Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow Day!!!!

I moved to Kentucky from Pennsylvania when I was 13 (though you wouldn't know it given my obvious KY accent!). I still remember the first "snow day" as a Kentuckian. My mom came up to me and my sister's room and said we didn't have school today because of the snow. It was late in the winter season and there really hadn't been any snow all winter, so we were excited. (We were used to LOTS of snow in the winter.) We looked out the window and saw, not snow, FROST. "Okay, Mom, nice joke!" But, she wasn't joking. So, that's kinda our little family joke about Kentucky winters (sorry!).

Now that I work for JCPS, I've come to not get excited about a potential snow day. Not counting this week, JCPS has only had one snow day in the pass 3 1/2 years. We ALWAYS have school, even when every surrounding county doesn't. We just don't have the rural roads that cause surrounding counties to have to call off school. So, I woke up early Tuesday morning, expecting to have an hour or so delay (which still means I have to be to the office on time, no delay). To my surprise, school was cancelled, and so was the rest of the week. Normally, this would be a good thing, an unexpected day off. However, with the wind storm we had a while back, we're already cutting into our summer break and now we'll be adding another 4.... We're looking at at least the 2nd week of June.

I'm not complaining. I'm actually very thankful. We only lost power for about an hour and a half Wednesday night. We heard trees all around us, "popping" as the branches try to withstand the weight of the ice. A few of the trees at the end of our property have lost several branches. Luckily, the one big tree we have in our back yard is still standing. I keep talking to it, trying to encourage it to fight the fight: "You can do it Big Tree! Just hang in there. It won't be long now!" I love that tree and really don't want to lose it or any of it's shade-producing branches. The girls have went over and sniffed it a few times too. I think they're barking encouraging words as well, appreciative of the shade it provides on hot, summer days. Here's a before-snow-storm and after-snow-storm pic of "Big Tree".

Of course, our house has been a refuge for family that have not been so lucky. So, it's definitely not been a quiet few days! :) But I've enjoyed the company! I can only imagine how bored I'd be home by myself for the pass 4 days!

The girls absolutely LOVE the snow. They run as fast as they can, chasing each other and trying to eat the snow all at the same time! Its really funny!

Here are a few more pictures of the scenery around Erie Court:

I hope you all have power and are at least able to appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sisterly Love!

Okay, do people Mommies and Daddies feel this way, or just dog Mommies and Daddies?

Whenever Baby and Lacy (our adorable boxer sisters!) lay beside each other, share a toy, or cuddle in any fashion (even when they are not intending to cuddle), Wes and I get excited. We have a simultaneous "Aahhh" and reach for the camera! It's just so cute and we love that they love each other! I think mainly because we were really worried how having a little sister was going to affect Baby. Baby was 7 1/2 years old when we adopted Lacy at about a year old. We were very careful in introducing Lacy to the family, allowing Baby to take her time in accepting Lacy. We were sure to buy a new food and water dish, new toys, and a new crate so Baby wouldn't feel that Lacy was coming in and "taking over" her stuff.

When I first brought Lacy home, Baby was excited. They played and played for the whole weekend. However, by Sunday, Baby was making it obvious that she was ready for Lacy to go "home." She stopped playing with her and would take her toys from her when Lacy started to play with one that wasn't one of the new ones. If Lacy laid down near Baby, Baby would just stare at her. If one of Lacy's legs slipped and ended up touching Baby, she would growl and get up to move away. When they rode in the car, Baby would stay all smashed up against the car door as far away from Lacy as possible. Lacy in the meantime, would be spread across the back seat. Wes and I were somewhat worried. This behavior lasted approximately two weeks. We talked to Baby and told her that we didn't get to pick our siblings either and that Lacy was staying. Finally, Baby accepted that Lacy wasn't going anywhere.

So, with all that said, you can understand why we love to see them cuddle. They both love each other now. Of course, Lacy loved Baby right from the start! She has always tried to cuddle with her, kiss on her, and just loves being where ever she is. It took Baby a little time, but she loves her little sister too!

