Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I smell like I did in High School

Well, no planes were jumped out of no Hot Air Balloon rides were had and no catastrophic event happened on the 10 year anniversary BUT I did go for a run(even though my doctor told me not too.  Running bulls in Pamplona couldn't keep me from running on this day), made a necklace at this really cool place in Valley Junction(everything was half off, SCORE), hung out with my sister, went to a cool Italian grocery store to pick up some essentials that can only be found there(the good stuff at least), and then got all fancied up and went to church. As I ran around Gray's Lake, I took note of the weather, it was the same chilly almost rainly gray weather as the day she died.  As I ran I became overwhelmed with blessings that I was thanking God for, that he had given me over the past 10 years.  I cried for half of my run because I was so overwhelmed with love and thankfulness from how far I've come and everything that I've been blessed with. Yeah, I think my mom would have approved of that schedule!  I'm still having a hard time believing its been 10 years.  Some people might say, 10 years, get over it already.  Well, how about we take away YOUR best friend(and mom) and see how you feel 10 years later.  Take my word for it, because I would never wish this on anyone, you'll still feel every bit of that hurt everyday no matter if it was yesterday or 100 years ago.  Some days are just easier than others to handle the hurt.  I also feel like everything reminds me of that time of my life.  I know its probably just a coincidence but during my run I kept smelling my mom's perfume.  I'm a smell person as well as a memory person so I remember smells and the memories attached to them.  I know what my mom's perfume smells like and i kept smelling it.  I don't use the same detergent she used, I don't wear the same lotion/perfume/soap/anything as she used but I kept smelling it waft across my nasal path as I ran.  And today,  I keep smelling myself, don't get gross here, its a combo of my perfume(ok it is Estee Lauder but its not the same kind as my mom used), my laundry detergent/softener, my soap(yes I showered today) and my hair products and all of that rolled into one makes me smell like I did in High school.  It makes me smell like Lucky perfume, weird.  Well at least I don't smell bad?  And sometimes you just need to write something down, as is the theme of this post!  Happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint.

If you've ever seen the movie, Titanic, you know exactly where that line comes from.  Well this Saturday, November 13, 2010 marks the 10 year anniversary of the worst day of my life.  My mom died, very suddenly, 10 years ago and I can still remember the smallest of details throughout that entire week, so I'm asking you all out there in the blogosphere for help, I need something to do in the Des Moines area that will make me look forward to this Saturday.  Any and all ideas are welcome!  To read about what happened you can go to My Journey page.  It's not even close to being finished but its a start and I'll be adding to it periodically.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sometimes, you just need your mom.

I'm having one of those last couple of days when I just want to call my mom and have her take care of me.  Yes, I've been an adult for the past 10 years(my version of adulthood came the moment she died) but sometimes you just want to be treated like when you were 5 and had to stay home sick.  I want my fluffy slippers, homemade soup, and lots and LOTS of Sprite.  Well after a couple of day worth of fighting what I had tried to ignore I got hit in the head my a metaphorical 2x4 yesterday and I crashed hard.  12+ hours of sleep hard.  Monday night, not great sleep but got up on Tuesday morning to go workout, feeling great!  Had a cough and kinda felt like i slept under a drafty window(which I hadn't) but no big deal.  When my throat has the slightest tinge of hurting I go into coffee detox mode and drink only hot tea(preferably minty inspired).  I just figured out that no coffee + early morning after a bad night's sleep+ oncoming cold= Meredith feeling like death.  BUT I stuck it out at work, I really hate calling in sick or leaving sick, honestly it irritates me to have to do it so I try not to.  I think that's probably my parents in me telling me to "buck up".  They weren't insensitive, just no-nonsense.  Alas, I woke this morning and the throat was worse than yesterday but I felt rested and like a shower would bring me new life for the impending day!  And it did! But sitting in my office, sucking on a Chloroseptic cough drop that tastes like cherry flavored dead moose butt, throwing back all the fluids I can get my grubby hands on, and wishing I could call my mom and have her bring me some of her magic soup.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The List

Who doesn't like a little Blog Stalking?????  I sure do, so here's a list of blogs that I regularly stalk.  I promise, for those of you on my list, its a compliment not creepy!

1. Confessions of a Girl Brained Moron The amazing writer of this blog was my big in the sorority  I have been a member of since my freshman year of college.  She was actually the president and all around "it girl".  She's funny and fabulous!
2.College Prep Who doesn't love preppy things and college?  I love both and this blog is fantastic.
3.Flamingo Toes Awesome name and wonderful craftiness inside!
4.Golubka Weird name, wonderful food and ideas.
5.I am Momma Hear Me Roar My current deep obsession, SO MANY good ideas, easy tutorials, and she's funny/beautiful/cute kids to boot!  Definitely worth the time to check out.
6.Tell it to your Therapist Someday Ah, my lovely sister has joined the blogging community.  As she would put it,"My blog is less 'fluffy bunny' than yours." Meaning, its real, and its real funny too!
7.Two Shades of Pink is part inspirational, part crafts and part funny but wholly awesome!!!!!!!!  I cried when I read her infertility story, I highly recommend reading it but don't do it in your office for crying out loud because you will.  cry.  outloud.  It's just a true testament to God's greatness and if you're a mother, not a mother, whatever, its worth the time to read it.
8.UCreate a TON of amazing crafts and do-it-yourself stuff that is totally gorgeous and totally easy to do.
9.Kath Eats Real Food Another awesome foody blog.  I just really like her style of simple, no hassle, real, and real good for you food.  Simply put, its simply awesome!
10.Shwin and Shwin another foody/crafty/awesomy blog.  Easy to make, easy to read, easy to get obsessed with.
11.Our Best Bites Great ideas for kids and adults alike when it comes to food.  They have healthy, homey, crafty, sneaky ways to make new food or revamp classics.
12.On My Side of the Room Sweet crafty blog with an even more awesome Etsy site with a ton of gorgeous jewelry.
13.Vegan Dad wonderful easy vegan recipes for anyone to love whether you are vegan or a carnivore, everyone will love it.

And there you have it friends, a baker's dozen of the freshest blogs in my blogosphere!!!!  I hope you enjoy!


