Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Parties Are My One Weakness...

Every year some friends of ours host a spledid Christmas party...complete with eggnog and lots of food! :) Here are some pics of our festivities!
Me and my gorgeous brothers... 
 It had been so long since we'd been out just the three of us...good teen bonding time!
Oh, Miles, Miles....what would our Christmas party be without you?
And we still love each other...even after all these years! ;)
We had a wonderful time singing Christmas carols and Broadway tunes. Thanks everyone for making our time with you all so enjoyable!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


When I look at this little girl's smiling face and button nose, I want to eat her like one of those cookies!
 Little Miss Independent. We had a good math lesson with fractions!

 Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies...the key to my heart!
Unfortunately, cleaning up is part of being a big girl... 
I wish I loved dishes so much. lol
Love you, Mia!

Monday, December 17, 2012

8 More Days to Les Miserables!

Can anyone contemplate the anticipation I have for this movie? :P *cheesy grin*
*sighs* Ah, the voice I will never have...
And just for kicks... :D :D :D

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

We often don't stop to think about the reality of war.

We know it occurs, we know it's heinous, but it's so far removed that I think, as a society, we become desensitized to its horror. In commemoration then of its 71st anniversary, I thought it would be appropriate to post the following video, taken from the epic film Pearl Harbor. Just as a warning, it is pretty graphic (not in terms of blood, but just the way men are gunned down). But I think all of us need a wake up call every now and again, if only to realize what has been sacrificed and how precious is the freedom we hold dear.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gotcha Day 2012

 Two years ago today, a little girl was made a part of a family...
Two years ago today, we became a family of six...
And in that amount of time, that little girl has been transformed from this...
Into this...
From this...
To this... 
In two years time, Mia has learned:
-to overcome her fear of water
-to overcome her terror of animals
-to sit still (a big one!)
-to eat with a fork, knife, and spoon and drink without spilling
-to swing on the swing
-how to skip/do jumping jacks
-to ride her bike without training wheels
-to tie her shoes
-to wash and dry dishes
-to play (and actually enjoy playing) with toys
-the alphabet
-to identify animals by their pictures/sounds
-basic spelling
-to write in cursive
-to add and subtract
-to count by 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s
-to tell time
-to read at a 2nd grade level
-to speak 3-6 word sentences...
I mean, the accomplishments of this little girl are so amazing--testimony to God's grace and the amazing efforts of my mom. I hope you enjoy this video. It really encapsulates what our journey has been. And for those of you considering adoption or what it all means, I'd encourage you to watch the second video (made by the sister of a friend of mine). God bless!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Random Monday

Well, here it is--December 3rd. (Gosh, November went by fast!)
Today marks the first day of my last semester at Thomas Edison. ;) Can anyone say "AAAHHHHH!!!!" I'm so excited to see this chapter of my life drawing to a close. Been a great experience, but if I'm going to be honest--I can't wait to be done!
I saved all my fun classes for this this here gal gets to read Jane Austen and the works of Western lit. icons for three glorious months!! Oh, and throw in public speaking and mass com. II in there somewhere... :P
Also, on a completely different and random note, I just wanted to say something regarding the Insanity workout I promo-ed a while back. No, I haven't abandoned the workouts...exactly. They've just taken a lot longer than 60 days to complete. :) Lol, I'm starting to discover than 1.5 hour workouts a day (including set up and shower times) aren't exactly feasible at this point in my life. Is a great program? Yes. Does it have amazing results? Absolutely. But really...unless you're going to make fitness your idol/obsession, a 60 day body transformation of that caliber is just not condusive to real life. So I do it when I have time and on my terms. All that to say, I've been two weeks away from finishing the program for over a month. ;) However...

I've begun an alternative program--Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. It's loaded on YouTube, and let me tell ya--it's a workout! I had a descent amount of sweat goin'. But it's super fun and only takes 20 minutes to complete. (Yay!) So...that's my new goal. I'd encourage you all to try it. If you're looking for a high-quality workout that's quick and effective, this is the way to go!

