Taking a break from blogging. will resume G.I.S.T. and everything else when I come back.

Year in Review

In 2008 I...
Lost a dear family friend.
Lost my grandmother.
Survived the worst bout of depression of my entire life.
Adopted the sweet and adorable Marlowe.
Got my first ipod.
Became totally addicted to the ipod.
Went to Albuquerque.
Learned to apply makeup correctly.
Threw water balloons with Justin.
Celebrated my 27th birthday.
Celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary.
Battled with health insurance.
Went to Seattle.
Saw a burlesque show.
Became a ChaCha guide.
Bought the first swimsuit I've ever looked good in.
Lost 30 pounds.
Finally started to enjoy exercise. Even if it's still not my favorite thing.
Quit a job that I hated.
Spent a month in California.
Carved my first recognizable picture into a pumpkin.
Voted for a president that actually won.
Stood on a street corner and waved a sign for marriage equality.
Started Grace in Small Things.
Started substituting.
Surprisingly, loved substituting.
Learned to crochet.
Learned to knit (sort of).
Found pieces of my personality that I thought I'd lost.
Learned to cook a few good things.
Sold my first freelance article.
Posted 195 blog entries.
And for the first time in my personal history, I went an entire year without spraining my ankle.

G.I.S.T. 37:365

1. Surviving a tough year.
2. Enjoying large parts of a tough year.
3. The smell of roast cooking.
4. Frosted Mini-wheats.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.


I got these beautiful (and tiny, about the size of an egg) Forelle pears at the grocery store yesterday. Don't they look like something out of a fairy tale? The picture totally doesn't do them justice.

I found an old camera that my mother gave me at some point to replace my broken one until we can get a new one. It's actually better than the one I was using (which I didn't realize when I stuffed it in a drawer), but it doesn't fit in my pocket like the other one did. Oh well, it works for now, anyway.

I spent the day cleaning my house (after spending yesterday cleaning at my aunt's), and it feels so good for it to be all clean and sparkling. I also did 5 loads of laundry (Yay, clothes!) and cleaned out my closet (Yay, a place to put the clothes!). So, overall, it's beena pretty good day. I'm super exhausted now and insanely sore, but at least I'll sleep well tonight.

G.I.S.T. 36:365

1. Beautiful pears (also, tangelos and apples).

2. A replacement camera. (Amanda, I promise I'll post pictures of my knitting and crochet tomorrow.)

3. A clean house.

4. Seeing the bright side of an aching back and hands raw from dishwashing. (Good sleep!)

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 35:365

1. Being (not just feeling) super-productive.

2. Finding a Pei-Wei in Lubbock. Finally some decent Chinese food.

3. Having lunch, at a restaurant, with Justin for the first time in weeks. We really needed a "date."

4. My dad brought a chocolate cake over tonight.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 34:365

1. We had "Christmas" at my dad's house today. Food, family, cute kids and presents!

2. A new crock pot. I don't use them for very much, partially because my old one is too small to be very useful, but how great would it be to be able to wake up and have lunch (yes, I usually get up around lunch time) already done?

3. Noting that I'm prettier, and have a nicer body than the models that Leonard Nimoy used in The Full Body Project. D'Liesa got me the book, which I've wanted forever, for Christmas. Hurray for an ego boost and a great gift!

4. Making actual, huge, progress cleaning at my aunt's house today.

5. Realizing that Justin can pop my back on my bed, saving me a trip to the floor (which hurts my ribs) and the chiropractor (at least for a few more months).

6. The cameras I got for my niece and nephews are their favorite present of the day.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 33:365

1. My siblings will be back from my mother's today. The holidays can officially begin! (Technically, the 12 days of Christmas last until January 5, so we're not *that* behind.)

2. Watching movies late into the night with Justin, who I haven't really seen in 2 weeks. Nothing says "Christmas" like Sweeney Todd.

3. Learning to knit (not crochet, as it turns out, I'm multi-talented) a hat. (In one night, not 20 years, like that damn scarf took.) Pictures to follow.