This picture is from Saturday. Lacy was laying on the couch with her head in my lap. Baby decided she wanted to lay her head in Mommy's lap too and climbed right up beside Lacy. Wes reached for the camera when they both fell asleep like this. Aren't my babies cute!?!
Trust me, they are! It's really cute how Lacy has developed the same personality as Baby. She copies what Baby does. If Baby starts whining because she wants out or she wants fed or something, Lacy starts whining too, and I swear she doesn't even know why she's whining. She just trusts that Baby wants something and if it's something that Baby wants, she MUST want it too! :)

Sorta a Wierd post, but it's where I am....

The Golden Rule. Google it and you get "about" 9,510,000 hits (yes, I googled it, so the number is "about" accurate.) Ask every random person on the street about it, and they'll all tell you similar versions of what it is. It crosses culture, religion affiliations, generations, everything. We teach it to our children. It's simple. People aspire to it. It's sometimes referred to as The Ethic of Reciprocity. Different cultures use it as a standard to resolve conflict.

So, with all it's popularity and seeming simplicity, why do we not always practice it? As humans, we are automatically selfish. We have an inherited need to put ourselves first. The Golden Rule requires that we think about others and how our actions and behaviors affect them. However, it doesn't stop there. To become a practitioner of TGR, we then have to adjust our actions and behaviors. I think that's the most difficult part, and where many fall short in practicing The Golden Rule.

As a Christian, it is our responsibility to practice The Golden Rule. Leviticus 19:18 says "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." Just in case we're unclear, Jesus even breaks it down for us in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

By practicing TGR in all your interactions, your kind actions will be noticed by others, especially by whom they are directed. Then, typically, others reciprocate those behaviors and are nice to you. I know, none of this sounds trivial, but many of us, myself included, don't always do it. I mean, yeah sure, you're nice to people you meet on the street, in the store, the old lady that lives across the street. But what about the people who you're closer to? We tend to have higher expectations for those that we feel "owe" us something: family members, friends, spouses, etc. No, I'm not saying we're mean to those people, but we don't always give them as much lead-way and tend to hold them to higher standards.

So, how can we become more effective in upholding the principles of TGR? Here are a few practical tips I found on a site that hit home for me, and I added my own spin to them:

1. Practice empathy. Really try to put yourself in the other person's shoes, it's not always as easy as it may sound, especially when in a conflict situation. Really try to understand where the person is coming from or what the situation might be like for them.

2. Do just what the Golden Rule says, try to think how you would want to be treated? But do not just treat them exactly as you want to be treated, but once you put yourself in their shoes, imagine how they want to be treated and what their needs are. If you can meet any of their needs, even in a small way, do so.

3. Be helpful. I think this is a HUGE area that society falls short. Our society tends to make us feel uncomfortable or nosey when we help people. People tend to stay to them selves, ignoring the problems of others. Or, we feel we have our own problems and don't have time for the problems of others. Don't be blind to the needs of others. Help before you're asked.

4. Don't criticize. We naturally tend to do this. We judge others without fully knowing their situation and we criticize. We even do it with people we don't know. We compare others to ourselves, not taking into consideration that we come from different backgrounds, different experiences, different circumstances. We really don't know what we would do in someone's situation until we are in those situations ourselves.

5. Rise above retaliation. I admit, I struggle with this and actually had an incident this pass weekend that I fell a little short in this area. TGR isn't about retaliation, it's about treating others as you would want to be treated, regardless of how they treat you (key). That doesn't mean you can't assert your needs and rights, but do so in a way that doesn't treat others badly just because they treated you badly first.

6. Be the Change. When we think of change, we tend to think of big things, poverty, racism, injustice, violence.... but change also applies to a much smaller scale: to our interactions with others. Do you want people to treat each other with more compassion and kindness? Let it start with you!

7. Listen to others. We all want to talk and want someone to listen, but few of us want to listen! So take your time to actually listen to others instead of simply waiting your turn to talk. A skill of counseling is Active Listening. When I was first introduced to the term in graduate school, it was quite difficult to do. We were paired up and had to repeat everything our partner said in our own words: "So, what I hear you saying is....." I was surprised at how many times I was wrong about what my partner was actually saying! Active Listening is a skill that takes practice to master, but is worth it!

Okay, 7 is a nice number. 7 principles to help apply TGR! :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Setting Sail??

