Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tis the season

Tonight was a night of firsts for the fall season. First fire pit at small group. And first hot chocolate. I love fall! :) And another opportunity to play with my camera. Here are the fire pictures I took tonight.  It was windy, so the fire was kind of blowing all over the place.  I came home smelling like campfire.

Below is a picture I took last year with my old camera.  No comparison!

And also an orchard

When Sara, Todd, Autumn, and I went to Tanner's, we conquered the corn maze!
Autumn and I took a break for a self-portrait.  It was really sunny, so this is not the best picture!
Which way do we go?  Which way do we go?  This was a particularly tricky part of the maze and we were having a difficult time figuring out exactly where in the flower we were.  Again, I took a break from trying to figure it out in order to take a picture.  Usually I am the map reader when I go through the maze, which I still helped, but it was good to have someone else to help with the task.
Checkpoint.  For those of you who have never been to Tanners, the maze has 12 checkpoints that you are trying to find.  This year was similar to last year in that you were also trying to solve a mystery kind of like Clue.  The farmer is missing and you have to figure out what farm animal did it, in what part of the farm, and with what weapon.
Checking out the big map of the maze before starting.  Each of us had a little card with the same map.  And just so you know, the lines are the path! :)  Very important to understand before you go through the maze.
We survived!  And we found all twelve checkpoints.  And we figured out the right clues.  But I can't share just in case you go too!

It was great to have family come and visit.  Autumn requested that next time, I come to their house.  She didn't so much appreciate the 2 1/2 hour drive to come visit me! :)  But she sat by me at dinner, so I think she forgave me.

A day at the zoo

Zoos might be in my top 3 places I love to visit.  If I'm ever dating anyone and he is looking for a special date to take me on, my readers can remember this and let him know I'd like to go to the zoo.  Any zoo.  My cousins Sara and Todd and their daughter Autumn came to Peoria to visit yesterday.  We had excellent weather to be outdoors all day.  We went to the Peoria zoo, to Avanti's (where we had the worst service ever, which is sad because Avanti's is normally a great place to take people), and to Tanner's. 

So, before you look through my millions of pictures, there are a few things to keep in mind.  1.  I just got a new camera and was experimenting.  2.  I took over 100 pictures, so this really is a highlight.  3.  As mentioned above, I love the zoo.  and 4.  I accidentally loaded all my pictures backwards.  I didn't mean to start with the snakes :)
But with the snake pictures, I did discover that my camera takes very good pictures through glass without a flash.  Something I could not do with my old camera.

Everybody look left....
Everybody look right...  We quoted lines from the Lion King a lot as we traversed the zoo.  The spider monkeys are in my top five favorites at the zoo.
The zoo decorates for Halloween and this was my favorite decoration.  Nothing to do with animals, but everything to do with fun childhood memories.
Look at that giraffe tongue!  Did you know that a giraffe's tongue is black so that it doesn't sunburn.  Apparently they spend a good portion of their day eating, and their tongues are like 12 feet long!
The zookeepers fed the giraffes while we were there, so they came really close.  This is zoomed, but not much.  The giraffes are also in my top 5 things to see at the zoo, as you can tell from the numerous pictures I took!

Autumn, taking a break from the sun and heat while we watched the giraffes.
During this picture, the lions were looking off to the left and me, Todd, and Autumn were all saying, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty" to try and get them to look at us.
Pretty lionness.
Very majestic!
There is a new Australian exhibit where the emus, black swans, and wallabe wander around while you walk through.  No cages for these guys.  We couldn't find the wallabe, but the sign said he liked to hide and you have to stay on the path so you can't really go look for him.
The tiger recently had 4 tiger cubs.  Tigers are also in my top five. :)
Autumn checking out some weird looking animal that I can't remember the name.  Maybe the takin.
Awww....I want one!

