Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heart Melting

Husband bought waterproof shoes at Cabellas this week and decided he had to "test" them. He hopped in every puddle he could find on our way to and from mass. Cute, huh?

This morning we are driving through Ohio.



The sun is brightly shining as snow swirls around our truck.



It reminds me of living in Austria.



We are listening to music from the 90's on Sirius.



Both of us sing out loud and slightly off-key.



I am happy to be here in this moment.



I asked Paul if we could listen to music this morning intsead of listening to everyone pick apart the State of the Union Address and I also explained the commitments to loveliness I made for this week. He listened and then gave me a slick grin saying, "You are lovely and I made a commitment to you."



Ahhh...melt my heart!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Commitment to Loveliness



Today I am joining Charming the Birds from the Trees in making A Commitment to Loveliness!

It is almost impossible to decorate and make it feel terribly cozy truck. The key word being almost. I was so happy when we bought new sheets for the truck, matched up our comforter with [gasp] a throw pillow! Paul quickly decided the truck wasn't big enough (it really was crowded) for the two of them- it was either him or the throw pillow. Out went the pillow. So now my goal is to start small and work my way up to the big things (like throw pillows).
We have tried to keep flowers in the truck. Paul surprised me once by tucking over a dozen roses all our the truck. They were in the clothes hamper and my mug. Tucked beside the microwave and the tv. There were several by my seat and one on my pillow. Several times he's bought me a dozen roses and set them in the drink well on the dash. They were always lovely, but would always spill when we'd hit a bump, unhitch a trailer or when the dogs would want to eat (seriously!) them!!! We may have had a few setbacks, but I shall forge away at making our home and our life a little more lovely!
Here are the ways I am striving to make a commitment to loveliness in our little home on wheels this week:
1. Decorate for St. Valentine's Day by changing my blog background. I look at it almost daily and feel uplifted when I see something bright and new! Do you like the change?
2. Turn off the news and listen to more uplifting music... Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Gypsy Kings, Nickel Creek, Edith Pilaf, Billie Holiday, Michael Buble and anything Celtic.
3. Make more of an effort to look my best even if the only people who see me during the day are Paul and the people I pass in the rest areas and gas stations.
4. Add fragrances to the truck either by spritzing on a little Happy Heart in the morning or spraying room spray.
5. Turn on the Christmas twinkle lights in the evening (No, we haven't taken them down yet!) and enjoy a cup of tea and a good book with Hubby instead of turning on the tv.
How will you introduce a little added Loveliness to your life this week? Share your thoughts with me and hop on over to http://www.charmingthebirdsfromthetrees.blogspot.com/ to post your own link and to see some "lovely" ideas!
Have a lovely evening!

Saintly Books for Little Ones

I feel like I just struck Gold!!!! I was over at one of my favorite blogs, Shower of Roses, and noticed her widget link to amazon's St. Joseph books. They are selling select titles in packages of ten for $1.50! That's 10 books for $1.50!!! Amazing titles that I remember from when I was growing up. Ones like these:



Confession: I bought 180 of these books from Amazon tonight! I selected 18 titles and was given a discount atomatically because of the 4 for 3 discount amazon has. With so many titles I received free shipping, so my total was $21.00! I use Swagbucks as my search engine and have earned a $5.00 amazon gift card.
Grand Total= 180 books $16.00!!!!
What am I going to do with so many of the same books, you ask?
1. One of each title for our family.
2. A set of each for our goddaughters.
3. A set for our nieces and my brother's baby who is due in March.
4. 4 sets to add to a Mass time tote to give as shower gifts, First Confession/Communion gifts, Christmas gifts, etc.I hate to admit it, but my Mom and Aunt were interviewed by EWTN for two hours last week about our most recent book and, in the excitement, I failed to post about it in case anyone wanted to listen. Luckily, the interview went so well that they have been invited back for a second interview next month. I will try to post the date and time as early as possible. The picture of our book, The Most Beautiful Thing in the World, that I placed above is not our newest book, but one of my favorite. The story is a beautiful and simple story of God's love and mercy that always brings tears to my eyes. Not to sound like an ad, but you can buy any of our books (and the most beautiful Catholic art!) at http://www.catholictothemax.com/ You will love all of their amazing paintings, mugs and clothing! When I worked there, I had to be very careful not to spend every pay check before I left work!
I also bought the sweetest nun doll recently. This is an awful, distorted picture of her! She is a lovely little nun with removable glasses, little leatherette shoes, white pantaloons and more. I can'y wait to watch a curly, red haired angel playing with her.