When I think of the word "perfection", I instantly crack a smile and am reminded of all the things that one simple word can distort and ruin.  Personally, I don't think that my perfectionistic tendencies have ruined anything but a lot of things have been distorted by it.  Looking back, I see it ever so clear.
Starting in, I would say, high school I became fully aware of the way I presented myself and how the things I did, had, thought and said affected the way that other people viewed me.  I was a good kid, truly, you can even ask my parents.  I think they got off pretty darn easy when it came to worrying if I was in any trouble or if I was failing my classes. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a perfect child but my parents trusted me and keeping that trust in tact was enough motivation to not get into trouble.  I think the worst thing I did was TP our football coaches house with the entire team and all the coaches inside, planning their attack of the state playoff game!  I was a straight "A" student, had at least one job from the time I was just over 16, I was in multiple extracurricular activities and had great friends who were on the same mental track as I was.  I think I inherently had this instilled in me, from my parents but perfection came like a second nature as well.  I had to have the newest, greatest clothes, shoes, school supplies, car, etc.  I never wore anything less than a T-shirt and jeans to school with matching shoes most days as well.  Not showering was NOT an option, I had to have my hair done and make-up flawless every day, even if I had PE later that day.  I actually made my schedule so that i would have PE first thing so I was able to not have to mess up my hair or makeup in the middle of the day.  I semi-worked to get the best grades in every class I was in.  I was friends with mostly everyone in high school(in a high school with 200 total kids, you know everyone), was in the "popular" crowd and I would say pretty well liked by teachers and students alike.
This mentality followed me into college.  I decided to pledge a sorority because all sorority girls were perfect and were instantly escalated in social status just by association!  I wanted that, I needed that, so I got that!  As part of that organization it was also instilled in us that what you do, how you speak and how you treat others reflects not only you but the organization.  I loved that, our organization had a great reputation on(and off) campus which furthered the perfection.  I also went to a tough school.  It wasn't Harvard or Yale but it was difficult and only the truly intelligent, driven, bound to succeed type were accepted(I really don't know how I got in, still to this day!).  It was very cut throat and while it took me a bit to get accustomed to this, I thrived.  I pushed, scratched, and clawed my way to the top of every class I took.  This was my definition of perfection: image, intelligence, association, acclimations, and acquired things and I had it all.
Then I graduated from college and had no job, for three months.  The one job I got was something that i believe was below me.  Please don't take this as ungratefulness because I was eternally grateful for my first job out of college.  I learned so much more than I could have ever imagined but it didn't exude the perfect image of a thriving young professional that I wanted.  Ok, fine.  The job's not the CEO position I was hoping for out of college but I'll deal.  Apartment isn't the fancy schmancy loft downtown that I had my eye on, ok.  I'll deal with that too.  I was saving money living in the pot infested, baby mama-drama, slumlorded apartment anyway.  I think it was during my last year as an apartment manager when I realized that my view of perfection was so off.  I think I was working so hard to make sure everyone else KNEW I was perfect that I missed out on a lot of the, maybe not perfect but really cool, other stuff.
Slowly, I started shedding my daily rituals, stripping down my thought process and in essence releasing myself from the perfection frame of mind that I had.  God has been refining my thoughts to not continuously strive to be perfect but to see his grace, peace, patience and many other virtues as perfect.  Which, in turn, as I grow more in Him I am coming to see perfection in a different light.  I'm not striving for perfection in my life but a life more like Christ, who is the only perfect thing.  Now I find perfection in the most ordinary, daily routines or in some not-so-great situations or in things that have pushed my limits in every way possible.  Now when I think of perfect, I don't think of how I can make myself seem perfect to others I see things like last weekend's camping trip where I froze half to death, almost got eaten by raccoons and had to walk past the gross non-flushable toilets to get to one that did flush.  Last weekend was perfect.  If you were one of the few that braved the cold/furry rabid creatures/woods/bugs/nature, you can't NOT look back on last weekend and not smile.  I think it would be impossible.  The last day I saw my friend's dad before he died (Read here) was a perfect day. Having my aunt tell Meg and I stories about her crazy family and then going out to dinner was perfect.  Getting to hear laughs from the greatest nephew in the whole world is perfect.  Drinking coffee on the porch with my dad before everyone else wakes up, is perfect.  Selling my first piece of artwork (read here) (and here) on the 9 year anniversary of my mom's death was bittersweet but it was pure unadulterated perfection.  I like this verse, because it reminds me that God gives us these moment, these events and the only roll we play in it is to praise Him for what He has done for us and blessed us with.

James 1:17 (New International Version)

17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Funny Conversation

3:40 PM evmanorand i totally read that entire i am momma blog clear to the beginning.
3:41 PM me: yeah, she's pretty sweet not gonna lie, i'm gonna take some ideas and run
  I'm a follower of her blog now. So i'll get updates
3:42 PM evmanor: and that poor kid in the cute.
 me: her kids are freaking adorable
 evmanor: arent they???
  oh and p.s. yesterday, i saw a short bus and thought of you.
3:44 PM me: you're aweful
3:45 PM evmanor: i saw it turn a corner and all i could see is you in an imaginary helmet trying to lick windows and i lost it. no lie.
3:47 PM me: you are terrible

9 minutes
3:57 PM me: i'm eating thick candy shells
 evmanor: eww, i'm not so much an m&m fan anymore.
 me: why?
 evmanor: dunno, just kinda quit eating them and then i had a few a while ago and was like yick
 me: POPTARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4:00 PM so, we goin to west end first though?

5 minutes
4:05 PM evmanor i just want you to read the headline....and think....a.bout waht's coming soon.......winter.....barf.
4:07 PM me: I don't need to read that
4:08 PM evmanor: i figured if i was exposed to that, you should be tooo.
4:11 PM me: you're just not nice, you know that
  you woke up to the mean stick
4:12 PM evmanor: must be the stink of old ppl and human feces in my nose.
4:13 PM me: um, gross
  you need a therapist
4:14 PM evmanor: nah. i need a vacation. (we were on pest control and someone had poo'd their

I'm sorry but you can't NOT laugh at this.  Me(its me, duh!!!!!!!!!!!!) and evmanor is my sister.  We. Are. AWESOME.  Seriously, if you look under "awesome" in the dictionary, you'll see our picture.  

I'm turning into my mother, and I LIKE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who were never blessed to know my mother, I genuinely hurt for you that you never got to meet her.  She was probably the most amazing person you'd ever meet.  She'd have you at hello and a smile!  Although sometimes irritating and demanding with wicked high expectations and an emotional nightmare( I can say this because it is also a trait I get from her) she was wonderful.  She would see something in a magazine or book and instantly have to make it, if she could, and she usually could.  She could make a masterpiece out of the most random junk.  She sewed all of the costumes for her high school musical, "Oklahoma".  She was always the crafty "go-to" person for bible school and other church/4H/community activities.  I get my wicked-sweet baking and cooking skills from my mom too.  She never measured a thing, she just dumped and smelled and mixed and felt and POOF it was done and whatever it was, it was wonderful.  Domestically, she could fix anything too. Give her a shirt/skirt/cookies/dinner that was either not right/broken/torn/gross and she'd make it great.  She made us doll clothes for all seasons, our own clothes for all seasons, stockings for all of our teachers for Christmas, name doilies as well, homemade pizza(or bubble pizza in Amber and Ranae terms) on Fridays when my friends came over, would talk your ear off, loved the Lord and made sure everyone knew that, smart, funny and beautiful to boot! I'm sure you all think your mom is the greatest but I don't question why God wanted her by His side so soon, because she was so amazing and He had way bigger plans for her than could have been done from earth.  SO to get to the point of my story, I was reading a crafty blog today about this woman who makes cute clothes for her two boys and home decor for each season and she had a guest post by her sister talking about how she found these two old doors on the side of a road and turned them into a headboard and a footboard for her bed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH ITS THE COOLEST THING EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I must try it.  I've been looking for a headboard for ever and I just never seem to find one I feel is worth the money to buy it.  SO my mission is to overtake my dad's work bench at his house(he just made a really cool one in thier extra garage) and find an old door and make it my new headboard.  Tall order? I think not. And that friends is exactly something my mom would do.  All the other stuff I mentioned about how great my mom was/is, I can only hope to be half the person she was.  Man I need a camera to post pictures of stuff I made.  I made a scarf from and old T-shirt.  Its pretty sweet!!!  It will be debuted today at my camping trip with my Bible study, and yes if you don't hear from me in a day, call for help.  Until next time Iowa!

Friday, October 8, 2010

(Insert clever title that pertains to this post, here)

