Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The School of Hard Knocks

This School Stuff is hard work, and that's the last time I'm asking the puppy to help grade my papers, I'll tell you that much right now.  

Is life handing you lemons?  School got ya' down?  Chin up.  It's (almost) Thursday.  You'll get there.  

Love, H. N. & S.*

*One of us managed to nudge nearly 1/2 pound of ground beef off the counter and then proceeded to eat it off the floor.  I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count.  I will also tell you that I ate my ground beef off a plate, thank you very much.  


Sunday, October 24, 2010

B-sides

     I was recently cleaning up around This Little Corner, and realized that there are a lot of decent drafts just waiting to be published.  If my blog were an album, this would be on the B-Side, not because the length or quality is lacking, but simply because perhaps I didn't have the time to make extensive revisions or just wasn't brave enough to hit submit at the time (see below).  Here's a little ditty circa July 2010.       
~~~~~~
Sometimes, when we get in bed and it is quiet and dark and I can hear the fish aquarium humming, I want to whisper something to You about babies.

 While telling the story of Jesus' birth, the Bible says that Mary (The Mother of Jesus)  treasured the things that happened surrounding His birth and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

I wonder if I am feeling a little like Mary right now.

I am pondering.

      But somehow, I can't seem to muster the courage to talk to my husband about this.  So instead I tell you- Facebook Friends, fellow bloggers, complete strangers from the internet.

You see, it seems during these nights that are sticky and hot and when the house is SO quiet that the noise of the ice maker nearly throws us into cardiac arrest...I always chicken out.

Until last night.

     My sister is pregnant...which I realize I have yet to to tell you...so there you go.  We spent a significant time in The Children's Place (I have been there more in one summer than I have in my entire life).  Cute.
  
     The amazing thing about baby clothes is that if you are patient and savvy and wise, you can find good sales and purchase something soft and adorable for less than what you'd typically pay for lunch.  So, when it comes to gorgeous baby clothes or paying for a meal, (to me at least), the choice is clear.

     So we shopped for a long time and then we left.

     And when I went to bed, little-baby-jammies danced around in my brain.  Blue and green and red with little robots on them...purple ones with pink and green apples...jammies with feet...oh the feet.  Jammies so tiny and soft and clean.

     Last night, we fell asleep lying on our backs with our arms linked, much like a bride and groom walking down the church steps which just seemed funny to me...as if we were two soldiers, marching off to Dreamland.

     In that silent moment that sometimes happens after we stop talking but before we've officially said, "Good Night," I started thinking about those jammies.  So I gathered an armload of courage and whispered to you six of The Heaviest Words Known to Man.

"...Do you ever think about babies....?"

But you were already asleep.

Love and better luck next time,
H.
*Illustration by Eloise Wilkin 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I am The Walrus

     Well-well-well.  I was looking for a quick & easy post today and it looks like I've found it. I stumbled upon this little ditty of a blog hop that's actually quite good.  I'll take blog hops that entice readers instead of just followers any day!*  Stop on by and check out those who have linked up if you are looking for a good read today!  The hops blog host, Fantasy Casting looks pretty interesting as well- if you are into books/movies/hollywood celebs, then it's right up your alley!  





In other news, I have come to the conclusion that if Scarlett Ball was a yoga instructor, she would refer to this pose as The Walrus.  It looks quite comfy.  

     Also, I really-really-really want to buy mini-cupcake pans for making tiny, pink cupcakes when my sister has her baby.  What do you think!?!!??  Adorable, right?  


Love and miniature pastries, 
H. 


*I'll have you know I wanted to make TWO semi-dirty jokes but deleted them post haste.  Ok. Ok.  The one referred to the blog hop's namesake, "hump day" and the other was one about "your mom."  


Meh. I just couldn't resist.  


http://www.boldts.net/album/Walrus.shtml

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shoving it all back, among other things

     I started to write a Big Fat Post in which I compared my job to making pizza.  It was turning out to be kind of whiny and complain-ish sounding rather than cute and clever so I quit.

But now, there is all this pressure to NOT be all whiny and complainish so...yikes.

     Instead, I will give you the facts.  Today, my job made me cry, and my job never makes me cry.  We are busy.  We are very busy.  This year, more than ever, there is so much work that has to go on behind the scenes.  It's exhausting, and once you get the whole day pulled together- what then?  Well, then you have to live through it.  Double-yikes.

