Sunday, April 5, 2009

The transformation: Do blonds have more fun?

In late march, Stephanie and I decided to be girly and dye each other's hair. Stephanie went with a redish brown color and I decide that with spring about here to lighten things up and put chunking highlights in my hair. I received a kit from another friend and held just for a special occasion just like this. To make a long story short, my hair ended up looking somewhat stunk like. Here is a pic of me the day after getting ready for work.
Eric was not a fan of this new look and thought that is would be cool to dye my hair completely blond. After a little convincing, Eric went to the store bought a bleaching kit for dark hair and later that night for our date, he began striping my hair. Here is a pic of me during my three hour wait to rinse my hair with a bag over my head and looking chipper.
Three hours later, after much whining and complaining that my scalp it burning. I hopped into the shower and then went to bed. I Got up the next day, which was April Fool's and got ready for work. Here's the result of our hair striping date. I am excited to see and hear the reactions for everyone I come in contact with.
So what do you think?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No April Fools Joke

As many of you have seen already, I have recently joined the Facebook cult. And as expected, I am already addicted which is hard to believe as I rarely become addicted to anything (okay so that bit about addiction is a bit of an April Fools joke). I can already tell that I will be spending more time on Facebook and less time updating our blog site. However, Aimee and I will still continue to update our blog site from time to time when we have the urge to write about something in more detail than what is considered kosher on Facebook. I just thought I would let all of you, our faithful and dearly beloved readers, know so that you have time to mourn over this tragic loss!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good Times near Gull Lake

This past Friday, Aimee and I drove up to our church's (Autumn Ridge) annual marriage retreat up near Brainerd, Minnesota, at Cragun's Resort after Aimee got off work. Because Aimee was unable to get off from work early, we ended up missing Friday night's sessions. I didn't like feeling like we were missing out on anything, so I tried to get us up there as quickly as possible. However, the traffic was ridiculous on 494 and 94; and I was about to lose my mind (I actually passed a car on the shoulder of the road). Aimee asked if I had time to do my devotions on Friday. I said "no," and she said that she could tell due to my horrendous driving. My morning devotions are literally my daily medication to keep me centered. However, once we got on to highway 10 at Clearwater-Clear Lake, it was much smoother sailing.

I have to admit that for the past four years when Aimee and I have gone up to the marriage retreat, I generally do not feel like digging deep to examine our marriage and to work on our issues. I also must admit that this year was even worse than in years past in that regard. The only thing that I can think of that may have led to me feeling this way this year is that since we have been actively participating in marriage counseling every week on Thursday nights for the past seven months and have been having more frequent deep discussions about our relationship during the week, I really just wanted to "escape" for a weekend, relax, and not put our marriage under the microscope for a couple of days. I will say that we did garner a good amount of helpful tips and tools and godly wisdom from the sessions led by Dr. George Kenworthy and his wife, and we were also led in great worship by Autumn Ridge's high school pastor, Reggie Nichols and his wife Karlee. During our free time, we spent some time hanging out with Travis and Allison Vail and Karl and Beth Bristol, two couples from our small group who were able to join us for the marriage retreat. In the picture below, we are getting ready to break out some Phase 10 on Friday night.

The retreat was two weeks later than normal this year, and so Aimee and I also spent some time checking the NCAA tourney scores and brackets in our room on our laptop (I am so glad we were able to get a laptop almost a year ago).

On Saturday after the morning sessions from 8 a.m. to noon (way too early for me), we had the rest of the day free. Aimee and I decided to use the sports centre at the resort this year which was a lot of fun. I ran on the indoor track while she and Beth biked in the fitness room. Then Aimee and I played some indoor volleyball with some of the other couples at the retreat. We then took on Nick and Korrie Johnson in a game of indoor carpeted doubles tennis, and I am proud to say that we won 7-5. Nick then kicked my butt in singles tennis beating me 6-0. After that, we all got cleaned up and went out to supper together at Grizzly's in Baxter. Pictured below are Jake and Hannah Calhoun, Karl and Beth Bristol, us, and Nick and Korrie Johnson. Good conversation and fellowship were had by all.