Any other amazing Catholic deals out there??? Feel free to share them with me! :)
May God bless the work of your hands!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Funny Valentine

Recently, my fingers have been itching to do something creative.

The cover of My Life in France inspired me!



I decided to make a St. Valentine's Day pin with Paul and my initals on it.





We have had a slow month of work, so we have been trying to be very careful about our budet.
I looked around Wallyworld and found two sheets of felt for 38 cents each (Each sheet will make at LEAST 10 hearts!), a package of 3 needles and multiple colored thread spools for just under 2 dollars and a package of multi-colored glass seed beads for 1.98. I have pin backs at home.


Not bad, huh?







Here is the finished product. I loved that it only took me minutes to make and cost next to nothing. Big projects overwhelm me sometimes, but this made me feel so good!



My question for you, dear friends, is: do you think that I should add a "C" at the bottom of the heart or would that be overkill?




If so, what color should it be???





TTFN!!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bon Appetit!

A while back Paul and I went to see Julie & Julia. We both really enjoyed it, particularly the portrayal of Paul and Julia Child's marriage. When we stopped at Cracker Barrel for our weekly book (on cd) run, we found the book My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme and decided to listen to it.

I was really hoping this would be a more in depth look at their life and marriage. It was that, but it was mainly the story of Julia discovering and learning French cooking. No real suprise there. It was certainly interesting. Paul even thought so!
Not being food, cooking or French experts, we were a little lost at times, but we both laughed at the similarities of the Child's nomad lifestyle and our own.


In the movie, Julia cries, "Where is home? where do we live?" Her husband, Paul (Good name, huh? ;D), calmly answers, "Home is where we are. We'll work it out. We can figure it out."
Amen!


I have never been a Meryl Streep fan, but Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci really make you feel the love, joy and fun that Julia and Paul must have shared during their marriage. Meryl was PERFECT for this part! It is inspiring to see the way that Paul Child is portrayed as a husband who is madly in love with his wife and who protects and leads her without ever pushing. In the movie, Julia always looks at Paul like a woman who is just falling in love. What a wonderful reminder for every marriage! We should be constantly falling in love with our spouse (and God!!!) and show it!




They seem to have had a marriage that was both passionate and fun, as all good marriages should be!



I felt myself joined with the characters in the movie, when Paul quietly supported his wife during moments that she felt broken hearted. It was very moving.
I enjoy Amy Adams as an actress and she was cute in this movie where her Character, Julie, is feeling her own life parallel with that of Julia, but I did find her character too be a bit to whiny and slightly annoying. That said, Amy Adams cuteness, especially when trying to be like Julia, reminded me of a cute and quirky, young Meg Ryan.




I would recommend this movie as a great date movie (and if you are on a car ride, the book is interesting enough to make any trip fly by!). If my Paul can suffer through it and find the beauty of it, any man can!


You might even send the kids to bed early, make a fancy meal for your own hubby and watch the movie whiloe enjoying a lovely (affordable!) bottle of French wine.


And, of course, as Julia would have said:


Bon Appetit!


And here are a couple of fun Julia quotes I found online:


"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook."

"I think every woman should have a blowtorch!"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Disney Pins on Wings!

A few quick pictures from an interesting exhibit on Disney's morale boosting efforts during WWII. Enjoy!