Hope you're having a wonderful Monday! So begins the cycle of once-a-month posts! :(


Friday, November 30, 2012

A Prayer of Forgiveness

Forgive me.
When I stumble in the night and darkness
overshadows my will to get up again.
Forgive me.
When, in trying to right myself, I push away
Your helping hand and try to stand--
Forgive me.
For those times I continue to fight the fog,
Too blind to see your light descending from
Forgive me.
For loving too well that which is hardest to let go,
Those things which wrench the nails from Your
blood-scarred hands and drive them back again.
Am I the one who put them there?
Forgive me, LORD.
I do not always know what I do.
On this road I'm travelling on,
my sole guide is You.

May 1, 2012


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Concerning Love and Literature

I have a new literary hero.
For the longest time, I have been enthralled with Harry Feversham from A.E.W. Mason's The Four Feathers.
What can I say? I have a thing for English soldiers. *wink wink* lol Seriously though, I have to say that one of the things I love most about Feversham's character is his subtle passion. That tenacity masked beneath an appearance of calm collectedness. His willingness to sacrifice everything to regain his honor. His resolve when the woman he loves becomes engaged to his best friend. Although I enjoy the drama of Jane Austen heroes and such, I confess I am more attracted to the silent sufferers than the Heathcliffs (Wuthering Heights) of literature.
All that to say, my beloved Harry Feversham has been recently usurped by, quite possibly, the most lackluster--and yet romantic--hero of all time. William Dobbin (from William Thackeray's Vanity Fair). Now I'm sure many of you have no idea who I'm talking about, and indeed, Dobbin is not exactly the most heroic sounding name on the face of the planet, BUT. I have to say this character is one of those whom I wish existed in real life. Not because he's handsome or charming or rich, but because he's just so incredibly devoted to Amelia. *sighs* That he would work to bring about her happiness even at the expense of his own. ;( Buying her piano after she is left ruined by her father's business ventures. Arranging for her to marry his best friend, George, simply because she loves him. Comforting her and her son upon George's death. I mean, there are so many wonderful qualities to this wonderfully awkward, eloquent man that have gone unbeknownst to the world!
The funny thing is, although I read Vanity Fair about two years ago, I was not very impressed with Dobbin's character until last night--when I watched the BBC film adaption. Then I was hopelessly lost. ;) And not because the actor was particularly good looking either (because he is exceptionally plain), but because of one scene. And then, I wanted to ball my eyes out! I've attached it here for your review. Watch from 00:15 to 03:24 and see if a) you don't want to give him a big hug and b) punch Amelia's light bulbs out for being such an idiot! Spoiler alert: they do get together in the end, but only Dobbin leaves and it is revealed that George was a rake and almost adulterer. (oh, and don't watch 05:20-05:35....there are several disturbing and really random shots of a fat man taking a shower!)

Anyway, just wanted to make it official: I have a new appreciation for Thackeray's work. And for the name William. ;)

Hope you're all enjoying this rainy, gloomy day! Grab a book, a cup of tea (or a mug of coffee, as some people like to put it) and listen to Chopin's Nocturne in E minor. *celestial choir*


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving in Pictures

Me and my squishy waiting for our guests to arrive.
Our beautiful and very leaf bedecked dining room table...
Food is a beautiful thing, especially when it's my mom's cooking!

18 years of friendship and counting...I like how Joe just towers over us all! lol

Thank you, H. family for yet another wonderful Thanksgiving! 
After dinner games. Yes, my hair is in rollers! But before you laugh too hard, take a look at....
THIS! My costume for a friend's "Awkward" party! 
Don't I look like the Queen of the Jazz Age? Daisy Buchanan ain't got nothin' on me!
Hope you guys had a great holiday! Let's remember all we have to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Over it.

Today was a bad day.

