Just a couple random things...

My custom Etsy sign arrived last night, and I love it! Its going over the archway into the dining room - I'm just waiting for someone else to come over who can help me make sure its hung evenly.

And this? This was the view outside my hotel room last week. And, oh yeah, behind the boats? That's the Pacific Ocean. I love that.

I have a bigger post planned for tomorrow - I've decided to participate in a month-long organizational challenge, hoping the motivation will help me get a couple of areas here under control.

Hello, winter

I can't believe how cold it is in my house! Just Friday I turned off the air conditioning, and this morning, when I woke up, the thermostat read 62 degrees. My house has always stayed pretty cool (which is a wonderful thing in the summer), but it feels like we completely skipped fall.

Yesterday the Bridge church women went shopping at the Yankee candle store and outlets in Williamsburg. That candle store is huge! I've already told Mom that the next time she comes to visit (for long enough), I'm taking her there.

And, while there, I finished buying a few more Christmas gifts. I always buy early, but I think this might be the first year I'm really completely finished before Thanksgiving.

Back from Cali

I'm back from California, after a long day of traveling yesterday. Its so absolutely beautiful there, and I got to do a little bit of sight-seeing, around all the work, especially as we traveled back to the airport via the Pacific Coast Highway. I took a bunch of pictures, but haven't had a chance to upload them yet. I'll post a few here when I do.

You have got to be kidding me

I'm watching TV (instead of, you know, packing. Because that's what I do). And I just saw this commercial:

Seriously? Seriously?

Traveling and other random stuff

I wanted to post about how I organized my gift closet, because I worked on it this weekend and I'm nerdy enough to think that kind of thing is a lot of fun. But, to do that, I would need to take after pictures, upload them to my computer, then pick the best ones and post them. So, for now, I'll just say that I did it, and no, the rest of my office is not clean.

Tomorrow I leave for a business trip (my first). And can I just say it stinks that when I get to visit southern California on somebody's else dime, this is going on? Yucky timing, but then again, at least I get to come home to a house that's still standing, so really, what am I complaining about?

And, for everyone who has told me that I have a Chicago accent, or that I'm developing a Southern accent, I offer this. Let me know if you need help pronouncing a word. Except for Norfolk or Suffolk - I'm still working on those.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South
The Northeast
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

More Christmas ideas

I think we've already established that I'm obsessed with all things Christmas. Here's more Christmas stuff - I got the holiday Pottery Barn catalog in the mail, and I absolutely love this tree:

I don't think I'll ever do this, at least for a big tree, myself, because (1) I like my tree to be a somewhat messy conglomeration of different ornaments that I love and (2) I can't imagine it staying that neat with two dogs with active tails. But still, isn't it beautiful?

In other news - all Harvey's tests came back with no medical issues, which is good, but that just means that the problem is just behavioral. I can try to start her on some meds, but I need to do some thinking about that first.

And, last night I bought an advent calendar at Bed Bath and Beyond that I'm going to give Jacob at Thanksgiving, to use starting December 1. And tonight I bought the year's first new ornament for my tree - Santa holding two puppies, to commemorate my first Christmas with both Harvey and Dakota. See? Obsessed.

Working from home & Harvey

I've been working for home for a week and a half, and you know what? I think I like it. There are the obvious perks - no commute, being able to work outside if I want, being home with the dogs, starting a load of laundry in the middle of my workday (not that I'm any better at get laundry done). And the things that I thought would be challenges - the distraction and need for careful self-discipline, haven't been issues as yet. I've been keeping to a regular schedule, which is going well.

One of the best benefits I've found to date, though, is the freedom to schedule things like vet appointments in the middle of the day. Harvey was due for another heartworm test, so while she was there the vet implanted a microchip. I also asked them to send blood and urine samples for testing, because her peeing has, overall, not gotten that much better. I can avoid it, mostly, when I walk in, but she does it for almost everyone else, regardless of how much attention she gets and when, or how recently she's gone outside. It may be that its just something I have to live with, but I want to make sure that's my only option before I do. Between all those things and more heartworm medicine, I spent over $300 there. And that's before I even figured out if there was anything wrong. I should hear the results from the test sometime today.

Procrastination (or maybe its just some computer/TV addiction?)

I just read this post, and can't help but write this, because I do the exact same thing! Even now, as I'm sitting here, my desk is such a mess that even though I've been working from home for the last week, I'm still sitting at my dining room table. There are dishes to do in the kitchen, the dining room table is cluttered, the bathroom needs to cleaned (really cleaned), there is dog hair (of course) all over the floors, and I wanted to have a whole bunch of stuff sitting outside for the donation pick-up today.

And I need to do laundry. I hate laundry. I feel like I always need to do laundry. (I think this is because laundry is never done. Even if you wash every single item in your house, the clothes you're wearing are dirty.)

