Friday, April 23, 2010

Tell Us About Your Life

Kelly's Korner is posting today about how people met their husbands. I think this is such a cute idea. I want to participate in this, but I don't have time today since I am helping my BIL shovel a truck load of mulch into the backyard, but I wanted to encourage other bloggers to share their stories or anyone who would like to can post their story in my comment section. I love hearing people's love stories!

So, feel free to share. And if you can't than just take a moment to remember how and why you fell in love with your spouse and then remind them about how much you love them!

Have a wonderful and love filled day!

The Whoas of Traveling (& What makes it worth it!)

"I hopped off a plane at LAX with a dream and a cardigan"...this Miley Cyrus song was stuck in my head last Tuesday as I walked out of LAX and tried to find the first of many buses that I would have to catch on my way to my mother and father-in-law's house in central California.

It had already been a busy week. After my brother's wedding in Michigan on the tenth, I had gone back on the road with my hubby. During that week we had driven back and forth between NY, NJ, VT, OH, MD, and PA several times. Paul had to help unload an entire trailer filled with tires- his skin always has a rubbery smell for the next few days! Fun. Fun.

We weren't sure how I was going to get back to TN in time to make my flight to CA, but by last Saturday it was decided that my parents, who were visiting my Grandmother in MD, would drive two hours up to PA to meet Paul and I.

Together we all went to Mass and breakfast before parting ways. It was hard leaving Paul again. I feel as though we have been apart so much during the last two months and it makes me uneasy about how different life will be once we stop trucking next month. I am looking forward to traveling with my dear husband while we are doing the marketing for Precious Life Books, but not being in the truck is akin to the bittersweet feeling of giving up the first apartment a couple shared as newlyweds- that is literally the case for us! For better or worse, life is changing and it takes some adjustments.

Sorry. In case you haven't noticed, I'm great at going off on tangents! Anyhoo- my parents and I drove through the day and night. We made it back to my house at 3am. I was so tired that I spent the rest of the night sleeping in the car!

I spent my one day home cleaning my house, doing load after loads of laundry and packing for California. Because of my torn meniscus, my back has been trying to compensate for the swelling in my knee. By the end of a day of walking up and down the stairs with hampers of laundry, my poor little body was doubled over with pain. I looked about ninety when I tried to stand up after dinner! My knee was stiff and my feet were sore. My back wouldn't straighten out. As I hobbled about I was some sight to behold! Where is a good chiropractor when you need them late at night???

I finished packing and cleaning the house and climbed into bed at 2am. I awoke at 6 and jumped online to purchase amtrak tickets. My mom drove me up to warm and sunny Nashville to catch my plane. There in the airport I sat across from a well known country musician. :) I was lucky enough to get a nice window seat on the plane next to a very amiable woman. We spent the first hour or more of the flight chatting about everything from growing up in the South to our love of vintage campers. It was a long but pleasant flight.

I had heard that they were calling for rain in LA, but as the song says, "It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn pours! Man, it pours!" The rain outside the airport was coming down in sheets! It was a bone chilling damp that I experienced for the next 6 hours as I took a shuttle, a bus and then a train to my husband's hometown. I dashed off the train and into the old-fashioned, little train station to wait for my father-in-law and my brother-in-law. After 12 hours of traveling, I saw the family van pulling up to the door of the train station. With huge smiles, my FIL and BIL came through the rain for hugs. My 21 year old BIL, who has Downs Syndrome, was so thoughtful that he even brought a golf umbrella and a knit hat to keep me dry!

It was after eight when I walked in the house. Even without my husband being there, the warmth and love his whole family showered upon me made every step of my long, wet journey worth it. I am so blessed to have married into a family whom I love every bit as much as the family that I was born into. God has blessed me so much!

I love the Book of Ruth and feel that, just as Naomi wanted the best for Ruth, my family-in-law is always there for me and looking out for me. I have enjoyed my time with the family so far and, now that the sun finally came out today, I am looking forward to even more fun in the California Sun!!!

Take a moment today to say a prayer for your in-laws or future in-laws! ;)

My two families united as one on Paul and my wedding day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

As seen on Craigslist!

Our new bike has a hitch on the back and Paul and I are hoping to get a small, light and inexpensive trailer or mini camper to tow on our trips to visit our family in California. I have been scouring craigslist (my favorite place to find fun things online!) and came across something that I just have to share...