4. Finding the most beautiful yarn I've ever seen. Hmm, never thought I'd say that.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 32:365

1. Great Christmas gifts from Justin and friends.

2. Christmas dinner at my dad's house. Amazing food. Piles of dessert. Mmh!

3. Wrapping presents. (We won't be completely done with Christmas until January 1.)

4. Finishing my scarf. It's the first crochet project I've ever finished, and it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. (I'll post a picture eventually. My camera is *still* broken.)

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

Yes, Virginia,

Instead of my regularly scheduled Grace in Small Things, I'm posting my favorite Christmas story. The Santa in the picture? He's my daddy. *smile*

Eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial September 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages, books, movies, other editorials and on posters and stamps.

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias! There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus? You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives! And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 30:365

I'm wondering if I should reevaluate this whole 365 days of Grace in Small Things idea. I'm on day 30 and it's getting old in a hurry.

1. Finally, after 20 years of trying on and off to learn to crochet, I've figured out where I've been going wrong and now I'm making pretty good headway on a scarf. I'm pretty sure that I can't follow a pattern, or do anything remotely fancy, but it's a start.

2. Having dinner with my family.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 29:365

1. This picture of Marlowe. Seriously, how cute is he?!

2. Putting on a fashion show of my new clothes for Justin.

3. Receiving a big box of presents from my friends in the mail...

4. ...delivered by the cute UPS guy.

5. Skin Milk lotion. It's the only thing I've found that makes my super dry skin stop itching since the magic of Eucerin stopped working.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 28:365

1. Feeling productive.

2. Soft peppermints that dissolve on my tongue.

3. Jewelry that looks like hard candy hanging around my neck.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 27:365

1. Shopping with my aunt today. Sooo much fun and lots of great stuff!!

2. Being a size smaller than the last time I bought jeans.

3. It's finally cold. Maybe now I'll feel like it's Christmas.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 26:365

1. Last night I had the best sleep I've ever had. Or at least the best sleep that I can remember.

2. Finding some chocolates similar to the ones that I got completely addicted to in California. They're not quite the same, but close enough for now.

3. Justin cooking dinner.

4. Getting all my Christmas cards mailed out...with, I think, enough time for them to get to their various destinations by the 25th.

5. Singing along with Mama Mia.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 25:365

1. I had a really good day at work. No one got sent to the office.

2. Justin calling me beautiful in the kitchen tonight. While I was crouched over and wretched after what can only be described as throwing my back out. Totally not beautiful, except to him.

3. Christmas lights.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.


We saw these candles in the grocery store a few days ago. They were alongside the prayer candles with pictures of Jesus and the saints on them and I thought they were so funny that I had to share. I seriously love the fact that they say 'Alleged Money Drawing' and 'Alleged Court Case.' As if someone is going to sue the candle company if they don't actually come into money or win their court case. If they're all that concerned about it, why don't they put 'Alleged' on the candles with saints on them? You know, just in case someone sues when their prayers aren't answered.

There was also this candle. I don't know very much about the saints, not being Catholic, but can anyone tell me who this guy is and why his hair is on fire?

These candles are counting as my Grace in Small Things for the day (24:365) because they make me laugh. I subbed at Middle School today and my last class was a bit discouraging.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 23:35

I'm a day late on this. Last night I went with my family to a Christmas party where my dad was playing Santa Claus and we didn't get back in time for me to do my usual post, so I'm doing it now.

1. Seeing how great my dad is with the kids. He truly is the best Santa ever and the children *love* him. I meant to take pictures and post them today, but I dropped my camera last night before I took any and it no longer works. Ptth.

2. Receiving a gift of my favorite wine from my friends Shannon and Matthew. Early Christmas gifts rock!

3. Taking the last of my antibiotics. Thank goodness that's over.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 22:365

1. Krab. Yes, with a k. It's better than real crab and easier to eat!!

2. A compliment from someone I don't know very well today at the grocery store. Complete with hug.

3. Seeing my grandmother's best friend at the grocery store and chatting about the place mats and things that she used to make. I really wish I had a set.

