Monday, January 31, 2011

All things puzzles

My roommate informed me recently that I am a puzzle expert. That I have mad puzzle skills. That if it were a marketable skill, I would be very marketable. That if it were an Olympic sport, I would be the Puzzle Champion of the World, Gold Medal, Record holder. Okay, maybe those weren't her exact words, but she did say she is very impressed with my puzzle doing skills.

Honestly, I think it is because I am a detail oriented person. So, I can look at a piece of a puzzle and find the tiny bit of red that might match it to a woman's hat.

However, I am finding doing puzzles a little frustrating lately. Because, no matter your skills, it's never fun to get to the end of a puzzle where you just have sky, grass, and trees left. All the fun parts have been accomplished already. I wish it was possible to put the boring parts together first. Okay, officially, anything is possible. But that wouldn't make that part any more fun for me because than all the fun parts of the puzzle would be sitting there waiting for me. But I guess it makes the puzzle more challenging toward the end.

By the way, just in case you were wondering, Puzzle Completion would be a winter sport, not a summer sport, because puzzles are most often completed in the winter when you can't be outside to do anything else. :)

Well, back to my happy puzzling while I watch the snow fall and wait for Emily to stop being responsible so we can watch some mindless TV! :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Random competitive streak is alive and active

I always feel like I follow a serious post (my previous Scripture Saturday post) with something completely nonsensical. In my mind it makes sense to post the serious first, but than it gets buried because the newest post takes precedence. So, please, for my peace of mind, make sure you read the post that came before this one!

I read lots of other blogs, besides writing my own. But this month I noticed something that has seriously disturbed me. :) I have only blogged 10 times this month (this post I'm writing now will be 11). I have a friend with 5 kids who has blogged 12 times. I read a blog (of someone I don't know) who has 9 kids and has blogged 16 times. And I have a friend with 2 kids plus one on the way who has blogged 17 times. This helped to kick in my random competitive streak. How can they blog more than me? They have to have a lot less time on their hands than I do! The game is on! :) Which is why I have posted more in the last week than I have in a long time, although I still am not motivated enough to beat any of them, apparently. And it's not like they know they are in a competition with me. My one saving grace is that I'm pretty sure with 5, 9, and almost 3 kids, they have a lot more interesting things to blog about than I do!

Pul, also called Tiglath-Pileser

Scripture Saturday is here again! :)

I'm reading through 2 Kings right now, and several things have struck me as interesting as I am reading through the chronology of the kings of Israel and Judah (besides the title of this post, which was just something that amused me). As one reads through these chapters, and as each king is introduced, there is one characteristic that is always listed which goes one of three ways:
"He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord."
"He did evil in the eyes of the Lord."
"He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him."

Each of the kings was known, either righteously or notoriously, for how he followed the Lord. Even the kings who did right in the eyes of the Lord often had caveats, stating, "but they did not..."

It makes me wonder (not that I am a queen) how my history will be written. I hope it can start with "Teresa did right in the eyes of the Lord." However, I wonder how many "buts" will follow.

But she did not fully devote herself to the Lord. Instead she continued to commit such and such a sin...

But she did not obey the Lord by speaking what is pure, holy, noble, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy...

But she did not follow the Lord by sharing Christ with others in order to further the kingdom of God...

These are just a few of the "buts" that could be spoken about me. I am thankful, when I think of these things, to know that I am saved by grace and that God wants me to strive to change these things, but that He did not expect me to change them before I came to Him (because I cannot change them on my own). And that I am still a work in progress. And that He loves me enough to keep working with me and on me to change the things that are not pleasing to Him.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shades of Gray

It's that time of year again, where I begin to measure the weather, not in sunny or cloudy, but in just how cloudy is it. I feel like the seasonal affective disorder has hit me a little later this year than usual. It might be because, although we have had lots of cloudy days lately (poor Daynah has been here a week and hasn't really gotten to see a blue sky yet) most days have a little snippet of sunshine or blue sky, even if it is just the hazy sunshine. Today on my way home I saw one little patch of blue. For some reason that is often enough to give me a respite for a little while and it immediately lightens my mood.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm a testifier

