December 16, 2008

Scratchin' My Head

How is it that the president-elect can appoint to the nation's Secretary of Education post the current head of one of the nation's most broken school systems? Arne Duncan is at best a terrible business man, as he and the rest of Chicago's Board of Education seem to run Chicago's school system as a business.

I am quite baffled on this and am curious to hear the line of questioning Mr. Duncan is subjected in his Senate approval hearing.

November 21, 2008

An Early Christmas Present

I'm getting an early Christmas present this year.....Naomi is arriving in town tomorrow afternoon and she will be staying with us for a whole week. Yes, she is our special Thanksgiving dinner guest.

November 19, 2008

Death's Sting

Someone in our church passed away last week. He was young and gifted and as many have testified, he was in love with Jesus. We attended his funeral this past Sunday and it was a sweet mix of sorrow and hope. Sorrow for someone leaving us so soon and hope for the promise of knowing that those who loved him will see him again.

The sting of death. It hurts. It crushes.

But how good to know that we, those of us who profess Christ, do not grieve as the world grieves. No, we will be reunited in a perfect place. Heaven.

November 12, 2008

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Chuck Damschen (Naomi's dad) on winning a second term in the North Dakota state legislature! Whoo-hoo! I may not be a constituent, but I AM a fan!
This post reminds me of something I heard on the radio a few weeks you know the number one mistake Christians (and perhaps all people for that matter) make in politics? We disenagage from them after the election. So, I challenge you (and me, too) to figure out a way to stay in engaged in the decisions being made for you at the local, state, and national level.

November 9, 2008

Life and Death

Simple Guy and I just returned from a great night of celebrating a friend's 30th birthday. It was meaningful to share in this milestone with him and it is always good to celebrate another's life.

But how sad I was to read that one of the girls that Naomi had known from her time ministering on the reservation in Fort Totten, ND committed suicide. She was only 14 years old. This is heart-breaking. If you think of it, can you please pray for this girl's family; I cannot begin to imagine how devastated that they are to lose their young daughter/sister.

And let me also take this opportunity to ask you to pray for Naomi and the work she is doing to share the news of Christ with the Native Americans on the reservation in ND. Click here to read Naomi's entry about this sad story and to learn more about what she is doing day in and day out to spread the love of God to a very hurting people.

November 7, 2008

I Heart Coupons!

I posted on the little project I was undertaking which was e-mailing the various companies whose products we use or eat and asking them for some coupons.

Well, friends, ask and you shall receive, indeed! Here is what I got:

Odwalla- sent me coupons for two free Odwalla drinks ($7 value)

Earthbound Farm Organic- sent me coupons upon completing a survey ($2.75 value)

Kashi- sent me coupons for any of their products ($2 value)

Kiss My Face (skin care)- sent me coupons to use at Target ($3 value)

Lunderg's Family Farms- sent me coupons for any of their products ($7.50 value)

Country Choice Organic - sent me coupons for any of their products ($4 value)

Avalon Organics- semt me coupons for any of their products ($9)

Total Value = $35.25

And all it took was a total of 15 minutes* to contact all of these companies!

*I used the same e-mail and only changed the greeting and the product I most enjoyed.


As you may recall, Simple Guy was elected onto our condo association's board last year and for the last several months, he has been busy working on getting our lobby to go
from this

to this

and from this

to this

Thanks for all your work, Simple Guy.......oh, and thanks for asking for my advice on some of the selections!

November 6, 2008

Election Reflection

To all who exercised their right to vote on Tuesday, thank you. Thank you for being a true citizen of this country. No matter how you voted, it is important that you voted and I am so glad that you did.

To those who did not, shame on you. For the next four years, you have no right to comment or complain on the state of our country's affairs. And I mean it. I will hold you to this. When you begin to utter words of any kind about this country's laws, foreign relations, taxes, hand-outs, etc., I will politely remind you that you did not vote and tell you that I am not interested in hearing what you have to say on those matters.

I posted a blog a while back inidicating that I was voting for McCain for this election. My vote was less for the man (and far less for the woman) and more for the moral convictions that I felt the Lord was impressing upon me. I felt my vote needed to be for the sanctity of human life and even though I completely understood and am aware of the state of our nation's economy and the war that is still waging, I had to make the voices of those who have no voice my top priority.

I did not not vote for Obama because of the color of his skin (as the woman in the park the other day was trying to get at) or beacuse he was a Democrat (I pledge no allegiance to any party). If you read my post about why I was voting for McCain and/or if you are aware of Obama's stance on the issues of abortion and stem cell research, then you know the reason why I did not vote for him.

Because the person I voted for did not win, I am not distraught. I am not driven to thoughts of long food ration lines outside of government buildings or the idea that every political crook in Chicago will end up with a national appointment on Obama's cabinet.

In fact, I am quite peaceful because I know who ultimately is in control, for He is the one who places kings on their thrones. He, and He alone.

I am happy for Obama and the many supporters who rallied around him when he was just some skinny Senator from Chicago. I think he will have a positive impact on our foreign relations. And there is no doubt about the impact his presidency will have on the many children in our city who have been waiting for a positive male role model who looks like them.

It's important to remember that no one person can save us. No one person can make right all the wrongs. No one person can lead us into the land of milk and honey. Nope, there is only One who can do such things. And I am still waiting on His return.

October 31, 2008

Meet Our Money Saver



and more of this

for the Simpletons!

We love our Nespresso Le Cube

October 30, 2008


Healing. I love that word. It makes me feel lighter and stronger. It makes me remember that there is a God and that He longs for us to be made whole in Him and that He is, and always will be, the ultimate Healer.

I don't know a single person who has not had to heal from something in their life. We may not all look alike, act alike, eat the same things, or vote the same way, but we all have the sweet comfort that is healing in common.