It's that time of year! Time when the cold seems to get colder, the work days longer and more stressful, the holidays have come and gone, and Christmas break was just a tease. That time of year when we start fantasizing about summer vacations! Yay! It started when I came home yesterday and confessed to Wes that I was longing to go on another cruise. Now, we're both excited about the upcoming possibility and every time I get online, I'm tempted to look up relaxing, get-away destinations. I have to constantly redirect my focus to my work. We haven't been on a cruise since our honeymoon, almost 5 years ago! This picture is when we were getting off the ship in St. Thomas. Its cold days like this that I long to be back there!
For now, I'll have to be content with keeping warm by sitting by my fireplace and looking at pictures! ("For now!") :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Second sign I might be losing my sanity...

This past weekend was my sister's baby shower. She was showered with lots of gifts and love! Afterwards, I went home with her and spent all day yesterday helping her put things away, wash clothes, get things she still needed, and get the nursery all ready for the baby (who will definitely be here by February 25th at the latest!).

After about 13 hours, we were done! Unfortunately, it was about 11:00 pm by that time. As you know, we got quite a bit of snow over the course of the night. I was really looking forward to having today off work, sleeping in my own bed, getting up late, and having day to get stuff done. So, against the advice of Holli, Mikie, and Wes, I decided to head out and brave the snow. If the roads were too bad, I would turn around and return to Holli's. I made it out of her subdivision just fine, and the main road that led into Springfield wasn't bad. However, as I drove from Springfield to the Bluegrass Pkwy, the road became less visible and more covered in all that white stuff. I drove VERY slow so that if I did wreck, I wouldn't hit hard and it wouldn't hurt as much (it's amazing what we can convince ourselves)! I told myself if I could just get to the BG, it wouldn't be so bad. There were moments I used the guard rails as a guide because I couldn't see the road, and the snow was coming down so hard, I could see better without my high beams. At one point I decided I would park my car at a Park & Ride near the BG and call Mikie to come get me in his truck. However, once I made it to the BG, I decided the worse part was behind me and I didn't want to have Mikie drive through that. So, I decided to keep going. The BG really wasn't much better. I inched my way to the Lawrenceburg exit VERY, VERY slowly. From there, I went through Lawrenceburg, to Frankfort, to I-64, and finally to Shelbyville. Along the way, Wes called me very worried, and I convinced him the roads weren't really that bad, and I was ok. However, I cannot count the times I said outloud, "Tiffany, you are crazy! What are you thinking?!" I just prayed the whole way home that God would protect me. Thankfully, He did, and after 2 hours (normally the trip takes 1 hour), I made it safely home! However, that was the most stressful 2 hours I've ever had! And, if I had to do it all over again, I would have stayed at Holli's!
Anyway, here are some pictures of Holli's nursery. Isn't it beautiful! :) The crib, dresser and changing table were all originally a pine colored wood. We distressed the dresser and changing table in a cream, and Holli and Mikie painted the crib black (done previously, not yesterday). The bedding is a beautiful black and cream toille trimmed in a black and cream gingham. The diaper bag and window treatment match the bedding. We wrapped the shelf on the changing table in a gingham material and made a runner for the dresser to match. Holli has a toille changing pad cover coming and is still searching for the perfect rug. Also, she has a beautiful black and crystal chandelier picked out that will tie it all together. Makes me look forward to my own nursery, one day! ;)

First sign I might be losing my sanity...

Have you ever been in the middle of something and think, "I am crazy!" Okay, that's a pretty random way of beginning a post, but it's relevant, I promise!