So, instead of just doing these things, I kept thinking about how I really need to organize the closet in my guest room, which primarily serves as my gift closet (especially in anticipation of all the Christmas gifts I keep buying online). I wanted to go to Home Depot and buy paint, and go to WalMart and buy hanging organizers and bins. But, since there were so many other things that I should be doing, especially considering small group is here tonight and people will actually see the inside of my house, I didn't organize my gift closet, because I would have felt guilty doing that when there were so many other things to do.

I didn't clean my house either. Nope - I sat on the sofa, watched whatever was on TV, and poked around the Container Store online looking for ideas on organizing the gift closet.

Oh, and I did some more Christmas shopping.

Christmas Gifts

I've got Christmas presents and stocking stuffers on the brain, probably because I've been listening to iTunes in shuffle mode while I'm working and I have a lot of Christmas music. (Even as I write this, I'm listening to "Someday at Christmas" by Remy Zero from the Victoria Secret's Christmas Morning CD - I told you that CD set was one of my favorites!) Here's a few of the things I'm buying for gifts this year (none of these for people that actually read this):

I bought myself an inexpensive travel jewelry case at Target's One Spot a while ago, but I love this one from the Container Store. I've bought some jewelry to go in it, as well.

I've bought a bunch of these personal toiletry bags from L.L. Bean for gifts already, and they're a favorite among my family.

Can you guess who this is for? Jake is totally crazy about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and wants to be one for Halloween). This Pez dispenser (Leonardo, of course) is from PezCollectors.com - I had no idea there were that many out there.

I bought some of these pocket mirrors for stockings (and one for me!) I love Etsy - you can find anything you can imagine (and lots of stuff you probably can't imagine, too).

Lastly, I love these quote bracelets (and I love that you can customize them!) I'm looking into getting a gift certificate so the recipient can be choose the quote they want.

One more

One more thing I love:
  1. Jewelry - the chunkier, the better. If I didn't have it all hanging on my wall, I'd definitely need one of those big standalone jewelry armoires.

Loving the little things

Some of the things I love:
  1. Soundtracks - Some of my favorite songs come from soundtracks. I have too many to even remember - My Best Friend's Wedding, 30 First Dates, Dirty Dancing, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Touched by an Angel, Sleepless in Seattle, Footloose, One Fine Day, Hope Floats, Grey's Anatomy, Party of Five. This is what I think of when I watch a movie - whether I want the soundtrack.
  2. Christmas, especially Christmas music. I realized this today when I was listening to iTunes as I worked and heard a whole bunch of Christmas songs. Give me anything from Bing Crosby and Judy Garland to Nsync and Jessica Simpson. My favorite, as crazy as it sounds, is the Victoria's Secret 2-disc set. I hate the cover, but the CDs are a mix of old and new stuff - Eartha Kitt, Dean Martin, Beach Boys, Brian Setzer Orchestra, and one of my favorites, Fountains of Wayne's "I Want an Alien for Christmas." Another thing I love about Christmas - ornaments.
  3. Glassware - Especially stemware and individual serving dishes. I have about five different types of dishes I could serve mini trifles in. I collect it to display it on shelves in my dining room. And I'm out of room.


I spent the latter part of last week at Catalyst in Atlanta with several other leaders from our church, and it was just amazing. I don't know how to sum up a time like that, or how to put it in words, but I can try.

The worship was just incredible. I mean, over the top amazing. There's nothing quite like worshiping with that many people. I realized how lucky I was to have even experienced something like that before, and yet, there was something so amazing and real and authentic about experiencing it with literally thousands who have been called into church leadership of some kind. And it was so wonderful to share it with people from my group, people who I call deep, close friends. I think worship on Sunday morning the day after we got back was the best its ever been, and I think its a direct result of what we experienced in Atlanta.

With the speakers there were a mix of practical, leadership ideas, and inspirational messages. The two that have stuck with me the most, Francis Chan and Craig Groeschel, seemed to be just honest men with an authentic love for Christ above all else. More than anything, they encouraged me to just get serious and stop playing around.

And most of all - it was just fun! The people I traveled with are all people that are very dear to me, and to just be with them for so long was wonderful. I have never laughed so hard for so many days straight, and both my sides and my cheeks hurt.

Now that we're back, and have been for a few days, I'm continuing to process all of the things that we talked about, but what I'm most surprised about is that coming home, I'm not feeling an emotion let-down as I settle back into my regular life. Every other time I've been to a large-scale conference like that, I've felt almost depressed after I got home, but that's not the case here. I think, in large part, that its because Catalyst wasn't just an emotional experience, or even mostly an emotional one. And, maybe its just because I'm getting older.