don't have the first day of school pep in my step, I didn't rush to the bookstore with my class list in hand and I didn't pick through the sales at Target searching for the 10 cent folders.

It's been a long two years and I'm VERY ready to start a new year, get into a new routine and get myself organized in order to make the transition to the next phase of this journey.

And who knows?  I can't say either one of us was looking forward to 24 hours in the car to and from Pennsylvania two weeks ago ...


... and look at how that turned out!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

But let justice roll down like waters ...

... and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Amos 5:24

At some point during church this morning, it started to rain.  And not the slow, steady, light kind of rain - the hard, flood-causing, pouring buckets of water kind of rain.  The kind where low-to-the-ground cars need to be careful when navigating puddles so all four wheels stay on the ground.

As Bruce and I slowly navigated our way inside the perimeter and towards home, I told him that rain of this magnitude reminded me of the passage from Amos, But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.  Without any further explanation, Bruce saw the same image that I saw.

Imagine what the world would look like if the rain that poured on Atlanta was justice.  If when the clouds parted and the sun peeked out conflicts had ceased, wars had ended, inequalities has dissipated and peace had blanketed our beautiful land.

I realize there is a perfectly reasonable meteorological explanation for why there was such a heavy downpour this afternoon - but what if humanity ignored the facts and saw the downpour as an opportunity to cleanse itself?  What if when the sun peeked through the clouds it revealed to possibilities for a better world?

August is drawing to a close - the summer is almost over.  I gave myself a little blog makeover this weekend to bring in the spirit of fall!!  It's a new season full of new possibilities.


The rain has lessened, but it's still steady.  Listening to it gives me hope that a better world is possible.

Image courtesy of open salon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend Recipes - Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

So you all know that I've been sharing some of my disasters in the kitchen since the wedding.  How about some of the successes?  I love it when I read blogs and people have shared simple recipes that become favorites of Bruce and mine.  Hopefully some of you out there reading will be able to use some of the recipes I've found!!

These cookies are not only easy, but they're also really filling.  Not that I would condone skipping meals or anything, but if you happen to miss one and you're on the go one or two of these cookies will quench your hunger and keep you going.

Recipe courtesy of The Food Network.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, chopped
1/4 cup chopped skinless peanuts

(for the filling)
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Cream the butter
Add the sugar and continue creaming, then add the vanilla and mix
Mix in the flour and salt
Add the milk and chopped chocolate and mix
Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and dip the top of the ball in chopped peanuts
Place on a cookie sheet 1 1/2 inches apart and push your thumb in the middle to make a depression
Bake until light golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes
Let cool while you make the filling

(to make the filling)
Over hot water melt the chocolate then stir in the remaining ingredients
Cool 5 minutes then fill the centers of the cookies
Allow to slightly set, approximately 10 minutes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Bridal Showers

TGIF and welcome to another week of Kelly's Korner "Show Us Your Life."  This week is bridal showers!!  I absolutely CANNOT wait to look at all of your entries because I'm 24-years-old and my friends are all starting to get engaged and married which means I'm going to get to throw LOTS of bridal showers!!  I love throwing parties, especially overly girly ones!!


So ... 


Welcome to my bridal shower!!

My sister and maid of honor threw me my bridal shower at my parents house about three months before my wedding.  She was in the middle of midterms in her last semester of her masters at Columbia (yikes!!) so I told her to keep it simple and fun - it was really just a wonderful time for me to celebrate my upcoming wedding with the women in my church who watched me grow up, supported and loved me.  My sister planned a brunch, but - in typical church lady fashion - everyone offered to bring something and it turned into a full-on POTLUCK and we all stuffed ourselves silly with salads, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, fruit and cupcakes.  Yumm!!
A woman that used to work with my sister helped set up and they used a watering can to "shower" me with gifts!!  It was so cute.


My friend's daughter Elizabeth was the youngest girl to be able to enjoy the day!!


Opening presents.  People were SO generous, I couldn't say thank you enough.