I once had a broken heart. Before Simple Guy and I began dating, I had dated someone else a few years before. I loved this person, or at least I thought I did. I could not see my life without this person. He was, for a period of time in my life, everything to me.

Then one day he told me we needed to break up and I was beyond devestated. I was crushed. I was breathless. I was hurt to the point of physical pain taking over my entire body. I slipped into a deep depression for almost a year after we broke up.

Even as I type this, I can feel small pings of pain in my heart, not because I long for this person (Simple Guy is my one and only for forever!) but because that experience turned me into a ball of hurt and I ache for that younger self; she was hopeless and ten months of her life were spent just trying to find a little relief from the pain.

I needed friends or family to tell me they love me, and they did. I needed my counselor to walk with me through those dark valleys and reassure me that the valleys are not what destroy you, it's never climbing out of them that does, and he did. I needed space to reflect and try to figure out what the source of this pain was, and I did.

I needed relief. I needed hope. I needed healing. And I got it all from my Deliverer and my Healer.

Something indescribable happens when healing sets in. It's funny how you don't realize it when it is happening, but healing has a way of creeping into all the nooks of your heart and then one day you are reliving your story with someone and after you tell it the sting of pain is no longer there, but maybe just a dull ache. And further down the road, the dull ache may subside all together and all that remains are bandages of healing.

I don't know about you, but I could use a little more healing in my life. I know a few people right now who could use it, too. Maybe you need some healing as well. I know where you can find it.

"Think of it- the Lord is ready to heal me"
Isaiah 38:20

October 24, 2008

My Buddy

I guess I am just in the mood to share pictures these days, so here is one of me and Naomi taken the weekend we met in MN for homecoming. Isn't she lovely? I just lover her!

October 21, 2008

Just A Sweet Little Reminder of Where We Met

This, my friends, is a "racy" photo of Simple Guy and I at "The Rock" on our alma mater's campus. The Rock is where engagements were announced, truths declared, or pranks made known when we were students. I suspect it's still used that way today.

But for a few fleeting moments at homecoming two weekends ago, The Rock belonged to the was our small way of trying to recapture our younger selves.....our wild, and crazy selves!

Notice how I am giving into the wooing of SG by lying on The Rock.......notice how SG is just laughing, and laughing, and laughing. Oh, how silly I felt when we shot this for the official homecoming photographer.....but how glad I am to have this!

Calling All Illinois Voters

Perhaps you have heard of this already, but we just learned of this tonight.....

On Tuesday, November 4, all Illinois voters will be able to vote yes or no to a Consitutional Convention for our troubled state (we are $80 billion in debt- just our state alone!). A Constitutional Convention (CC) offers a once-every-twenty-year opportunity to change how Springfiled does business. A CC offers the easiest and quickest way to insure for more accountability, electoral and judicial reform, a fairer tax system, and priority funding for education, health care, housing, and mass transit, amongst other things that are important to we, the voters.

If the CC passes, then 118 delegates will be elected by the voters to serve as pasrt of the CC. The role of the delegates is to comb through the Illinois constitution and propose a series of amendments to the current constitution. Who are these delegates? Well, they are regular people like you and me- they are not career politicians.

To me, the answer is clear- I am voting "Yes" for a CC. Here are some facts about our state and the people who run it:
-A former Illinois governor is sentenced for crimes that he committed while in office;
-A current governor who cannot go more than a week without speculation of his shady dealings and ties to shadier people
-There are enough FBI agents probing corruption in the state of Illinois that they'll be renting out entire floors underneath the capitol's dome
-The Illinois Senate refused to give voters a way to recall our current governor- you know, the one who can't go more than a week without speculation of his shady dealings and ties to shadier people

For more information, click here

October 14, 2008

Ask, And You Shall Receive?

I just read an article written by someone who sends e-mails to companies whose products they purchase asking them for coupons, samples, or other promotional gifts. I just sent out quite a few e-mails to some companies and already heard back from one company and they are sending me some coupons in the mail!

I'll update you on my success, but in the mean time, you may want to try it, too!

Five Things

I'll tell you 5 things that may or may not be of interest to you:

1. We went to MN for our homecoming this past weekend and Naomi drove down from ND and stayed with us.

2. Simple Guy is back at work after his two-month sabbatical came to an end on Monday. I went grocery shopping (to 4 different stores!) alone today and I have to admit, I was pretty bummed to not have him with me.

3. I am going to start reading this book by Dr. Kenneth Bock:

I started reading it this past winter but did not get very far. I know it may seem weird that I am reading a book about childhood diseases, but I feel like it is never too early to start learning about these things. Besides, I know a few kiddos!

4. I went to this conference yesterday with three other women from our church. E-mail me if you plan on attending this in the future, as you may want to hear my thoughts on it before registering......or you might not!

5. I am meeting up with my small group tonight- we will be going through this book together over the next 12 weeks:

Looks interesting, huh?

That's all from here.

October 5, 2008

Casting My Vote

So much is being said about both presidential candidates- what they have or have not supported; how they voted; where they've come from and where everyone seems to think they are going.

For some, this is an election based on the economy and how the ramifications of the declining markets and stocks have come quickly knocking on their mortgage-burdened homes.

For some, this is an election about change (I am so tired of that word- can we have a one year moratorium on that word after this election?). They feel it is best to get rid of one party and bring in another.

For others, this is an election about making history, which will be easily done for either party that wins the election.

And for others still, this is an election about all of those things and all of the other issues we are facing in this country.

For me, this is an election about the sanctity of life that must be preserved and fought for and that is why I am voting for John McCain.

This is not a post to attack where you stand on this election.