     I have become one of those people who sends text messages about work during mine & Tim's "snuggle-on-the-couch-time."  It's always there.  Even now, there are Things.  It is hard to stomach these days.  I got all the way home and realized I hadn't breathed all day.  I mean, really breathed.  This makes going to sleep quite difficult and is rather hard on the lungs.

And I realize, I am doing a terrible job of NOT being whiny and complainish.

But...

     I also found this, and it moved me to tears.  It moved me to tears because it is so true, and I realize it has been weeks since I have done a good amount of shoving.  Tomorrow will be better.  Tomorrow will be new.

So won't you join me? Won't you join me in Shoving It All Back?

     "The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in." 
--Mere Christianity

Something else to consider...


      This picture makes me giggle because it reminds me of Olivia, beloved Children's book character who wakes up everyday and has to move the cat.  I look like a four year old trying to handle a live animal.  Ha.  
Cat or no cat, I think we all can relate to that.  Below are some more pictures of That Adorable Pig thanks to Ian Falconer.  
How hilarious is she in the panty hose!?!?!?!








Love and more shoving (but quite possibly less cat-moving), 
H.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

100 Bills y'all*

     This is a post about money. Cash. Dough. Moolah.  

And how we spend it.  And spend it. And spend it.  

But first (as usual), a story.  

    A while ago, my friend, Courtney and I had a discussion about "birth order."  If I remember correctly, someone (probably her) had read a piece about the specific characteristics you gain simply from being the youngest/oldest/middle child in your family and how those rankings can affect your marriage.  I don't hold a ton of stock in that particular theory, but one point stayed with me.  I commented that Tim and I were both the youngest, and Court laughed and said, 

"Youngest with youngest is fine....but it's a financial disaster."  

We laughed it off, but I remember that conversation so clearly. 

((Gulp))  

     With that being said, this is how we used to manage our finances:  

     Tim paid almost all the bills except for the ones I had before we met (i.e. my student loan/car/credit card).  He would pay everything else.  We would both keep track of when we were getting paid and have conversations in passing about how we were spending it, the update of our balance, how much we thought we could save/use as extra to pay down debt, etc.  

     It was working.  It wasn't ideal, and it wasn't the best way for us to be using our resources, but....it was working.  

     And then...it wasn't.  We got to the end of our month and had to pull from our savings account and a light went on.  A flag went up...for both of us.  

     Honestly, it must have been divine intervention.  We both have had a change of heart regarding how we spend our time AND our money.  Our priorities have changed.  The other day, I thought, "Well...desperate times call for desperate measures....and I couldn't be more excited."  

So...we purchased QUICKEN!

I don't know about you, but I  had never heard of it until I met Tim, so I'll explain.  

     Quicken is a personal finance computer program/software that helps you manage all your spending and accounts.  You plug in all your bank account info. and it automatically KNOWS where to categorize your spending. 
     For example, a few weeks ago, we made purchases at Lowe's.  When we clicked the Home Improvement category, guess what transaction showed up!?!?!  Magic, I tell you- magic!  The same is true for things like gas, food, groceries and the like.  

     Although we did have to move some transactions around/plug some in like tithe to our church and other misc. items.  It is also funny to see what Quicken "guesses."  Cincinnati has a really popular ribs place called Montgomery Inn.  It's just a restaurant, but Quicken categorized last week's transaction  as "Hotel/Travel."  

     It was ridiculous to see where all our money was going.  I'm not going to tell you exactly how and where b/c it is horrifiying-ly embarrassing, but I will tell you that this month, we ate almost an entire paycheck. 

We literally ate it.  

Oh. Oh. Quicken to the rescue.  


     I don't usually do product reviews BUT, this personal finance program is amazing.  I am not math minded.  I'm not.  Even counting change can throw me over the edge.  However, I love Quicken.  It's like watching a cartoon or a video game with all it's nifty charts and pie graphs.  Anything with the word pie in it is okay in my book. 
 (this is not our info. by the way, it came from the website)

     So, I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that I'm excited.  I hope this works for us.   If you are looking for a better way to manage your finances, I highly suggest it.  The deluxe package was around $60, but we used that as our "date night" last night (not that we usually spend that much on a date, but not eating at a 'sit down' place/seeing a movie off set the cost a little).  

