Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrating Freedom and another Fake Friday

So I have a lovely four day weekend coming up and I have to say that I'm just a little pumped :) I'm hosting a little wine tasting at my place tomorrow night, so the day will be spent doing some much needed cleaning, decorating and picking up last minute supplies. I love hosting get-togethers and this will be my first one in my "new" apartment so it should be good times.

I love the 4th of July, all it represents all the traditions that we've taken on as Americans. It's such a grand holiday. Growing up the 4th meant homemade ice cream (that the five of us kids made using our hand crank ice cream maker), something off the grill and fireworks in the park. Now that I'm all grown up I'd like to do a little more to celebrate the real reason for the holiday. To celebrate the freedoms that we so often take for granted. To celebrate the brave men and women who have and are fighting for this country we all hold so dear. I'll probably still eat something off the grill, I'll still watch the fireworks, and I'll still have some ice cream, but hopefully I can focus a bit more on what really matters.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. Now I'll leave you with my Thankful Thursday list...

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Good studies and study groups. Right now I'm in two different studies. One is a bible study which is going through the different ways that Jesus prayed in the bible and how we can apply that example to our own lives. The other is by Edward Sri and is on the meaning of the Mass. They are both great and some of the discussions have been phenomenal. It's nice to have intellectual conversations every now and then :) 
(2) Cupcakes. I love cupcakes. Love making them. Love eating them. And love it when lovely co-workers surprise the staff with them :)
(3) That I live close enough to bike to work. It has been such a beautiful week here and I am so blessed that I don't have to sit in a car to get to work, but that I can bike the short distance and enjoy God's beauty along the way.
(4) The effort of friends to stay in touch. I have a get together with some of my college friends on Saturday. One of my dear friends starting this party a few years ago and we've done it every year since. It's something we can all count on. A little time to catch up with each other and let go of some of the stress of our daily lives.
(5) Open communication. I majored in communication in college, so I get pretty annoyed if people aren't communicating with each other. I'm thankful that I work in a place that everyone communicates with each other, or at least everyone communicates with me :) It makes my life a whole lot easier.
(6) Long phone calls. I do a lot of talking on the phone since a lot of my close friends don't live in the state and none of my family does. I love long talks that cover everyday events, serious issues and fun stories. I love that I can still be connected to those I love, even when we don't live near each other.
(7) Country roads. I love driving down country roads. Windows down, radio up. It's the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
On that note...I'll leave you with a great song by Rodney Atkins. Take a Back Road :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A little bit of cooking...

I did a bit of cooking over the weekend, which I've missed. The summer has become, well a bit hectic, fun, but hectic. Friday I had the evening free so I tried this new recipe for french bread, which is AMAZING (hince the title ;). Seriously, it tastes better than store boughten bread and it freezes well too.

Saturday I went to the beautiful wedding of a friend of mine (she's above with her sister). Weddings are always fun. Whether it's watching the chaos unfold, seeing the families interact, meeting new friends, dancing the night away or just enjoying the beauty of two people joinging their lives together. Love it! Alright, that's all I've got for today. It's a beautiful day, time to go out and play :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Friday? Not quite...

It feels like a Friday, which is nice, I tend to like Fridays and weekends in general :) Perhaps it's because I have tomorrow off of work and the possibilities of what to do with that "free day" are endless at the moment, which just makes me happy. But it's not Friday, it's Thursday, so I'll leave you with my Thankful Thursday list as well as a fun song, just to share the love on this beautiful day. I love this song and Aretha Franklin does such a fabulous job with it. I put some of the lyrics below, just because we should all remember to live by them.

 Accentuate the Positive by  Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate his last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark...

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Good Conversations. I feel like the past week has been filled with beautiful in depth conversations with amazing people, both family and friends. I'm thankful for the intellectual level of many of those conversations as well as the honesty of the people involved.
(2) Root Beer Floats :) Root beer floats are such a summer staple for me I just love them.
(3) Good Books. As I shared in yesterday's post I've got some fabulous books I'm reading at the moment and a book shelf of others that still need to be tackled. I'm thankful for (as corny as it sounds) the places that reading takes you and the mere fact that I enjoy reading.
(4) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. My parents live out in the country and so when I was home over the weekend I was blessed with wonderful things like fresh strawberry pie, fresh lettuce and a bag of peas. Everything always tastes better fresh out of the garden.
(5) Self Esteem. This might sound funny but I'm thankful that I have pretty darn high self esteem. Over the past week I've had a lot of conversations with people who struggle with self esteem (both women and men) and the issues that that causes in their lives. I, thankfully, don't have that problem. Maybe I need to work on humility...that's another discussion all together :)
(6) The Month of June. I've never really thought about my "favorite month" but for some reason this year I am just loving the month of June. I'm thankful for all that has happened this month, and to think it's only half way through :)
(7) The Library. I love the library. I'm so thankful there's a place that I can check out movies and CDs and books for free. Some place that is open to everyone. I grew up going to the library so there's always been fond memories attached to it. I'm thankful I've always lived in a "library district".