This is not a post to slander or ridicule Barack Obama and his ideas for our country. I applaud anyone who is willing to subject themselves to the rigors of a presidential election and I'll be the first to agree that he definitely has the ability to deliver a speech well and rally his supporters.

Actually, this is not even a post to toot the horn of John McCain.

This is a post to tell you why I believe in the necessity of preserving the sanctity of life. I am opposed to stem cell research and I am opposed to abortion. Barack Obama supports both of these acts and has relegated the act of abortion as a woman's "reproductive choice."

We are nothing more than savages as a nation if we allow the lives of unborn children to be ended by elective procedures. Yes, I understand that some abortions happen after the mother is a victim of a crime of rape or incest. As a woman, I can imagine nothing more devastating than having either of these things happen to me and my body. But please, please do not tell me that it is still okay to murder (yes, I said it- murder) an innocent baby under these circumstances.

There are many couples who are eagerly, if not desperately, waiting to adopt a baby into their family. We have friends at church who are in that position right now- they are waiting for a birth mother to pick them to raise the baby she is carrying.

Click here for an article written by John Piper, the pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN- both Simple Guy and I attended this church when we lived there. In this article, Pastor Piper states that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position in public office. Please give it a read even if you hate the fact that it is written by a pastor.

For an overview about stem cell research and the plausible alternative to it, please go here.

I cannot, in my God-given conscience, elect someone to the highest office in our nation- a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values- who thinks it is okay to take the lives of those who have no voice.

I am not naive- I know that our economy is weakening and that the housing market is plummeting. I know that some of my neighbors are losing their jobs and that powerful and important companies are closing their doors. I get that.

I get the fact that we, as Americans, have bought into a lie that we deserve anything we want, regardless if we cannot afford it or not. I get that there some real greedy people running powerful companies have been brokering bad deals just so they can pad their pockets with a few more bucks because they too, believed they deserve anything we want. It's a vicious cycle, really.

I know that some people are worried sick about what will become of them when retirement comes or are in need of health coverage.

There are so many issues of which to base my vote on, but as I said, God has impressed upon me the need to vote for the person who believes in the sanctity of human life. It would be difficult for me to profess Christ if I knew I was not doing everything in my power to ensure that those who have no voice are being considered and treated with the same rights and respect we enjoy as those who got a shot of being in our mother's womb and then made it outside of the womb.

October 3, 2008

The Residue of Christ

Rewind to a couple of months ago: Simple Guy came home and told me about a woman he knows at work that was expecting a baby in the late summer and how in talking to to her at a work function, he was compelled to ask her,"Do you like lasagna?" I'd imagine most people do, and she was no different. So Simple Guy asked me if I'd make a lasagna for her once her baby was born.

Rewind to five weeks ago: The baby is born and we deliver a homemade lasagna, salad, and chocolate chip cookies for the momma and her sister and mother, who are in town to help her. We weren't able to vist because the momma was very sick and wasn't up for company- she asked to take a rain check.

Fast forward to today: We were invited to visit the momma and her new baby boy and it was a delightful visit. This time we came bearing gifts of onesies. Our time together was nearly two hours and the funny thing is that Simple Guy did not know this woman outside of the occasional hellos they would exchange if they ran into each other in the office.

In our time together, we covered a myriad of facts and stories, laughed a lot, and we got the chance to talk a lot about our church and extended the invitation for her to come. Here's what's so neat about that: we weren't the first ones to invite her.

It turns out that someone else who goes to our church lives upstairs from this momma and a few weeks before she delivered, she was out to dinner with he and a few others from the building. As he was talking and she was listening she was led to ask him, "Do you know Simple Guy?" Our friend was surprised and thrown off- how did she know Simple Guy and what made her think to ask him if he knew SG?

She just figured that since our friend was so much like SG, then he must know him. How unsurprised she was to hear that he did indeed know SG and that they went to the same church.
When I asked her today why she thought they might know each other, she simply replied "It was just something I felt- it was the way I felt in their company that made me think they were somehow linked together."

I truly believe it was the residue of Christ exuding from SG and our friend that this momma was detecting. How else can you explain her thinking they must know each other?

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

October 1, 2008

We're Going to the Zoo- You Can Come, Too!

Today Simple Guy and I did something that every 30-year-old, childless couple does when they don't have to work.....we went to the zoo! The air was so crisp you could hear it crackle and the scent of wood burning mixed in with baked apples was everywhere- it truly was a day for the zoo.

Here I am blowing kiss to the apple of my eye......the MONKEY!

I love monkeys; they are my favorite animal. It is my dream to hold a baby monkey some day, but until that day comes, I settle for visiting them at the zoo.

While simply being a bystander to their silly shenanigans is never enough for me and always leaves me wanting for more, today I studied them long and hard only to discover that they are filthy and if the glass wasn't so thick and ceiling-high, I am sure they are stinky, too! Here a few photos to share with you, that fortunately, are not scratch and sniff!

This guy had a smile for me the whole time I was watching him......he seems a bit sassy and I like that!

In goes the stick into the tree......

and out it comes to go into the mouth- an afternoon snack of sap.

If you have seen the movie "Return to Me" then you may recognize this "little" fella- he played Sydney in that movie. He was enjoying his snack of sweet potatoes, celery, and carrots when we got to his place- just add chicken broth and you have a nice soup!

Hey, I know a Nana! She is the grandmother to my two beautiful nieces....but I don't think she does somersaults like this Nana does. I can't blame her though, the Nana I know is little bit older than this Nana!

And the day ended well, for what is an afternoon at the zoo without a stop at the city's newest organic bakery, Bleeding Heart. Simple Guy and I give high marks to the Take a Hike vegan scone and thought that the cupcakes and tartes looked excellent, but we passed on those today.