Can you say SWEET?!?! Bella and Snoopy would love these digs and we could take them with us same as we do in the truck. It is far from aerodynamic and must eat gas, but you have to admit that you would smile if you saw a motorcyclist hauling this cabin behind him, right? =D

Anyhoo- I just had to share. Hope it made you smile too!

Bucket List- Appalachian Trail

Hiking the Appalachian Trail has been on my Bucket List for a long time. With my torn meniscus, a thru hike is out of the question for now. The more I've thought about it the more I've realized that, at this point in my life, hiking for 4-7 months would be a rediculously wasteful use of my time. That just me in my situation. But, I would love to spend maybe a week each summer hiking a different section of the AT in each state and/or unique geographical region. How fun would that be?

Paul and I were thinking that we might even try to do it this coming summer. The only problem is that most of our summer will be spent out west- far from the AT, so it may not happen. We are also planning to go out to Lake Havasu and to hike the Grand Canyon again this summer. So much to do, so little time and money! ;)

Even if we can't hike the AT this summer, I am trying to research and decide on which section we should do on our first week. I've hiked short sections in both the Smoky Mtns in TN and NC and the Blue Ridge Mtns in VA. My Aunt and Uncle have property that borders the trail in NY and I think it might be fun to hike up in their region. Any suggestions? Anyone?

Does anyone have any special plans for the summer? What's on your bucket list?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name...

I woke up at 6:30am in the little town of Ludlow, VT. I could see large, melting patches of snow on distant ski slopes. We drove through one quaint, sleepy town after another. Each village was cuter than the last. The beautiful New England shops were still closed. Smoke plumed out of hundred year old chimneys above clapboard homes. Teeny, tiny little cafes and diners had parking lots full of cars with Green Mountain license plates. A cup of blueberry Green Mountain coffee and a chocolate & sprinkles covered donut and our day is off to a great start. I love traveling!

We made our way to Albany and then into New Jersey where Paul saw a sign for Manville, NJ. He proceeded to puff out his chest and, with an exageratedly deep voice, pronouced that we should live there- it is only fitting! {smile/sigh}

I saw my first lilac bush of the season covered in abundant purple spires! Spring REALLY IS here, friends! Hallelujiah!!!

Driving through the mountains is making Paul and I daydream and discuss our future plans of working at or owning our own Catholic summer camp and retreat center. I pulled out an old notebook and once again began scribbling down ideas for what our "Dream Camp" would include. Any suggestions? Babysitting services so that parents can relive some of their favorite camp memories, perhaps??? LOL :D Consider it on the list!

My little brother and one of his friends drove up to the Smoky Mountains yesterday to pick up Paul's new motorcycle from the dealership. They are taking it on a "test trip" for us by driving it into Smoky Mtn National Park and camping for a few days. Paul is slightly jealous that my brother gets to drive the bike and take it camping before Paul!

We have always named our cars and boats, so we have decided to name our new motorcycle as well. All of Paul's cars and trucks had girls names and my family usually goes for silly or male names for our vehicles. Paul says he has to ride the bike and "get a feel for it" before naming it, but I am the OCD planner who has to have list of possibilities, soooo I thought I would share some of my thoughts and see if anyone likes them or has any better ideas. Here it goes:

- Baby Jane
- Jasper
- Miss B Haven
- Miss Chevious
- Out on a Whim (or Whim/Whimsy for short)
- Firefly Chaser
- Wild Honey
- Uppa Creek
- Ginger Snap
- Hootin' Annie
- Stormy
- Cassidy
- Finnegan, Murphy, Donovan or O'Malley (can you tell we're Irish?)
- Galahad
- Houdini (now ya see 'um, now ya don't!)
- Nomad
- Rodeo
- Smooth Sailing

Whoooaaa!!!! I thinking I'm going a bit overboard, huh??? Anyhoo- I'd love to hear what people think!

The sky is blue and without a single cloud. Get out and enjoy it, if you can! God bless!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Highs and Lows

High: Yesterday Paul and I were driving from Ohio to Massachusetts and had a little time to kill. We parked our truck a truck stop and went for a walk through the woods, fields and down a little country road. It was a perfect afternoon in Pennsylvania.

Low: A week ago I had to have an MRI and found out that I have a torn meniscus in my knee. Luckily, it doesn't need surgery, but they did drain fluid off and gave me a cortizone shot. Walking over the hills of PA was beautiful, but my knee started bothering me.

