31 January 2008

My True Passion...

...is writing. Yes, I am also passionate about glorifying God and loving my family but I also believe I've been created with a passion to write.

While growing up, my favorite toy was an old black typewriter in a case. I inherited this treasure from a relative who had upgraded to an electric one. Many afternoons and Saturdays, I would pull out that magic box, set up my typewriter and be happy to create stories for hours on end. I set up an office in my closet and still have fond memories of my time spent in there. The typewriter, my paper, and white correction strips were lined up on a shelf and I could sit and type away in privacy.

Before moving into the house with my very own private office, I would write stories wherever I could hide with a notebook and pencil. I often pretended to be Harriet the Spy and filled notebook upon notebook with important information about my neighbors and any passerby who happened to be walking their dog down Doud Drive.

With the gift of my treasured typewriter, my stories got longer since I could type almost as fast as I could think. The family pets were my favorite characters to write about. There was the great story about how Sneaky the hamster saved the day when a burglar tried to rob our family and I continued to make up stories about our new neighbors. For awhile, I convinced my sister and friend Amber to make a daily newspaper filled with articles I wrote along with their contributions of the weather and comics.

Today, I have upgraded from a black typewriter in a box to a keyboard and flat screen computer. The subjects of my writings have evolved, but I have not lost my love for writing. By day, I write about the financial services world and the changing marketplace, and at home I get to write letters to my little boy and tales of motherhood. I would love to someday merge my daytime writings and my homelife into one.

Which leads to the reason for this post.

SheSpeaks is a Christian speaking, writing, and leadership conference that I just discovered on one of my friend's blogs (thanks Megan!). Its held in June and provides an opportunity to learn how to take these types of passions to the next level. It sounds like it would be a great time to grow as a writer and I would love to attend! This could be my chance. Lysa TerKeurst is offering a fantastic chance to earn a scholarship to this conference through her blog.

It would be great to attend and learn more about the writing and publishing world, so if I win that would be amazing, but regardless, I will continue to write and pray for the opportunity to take my passion to the next level!

30 January 2008

Maybe we need a pet?

When my brother lived in Kenya, he liked the challenge of bringing back large wooden animals to the States to sell on Ebay or give as gifts. When he came to the U.S. after leaving Kenya for the last time, I convinced him to bring us a pair of mommy and baby giraffes for Asher's safari-themed nursery. He took the challenge and created a makeshift box which he "carried on" through Kenya, Ethiopia, Europe, New York, and Chicago! What a brother!

So we have been really happy with the giraffes and they actually are in our living room where we can see them more often than we would if they were in Asher's room. But lately, the baby giraffe has become one of Asher's favorite friends. We don't know when or how this relationship began, but many times after we eat, Asher asks for "help" in opening the cabinet to get out the syrup. Then he immediately goes to get his friend and shares the syrup with baby giraffe. Their relationship is not just limited to syrup feeding although that is definitely an important piece of it. Tonight, after baby giraffe's syrup meal, Asher gave giraffe lots of kisses and then showed off his craft project that he did at "school" today.
If Asher were like ten years older, I might think it was time to start thinking about getting him a real live pet!

24 January 2008

Ode to Nancy

During my four years in college I had five roommates that I officially shared a room with along with a dozen others that I shared an apartment and house with (yeah Phoenix House!). It seems like I have an unusually high number of friends I call roommate - basically everyone from my college days is classified as "an old roommate," but my first semester sophomore year roommate was definitely a blast!

Nancy Houck, who is no longer Nancy "Houck," and I lived on the same floor our freshman year at Wheaton. Neither of us clicked especially well with our actual roommate and we lived across the hall from each other on Fischer 5 West so we spent a lot of time hanging out together. Late night pizzas with another friend, Sydney, and lots of meals in SAGA grew our friendship to the point that we decided to room together our sophomore year.

I've never had a friend quite like Nancy who is so, well...quirky! She was a talker and everything of her hometown and growing up years was a story. I still remember her talking about her mom growing earth recycling worms in her classroom, experiences with Girls State, times at Mosquito Lake, and I feel like I'm just getting started with my Nancy-isms. In fact I made a list of "Fun Facts about Nancy" that I hung on our wall sophomore year that grew longer every day.

So like the first night we were back in Wheaton our sophomore year, Nancy breaks the news to me that she is planning to transfer at the end of the semester to Cedarville!! What!!?? I was devastated. She had lots of reasons, a good one being she changed her major to nursing which Wheaton didn't really have a nursing program, but I was losing a great friend. We had a lot of fun that fall semester. When I am looking through the mail, I often remember the semester long mail contest that we had. We developed a point system so that packages were worth more points, mail from overseas was worth extra, and if a letter was from a MALE (non-relative) that was like 50 points! By the way, Bambootique owner Beth from down the hall (who I've mentioned several times on this blog) actually won the contest because she happens to stay in touch with every friend she has ever made in all of her travels and places that she has lived.