Me with my sister and my mom - it's scary how much we all look alike when we stand next to one another.  Three Hungarians - we may be a little bit crazy, but how can you not love us?

Thanks for stopping by!!  I can't wait to hear/see all of your showers and ideas!!
Sarah

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rest in Peace, Ted Kennedy

I woke up at 5:15 a.m. this morning, looked at my iPod and saw an e-mail alert from NY Times that had been sent in the middle of the night - Senator Edward Kennedy had died at the age of 77.  He spent nearly 50 years in the Senate.

I am so sad.

With Obama's campaign platform focusing so strongly on healthcare reform, I really feel like we are on the verge of something huge.  Senator Kennedy would have pushed the issue, addressed the reality and helped us get to a place that I really believe we need to be.  He cared about the marginalized; those in our country that were standing with their backs up against the wall and couldn't find access to good healthcare.

When Bruce and I moved to Atlanta two years ago, I enrolled in the student healthcare plan and Bruce was hired full-time with benefits, but they were going to take four months to kick in (his benefits had lapsed from his previous job while he was in Africa - he had been covered by traveler's insurance but those lapsed when he returned to the United States).  During those four months, he got a VERY serious skin infection.  We didn't get it taken care of right away, not really sure what it was and unable to have insurance cover a checkup.  It didn't clear itself up and ended up spreading.  Bruce landed in the Emergency Room where he was put on IV antibiotics to stop the spread.  From there he had to see a specialist and was on two different oral medications until the infection was gone.  Between the ER, the doctors who saw him at the ER (billed separately), the specialist and all of the pharmacy bills - we were looking at $3,000 in medical bills.

My mom told me to use her credit card to pay for a majority of the bills and we set up a payment plan for the rest.

I don't know what we would have done if my mom hadn't helped us out.  But I do know one thing - Bruce's infection was extremely serious.  And it's unfortunate that we let our lack of healthcare options prevent it from getting it looked at earlier.

Can you imagine if we had a family, a mortgage and no parents to bail us out?

Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.  It's a necessity, not a luxury.  I can only hope that the spirit of Senator Kennedy will come alive in our country's leaders as they work to create healthcare options that are affordable, accessible and sufficient for all.

Rest in Peace, Senator Kennedy.  God bless.  And thank you.

Quick Prayer Request

A group of students from Candler have been in South Africa for the past two weeks (I believe they are actually traveling back today). I heard that several of them came down with fevers, upper respiratory issues, bronchitas, etc. It is winter there right now (southern hemisphere) and that shift in weather is very difficult on a traveling body, particularly those traveling in close quarters. Please pray for their health as they struggle to get better so far from home - and for safe travels home!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile: Crisp Mornings

Today's installment of Things That Make Me Smile will be short, but sweet ...


There is nothing a southerner loves more than a late August break from the heat, a cool crisp morning and the chance to turn off their air conditioner and open all the windows.

I know it won't stay like this ... but it's 64 degrees right now!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gearing Up!!

And now for something completely different ... 



If you missed last week's cliffhanger on Army Wives then I would strongly advise you check it out before tomorrow nights episode!!

What does everyone think the "big surprise" is going to be?  I think Claudia Joy is pregnant - but is that too obvious?

Oh how I love this show!!

Hospitality Part 2

Bear with me, this may be long.

I've been thinking a lot about hospitality lately.

Prompted by a children's sermon a few weeks ago, my sense of awareness for the role of hospitality in my life and in the lives of those around me has been heightened.  More importantly - my sense of awareness for the role of the lack of hospitality in my life and in the lives of those around me has been heightened.

We welcomed our new class of international students at work this week.  All summer we've been preparing for their arrival, discerning how to best show hospitality and appreciation to them for selecting Emory and traveling so far to study with us.  It's safe to say that we did our best to bend over backwards for them - but they deserved it!!