At the beginning of the month I went to court with one of my families and the case was continued until today. There was a strong question of whether the courts would take the girls away from their mom at court today. I have been advocating all month for this not to happen and over the last week have been talking to everyone involved to advocate for the mother (who has been very cooperative in services and is not neglecting her children) and the girls. Last week I was super stressed for about two hours after getting off the phone with several people. My coworkers and supervisor had to hear all about it (and have been so helpful in letting me vent to them about it). Anyway, things went better than expected in court but not as well as we had originally hoped. The case was continued for 6 more months with all services still intact and DCFS maintaining guardianship.

I have been to court a lot of times with my clients, but I get so frustrated because most of the time nothing happens, it just gets continued. And then I miss the court hearings where something actually happens. It has been become a joke around the office and I've said I'm not going to court anymore because maybe things would happen if I wasn't there. Today was a very different story. Not only did things happen, but my client's lawyer called me to the stand. Now, in talking with my supervisor last week and this week I was hoping I could have a say in court, but for some reason it never occurred to me what that would mean. I actually had to be sworn in and sit on the stand beside the judge. It was so official. Most of what happens in our cases happen outside the court room while waiting to go in and is very informal. so, this surprised me. But it wasn't as bad as I thought and I do feel like I was heard during the last week and some of my recommendations were actually taken into consideration.

All in all, I am not displeased with what happened and I breathed a big sigh of relief that the girls did not get pulled out of the home. I do believe I am fighting an uphill battle for the family, but we have six months to make some more progress, so I'm not going to worry about that yet.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Having someone else to take care of

Has been interesting! A good interesting.

My sister came into town on Saturday. I have been looking forward to this trip, but also stressing about it just a little bit. While I lived with my family for two years, Daynah and I have never spent this much time alone together. :) After I moved out of the house we did a few things together for an afternoon, but we've never been the spend the night, spend hours alone together type of sisters.

Saturday night I took her and a friend to the ice skating rink. I had one of my friends meet me there so that I would have someone to skate with too (thanks Kinsey!).

Sunday we went to church and than hung out and played games. There isn't much to do in Peoria in the winter and there are no movies out that I would take her to see.

This morning Daynah had an ortho appointment and then we went to turn my paperwork in at work. Afterward, we were discussing what we were going to do and Daynah actually had an opinion and voiced it (up to this point I had been getting a lot of "I don't know." or "I don't care."). So we went to PCS so she could say hi to Mrs. Bachman and then I followed her around while she went to see another teacher and surprise some friends. Afterward we came home so that I can shower before we went to get something for lunch. We went to Subway. I tried the new Caesar sandwich. The jury's still out on whether I liked it or not. I'll have to get it one more time to decide. Home again and we hung out at the house. Played some games and than watched a movie. I just finished cooking us dinner. Now I don't know what we'll do.

Tomorrow is my last day with her. I drop her off at PCS on Wednesday morning and than she is spending the next week and a half with various friends. She will come back to my house the day she leaves for a few hours. I was lucky to be able to take today and tomorrow off so that I could spend the time with her. I'm liking that I will only have three days of work the rest of the week :).

In other news (if you can call it that!), Emily and I finished the first season of NCIS yesterday. We were discussing season two. Emily knows that Kate gets shot at the end of season two because I told her that a long time ago. But I forgot that I hadn't mentioned who did it (and was actually being intentional about not telling her) and I accidentally let it slip. Reminds me of the time Danell was reading a series of books after me and she asked me if one of the characters dies at the end of the books. I didn't want to tell her, but she kept asking me. So, instead I lied to her (although I felt like I said it sarcastically indicating the lie). She got to the end of the book and because I had told her the character didn't die (and apparently she thought I was a very honest person) she thought it was just a dream of one of the other characters. She did not like me very much when I had to tell her that the character had really died and she would find out in the last book of the series that it was true. :) Thank goodness our friendship withstood this pivotal moment!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Looking Back