After my whirlwind trip to SLC, UT I came back home and had to begin the hunt for a new car, again. I really tried not to look for anything while I was in SLC because there wasn't much I could do about it until I got back which was late Friday night meaning I couldn't go look until Saturday.  The couple of cars I found while leisurely looking, I inquired about and they had all been sold, again going back to square one.  My car is a Dodge and I was actually trying to stay away from that brand, no particular reason, if you've read my blog you know I love my car to bits but I was looking for something new and different, somewhat outside of my comfort box.  But alas, my sister found a car EXACTLY like the one she just purchased in July of this year.  It was the same year, in my price range, had GREAT mileage on it(better than great, actually.  Almost the same amount of miles that my car had when my parents bought if for me when I was 15.), it was in essence an upgraded version of my car(and I am still not ready to get rid of my car), it has a lot of bells and whistles that I don't need but are really sweet, it drove really well, but it did have one defect.  The dashboard needed replaced so we did some negotiation, my mom always said I would make a great lawyer and I still haven't ruled that out of life options.  Except for a couple road bumps that I'm sure come with purchasing a car, we worked out the logistics and  it will be mine this Saturday!  SO, are you ready to laugh because I think this is, at the least, minorly hilarious: 1. My sister and I will now we driving the EXACT same car(the car I'm trading in is a Dodge Avenger and she got rid of her Chrysler Sebring, essentially the same car but hers was older and gray.  My old one was at least a big color difference: red).  Both of our cars are the exact same year, mine is gray and hers is silver, both have wicked sweet sound systems, mine has an additional security system(that I'm dying to test out when someone is standing next to my car.  Preferably my dad, I owe him for years of scaring the bezezus out of me!), both of us still have our names on out license plates, our mother's innovative thinking that it would stop us from getting pulled over by cops.  Easier for them to remember a name on a plate than numbers and letters which should in tern make us drive slower to prevent this, NOT, well at least in my sister's case.  We've been asked if we were twins for the entirety of our given lives, we're only 16 months apart, but now we'll even look like it when we drive!  Serioulsy, Bobsy twins party of 2! Ok, I think its funny! One MAJOR bonus that I'm trading my car in now is that it still runs and they're giving me WAY too much money for my car's trade in value.  I tried not to act surprised when the salesman told me how much, but I seriously choked a little.  And just to finish off the post, I'm going to make a list of blessings that God has really been showing Himself to me lately.  Everyone in America likes lists:
I'm blessed with/eternally thankful for
1. My parents.  Not many kids get the car they want when they are 15.  I mean not many average, normal kids get the car they picked out sitting in their garage when they get home from school one day.  My dad said he was getting a truck and I opened the garage and it was MY car.  (well they said it was going to be a family car but we all knew it was mine from the second I set eyes on its firey red self.  And who has a 2 door family car anyway, geez dad.) and I will include Nae(my dad's wife) in the parental unit group.  While they started dating when I was 19 and in college, she has to keep my dad in line and still manages to check in and make sure we're doing ok too.  I think they go above and beyond the parental duties at all times without question or hesitation, not many 26 year olds are that lucky and blessed.
2. My sister, while it may seem like we are annoyed with each other, we're actually pretty good friends, I would say.  I don't question why people think we're twins, we're close.
3. My friends, because they're my friends.  I wouldn't have crappy friends, I'm not stupid!  I have wonderful friends, just ask them! They challenge me, teach me, bless me, help me, guide me, comfort me, and make me want to be a better person.
4.  I think its a blessing that God continues to teach me patience and that His plan is way better than I could ever imagine.  I think if I would have forced things, like I usually do, it wouldn't have turned out this great.
5. My attitude, not bragging but I think my general honesty and frankness with people is a blessing.  I got charged for a mechanic looking at my old car and, while I remember a lot, I did not remember him saying it was free or if it would cost anything.  I wasn't happy but I paid it.  Said mechanic went to get my car, realized I had my debit card out to pay the bill and said he remembered telling me he'd assess my car for free and then made the cashier refund my money.  I think it was partly because I had told him that I've been screwed over by two other mechanics in the greater Des Moines area and I wasn't happy with mechanics to begin with when I took my car in.
6. the people I work with, they're just great.  There are so many different personalities, backgrounds, attitudes, demeanors, etc but I really truly do enjoy my job and the people I work with, lunch today was greatly entertaining!

And I'm stopping at 6, why?  because I want to and this is my blog and I'm going to stop writing about my many blessings and go enjoy them!  Until next time America!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Grown Up Business Trip

I am currently on my first REAL out of state business trip, I might be a little shocked but its a first!  I just continue to feel so blessed to have this job and everything, just being on this trip is icing on the cake of this job.  I can't express enough how grateful I feel and continuously see/feel God's plan for my life.  I think that is because I waited and prayed for this job for over a year and it exceeds my expectations and needs on a daily basis.  Just for a taste of what I'm blessed/thankful for and get to experience this week.
1. Marble bathroom
2. Hotel Room to myself
3. A new city!( I've been out of the country but I've never been west of Nebraska) Salt Lake City is beautiful
4. The view from my hotel room is fantastic(we're in downtown SLC but I can still see mountains, AWESOME)
5. King sized bed ALL TO MYSELF, not that my queen size bed isn't fantastic but I do enjoy ginormous beds.
6. Hugging people, apparently that is the culture of this company.  We shake hands then we hug, its pretty cool!
7. I love flying and airplanes and I haven't flown since 2006.  Its like being on an extended roller coaster ride!
8. Obama was going through the Des Moines airport today and you would think security would be pretty tight.  I got through the first check point not knowing that I had my co-worker's boarding pass.  I had checked in with it and no one ID'd me.  Props to Des Moines!(I'm more humored by this than anything)
9. ASL is a fantastic language and I really want to learn, I think I'm very fortunate to be in the industry I'm in.
10. Its not a vacation but it feels like it because even being away for a couple hours/knowing I'll be gone for a couple of days makes me very thankful for home and everyone/everything about it!

OK, reading then bed for me, bright and early wake up call for a day full of meetings and lots to learn!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In regards to the post "Revelations"

Please read the second "Revelations" not the first, the first has an inappropriate typo that I corrected in the second.  I apologize to all!


I've had a lot of revelations this past week, so many that I thought I needed to document them.
1. I hate dried bananas, they gross me out.  I didn't like them as a kid and my former reaction will still stand as an adult.  I will only eat barely all yellow/some green bananas, nothing more nothing less.
2. Speaking of adult, my adulthood is screaming loud and clear recently.  As the aforementioned blog post stated, I will hopefully/prayerfully be buying a new car sometime in the very near future. I looked, narrowed it down to 4 "likes", set up an excel spreadsheet of all the specs and from there narrowed it down to two that I will test drive in the next couple of days and possibly make a decision from there.  It is so very surreal to me how adult all of this analysis and research is.  I think that would be my job lurking in the back of my head( I analyze a lot of stuff for work).  This is very adult of you Mer.
3. I hate pomegranate seeds.  They are so gross and I can't stand them.  I don't usually meet foods that I don't like but I had to throw my beloved Greek yogurt away because I had purchased pomegranate Greek yogurt and I could not get past the taste/texture.  It's like biting into a flesh pocket with a hard seed in the middle, sick!
4. I like oatmeal made with water.  I used to only eat it made with milk or some kind of milky substance.  Today: not the case.  I didn't have any milky substance at work so I resorted to water because I was craving my homemade instant oatmeal that I had brought for breakfast and hadn't eaten yet.
5. I love nut butter.  Hazlenut, Cashew, Peanut, whatever else I will try in the future I will probably like as well.  and I most certainly like it on my oatmeal too!!!
6. My family is awesome. This is not just a recent revelation but a continuous one!
7. I'm going on my first business trip on Tuesday through Friday night and again with the adulthood kicking in!  This is the first time I've traveled without family or a group from school.  Besides the weekend train ride we took to Portugal from Spain.  6 girls, 8 hours, 1 train car, endless amounts of fun!
8. I will have to part with my dear friend, the '98 Dodge Avenger that I so dearly love.  The one that my mom and dad got for me(well they said it was a family car but we all knew it was mine!) when I was still only 15.  This revelation is somewhat hard to swallow.  Its like realizing a piece of you is leaving forever.  I know I'm being dramatic but seriously, what kid doesn't have a fondness for their first car, and for me to have it for 10+ years, its a special bond!
9. I love my job, again with the continuous revelations but I can't say enough how blessed I am to have it!
10. Josh McDowell is coming back to Des Moines for the THIRD time this weekend!!!!!!  Busy guy but he loves him some Des Moines!  check out for times, it will totally be worth your while!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

We've all known this day was coming, that there would be an end to this story.  My lovely car, the only one I've ever owned/driven/loved/adored, has hit the point of no return.  The repairs on it are going to be more expensive than what a) the car is worth and b) what I want to spend in one shot.  So now begins the search for a different one.  I'm not picky, which I think is making this harder but there are three things I want/need in a car: 1. Reliability(I know that includes many factors like brand, mileage, type, etc. ) 2. Affordable and 3. Low mileage(lower than my car has now) for the age of the car.  So I'm trying to go about this methodically and giving it the weight it deserves but not over thinking it, like I sometimes do.  So, what I'm going to ask you all, out there in the blogosphere, to pray for this and for my decision.  Like I said, I'm not picky and I'm not going to wish for my dream car but I do need something.  Thank you all in advance! OH and I'm leaving on a plane for Salt Lake City on Tuesday!  I'm excited, no need for a car all next week.  Other automobiles will be used!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pineapple, Coconut, Vegan, Pumpkin, Pies, Sweet Potatoes, etc.