September 30, 2008

Christmas at the Simpletons Has Begun!

I am not ashamed to admit that I began listening to Christmas music this morning- approximate time of fighting the urge to do it and then giving in was 9:47am.

Yes, I love Christmas music and yes, I love Christmas and all that goes with it. But those reasons were not the motivation for playing this CD over and over again this morning......

You see, I NEEDED to get in the spirit of Christmas because I was working on making these.....

A photogrpaher I am not.......a card-maker I AM! These are just a sampling of some of the cards that I made today. Once I am done, I'll post photos of more and if you want to order any, well you sure can!

For those of you who live in the same city as me, I'll be sending out an invitation to another card open house later in October.

Well friends, it's time that I get back to ribbons, trees, and colorful paper! I am on a roll and must take advantage of my creative juices.

Merry Christmas.......uhm, I mean Good Night!

September 28, 2008

Just Because

I love this picture of Simple Guy with old friends from college:

This was taken at a wedding this summer in Minnesota: the guy in front is Jerod- he was the groom; the guy to the far right is my Guy- best looking one in the bunch if you ask me!

Money Chasers

On the way home from church this afternoon, Simple Guy and I were casually conversing and plotting out the rest of our day when suddenly Simple Guy murmured something, unbuckled his seatbelt and exited the driver's seat, only to dash into the middle of an intersection and dash back to the car with a $5 bill!

I was astonished....not because he had $5, but because he unmanned the car and bolted into an intersection.....grant it, there were no cars and upon replay in my mind, he was never in any danger.

"There is money in the street......look, there's more over there!" said he.

He crossed the intersection and pulled up to the curb across the way and I quickly opened my door and snatched up a $20 bill!

"Oh my gosh......this is unbelievable!" said me.

Simple Guy quickly turned the car around to go back to see if there was any more cash tumbling around on the other side of the street. After careful surveillance we determined there was no more cash to chase......but then we wanted to make sure just in we circled the block again and pulled into a small parking lot and sure enough......

"There's another one!" declared Simple Guy. I opened my door and lo' and behold, there was a $10 bill!

"This really is unbelievable!" I said laughing and pumping my fist full of money!

So there you have it, we found $35 in just three minutes. Here it is:

And in case you are wondering, there was no one around who appeared to be frantically looking for their money, because if there was, we certainly would have given it to them!

September 27, 2008

Bottle Caps: There's Something You Can Do With Them

I bet you didn't know this: if you throw your plastic water bottle into the recycling bin with the cap on it does not get goes in a landfill! Know why? Because the caps found on things like water bottles and other containers cannot be recycled and if they are attached to a recyclable item they deem the whole item unrecyclable. So only throw the actual container in the recycling bin, but do not throw out the caps- there is something you can do with them!

Instead, for an idea of what you can do with your caps, click here.

Not sure if there is an Aveda store or salon near you? Click here. If you do not have a store near you, but you may see me at some point, then save the caps for me and I'll turn them in for you.

September 26, 2008

I'm Not That Girl

You know how some women shower every morning and heck, if they have something to do later in the day they shower again? Yeah, uhm, I'm not that girl.

You know how some women wash their hair every single day and blow dry it into a perfect coif? I'm not that girl.

You know how some women like to shave every other day, or sometimes, every day? Who has time to shave but only on special occassions- I'm not that girl!

You know how some women wouldn't be caught anywhere in public in their pj's? Bring on the jammies- I'm not that girl!

You know how some women like to make sure everything matches- the shoes match the bag; the eyeshadow matches the blouse, etc. Boring! I'm not that girl!

You know how some women like to make sure that their workout clothes look just so? I'll take Simple Guy's t-shirts and a wrinkled pair of sweatpants because I am not that girl!

You know how some women won't eat more than two bites of dessert because their salad was so big? Please pass my own piece of carrot cake because I am not that girl!

This post is in honor of Michelle and the confessions we made to each other this morning at the church office......and in honor of all you other ladies who may have read something above that sounds a bit familiar.

Oh, and if you ARE that's all good!

September 24, 2008

My Favorite Things

Dear Blog Readers,
I am sorry. I am sorry that I have not posted anything since August 10. I am sorry that whenever you check out my blog all you see is the same: the same pictures, the same words, the same everything.
My absence is for a good reason. Or shall I say reasons. But I will not bore you anymore, instead, I am going to reveal to you.......

My Favorite Things!

Yes, friends, it's my favorite things....just like Oprah, only you won't be going home with anything. But please do read on, for I know there will be at least one thing that is my favorite thing that will quickly become your favorite thing if you give that one thing a try or listen. Please read on!

In the category of personal hygiene and the pursuit to stay looking in my 20's when I am no longer in my 20's, the award goes to.......

Aveda Beautifying Oil

It has the amazing ability to make my skin, scalp, and hair feel as soft as a baby's you-know-what. Have sandpaper elbows? Rub on some oil and in a week you will notice the difference! Does your scalp get dry in the winter? Work in some oil before you go to bed and by morning you will no longer suffer from dry scalp? Does you hair get dull and brittle? Slather some oil on the ends of your hair and it will help restore the shine. And oh, does this stuff smell gooooood!

In the category of technology and for it's ability to make life so much easier, the award goes to.....

I can't tell you what the lizards have to do with it, but this website works miracles. Have you ever gotten a file sent to you that you cannot open because you do not have the software to view it? It happens to me a lot. And now you and I both have a place to folks! Next time you get a file that you cannot open, simply save the file to your computer, then go to zamzar, download the file you cannot open as prompted, decide what software you want to have it converted to so you can view it, fill in your e-mail address so the converted file can be sent to you, and then you are done!