Friday, September 28, 2012


It's always awkward when I am home and the maintenance guys come to fix something in the apartment.  Do I talk to him?  Do I offer to fetch tools for him?  Do I pack up and leave?  Nope.  Instead, I paint my toenails.  And listen to Wicked on my computer (technically, it's on shuffle, but it felt a little awkward when Loathing came on).  :)  And check Facebook.  And blog about the maintenance man in my apartment.  Oh, and I give him  more work.  "By the way, when you're finished with that, can you clean the drain out of my bathroom sink?"  Yep.  Take advantage of him while he is here.  And feel slightly bad about it.  But it is technically why I live in an apartment instead of owning my own house.  And now I am going to read my book.

More random pictures

 We have a black squirrel that lives in the woods behind our apartment.  He is the first black squirrel that I have ever seen.  I've been meaning to get a picture all summer, but he's quick, so I normally miss him.  Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, he was just hanging out in the backyard, so I grabbed my new camera (that I don't have to worry about the battery not working on) and snapped a few pictures before he darted off.  It's kind of funny that just by coloring,  I assume it's a boy :).  I'm studying Genesis in Bible study this year, and we have been focused on chapter one and creation, so I've been noticing a lot more about the beauty of God's creation these past two weeks.  Which means I've appreciated this little guy a little more too.
 I took my camera to a softball game on Tuesday night to play with it some more.  I love sky pictures and am very excited that my new camera captures color so much better than my old camera did.  There is a verse that talks about the heavens declaring the glory of God.  I was definitely able to ponder that thought as I watched the sun set behind the stadium this week!
And another partial color shot, because they are fun to take! :)  And it was my favorite kind of weather...jeans and flip flops!  with my crazy blue-green nail polish.

Happy Friday, everyone! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The theme of my summer excursions (canoe trip and beach trip) was "maybe I will accidentally drop my camera in the water".  I don't know if that can really be a theme, but I was hoping it would happen because I wanted a new camera.  But it didn't.  So, I finally broke down today and bought a new one.  And then I played around with it this afternoon.  Here are some pictures of my experiments.  There is a setting where you can focus on just one color and you can choose from red, green, blue, and yellow.  So, this cup was the perfect subject to try it on.

It kind of reminds me of the book, "Put Me in the Zoo."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Favorite Quotes and Random Stories

Last night I was at a friend's house hanging out before Bible study.  And her 3 year old daughter is very social and likes to have my attention.  She has two place mats, one USA map and one world map.  She brought me the world map and asked me where on the map I lived.  I turned the question back to her and asked her where she lived on the map.  She said, "I don't live on this map!"  Her dad laughed and said, "She's out of this world!"  She then showed me where she lives on the USA map.

Emily came home from church on Wednesday night and shared a conversation she had with her small group girls.  One of them said something about her being 30 and Emily said that actually she was 33.  One of the other girls exclaimed, "That's how old Jesus was when He died!"  Yes, thank you for that insight.  When Emily finished the story, I said, "Does that mean that the last 3 years were our best ministry years?"

Today at work, while we were doing paperwork, one of my coworkers, who was finished with her paperwork but had to be at work until 4 because she was waiting for someone, was playing with play-doh to pass the time (wow, is that a run-on sentence!) said, "I'm really fighting the impulse to pick this play-doh up and throw it across the room or at one of you guys."  We, as any good therapist would, turned it into a therapy session.  We thanked her for controlling her impulses and using self-talk to keep herself from doing something that she should not do and how she could model this behavior in an actual therapy session with her clients.  Well, that was after I yelled, "Do it!!!"  Maybe I'm not such a good therapist.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another exciting moment in my day

So, I won't say this was the most exciting thing about my day because that would be really pathetic.  But it was definitely a highlight.  I have always loved McDonald's (an unfortunate reality as you get older and don't take off weight as well as you used to).  But the thing I have always disliked about McDonald's is that they don't have paper towels in their bathrooms, only hand dryers.  Hand dryers that don't dry your hands, by the way.  So, this summer they tore down one of the McDonald's in our area and rebuilt a new one.  I went inside for the first time today and had to go to the bathroom.  I was so excited when I entered the bathroom to see to Xcelerator hand dryers on the wall.  I don't mind saving the planet by not using paper towels as long as the hand dryers actually dry my hands.  I was so excited I used the bathroom twice while I was there.  Just kidding.  Well, about the excitement part, not about using the bathroom twice. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The highlight of my day!

