Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What NOT to do when you're on a budget...

Micah and I were recently given an Outback Steakhouse gift card that was also valid at four or five other restaurants. One of which: a place we'd never been to called The Bonefish Grill. "I think there's one of those in [a part of town where we often go to walk around and hang out at Barnes and Noble]," Micah told me. I agreed..."Oh, yeah...I think you're right!" Adventuresome people that we are, we decided to give The Bonefish Grill a try.

So, we arrived at the restaurant that evening for dinner. We each ordered a separate entree (which is rare, because we often share), and a drink. My shrimp dish was fine, but Micah was disappointed with his fish tacos (they did taste strange), so we pretty much ended up sharing my meal anyway. We both felt that the meals were overpriced for the dining experience, and that we probably wouldn't return to this restaurant. Oh well, better to be disappointed when you're "not paying," right?

I was about to hand the waiter my gift card, when I realized something. My gift card was valid at The BONEfish Grill. Then why did the logo on our bill say "The ROCKfish Grill...?" Wait a...!

In our defense, the restaurant logos looked almost identical, and both included the insignia of a fish. (although The Bonefish Grill's picture could be more accurately described as a fish skeleton. Eww.)

Budgeting Commandment #597: When thou plannest to usest a restaurant gift card, make certain that YOU GO TO THE RIGHT PLACE! Unlike a gift card for say, Target, you cannot return the food you've eaten to the shelf after you realize your mistake!

So in conclusion: we had to redirect the money from my shoe fund to pay for a big dinner at a subpar restaurant. Instead of black leather heels...I get a lingering feeling of sheepish stupidity:op

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ya'll are awesome! southern charm shining through;o) I just wanted to say thanks for your responses to my last question. Your encouragement means so much, and your suggestions are helping me to refocus my vision of what this blog should be about. I think...dare I hope...that I am actually feeling remotivated to continue blogging!

Here are some more questions in my getting to know you series. I specially selected these, because I think they will help define us and reach the heart of what's REALLY important in our lives. Besides that, I like being nosy and I'd seriously love to know. Answer all of these, or just pick one or two. I'm digging deep here, so are you ready? Can you handle this? Here we go:

1. Dog, cat, other or none? Why?
2. Love or hate the movie "Napolean Dynamite"?
3. Favorite delusion about yourself?
4. Decadent chocolate brownie smothered in chocolate or fresh strawberries with whipped cream?
5. For the wives, what was your first impression of that guy you married? What was your husband's first impression of you?

My answers:

1. Dog. (No, REALLY?;o) I think dogs are the most relational with people (Cat people will vehemently deny this, I'm sure), and I want a pet that loves my company. In fact...I want to be my pet's ENTIRE world. I want her to live for sitting at my feet and wagging her little tail every time I look at her. Rather narcissistic, but true.

2. This is painful to admit, but I have probably seen this film at a least dozen times. (I'll blame that on my husband, since it's one of his favorite movies ever and he simply HAD to receive the DVD for his birthday!) Yes. I will confess to liking the movie. I will confess to more than one instance of uttering the words: "YESSSSSSSSS." and "Whatever I want...GOSSSHHH!"

3. When I was in college, I used to like to think of myself as one of those girls in movies who sit at sidewalk cafes drinking hot tea whilst reading books that will expand their horizons and render them brilliant and sophisticated. When enlightenment strikes, they pull out their leather journals and dreamily pen their bits of found wisdom. Then they gaze into the distance...[scene shifts to dusky street scene, probably in some quaint European village]...

4. I like chocolate. But I LOVVVE strawberries and would probably pick them (assuming freshness and seasonality) in all instances except for perhaps "that time" of the month.

5. He was quiet. His eyes were amazing. He was the guy who said "hi" to me for two months in passing, causing significant anxiety for me who was trying to remember his name without having to ask him again. Unfortunately for my narcissism, my husband doesn't even remember our first meeting. But he must have liked me pretty well, because at least he remembered MY name thereafter;o)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Getting to know you...

Aha! I've thought of something that piques my interest...getting to know who my readers are!

I hope you don't mind, but I'd love to pose a few questions and get a better sense of what I write/have written/can write in the future that is of interest to others. Obviously, I won't write about something unless it interests me! But if I'm the only interested party, I might as well keep it to myself and spare you all.

So here's the first question, with more to follow (The more who answer, the better blog-refining ideas we can ALL gain!;o)...

What are your all-time favorite topics to read about? What types of discussions would you love to see more of in the blogosphere? What do you find encouraging / thought-provoking?

This question is meant to be open-ended, but in case you detest open-endedness, I'll provide a narrower question:

Out of the following, what do you consider fascinating/encouraging, and what bores you to death?

1. Discussion about current events/social issues/the "great issues" of life
2. Stories about day-to-day life ("Today I went shopping and then my dog puked a on and so-forth...")
3. Household tips, recipes, "works for me" type stuff (Although, I'll just mention...I'm more likely to ask my readers for this type of advice than share it myself!)
4. Pieces that lay bare the soul, share struggles and personal victories, attempt to encourage spiritually or otherwise
5. Other
6. An eclectic smattering of all of the above

Blogger's Block...

...I've got it bad. Lately I've been wondering if, after more than a year of blogging, I've run out of things to say! (Can it be possible?;o) Or maybe I've got things to say, I just don't know if anyone will be interested in them. Or maybe I've got interesting things to say, I just don't have the motivation or mental willpower to sit down and write them out. Whatever the cause, I'm well aware that my blogging stinks lately:op

I'm in awe of these women who efficiently crank out daily blog posts without fail. For me, writing can be a joy...but boy, is it an agonizing, hard-won satisfaction. I can usually only conjure up a half-decent piece after much mulling and musing and revising and cliche-plucking. And let's not forget the weeping and knashing of teeth. Aahh...the Perfectionist at work. (Oh, and please don't go looking for those cliches, because I have no doubt you will find them!) In order to go through all of that, a topic or idea has to grab my brain and not let go until I have been dragged through the gauntlet. Perhaps now you know why writers have often been described as "tortured"...they were perfectionists!