So, I've been reading multiple food blogs lately: Vegan mostly, healthy, no so healthy, and pretty much everything in between.  I'm thinking about going vegan, meaning I would only eat plant based food.  While I eat a lot of plant based foods anyway, I still love my cheese and yogurt(Chobani Pineapple Greek Yogurt is absolutely AMAZING, better than icecream and like heaven on a spoon.  I've purchased two weeks worth of one flavor which NEVER happens.  I'm a girl who likes her variety!). I have been trying to cook more vegan, because in my mind, it provides me with an excuse to try LOTS of new things.  I made 7 layer bars, you know the graham cracker crusted gooey sweetened condensed milky, chocolately chippy, nutty goodness bars, VEGAN!  While I did find a vegan sweetened condensed milk recipe, and I will be trying it in time, the recipe I found called for coconut milk and sugar to replace the sweetened condensed milk and of course vegan butter to replace the "REAL" stuff.  Reviews: the crust wasn't crusty enough for me and the gooey part was more custardy but all together it was really good and using walnuts instead of pecans was a really good alternative too!  While eating them, my thoughts were, " These are VEGAN and they are REALLY good, totally bad for me still but REALLY good, maybe I can do this vegan thing." Special note: they are AMAZING cold.  Highly recommended by myself and those who they were made for!
Well I have talked to a couple people on this topic.  My dad's take on it was the "Meat is the best protein you can eat, not that plant stuff." Well he might not have said exactly that but the jist of it is true.  I gave up meat almost three years ago, about six months ago I did start eating chicken and fell back into the same food rut that I had gotten out of when I went vegetarian, so alas I went back to being a vegetarian and I like it!  I've also liked being a visiting vegan.  I'm still up in the air but I like the prospects of being vegan.  Let me know your thoughts! If I were to go vegan, it does not mean I wouldn't still cook the same yummy things I do now.  I just wouldn't eat them and I would probably try and make them vegan at some point. A challenge, but I like it!
 I was reading a food blog and they mentioned Pumpkin Beer!  I knew it existed and I've always wanted to try it, 2 hangups thought: 1. I don't drink much anymore or at all and 2. I HATE beer with a passion.  I'll taste it but I really don't like it but its PUMPKIN and that may just overshadow the fact that its beer if given the chance to try it.  I probably won't seek it out but if it happens to find me, I might considered trying it.
If you read my blog, you've probably read the last post about the sad news I got yesterday.  Well I think i was trying so hard not to cry at work more than I already had, I gave myself a migraine.  I couldn't sleep it off because I had set last night as the day to make 5 pies for our churches HogRoast and I had friends coming over to help me.  It was just what the doctor ordered, seriously, THE BEST NIGHT EVER!!!!!  Filled with many faves: friends( whom are amazing and I can't say it and express it enough), sister who provided the commentary, the curious gato named Baily, and cooking!  Well I think we all learned something last night in the small one person kitchen.  We knocked out 5 pies(one failed but more on that later), learned how to put a disposable pie plate together, Liz and Jes learned how to use a grater, I learned how to use a citrus juicer, Jes got sweetened condensed milk in Liz's hair and we all got Pumpkin on our shirts!
First Apple: I bought way too many apples so I think I will be making another apple pie tonight to keep at home, possibly vegan pasty will be tried!  The apples we tasted were amazing, no recipe just by feel and I think everyone will like what we came up with!
The Pumpkin: things got sticky.  So Jes enlightened us with a tidbit of info, there's another pumpkin shortage this year??????????  So that is why I couldn't find Libby's(with the standard lovely recipe on the label) so I bought the kind I could find which also had a recipe on the back, just a bit different than I'm used to but I think it turned out all the same or hopefully maybe even better.  It used sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk.  Everything else was the same though.
The tart and sassy Key lime was next: IT ONLY BAKED FOR 15 MINUTES,   we were all a little skeptical about this but it seemed to be fine and Liz got her hands dirty making the crust for us.
The the southern belle, Peach: I couldn't find Rhubarb so instead I made peach.  It was still baking when the girls left but I think it looks like a gem!
Finally French Silk: seemed so simple and looked like it would be amazing to taste.  WELL let me just tell you, we only needed one ounce of chocolate and I went through the entire bar because I messed it up so many times and I have now deemed it a failure and something that I will try some other time.  Simple instructions: make sure all ingredients are room temperature: done.  I set them out as soon as I got home and made that pie last.  Second whip into submission for a LONG time, done.  I needed a break anyway.  Third: REALIZE YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG AND START OVER.    Fine, I am human and fallible so I'll try again.  EPIC FAIL THIS TIME, I conceited defeat for now and will try it again later.  So, now i have an empty pie shell that I need to fill, well not need but I have it, might as well find something to fill it with.  We will see.  And that was my wonderful night!
OH sweet potatoes, I just love them.  They are the humble servant to the regular potato but the true diamond in the rough.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crying in the girls' room...........

No it's not what you think! But I have done a lot of cryin' in the girls' room, and not because a guy broke my heart or some vicious rumor was circulating about me.  For some reason I find solace in bathrooms, call it a weird quirk but it is true.  I think it is because bathrooms are a place where people don't bother you, or its socially unacceptable to bother someone else in a bathroom, everyone minds their own business so whether someone is in the next stall or not you can cry your eyes out as much as you want and no one will say a word.  My mom died on our bathroom floor at home almost 10 years ago and I would go lay on the floor where she took her last breath and remember and cry, the type of cry that no matter how hard you fight it, its going to keep coming until there are no more tears left.  Whenever I hear of someone dying, I immediately run to the closest bathroom because the tears are going to burst out before I can even realize what is happening.  Today I learned of a friend's dad who passed away.  She and I have been friends since first grade and have continued to be friends ever since.  As soon as I could, I grabbed my phone to call her and ran out the door to the bathroom.  She picked up the phone with tears in her voice and we just cried.  I had visited her a couple weeks ago, for the first time since her wedding two years ago, in the mean time she also had a son whom I had never met.  We call/email but this is the first time I had visited and it was fantastic because her parents stopped by also.  I remember driving home that day, and thinking that it was a perfect day.  It was a bright sunny day, my sister let me drive her new car so I was driving with the sunroof open down the highway with very few cars on it, just me, my thoughts and an open road, visited an old friend, got to see her wonderful parents, and going to church to top off the day.  It truly was a perfect day.  There's just some special bond between a person and the parents of his/her childhood friends.  They sometimes become your second set of parents.  My friend's parents are wonderful, they do remind me of my own.  Even after I moved away and would come back home to visit we would start the conversation like no time had passed and like I still lived down the gravel road.  I think I knew that day, as I drove away from her house,  I would never see her dad again.  She had said it was only a matter of months the doctors had given him after a long battle with cancer.  I've never had to deal with a family member or friend having cancer let alone losing someone to cancer, but I have had to deal with death, more than one should ever have to deal with it at the age of 26.  For the past 11 years, I've gone to at least one funeral a year and very few of them had been older people who had lived a full life and it was "just the end of their road". They were a friend, a little girl, my mom, parents of my friends, siblings of my friends, people who still had their entire lives ahead of them.  Every time I hear of a death, I'm reminded that God has such bigger plans than we can even imagine.  What we see as unfair or too soon, He sees as just right and perfect, for those that follow Him.  While some people I may not see in Heaven, some I know I will.  Because we have put our faith, hope and trust in the Lord and because of that we will meet again someday.  Every time I go to a funeral, I'm reminded that by making the decision to follow the Lord I secured an amazing fate when I die.  And I am no longer scared of death.  So if you're reading this, and you're not sure where you'll end up when you die, let me know.  I'd love to see you again someday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

