Thursday, December 17, 2009

The One Where I'm Done!!

As of 11:26 my semester is finished.

hip hip hooray!

The One Where I Show You How Gosh Darn Cute I Used To Be



Saturday, December 12, 2009

The One Where I Have Copious Amounts Of Homework

My list for today this week:

-1 Travel Article (I am doing it on the Dalton Threshing Bee) (writing this article really makes me want to go home for this again! It's been too long!)
-1 Interview (I did it with Tom Lutey from The Billings Gazette and now I just have to write it up and submit it) (he was really nice and was willing to talk to me for almost an hour. very interesting stuff to say!)
-1 Article on something major (I haven't picked a topic yet) (I am doing it on teaching at country school and have already asked 3 country school teachers I know to answer some questions for me) (i am really happy with how this turned out! hopefully my prof likes it just as much)
-1 Powerpoint Presentation on something of my choosing (must include animation and I think music). I am doing it on Luke and I for the wedding *cue awwwssss now* (oh and as of right now, wednesday at noon, the office scanner isn't working. so i guess our powerpoint will have baby pictures of luke and pictures of me from the last 3 months.) (this took forever! i literally worked on it for hours. and hours. and hours. and made my mom and his mom work on it for hours too, scanning. and there are lots of slides. i have a feeling i will be continually tweaking it between now and the wedding! however, it is good enough to submit. even though there isn't a table like there is supposed to be.)
-1 Test in Office 2007 (After 13 attempts I finally got 100%! Did you know that if you want to view a PowerPoint on another computer the best resource to use is the Pack & Go Wizard? Yeah, me neither. Oh and yes, I am a perfectionist. I will not accept a 45/50 on a quiz with unlimited attempts.)
-1 Massively, Giant Take Home Test for my Intro to Mass Com Class (my mid-term took SEVENTEEN pages to finish ....) (this puppy came in at 19 pages. oh yes, even though it was supposedly shorter than my mid-term, it still took more pages. some days i wish i wasn't so achievement oriented!)

I better get to it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Go visit Chelsea at Root & Rings for more 10 on Tuesday!!


1. Cost aside, if you could go (back) to college for anything besides what you currently “do,” what would you study?
            History or Graphic Design. History fascinates me, but there is not a lot you can do with that degree! And I am not creative enough to create, but I would love to know how!
2. What do you do for a living? Do you love it/hate it?
           I am a missionary. I mission (yup! thats a real word! at least in rachelease) through being a secretary at a Christian camp. I know that I am where God wants me, so therefore, how could I not love it? To be totally honest, I  do not jump for joy everyday at work, but it is more the overall peace.
3. What is your favorite Christmas ornament? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
          I love going home and looking at all the ornaments from when I was a kid. Not the ones that I made, but the ones my teachers made for me. Cause they're so fun! A little snowman and a mitten and other fun, Christmasy things.

4. Name something you could literally do without for the rest of your life.
         Liver

5. If you were going to have any kind of “cosmetic procedure,” what would it be?
         Laser Hair Removal 

6. Do you have any “collections”? (comic books, shoes, etc.)
         Not officially. I would like to start a moose collection but no one has chipped in on that yet.

7. At what age did you get your first cell phone?
          I was 16. I didn't have a cell phone and stopped off at a 4-H League softball game and ended up staying a couple of hours later than I was supposed to. After that, my mom got me a cell phone and grounded me.

8. What is currently in your purse (or pocket or backpack if you’re a guy)?
         I think its just my checkbook and pocketbook. After this weekend I switched purses, and I think those were the only things that made the cut! Normally I have *ahem* feminine products, chapstick, gum, random receipts, my camera and other junk I shove in there (like my fiance's tie for the wedding so we could do some shirt shopping and ribbon to match the tie and shirt to).
9. Are you a neat-freak or a slob ? *this applies to house, office, car, etc.
         I can't stand clutter. When I get stressed, I throw things around. So, at random times, I'm a total slob (like this past week). But in order to function, I need neatness.

10. What kind of parent do you think you will be? If you’re already a parent, what is your style?
         Strict. I can hear my voice in my head already. Ugh. At least I have some time to really think through that and develop what I really want to be. (no, I'm not pregnant! I'm not married yet am I??)