After supper, we went back to Cragun's and played some SkipBo, Nerts, and some more Phase 10. On Sunday, we finished up with two more sessions and then headed back to Rochester. All in all, I felt like it was a good weekend (even though it was too short); and I think we both needed to just get away for a couple of days. Looking at our calendar right now, we will be getting away every weekend in April, so I am pretty sure we will have plenty to blog about in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Tragic Story & An Electric Atmosphere

As many of you know, I am, have always been, and will always be an Iowa Hawkeye fan. In fact, anyone who has grown up in the state of Iowa is generally a Hawkeye fan, that is, unless they have been brainwashed by the other non-mid-major university in the state (the Cyclones of Iowa State University). I kid you not. My brother Chris grew up learning what is right and good (to always cheer for the Hawkeyes); but then, like Judas Iscariot, he abandoned what he knew to be right and good, crossed over to the dark side, and attended Iowa State University. After his first visit back home from college around Thanksgiving of 1994 during his freshman year, I could tell something had changed within him. After a lot of intense research on my part, I later discovered that Iowa State mandates that every freshman take a class during their first semester titled "BW101: How to Become a Cyclone Fan: Ignoring the Deepest Roots of Your Truest Self." It took me a long time to uncover this as Iowa State does not list the class on any student's transcript. However, I did discover that it is a six-credit class that meets in various anonymous locations in Ames throughout the entire semester. It is a scary ordeal this underground brainwashing class. Hundreds of thousands of innocent young students have already given up hope and have been exposed to this class. This has literally divided my family. I ask that you do not take forceful action as this will only reinforce what this awful class is teaching these young minds (that Hawkeye fans are bad). Rather, I have found it to be best to simply pray over all of these students daily and hope that they will someday see the light again. I know that I am still praying for my brother Chris and now his wife and kids as well as he has passed what he learned in that class on to them.

This past Saturday, Aimee and I attended an Iowa Hawkeye men's basketball game and discovered all over again what is right and good. Iowa has struggled this year with a lot of injuries, and they are a young team. Because tickets were not selling so well this year, we got pretty good seats (row 6) at a great price. Here they are warming up below with the Penn State players warming up at the opposite end.

Pictured below is Iowa's bench with Coach Lickliter (Chris calls him Lintlicker...oh my, pray, pray, pray) standing up in the white shirt talking to one of his assistant coaches.

It was a close game throughout as most of Iowa's games have been this year. It was nice to see Iowa use their big guys, Cole and Tate, in tandem. Pictured below is Fuller and Bawinkel of the Hawkeyes and Cornley and Battle of the Nittany Lions.
The atmosphere at Carver Hawkeye Arena was electric especially towards the end of the game when it went into overtime and then into double overtime. However, as noted on the scoreboard and by the cheerleaders dancing in the picture below, the Hawkeyes won!

Even though we had to get back to Rochester so that I could work a few hours that night, we stayed after the game so that Aimee could shake a few of the players' hands and to get a picture of us.

Chris, if you have read this and if you are feeling things inside that you cannot explain, please give me a call or send me an e-mail. I would love to talk with you to help you discover your true self again and to help you see that you do indeed bleed BLACK AND GOLD!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Club 31...Book #5

Society tends to look down upon deep thinking or pass it off as it is only for the strange. Our culture tries to brainwash us through different forms of media and tries to imprient their opinions. But did you know that you already believe in something. And your belief affects the way you live, think and act. Have you ever wonder or have you ever been asked by someone else, What is life all about? Is there only one way to God or do all roads lead to him? And if there is a God and he is good, why do bad things happen? Why is there suffering? How can we know about God? And is there inate moriality in each of us? How would you respond to someone who was asking the "hard" questions and searching for the truth? What would you tell yourself?