Ok, enough rambling! I'm tired and must go to bed now...I just wanted to let you know where I'm at. I'm here, just waiting on some inspiration to take hold. And in the meantime, trying to focus on the earthy, homey, wifey type things that help keep me grounded and give my mind a rest.

P.S. Along with being a bad blogger, I have been a bad comment-responder. I'm truly sorry, and will try to get back with it very soon!

P.S.S. Thanks for your sweet concern about Peaches. After being on medicine, she seems to be fine now...we hope! The weekend she was in the doggy hospital she had been throwing up non-stop and was on the verge of becoming dehydrated. We never really figured out what was wrong with her, but hypotheses have ranged from tonsillitis to swallowing a hairball. Yes...our dog likes to eat weird things. Don't ask me where she found the hairball!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Just to say "hi"...

Our doggie was in the "hospital" all weekend...we still don't know exactly what she had/has :o(

I'm now trying to get caught up on business and house stuff before Micah gets home and we leave to go spend the evening with visiting relatives. Hopefully soon, I will have the chance to do a real post!:op

Until then, hope your Monday is wonderful!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Motivation Builders

In my last post, I admitted that I sometimes have trouble motivating myself to do things, especially if I know that I won't be able to do them "perfectly". Though I wish that I could just snap myself out of that self-defeating attitude, I usually need a bit of help! What do you do, when you're feeling unmotivated, to get yourself going?

Here are some motivation builders I have had success with in the past (when I bothered to make the effort!)

~Turn on energetic music. Preferably loud, if it won't be a bother to others!

~Prepare a favorite stimulating drink to sip on while you work. If you need to sit at a computer, how about hot tea? Or a nice iced tea or lemonade if you'll be doing an active task?

~Make your work area as bright as possible. Open the blinds, or even the windows. Bright light will make you feel more awake!

~Dress for Success. I find that the sloppier my appearance, the easier it is for me to approach my day in a sloppy manner. Other homemakers have mentioned how the simple act of putting on a pretty apron before baking or cleaning is motivating. I don't even own an apron, but hearing this makes me want to buy one!:o)

~Stimulate your senses with scent. I like to burn a fresh-smelling candle in the room in which I'm working.

~Take a moment to think through your goals and set priorities. It helps me to have them written down.

~Refocus your thoughts. This is a biggie for me! So often, I want to continue to dwell on past failures, which will only cultivate a self-defeating attitude. Pray, sing, whatever it takes to refocus your thoughts on the the tasks at hand. Refuse to dwell on failure. Lord, help me with this one!

~Start where you're at! Get going!:o)

...And I'm off to do the above!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Start where I'm at

Today: There were bills to be paid, dishes to be washed, an entire house in need of freshening, two chickens to be prepared for roasting, business research to be conducted and countless other "little tasks" that have a way of building up into what seems like a mountain. But instead of busily setting to work, I found myself in a funk. The day didn't start out on schedule, so it seemed like a lost cause. In between puttering, I allowed myself to get distracted reading (helpful, informative material, but nonetheless!). Before I knew it, it was 4pm, and I no longer had time for the chicken to finish before dinner. So the chicken is even now still in the oven, and we have just finished dining on takeout. Yes, takeout. It was one of those days! But in this case, it didn't have to be.

I've confessed before on this blog, that as a perfectionist, I often struggle with feeling unmotivated to do things that I don't think can be done "just right". If I can't do it perfectly right now, I'll put it off until I can. Unfortunately, this is not a good way to run a home! Homemaking requires flexibility, and the willingness to make the most of the time and resources I've been given.

So failures occur. Imperfections surface. That's what I get for being human;o) But what am I going to do about it? If I'm thinking wisely (and I like to hope that every once in a while, I do:o), I'm not just going to sit here beating myself up over this evidence of my immutable humanity. I'm going to start where I'm at, that's what! This very moment is all I hold in my hands. This moment is God's gift to me, to be used for His glory.

Shortly after 4pm, I walked myself to the kitchen. I turned on music (loud!) and started in on the dishes. I got the chicken into the oven. Micah and I ate our "lovely" takeout meal together. After I finish writing this post, I'm going to join my husband for our evening walk/talk, and then maybe get some more housekeeping done before it's time to think about bed. This day WON'T be a waste. Better I determine that later than never!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Biblical Portrait of Women

I just read this excellent piece by John MacArthur on the biblical status of women. I really appreciate how Dr. MacArthur references so many scriptures to back up his assertions. It begins...

The Bible is, and has always been, a revolutionary book. It stands like a coastal rock cliff to resist the surging, crashing waves of cultural change. And there may be no clearer demonstration of the Bible’s immutable word than what it teaches about genuine femininity.

The Bible rightly exalts women against cultures that distort, degrade, and debase them. Many in our society tout the sexual and reproductive liberation of women against the supposed oppressive, outmoded strictures of the Bible. I have to ask, “In what way are women truly free? In what way does our culture honor them?” Sure they can vote; sure they have opportunities to compete in the marketplace. But are they really free? Is their dignity and honor intact?

Dr. MacArthur goes on to describe how Biblical Christianity has historically uplifted women, in contrast to the world, which has always enslaved and debased women in various ways. As one with some experience being a Christian woman, I concur wholeheartedly with his analysis. I thank God that he made me a woman, and for the joy and freedom that I find in being one!