Monday, December 7, 2009

The One Where I Ask For Another Household Tip

Ok guys, I need your help with another household tip!

(by the way, the brilliant suggestion of vacuuming hair is so helpful!! definitely kudos to Lisa for that one!!)

So, the question for today is:

How do I store my brown sugar so it does not become hard and impossible to use? Not only with the bag I am currently working on, but also bags I might buy ahead of time, if its on sale. Does brown sugar freeze? Are there certain containers that keep it better? What do I do???

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The One Where I Share Some Exciting News (pt 3)

Let's see, where was I?

Oh yes, I remember.

There was the part where I talked about what led up to us dating and then there was the tidbit of a warrant for Luke's arrest.

A warrant.

For his arrest.

Wow. So, obviously, things had gotten a little out of control. Of course Luke knew he needed to take care of things, so on Monday he made some phone calls and figured out the best thing for him to do was to turn himself in to the closest sheriff's office in SoDak, which is Deadwood. We do live in the county closest to SoDak, but it still takes over 2 hours to get there.

That day I happened to take a late lunch because our Director needed to use my computer to take a test for her online class and so I didn't leave until 1:00. I had to stop by another staff member's house and drop off some stuff and pick up some other stuff and didn't get out of there until close to 2:00. I had noticed on my way up to their trailer that Luke was still at home, but I didn't think much of that because I figured he was taking a late lunch too. On  my way down the hill I saw that he was still there, so I thought I would be a nice girlfriend and stop by and say hi.

He was on the phone when I stopped and as I got out of my car, he ran over to where I was. He got put on hold, so while he was waiting he told me that he had been trying to get a hold of me because he wanted to know if I would accompany him to SoDak while he got arrested.

Being the loving girlfriend that I am, I of course said yes.

We got the details figured out (he didn't want to leave just then, he wanted to leave after work at 5:00 and instead of meeting me in town, he decided he would rather leave from camp and we were going to eat after he was done being arrested) and parted ways. I ran home quickly, threw some trail mix (I was going to get hungry!) and my homework in a bag, gassed up the car and went back to work.

That afternoon I ended up talking to Pat (our Director) for a couple of hours for what we lovingly call "Pat chats".

They are good for the soul!

We were able to talk about a lot of things about marriage and some of the things I was scared of. It seemed to me that a lot of people make it their job to warn me of the "reality" about about marriage and no one was concentrating on the good things. While I totally understand the fact that marriage is hard and marriage is real and marriage is a life long commitment, where are the people who are remembering the romance that marriage is? Where is the joy, the commitment, the fun, the companionship? I am not so naive that I don't realize the hard exists, but I would like to know the fun exists too so I don't run screaming the other way!

Ahem. Rant over.

Anyways, after talking with Pat for awhile and working through some issues, Luke came to pick me up at camp. He had showered and shaved and was wearing a really nice shirt, nice jeans and dress shoes (I had noticed earlier when I saw him that he was wearing something different from the morning meeting, but figured he had just changed because he needed to take care of the legal stuff but this was even nicer!). We joked about how he had dressed up for his mug shot and we took off on our merry way.

On the way down to SoDak, we talked about what I had talked to Pat about and about different things about marriage. We also started to joke about him getting arrested, a theme that carried over into the whole start of the process of him getting arrested.

After driving around Deadwood for awhile and cruising the casino strip (Deadwood is a gambling town) and stopping at a gas station for directions, we finally made it to the sheriff's office. We walked up, laughing and joking around and a deputy asked us if we needed help.

I do believe the officer was taken a bit aback by Luke telling him that there was a warrant out for his arrest, but he took it pretty well. He just told Luke not to resist and to follow him. He took us inside and passed us off to another deputy, who also told Luke not to resist.

After that they separated us and stuck me in this creepy hallways. At least I had magazines to read!

Partway through my wait, I received a text message from Luke. Apparently they threw him in the communication booth for awhile and so he sent me a picture of the phone we would get to use if he was in there long term. After he was returned to me, he told me the rest of the story:


Apparently, the Deadwood Sheriff's Office takes their work seriously, because they did the whole shebang with Luke. They threw him in a cell for awhile while they got his paperwork figured out, fingerprinted and mug shot him (which he smiled cheesily for*).