I had some friends over this evening for dinner and games. We played Ticket to Ride and it made me think of a blog post about a time we played the same game a few years ago. I looked it up to show everyone. After they left, I realized it was still pulled up, so I've spent the last hour or so reading through old blog posts starting in 2008. Here is my favorite quote (can you have a favorite quote of yourself?) "Why use 7 words when you can use 37?" It made me laugh for two reasons 1)It is so true of me...I like to use a lot of words to explain something! 2)I just had a conversation with Danell the other day where she told me she liked my stories. It's been a while since someone has told me they like that I talk too much and include incredibly too many details in my stories! But the best post I found was on April 30, 2008. If you want to read the whole thing click here. Here is the gist of the blog. It was my first public debate of whether I should join Facebook. What cracked me up the most was the comments that followed, and Danell's comment in particular: "Don't get your hopes up people!!!! Teresa is physically unable to join anything or acquire a new piece of technology until every person she knows on the face of the earth has had it for at least two years. I have cell phone voicemails and text messages as proof guys, you may be thinking "but I've had those things since at least '02, but Teresa didn't get them until '05... its not going to happen." She predicted correctly, since I didn't join Facebook until January 1, 2010!

Lastly a conversation I had with Danell on Wednesday (apparently this blog could have been subtitled "The one that mentions Danell a lot.") Danell has been having a lot of allergy issues and I got a really sad text from her Wednesday about it, so I called her on my way home from church to commiserate. Here is part of the conversation:
Danell: You should go in and have a glass of chocolate milk for me.
Me: My stomach has been hurting tonight and the thought of food is making me sick. Maybe I could NOT eat in support of all the foods you can't eat.
Danell: Okay.
Me: And then tomorrow morning, I'll have a glass of chocolate milk just for you!
Danell: I like how you can not eat or eat but still support me either way!
Me: It is convenient that way!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Explanation/ Scripture Saturday

I realized, that if people may really pay attention to the things I update on my blog, they might be kind of confused by my new reading list. I am currently reading 2 Kings in a Teresa-made Read Through the Bible plan. This is my 3rd time (possibly 4th) reading through the Bible. It's something I enjoy doing, and the first time I did it, I followed a read through the Bible in a year plan. Even then, I knew it might be a hard thing to do because I am a stickler for following rules most of the time. So, I decided to read at my own pace. That way I wouldn't be upset if I didn't get done in one year. I have kind of kept that up and have used my own plans since than. All of that to say, I'm not an overachiever who is already in 1 Kings, it's just that I started this particular plan sometime last year. Funny, I didn't even write down when I started, so I won't even know in the end how long it took! :)

Also, I add a "what I'm memorizing" category. I am doing Beth Moore's 24-Scripture memory plan this year and will update what I'm memorizing on the 1st and 15th of every month. I did something like her plan in my Sunday School class and found that I enjoyed the discipline, so I decided to officially join Beth Moore's team this year. I am very excited because Danell is doing it with me, so I have some real, live accountability going as well. I have found a good time to memorize and review is when I am at the gym (yes, I did say gym) on the bike. I haven't actually tried reviewing on the treadmill, but I'm guessing it would be easy as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Chick-fil-a Saga

This may or may not be another story that gets long and drawn out, but the people who I've told in person have enjoyed it (I think!). When I arrived in Arizona, I had been there for approximately 22 minutes (after getting off the plane, giving big hugs to Amy, Josh, and Daynah, and getting my luggage) we were pulling onto the first road of my Arizona experience when I very loudly and excitedly and animatedly exclaimed, "YOU HAVE CHICKFILA IN ARIZONA!!!!!!!" To which Amy very calmly replied, "I had hoped you wouldn't notice that Chick-fil-a." I think at this point I might have still been exclaiming in my head. This might have had to do with the fact that it was 4:22 Arizona time (5:22 Peoria time) and I had not had a meal since about 10:30am. Alas, we did not stop at Chick-fil-a.