It's really sad when the highlight of your whole day (up until 5:45) is coming home to new lines painted in your parking lot!  But I was so excited. :)  We have needed new lines painted for almost two years now.  Sometimes I would come home and park, get out of the car, walk to the back of the car, and still would not be able to tell if I was parked within the lines.  And there was nothing worse than having to park far away because 3 parking spaces were obliterated by poor parking!  Emily won't have to listen to me rant about this anymore, so I'm sure it makes her happy too. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On getting older...

Sometimes I feel like an old fuddy-duddy!  I mean, I've always been a fuddy-duddy.  The party pooper.  I'm not very adventurous.  I'm kind of set in my ways.  I like things easy-going and slow paced.  For the most part, I'm okay with this.  But there are some things that I am not okay with as I get older.

A bunch of friends are on their way to Six Flags today.  I want to be with them so badly.  I LOVE roller coasters.  But as I get older, roller coasters do not like me. :(  After just a few I get really motion sick.  And the last time I went to a park, taking pills for motion sickness did not help.  Part of the problem is that I don't know I've ridden too many roller coasters until I've ridden too many.  And then it's too late.  And then I feel yucky the rest of the day.  And in Illinois, the closest Six Flags is about 2 1/2 hours away and then I'm carsick all the way home.  Like I said, getting old is no fun at all!

And then we have a singles' retreat coming up in October.  I want to go.  But the idea of getting no sleep all weekend stresses me out...even though it is still a month away.  Even if I could get to bed a decent hour,  I don't sleep well in my own bed, let alone in a cabin with a bunch of girls coming in and out.  I will probably still go, but I hate that I am hesitant to go based on sleep.  It makes me feel like a wimp.  And whiny.  And a party pooper fuddy-duddy!

And there are other things about getting old that I won't go in to.  I'm sure you're bored enough.  I don't want to bore you any longer!  I promise, sometimes I can be spontaneous!

Friday, September 7, 2012

French Toast Friday

I don't know why I always feel the need to talk about when I make French toast.  I usually post something on Facebook about it.  I think it is more of a comfort food than I realize.  I especially like it for dinner.  I think French toast was the first recipe I made when I received my first cookbook from my mom.  I was around 10.  That being said, French toast is also one of the few foods I make that I don't follow a recipe.  I am a recipe follower, even when it's not really necessary.  But French toast is my exception, for some reason.  And making it also reminds me of my dad.  He makes great French toast and for some reason it always tastes better when he makes it.  It is one of my requests when I see him.

Okay, now on to finishing the dishes.  I literally got so hungry in the middle of doing dishes that I stopped to make my French toast.  Now that it has settled, I can continue to do the dishes!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

I can't get enough of this song this weekend...

"Jesus, Friend of Sinners" Casting Crowns

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours


Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Favorite product dilemmas

Here is the life-altering dilemma I am facing today.

I have a favorite Bath and Body Works soap scent.  Nectarine Mint.  It smells so good.  But they no longer sell it.  So, I have one bottle left.  I've had said bottle for about a year.  I refuse to use it because I know once I use it, it will be gone forever.  But it's not doing me any good sitting in the cabinet not getting used.  Either way, I don't get to enjoy it. What's a girl to do?

It also reminds me of when I was in college.  Parking was limited in our dorm parking lot and all other parking was pretty far away.  So, what did we do?  We got to school as early as we could on Sunday so we could get a parking space and then we rode with someone else all week so we wouldn't have to move our cars!  But, you don't really get to enjoy a close parking space unless you get into your car to drive your car. 

I'm telling you, these dilemmas are life-altering!  My decisions will shape my future! :)