*Disclaimer: we realize that what he did was illegal (he shot a turkey without owning a tag for it. however, he did not technically poach it because there was a tag to be put on it, it just was in his friend's name instead of his, which is a common practice - but that doesn't make it right!). He would gladly pay a fine, but when he talked to the game warden in Aug we were under the impression that everything was taken care of. We just feel that they are going above and beyond for the situation by taking him and his friends to court.

After they were all finished with him and released him on his own recognizance, we headed out to find something to eat. On the way down, Luke had told me that he wanted to go somewhere nice for supper. I was totally game for that! However, even though Deadwood is a casino town and the strip is all brightly lit and the machines were going, we had a really hard time finding somewhere to eat. After driving around and around and striking out a couple of places we settled on Mustang Sallys, a sports bar and grill. It was after 9:00 and we were starved! So, we didn't get the nice meal Luke was hoping for, but it was food.

We finally started back home around 10 or 10:30. I normally sleep when we drive that late, but for some reason Luke didn't want me to sleep that much. He kept telling me that we were going to have a dance party when we got back. Now, if you know my honey at all, dance and party are not two words I am used to coming out of his mouth, so I started to get even more suspicious.

(oh, I was already suspicious. he had been acting squirrelly all day.)

We pulled up to my house around 12:30 and right away Luke noticed that my outer door (the storm door) was propped open (the overhang over my front step is low enough that it will get stuck open if pushed far enough). He turned to me with big eyes and asked if I had left it like that. Of course I hadn't and so he told me that I should stay in the car so he could go and check for boogey men.

*cue the bells & whistles in my head!*

I lovingly indulged him and slooooooowly gathered up my stuff while he went in to check to make sure there were no bad men waiting inside. He came back out after a couple of minutes and got me from the car. On our way up the sidewalk, he gave me a hug and told me that he loved me.

*cue louder bells & whistles!*

Even though I had been suspicious, nothing prepared me for what I would walk in on.

Well, see* for yourself:

*these were taken with my flash on, so the ambiance isn't there, so you'll just have to imagine!


                                         
 two of the bouquets (12 red roses and 6 pink roses) and some of the candles he got me


 the balloons he wrote the reasons he loves me on

Not only had he gotten me flowers and balloons, he had also strung up Christmas lights across my ceiling.

When did he do this you ask? Well, as soon as our meeting was done that morning, he had gone into our Camp Director's office and asked for the day off (I saw him in there, but didn't think too much of it. I just thought he was talking about his legal problems). After that, he went to the closest biggish town (there is a town of 1000 about 36 miles away) and got the flowers and balloons and candles, which explains the reason he had run to meet me when I stopped by at lunch - all of this stuff was in his Explorer and he didn't want me to see!

Then, he came over to my house that afternoon and set up the flowers in the perfect spot (he also got me a bouquet of yellow flowers), put the candles out and strung up the Christmas lights (because he knew I loved Christmas lights), which explains why he wanted to leave from camp and not from my house!

Not only that, but he had worked together with his roommate to put together a CD of love songs. So, as soon as I walked in and my mouth dropped, he hit play and asked me to dance.

Now, as I said before, my honey is not much for dancing. But, he had always told me that he would make an exception for me!

The first song was from Enchanted (and the reason for the yellow bouquet) : How Does She Know? I really love that movie and particularly that song from the movie, and he indulges me (he doesn't mind it too much either) In fact, this fall I came home one day to find yellow flowers he had picked on my coffee table (yes, I am marrying a true romantic!).

When that song was over, he reached over to the stereo to turn it up because he wanted to sing it to me.

I pretty much swooned right there!

The song was by Monk & Neagle and called Wonderful Angel.

(if you scroll down, its the second to last song - you can listen to it for free by telling them you just want to try it out without having to sign up for anything)

Go. I'll wait.

I had never heard of the band or the song, but strangely enough its now my favorite!

As he sang these words to me, my heart just melted. By the end I was definitely crying! The look in his eyes told me that he believed every word that he said. I am blessed to be loved by a wonderful man.

The song finished and as it transitioned to the next one, he dropped down on one knee, pulled the ring out of his pocket and asked me to marry him.


I said yes :-)


See?
 