I don't normally complain about my job to my friends. Except to say that I'm super busy. ;) But today is different. Today, as thankful as I am to have a job in this economy, I'm giving you a glimpse into my very real life and all that chaos that goes on in it. :)
Chaos that, frankly, I could do without.
I have worked at my current job for over a year. I bus, I waitress, I host, and working 5-6 days a week, I come into contact with a lot of people. A LOT of people. And not all of them very nice. :P What amazes me however, is the lack of common courtesy amongst the general public. Things that I would NEVER think of doing are done to me all the time. Things I would NEVER say to people are said to me all the time. And I scratch my head and wonder, "Is it just me?" So, without further ado, here's a little insight into the on-goings of restaurant life…you may think twice before going out to eat. ;)
#1. Before you even walk through the door, you have already been picked apart, raked over hot coals, and put back together again. It doesn't matter what kind of day you're having. Hosts and hostesses are making comments on your clothes, your hair, your makeup (girls), your muscles (guys), or how snotty or sweet you look.
#2. If you are a beautiful or heavily tattooed woman 25 years or younger, you can bet that there's a string of male servers vying to get you sat in their section. And if one thinks you're pretty, you can bet that all the other guys know about it. Trust me on this. There's always a reason why your server is male.
#3. When servers say "Thanks guys, have a great day," that's code for "Get out of my table and leave a good tip." :)
#4. Every ethnic has its reputation for being difficult in some shape or form. And nobody wants to serve teenagers or kids. Like ever.
#5. You know that smile that every waiter or waitress, manager, or hostess is wearing? Well, that's fake. And their voices really don't sound that nice. It's just been sugar-coated many times over in order to make you think they're interested in your day. ;)
#6. Poor tippers, messy eaters, difficult/needy guests, or downright rude people are not tolerated. People may not say anything to you personally, but you can be sure you're being cussed at, gossiped about, and humiliated by everyone.  
#7. Everyone hates singing the Happy Birthday song.
So…these things in mind. Here are some things NOT to do at a restaurant:
NEVER, under any circumstances....
#1. Tip under 15%. Most people don't realize, servers don't keep all the money they get. We still have to tip out the bus boy (or girl in my case), the bar tender, and the expo. That's 5% of our tips--gone. And then, we have what's called "cash owed." I won't bore you by going into the details, but basically that $70 you thought you had turns into $35 real quick. (Oh, and don't leave bad tips on Sundays...makes Christians look bad.)
#2. Send your servers running back and forth because you forgot to ask for "x." Servers HATE this! When you're asked, "Is there anything else I can get for you," name a list as high as the moon--but don't make your server come back two, three, four, five times! They will hire a hit man and kill you.
#3. Only order water to drink. Please! Please! You don't realize that we're getting shifts based on our beverage sales. If we don't perform, we don't get scheduled, which means we don't make money, which means we can't eat, which means we DIE! L
#4. Let your kids play around the facility unsupervised
#5. Ask to move tables if it is not ABSOLUTELY necessary. Each restaurant has a specific rotation. If you mess it up, the hosts get blamed for it. Or the servers scream   because they've just been double, triple, or quadruple sat.
#6. Tell your server you're in a hurry. If you're coming into a sit-down restaurant, you should appropriate the right amount of time to eat. If you want to eat in a hurry, get fast food! We have a specific rhythm for our restaurant, and servers can't drop everything to make sure you get to your appointment on time.
#7. Be late for a reservation. There are other people waiting for your table.
#8. Be impatient. If you've been quoted a 15 minute wait, don't ask to be seated after 5 min. We know you're there, believe me.
#9. Sit in the bar without asking. If you're quoted a 5-10 minute wait, do NOT go sit in the bar. Because then the bar tender becomes overwhelmed, and you'll end up spending 5-10 minutes waiting to be greeted anyway.
#10. Argue with the waiter. Your server knows the menu better than you. Don't argue with him/her about something that they do for their living.
Angry Waiter 
#11. Neglect to read the menu. Please. Don't order something and then send it back to the kitchen because you don't like "x." The ingredients are in a pretty little list right next to the entree item. Spend the extra 30 seconds and save us the headache.
#12. Leave your number. No one will ever call you, and you look like an idiot.
#13. Split checks for large parties. If you come with a big party (10+), do NOT ask for split checks. Pay it in one to three big bills and then split the rest yourself. You have no idea what kind of ringer you put your server through when you ask for split checks--AND CHANGE. Either pay on a company card and reimburse or don't bother us with your business. It's not worth the hassle.
#14. Take advantage of no gratuity. Be the bigger person and remember that tips are our livelihood.
#15. Forget to check your attitude at the door. Attempt to be civil for 30 min. You'll get better service.  Besides, we're probably getting yelled at by our managers, too. Be a blessing, not a bitter taste to our bad day.
#16. Let your kids rip up their napkins or sugar packets into little pieces and then leave them all over the table. First of all it's wasteful, and secondly, it's really annoying to clean up.
#17. Leave your table looking like a war zone. If you are indeed a human being, eat like one and clean up after yourself.
#18. Think that we're your servants. We are here to ensure that you have a good experience, not to make you feel like royalty.