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A good book Wednesday

One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather...Yes it's wet, it's cloudy, yes there's a nip in the air, but it's not humid, and it's still June and it's going to be a beautiful Wednesday :) Days like today make me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket, listen to the rain come down and tackle my stack of half finished books, but alas that will have to wait for another misty moisty day. I have quite the combination of books that I'm reading right now, so I thought I'd  share them with you today and hopefully by the end of the summer I'll have finished all of them...hopefully. The above picture is the Long Hall at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. I loved this room. I loved the smell. I loved it all. My collection of books isn't nearly as impressive, but that's ok by me.
The books I'm plowing through at the moment:
  1. Revelations of a Single Woman: loving the life I didn't expect by Connally Gilliam
  2. Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  3. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
  4. A Man of the Beatitudes by Lucianna Frassati
  5. Led by Faith: Rising for the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide by Immaculée Ilibagiza
  6. Jesus: Man of Prayer by Kevin Perrotta
Some I am much farther along than others. Some I have been "reading" for the past 6 months. Half are inspiring, half are for fun. It's a good group of books and I'll let you know how they are...WHEN I finish them (notice it's not an if :) Happy Wednesday.  Happy reading!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Beautiful Thankful Thursday in June

It's Thursday, the second lovely week of June and I am loving this month! I spent last weekend celebrating my 26th Birthday. For some reason 26 just seams so much older than 25. It's an age that I should start figuring out my life, start getting settled, know somewhat what I want to do. Well, I'll let you know how all of that comes along this year, I don't think I'll ever fully know what I'm doing in life. Thank God He's got it all figured out!

The weather has been pretty hot around here, so I've gotten to spend sometime on the lake, some time in the pool some time grilling out, eating ice cream, all the wonderful things that summer brings.

I helped throw a bridal shower for a friend (that's what the above picture is from, pretty fabulous looking group of girls huh?) and found the perfect cupcake recipe. You have to try it! Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I left out the lemon extract, which left just a hint of lemon, just right. To die for! Love it and want to make it with Strawberries next time...

Alright, here's my thankful list, enjoy your weekend, mine starts today :)

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Good Catholic friends. I am so so blessed to have a strong group of friends that are deep in their faith and help me want to be a better woman of Christ.
(2) The country. I will always be a country girl at heart, I just need a little reminder every now and then, which means I have to leave my beloved city and go somewhere that I can walk barefoot in the grass and see the stars.
(3) Fresh Flowers. I'm a sucker for fresh flowers. I love the smell. Love how they brighten up a room. Love the thought that goes into them when they're given as gift.
(4) Family. I know I say this a lot, but I am truly thankful, not just for my immediate family, but my extended family as well. God has blessed with with such a wonderful group of people that love and support me and I don't know where I'd be without them.
(5) Thunder Storms. We had quite the storm last night, it was a bit more than I like (there was hail and tornadoes involved) but the thunder and lightening I love. At my parents house my old room used to have a sky light over my bed and I loved lying in my bed and listening to the rain pound the window. It's soothing and a beautiful reminder of the power of God.
(6) Good Customer Service. I dropped my phone in the lake over the weekend and had to get a new one. I was extremely thankful for the service I received, for the one on one time, the not overbearing, but attentive employee that answered all my questions and didn't rush me into anything. It's hard to find that now a days.
(7) Love. I'm thankful for love in all of it's stages. I love watching couples that have been married for 60+ years, how in sync they are, how they still tease each other, how you can't imagine them apart. I love seeing new mothers with their children, best friends goofing off, grown brothers and sisters still teasing each other as if they were kids again. Love is so important and so often taken for granted. I'm extremely thankful for all the love in my life.