 I rather like him!

We had a wonderful time dancing, talking and cuddling the night away. It got to be a bit late ...errr ... early but so worth the sleep deprivation we felt the next day!

*Well, that's the beginning of our little story. I hope you enjoyed it!

Its been 6 months 25 years in the making, but I had no idea it would take me this long to tell it!

(and I summarized a bunch too)

Wow.

Well, suffice it to say, I am one happy, lucky and blessed girl! God has been so good to me by bringing me this man. Not perfect, but perfect for me. He meets my needs with such willingness that I never could have imagined. He seeks after God and I know no matter the ups and downs we're going to be a team working together for God. That is what matters!

I will leave you with some of our engagement pictures. Enjoy!




Friday, December 4, 2009

The One Where I Share Some Exciting News (pt 2)

I left off yesterday with Luke and I starting to date. Needless to say, there is more to the story!

I went home with him and met his parents within 12 hours of us starting to date. It was a little nerve wracking, to say the least. However, things went really well and they gave us their blessing. What a great introduction to what would become my future family!

After family, I went to meet a lot of his closest friends at a wedding. Talk about a high pressure introduction to dating life! However, that also went well. I was able to spend some time talking with his friends and getting to know another side of Luke that I hadn't seen before. After all, these were the people who he had spent copious amounts of time with him for the past 3 years and to see how much they enjoyed him and wanted to see him. It was just another confirmation of the character I knew I saw in him.

taken at his friend's wedding, in front of some stranger's house. first picture as a 'couple'!

We went back to camp and had a week of camp together (which meant I got to spent about 5 minutes a day with him, but I did really enjoy the notes that got left in my mailbox!). Then I went back to MN for my best friend's wedding. That week I got emails, but it still wasn't the same! At the end of the week, I got a phone call and soon enough he came to see me and meet my parents.

That was the real test for me, as I didn't know what my dad and brother would think. After all, I am the only girl! However, our time together went really well and my family really liked him. How couldn't they?? He's pretty much amazing. After all, not only did he pass my family test, he also willingly went along with me to see a ton of my friends. What a guy!

we went to Como Zoo in the Twin Cities with my friend Michelle

After all the excitement and traveling was over (not only did he come to see me in MN, he took me to Denver for the weekend for my birthday!), we settled into a routine at camp. Basically, every morning we have our staff meeting at 9, he comes in and says hi to me at lunch and then comes over as soon as work is over and eats supper and spends the rest of the evening hanging out with me. We switch things up every once in awhile and go to Bible study, hang out with friends at Ryan night, or invite Keith over for dinner and a movie.

hanging out at my nephew's football game in CO

So, time marched on. We went to SoDak for pheasant opener and stopped to go ring shopping on our way. We had talked about the future from the beginning, and had been planning on getting engaged late fall/early winter and getting married in March.
pheasant and duck hunting 


Well, we talked about that some more and I decided I didn't want to get married in March, because to me that is a muddy, yucky month. So, since we didn't want to push it back to April, we decided we'd get married in February. Since his friend's wife is having a baby in February, we wanted to work with that, so we decided on early Feb. Then, one day my brother threw out the idea that since they were already going to be home for New Years, why didn't we just get married then?

At first we blew it off, but the more we talked about it, the fonder we became of the idea. So, even though we weren't engaged yet, we were moving forward with that date in mind. Of course, people had a bit of a problem with me planning too much of the wedding before I had a ring, so there wasn't too much I could do.

Luke and I would talk about it, but I soon had to make it clear to Luke that I couldn't move forward much more without something changing. He laughed at me, told me to be patient and to trust that it was in progress. A little while later he told me that the reason it was taking so long was because the ring was getting resized.

Then came one Monday afternoon. I was just working, doing my job, answering phones and I received a phone call for a certain Mr. Luke. Since he doesn't just hang out the office all day, I asked if I could take a message. It turned out it was the lady from Zales, letting him know that his merchandise was ready.

I hung up the phone and did a happy dance, because after all it was my merchandise!!

So, for the next couple of days I paid special attention to the FedEx deliveries, but did not see anything come through. I figured that if Luke did have it, I didn't know about it and that was just the way it was. After all, there wasn't much in our relationship/future marriage that was going to be a surprise (after all, I helped pick out the ring and we already had a tentative date!) and I wanted something to be a surprise. So, I just "patiently" waited.