#19. Think that I want to waitress for my career. You business people who look down at me over the tip of your nose, this is just a means to an end. I don't plan on working here for the rest of my life. Not that there's anything wrong with that for those who do.
#20. Forget to say thank you. You have no idea what we go through on a day to day basis. Be polite, give the benefit of the doubt, and remember that even though your face is one in a million, we always remember the ones that smile.

That's enough of my ranting. I'm going to go--punch something now. ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I Dreamed A Dream...

One of my dreams has been to see the musical of Les Miserables turned into a movie. Now it looks like I'm going to get my wish! Oh, I am SO excited for this film to be released!!!!! As many of you already know, I am a severe Les Miserables enthusiast...have been for many years. ;) I don't know how so many of my favorite actors ended up in this film, but one said fan is super duper excited!*sighs* Just one more reason to wish Christmas was already here! :P Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Me and My Squishy!

These were taken in celebration of Mia's 10th birthday!
I think her face says it all! :)

I love you, Mia. You're my sunshine and my little fashion critic, and I'm so proud of the progress you've shown the past two years. Thanks for teaching me to greet each morning with a smile!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

GenJ 2012

What a week this has been! I feel so incredibly exhausted, I'm not sure I'll make it through this post without falling asleep. ;) But here it goes...

People often ask me when I first became "politically minded." To be honest, I can't rightly say...I've always been attracted to the intangible idealism that accompanies political activism. Perhaps it's the  ideological differences that I find so intriguing--that, and I feel as though we Christians have a responsibility to promote godly principles and policies wherever we can. I know politics isn't for everyone. And I know that God's will will ultimately reign. But for me, I don't know...I just couldn't live with myself knowing that the world fell to pieces on my watch. Sure, I may not be the most articulate voice out there or the most influential. But I have a voice and a conscience, and as long as both remain in tact, I'll work as hard as I can to stem the tide of liberalism. ;)

These last five days, my brothers and I worked with Generation Joshua to reelect Tony Strickland for Congress. I have to say, it was (as always) a great experience. Even though the Democratic candidate won, even though I walked far longer than was good for my feet (or knees!), I'm still proud to say that I contributed something. That I did not sit idly by and allow bad politicians to corrupt the values I hold most dear. We may not have taken the Oval Office or the Senate, but I did witness first-hand the love of God and country that still exists in this nation...

Here's a couple snapshots of our experience:
Nick, graciously posing for yet another picture!
Back when I was optomistic. ;) Like the Obama-Biden sign in the background?
 The view from the top of the mountain. Yes, we started at ocean level. And yes, we walked to the very top IN 97 DEGREE HEAT dropping off literature along the way. ;(
Mrs. Cruz, a cheerful companion and possibly the best precinct partner in the world!
Joe, tired from a long day but still smilin'...between him and Nick, I had a hard time keepin' all the girls away. ;)
Hannah, Sarah, Mary, Christina, and Allison...
At the Ventura GOP "victory" party with our amazing team leader, Andrew! Thanks for all the Starbucks runs!
The GenJ SAT team with Tony Strickland (the tall guy in blue...back row!)
Thanks again to all the people who made this experience possible!

And to all the despairing Republicans out there, don't worry: 2016 will be here before we know it! :) In the meantime, "the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses (Daniel 5:23)."
Blessings to all,