Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Champagne Tastes . . .

Any one who knows me well knows that I LOVE a bargain. I'm always looking for creative ways to make each dollar stretch just a little bit farther. (In fact, Matt and I keep a list of "cheap date ideas.")

Anyhow, when our 7 year anniversary came around this month we really wanted to find a special way to celebrate. Staying overnight somewhere was not an option - we needed to find something a LOT less expensive.

I was pretty feeling discouraged about our lack of options until I stumbled across a new website: Restaurant.com They sell a bunch of $25 gift cards for just $10 (with a usual minimum purchase of $35) which meant we could save $15 on a dinner out. Not bad, but I happened to find this website during an 80% off sale they were having which meant our precious coupon was only $2. Yeah, you read that right, our $25 gift card cost us $2!! And there is no waiting for the gift cards to ship or worrying about them coming in the mail. Just pay and print right from your computer. Not bad, eh?

I recently learned they’re doing that promotion again through Aug 31st. Just enter “TASTE” upon checkout to score a $25 restaurant gift card for just two bucks!

Six Months

August 20th Eliana turned six months old.

I've tried taking a photo of her each month to document the changes, but every month the setting was a little different. I stumbled across an idea on Making It Lovely of some creative ways to take the monthly photos. Bob and Anita have a huge stuffed bear that I think I think could make for some cute shots. Here are a few of the photos from our six month photo shoot:

Startin' to work it

Something just isn't right

"How you doin'?"

Finally, the money shot


While we lived overseas I (Sharon) discovered that I really enjoy reading blogs. This probably came from the fact that we rarely found any magazines in English and if we did they were crazy expensive. So, I read blogs instead when I had a little free time.

Our time overseas was also the time that I was really struggling with not being able to get pregnant. (For any readers who don't know, it took quite a few years for Matt and me to be able to have kids.) Sometimes I found that I just had to take a break from looking at many of my regular blogs because they posted so often about kids . . .and having babies . . . and learning what it means to be a mom . . . I would find myself sitting at my computer with tears streaming down my face - wondering if God would ever bless us with children.

And I would have to just take a break from reading blogs.

And I remember thinking that if we ever did have kids I would not post a ton of photos and stories about babies because somewhere out there, there might be someone wishing that they too could have kids and they would walk away from their computer with tears in their eyes hoping against hope that maybe their dream of holding their own child would one day come true.

And that is why I so often I have held back from posting photos of Eliana and stories of what it has been like to become a mom.

I can't tell you how often we've taken a cute photo of Eliana and I've haven't posted it because I'd get a lump in my throat and my eyes would tear up thinking of any readers we may have who have been waiting a long time to have a baby of their own. . . and if that is you dear reader, please know that I understand that deep longing and I know what it's like to wonder if God will ever choose to answer that prayer - and all the while feeling like He is answering that prayer for everyone else. I pray that He will answer your prayers with a child. There is so much more I could write but I never know how much to put in a public blog. I guess I have two reasons for writing out these reflections:

1. If we do have any readers who would like someone to connect with about the pain of not being able to conceive, I would love to be a safe person to talk with. Email me or post a comment if you ever want to connect.

2. I've realized a few other things too. Just as I have waited many years to have a child, my parents have waited many years to be grandparents and my sister has waited many years to be an auntie. As I've reflected on this I've realized that I need to post more photos and stories about Eliana.

So, you'll be seeing more our little girl on this blog. Just wanted to share my thought process on all this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meet Vespa

Yesterday I (matt) had the privilege of helping out around the house where we are currently residing. Bob and Anita's little dog Scooter needed a trim. Since I used to moonlight as a groomer, I gave it a shot.



My innate groomer instincts told me to go with a doggy Euro Hawk because it just seemed to fit his mood, coloring, and helped revitalize his silver years.

No longer does he go by Scooter, that's so American. Now his friends call him Vespa... the Euro Scooter

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Edelweiss... thanks for greeting me

One of the really cool and intentional things we did during our time in Slovenia was a trip to the Alps. In the midst of some hard core study of God and the Bible we took two nights away to hit the hills. We drove the hour or so to a little hostel in the mountains. It was amazing to me that there are little hostels in the middle of the mountains where hikers can trek from hostel to hostel each day and have a bed to sleep in as they hike through the Slovene Alps. Our little lodge was nestled at about 5500' in the NW corner of Slovenia where we could look out and see Austria and Italy in the distance. Our first day consisted of driving there and hiking in to the place we would stay.

The next day was awesome because our only goal was to individually spend time with God. We each had a sack lunch and about 8 hours to hike, sit, pray, read, and listen. Many found a good place to relax and hangout but I decided to hike and pray. I loved walking and talking with God in the midst of some of His extremely magnificent creation.

In all it was clear that it was a powerful day as we debriefed later on. It was a definitely a good relational break as all of us as we met with the One we had been talking so much about.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back from Slovenia

I got back late Saturday night from my trip to Slovenia to help with Kriz, which is an intensive 2 week Bible and theology course for college students.

In all the trip was amazing. I not only got to see the country and city where my wife, daughter, and I will live one day soon, but I also had the chance to meet and begin some great relationships with the students we'll be working with. I could go on and on about how excited I am about each of the students, 3 guys and 6 girls, that attended the conference. They were definitely the highlight of my trip.

The conference went well. John MacMurray did a great job as he taught a New Testament overview as did Hondo Wynn with Bible Study Methods and Josh Patty who taught on the Holy Spirit. They threw a dog a bone and let me teach a couple times too. Speaking of idioms, it was fun to watch some of the americans teach and realize just how many figures of speech we use, which are tough to translate.

I loved my time there, though it was tough to be away from my wife and daughter. The students asked, "when are you coming back to live here?" To which I replied, "hopefully soon." So please pray that the financial support we need comes in so that we can go over to Slovenia and start a university ministry.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Honey's Home

Matt came home two nights ago from his three week trip to Slovenia. We'll post about the trip soon (and send out some email updates), but this post is more of a reflection on just how much I enjoy Matt!

He brings so much laughter to my life!

Today we were running errands and had to make a stop at the gas station. He noticed that the skinny white guy pumping our gas had some Chinese characters tattood on his arms.

"Wouldn't it be funny if this guy's tattoo artist told him this was the symbol for 'faithfulness' or 'strength' when really it means something like 'fuzzy Q-tip'?"

Yeah, his comments are often random - but I couldn't help laughing out loud!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hangin' with the fam

Last week my sister and I had to find some creative ways to stay cool because of the heat wave here. So we took Eliana swimming.

Tonight I enjoyed spending some quality time with my parents - watching America's Got Talent. (Gotta say that the chicken-catching country singer and the grannie comedian are my faves!)