26 things about me

I believe there was a Facebook thread that was doing this a while ago but in honor of my recent 26th birthday(on August 29, dad.  If you're reading this!) I am going to share 26 things about myself that most people might not know.
1.  I won a talent competition by playing "Amazing Grace" on the piano, now I can barely play the first five notes.  "Amazing Grace" is still and probably will always be one of my favorite songs.
2. I can do the Pee Wee Herman laugh.  You know, the weird, creepy pedophile guy, yeah.  This talent I only whip out when forced.  Funny story, my old roommate's(now) husband and I could both do it so at random times we would start laughing and it would creep my roommate out.  We thought we were HILARIOUS!!!!!
3. I secretly wish I were still in college.  I miss it greatly!
4. I want to pack up and move to Maine.  I think it is beautiful out there.
5.  I enjoy being THAT girl. ( aka Ugg and TNF wearing, SBUX drinking, BBY carrying, eternal sorority girl at heart.) I don't believe my personality fits it though.
6. I'm the jumpiest person you'll ever meet, which my roommates are finding out recently.
7. I hate putting labels on myself but here are some that, for the most part, apply: Follower of Christ, Artist, Writer, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Roommate, Niece, Vegan, Vegetarian, Runner, Boxer, Baker, and the list can go on forever.  Thus the hating of labels.
8. I want to tell people that my sister and I are twins.  It would be a better explanation of our parallel behaviors.
9. My mom used to sing "How Great Thou Art" in church when I was little and every time we sing it at the DTC, I cry but I still love that song.
10. I could sit and listen to someone play the piano or guitar for HOURS, and I'm not exaggerating.   I love listening to those two instruments.
11. I have a wicked extensive memory.  It freaks people out sometimes but I really enjoy remembering memories in such vivid detail.
12. I absolutely LOVE all of my friends in Des Moines, the old, the new and all the in between. I couldn't ask for a better group of friend to surround myself with, and I know I don't tell them that enough so if you read this, you're most likely in that group and I love you!!!
13. I make weird noises/faces at my computer, because I can.
14. Sometimes I'll start talking in a southern/Boston/Jersey/ghetto voice and think nothing of it.  Certain things can be emphasized better in an accent, in my opinion!
15. I really dislike bugs but I feel like its childish for me to scream when I see a bug.
16.  I'm incredibly emotionally attached to my car, long story.
17.  I really enjoy playing with kid's toys. I'm a child at heart.
18. When I think about my "Dream House" the only thing that I can picture is the kitchen.
19. I actually enjoy economics, thanks to Dr. Coggins(even after I failed one of his classes)
20. I find most people greatly intimidating when I first meet them.
21. I'm painfully shy.
22. I love everything about Iowa, weather and all.
23. I'm painfully awkward.
24. I absolutely love how smells evoke my memory.
25. I love watching sports, I dislike playing them.  I prefer individual sports/activities.
26. Just because I don't like eating meat, doesn't mean I don't like cooking it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I love to be creative!!!

Ok so my last post was about my menu for the next couple of weeks, well it's only been a couple of days but I am a very impatient person and I had to make quite a few of the recipes/concoctions ASAP.

The Pumpkin Chocolate Tirimisu was amazing but I think I will stick with using lady fingers instead of vanilla wafers.  I tried to take a short cup but really, I shouldn't have.  I've been told I need to write down my recipes so here's to the best of my ability what i did:

Pumpkin Chocolate Tirimisu
1 package pumpkin pudding- instant
1 package chocolate pudding- instant
1 container of Tirimisu flavored mascarpone cheese
2 sleeves of ladyfingers( I'm adjusting because what i made I wasn't thrilled with 100%, probably 98%)
2-4 TBSP instant coffee/espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Make each pudding  as directed on box.  When the chocolate has been chilled mix in the mascarpone cheese.
2. disolve coffee into a half cup of water, add vanilla and cinnamon.
3. dunk ladyfingers into coffee mixture halfway coating them, lay them in the bowl/pan/whatever you have to hold your tirimisu
4. layer half chocolate pudding mixture over ladyfingers
5. Another layer of ladyfingers
6. layer half pumpkin pudding
7. repeat steps 3-6 until all your pudding is left!  I end the top with pudding but it's not rocket science here.
8. Chill for a couple hours so the ladyfingers have time to soak up some good flavor.  AND ENJOY!!!!!

Orange Tofu with Soba noodles was/is AMAZING.  I just got done having some leftovers for lunch and it just got better when it was reheated.  This one is pretty simple, well for me it is.  I do have some tricks that I learned too.

Orange Tofu with veggies and Soba noodles

Soba Noodles- I only used a couple handfulls no the entire package, cooked per the package directions
Veggies- I used some red peppers(amazing) and portobello mushrooms( that i cooked last night for portobello burgers, wasn't thrilled with them so I threw them in) any veggies will work.  I think next time I'm going to go heavier on the veggies, my pan just wasn't big enough this time.

1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into whatever size your little heart desires. Mine was cubes.

Orange sauce- the gem of it all!
1- 4 oz jar of orange marmalade(mine was homemade but I suppose you could buy it too)
zest and juice of 1 orange- it gives it a fresh punch of orange(that was what was missing last time I made it)
2 TBSP Siracha Chili sauce, less or more to taste
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp fresh garlic
salt and pepper to taste
- mix all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

1. cook soba noodles by the directions on the package, set aside
2. In a DRY and VERY HOT nonstick skillet place tofu, you are correct when you ask, no oil?. The trick: tofu, no matter how much you pat it dry, it's still very wet and therefore take a long time to get a good crispy coat on it  with oil straight off, it more or less steams itself BUT with a dry panit takes the water out and starts the browning sooner, then you add about 2 TBSP of oil when the tofu starts to brown.  The oil will continue to help it brown without burning it.
3.  When tofu is sufficiently browned and gorgeous, add veggies and cook until desired texture of veggies has not quite been achieved.
4. Add sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes or until you can tell that the sauce has reduced a bit and all the veggies have gotten to the correct doneness for you!
5. Spoon over Soba noodles and enter into homemade-chinese-vegan-take-out heaven!

As mentioned previously, the portobello burgers weren't all that great for me, but they made a great addition to my orange tofu!  There you have it, if my camera worked, there would be pictures. There should be picutres, I actually dislike reading blog posts without pictures, oh well!  Hopefully soon a camera is in my future!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Adventurous Cooking

So today was payday and I was making my grocery list out as to what I needed to buy for the next couple weeks and trying to decide exactly what would be on the menu.  I think my menu would definitely be considered adventurous because there are many things that I will be making for the first time and let's jus say, it's going to be interesting.  I made pumpkin and black bean dip for my friends a couple weeks ago and it went over very well!!! A little scepticism at first but all in all, it was great!  So, wanna know what I'll be cooking the next couple of days?  Here goes:

1.Spinach Quinoa salad with cherries and almonds
2. Portobello burgers(Hopefully as good as the ones in the Sub at Truman)
3. twice baked sweat potatoes(vegan style)
4. Pumpkin Chocolate Tirimisu ( I combined a couple desserts that I've concocted before and we'll see how this one turns out, and its for a suprise party! I really hope they don't read this blog!)
5. spicy orange tofu with soba noodles and veggies

How does that sound?  Good to me!  In other news, running has been put on hold INDEFINITELY. This is not a word I like in regards to my running.  My foot had been bothering me so I went to the doctor and the nurse, the xray tec, and the doctor all told me to find another sport!  This will be the third time I've had problems with my foot, twice broken and then this time.  SO, eventhough I feel totally worthless while doing anything but running right now, I have continued my training in the form of cross training(aka riding a bike, lifting weights, etc) Hopefully I can give my food enough of a rest to heal while still getting into shape so I can run even better when the time comes!  I am definitely not giving up on running, not to be super cliche but, you don't give up on something that you love!  The doctor's diagnosis isn't set in stone, I have to see one more and then we'll make a plan from there. 