The Rocketeer

The year was 1991 and I was eleven years old. I felt very special getting to spend the night at my cousin's house and staying up late watching movies, eating popcorn for dinner and playing Duck Hunt and Mario Brothers. The feature that night:





Last summer Paul and I bought The Rocketeer on dvd. When we got married and moved into our house we went to buy a tv for the house and were stunned to see how expensive a tv is. After a little research, we realized that for the same amount we could buy a projector and have a truly "Big Screen" experience. The Rocketeer on the big screen is a true blast from the past!


Our family has not had regular television in years, but we do collect classic movies to enjoy over and over. During our family reunion this past June we carried couches and chairs out to the patio. We set up heaps of blankets and pillows and made buckets and buckets of popcorn. Two nights in a row everyone from my parents, in laws, aunts and uncles to the youngest little cousin followed a trail of tiki torches to find a cozy spot under the stars to watch one of our feature films.


We did showings of both The Rocketeer and Swiss Family Robinson. Everyone had so much fun!
Some of the little boys, who had been camping each night in a tent in the backyard, did get a bit scared of the Frankenstein-like fellow in The Rocketeer and decided to camp inside that night because they were a bit scared of bumping into a monster, but they also seemed to enjoy the thrill of being "deliciously scared," as Anne of Green Gables would have called it. For a Disney movie it is a bit mature, but our group was old enough to handle it.





So, what inspired this trip down memory lane? While at the museum on Monday I saw this racing plane and immediately thought of "Cliff Secord" and "The Bee Gee" that he flew. Isn't it a cool looking plane?


I wanted to look online to see if this plane that I snapped a picture of at the museum was really similiar to the one in the movie and, sure enough, it was!


Random thought: One of my favorite scenes is when "Jenny" and the evil Nazi actor are at the night club and a large sea shell opens, a clarinet begins to play and a lovely woman begins to sing. I wish they still have places like that. Seeing scenes like that give me the "I was born during the wrong era" feeling!


While searching online, I read that the original hope was to create a trilogy similiar to Indian Jones! Interesting, huh? I also found a couple of fun quotes from the movie that I thought I'd share.


Peevy: Clifford, when you borrow something, and don't tell no body, they call that stealing!


Cliff: [donning the helmet] How do I look?
Peevy: Like a hood ornament!


Matron: You know my rules: no gentlemen allowed inside after 6pm.
Cliff: But, I'm not a gentlemen.
Matron: You're telling me!




And last, but not least:
Cliff: Why don't you stick a welding torch in my ear, and call it the end to a perfect day!

Aim High with the Air Force

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was bitterly cold and gray. Our truck needed a tune up and had to go into the terminal outside of Dayton Ohio. We had time to kill and luckily the husband of my friend, Diana of the Lake of Shining Water, had suggested we explore the National Museum of the US Airforce. It was wonderful!


This free museum was not only fascinating, but it was also beautifully arranged! Like a well placed flower in a vase, each plane has been placed close enough to one another to strike one with a sense of awe and yet each plane stands out individually as though it were a piece mechanical art.


Each gleaming plane caused me to marvel at its beauty and imagine the horror that must have stopped the hearts of those who fled from the airstrikes many of these plane took part in.



It was easy to imagine the GIs who cared for and flew these planes to protect their country, trusting in the plane to bring them home safely.
We walked through one of the planes and I had to pause to smell it. Paul thought I was crazy, but tears were in my eyes as my mind recognized the smell. The smell of aged leather immediately reminded me of my Grandfather (my Dad's father). I never realized that the my Grandpa smelled like old WWII airplane, but I think he would have liked to know that my mind connected that smell with my memories.
My Grandpa Brindle was a wonderful man who taught me to jump rope as a little girl. He had been a soldier in World War II and had owned his own plane. After he passed away I kept his very large flannel jacket to wear around the house, because that soft fabric smelled like that special man. His scent has long faded from the jacket, but standing in that plane I felt the closeness of my Grandpa.