In the category of reading for enjoyment but also for enlightment, the award goes to......

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

Oh, this book! This book is heartbreaking. Yet it's so heartwarming. This book will make you realize just how forutnate we are to live in a free country. This book will enrage you. It will devastate you. But it will teach you. It will teach you what life was like, and likely still is like, for the women in modern Afganistan. Written by the same author of "The Kite Runner," this book will catapolt you into the lives of two women and will take you on a journey as their lives intersect and ultimately, save each other.

In the category of weeknight news, the award goes to......

Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN

I enjoy watching this braodcast during the week because it's smart and fresh. I remember seeing Anderson Cooper when he hosted this reality TV gameshow called "The Mole" and was impressed with him then. And now that he is behind a desk delivering the latest news and interviewing guests, well I am even more impressed. I like Anderson......Anderson for President? He'd get my long as his views alight with mine!

In the category of getting me in the mood for chillier weather (hey, not all of us enjoy summer that much!) and making me want to get our tree out of storage, the award goes to.......

Amy Grant: Home for Christmas

Who else?! Gosh, this woman was born to sing Christmas music! No one can hold a candy cane to her voice when she is singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." I have all three of AG's Christmas CD's and this is her best one for sure......however, she has a fourth one coming out on the 30th, so maybe that one will top the Christmas tree!

In the category of helping keep my house and dishes clean while being kind to the earth, the award goes to......

Shaklee's Basic H2 Cleaning Concentrate and Dish Wash Automatic Concentrate

Go to and you will see these and other products to use at home that are non-toxic, bio-degradable, and all around not harmful to the environment. The Simpleton household is committed to being enviro-friendly, and the products we use to keep our home clean and tidy do not have any hamrful checmicals in them. It's the chemicals in most commonly used cleaning products that can lead to asthma and other breathing problems, not to mention their ability to pollute our streams, rivers, and oceans. Please consider switching over to products that are not harmful to you, your children, and our world.

And this concludes this edition of My Favorite Things! I'll do more of these in the future with the hope that you might discover something new when I do.

Well, I think it is safe to expect that I will be returning to posting more regularly, and in case you thought I forgot, I will be announcing the winner of my last contest soon!

August 10, 2008

No Soup For You!

Remember that episode on "Seinfeld?" George goes out for soup with Jerry- or maybe it was Elaine- and when he asks for the customary piece of bread that is supposed to come with his soup, the owner hastily replies, "No soup for you!" And with that, George is banished from the soup joint.

Simple Guy and I just returned from a short trip to MN for a friend's wedding and opted to go for a walk and let someone else cook for us tonight. So we ventured to our favorite diner and we were so pleased when we got immediate seating outside in the shade. Ah yes, we love to dine al fresco, even at greasy spoons.

And so we ordered our usual array of breakfast foods that we share so we can have a little of everything. And perhaps at the site of the first pigeon poking around nibbling at crumbs in the outdoor seating area we should have known what was to come. But the allure of eating outside, watching the VERY colorful crowd that is our neighbors strolling to and fro kept us outside and we both stamped our feet and away the pigeon went.

Then the food arrived and we began eating. Oh, it was so good tonight- the crunchy french toast was indeed crunchy and the eggs were scrambled well and the hash browns had just a hint of oil and were crispy and perfect.

And then came another pigeon and he wanted some dinner, too. So he began pecking away at the bits of french fries and the nubs of bread. And then came the little girl back to her table across the way from us and then went the pigeon..........right over food and he wasthisclose to our eats. And Simple Guy and I looked at each other and then quickly looked at our food, looking for any evidence of a filthy city pigeon taking flight over our table.

Alas, we found none and I proceeded to put a bite of french toast in my mouth. And that's when Simple Guy said, "Do you think we should be eating this? I mean, what if that pigeon had fleas or something." And then I pushed my plate away and declared myself done with tonight's meal despite having only eaten a third of it.

So we summoned for our waitress, wanting to explain to her what happened. And while we waited for her arrival, the first pigeon came back around and then swiftly flew over our table. And then we knew we had it. Simple Guy went inside and got us a table, where we were hoping to order another plate of french toast, since we had not quite gotten to eat that outside.

So we got our second plate of crunchy french toast, ate it, and then asked for our check. And wouldn't you know it, we were charged for both orders of french toast. So Simple Guy called our waitress over and kindly stated, "We would have expected to not have to pay for the second order of french toast, given the circumstances." And then we explained that the reason for the pigeon problem in their seating area is all of the food they do not sweep up after guests leave. She went to the manager and came back with this answer: "It is the pleasure of sitting outside to have the birds fly over your food." In other words, you are paying for the second order of french toast.

So we left her a tip (one that accounted for paying for the second order) and then went to the cash register and spoke with the man there.

"We had issues with pigeons outside in your seating area and do not feel we should have to pay for this second order," stated Simple Guy.

"What do you mean? Did the bird touch your food or something like that?"

"No, it did not touch our food, but it flew very low over it and that is disgusting," said we.

"What are you proposing we do for you?"

"We do not want to pay for the second order, we will pay for everything else."

"Wait a minute." and then the cashier steps away and speaks to what appears to be the manager or owner.

"It is the pleasure of sitting outside to have the birds around you," says the manager or owner as he walks towards us.

"No, it is filthy to have pigeons flying over your food and it is because the seating area has so much food on the ground that you have pigeons hanging around."

"No, if you found a hair on your salad outside I would not give it to you for free because the wind could have blown it on there."

"But filthy birds flying low over a table is not the same and they are only around because......."

"What do you want me to do?"

"We do not feel we should have to pay for the second order of french toast, but we will pay for everything else."