Monday through Wednesday were intense - they had back to back to back to back sessions about school, Atlanta, immigration, banking, jobs and more.  Things slowed down on Thursday and Friday and I only saw the students as they tested for the English as a Second Language (ESL) class.  As I checked each student in and brought them to their testing room I asked how things were going.  Student after student expressed such sincere gratitude for all we had done for them since their arrival to our country.

As each student said that to me, I couldn't help but think - I hope they didn't expect anything less.  And yet - I thought back to the last time I was working my way through U.S. customs.  It was July 2007 and my family and I were coming back from Europe - we had flown direct from Barcelona and I was exhausted.  I remember coming in from baggage claim and listening to a U.S. customs agent barking at people as they tried to figure out which line to get into.  I looked at a young immigrant couple, trying to keep their three young children calm and under control.  But the children were just so excited to finally be free from the "please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened" message of the flight attendants that they couldn't help but run.  The U.S. customs agent showed no pity towards these eager children.  He yelled and told them they were in the wrong place.  I don't know if they understood what the man had said, but the parents frantically tried to round up their children.

I looked at my parents, rolled my eyes and said, "Welcome to the United States."

What a terrible first impression of our country.

What about hospitality in the work place?  Yes - work gets stressful.  Yes - sometimes you want to put on blinders to the rest of the office and swat away anyone who walks in your path.  Does that mean that you should?  No.  Taking a deep breathe and find out if the person who walked in front of you can help in anyway.

And ask nicely.  Snapping orders at people gets nothing done.  It really just makes them want to cry.

Let's talk about churches.  Do you think people who proclaim to do the work of God are any better?  I'm afraid not.

I started thinking about this as I read that one of my sweet blogger friends was having a difficult time settling into a church home for her and her family.  They had been attending a church for six months and hadn't really connected with any of the people there - six months!!  Six months and nobody at the church had taken the time to reach out to returning visitors.

I wish I could say that the churches that I call home have been any better.  I've often said that churches are like sororities.  Once you're in, you're in - it just takes awhile to get there.  When Bruce and I moved to Georgia and started church shopping, it took about nine months to really feel like the church we were attending was home.  And now that it does - I wonder if I practice what I preach when it comes to welcoming new visitors.  Those of you church goers out there - stop and think for a moment if you've actively sought out an unfamiliar face during the passing of the peace or coffee hour.  Have you?  Or have you made a beeline for a friend you haven't seen in awhile or a prospective committee member you're trying to finalize?

I can't speak for everyone.  But I think I may be guilty of this.

It's hard.  People want to worship on Sunday mornings.  They want to fellowship with their church family who they may not see any other day of the week.  They want to feel comfortable so they can truly experience God.  How can you experience a true worshipful experience if you feel like you're constantly needing to be a hostess?  There HAS to be a balance.  I'm just not sure what it is.

Let's forget about visitors for a minute (probably the only time you will every hear me say this).  Let's talk about extending hospitality towards ALL DEMOGRAPHICS within a congregation.  I am a member of the United Church of Christ, a denomination that prides itself on being open and affirming, particularly when it comes to sexual orientation.  But what happens when it comes to youth and children?  How do congregations extend hospitality towards a demographic that either has difficulties either sitting still and staying quiet or staying awake during worship?  Sometimes I think the congregations I call home - congregations that spend so much time extending hospitality towards an oftentimes ostracized community - have a hard time with this particular demographic.  I've seen and heard dirty looks, "shhsh'ing," reminding parents that there are childcare options available during worship, separate "children's tables" at coffee hour and council conversations about "what to do" about the youth "checking out" during worship.  What good is a worship service where everyone doesn't at least have the opportunity to get something out of it?

I don't think we talk about hospitality enough in our culture.  I think we expect that we are hospitable because we tend to throw awesome parties that produce pictures of people smiling all the time.

But that doesn't mean anything.

So let's talk about hospitality.  What are ways that we can extend hospitality in our homes, workplaces and churches?  Are there simple solutions or is this going to take awhile?