Now, I should probably side-note this story by stating that Amy, Daynah, and Josh have only eaten at Chick-fil-a once and that was when we drove down to Georgia and I made them stop at the first Chick-fil-a we spotted from the highway. To say that my family does not share my love of Chick-fil-a would be an understatement, and will become more and more evident as this story becomes even longer! :)

I arrived in Arizona on Tuesday afternoon. That evening there was a Christmas party at Sunshine Acres.

Wednesday am: It is decided we should eat at Chick-fil-a for lunch (I think Amy might have been thinking we should just get it out of the way quickly! :) ) She googled the Chick-fil-a's in the area. Now, they have lived in Arizona since September and couldn't even name where one was located. I was a little devastated and thinking of adopting a new family, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they have been kind of busy and they don't eat out much.

Wednesday noonish: We finally get ready to head out to our location, but have to pick up Josh from choir practice first. As we were leaving choir practice we notice a maintenance vehicle outside of the house. The refrigerator had been on the blitz and they had requested a new one. So, we drive back to the hour later, we're all hungry and head back out to find the Chick-fil-a. As we turn down the street, we start looking for that wonderful sign, only to realize that the empty, forlorn building we see is where the Chick-fil-a used to be. Sigh. After some debate, we decide we are too hungry to look for the next Chick-fil-a and we head to Chili's instead.

Wednesday pm: Another Christmas party.

Thursday am: We decide to head to Tempe marketplace. There was mention the day before that there was a Chick-fil-a in Tempe. I decide not to act even more childish than I already have, and I decide to go with the flow. My family knows that I want Chick-fil-a. They won't deny me the whole trip.

Thursday 11:30ish: We are almost to Tempe when I see that wonderful sign from the highway. Again, I don't say anything because I realize we are not getting off at this exit. As we approach the exit for the Marketplace, it gets mentioned that there should be a Chick-fil-a close by. Again, I don't mention my foreknowledge of the Chick-fil-a a few exits back and instead suggest Red Robin (another favorite) for lunch. Aren't I magnanimous?!

Thursday evening: We go see movies (me and the kids saw Tangled; Dad and Amy saw Little Fockers). We had popcorn and soda for dinner. As we were leaving the theater, I notice a Chick-fil-a on the corner. I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not. But I did file it back in the corner of my mind that I was going to be seeing another movie with the kids and if we came to this theater we could eat Chick-fil-a for lunch.

Friday: Christmas eve. Lunch with Kurt Warner. We didn't leave the Acres.

Saturday: Christmas Day. We didn't leave the acres. At some point in time I realized that we were going to see the movie on Sunday. I exclaimed in my head: CHICK-FIL-A IS CLOSED ON SUNDAY!

Sunday: No Chick-fil-a for obvious reasons.

Monday am: I am beginning to worry. I am only in Arizona for two more days. And we are heading into the mountains for the day. Yikes. Well, we had lunch in the mountains at a really cool place. And we found out that our drive through the mountain and around to Globe was going to be cut short because of a road being closed. We arrived back at the house around 5ish and began discussing dinner options. I decided I wanted Chick-fil-a, but realized that my family might not want to drive the 20 minutes to go there, since its not their favorite place to eat. But I basically said that was where I was going and they could join me if they wanted. Some wanted to, some didn't. Josh didn't really want to be in the car any longer, and on the way made some ridiculous statement about Chick-fil-a being just like any other fast food place. Don't worry, I refrained from opening the side door and pushing him out...
Here is my glorious meal! :) Nuggets, waffle fries, and Polynesian sauce. Yum. E. But don't worry, the saga doesn't end there! (In my head, I've been trying to think about how many readers I still have, but than I decided that I don't really care. This story has to be told!)