The first time was early last week. I was driving from one of my schools to another, a route I take pretty frequently because it's the shortest way from point A to point B, but its not the "best" part of town, if you know what I mean. Anyway, as I'm lost in thought about the zillion of things I need to accomplish at the school I'm headed to, a dog came from nowhere and ran across the road, just missed by a car. "Aawww," I said outloud to myself as I immediately felt bad for the obvious stray. But then, my heart dropped as I got a better look at the dog and realized it was a miniature schnauzer. My mom and dad have two and my sister has one. It's amazing how much more empathy you have for an animal that is familiar to you. I couldn't help but think of poor Mia, Tessa, or Sammy out in the cold (COLD!), hungry with no place to go! I pulled into a Wendy's parking lot, got out of my car (almost forgetting to lock it), and trotted after the dog. It's hair was all matted, making it look bigger than a mini schnauzer should. It paused and turned and looked at me when it realized it was being followed by a crazy woman who kept saying, "Come here puppy! It's okay!" After giving me a "Lady, are you crazy?!" look, it kept on trotting. It wasn't afraid of me, it was more like it didn't think it had any reason to stop and see what I wanted. I may have been able to get closer to it if I ran, but I didn't want to scare it away. I continued to follow it for about 4 or so blocks, until it finally got out of my sight. I walked a little longer, in the cold and snow, hands and ears freezing, peering into back yards, looking for the little gray, helpless animal that NEEDED me. No luck. It was in my defeated sigh that I looked around for the first time. Hhmm, this might not have been such a good idea.... I put my head down against the freezing wind that was managing to get through my coat, and walked as fast as I could towards the Wendy's parking lot. I made it there just fine, no one abducted me or anything. I didn't even see anybody. Once I got to Wendy's, one of the employees stopped me and asked me if that was my dog. I told her it wasn't, but I thought I might rescue it if I could catch it. She confirmed that it was a stray and they see it from time to time. When I offered to leave my name and number in case anyone was able to catch it, she looked at me as though I had lost my mind and said, "Honey, no one in here is gonna try to catch that dog!" Yeah, I was crazy!

Anyway, I do plan to drive around there from time to time to see if I can see the poor thing and lure him/her to my car. If you know of anyone interested in a free mini schnauzer, let me know. They're great family dogs, great with kids, don't shed, and hypoallergenic.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Okay, okay.... as much as it pains me, tomorrow I will be.....uuggghhh.....29! And, as much as I'm really not looking forward to being 365 days away from 30 (tear), my wonderful husband actually found a way to make it enjoyable!

Our plan for last weekend was to go to our Upward b-ball practice Saturday morning, then spend the rest of the day hanging out, watching the UK basketball game, and walking around the mall shopping for my b-day gifts :).

The day went pretty much that way. We finished up practice, came home to let the girls out and change, and headed to the Red Robin for a yummy burger and to watch the game. At about half time, we walked around the mall and did some shopping. Then, we headed to Joanne Fabric's (that should have tipped me off, but I thought Wes was just going along with what I wanted to do since it was my b-day weekend). After some time browsing the hundreds of fabric options, we headed back to Shelbyville. I phoned my sister because her and her boyfriend had talked about coming to visit us that evening. (Little did I know, they were already at our house....) Once in Shelbyville, we stopped off at Wal-mart. At this point, it was about 6:00 pm. On the way home, Wes asked if I wanted to drive around a little bit, which is not unusual, we do that from time to time. We visited a couple subdivisions where we had looked at various houses when we house hunting, then headed home.

Before we got to our subdivision, Wes asked a somewhat unusual question: "Do you trust me?" While I was somewhat caught off guard by the question, I no reason to be suspicious, so I said, "Yeah, why?" He responded, "I'm going to ask you to do something and you just have to do it and trust me." I gave him a skeptical look and cautiously asked, "What?" He handed me his UK headband he wears around his ears when its cold and said, "Put this over your eyes and don't ask any questions." Of course I said "WHY?" Wes, being that he had obviously thought all this out, responded, "Because I ordered you a birthday gift and I think it might have gotten delivered while we were gone. I don't want you to see it when we pull in." Now, if I had any other hints that day or the weeks leading up to this, I might have suspected something was going on, but Wes and the rest of my family and friends did a good job keeping everything on the DL (down low), so I had no reason not to believe him. Plus, he is known to order gifts online and that really wasn't a stretch. So, I put on the blindfold just as we pulled into our subdivision. Once we reached our house, Wes said, "Yup, it got delivered, don't peek!"