"No, no. You know what, you owe nothing." And with that, the man takes the check from Simple Guy and turns and walks away mumbling under his breath while half the restaurnat looks on.

And with that, Simple Guy and I left the diner and quickly realized that we could not go there again because of the spectacle the staff made of this and we can only wonder what people would do to our food if we went there again. In the grand scheme of life, it's no big deal.

We have eaten outside at many places in this city and have never had anything like this happen. In fact, we cannot ever recall having to deal with pigeons in the seating area of any place we have eaten at.

So, any thoughts on this? What would you have done if you were us?

July 22, 2008


Okay, okay.....I heard your pleas and feel your disappointment. Some of you were out of town or stepped away from your computers for 24 hours plus, so I am doing a contest redo......but now you have to work for it!

Each person who comments on this blog will be entered to win a set of personalized monogram note cards, but your comment must feature one of these items:

1. First rememberance of meeting me- when was it; where did it take place; what did we talk about; what was I wearing (just kidding), etc.


2. Where was your first need to say with whom unless they are or were a celebrity


3. Your secret indulgence.....which, I realize, will no longer be a secret once you post it here, but hey, we're all one big blog family!

You have until the next time I post something to enter my contest, and while your comments will not be judged, they will be read and a clever answer may just win you an extra special place in my heart.

To keep the contest fair, Simple Guy will draw a number to determine the winner.

Ready? Set. Go!

July 18, 2008


I am very curious to know who is reading my blog these days. I know some of the usual suspects (my mom, Simple Guy's mom, Naomi, Liz, Leslie, etc.) but who else checks out my blog and reads what I have to say?

So in an effort to lure you out of secrecy, I am going to hold a contest. Whomever posts a comment on this blog by 9pm tomorrow night will be entered in a contest to win a set of customized note cards with your monogram on the front. That's right folks- I'll send you FREE personalized stationary! How chic to have your own set of monogrammed note cards to send as thank you notes, thinking of you notes, please return my CD's since you had them for almost three months notes, etc.

So comment away.....oh, and no pressure to write a long comment.....maybe just introduce yourself to me and the rest of the readers and we will all get acquainted and live as one big blog family.

July 15, 2008

Music Moves Me

Music has always moved me- I learn best through music. Some of my deepest understandings of who God is has come from beautiful hymns and worship songs. Music can instantly take me to a place I have been or replay a memory for me. I love music and am so thankful that it exists.

I think we can learn a lot about a person by listening to the music they like and if you were to listen to the songs on my play list at the bottom of this blog, you would get a glimpse into what makes me.

Amy Grant
I love Amy Grant (click here to read more about why I love her so much).......I love her unconditionally. She puts a record out, I am buying it. I am not a huge fan of her "Baby, Baby" days of music- I much prefer her music from the days of "Lead Me On" and I love "Behind the Eyes"- but when you love someone unconditionally, you love them no matter how bubble-gum their music can be at times!

So it's no surprise that she shows up on my play list the most. Her rendition of "El Shaddai" is beautiful. "Gabriel's Oboe" is from her last Christmas album and we played it as part of our wedding ceremony- I love how haunting it is, but not in a creepy way.

I didn't realize just how much I like Coldplay's music until I heard this song as part of someone's video montage. I think I'll pull out Jason's Coldplay CD that he bought eons ago and give it a listen again.

Bebo Norman
When I think about Bebo Norman's music, I immediately go back to my life in MN and my alma mater. I was in MN when Bebo first hit the Christian music scene and he was on fire with college students and young 20-somethings. I booked him for a concert at our alma mater when I was working there and had the chance to talk to him before the concert. What a down-to-earth guy- there was nothing pretentious about this man.
I chose "Great Light of the World" as my Bebo selection because I have a vivid memory of him and his guitar on a dark stage at a differnt concert with nothing but one bright spotlight on him belting this song out like no one was there listening to him- like it was just him and God.

Who doesn't like U2? I mean, seriously, there is a song for everyone when it comes to U2! I feel like U2 has always been in my life and although I do not own a single CD of theirs, I still love to listen to them. It's their lyrics- they are dripping with meaning. Listen closely to "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and you may just walk away with a beter understanding about what it is they are trying to say through this song.

Watermark is another all-time favorite. No one's music moves me like Watermark's. Their music ushers me into a state of worship immediately. This is another group that I will buy their CD without giving it a preview listen. The song I chose would not have been my first pick because me and this song do not have a story like some of their other songs. But from the stance of listening to words that serve as a gentle reminder that none of us is worthy of God's love, this sure is the best one!

Chris Rice
Chris Rice is like an old pair of sweats- comfortable and well-worn. I go back and forth on Chris Rice because sometimes his stuff his hoaky to me, but this particular song evokes strong memories of my dear Naomi for reasons still unbeknownst to me. Maybe it's because if anyone is going to appreciate kicking off their shoes, sitting on a porch and watching a fly close enough to know it just hit a screen and tumbled down, it's Nome!

Michael Buble
Really, I am not a huge fan of Michael Buble- I mean, I appreciate his music and all, but I am not a fan per se. I just love the song "Home." It makes me think of me and Simple Guy when we are apart- doesn't matter what or whom is around us, we just want to be together. Also, the CD that this particular song is on ususally is our backgroun music when we have company over.

Moody Blues
I grew up listening to the Moody Blues, but not by choice at first! I thought they were horrible, this coming from a pre-teen who thought Tiffany was the best singer in the world! My aunt and her husband at the time would always listen to them when we were in the car and I feel like my mom listened to them, too.
Anyway, my very first CD was the Moody Blues and "Nights in White Satin" became a favorite. I just had to include it to pay homage to the first group I ever listened to on my pink CD player!