Rome wasn't built in a day.  But I have to say ... 


It was pretty spectacular once it was done.

Thanks for sticking with me - I know this was longwinded!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beautiful (all natural) Backdrop

One of my favorites from this weekend ... 


Bruce and me at the rehearsal.  Isn't the scenery beautiful?  I just couldn't get enough of it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Circle of Life

I'll admit it.  When my sister told me that she was singing "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King at my cousin's wedding - accompanied by my father on the guitar - I was skeptical.  In fairness to me, the last two times I'd heard the song it was while actors and actresses in elaborate animal costumes made their way through the audience and onto a stage. (Side note - if you've never seen The Lion King live on stage - do it - it will be worth every penny) But I kept thinking to myself, "The Circle of Life" at a wedding?

However ... something happened on top of the mountain.  I realized just how naive and close-minded I was being.  This wedding wasn't just a celebration of a couple's commitment to one another, it was - forgive me for sounding like a cliche - a celebration of the circle of life.  

We spanned the generations - from a six week old infant to an 85-year-old grandparent, we all made the same hike, witnessed the same promises, celebrated the same covenant.  

We stood in the same circle.  There were no reserved pews for family members towards the front (I say cowering my guilty-of-this-head in shame).  There was no beginning or end to the circle.

We were able to experience nature - God's creation.  The sun, the heat, the flies, the mosquitos, the birds, the grass, the dirt, the uneven terrain and more were all God's creation.

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.
- Genesis 1:31

Something very very special happened on the top of the mountain.  Listening to my sister sing about something so powerful that I was experiencing, that was present and in the flesh, just about took my breath away.

See for yourself.

video

Pretty awesome, isn't it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

For the Beauty of the Earth

I think ... 


... there is something so remarkable about watching a child pick flowers.  It's almost as if nothing else in the world matters.

All too often the pace of life becomes too fast, causing us to miss the simple beauties of the earth.

This weekend gave me the opportunity to once again discover these simple beauties.

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Peace

Bruce and I just got home after a quick trip to Huntingdon, Pennsylvania for my cousin's wedding.  I'll have plenty to say about it later (orientation starts tomorrow - I have to be at work at 7 a.m.) but here's a little preview.

Image courtesy of Juniata College

This was the site of the ceremony - the Peace Chapel at Juniata College.

Peace isn't an idea.  It's a way of life.  And Andrea and Adam's wedding ceremony proved that they are committed to peace on earth - and let us be part of that.  I'll upload my pictures and tell you more about the wedding as the week goes on.  I can't wait to share with you all the details of the ceremony - it was SO beautiful!!

Peace on earth IS possible.  My life wouldn't be the same if I didn't believe that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Two Months!!

Okay, so Bruce will mock me shamelessly for doing this, but I so rarely remember anniversaries (we never really celebrated our "dating" anniversary because we would always forget until a few days later) that when I woke up and realized it was August 13th, two months after our wedding, I decided I HAD to pay homage to it!!


Here are the top five things I've discovered in our first two months of marriage.
1. Cooking is a much more enjoyable experience when there are no more than five ingredients in the desired recipe.
2. Changing your name is much like deciding to do a big clean out of your house/apartment. You are really enthusiastic about it at first, but lose momentum about halfway through (this is why I'm Sarah Weaver according to social security, the DMV, the bank, my Target Visa and Emory student account, but still Sarah Keck according to my Wachovia Visa, the Emory HR department, Ursinus alumni, my doctors office / insurance and the pharmacy).
3. A new flat-screen TV (courtesy of many saved up Target giftcards) bought the night of a late-night Braves game will most definitely put a smile on your husbands face.
4. Never remind your husband that the oil needs to be changed on your car the week before a road trip. It's like having him tell you that you need to put makeup on your left eye after just finishing your right eye - you're well aware and being reminded is slightly insulting.
5. Being called Mrs. (Insert New Last Name Here) will most definitely make you melt into a pile of blissful mush the first couple of times that it happens. Being invited into a family and taking their name is such an amazing and incredible honor. I love being Mrs. Weaver.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!!!!!
Psalm 118:24

Monday, August 10, 2009

If I were one of Pavlov's dogs I would be salivating right now.