The next Sunday (Nov 15) he got a call from a friend of his. There had been a situation the December before involving two turkeys and two tags, but not the people who owned the tags shooting the turkeys. Apparently in SoDak turkeys are considered Big Game, as the toms have beards, therefore making them trophy worthy. Anyways, the game warden had a talk with Luke in August and we were pretty sure the matter was taken care of. Well, this phone call made it evident that was not the case!

Apparently the DA in SoDak has nothing better to do and so they are taking this situation to the furthest they can. So, his friend called to let him know that there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Ummm ... what???

A warrant.

For his arrest.

(this, once again is getting too long and I don't want to sear your eyeballs! no worries, the rest is coming!!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The One Where I Share Some Exciting News (pt 1)

Up to this point, I have not shared a big part of my life with ya'll. I have alluded, I have hinted, but I have never come out and said anything. Well, that is about to change!

Because ....

I'M ENGAGED!!

Oh yes, yes I am.

And I'm getting married Jan 2!!

That's one month from today for those of you wondering. 31 days to be exact!

So, since I am excited ecstatic and would love to share this part of my life with you, here is our story:

I met Luke at camp. The first time we met was when he came to TER for our Labor Day Family Camp in 07 with a friend of his, who was a friend of mine. We actually did not communicate much at this point, mostly because I knew that he was the ex-boyfriend of a good friend of mine and that made him off-limits. However, I did think he was pretty cute! He thought I was pretty, but also a little strange.

Such is the story of my life.

Fast forward to spring of 09. One day I retrieved a voice message off of the camp phone that was from a certain young man who was looking for a job for the summer and he was wondering if it was too late to apply to be a counselor. Of course I immediately flashed back to my mental picture of this rather good looking man and admittedly got a little excited. Normally I give messages like that to our Director who is in charge of hiring, but I made sure to be the one to call him back!

After calling him and sending him a couple of emails and watching the mail for his application and making sure his contract was in the mail, I decided that this could not be the man for me. After all, he was still the ex-boyfriend of one of my friends and it just seemed like a situation that would not work.

However, when the day came for him to come for staff training, I must admit to dressing up a little bit nicer than I might have otherwise and really wanting him to notice me. During meals I would manuever to sit by him and made sure to sit in testimonies until he gave his (which he took his sweet time about I might add!). I struggled with not wanting to like him and thinking him off limits, but enjoying times spent talking with him and looking at him ;-)

As time went on, I became more and more impressed with him. His mature faith, his quiet spirit, his ability to converse, his beautiful GORGEOUS blue eyes and his sense of humor became more and more attractive to me. Soon I could not deny that I had fallen and fallen hard. So, after fretting about it for awhile, I finally talked to my friend (she was not at camp this summer but we talked via Facebook quite a bit) and told her what I was dealing with. She was really great and told me to go for it!

I wish I could say it was that easy and happily ever after from that day forward, but life doesn't quite work that way!

I spent the summer wondering if he did or he didn't like me and whether or not I was crazy. We spent every weekend but one hanging out, sometimes one on one, most of the time in a group. He seemed to enjoy my company, but there were days where he would not give me the attention I thought I deserved. There were definitely some tears shed and some sleepless nights spent, but it all came together in the end.

(acting in a skit about using Satan-B-Gone on dates, so we wouldn't be tempted. it was funny, trust me.
 this is pre-dating, but definitely flirting stage)

He was heading home to SoDak for the weekend for a wedding and I kind of REALLY wanted to go with him. He had hinted at me possibly going with but I wasn't sure if he was serious or not. After loosing sleep for a couple of nights, I finally went and talked to our Director, who is amazingly wise. She told me that if it was to that point, I needed to do something about it. So, I wrote him a note, encouraging him with some things that were happening that week, and then oh so casually throwing in at the end that I would be willing to be his road trip buddy if he was interested.