The museum holds over 450 airplane and numerous artifacts from early air ballons to modern space exploration. We only had time to make it through the first three of four massive air hangers. Their galleries include Early Years, Air Power, Modern Flight, Cold War, Missile & Space, Presidential, and Research and Development. They also have multiple smaller exhibits.
There is a lovely picnic area outside with monuments. An airstrip with a handful of planes outside. They even have an Imax theater (not free), a cafe and a surprisingly large giftshop with truly interesting books, dvds, music, artwork and models.
What little boy (or big boy!) wouldn't love to check out a stealth plane like this??? :D
If ever in Dayton, I HIGHLY recommend a visit! Of all the museums and sights we've seen while travelling these past two years, this was one of my favorites!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Can you guess???

Here is a teaser for my next post. We spent MLK Day here...

Can you guess where we were???
Here is a clue- It was FREE! :)
And my hubby liked it a lot even though I had to twist his arm to take me!

Spring? Is that you?

We were in Dayton Ohio on Sunday and Monday and I'm going to post about that later, but for now I just want to state that it was COLD!!!! The sky was gray, misty and damp. It was a bone-chilling cold. Ugh!

Wonder of wonders, we drove from there to Virginia and were thrilled to experience balmy 67 degree weather. And the sunshine! Oh the warm, wonderful sunshine! Such bliss!

We did a little shopping recently and, after encouragement from Merry, I decided to post a few purchases. I probably would have posted more pictures, but Hubby was laughing at me for taking pictures of random clothes, so I decided not give him too much fuel for the fodder.


I have a confession. I am obsessed with Eiffel Tower art!!! I have been to Paris several times and, no offense to anyone, but Paris is not my favorite European city. It is beautiful, but...

Anyway, I do find the Eiffel Tower to be a beautiful monument and a lovely symbol of romance. There are so many ways to interperet it in art! I have paintings, wall hangings, and several little figures in my dining room. I found this sweet Eiffel Tower jewelery holder at TJ Maxx last week and I couldn't resist buying it! I am planning on redecorating one of the rooms at home with some white accent pieces to go against a very bold wall that I hope to paint soon. This would look very cute in there, but now I am feeling the decorating buzz to redo the bathroom in a french theme. Decisions!?!?! I'll have to wait until I get home and see how painting goes, I suppose. Hhhmmm...



My other obsession is thrift store shopping! I love getting a great deal and refuse to throw away money on something that I know I could get for at least half the price. While in Dayton, we discovered a Goodwill Outlet. All womens clothing was $1.50 an item! Woot! The cute little New York and Co. Sweater was one of my steals. The picture doesn't do it justice. I bought a beautiful pair of Blondo boots for $3! In total, I bought five pairs of jeans, six shirts, two sweaters, the boots and some movies (45 cents each!) for under 30 bucks!!! Love it!




Sporting my own version of trucker fashion :) (Can you see Snoopy peeking up from the driver's seat?) This sunny yellow matched the warm sunshine and my mood! I just love the little rose pattern on the lower part of this top, don't you?


May your day be warm, sunny and blessed!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Urgent Prayers!

My brother in law is at an abortion clinic in Texas right now and just sent out a text message asking for prayers for couple there who want to have their baby aborted. Please ask that God open their eyes and their hearts to this precious little one!

Thank you for praying for this couple and their baby and all parents and children in this situation!

God bless!



It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish. -Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Down South of the Border

A station wagon makes its towards Florida on a sweltering summer day in 1968. On the rear benchseat little Billy and Petey sit with the family dog, Tiger. Sweat mats the brothers bangs down against their foreheads. Dad and Mom listen to the non-stop chewing and popping of the boy's large wads of pink bubble gum as the brothers practice their fast draw with shiny silver cap guns. Suzy and Kathy are playing with dolls and bickering over which of the girls dolls would have Ken as their escort. All of the passengers are antsy and it is long past time to pull the wagon over.