I don't remember much about high school psychology (I was a senior, I had been inducted into the National Honor Society, I had already been accepted into college, what was to remember?), but I do remember learning about Ivan Pavlov.  He's most known for his research on classical conditioning, noting that dogs salivate just at the sound of a bell after repeatedly coinciding the sound of the bell with food.  The whole point of his research is that people (and dogs, apparently) react to sounds, sites and smells rather than to situations themselves.

Needless to say, when I turned on the NFL All-Star Game last night on NBC and heard this:


... it smelled like snow.

I mean, not in the literal sense.  It's not going to be below 90 degrees once this week.

But there's something about that opening jingle that just brings me to a late November / early December Sunday evening.  The football game would be on.  My dad would be walking in and out of the family room onto the upper deck of our house, gathering firewood for the fire.  The air was crisp - you could actually smell the snow forthcoming.  I would be sprawled out on the floor doing homework, drinking tea and secretly hoping that the snow would blanket our town in time for school to be cancelled.  I would bundle up and a take a late night walk, staring at the stars, daydreaming about life and talking to God about what my future would look like.

The transition from fall to winter is such a magical time.  Even though it's definitely not the same in Georgia as it is in Connecticut - I am SO ready for it to be here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hospitality

Our associate pastor was out of town this weekend so Kim asked me if I would be willing to fill in.  I hadn't really taken a "pastor" role at Pilgrimage since Con Ed II ended back in April, so it was SO nice to be behind the pulpit again.  It just feels right.

Kim's sermon was about hospitality, so I tried to bring that into my children's sermon.  Children's sermons actually terrify me (people think I'm nuts for thinking this, but children are so intuitive, gearing a sermon directly towards them - with the adults watching - is difficult) so I came prepared with props.


I compared the hospitality shown in churches to "goodie bags" that they give and receive at birthday parties.  To show them how happy we were to have them at church and to all be back together for Sunday School now that the summer is coming to a close, I gave them each a goodie bag of hospitality (ie, M&Ms).  We talked briefly about different ways they can be hospitable in church.  Then - instead of me just closing in prayer - I had the kids repeat a really simple prayer after me, line by line.

We prayed this prayer:
Dear God, Thank You for welcoming us into Your house.  You make us feel so special.  Help us to welcome others.  Amen.

I know there is a very real possibility that my first call will be as an associate, working a lot with youth and children so I'm grateful for every opportunity given to me to gain more skills to strengthen my ministry.

But - more than that - I'm grateful for every opportunity to sit with a group of children and listen to their small voices reach up to heaven in prayer.

I experience the presence of God through moments like that.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

THE Cake Boss

I love watching Cake Boss on TLC.

I love watching the Today Show.

Buddy Valastro (THE cake boss) was on the Today Show yesterday.  Blissful.

Here's the video in case anyone missed it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Receptions / Honeymoons

Phew!!

We've reached the end of another week, which means it's time for another edition of Kelly's Korner "Show Us Your Life."  Today's topic is wedding receptions and honeymoons.


I'm a very hands on and detail-oriented person.  To save money and make things easier on our guests, we rented out the community house (used for plays, parties, yoga classes, girl scout meetings, etc. etc. etc.) that was directly adjacent to the church.  This meant that we had to take care of everything, including setting up tables and chairs, guest amenities, lights, tulle, etc.  It was stressful and tedious but I LOVED doing it!!

Rather than traditional "flower" centerpieces, I decided to use candles and mirrors.  Because my colors were red and black, my mom and I went to Target the day after Christmas and bought out all of their 75% off red candles leftover from the holiday.  I went to IKEA and bought mirrors and candle holders and we just sporadically placed them on the tables with red rose pedals.  The light from the candles not only reflected off of the mirrors, but also through the glasses set on the tables.