He preceded to guide me out of the car and up the sidewalk to the front door, blindfolded. We reached the door, and right before he opened the door, he said, "You're going to be so mad at me!" and opened the door. I said, "Why?" as he pulled off my blindfold, then it all became clear as I heard, "SURPRISE!!!!" and looked around to see lots of friends and family!
This picture captured my reaction (Thanks, Penny!) As you can see, I had no idea or I would have dressed up a little! :)

I still don't know how he pulled off planning something like this without me catching on to him! My family helped too. They arrived to our house a couple hours after we left and decorated and prepared some snacks. Then everyone came and waited on us to arrive. The weirdest thing was know that all those people were there, at my house, without me home. I was like, "How long have you all been here??!" It was weird! But, it was great. I don't think I've ever been so surprised! If I had known all those people were going to be at my house, I would have been stressing about cleaning and planning and cooking and everything. It was nice to just have everything done for me and to just enjoy the company of great friends and family. I feel so blessed to have people in my life who care about me enough to do something like that for me. I am especially blessed to have a wonderful husband who loves me as much as he does! He said he was stressing the whole day! :) I also have my baby sister Holli to thank since, from what I've heard, it was her idea.

So, while I am in no way looking forward to turning 29 tomorrow, it is nice to know that in my old age, I have friends and family who love me! MUAH!

Friday, January 9, 2009

my sistas :)

As I've said before, I love my family. Well, I have 2 sisters, Bridgette and Holli, who are my absolute best friends in the whole world (aside from Wes, of course!). We are each two years apart, so that makes 2 years between me and Bridge and 4 years between me and Holli. We've been through so much together! When we were younger, it was always me and Bridgette. Holli was the bratty (BRATTY!!!!) little sister who always told on us when we tried to get away with anything. For example, when we were 15-17, a Friday conversation probably went like this:

Me: "Bye Mom & Dad! We'll be back by curfew!"
Mom or Dad: "Hold on, where are you all going?"
Me or Bridge: "We're just gonna ride around town."
Holli (in a very BRATTY voice): "Nu uh!!! They're going to see some boys! I heard them on the phone!" :)

But, as we got older, Holli became just as close to us. However, I can't help but still think of her as my baby sister. And, considering there are 9 years between her and the oldest of our two brothers, she always had the "youngest child, baby-of-the-family" syndrome. Believe me, she'd admit to it!
Now, my "baby sister" is going to be a mommy! I still can't believe it! She's having a sweet, little daughter of her own! And she is the most beautiful pregnant women ever! She will be such a good mommy. Afterall, she learned from the BEST -- Bridgette. Bridge has three BEAUTIFUL children (see pic on left), Joshua (6 years in April), O'mauri (4 years in February), and Makenzie (2 years in March). Bridgette is AMAZING! She is so one of the strongest people I know, definately one of my heros. I look up to her and love her more than she will ever know!
Anyway, a few weeks ago I took some "belly shots" of Holli & Mikie (daddy-to-be). Here are a few of my master pieces:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You want some cheese with that WHINE?

I need to give props to Laura, a coworker of mine. Yesterday she saved me from indulging in a bout of whiny, bring-everyone-else-down-with-ya, cloud of negativity. It happened in the women's bathroom at work. (Yes, guys, you'd be surprised at what all goes on in the women's bathroom!) After a meeting with our boss that went about a thirty minutes past the "Are-you-serious!-how-much-more-can-we-take!" point, a few of us needed a bathroom break. Well, that's definitely the recipe for turning into a flock of complaining hens, a bunch of women who were forced to sit through a 2 hour meeting where we were made aware that we were given even more paperwork to complete during our already very demanding jobs (demanding in terms of work-load and emotionally). One coworker threw something out, and I was ready to swing! I was frustrated and over-whelmed, and wondering when I would get the time to do what I needed to do. (I was also wishing I had completed the 5 cases I brought home with me over the Christmas break, knowing that I would never get the work out of my trunk!) I was patiently waiting for the coworker to take a breath so I could jump in with everything I had. It was then that Laura said, "Just be thankful we have jobs. In this economy, there are people that can't say that." WOW! Could God speak any louder!? I mean, WOW! Immediately, I looked at Laura and said, "Thank you! I REALLY needed that!" And I did! I don't consider myself a negative person, in fact, I consider myself an optimist. And I don't usually complain, especially about my job. After all, I do love me job. (I should after all the years I spent in school to get there! A Bachelor's in Psychology, a Master's in Educational Psychology, and an Educational Specialist in School Psychology.) I only work 200 days a year, I get a nice break over the holidays, and the best part, I get summers off. What better schedule could you ask for? Not to mention that I find my job very rewarding, personally. I am also a person that handles stress very well. I actually work better under pressure. I do well with timelines. In graduate school, I used to stay up all night writing papers and would have a much better product than if I had been working on the paper for two weeks. So, this was just one of those over-the-top moments and I was about to slip under the cloud of negativity that was forming in the women's bathroom. Philippians 4:8 tells us to dwell on those things that are praiseworthy. I am very thankful for the job I have, and all that God has provided me with: a loving husband, supportive family and friends, a home, my health...... I needed that reminder to be thankful for what He has given me and to give him praise for what I have and use it to His glory.
Thanks, Laura!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year 2009