At that point he needed to spend some time talking with our ever wise Director to figure some things out, namely whether or not we would work for the long term. I had sat in chapel watching him run to catch her before she left and just knew that he was talking about to her about us. After we were dismissed, I nonchalantly walked by, straining to hear the smallest morsel of good news. I knew I couldn't linger, because it would be really obvious, so I made my way up to the Snak Shak. During their long everlasting conversation, she gave him the encouragement he needed and so when I was finally able to track him down, he was ready to talk.

I had hoped that he would find me when he was done, but because of how long they talked, he was late for the night game. I was sitting on the porch, chit chatting with a lady from town when he came walking up to get his assignment, but he just smiled at me and walked off. My frustration and anticipation levels went a little high at that moment!

So, I did the only thing I knew to do. I went walking around and around camp and tracked him down. It's a bit hard when it's pitch black out but never underestimate the determination of a girl in like!

We sat on the hillside while the campers played Mission Impossible. The spot we were in was pretty quiet, so we only caught a couple of campers the whole time, which worked well for us! It was during this time that he told me that he had actually liked me all summer and had found himself to be quite distracted by me.

I didn't mind.

We continued to talk and talk and talk some more. There was a lot we had to figure out! Namely, if I did go home with him that weekend, what did that mean? Were we ready for that type of commitment?

So, while I sat there and stared up at the stars, he asked me what he called "a hard question"

To me, the answer to "would you marry me?" seemed to be the easiest and most natural in the world. As butterflies threw a party in my stomach and my palms moistened with sweat, a soft "yes" tumbled off of my lips.

No, we weren't engaged, but we definitely knew that was what we both wanted out of this relationship.

So, the next day we packed up his Explorer and headed down the road to his parent's house. It was during that trip that he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. It was a new term to apply to myself, but I was rather fond of how it rolled off my tongue!

That weekend I met his family, his friends and learned more about this man I had spent so much time admiring from my window. There were times of panic, of absolute freaking out because of the magnitude of what we were doing, but there was also a peace that went with it. It wasn't Luke I was freaking out about, it was the giving up of my freedom. The more we talked, the more I knew that we were pursuing the right path. Our life goals were lining up, things were meshing and it just made sense.

(I meant to write the whole engagement story tonight ... but this is way long and I have things to do! So, come back tomorrow for the rest!)


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Every week Chelsea at Roots & Rings hosts a 10 on Tuesday. I think its great cause it gives me an idea of what to blog about! So here is my first attempt at joining in:

1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
            I first wanted to be a horse trainer, like my mother. Then I switched over to being a veterinarian in Kentucky for racehorses. After I gave up my fixation on horses, I switched over to wanting to be a marine biologist focusing on orca whales. Eventually I gave up on my animal fixation all together and switched to wanting to fix humans.

2. Name 3 of your irrational fears.
            1. a snake ending up in my sewer pipes and coming up through my toilet
            2. closing my bathroom mirror and being able to see an intruder standing behind me, ready to attack
            3. i have been thinking and thinking and can't come up with another one that i can verbalize

3. If you had a $200 gift card to any store, what would you want it to be? (Nothing responsible allowed. Can’t be used for groceries or anything)
            Williams/Sonoma or any other kitchen store

4. What is your most (blog-friendly) embarrassing moment?
            So many to choose from, but I think I will go with one from high school: I was a junior attending a private Christian high school and we had a somewhat big name coming into town to do our Homecoming concert. They asked for volunteers to help with the concert and I went up front to volunteer. All the students were just sitting on the floor of the gym, with their backpacks and whatnot strewn about and I tripped on someone's backpack strap. I did a faceplant in front of the whole school. So, I got up, took a bow and went up front where I got mocked.

5. If you were only allowed to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
            I think Chelsea answered well with pizza, because there are so many variations! Otherwise, steak.

6. What was your favorite toy growing up?
            I had one of the long-haired Barbies, which was fun. But, I would have to say that my little fairy thing that flew was my favorites. I wanted one so so so bad and my best friend got it for me for my birthday. So excited!

7. Do you have a “go to” outfit? What is it?
           Jeans, long-sleeved t-shirt and a scarf. Depending on where I'm going, I might add a vest.

8. Who was the best teacher you ever had?
           Elementary school: Mr Nelson (no relation!). He was my only male teacher in elementary and he was the best. He read the coolest books to us and had the funnest projects.
           Jr. High : Mrs. Dokter. She was kooky and fun
           High School : Mr. Risbrudt. He taught science and did an amazing job. He was hard and required a lot out of us, but did it in such a way that we were willing to put in the effort. Also, Mr. Undseth, because he danced along with Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof, even though he was tall and skinny and looked nothing like a Russian peasant.