     I went to bed last night feeling overwhelmed by where all our money had gone, but had SUCH a peace because I KNEW where all of it had gone, if that makes sense.  I think for the first time, in a long time, I felt like I really had a handle on our accounts (which is scary if you think about it).  

     Today, Tim and I need to finish our talk about WHAT we are changing in terms where all our money goes.  We also need to use the program to set up a budget, savings plan, and timeline for paying off some of our debt.  More details on that later.  

     What's 'working' for you?  Do you feel like this is something you could use?  Is there something you feel like you need to get a better handle on? Do it! Do it today!  

Love and fewer five dollar coffees (yikes!), 
H.  

*It took me several tries to spell "y'all," and I'm still not sure if it's right.  

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pocket Full of Rocks

     I read this on a friend's blog, and I really loved it.  


Today is a day to come out as stronger version of yourself, no matter your sexual preference, race, creed or color.  


     And I really loved it.  


     Tonight, I am feeling a bit downtrodden for a few reasons that I hope I can clarify with intelligence, love, and perhaps a bit of restraint.  Maybe you are feeling the same way, too.  


     Never-ever-ever will I ever really touch on controversial topics.  I don't want to talk about homosexuality or my stance on same-sex marriage.  I don't know what the future holds, but right now, I have peace in my heart.  I have found an answer I think I can live with.  


     If you are really curious, feel free to send me an email.  Other than that...mmm... no thanks.  I find that a lot of fists-pounding-on-tables tends to spill the coffee.  Well, frankly, I care a lot more about saving the java than my pride. So there you go.  


     However, it really hurts my feelings when someone calmly and respectfully gives a conservative opinion about topics like abortion, homosexuality, and the like and are only met with angry rants that mock religion and assume that this person must be "full of hate" simply because they disagree with someone else's stance.  While this hasn't happened to ME recently, I have been inadvertently reading a lot of ugly rants on the internet and it makes me feel a bit crummy.  Meh. I give up. I quit.  


More than anything, my heart breaks for people who are met with anger, hatred, spite, malice, all in the name of religion.  


If you have found yourself in such dire straights, then my sincere apologies to you.  Please know, that is not the pathway of Jesus.  


If anything, the world we live in is only drawing me closer to Jesus.  


Ever close to you.  


I find myself praying a lot more lately.  


Please know- whether gay, straight, pink, purple, muslim, buddhist, cat-lover, dog-lover, pro-choice, pro-life, (Even you, Michigan Fans)...


You are loved.  


Love and random-almost-political-rants, 
H.  


Might I recommend, Ever Close to You by Pocket Full of Rocks


and


because this was a rather sad and unorthodox post for yourstruly, a really adorable picture of  really adorable puppies.  Carry on.  


by Shirley Glendenning 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I am The Evening Paper Floating Down an Alley

About a post and 1/2 ago (a 1/2?) I said I wanted to share with you a poem and then I got...sidetracked, to say the least.  Here it is.  I suppose it is meant to be a little "tongue and cheek." You know, the way we are always comparing our loved ones to "things."  But at the end of the day, I think it's truly beautiful.  

Photo by askinimages, flickr

Litany

You are the bread and the knife, 
The crystal goblet and the wine... 
-Jacques Crickillon 

You are the bread and the knife, 
the crystal goblet and the wine. 
You are the dew on the morning grass 
and the burning wheel of the sun. 
You are the white apron of the baker, 
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight. 

However, you are not the wind in the orchard, 
the plums on the counter, 
or the house of cards. 
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air. 
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air. 

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge, 
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head, 
but you are not even close 
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk. 

And a quick look in the mirror will show 
that you are neither the boots in the corner 
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse. 

It might interest you to know, 
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world, 
that I am the sound of rain on the roof. 

I also happen to be the shooting star, 
the evening paper blowing down an alley 
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table. 

I am also the moon in the trees 
and the blind woman's tea cup. 
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife. 
You are still the bread and the knife. 
You will always be the bread and the knife, 
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine. 


Billy Collins

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shoes, Secrets, & Sisters

Photo by Meg Pickard
Sweet Heather Marie:  (smiling like the cat that got the canary)  Hey...

Me:  ((silence))

SHM:  (nudges with elbow) Hey...

Me: (whispers) what?