Up ahead a large billboard promises clean restrooms and cold pop. On the horizion an odd shape is taking form. The boys kneel on their seat looking over the heads of Suzy and Kathy and watching as the shape becomes a large, bright sombrero. The children become excited as colorful animals and buildings seem to be magically coming into view. At last they have arrived at...


South of the Border!





Random and quirky places make our travels so much more enjoyable. We enjoy looking up the random sights featured on Roadside America and, when we are close and have time, stop for a photo shoot and some silliness. Paul suggested that we stop at one such place this evening. Dillion South Carolina is home to "South of the Border", a near ghost town of a tourist attraction.



Tacky? No Doubt! A fun place to get out a little of the truck induced stir-craziness? For sure!



A man opened a beer stand on the spot in 1950. Over time his little stand grew and packages began to arrive addressed to "south of the [North Carolina] border"and so a theme was born!

At one time it must have been an amazing complex. Much of it still stands, but the paint is worn, parking lots are vastly empty and it looks much like some of the forgotten landmarks along the old Route 66.






Outside of each building is at least one piece of gaudy fiberglass fabulousness. Pink gorillas are just the beginning! It looks a bit like a sad Disneyland wannabe.

There is a wedding chapel, motels, conference center, diner, steakhouse, campground, minigolf, arcade, amusement park, fle market, gas station, truck stop, handful of tacky gift shops and a multitude of other buildings belonging to the South of the Border (SOB they call it for short- get your mind out of the gutter!) complex.











Pedro is the SOB mascot and can be spotted all over they place. In the past, all of the employees were refered to as "Pedro."


They have an observation tower that rises 200 feet into the air. For a good work out after a long ride, you can climb the long and everwinding staircase.



Though I have never been to Roswell, I would imagine SOB might have a similiar feel- just a little less intergalactic alien!



Hasta la vista!

How is your New Year?

First order of the day: Many, many thanks to the friends who have recently started reading my lowly little blog!!! Knowing that your reading and receiving your comments really brightens my day. Especially, Merry and B. for reading all my back post and Em for your sweet and much appreciated comment. You all are amazing. Please feel free to let me know if there is any aspect of our crazy truckin' life you are curious about. Or anything else. And feel free to call me out if my ramblings bore you to tears. This post may have just that effect seeing how I just feel like verbalizing my random musings!


Anyhoo, I didn't make any resolutions this year. I figure that the most important resolution in my life is Act of Contrition I make before leaving confession as I "go and sin no more"! Or try my best not to. Did anyone make any resolutions? Anything that wasn't to terribly personal that you'd like to share?


Recently, I have been thinking about all the blessings of this past year and making mental list to remind myself how amazing God is and how even the difficulties are a gift. There are so many things!


When the Blessed Mother appeared to the girls in Garabandal she made a point of expressing that God cares about everything in the girls and villagers lives- even their cows! It seems very child-like, but even adults need to remember how important the little things are.


The headlines today are all about the horrible earthquake that happened in Haiti last night. So many have so little to begin with and then even that little is taken away in the blink of an eye. Please God, bless, protect and strengthen those who are suffering so much!


Who would I be in such circumstances? To those whom much is given much is expected! It is good to ask ourselves often, "Am I doing enough of what is truly important?" I would love to be able to go and do mission work. We will see what God has in store. For now we all must pray, pray, PRAY!


NEWS FLASH! I just decided on my resolution for 2010. I've done this before, but my ramblings have made me realize that this year will be a good year to declutter my life a little more. Not just of physical and material goods (Which I have way too many of!), but as many impediments to my spiritual life as possible.


"So let it be written. So let it be done." -Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments (1956)


On the complete flip side, I was also thinking about some of the fun pop culture stuff that I enjoyed this past year. My favorite CD of the year was the newest Michael Buble cd Crazy Love with the song Haven't Met You Yet. I also loved the movies Confessions of a Shopaholic and Julie Julia. What were some of yours?


Here are a few fun pics from our New Year's Eve Party. Everyone who was anyone was at our house to ring in the New Year and it was a blast!