4. Corn on the cob.

5. Naps. (Yes, again. I'm still getting over illness and my medicine makes me drowsy.)

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 21:365

1. Cake Nouveau

2. Maybe laying her head on my lap and looking at me with love.

3. Toaster waffles.

4. The smell of hot chocolate.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

Birthday in Oz

Look at this amazing cake:It's from Cake Nouveau and is just the most perfect thing I've ever seen. I love The Wizard of Oz! The only things missing are ruby slippers...

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

G.I.S.T. 20:365

I can't believe I've managed to do this 20 times.

1. Sugar cookies.

2. Netflix. Girly movies in my mailbox when I wake up? Score!

3. Free Christmas cards with our picture on them. (Thanks Shutterfly!)

4. The vaporizer (totally sounds like a weapon), which has been improving my breathing for 3 days.

5. The total lack of guilt I feel about not putting up a Christmas tree this year. I was worried that I'd feel bad about it, but I absolutely don't.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 Days of Grace in Small Things.

Today's G.I.S.T. 19:365

1. Feeling much better today thanks to all the drugs mentioned in the earlier GIST post.

2. I was called in to sub a middle school PE class today. My first thought was "I'm not really qualified to sub PE..." but I went anyway and it was fine. Apparently 7th and 8th grade PE mostly involves everyone doing whatever they want to, (according to the coach who showed me to the gym). As it turns out, what they want to do involves throwing volleyballs and beach balls all over the place.

3. Chicken and dumplings. My absolute favorite thing for dinner.

4 A long nap this afternoon. Amazing.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 days of Grace in Small Things.

Make Up G.I.S.T 18:365

Yesterday I got two shots and took some cough medicine and so I fell asleep before I could post my Grace in Small Things list for the day. I'm going to make up for it by doing two today.

1. Coupons for free clothes at Avenue.

2. Rocephin.

3. Steroids.

4. Benzonatate.

5. A husband willing to drive me all over town to see doctors and go to pharmacies and put up with the super bad attitude that appears when I'm not feeling well.

Now for the bad news:

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

G.I.S.T. 17:365

1. The validation I felt upon being notified about my article selling.

2. Family members who can bail me out of a seriously tough situation at a moments notice. (Thanks Mom.)

3. (Legal) Narcotics provided by the emergency room to stop my cough and numb my throat until I can see an actual doctor tomorrow.


This morning I sold my first freelance article through Helium to a company called Life Answers, who I think produce those little leaflet magazines that they have inside newspapers and church bulletins and things like that. Anyway, it's a very small amount of money and a very small publication (they don't even have a website), but it's a start and I'm really proud. But not proud enough to tell you what the article was about, because it's a little embarrassing.

G.I.S.T. 16:365

1. Tylenol Daytime/Nighttime cold medicine.

2. Being able to use a banana in place of 1 egg when baking.

3. A husband who will go out and rent me movies and buy me soup when I'm feeling bad.

4. Knowing that I get to go to bed soon.

This Hurts My Feelings

I love snails. I love the slimy little trail they leave on my skin. I love the little antennae that poke in and out of their heads, I love their swirly shells...and so this picture hurts my feelings:

And now I'm worried about whether the snails survive the winter. Do they go underground or something? If you know, will you tell me? Also, does anyone know if the salt on my skin hurts them when they move across it?

And, before I forget. G.I.S.T. 15:365

1. Snails.

2. The feeling I got when they called me to sub today, even though I couldn't go.

3. My shiny new badge.

4. Hot Tampico punch. It feels so good on my sore throat.


I got called to sub this morning, but they hadn't given me my badge yet, and I seem to be coming down with something that looks an awful lot like strep throat so I couldn't do it. However, I was able to go get my badge, so when they call again, I'll be able to work! Unless, you know, I die of strep.

G.I.S.T. 14:365

1. The new soup recipe I tried today was delicious and came together with minimum drama.

2. Cold medicine actually took care of my symptoms and I've managed to breathe for most of the day.

3. Harry Potter movies have been on ABC Family all afternoon, giving me excellent background noise while I work.

4. My dad brought us plates of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts for dinner. I've been craving brussel sprouts all week. Yum!