Anyway, this ode to Nancy is being made because although I have long ago lost touch with my dear friend, after all of these years, I have continued to use the Cedarville ice scrapper she sent to me (in hopes that it would give me points in any future mail contests since it was a package). But a few weeks ago, my dear husband hit a tough piece of ice on our windshield and the scrapper gave up its life. I feel like my last connection to Nancy is gone. Maybe somehow she'll read this blog and get in touch with me again, but if not Goodbye Nancy! I'll always remember Calve man, the Chief Chair, and watching Carnie late at night.

18 January 2008

Fatal Flaw

Many of the characters in my favorite stories have a "fatal flaw." Curious George always gets into trouble because he is curious, Edmund sets a whole turn of bad events in place because he gives in to his temptation for Turkish Delight, Shakespeare's plays are full of people who just can't get this one thing right. Even when you look at the Bible, the pages describe men and women who are imperfect especially in a particular area.

I've been thinking about what my fatal flaw is. It's kind of hard to narrow it down actually! Would it be worry that persistently haunts me? Or maybe fear of rejection that prevents me from taking risks in relationships? Whatever one I think of, I am challenged to remember that God is way bigger than that flaw! He wants to help me overcome it to become more like Him.

In order to move past this part of my character though, it will take being ready to let go of that pet sin that can be oh so comforting.

Hmmm...something to think about.

07 January 2008

Cleaning Day!

I realize I may get some wise advice to keep my son away from the dangerous chemicals in cleaning supplies after I post these pictures, but some of you moms may understand why I allow him near these bottles after hearing about Asher's infatuation with cleaning.

Cleaning day is probably Asher's favorite day. I won't reveal how often I actually have a cleaning day, but when it does happen, nothing could make my little boy happier. He wakes up in the morning and can peer into the bathroom from his crib. If he sees the bucket of cleaning supplies on the floor, he gets a huge grin and exclaims "clean!"

I don't know if he likes it because he gets to carry bottles and a rag around making little "squirt squirt" noises, or if he enjoys lugging the big bucket full of supplies around, or if he really thinks our house needs to be cleaned, but whatever it is he loves it.
Periodically throughout the week, Asher will ask me to clean and I really disappoint him when I say that I am not going to clean that today. When we are out and about and he sees a bottle of cleaning product, he again breaks into a big smile and exclaims "clean!" If I happen to be buying cleaning supplies at the store, that is almost equally exciting as actually cleaning. As we turn down the aisle at the store with shelves of cleaning products he again shouts, "clean clean!" The checkout lady at Target thought I was crazy because I was letting Asher hold onto the bottle of toilet bowl cleaner and he caused a small scene when I put it on the belt to pay for it.

What could be better - other than possibly vacuuming?

Please excuse his hair in the pictures, he could hardly wait to get started cleaning that we didn't get a chance to get his hair tamed down.

01 January 2008

Christmas Highlights

I always forget that it takes so long to put away Christmas decorations! Why is it always so much more fun to get them out than put them away? I think I'm finally finished with that chore so I will take a little time now to finish Christmas for 2007 and move on to thinking about 2008. Here is a little recap of our Christmas celebrations this year.

Becky went to Ethiopia for Christmas, but before she left we celebrated with her at my aunt and uncle's in Indianapolis. Since mom and dad are not here for Christmas, they are so thoughtful to include us in their family Christmas. So here we are at the Schieler's.

Asher loved being there especially hanging out with his cousin Abby. After the gifts were opened, we realized they had been quiet for a while and found that they had dumped a box of animal crackers into the dog's water and food bowls and were sitting down for a little snack! They had a box of cereal out on the floor and it looked like that was going to be next! We think this is the first time Asher has conspired with one of his friends to be tricky!
Walter's parents came to spend Christmas with us in Bloomington. Sam also was here. This is our Christmas Eve meal of Cornish game hens!
Sam gave Asher a tractor for Christmas. I remember Sam playing with his tractors all the time when he was little. Not sure who is enjoying playing with it more, Asher or Sam?
One of Asher's favorite games these days is "chase." Basically it just involves Asher throwing a stuffed animal at you, saying "chase", and running away. This means he expects you to chase after him while he runs away. He laughs hysterically while running so we keep on playing. Grams even got into the game with the Elmo that they got for him.Another great gift Asher got was a kitty keyboard. He loves this thing! It is a little piano and has drums, but also has kitty songs if you press a certain button. This is his favorite feature and I now have kitty songs running through my head all day long!
Our final Christmas was this past weekend with my mom's family in Ohio. Asher loved running around with all of the other kids. That side of the family is very large - the 100th member is expected to arrive this spring. Asher found these Mickey Mouse ears and surprisingly liked wearing them. I am amazed that the toys I played with as a child at Grandma's house are still there and still favorites with the little kids now.