High: We came out of an open field and on to a little street with a vintage ice cream stand that had just opened for the season. I LOVE little places like that!!!! They just scream summer and make me romanticize days gone by. We ordered fried mushrooms and a twirling tower of coconut soft serve from a friendly grandfather with a big smile. We sat in the sun and ate our mushrooms and licked the cone before a single drop could be lost. Such bliss!  As I finished my cone, we wandered next door to look at beautifully handcrafted wooden lawn furniture made by a tall middle aged Amish man.

Low: As we made our way back to the truck we took a short cut down a weed covered embankment. By the time I climbed into the truck I was hopping up and down and whining. The back of my shirt and jeans were covered in some kind of a stinging nettle type plant! I hate to be graphic, but looking back I can now see the humor in the scene I was making...the plant had particles falling from my shirt and down the back of my jeans. I had sat down to try to brush the back of my shirt only to hop back up because my rear end was itching, stinging and burning all at the same time. I was hopping all over our tiny space whining and howling as I tried to quickly dance around Paul to close the curtains and strip off all my clothes! I had tiny white things that looked like the ends of a cactus pricking into my fingers, shoulders, back, bottom and legs. Paul had to use a flashlight and tweezers to remove as many as he could find. Sheesh!!! Not the way I had hoped our afternoon stroll would end!

High: My dear husband did his best to remove the evil needles from my skin. He bought me some sweet treats and sour apple soda to cheer me up. Its a blessing to have someone take care of you!

Sooooo, how was your day? Hope you didn't get into any "sticky" situations!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A New Use For Teapots!!!!

Any one who has ever been to my house knows how much  I love collecting teapots and tea cups. They are so beautiful and yet practical! I love sitting down in my comfy chair to read with a steaming pot of tea wafting the scents of mangos and peaches around the room. Can anyone deny how heavenly this can be???

Okay, so I do get teased, mainly by my brothers, about my teapot collection (how many does a person really need? they ask) and I just laugh off their teasing, but I am here to share with you how I use my collection to bring joy to my husband!

There is a hysterical Dick van Dyke episode where he finds a bank book that his wife has been hiding away and seceretly stashing money. When he finally confronts his wife she explains that she has been saving up to buy him the sports car he's always dreamt of. He ask his wife where she ever got such an idea and she responds, "From my mother! [...] She saved for years to buy a really big, important gift for my father." He ask what the big, important gift was and her answer was "His own room!" What a hoot!!! She explains that her mother had a den added to their house with a pool table, etc. It's a very funny episode and you can watch the final scene on youtube here

What does that have to do with anything??? Well, I think I've seen that episode a few too many times over the years, because last autumn I decided to try doing the same sort of thing. Everytime Paul had to go out on the road without me I would take on odd jobs to make some money while he was away. I would take all the money I made and I would hide it in a teapot (Paul would NEVER go looking in a teapot) so that I could buy him a "really big, important present".

While we were on our honeymoon, we rented a motorcycle and really enjoyed riding it. Paul's been wanting one ever since and he spends alot of his spare time researching them and looking into used ones on craigslist. As I've said in previous posts, we are huge Dave Ramsey fans and worked really hard to save up and pay off all our student loans and credit card debt during the past year and a half. When received our letters saying that our student loans had been paid off, I felt like having them framed!!! We only have one small amount left to take care of before we are completely debt free and that we've been socking away money for and will take care of very soon, so I had no qualms with using my extra earnings to surprise Paul with something special.

For Easter I was able to surprise my hubby with a beautiful (though used and almost as old as me!) silver Honda Goldwing Aspencade! Honestly, at this point I don't know who is more excited- him or me??? It was at a reliable dealership that had just marked it down and it was an amazing deal! I felt so happy to be ab;e to surprise my husband and see my hard work make him so happy! We are both looking forward to a summer of saving money on gas while seeing the country and having alot of fun together. Our life together is such an adventure- its truly exciting!

So, for all those who have never found a reason to appreciate a small piece of chinaware used to hold hot water, let this be a lesson to you! My husband now has a new found appreciation for my china (even though it will ONLY be holding hot water for quite a while now!) and I am happy to be on the receiving end of his gratitude! =D

Have a cup of tea and think of all the exciting inspirations that little cup could hold for you!

On a closing note, I have an aunt who really wanted to have a little book published, so in her spare time (I can't really imagine her having any spare time since she has 12 kids!) she cleaned houses so that she could
earn the money to make her dream come true! There are so many ways to make things that seem impossible happen. It just takes a little creativity and a lot of patience! I'd love to hear if anyone else has done anything similiar and how they did it.