It was really cost effective because we had leftover candles that we use now and we'll be able to use the mirrors one day when we have more space (we're in a one bedroom apartment in Atlanta while I finish up my masters).


While we were clearing the Target shelves of their post-Christmas candles, we also bought out their lights, and then strung them with tulle in the rafters.  It looked beautiful, because the whole room was lit only by candlelight and Christmas lights!!

For our wedding favors we decided to buy champagne flutes (we bought these at IKEA 6 for $4) and matchboxes from Ideal Favors.  I typed up a note saying that we hoped every time people toasted with the glasses that they think about all the blessings they have in their lives.  My sister and I put them together in about two days and they were less than $1 apiece.  I would recommend something like that!!

This was one of my FAVORITE parts of the reception - a candy buffet!!  It's a really inexpensive crowd pleaser, especially if you have kids at the wedding (we had tons).  By the time I actually got to the buffet (at the end of the night when there were only a couple of people left talking to us) there were only a handful of gobstoppers and lifesavers left!!

We hired local caterers and they were AMAZING.  We had a full spread of appetizers and then a dinner buffet.  The bar had soda, water, beer and wine.  Everyone tells me that the food was incredible but I only took about a bite of dinner when I saw someone I hadn't had a chance to talk to yet and got distracted!!  Did that happen to anyone else?


Our beautiful cake.  Again - people told me it was delicious, but after the one bite Bruce and I fed each other, we got pulled away to say goodbye to someone, and then to take pictures with someone else, etc. etc. etc. and before we knew it the cake was gone!! (We still do have the top tier, although it's in my parent's freezer in CT and we live in GA!!)

Once dinner was cleared we all danced the night away!!  A note on our music - my father is a music teacher and has all sorts of sound systems at his disposal.  To save money, we decided not to hire a DJ, rather we created playlists on iTunes, had my dad bring in a sound system and we hooked my computer into it.  He hooked up a microphone so that Bruce and I - as well as different friends and family - could announce when different things were happening throughout the night.

Our first dance was to Etta James' At Last.  We actually decided on that back in January when we were watching coverage of the inaugural balls.  Granted - Beyonce wasn't there to sing it for us - but if it was good enough for the president, it was good enough for us!!

The bouquet toss ... 

Bruce and his groomsmen - "I've got friends in low places ... "

And, of course, a wedding wouldn't be complete without the YMCA!!

We honeymooned in Rehobeth Beach, DE.  We actually both grew up vacationing with our families at various Delaware beaches, so it was fun to go to a place that was familiar to both of us but to share it with each other as husband and wife.  We stayed right on the bay, but could walk across the street to the ocean.  I wore flip flops that had "Just Married" written on the bottoms so it left that in the sand!!  We laid on the beach, went crabbing, shopping, ate good food and slept A LOT.  The week flew by and we were NOT ready to leave!!

Thanks for stopping by!!
Sarah

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's getting hot in here ...

This ... 


... was the look on my face when I saw my Georgia Power bill for the month of July.

This ... 


... was the look on my face when I rubbed my eyes and realized that I hadn't misread my computer screen and was in fact going to have to figure out a way to pay said amount on bill.

The irony in all of this is that when I was listening to music on iTunes this afternoon, it kept shuffling to CHRISTMAS MUSIC.

Because that's what every person who's just received an astronomical power bill caused by the continuous running of air conditioning wants to hear.  Santa Claus is coming to town.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time's a movin' but I'm getting stronger ...

While I was at work today, I looked up at my dry-erase calendar and realized that it really needed to be updated.  It's a four-month calendar and since August was currently the last month listed, I couldn't really look ahead.

So I was starting to update things when I noticed and was shocked when I looked at it ... 


You can't really tell, but the last month on the calendar is currently November.

November?!  November?!  How is November already on my calendar?  I realize that it's a four month calendar, but oh myyyy.  Time FLIES.