G.I.S.T. 13:365

1. The smell of cake baking.

2. The ache in my legs after getting off the elliptical.

3. Clean laundry.

4. Fresh sheets.

The Family That Elfs Together...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

G.I.S.T. 12:365

1. I was approved today for substituting!! I'm going to pick up my badge on Monday and get to work. This is a BIG thing. I feel incredibly relieved and happy. The woman who I submitted my paperwork to today had my favorite Willow Tree figurine on her desk today. (see picture) I love this little statue because she just looks so filled with joy. I took that as a very good sign, and apparently it was.

2. Buy one get one free deals on things that I buy regularly at the grocery store.

3. Kristin Chenoweth's Christmas CD. It has my favorite Christmas song (Do You Hear What I Hear), which is rarely included on holiday cds, which makes me happy and it has some good original songs too. Plus it's Kristin Chenoweth.

Christmas Cocktail, G.I.S.T. 11:365

Tonight I invented a super delicious Christmas cocktail. It's also very easy.

1 1/2 ounces Vanilla Vodka (I like Svedka)
8 ounces Diet Red Cream Soda
Splash of Lime
Ice Cubes
Green Straw

Which brings me to my grace in small things list for the evening.

1. Vanilla Vodka

2. Straws. (My teeth are sensitive.)

3. Broccoli and Cheese Soup (Completely unrelated to the holiday drink, but it is what I had for dinner tonight, and it was delicious.)

Under the Wire G.I.S.T. 10:365

I nearly ran out of time tonight! It's already 11:30, geez...here goes:

1. Gravy on hard rolls.

2. Diet red cream soda.

3. A nap in the middle of the day.

4. A soft, warm puppy curled up in my bed with me.


Everybody cross your fingers, say a prayer, light a candle, make a wish or whatever it is that you do, for me this week. I've filled out the paperwork to begin substitute teaching and I'm supposed to go back to fill out my W-4 on Friday. Please hope, hope, hope that I get calls to sub soon. We're in a pretty desperate situation right now, and it would really be helpful if you could send a few good thoughts my way.

G.I.S.T. 9:365 The Best I Can Do

1. Now and Later candy canes. Delicious. Amazing. Pretty.

2. Barefoot Cellars selection of wines. Moscato, White Zinfandel, Pino Grigio oh my! And all the flavors also come in bubbly.

3. Brianna's French Vinaigrette.

4. Having a really good lunch, even when everything else is scary and wrong.

G.I.S.T. 8:365

1. Today was payday (for Justin)! We now have groceries and another month of phone. Also, our grocery store does this thing each week where if you buy one thing you get a whole pile of other stuff free. Sometimes it's not a good deal, when it's something that we don't usually use, we skip it. However, today the thing to buy was a lasagna, which we enjoy and buy from time to time. So, we bought the lasagna and we got (for free!) a bag salad, a loaf of french bread, a case of bottled water, grated Parmesan cheese and a spatula! It was a particularly nifty deal because a) we use all of those things and b) my spatula has gone a bit melty, and the one they gave us is surprisingly nice. So yay!

2. This morning the plumbers came and we are back to 2 bathrooms, for the time being. They fixed the gigantic leak under our bathtub, so we no longer have a swimming pool under the house, and no more bugs can get in through the drain. In the next week or so, someone will come replace the floor. Yay again!

3. We got a Christmas card in the mail from my mom today, which contained (drum roll please)..... Christmas Money! Exceptional, especially considering that we're dead broke (in spite of it being payday). So, that's some extra cash for gas and groceries. Awesome.

4. Also in the mail, I got a coupon for $10 off a $10 or more purchase at Avenue. Actually, I got TWO of them so that's $20 of new clothes for FREE. Hopefully I can replace the sunglasses that I lost on the stupid plane with this...or maybe I'll be a grown up and get some actual clothing. We'll see.