Cousin Merry looking very His Girl Friday! Love it! She pulls off the 1920's newspaper woman look better than anyone else I know.

Her boyfriend (And my Brother-In-Law! How fun is that???), enjoying the elegant buffet we supplied. :)

Back Massage Train! Toot! Toot! Woot! Woot! I feel sorry for my youngest cousin at the bottom of the pile. You can't see her face, but I'm sure it has a pained expression.
I can't believe were almost half-way through January!?! Let's make it amazing!

Monday, January 11, 2010

EXPOSED! The Secret Life of Truckers



Friends are always curious about what its like to live in a truck and, too be honest, I was too before I made one my home.

I had never seen the inside of a truck's cab until Paul began his first month of driving and even then it was only a quick peek from the door as we were loading his stuff into his trainers cab. I didn't have much of a chance because as I lifted his backpack and Bible up to him a police officer tapped on my shoulder and asked for an ID. Ahhh!!!

He said that it looked a little strange seeing a young woman climbing up into a truck that was parked in a pull off on the side of the road (Paul's trainer couldn't exactly "swing by" the house to pick him up! I had to drop him off!). I was mortified and humiliated that little old moi, in my baby pink pea coat and sparkling white engagement ring, could be suspected of being, well- YOU KNOW!!! How awful!!!

Paul's trainer explained what we were doing and I waved my ring in the officer's face. He left, but not before running my plate to make sure I didn't have anything he could "book" me for!

The crazy thing is that this is not the first time I've had this happen!!!

Previously, a friend and I were pulled over for driving slowly in a truck parking lot- we were looking for the place to get diesel fuel for a four wheeler. Luckily, the police officer shined his light into my face and said," Oh, you're the little girl who works next door at the motel! You ladies go ahead and have a good night." That in itself could sound bad enough, but I was indeed the "little girl" who worked [the front desk!!!] at the motel.

The point is that the world of trucking was a mystery to me until two years ago. Honestly, it was a world that I had no interest in discovering, but when I heard about the money that you can potentially make, I immediately suggested that my (then) fiance might want to look into it as a way of paying off all our student loans so that we could start off our marriage without debt weighing us down.

Look he did and now here we are. I thought it might be interesting to write a little about the nuts and bolts (ahem!) of our day to day life.





So far, I have mainly written about the 10% of our time which we spend visiting with friends and exploring new places. The other 90% of our time seemed too mundane to recount, but I've been discovering that most people are very curious about that 90% of time.



From time to time I will write an expose on the life of a trucker, Paul, and of his lovely (*blush*)wife , me.

I am the Lois Lane of my own little Smallville on wheels. Only difference is that I'm on to my Superhusband's secret identity! (Have I ever mentioned that I am adicted to all things Superman???)



This, my friends, is where the rubber meets the road!



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lets start at the very beginning...

Last night I unintentionally left my shoes by the heater vent. When I slipped my feet into them this morning I made a comand decision- I will ALWAYS leave my shoes by the heater!!! My feet were so happy!!!

You know how you enjoy a warm bath towel, but it becomes cool very quickly? Not the case with my shoes! There was a brisk and icy chill in the air when I went into Pilot at 6am this morning, but that didn't stop me from feeling like I was enjoy a soothing warm footbath. Aaahhh!!! Happy, happy feet!!!


I return to the truck and opened a box of Mango Peach White Tea in those adorable pyramid tea bags. One whiff and I was dreaming of spring on the French Riviera. The first time I ever had peach mango tea was while I was enjoying spring break with three amazing women. I miss those girls and the giggling conversations we enjoyed while trudging around France with backpacks that we could have fit into!


I sipped tea and watched the sky turn from darkness into dazzling shades of salmon, lilac and sherbert. Dreamy Sigh!


I love days that start off well and leave you with a sense of peace. When you are relaxed enough to praise God with out falling asleep or having to worry about what you need to do during the day. Thank you, Jesus!

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