Being a Woman of Virtue is Hard Work! Sheesh!!!

                                     "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her"
                                                              Proverbs 31:11

Happy Easter, dear Friends!

Wow! Lent flew by, but it seems like so much has happened in all of our lives during the past 40 days, doesn't it???  It was wonderful stepping away from all the technology that I allow myself to become chained to, but I've also been reminded during these days of the ways that it can bless us. So many times during the past month I've wanted to look into something or ask friends a quick question via email or facebook and then remembered that I couldn't! I had to start doing things the old fashioned ways- I picked up a phone that WASN'T my/a cell phone for the first time in AGES! Old school can be awesome, my friends! :)

Sooooo, at some point during my reflections this past month the Lord put some basic things on my heart that I really felt would be a great reminder to all of us. Allow me to set the scene-

Paul and I only have the opportunity to be in our own home for five days after being on the road for five or six weeks. As much as I try to box up and store things while we are gone, we still seem to have woodland creatures [MICE] that seem to get in and take up residence in our kitchen while we are away. I can't tell you how stressed this can make me. I feel like I have to sanitize every square inch of my counter tops each morning just in case anyone decides to lay a piece of toast on a spot that a little four legged fellow had run over during the night. Where is this going you ask?

A few weeks ago, Paul was home and we had some friends over. I had come in from shopping and Paul was cooking something on my unsterilized stovetop. As he was lifting a spoonful of pasta to his mouth, a noodle fell on the stove. I saw my dear husband's hand grab the noodle and begin to eat it! I freaked out! Dropping what I was carrying, I reached for him trying to grab the possibly contaminated noodle while yelling at him to put it down! Like a slow motion scene from The Matrix, I could see the shocked faces of my friends in my peripheral vision.

Here's what was going on in my head:

A. Don't let Paul get sick by putting a mouse contaminated noodle in his mouth!

B. Don't let my friends know that my kitchen has a family of mice dwelling in the same vacinity as where I will be preparing their food!

C. Don't let my friends think I'm crazy!

D. Oh, shoot! Now they are sure to know I'm nuts!

E. Oh, shoot, shoot, shoot!!!! I just yelled at my husband as though he were a child in front of our friends!!!!!

F. Bad wife!!! Bad, bad, bad wife!!!!!

The situation was quickly explained by a blushing moi, but even as I lay in bed that night, the scene replayed in my mind. Though my intent was for the good of my husband, my actions were not good. I mulled it over and resolved to try to make some changes in my speech.

Woman are often told to be "Virtuous Proverbs 31 Women" but that can be easier said than done. It sounds so pretty to read and imagine being a perfect wife whose "value is far above rubies"- it isn't easy and I think most of us have a very hard time watching our words. It takes a true curbing of the tongue to be a virtuous woman!

I think most all of us have seen women speak to their husbands as though they were children. We shake our heads and know that its wrong, but many (dare I say most of us!) have moments of weakness were we fall and do this same thing!

Perhaps we struggle with the tone we use with our spouse or we talk publicly (in front of them or behind their backs) about our spouse's shortcomings. Some make jokes about a spouse's faults or just say things that hold elements of negative truths.

This is not good, ladies!

I know its not something that any of us want to intentionally do, but it is a very easy slippery slope to fall down. How can our children, family or friends respect our husbands if they see us setting an example of belittling. We will have a hard time showing respect once we set off on this path. Yet, when we speak with love at all times, we are constantly reminding ourselves, our children and our friends of how worthy of respect these great men are. Our words and actions MUST build up our husbands at all times!!! When a man knows that he isn't being spoken down to, he will want to work harder to earn that respect. He will be uplifted! In this way we too will be built up and our marriages, family lives and friendships will become stronger.

Our friendships, too? Yes, when a girlfriend knows that you aren't the type of woman that gossips about your own husband, she will be able to trust you as well. Everyone needs a friend in their life who can be there at times when we need a shoulder to cry on or whose judgement we can trust in difficult times. Be that kind of friend by setting an example in the way you treat your spouse.

This is a longer post than I had intended it to be. It is mainly to remind myself of my own life goals, but I hope it is a reminder for someone else who, like me, falls short in this area from time to time. God has blessed me with a man who is MORE than I ever dreamed of and I pray that I never take him for granted. Not even for a single moment!

Moral of the Story: Always keep your kitchen clean! (That's a laugh!)

God bless, friends! Enjoy this beautiful spring weather!
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