Tuesday: We spent the day in Old Town Scottsdale. When we left Scottsdale, we went to a mall. I was too tired to walk around the mall, so I sat in a chair and read a book. While I was waiting I started people watching. And about 3 minutes into my people watching I saw a woman walk by with a Chick-fil-a cup. For approximately 32 seconds I debated going to find the Chick-fil-a (it was about 4 and I was just starting to feel hungry for dinner) but than I went back to my book. When the family reunited, Daynah told me there was a Chick-fil-a and it was right around the corner. Shucks. As we were leaving the mall parking lot, I realized that across the street was the Chili's we ate at my second day in Arizona. Ironically, there was a Chick-fil-a across the street. I pointed out the irony to my family, but they didn't seem to care.

Wednesday, somewhere around the butt crack of dawn or a little earlier: We were on the way to the airport and I remembered the Chick-fil-a from my 22minutes in Arizona. I suggested to Dad that we stop for a chicken biscuit. We get off the exit, only to discover that the Chick-fil-a isn't open yet. I thought about crying, but then decided to be thankful for the one meal I got during my stay in Arizona!

That's all to the story. Really. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dressing for the weather inside or outside?

This is a dilemma whatever season it is, but this week it has been a fun mix because I've added a third category: dressing for just in case I drive my car into a ditch. :)

Many of you know I am very warm-blooded. The joke at church is that I wear short sleeves to church year round and even in the winter it is me and the pregnant ladies that are fanning ourselves because we are hot (no, I am not pregnant!). This presents unique challenges when getting dressed in the morning.

I moved to a new office building in July. I had heard horror stories about the temperature during the winter. The building has old radiator heat, and my office is on the third floor, which is basically an attic. Sometimes it gets to be approximately 231.7 degrees. We have had the two tiny windows open while it is snowing outside on several occasions. But, I am also in and out of my car all day seeing kids.

With the inclement (I love this word, though I'm not sure why) weather this week, this has been my thinking. Dress in layers. So, Tuesday I wore a long sleeve shirt with a button down sweater (that I never ended up wearing because even in my car I was hot). But the thought was also, "well, if I hit some snow or ice and end up in a ditch, I'll want this extra layer until help comes to get me." So, extra layers have been the norm the past two days.

However, this afternoon, my client cancelled so I was home before going to church (normally I pack my change of clothes for AWANA and take it with me in the morning). I am ALWAYS hot at church on Wednesday night because I am constantly running around. So I only wear my short sleeve AWANA shirt and tennis shoes. Since I was home, I decided to change into my AWANA clothes before going to church. While putting on my tennis shoes, I decided to change my socks to ankle socks because my feet often get warm too. Wow, this story is getting long and boring...just wait, it'll have a big ending! While I was driving to church I thought, "Oops, I hope I don't drive into any ditches because I am definitely not dressed for sitting in a ditch for any length of time!" But I was very comfortable while I was at church and was glad I didn't have on any additional layers.

And then I found ten dollars! :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Weekend Before Christmas and LOTS of pictures!

The weekend before Christmas, I travelled up to Mom's because my brother, sis-in-law, and nephew were in town for the weekend. We spent some time hanging out, went to the Forsberg family Christmas party, and had Teresa's Christmas. Since I was not going to be in Georgia with everyone else for Christmas, everyone opened their presents from me and I opened the presents from everyone else. Santa even came to visit me early!