9. If you could buy any car right now (something at least SORT OF within the realm of reality…so, you know, a Rolls Royce may not qualify), what would it be?
           Rav4. I drove my roommates last year a couple of times and loved it!! So fun. Especially if it had 4-wheel drive.

10. How do you reckon that Chelsea comes up with 10 of these questions every week? It was hard! What’s your theory on how she’s so creative? Are you going to help her?
          Excellent question. I will not conjecture how she comes up with such things and just rejoice in the fact that she (along with others help) does it, so I don't have to think about it :-)

Go check out everyone else's! Join in! It's fun. Promise :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

i am fond of a clean house. there is nothing better than sleeping in clean sheets, looking in a dust free mirror and showering in a clean shower.

however, i NEED a clutter free house. so, while my house is mostly clutter free, it is not always clean. but, i want to get better about that! ideally i would like to spend the two hours it would take each week to clean my house, maybe on a saturday morning.

anyways, i have one question for all of you wise readeres out there :

HOW IN THE WORLD DO I GET RID OF ALL THE HAIR THAT KEEPS FLOATING AROUND MY BATHROOM??

i have hair that follows my rag all around my shower, my sink, my floors, my toilet. and i have NO idea how to get rid of it, so that my bathroom is truly clean. ideas? please???

Friday, November 13, 2009

knowing

there is an interesting discussion going on at hootenannie (a blog that I follow with great frequency because she's amazing!) and I am interested in your guys' thoughts because it is one of this cliches that always pops up. and as someone who was single for 24 years, it came up a lot.

did you know?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ministry

This weekend I came to a realization and I need to rant about it for awhile. Are you ready to hear it?

Ministry is not all about showing everyone around you how hard you work. Ministry is not about doing the dishes, cleaning the dining hall, running activities or cleaning the bathrooms.

Ministry is pouring into people.

That's what ministry is about. That's why I am a missionary.

Of course, washing dishes and cleaning cabins and answering phones are all important parts of making sure ministry can happen. It is no excuse to slack off, but I think we need to adjust our attitudes about that. There is NOTHING wrong with taking some extra time to talk with people and letting the dishes sit there for 1/2 hour. There is NOTHING wrong with letting the floor be a little bit dirty if it means the difference between a person's needs being met or not.

The reason I was thinking about this is because this weekend was the Ladies' Retreat, which means us staff ladies are not put on the schedule for dishes, for the kitchen or to really run activities (except for horses, just because its only ladies on staff that know how to do that job :-) ).

I went into the weekend with a terrible attitude. I am a bit of an agoraphobic and I don't really like being forced into group activities. I wanted to be where I am comfortable - in the kitchen or something else behind the scene. Or at least, able to choose the level that I interacted. I was whining to my boss and just being a pill and he told me to get out there and do ministry!

I did and I'm glad. I was blessed by my interactions this weekend and really did have a good time. But, at the same I was blown away by my perspective change. I was so busy being a Martha and proving my worth to be in the ministry by my works that I was missing my chance to be Mary and sit at Jesus' feet, listening.

There are a couple of reasons for this, one being what my job is. I am the secretary. I answer phones, print things, deal with the bookkeeping, etc, etc. Yes, I know my job is essential to the ministry. Yes, I know what I do frees others up to do ministry. But, at least let me be honest. This is a job that could be done at any corporation. There are times I have a hard time remembering what I do is for eternity's sake, because it feels very much like its for temporal sake.

So, then, because I am in full time ministry and my full time ministry position is working a "regular" job, then doesn't it make sense that work has become my version of ministry?