The book that we had to read for March, was called How to be your own selfish Pig...and other ways you've been brainwashed, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.
This book is a complation of the "hard" questions of life. Short stories of real life people who walked in and out the doors of the L'Abri house. L'Abri is a place where people can come to get away from their everyday rountines and look for answers to the "hard" questions they are asking themselves. You can find L'Abri houses all over the world...Switzerland, Holland, England, Massachusetts and Minnesota. Thats right, I said Minnesota. There is a L'Abri House right here in Rochester, Minnesota.
If you find yourself questioning life and traveling is not an option, pick up this book. Read and ponder and determine your worldview.

Guess who just turned about 40ish?

I'll give you three guesses. Nope, nope, and nope. Give up? Okay, it is Gato, Othello, and Rita. Today, March 2nd, is our kitties' 5th birthday. They were part of a litter of six with another calico kitty, another all-black-colored kitty, and an all beige-colored kitty. Here they are enjoying their birthday dinner of ocean whitefish...yum, yum!
*F.Y.I...Hey, did you know that a cat ages about 17 years in their first year and then about 6 years for every birthday after that up to their 9th birthday? After that, it tends to slow to about 2 years for every year after that...amazing, I know! Happy birthday pretty kitties!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Friendship Challenge

Pictured above is Jen, Nicole, and Allison (with me laying behind them, of course).

The friendship challenge is a challenge of whether your friendship will withstand this ten-day process of making bread. How it works is you receive a starter bag of goo on day 1. One might think to oneself, "Hey, this doesn't seem so tough."

On days two to five, you mush the goo and maybe even burp the goo. Once again you might think to yourself, "Alright, this is taking a little bit of a commitment, but so does being friends with Aimee...I think I can handle it."

Now day six is here. You read in the instructions that you are supposed to add 1 cup of flour, sugar, and milk. This seems okay so you go to the frig, pull out the milk, measure it, and pour it in. Next is the flour and sugar. You open the canisters and start measuring and come to find that you only have 3/4 of a cup of flour and a 1/2 cup of sugar. This is where you start questioning your friendship with the person that pawned this challenge off on you. So you get in the car and make an extra trip to the store to buy more flour and sugar. Now you begin to think that on the one hand this might be a little bit more work than you signed on for; but on the other hand, you think that anything in life takes a little work and usually in the end it is well worth it. So you decide to plow forward.

Day seven comes and you read mush the goo. The Hallelujah Chorus is playing over in your head. Day eight comes and goes. Day nine comes and goes. Day ten comes and goes and day eleven the same.

On day twelve, you open the cupboard and realize that you forgot all about your goo; and you throw the bag in the trash. You think, "Crap, all this work for nothing. I am so disappointed in myself." You curse Aimee for conning you into taking this challenge and in essence making you feel bad about yourself. You then call Aimee, your so-called friend who was supposed to call and hold you accountable in the bread-making process, to let her know that you had failed. She picks up her phone; and as you begin to tell her your story and how you failed in your attempts in the bread challenge, she laughs and says there is no need to be in despair. She says take your bag of goo out of the garbage and pick up where you left off. A few extra days of fermenting won't hurt a thing. You go to the garbage only to see that for the first time in your husband's life during marriage he listened to you and took out the garbage. Your heart sinks. You shrug your shoulders and think better luck next time and go about the rest of your day.

The story I just retold is based on some true events but was dramatized for desired effect.

In all actuality, the goo is called friendship bread because it gets passed on from friend to friend like a chain letter. But unlike a pesky chain letter, you can enjoy the end product.

Here I am doing just that. Mmm, mmm, good.

In all seriousness, there are some real life applications that you can take from the experience of making friendship bread in case you couldn't pick them out in the dramatized story from above. In life, you can find yourself in situations or experiences either by your choosing or by the choices made by others. At times, things can be tough; and you doubt if you want to continue in this course. You find yourself questioning things. At this point, you find yourself at a crossroads. You can either turn away/run from this course, or you can stay the course and let these "challenges" burn and refine you to be better than you ever thought was possible. Mistakes happen. That's just life. However, we need to be able to learn from them, not let them define us, and let God do His handy work and transform them into a precious treasure. God is at work in all of us, and He uses life to accomplish His mighty work.