I was introduced to Enya my sophomore year of college and to this day cannot find a better CD to relax or fall asleep to! One person in particular (whom shall remain know who you are!) thinks her music is creepy, but I don't think so. Neither does Simple Guy......we fall asleep to this very CD each night!

Everything But the Girl
My cousin Melissa gave me my one and only Everything But the Girl CD years ago and I immediately took to them. I chose this song because, once again, it reminds me of Simple Guy and just how much I miss him when he leaves.

There are so many artists/groups that I like/love, these being just a few:
Alaina Davis
Sara Groves
Shane and Shane
Alanis Morisette

What about you- what music do you love?

July 14, 2008

Turn Your Volume Up!

I figured out how to add music to my blog, so turn your volume up for double the fun when you visit! The first track's quality is horrible, but what can I say, I have never been one to shun bad music when the title of the song fits perfectly with the name of my blog!

Wondering where it's coming from? Scroll all the way to the bottom and you'll see my play list.....double click on the song you want to hear.

Random Shots

I thought it would be fun to share a few photos with you from my gallery of never before seen photos- it's my simple way of saying to you, "Hello, welcome to my blog- here is a glimpse into my life."

Simple Guy and I co-led a trip to New Orleans to gut a house in the Lower 9th ward with a group of college students. All the homes had been spray painted by FEMA or local authorities to indicate that the house had been checked and whether or not there were any victims found inside. Needless to say, it was a bit eerie to see this and of course, very sad. This house in particular communicated a much different message and how true it still is today for the people that are still trying to rebuld their lives there.

This is a self-portrait of us taking a break from gutting the house we were assigned to. Those masks and goggles were absolutely necessary to block out the debris and fibers that were floating around when we were tearing into walls and moving moldy items. The masks also helped block out the smell of what was the worst odor I have had occasion to smell to date.

Last Memorial weekend, we took our first couples vacation with Katherine and Geoff to Door County, WI. Wow, what a beautiful place to see and what a fun trip we had. It was that weekend that Simple Guy and I were introduced to the game "Settlers of Kattan"- I may have the spelling of that wrong. Anyway, this was taken on our last night- immediately after this was taken we went for ice cream......Katherine's favorite treat!

The morning we left Door County to come home, Simple Guy got a call from his mom telling us that his sister was in labor at a hospital in Milwaukee. So instead of going home, we went to Milwaukee and waited for Madelyn to be born- she is Simple Guy's first niece and my third. More importantly, she is the first grandchild on either side of the family, so you can imagine how excited everyone was to finally meet her. Here we are holding her just minutes after she was born.

I love this picture of Simple Guy with little Eric, my cousin's youngest child. I think they look a little alike here. Eric loves Simple Guy- he loves to jump on him and chase him around.

And this picture is Simple Guy and his Grandpa - they were super close. Simple Guy did a lot with his Grandpa growing up and we would try to get to where he was at least every other month to spend time with him, especially when he fell ill and went into a nursing home. Grandpa passed away in January 2007- this picture was taken Christmas 2006. It really does not depict the jovial man that Grandpa was, but I like it so much because it shows him in his dapper hat that he liked to wear.

July 12, 2008

I Confess

I must confess to you that I ate a piece of cake at the wedding reception we were at last night. And really, the only reason why I did so was becaue I felt it would be rude to not partake in the delectable cake that the bride and groom wanted to share with me and the other guests.

Liz was right in her comment on my last post about wedding cake most of the time tasting like cardboard and I was hanging my resolve to not eat any cake on that very truth, but after I saw someone eating a slice I could not say no. You see, the cake was unbelievably moist and full of flavor for the chocolate part of it was dense and real and the filling and frosting was not sugary, but rather creamy and tinted with the slightest hint of vanilla.

Oh, it was good folks, it was good and worth the temporary fall off the wagon. But I am back on the wagon of Operation: Just Say No!

July 9, 2008

Just Say No!

Okay, so if you know me well you know I am a sweet freak! I blame it on my mom- she ate hot fudge sundaes every week after lamase classes. I am not bitter (how can I be bitter when I love sweets!) about my love affair with sweets that started in my mother's womb, but I am realizing just how hard it is for me to say no to them and now that I am getting up there in age, I feel the need to take on a challenge and just say no..........


Oh my gosh, you must think I eat a piece of chocolate cake every day and while that would be my ideal, I actually know better than to keep anything like that in the house......Simple Guy has a sweet tooth, too! we only have tiny morsels of semi sweet chocolate or heavenly bars of 72% dark chocolate in our cupboard. But I have a small handful or piece of chocolate almost every day and while I know that is not bad (some healthy studies would say it is good for me in moderation), it does fuel my cravings for more sweets, which can easily lead to baking cookies or other delectable sweet treats.

Today is day three of Operation: Just Say No! but day five may pose the biggest temptation, for that night we will be at a wedding and we all know that weddings promise the taste of marital bliss cake and who knows what else (spumoni ice cream if the bride or groom are Italian or chocolate fondue if they are hip and trendy).

But just knowing that I will have to report back to you is enough will power to help me JUST SAY NO to sweets that night even though everyone around me will be savoring each bite on their dessert plates.

Okay, I have to stop writing about this.....I can hear those chocolate chips calling from the cupboard and need to do something about that.......I am gonna grab a celery stick and call it a night.

Sweet Dreams! For you, maybe.......but not for me!

July 7, 2008

Thirty.....Oh What a Weekend!

That's right all, I turned 30 this Sunday! And what a weekend of celebration it was......I'll tell you all about it.

On Friday, Simple Guy and I picked up my mother-in-love from the train station and whisked her off for afternoon treats in our building courtyard and then we walked for coffee. Friday night dinner was simple (this is, after all, the Simple Household) and then off we went to see this:

It was fabulous! And then we had dessert at the Italian Village. The silky chocolate mousse we had there was straight from heaven.