SHM:  (nods towards the left) Do you see Elaine's shoes....?

Me:  Yea....

SHM:  See my shoes...?  

Me: Yea...

SHM:  (still smiling widely) They're kinda the same!  


 I am convinced that God gave me two ears so I could use one to listen to my sister chitter-chat during choir practice* and the other to listen to the director. I have to laugh because even in her most distracted moments, she always seems to know where we are in the sheet music.  Me on the other hand?  You know, the silent one?  


I can never find my place.   


Honestly?  I wouldn't have it any other way.  


Love and talkative sisters, 
H.  


*Did you know I joined the choir?  What can I say? I am a sucker for Christmas Choir Cantatas.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

I am the Sound of Rain on the Roof

Oh. Hello.  There you are. 

I've missed you.  Lots and lots. 

and lots and lots. 

In case you missed it, I did a little Facebook/Blog fast.  It started out as an all-out "internet fast" but turned into me-using-the-internet-to-pursue-other-intrests (i.e. looking up recipes, a few online games, researching misc. products). 

However, no blogs for a good 6 days.  It worked out quite nicely. 

But, did I mention I've missed you? 

Later, I will tell you about all my adventures and a few of the new and wonderful things I've learned while I've been way. 

But right NOW I will tell you that the logicboard on my Macbook is broke. (Isn't it weird when "bad" grammar just sounds "right"?) 

What, might you ask, is a logicboard?  Well, according to the way my computer was acting, it must be the thing-y that makes all the keys on your keyboard work...not to mention makes your screen NOT go black.

?

((sigh))

So, for now, I am here, click-clacking away on a strange, borrowed computer.  Meh. Hello, to feeling Funny.  That's right. Funny. 

I really wanted to share with you my new & favorite poem.  However, right now just doesn't seem like the time- as this nonsensical* post was much longer than expected. 

Love and something to look forward to,
H.

*I am not familiar with thiz computerz spell chek. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Secrets Revealed

    I should probably tell you that Tim has volunteered to teach a Sunday School Class for 18-25 year olds.  Lately, we've been talking about how at the end of the day (ok, at the end of our lives) we are judged according to how we lead the other people God puts in our paths.  It terrifies me to think we will be held accountable for the way these college kiddos turn out (to a certain extent).          


     Basically, when you are under that kind of pressure, you start to take a serious look at your life.  You start wondering how in the world you can get all your crooked little ducks in a row, right?  


     With that being said,  you already know that sometimes, I am a terrible person.  In more ways than one.  Well, here is more proof of terribleness. Sometimes, it feels like I encounter other girls who appear to be a "me-upgrade."  Do you ever feel like that?  (Please say yes).  Like if you find a vintage coach wallet at a thrift store, there is a girl out there who not only finds the wallet, she also finds the matching handbag.  And it just stinks.  And what's worse is that these girls are perfectly nice people.  Nice girls.  Friendly girls. Sweethearts.  So, it's not like you can say, "Well, she may have the handbag, but at least I'm not a jerkface."  


     So, then came the glumps.  That's right.  I've been feeling a bit glumpy lately.  One morning, the only prayer I could muster was, "Lord, I think I've gone crazy."  


       It is funny/interesting/sad how you can enjoy something so much that it takes away from other aspects of your life.  I love blogging.  I love reading blogs.  I love staying connected through Facebook, but honestly- I'm not always good at finding the balance.  It has been several days since I've taken Scarlett out on the bike- and we love going out on the bike.  It has been weeks since I've finished a book or made a new craft.  And I LOVE books and crafts.  Weeks.  Meh.  

     And after my "I've gone crazy" prayer, He said, "Maybe you should go a week without the internet."  


     To which I replied, "You want me to spend my FAIR BREAK, at home ALONE with no internet?"  


     "You heard me." 


     So, that's what I did...or am doing.  I don't really know what giving up the internet has to do with feeling glumpy or comparing myself to the "cool" girls, but I'm willing to give it a shot nonetheless, and I hope I can find some answers along the way.  


      So, you see-for the past 5 days or so, the posts that have shown up were scheduled- written several days before they actually showed up (pretty cool, huh?).  I can't really tell you how it's going or what I've learned because, honestly, I typed this up the day before my "fast."  


Anyway...


Are you feeling glumpy lately?  What's the plan?  


See you tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 2nd)*


Love and no more glumps, 
H. 


*I typed this one roughly a week ago, and it feels like time-travel.  


                                                                                                                                                source unknown