Funny story: Last night at bible study we were told that it is our bible study's duty to bring pies to the annual Hog Roast that our church hold every year and it was suggested to just go buy them, GASP!!!!!! My mom and Grandpa and Grandma Goodwin would roll over in thier grave and my dad/Nae/Aunt would probably plot my demise if they knew I bought a pie.  Ok, a little dramatic but you get the point.  My grandpa Goodwin and my mom were the ones who taught me to make pie and I dearly love making them SO I was not going to allow anyone to buy any.  I feel very blessed that my friends trust me to make them and I think they're going to come help me too which is exciting!  I'm super excited to get to make 5 pies!  So the lineup here is:
1. Pumpkin
2. Apple
3. Rhubarb Creme
4. Chocolate Silk
5. Key Lime
6. Pumpkin Pecan(made my the lovely Jes)

the Hog Roast is on the 17th at the DTC, all should come!  So, baking will be taking place a couple days before and again, I'm super stoked about getting to do this.  I really love baking things that I know others will greatly enjoy, or at least I hope they will! 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Training Update

Two posts in one day, brace yourselves!!!!!   I just had to put this update in here, why, because it's just that good.  SO after a quite disappointing week of training last week, where I was extremely lazy and ran once, I was on fire to get back out there and put my nose to the grindstone.  On Saturday night, our house hosted people to come over and hang out after church.  I was the only roommate there so I stayed awake until everyone left, around 12:30am.  I was pretty exhausted but I was determined to get my lazy butt out of bed Sunday morning and run, and that I did!  6am rolled around and I was up and ready to go.  I had decided to drive to Waukee because they have a fabulous running trail that runs the entire legnth of the town and actually goes into Clive as well.  I was down for a 7 mile run!  I have a tracking device that hooks into my iPod so I know how far I run when I'm not on a treadmill or a track, I started it up and off I went.  I had been running for about a half an hour and I checked my distance because it usually will tell you every mile you go and it hadn't said anything yet.  I hit the button and it said, " 0.09 miles completed".  I don't think I could crawl that slow!!!  So I reset it and started running again but that didn't help.  Then I tried to guestimate my distance by time(time I run on a treadmill and time I run on a road are tw VERY different thing, I foolishly went off of my treadmill time.). I get to where I think it's 3.5 miles and I decide to turn around and finish that last half of my 7 miles.  I think I got a little less than halfway back and I was spent.  I hadn't taken anything with me to drink( big mistake as it was getting really hot really qick.  I think the high was in the 90s that day) and the sun was now beating down on my back.  My stubbornness told me to keep going and my common sense kicked in(thank goodness, it showed up.  It rarely does. ) and told me to call Meg and ask her to come get me.  I didn't know how far I was from my car or how far I had actually gone but I knew I was starting to cramp up and needed fluids fast.  I called her, but kept walking so I wouldn't freak out, hyperventilate and get sick! I ran across the street so she didn't have to stop and pick me up in the middle of traffic on a busy street, I look down to unlace my shoes and let my feet get some air and noticed that my Nike Air Max 360's( the cushioning system in them is basically a big air bag throughout the entire underneath side of the shoe) were totally flat.  I had a literal flat tire of a shoe! I had somehow punctured the airbag and was running on flat shoes!  So needless to say I had to replace my shoes, my tracking device, and I was a little exhausted after my run.  I drove the legnth of what I ran and I think I did get my 7 miles in.  I had run over 4 miles away from my car and Meg picked me up a little over a mile away from my car, I honestly don't think I would have made it back.  I actually thought about running into a a gas station I had passed and try and barter to get something to drink, but alas my moral compass won out!  This week I tried running in another pair of old running shoes while I research new ones and my foot instantly started hurting, SO I gave in and ordered new ones and I had them second day aired and they aren't here yet!  I might have to put off my 5 mile run until Friday.  Postpone, not put off.  Anyway, crazy hectic run aside, I'm trying to remember that it is about the journey of getting there and its about hard work, perserverance, and overcoming obstacles and not about the smooth sailing and easy way of getting there! 

Why I LOVE August, September and October!