Also ... 


... I moved every single one of those boxes.  By myself.  In a skirt.  38 pounds each.

(Picture me flexing my muscles)

A New Day

What a difference a day makes!!

I went into work yesterday a little bit nervous about what the day might hold, but also with a positive attitude. Not only was it a new week, but it was also a new month. Perfect time to start fresh, right?

It actually turned out to be a pretty good day. I was productive and time flew by - those are the kinds of days I like to have!!

Because of the rain we had at the end of last week and over the weekend, I left my scooter at Emory, which meant I had to walk to work yesterday morning. There's something so calming about taking the time to walk (it's about 2 1/2 miles up and down hills - takes about 40 minutes) and just enjoying being outside, listening to some of my favorite music and combining a commute with exercise. Granted - we've been at about 85% humidity with high levels of smog - but if you look past all of that it's a great time to just breathe and have some one-on-one time with God.

That being said - it was fun to get back on my scooter and zoom home when the day was over!!

When I got home there was a box waiting for me!! Veronica had read about my cooking disaster #1 and cooking disaster #2 and offered to send me a local seasoning (she lives in Southern California) that she uses all the time. We tried it to make fajitas and it was awesome!! And - you know me - I proceeded to google it and I found a website with all of the different spices made by this brand (Veronica had sent me the original blend) and (more importantly) RECIPES!! I will definitely be trying some of them.

Susie Q's Seasoning

Thanks Veronica!! For those of you who haven't checked out her blog, you really should. She also has a crochet business and makes the most beautiful hats. She's currently taking a summer hiatus, but look for some new patterns in the fall!!

That's all for now ... Smile big, love hard, rejoice always, find grace and live in peace,
Sarah

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday - New Week, New Month, Fresh Start

A friend of mine that I work with has always really liked Mondays.  When she first told me this I thought she was nuts - certifiable even.  But then she explained to me that Mondays give her a fresh start - no matter what happened the week before, it was a new week full of new possibilities.

I had an overwhelming week.  I took a long walk on Friday night and actually said out loud, "This week I battled with life - and life won."

Work has been frustrating.  Some days I feel like I'm working nonstop, getting lost under a growing pile of work, yet time is still standing still and the day is going by at a snail's pace.  It's hard to be a work study student.  It's an in-between job.  There's work that needs to be done, yet because I'm not a full time employee - and because I'm not even a student at Rollins - I often feel desperately out of the loop.

Life is complicated.  I'm married to someone who I love, admire and who makes me stronger.  My family is a little crazy (whose isn't?), but pretty fantastic.  I have amazing friends.  It should be as simple as that.  And yet sometimes it's not.  I hate that.

I'm not going to leave it at that and trust that strong faith and vulnerable prayers will give me peace.

In the meantime ... 

I LOVE that product developers are starting to find ways to use renewable resources to create products we use on a daily basis.  My friend Sara blogged about this today and it got me thinking that I should start to share with you all some of the ways Bruce and I have tried to make our lives a little bit greener.

When Bruce and I were wandering through JCPenney working on our wedding registry, we came across a set of organic sheets (made out of organic cotton).  We thought the concept sounded cool, so we shot the gun and received the set a few weeks later.  I put them on the bed right away and we fell in love!!  They are SO soft!!

I had a gift card to JCPenney leftover from my bridal shower so I decided to venture out this weekend to take advantage of Georgia Tax Free Shopping and hopefully find another set of organic sheets.

The bad news is that they didn't have any of the organic cotton sheets like the set we already have for a queen sized bed.  The good news is that they had a set of sheets on sale made out of bamboo!!!!!  They were originally $100, but they were on sale for $60, no sales tax, I had a $40 gift card and the guy at the register gave me an additional 15% off!!



I even bought them in green - thought I'd go along with my theme of being green.

We opened them today and they are SO soft and silky - I can't wait to use them!!

Here's to a FRESH START!!
Sarah
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