Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day

We finished our feast on the beach after hours of snorkeling... fresh fish, fajitas, ceviche, guacamole - todo esta muy bueno.

Beyond thankful for so many blessings. May you be blessed this day!!

-Ginger and Valerie

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Potluck

I’m surprised Val hasn’t fired me.

I have been woefully negligent when it comes to contributing to this random mess of a blog. We had a plan… and even a schedule. We both try and blog at least once a week… occasionally one of us will make it twice. This was not one of those weeks.

Next week will not be one of those weeks, for we are fleeing the country. The family is picking up and heading to Mexico to celebrate Thanksgiving. One of the girls at work asked me wide-eyed, “Are you going on a mission trip?” Um. Not exactly? I’m sure we will have opportunities to love and share with the people we come into contact with, but it will be at our hotel in Play Del Carmen and we will more than likely enjoy it without the turkey.

I don’t really enjoy Thanksgiving food. In fact, last year we all traded in the turkey for filet mignon. That’s right. Thank you Lord. When I was little (read: up until college) I would fill my Thanksgiving plate with dark meat, ketchup, crescent rolls, and maybe carrot sticks for good measure. I didn’t really care for anything else and the smell of German noodles kind of made me sick. Come to think of it, the smell of boiled onions at the other grandparent’s house also made me sick. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown up at Thanksgiving, but then again, I don’t think anyone ever forced me to eat green bean casserole.

ALSO – (random side tangent) why didn’t my family ever get the whole bird on the table like every movie ever made? Never. I’ve never gotten a piece cut at the table. I heard some excuse about the electric knife not reaching into the dining room and making too much noise.

Thanksgiving mash-up menus… jealous? I’m not.

Grandma Ann and Grandpa Joe’s:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • White Rice
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Baby Pearl Onions
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Cranberry and Orange Relish
  • Asparagus
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

Grandma Doris and Grandpa Glenn’s:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • German Noodles
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Canned Cranberry Lump Thing
  • Beats?
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • A bazillion deserts that sit in Tupperware on the washer and dryer

Best Thanksgiving Memories:

  • Getting to drink soda.
  • Going to a movie every year… nice tradition.
  • Spending it freezing in Jamaica.
  • Almost dying when the car was stuck in the snow in Red Cloud New Mexico (no yelling by my parents in this moment.)
  • Sledding in the Sand Dunes of Red Cloud New Mexico
  • Really fun time with cousins
  • Really boring time with cousins
  • Standing in a giant circle dressed up, holding hands, and praying together.
  • Going around the table and saying what we were thankful for – Clay’s answer was highly sarcastic.
  • Having so many reasons to give thanks.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Love's (Suffocating) Embrace

Have you guys seen the Kay Jewlers commercial for the new "Love's Embrace" necklace yet? Go watch it (you'll have to scroll down just a little bit and click "Watch the Love's Embrace commercial), and then we’ll talk.


Okay so seriously. Everything about this commercial gives me the willies. First of all, how creepy and smarmy is that guy? I think he learned everything he knows about women from watching OTHER JEWELRY COMMERCIALS. I mean really—who talks or acts like that? He really thinks he is smooth. (Do you want to break the news to him, or should I?)

Second, I really hate that stupid woman who has never seen lightning before. Clearly she has been living in a cave or some sort of underground bomb shelter, and in that case I really don’t think he should have made her stand right there and watch the fake raging storm through a giant glass window. Too much too soon, you know? Let’s take it one step at a time and start out with something easy like wind or fog, shall we?

Third, how creepy does he look after he tells her he's "right here" and then gets all serious, brings out the ring box, and menacingly threatens, “And I always will be.” Run away, girlfriend! That’s what us above-grounders call a stalker. And it’s okay to say no. He doesn’t own you! You’re every woman!

Oh, but wait! Looks like there’s something that SPARKLES inside that box! From the looks of that FAB diamond necklace, why would she want to get away now?

Am I right, ladies?

As we learned from Sarah Haskins, jewelry fixes everything!

By the end of the commercial, ol' Bomb Shelter up there is sufficiently convinced she is not dating/married to a serial killer (Do you want to break the news to him, or should I?), and tells Creepy McCreeperson, "Don't let go. Ever."

Ah, Love's Embrace. Love's cold...dead...embrace.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Speaking of Hope

"Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." Psalm 66:8-12
Relationships are complicated. As I sat through the main service for the 3rd time this weekend, I wrote in my journal the names of so many friends that I have been richly blessed with. Some I've known for years, others I seem to have just met. But the truth is that regardless of the names, the people closest to us have the ability to hurt us the deepest. Investing in others does that. It's a messy business.
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." - C.S. Lewis
My new job is to build relationships with the teens of our church. These kids are broken. They are hurting because of the things said to them by students, teachers, and even parents. My girls seem to all be struggling with finding their worth in boys. The boys mask pain with pride and attitude. Instead of life they are merely existing. They've already been hurt one too many times and so they close themselves off again and put up another wall. Do you know the question I've been asked the most in my eight weeks of full time youth ministry? "Why do you care so much about me?" Why is my care and concern so puzzling to them? Sometimes I become discouraged and wonder how I can possibly shake the shoulders of each and every one of them. How can I speak to every kid and find out every story? It's not possible. Even if I spoke to one kid every day of the year I still wouldn't have connected with all the students in our group. It's overwhelming.
But my hope is in Him. He is the one who knows their hurts. He is the one who sees each life. He is the one who holds them as they fall asleep. So I will pray, trusting Him to be all that we cannot be. Trusting him to heal their hurts and hoping in Him to heal my own hurts. After all, relationships can be messy... we are flawed. But thank God we have Hope. Thank goodness for that.
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5

Monday, November 2, 2009

Catching Up

Last Wednesday...

My co-workers and I turned my office into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for Halloween. A bit of the finished result:

Also this:


**UPDATE** This just in.... my department officially WON the office decorating contest! Hooray!!!!! :)


My dear friend Amanda had her last day in the office before she leaves to be a missionary! Luckily my bestie is still in town for another month, so I get to soak up lots of time with her before she leaves the country!
Elizabeth and I wanted to send her off right, hence the shirts!

The registration department had a pirate theme for Halloween, so instead of working against their fun decorations, I decided to put it to use! I used their boat and turned everything into a "Bon Voyage" theme, complete with a bottle of sparkling grape juice for her to "break" on the bow of the ship!


Since I had already dressed up and decorated for Halloween, the actual holiday on Saturday was a lot more chill, and I spent the evening at some friends' house with a sizeable crowd that had gathered to eat pizza, hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and watch... "The Changeling!" Yes, it was cheesy, but come on- any time an old fashioned wooden wheelchair is CHASING YOU DOWN THE STAIRS-- that is SERIOUSLY creepy. Case closed. (Also: The ball? That he threw in the river? IT CAME DOWN THE STAIRS AS SOON AS HE GOT HOME. AND IT WAS WET!!!! Yiiieeee!!!!)

We love us some Six Flags. So Stacy, Tamara, Amanda, and I jumped at the opportunity to enjoy some amazing weather and the very last day of Fright Fest. Here's Stacy and I on our first ride of the day: BATMAN! It doesn't get much better than this....

For the foreseeable future...

It's true. Manipulated Encouraged by Joey to sign up, I will now be joining him, Stephanie, Dani, Julie, and Katie as we all go insane for the month and attempt to complete a 50,000-word novel! It's a big undertaking, but I'm excited, and a good bit less daunted knowing now that I have so many of my pals along with me for the journey!
Of course, ask me again in a week and I may be wishing I were dead singing a very different tune....