Here are the pictures as promised, in no particular order whatsoever. I know there are a lot of them, but just keep in mind, I picked these out of 500+ pictures from my mom and Ann's cameras! John let me have a bite of his green jello! :)
John and I doing a Where's Waldo puzzle. I taught him the "correct" way to do puzzles. Outside edges first, and then match up the colors on the inside. He is very good! He must have some of my genes in him somewhere! :)
Awwww... a nice self portrait!
Sisters :)
This picture cracked me up. I don't think we really knew our pictures were being taken, but it looks like we said. "Quick...look away from the camera! You look that way. I'll look this way! Just ignore the camera!"
Autumn has become my new best friend this Christmas season. I can't say that I mind! :) She got a Tangled blanket from Santa that we got to cuddle under. I love Autumn because she is the only girl great-grandchild (besides Sophia who lives in California) of soon to be 13 (if I counted right). She just takes it all in stride.
I love this boy!
A great family picture.
Mom taught John what he's supposed to do if he sees a girl under the mistletoe! :)
I thought John's face in this picture was adorable!
I even got to sit on Santa's lap. Yippee!
This was getting late into the evening and John just needed a comfortable pillow for a few minutes! The funniest part was we weren't sure if CJ ever realized John was laying on him. They were so zoned and in their own little worlds!
My cousin Jeremy did a DVD of 50 years of Christmas' that played throughout the night at the party. One picture was of all the cousins when we were kids on the stairs at Grandpa's house waiting for Santa to come. The aunts thought it would be a great idea to recreate the picture. There were only a few problems. One, we aren't quite as small as we used to be. This was a tight fit! Two, all the cousins weren't there for the picture. But it still turned out great and I'm very glad to have it.
I wasn't around for this, but I heard the story of John playing with the nativity and I thought it was cute. Did anyone else know that Mr and Mrs Snowman were present for Jesus' birth?
Making pretzel rods dipped in chocolate. Isn't that such a serious face. It takes a lot of concentration to get just the right amount of sprinkles on the pretzel!
He thought the sprinkles just spilled out were the coolest thing ever!
John trying to suffocate me! I don't know why he started doing this but it became a great game for him. I, of course, suffered through it :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Seeing is Believing

I'm bucking my own reservations about blogging out of order today. :) And I'll probably give you a hodge podge of information in no particular order.

The first of which is that I am currently sitting here with mostly dry hair. Why is this important, you ask? Because I was mindlessly blowdrying my hair this morning when sparks started flying out of the hairdryer pretty close to my hand. So I did what any sane person would do...I threw it down and ran! :) Only half true. I did drop it as fast as I could and than I stared at it for a few minutes just in case it was going to jump at me or turn into a fire breathing dragon. So, now I'm sitting here wondering what I am going to do to dry my hair today and tomorrow because I'm guessing I'm not going to get to a store today to buy a hair dryer.

Anyway, next things next (and the real reason I got on here). I am a great fan of the phrase "seeing is believing." I think it might somehow be part of my love language. I love to see people in their environments. It has always been this way. I can remember when my mom switched jobs while I was still in school. I couldn't wait to see her new office because it was important to me to be able to picture her sitting at her desk when I called her on the phone. Same thing when friends move or switch churches. I can't wait to visit them in their new environments so that I can experience their lives with them. When Dad and Amy moved to Arizona I asked them to take lots of pictures of their new house so that I could see where they live. They did, but than they moved a month later. That is one of the reasons I chose to go to Arizona at Christmas. I wanted to see them in this new environment that was so foreign to me. I got to experience life when they are "on" in a house full of 8 boys and all that that entails. I got to see their apartment off the main house. I got a tour of Sunshine Acres and met many of the people they work with. I got to drive the streets and go on a Circle K run (something my dad does almost every day). Yes, I got to do some touristy stuff as well, but that was not the most important thing for me on my trip. I even got to take a picture of Josh sitting at his desk at school (he attends school on campus). Somehow, this helps me to understand more of what they are doing, picture them when I am talking on the phone with them, or even knowing where Daynah is most likely sitting with the laptop when she is IMing me. It makes me feel a little bit closer to them.

But it also makes me think of the Bible story where Thomas would not believe Jesus had risen from the dead until he touched the scars in Jesus' hands and side. It makes me think I might have been like Thomas. But in my walk with Christ, I am asked to walk by faith, believing in what I cannot see. And I am so thankful, that in this area of my life, I get to experience faith in the unseen God of the universe, knowing that one day, He will call me to my home in heaven where I will be able to behold Him and walk with Him and worship Him in a way that none of my imaginations can fathom! How exciting it that!

But, now, really, what should I do about the hairdryer? :)