Kyle's Summer

A few people have asked about what Kyle has been up to this summer, and since I cannot convince him to start blogging again, I thought I would share a bit about it.

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He has been working for the Simmons firm,  primarily in the intellectual property department, and LOVING it.  Springfield friends will be familiar with the Simmons name from their cancer institute in Springfield. I think he has found his dream job, and I am so proud!

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I cannot express enough just how happy he is with his job this summer.  He continues to put in a lot of long hours and work very hard.  He is getting so many great learning experiences, and getting to see what a day in the life of an attorney is like.  His hard work has not gone unnoticed, and he feels like he is appreciated there.  I know he finds the work challenging and fulfilling.

I'm not sure that I have ever seen him so happy or enthusiastic.  His job has been, without a doubt, the best thing about this summer.  I am so, so grateful that he is finally getting to do something he loves!


July twenty-ninth.

There are two significant events that have occurred on July 29th for Kyle and I.  They might sound silly, but they were very important to us at the time.  The date will never roll around with me thinking about them.

July 29, 2006.  Kyle picked me up in Gatlinburg, TN after I had been gone for two months working as a missionary in the Smokies.  That was a long, hard, blessed summer.  Reading this old post  reminds me of just how challenging it was, made more challenging by my excitement about getting married at the end of it!

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries 2006

Finally, July 29th came.  My man was on the doorstep of that mountain cabin and he was taking me home!  Two weeks after he picked me up, we were married in Springfield, IL.

Fast forward to July 29, 2010.  After being married and living in southern Illinois for four years, Kyle finished his very last day working for the Southern Illinois Miners.  In May of 2010, we moved all our belongings to Saint Louis, MO, where I was beginning graduate school.  Kyle stayed with his parents IL for two months to keep working until he started law school in August.  Again, we had been living apart all summer, and on July 29th we were together again!  That was another hard summer, and one I would very much like to never repeat.

This July 29th is not nearly as eventful.  I just finished my last summer of classes (291 days till graduation!), and Kyle is working until 5 (working, by the way, for a firm he loves).  All in all it has been a pretty great, normal day.  Sometimes the ordinary is extraordinary.



    It's 8:54pm on the night before a final exam, and I have just two things on my mind.
    1. Pinterest. My obsession never ends.
    2. This guy. Oh. My. Word. As someone recently told me, "Man candy!" So gorgeous.


    No backsplash? No problem.

    When we first moved in to this little flat, I thought maybe I would paint something under the cabinets in the kitchen, which is just white wall space.  Then I realized how long that would take, that I didn't have the energy, and that I would rather invest my time into something we can take when we leave this place.

    I got an idea a while back to give our kitchen a little facelift using some thrifted plates as a faux backsplash.  Since then, I have been scouring for pretty plates of all shapes and sizes, some thrifted, some store-bought.  I finally accumulated enough this weekend to complete this project.

    Weekend project No. 3: We gave the kitchen a backsplash.

    So here is our newly refreshed kitchen "backsplash."  Sorry for the photo quality.  I was just too lazy to get out my big girl camera.  Too lazy to even move the dirty glasses from the kitchen counter, apparently.

    Weekend project No. 3. Our kitchen has no backsplash.

    It has definitely been a DIY kind of weekend.  So much homemaking, so little time. Boy, do I love being home and being pseudo-crafty.


    Lettuce Eat Veg: Broccoli

    Welcome to my new mini-series!  Yes, I made the title a pun.  Since we all now know how I don't eat vegetables, I thought this might be a fun (or horrible) experiment.  Each week I will attempt to try a new vegetable and tell you about it.

    Broccoli has been a long-time nemesis of mine.  I hate the smell and despise the texture.  Recently, however, I found that it is possible to smother it in enough of something I do like in order to choke it down.  Even more recently (as in two days ago) I also discovered that I like hummus.  The very idea of it weirds me out, but I actually bought some Atheno's hummus at the store today, along with some fresh broccoli.


    Then I realized something about myself: I have no idea what to do with fresh broccoli, or any fresh vegetable, other than carrots.  Even my carrot prep skills are limited to one of three things: eat them raw, put them in the crockpot with a roast, or feed them to the dog.

    I remembered someone saying that cooking vegetables depletes the nutrients, and since I HATE the smell of broccoli anyway, I just thought I'd eat it raw and smother it in hummus.  It worked! I managed to choke down about 3/4 of it, and I ate all my carrots.


    For dessert, I sliced up fresh peaches and sprinkled just a smidge of sugar and cinnamon on top.  It was refreshing and delicious.

    All-in-all, my first attempt at broccoli was a success.  Maybe next time I'll try something more than just washing it and cutting it up.


    Their Big Adventure: Las Vegas

    Dad and Diane are now in Las Vegas! I've never been there, but I hear that it is a spectacular sight to see, even if you don't like to gamble.

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    When Diane sent me this picture, I thought it was a giant aquarium! The more I look at it, the more I think it looks like a scene from Wall-E.

    They are having a wonderful time, and I know they appreciate all the prayers and well-wishes.  I do, too.  Thanks for all the love.


    Their Big Adventure: Colorado

    Dad and Diane have been travelling since Friday afternoon.  Diane sent me this pic from Glenwood, Colorado.