Saturday morning was kicked off with a trip to Starbuck's and then off to the farmer's market we went, where sugar snap peas and plump tomatoes awaited their doom- to be put in my sack and taken home for immediate comsumption! =)

After lunch, we went shopping and came home with some great (and unexpected) deals. And then it was time to get ready, for this night we were dining here:

We (myself, Simple Guy, my mom, and my mother-in-love) feasted on succulent shrimp in butter and garlic to wet our appetites for what was to come next: our own entrees. Everyone had something different and everyone enjoyed what they had. And then came dessert- a perfect creme puff sandwished between vanilla ice cream and smothered in the most decadent fudge sauce I have ever tasted (er, shamelessly shoved in my mouth without taking a break until it was all gone!).

On Sunday, I awoke next to Simple Guy and laid with a smile on my face as he sweetly mumbled in his morning fog "Happy Birthday." And then at 7:47am I turned 30!

And that night, we drove to my mom's and had dinner and you guessed it, more dessert- this time coffee ice cream and fudgy brownies.

And so tonight, in celebration of turning 30 and eating desserts three nights in a row, I went to the gym and here I sit not feeling guilty at all for ringing in my third decade with all those tasty treats.

My thanks to: Simple Guy, mom, Grandma, Cindy and Paul, Pam, Bob, Stacey and Bob, Matt and Ryan, Naomi, Chuck and Alice, Gabe, Erika, and Uncle Bob for the birthday cards.

And a special thanks to the Montaniez family for their singing message on my cell phone- I loved it!

I have to say, I had a very big smile on my face when this card came in the mail:

Who knew that the peeps in Hamden ND (this is the town where Naomi is from) had their own line of greeting cards?!

Well, now it's time for bed......I am 30 now, so it is now a rule that I must not make it to the 10pm news know, because I am 30!

June 27, 2008

My Minnesota Trip

My trip to Minnesota was nice. The drive up was uneventful- just the way I like long distance trips on the road alone- and so was the drive back.

I stayed with my friend Gail at her stylish apartment in downtown Minneapolis. Gail and I have know each other since 1995- we met the day we moved into our dorm rooms in college. Her cousin was my roommate, but it was Gail and I that spent the most time together. Gail is a good friend and one of the things that is so great about our friendship is that we can pick up where we left off......even if it has been months since we last spoke.

Gail is adventurous and inspiring because she is always pursuing things that others spend a lot of time thinking about. For example, she began running a couple of years ago and immediately began training for a marathon.

She had beautiful views of the Mississippi River and access to one of the private rooftop decks......which is where this picture was taken of Gail the first night I was there:

What's that you say? You see someone else in the picture? Oh, that's nobody special........NOT!That nobody is indeed somebody, dear readers........that is Naomi! Here she is with Gail:

Naomi decided to drive down for a very brief visit.....she arrived Friday night and left Sunday morning. Camp calls!

Here is a picture of us before we went out on the town on Saturday night- it's not the best, but we had to take our own picture.

I am not going to bore you with how much I love Naomi.....I think I have written about that a thousand times on this blog!

I also had the chance to visit Angie, who just has her second baby boy eight weeks ago- here is me with Baby Ben:

I wish I had a picture of Angie.....not sure why I did not take one with her. Angie is a special friend for many reasons, but what I love most about being friends with her is how unexpected our friendship was. It's not that she is not "friend material," quite the contrary; but rather that we were first roommates my senior year of college when I was unexpectedly living off campus for the last couple of months that year and had a bit of a rough start.

Angie is honest yet tender; joyful; real; and she loves the Lord and the people around her fiercely. What a lucky girl I am to have a friend like her!

And then Naomi and I had lunch with Ericka- here is a picture of the three of us in her backyard:

The three of us were roommates in Minnesota for a few years. We used to spend hours sitting on the couch talking about bascially nothing and everything. I don't mean to say that our time together was pointless, because it was not! I mean we made a lot of discoveries about each other during those marathon times on the couch, but I'll have to save that for another time!

Ericka has the voice of an angel (she sang in our wedding) and got her masters in vocal performance......but now she is pursuing a nursing degree. Pretty much the girl has a lot of gusto and is on track to becoming the nation's first opera perforoming nurse.....I have a feeling patients are going to be requesting her floor! Two years ago, Naomi and I had the privilege of standing up in Ericka's wedding- it was a beautiful wedding made only more beautiful by the way her and Nate's love story unfolded.

Then my picture taking stopped, which is no surprise really. The surprise is that I took pictures.....I'm not one for picture-taking.

I had a wonderful evening with Alisha; we met in 2002 when she joined our department at the college I used to work at in Minnesota. I have always loved her ability to usher you in to her heart in a matter of minutes after sitting down with her. Alisha is senstive and strong at the same time and is a true example of a lady. I love that Alisha and I are friends because there again, it was unexpected that we would be.

And on my last night I spent the evening with my dear friends Kim and Tim and their two children. I'll never be able to tell you how much of an impact they have made on my life. I met Kim in 1998 at my internship and am convinced that the reason why I interned where I did is so I could meet her.

Kim is Spirit-led and God has used her to speak Truth into my life and find healing. Tim is tender and strong in the Lord and his presence is calming. Together, they are a beautiful couple who minister to the lives of the many people that God puts in their path. Being with them on my last night in Minnesota was the perfect way to end my trip.

And I learned something about my life here. I learned that Simple Guy and I have a wonderful community of family and friends that love us here and while it would be nice to be in Minnesota with the friends in this post and our other friends, this is where God wants us and it feels good to be here. It feels good to be home. It really does.