Happy New Year (a couple days late!)!!! They say the way you celebrate bringing in the new year is a sign of the way the rest of the year will be. Well, if thats true, I welcome 2009! I celebrated the new year with friends that I feel truly blessed to have in my life. We had a great time, lots of laughs, great games, and a little Rock Band to top it all off. Seeing as how the girls were victorious, I can't help but assume that the women are going to rule in 2009, sorry guys!!! :)

To top it all off, as the ball dropped, I kissed the hottest guy in the world! Thats enough reason alone for me to look forward to the upcoming year!

So, in closing, I'll give ya a couple of my resolutions so you all can keep me accountable:

1. I resolve to put God first in all I do, in hope that others will see Christ in me.
2. I resolve to get up on time more often! (Lord, please help me with this one!)
3. I resolve to leave 10 minutes before I HAVE to leave to be somewhere so I'm not so rushed. (Need help with this one too!)
4. I resolve to TRY to not stress over having a clean house!
5. I resolve to stick to my "read the bible in a year" bible study.
6. I resolve to cook dinner for my husband at least twice a week (he usually cooks almost every night!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A hubby, dogs, & family :)

Okay, I guess I should post a little "info" about me as one of my first posts... So, here goes! (Deep breath!)

As you all know, I am blessed with an AWESOME husband, Wes, who I adore and whom without I would not be able to breath! I love you, unconditionally and more than you can fathom!!! ;) The most frequent question we get asked (or attacked by) is "When are you all going to have a baby?!" That, we feel, is up to God, not us, though we do have a "plan." Those of you that know me really well probably do not find that a bit surprising at all. I plan, or at least try to, EVERYTHING! Of course, things don't always happen according to my plan, and thats even better, because I'm confident they happen according to God's plan. So, as for our "plan," it's really up to God, and we'll just leave it at that! ;)

However, we do have two adorable girls, Baby & Lacy, who we love and, for now, are our babies! I'm sure I'll post more about them later b/c I have so many funny stories! They are just amusing, and I laugh out loud almost daily at (with) them.

I LOVE my family. I cannot emphasize that enough. I mean I LOVE MY FAMILY! If you want to really ruffle my feathers, mess with my fam and I assure you the "red head" in me will surface! I would do absolutely anything for them, including jump in front of a moving car to save any one of them, without hesitation. I pray for them a zillion times a day. Not that they need that much prayin, but don't we all need as many prayers as we can get?! I worry about them too, even just over the smallest things. (For my own benefit -- "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7).

Well, I think thats enough for tonight! MUAH!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Why Blog?

10. Everyone's doing it. (No, mom, I wouldn't jump off a bridge just b/c everyone was doing it, this is a little bit different!)
9. I'm opinionated and blogs don't talk back (though comments are welcome!)
8. The opportunity to be creative, or so I've been told...
7. The opportunity to say what's on your mind.
6. I spy on the lives of others, why not give them an opportunity to do the same? (And I love ya'll! :)
5. It's better than cleaning, which I would probably otherwise be doing now.
4.Do you know how much you can say in a blog that you might otherwise not say?
3. To get feedback from ya'll! :)
2. To share your life-happenings with those that care to know and to keep in touch with family and friends. (Hi Grandma!)
1. No, I'm not pregnant! :)