A general theme that has been flitting through my mind lately is how much I love the three months of August, September, and October.  There are just so many reasons why and I think i need to write them down! 
1. August is my birthday Month, I'm not huge on birthdays because mine falls in a really bad time(harvest, Labor Day, school starting, etc.) so birthday celebrations were kind of a second thought growing up.  Don't take that like I'm mad about that, I'm totally not.  My dad still doesn't quite know the exact date of my birthday which I find increasingly hilarious as the years go by.  I was messing with his new Blackberry a week ago and I noticed he had a "Birthday Reminder" set for August 28.  My birthday has always been on the 29th, so much hysterical laughing ensued as I once again pointed out exactly when my birthday was.  When I was seven he had to have a nose job(due to multiple crushings from football and being a boy, I'm sure) on my birthday and his response to me when I asked if he could have had it on a different date and NOT my birthday he said, " I thought that date sounded familiar?". He gets teased about this a lot, especially in August.  I think he lets me have this, seeing as though he can remember years of things to tease me about.  I rarely have snappy combacks, so he lets me have this!!!
2. August is when school starts, I would LOVE to go back to school if only to be able to buy new school supplies, get my schedule, and get excited to see who is in my class.  Walking through campus on the first day of class was a total rush for me, I loved it.  I also loved Freshman Move In Day, it's like one of my most favorite holidays. The best part is the moms.  My mom got to lovingly watch me move into my dorm from the heights of Heaven, and there are no tears there and if she got overly motherly and embarassing, I didn't have to endure it.  Some kids weren't as lucky as I!!!!!!   There are the hysterical crying mothers, the obsessive and anal mothers, the hippie earthchild, everything will all work out mothers, and many other types.  It was like Christmas just waiting to see who would be the next one to come into the Bookstore where I worked 10 hour days the entire Freshman week, and I love every minute of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. September is pretty much just sandwiched in between my two favorite months, and you can't leave it out!  September is my mom's birthday month.  Her birthday is September 11, which is, as every American knows, an epic day in our history.  It makes me cry everytime I think about that day, the scared, the brave, the nervous, and everyone in between.  I think it's good to remember what happened to our country, to remember that we're not invincible but that we are strong and we will fight back.  My mom was like that and I would like to think that I am as well.  Not that I don't think about all of the people who have/will give thier lives for our country, its different to actually know what you were doing and where you were when that happened.  I remember my dad telling me what he was doing and where he was when I think Kennedy was shot.  He was on a ladder painting the side of a barn and he heard it on the radio.  I was in study hall first period, it was a Tuesday, and I was going around collecting attendance and I walked into Mr. Witz's room and he asked us if we knew what happened.  He had his TV on and I went back to study hall and asked to turn the TV on in there, the spanish teacher(Ms. Holub) said no.  ( she was kinda mean) but then Mr. Witz came into our class and said we weren't lying and we needed to turn it on.  We turned on the TV right as the live news showed the second plane hitting and the first tower crumbling to the ground.  I actually know waht I was wearing too, but I'll save you those details. 
4. September also is the start of cooler weather, which in my opinion, makes football games that much better.  Sitting in the stands on a cool night in your fave sweatshirt watching football, it's the little pleasures in life!  I love high school football on Friday nights and I dearly miss it!  Someone once told me that I'd miss High school( I was not a fan of it, eventhough I hung out withe the popular crowd and got all A's.  I was only there to get thing done and move on!) and he was half right.  While I don't miss high school totally, I miss football on Friday nights. 
5. September is when Starbucks comes out with thier Pumpkin Spice latte!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  THE MOST FANTASTIC DRINK STARBUCKS HAS EVER MADE!!!!!  If you know me, you know my obsession with all things orange(colored and flavored actually) and all things Pumpkin.  I always have a stash of pumpkin puree and Jello's pumpkin pudding in my cabinet.  I stock up on both year round! I will put Pumpkin on a shingle and eat it and enjoy it!!!!! At this current moment I have plans ot take pumpkin and black bean dip with fallafel chips to Bible Study on Monday night.  Yes it is an obsession and no I don't plan on backing down anytime soon! and this is a perfect segway into.......
6.  OCTOBER IS THE BEST MONTH EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really love October, to me, it's the perfect month out of the entire year.  Most people think about Halloween when they think October and while most assumptions would be that this was my fave holliday because I love October, you could not be more wrong.  I like Halloween, don't get me wrong, but the reason why I love October is because the quintessential October/Fall color is orange and I LOVE ORANGE.    I have since I was really little, I actually have always wanted and orange VW Bug convertible.  I wanted one since before I knew what cars were, to be honest.  I remember seeing one while my mom and I were driving, and I was still in a booster seat, and I just fell in love.  It's the cutest/best colored/ perfect care there is and someday, probably not someday soon, I will have one!!(hopefully)
7. I love pumpkins!  A.  I love orange  B. I love decorating with pumpkins because they are just so cute and C. I love cooking with pumpkins.  I absolutely love making a pumpkin pie from scratch, from baking the pumpkin, making the crust and putting it all together into a fantastic final delacacy!  I love to cook, but ask me to make something with pumpkin and this girl will enter into Heaven on Earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My eyes light up and I get more excited than a kid in a candy store!!! 
8.  I love when the leaves change, seriously, is there anything more beautiful than a walk through Truman State University's campus on a cool but sunny October afternoon??????  If you haven't been there, trust me, there is nothing better!  I can still picture it and I absolutely love it.  Note to self: visit more often!  ( I haven't been back since graduation 3 years ago!)
9.  Living in a seriously dense farming community fall brings harvest time, seeing tractors in the feild, the smell of dirt getting shaken up by the machinery, and the final sigh of relief when all the crops are out of the feild by the first snow!  I also love when they pull the semi trucks onto the unloading docks at Pioneer.  And when they have to lift them high in the sky to get every last kernel of corn out.  I think it's thrilling when you catch that rare time when you see a semi sitting at a near 90 degree angle in the sky and then they start bouncing it on the lift to get all of the grain out.  I haven't but I really have always wanted to see one of the trucks fall off, sad I know but seriously you can't tell me that you all haven't wondered if one has!!!!  ( if you know what I'm talking about) 
 and now lets just round off my number of loves to 10!!!!!
10.  I love running when it's cold, it is the most pure, wonderful, simple, fantastic pleasure that I get.  I wake up early, when its still dark out, put on my sweats and running shoes, drive to a nice running trail that has a good mix of urban sights and open nothingness, and start running while you watch the world wake up.  You single handedly get to witness the breaking of one of God's creations.  And its like a little secret you have with God, because there's no one else around except for you and Him and His beautiful creations to marvel at.  AND On October 24, 2010 I will be (prayerfully and hopefully) finishing my first half marathon.  I think it's a perfect addition to my favorite month!  I'm so excited!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Running was something that, along with the Lord's stregnth in me, saved my life after my mom died.  I would run every morning to clear my head of all the emotions that my simple 16 year old mind just couldn't process.  Through the years I lost the "need" for running but still loved it.  Initially I didn't need an end goal for running, it was an ongoing goal of survival with really no clear end in sight.  NOW I finally do have an end goal(13 miles of a goal in 11 weeks) and I feel the same way about running now that I did back then.  Day 1 is done, after a few road bumps.  1.  I tried to run outdoors yesterday afternoon, with a heat index of 112, degrees that is.  I made it a little over a mile, I drove to my sister's apartment that she keeps at a cool 68 degrees and chugged some half frozen gatorade and cooled down.  My body was still burning up when I left 4 hours later.  2. This morning I got to the air conditioned gym( I learned my lesson) late and was worried I wouldn't be ready for work ontime so I stopped at 3 miles.  My goal was 4 but in the last 12 hours I did run 4 miles so I guess it's a semi-good first workout.  I'm a little sore but I realized last night that I am going ot do everything I can to train and be ready, everything else I'm leaving it up to the Lord.  My alarm went off at 4am this morning and I hopped out of bed, shut it off and went back to sleep until a little voice in my head said, " GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF BED NOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!". So I got up.  I really am a morning person, I'm really trying to find that again!  Some goals/things to remember for the half-marathon training/the race
1. FINISH, the ultimate goal.  It makes me thing about crying of joy when I finally finish.
2. Be disciplined and dilligent in training, no excuses.
3. Don't get mad at myself if there are some road bumps during training.
4. Trust the Lord, another ultimate goal.  He knows my heart and the want that I've had for the goal of running a half marathon.  Let His will be done, not mine. 
5. Have fun.  Remember my love of running and mornings.
6.  Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but its the middle that counts. - Sandara Bullock.  It is a journey and I'm just at the beginning.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Half Marathon

I'm going to sign up for a half Marathon.  And I think my legs just went numb!  I love running and have since high school but the furthest I've ever run was 8 miles(in the grander scheme of things, not far off of a half marathon) but that was about 5 years ago and it was after an entire summer and part of fall worth of training. The one I want to do is in OCTOBER a meer 11 weeks from now, YIKES.  It's in Mason City( my dad and Nae could come cheer me on!!!!!) and it's small. It's colder up there in October so it would be optimal Meredith running weather but I'm serioulsy scared out of my mind and thinking about it makes me want to cry but this is a life goal of mine and I think this is the year/time to do it in.  I know what I want out of life but sometimes I have a hard time getting down to the nitty gritty, doing hte work and getting it done.  Again, this is where my squiggly line tendencies come out.  I'm asking for prayers for safe training, peace as I try not to think about the magnitude of achiving a goal I've wanted for 10 years but I think I've been a little too scared to go after, and just general discipline.  I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and start walking the walk of a runner!   That sounded weird but I'm sure you all kno what I mean!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Some of you, out there in the world wide web who read this and I'm not aware that you do, may be wondering about the name of my blog.  You may not, if so, you can cease reading.  BUT for those of you who are interested, it all came from this song written and sung by Dave Barnes.  It's called Nothin Fancy and I think it is wonderful.  I think "Nothin Fancy" describes me and the way I like things.  I like simple, clean, sofisticated, with alot of personality and a little flair.  And to be honest, I like simple things in life.  Case in point: seeing a friend that I haven't seen in two years, meeting her little boy, driving down country roads on a bright sunny day, with the sunroof open, seeing an old friend's dad who is the sweetest man, and topping it all of with worshipping at the DTC made for a perfect Saturday a couple weeks ago.  Nothing extraordinary or earth shattering happened that day but it was perfect.  I find great joy in simple, small, to the world insignificant type things.  If I ever own a bakery, I want to name it Nothin Fancy.  I just really like it and I hope you all do too!!!
(the lyrics of Nothin Fancy by Dave Barnes are as followed, YouTube it.  It's fantastic!)
There's nothing fancy bout the way i love you,

there's nothing you could not find in any other man.
There's nothing fancy bout the way I love you,
but I love you as hard as I can.

There's no good reason for the way you love me,
but you're my walking dream come true.
There's no good reason for the way you love me,
But I thank God that you do.

I don't know the perfect conversation,
I don't know the way to turn a head,
I don't know the perfect way to prove my love,
But I know I'll love you till I'm dead.

There's nothing fancy bout the way I love you,
It's as simple as the stars in the sky, and the blue in the sea.
There's nothing fancy bout the way I love you,
But it sure is fancy how you love me.