    Sent from Dad and Diane in Glenwood, CO

    They've been texting me throughout each day, updating me on what they are seeing.  Diane always greets me with a "Good morning, sunshine!" Dad ends every text in "Love, Dad."  They are precious.

    I am so thankful they are getting to take this trip!


    2011: The Year of the Vegetable?

    It's a pretty well-known fact that I am not a good eater.  I used to say "picky," but let's just tell the truth: If I were truly picky, I would be much more selective about what I put in my body, like lots of sweets and processed foods.  The truth is that I am just bad at eating.  I often eat too much of the wrong things, and not even a little of the right things.

    So you get the idea of the severity of this problem, here is a list of the vegetables I like:
    • Green beans (from a can only)
    • Carrots
    • Potatoes (do they really count?)
    • Sometimes lettuce, but only Romaine lettuce (no salad dressing!), and only occasionally
    That's it.  Please allow yourself a moment to feel the weight of all the many vegetables NOT on that list.  Not much in the way of plant life.

    Here's the thing: I want to like veggies.  I really, really want to.  Life would be easier if I did.  I LOVE to grow them.  I love to look at them and take pictures of them.  I like watching other people eat them.  Well, that is, except for mushrooms. I don't even like to think about mushrooms. *Shiver*


    So, what I want to know is, have you ever forced yourself to like a food?  Is it even possible?  My blog friend Jenna thinks it is.  I would march on over to the market and buy me a bushel and a peck of vegetables if I thought I could like them, but I'm skeptical.  I periodically try different veggies prepared in different ways just to see if maybe I like them now.  I don't.  Do you think I can be converted?

    Do you have any KILLER vegetable recipes that will magically change the way I feel about a particular vegetable?  If you convince me, I will try it.  I'll even blog about trying it!  Should I just shut up about liking them and eat them anyway because they are good for me?  That's probably right.

    Please help me.  I crave the nutrients.  Also, it's super cool and trendy to eat things you grow.  I like being super cool.


    The adventures of Watson, the farm dog.

    Our sweet pup spends most of his days in our small flat with no real yard.  He gets long walks around the neighborhood, but he is always tethered to his mommy or daddy.  Whenever we go visit my mom or grandparents, Watson gets to run however he likes around their yards, and we love to watch him romp and play.


    On the farm, however, his romping goes to a whole other level.  There aren't fences there, and my dad's "yard" is about 2 acres, which opens right up to the rest of the land they live on, about 35 acres.  The first time we took him there, we were a little nervous that he just might bolt out into the cornfields and we'd never see him again.


    To our great surprise, he mostly stays right by our sides.  If he runs ahead, he'll often stop and wait for us, giving us a look like, "Are you people coming or what?" Sometimes he'll circle around us like he's herding us.  We really get to see how good of a dog he can be.


    I've never seen him more happy or excited than when he's on the farm.  He's kind of like his mommy in that way.  I mean, look at that view, isn't it lovely?


    He's always tracking something. Nose to the ground.


    Trapesing through muddy ditches.


    Getting clean from said mud and about a hundred burrs he got stuck in his fur from the fields.


    He never stops moving or wanting to play.


    He steps a little lighter.


    Jumps a little higher.


    Pants a little harder.


    Snuggles a little sweeter.


    Crashes a lot harder.  Please note the open door.  He went in on his own.


    Watson loves being a farm dog.


    The dreaded C-word.

    Cancer.  There can't possibly be many words on Earth more frightening.  Three weeks ago my stepmom, Diane, went to the hospital with pneumonia.  While there, the docs took a sample of the fluid in her chest and found it to be malignant.  A hundred tests and one week later, it was confirmed that she has stage four lung cancer.  And she's forgoing treatment.

    I think a ton of bricks fell on my chest.  It doesn't seem real.  When I talk to Diane, she sounds so good.  Healthy.  Strong.  But it's in there, tearing apart her body.  Tearing apart my Daddy's heart with it.  Diane seems to be at peace.  She trusts in Jesus.  She is ready to meet her maker.

    The rest of us, especially my dad, are another story.  He can't sleep, can't eat.  I can see it in his eyes.  They've gone a little dimmer.  His face is thin and tired.  I am praying so hard that God would intervene and fill him up with peace.  That my dad might be able to say, through the deepest possible pain, that he knows it will be okay.  That he knows that God will equip him in every way.  Diane does.  I do.


    I love Diane so much.  She has been part of my life almost as long as I can remember.  Even before she and my dad were together, she was a friend of my parents.  To this day, she and my mom still love each other and get along wonderfully.  Growing up, she sat through almost all of my ballgames, plays, and performances.  She's been there for it all.  Mostly, though, I love her for how she loves my daddy.

    As a little girl who was brokenhearted over her parents' divorce, I wanted my dad to be happy again and share his life with someone great.  She is what I prayed for, more than what I could have even thought to ask for him.  She loves and takes care of my dad in a way that I can't fully explain.  She makes him laugh, makes him strong.  She is his best friend.  I am so thankful for the life she breathed into our broken little family.


    Right now, it's hard to think about how our lives are going to change.  We're grateful for this time.  Grateful for the life she still has yet to live.  Grateful for the memories yet to be made.  For vacations.  For skydiving.  For for fireflies and fireworks.  For frisbee.  For laughing.  For the love we all still share.


    Our hearts are heavy, but that's because they are so full of love, and that kind of love isn't easy to come by, so we're hanging on tight.