Did you YouTube it?  It's great, right?  I knew you'd see things my way!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So, I've been looking over my blog/some other blogs and realized that I only post things that I deem "major life events" but I don't think that's the point.  Being single and having no children, I feel, means posting things on a very rare basis SO I've decided to use this a a virtual tour of "what's on Meredith's mind" or things I've done or what is happening in my life.  Something I think was pretty cool: last Friday we hung out at Cline's house which was great in itself but they had planned some super fun games from the show Minute to Win It.  Needness to say, I think I dominated.  I'm not a competitive person so I guess I have a lot of talen for doing random/weird things, and I like it!!!!  I also made a 4 layer multi-colored velvet(red velvet cake recipe) cake that was AMAZING, in taste and appearance, if I do say so myself! Pictures to come later, I realized that my camera is permanently out of commission:(  On another note, I am in the process of painting a mural on my bedroom wall.  I was going to buy a painting but at the price of $100 and it wasn't quite what I had imagined, I decided I could do better!  If you know me(and my squiggly line habbits) it is a work in progress but hopefully will be done shortly.  I was blog-stalking( don't judge, you do it too!)  and I was reading how someone had come to Christ and was making a lot of life changes due to that decision.  Someone had made a comment about a link to an anti-GCM website.  I followed the link and for about a week, I really didn't know what to think about the website, the content, etc.  It made me question myself, my friends, people who I look up to and highly regard, and then one day after reading something not really related in 2 Corinthians 9(7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.)  I realized that God gave us all free will and its what we do with it that matters.  It's not what religion we are, what denomination we identify with, who we hang out with or where our loyalties lye.  The thing that matters is if you know the truth about God giving His son for your sins, accepting it, and making choices througout your life to guide you in a direction to continually follow Him and the truth.  Where it leads you, whomever it leads you to, how you get there and what you do along the way are minor details compared to why. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Sister- for Cupcake Blog

My sister, Meghan, is 16 months older than me. Still to this day, many people think we are twins eventhough we look nothing alike. Looking back on the last 26 years, there's not one memory that stands out to me when I think of Meghan, there are multiple memories. What does stand out to me is not a single memory but what evokes all of the memories: her charachter. When we were younger, we fought constantly. In middle school and high school I was usually the target of Meghan and her friends' ridicule or witty jokes. Then, on a cold and gloomy day in November 2000, our relationship took a very unexpected turn. Our mom died very suddenly that morning, in our home as my dad was holding her and screaming her name, and as my sister struggled to do CPR to revive her. I rememeber walking downstairs to see what the commotion was all about and Meghan yelled at me to go back to my room. My dad looked at Meghan and told her that from then on, she couldn't cry. He said that she had to be the strong one because he knew I couldn't handle the world that was crashing down around all of us. Meghan, at 17, took that responsibility without question or hesitation. We both became adults right there in that moment, Meghan moreso than I. Through the years after our mom died, Meghan was always there for me. She came home every weekend for the first two years of college, to make sure my dad and I hadn't killed each other. Over Christmas and Spring break she would cook, clean, shop and take care of my dad and I, most often witout any acknowledgement. I ended up at the same college as Meghan where we became even closer, and realized that we might actually be friends! Just like any good friendship, you laugh, you cry, you yell, you console, you encourage, you learn, you grow, and you make each other better just by being there for one another. My life is better simply because I'm Meghan's little sister.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You Matter


When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.
When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.

I found this on a photographer's blog and I really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed his photography. He mostly photographs weddings and engagements but I think that he captures the beauty of everything, flawlessly. Lately I've been running into quite a few blogs that I am falling in love with. My current favorite obsession is because she is doing what I would one day love to do and is doing it flawlessly as well. I feel like my personality is mirrored by her blog, sounds corny but I truly am in love with her store, cupcakes, everything. I hope to one day visit California to visit her store. I think everything that she has on her blog is amazing, from where she has vacationed or even her friends' blogs, they are wonderful.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Changes Part Deux

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

While I don't completely agree with everything that Darwin said/taught, this I have taken a special fondness to. As stated in an earlier post, change is not my thing. BUT this week I've been reveling in it. I am currently on my third day of my new job, and Praise the Lord for my new job. Not only is it a complete change from my last job, it's so much more than I deserve and God has blessed me abundantly more than I could have ever imagined. Just a few examples: New Blackberry that I can do anything with, they pay the bill, and I can stop paying for my old Razor that I've been holding onto since I moved to Des Moines; New laptop computer(it's a Dell but who is going to turn down a free computer), monthly massages, week long trip to Salt Lake City, UT in September(all expenses paid), endless amounts of great healthy snacks in the break room(no charge), and while I haven't actually started doing a lot of my job(training starts next week when my boss comes from KC), it's been relatively low key and easy going, which I do expect some tight schedules and rough deadlines but I havne't had to answer a phone or listen to someone complain at me for three days and I feel like I'm going to wake up, realize it was just a dream and have to go back to my old job(BUT I won't), just to name a few. One of the manager's that interviewed me said that she remembered that in my first interview I said that my dad taught me to work smart and not hard and I think this job is going to help me do that. I feel so blessed to even have this job, with the economy still being not the greatest and hearing of friends getting laid off. Another blessing came in the form of three filled lawn bags on the porch when I came home late last night. I had gone over to Meg's house to hang out with her and when I got home I found the yard had been mowed and all of the grass clippings were bagged and set on the porch. Yes our yard was getting a little long, which everyone noticed who was over at our house this weekend. In our defense, Ashlyn tried to start the mower, but couldn't get it so we left it. I believe that a guy from each of our bible studys' came over with mowers and mowed the grass for us. I'm a very independant modern girl who likes to show the guys that girls can do anything they can but I am just so humbled and blessed for guys like the four who came to help us, expecting nothing in return. Right now, I'm feeling very overwhelmed by God's blessings in my life, in the form of a new job, friends, family, acts of kindness, hope for the future and so much more. I know there will be more struggles and hard times to come but right now I'm going to enjoy the blessings God has given me and will continue to praise Him in good times or in bad, either way He either brought me to it or He'll have to take me through it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Well in the last 6 months or so, a lot of things have changed. I moved from my apartment on the south side of Des Moines to a house on 32nd street west of Drake. I now have 4 other roommates as opposed to living with my sister AND we have one bathroom. It is wonderful so far. It's great to live with other girls from my church. It's been since my first semester of college that I've lived in a place with more than just one other person. I deal with change about as well as someone would deal with a shot in the foot but I think that God is really challenging me and making me trust Him. I wanted to move and I wanted a change and He gave it to me, I can't go back on a prayer that He answered. I know it's not going to be all fun and games and wonderful times but I understand that it will challenge me and my relationship with God and other believers, and that I am excited about. I have freaked out about little things; when I move out am I going to be able to find everything that I came with?, what if something of mine gets broken, what if, what if, what if, bottom line it's just stuff and it is most likely replaceable. If it's not replaceable I didn't unpack it, and if I happened to unpack something that is irreplaceable well you can't take it with you when you go........... that sounds heartless and makes me feel bad if I were to loose something like my mom's ring but it is the truth and I know God has His hand in everything so I'm going to leave it at that. AND in other news, I got a new job. I actually started praying for a new job in May of 2009, almost a year ago. I felt like this job was not for me and that my time was limited. I really didn't want to start the whole job search thing again, with all of the economic downturn layoffs, but started searching I did. While I was searching for a new job over the last 11 months, things at my current job got worse and worse. Most days were so stressful and hard to handle, I was daily getting migraines and drinking way too much coffee just to function. I just kept praying and asking God for something to come up. I knew that it had to be God who brought something my way, that it wasn't my own strength or knowledge or fantastic resume that was going to do it. Long story short, I started praying at the beginning of March to have a job at least lined up by April 1. I didn't give God a deadline, I just was at the end of my rope and desperately needed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that if it wasn't in God's plan that he would give me the strength and patience to endure. I am a realist who is a closeted pessimist masquerading as an optimist. BUT I did get my job offer on March 31, which is amazing and I love God's humor in the whole thing too. I my initial interview was early March and my last interview wasn't until the 31st due to schedules and delays and then they called the me the same day(which is ironic in itself because after my first interview the lady told me not to expect a call for a couple of days because of the way things go) and I got the job!!!!!!! I was nervous about turning in my two weeks notice but low and behold the Lord comes through and my boss was very gracious about my leaving. Praise the Lord for unanswered prayers, answered prayers, struggles, triumphs and change!