This weekend, as I sat at Jesus' feet and met Him through His people and His Word, I was reminded of how much of ministry is people. Without people, there is NO point to ministry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

i wanna be like Mary

lately i have been reading a lot of random blogs (ok, ok, not just lately. unless lately counts as the past 2 1/2 years) and it has been interesting to me where God keeps taking me.

links about marriage. links about personal faith journeys. links about struggles. links about illness. links about God's miraculous ways. links about life.

links that bring me to a point of awe of God. links that bring tears to my eyes. links that make my heart swell. links that make me smile. links that make me think.

so, i do what Mary did. i treasure them in my heart. what will God do with them? i have no idea. but, i know He has a plan. and i know that no thing in life is an accident.

oh the weather outside is frightful ...

its that time of year again. winter. the time when the wind gets a bite to it, the world gets a softer edge and the toes go cold.

you know how i could tell?

by looking out my window and watching everyone taking little itty bitty mincing steps.

its wintertime people - you gotta be careful how you walk or you'll end up on your tuckus!

Monday, October 5, 2009

my personal brand of comfort

(this was originally written for a discussion for my Intro to Mass Com class)

Book are like comfort food - they are what I reach for when I'm tired, when I'm sick, when I'm stressed and when I just need a dose of comfort. Whether I reach for my Bible, a political thriller, an archaeological mystery, ChickLit, Christian growth or fantasy, they all satisfy a need I have - a need to escape to another place, even if just for a little bit. A need to let this world's weight slip off my shoulder and disappear for awhile. As an introvert, I need that time with just me and my book to rejuvenate and to get ready to face the world again!

Books have been a part of my life since I was very young. Once I learned how to really read when I was 7, my book consumption took off. No longer was I dependent on my mom or a read-a-long tape to meet my fix - I could take care of it on my own! So, from the time I was in first grade, books consumed me. It was a punishment to take away my book. My mom would ask me to do something and it was always "at the end of this chapter, mom!"

While I can't say that I have quite the same dedication to books as I once did (I am finding as I get older that sleep time is a slightly bigger priority than books - but not by much!) they are still a priority in my life. I always have at least 2 or 3 books going. My Bible is a daily necessity, my fiction book is for right before bed so I can relax and my Christian growth book is to help me think about some issues that I have never thought about before.

When I walk into a bookstore I practically purr with satisfaction as I peruse the shelves, picking up this book, flipping through that book or just touching the spine of a bunch of books as I glance through their titles.

Whatever the occasion and whatever the book, give me something with a couple hundred pages and a binding and you'll have one happy Rachel!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

saturday night in Ekalaka

there were 7 of us crammed into the pick-up, all cold and dirty and smelling like fish. it was late, we were tired and we were hungry. so, as we made the 40 mile trek back to jim's to clean and fry the fish we had just spent the last 2 hours catching, we did the only thing we could:

we cranked up the Sirius Satellite Radio and sang along. ages 5-45 belting out "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions" as loud as we can.

as i was squished between two grown men, belting out Queen lyrics, looking at the dark road ahead of us, i was just overwhelmed with the urge to enjoy this. its the little moments, its the bonding together, its the enjoying life that is worth it. this is life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

saturday nights in Ekalaka

Saturday night was one of those nights.

You know the kind I mean? The one where the air is soft, the sun is hitting the ground just right and it makes you sigh and think "life is good."



As we drove down the highway and came out of the hills and saw the sweeping vista my soul took a deep breath and relaxed. For that brief 10 mile drive, the world was all as it should be. It was just what I needed to recenter and keep going. For its the little moments that get us through it all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

sharpened pencils and ruled paper

in honor of the bullet points, numbered lists and brief excerpts
that are now how i think, here is my life in a list:

1. I finally had a couple of days at home and thought that I could update my blog (FINALLY!). However, I came down with strep throat and felt awful. Extremely awful. Like the lowest form of awful I have felt in a long time. Finally I went to the doctor and got diagnosed. Then, since I live in the middle of nowhere, I had to wait for my meds to arrive. Finally, after 3 FULL DAYS of feeling like junk, I felt more human on Thursday. Then, since I had put off any housework or homework that called my name. Then, I felt domestic, which is often how I feel after being sick, and so I made supper. Then I was a little distracted by my dinner company for the rest of the evening ....

B. I am back in school. Oh, definitely back in school if how I have spent today is any indication! Last spring I signed up for 3 classes cause after I successfully managed 2 I thought 3 would be no problem. If I could have seen the distraction that would be thrown my way this summer while signing up I might have reconsidered! Oh well. This way I will maybe finish that much sooner. 2014 here I come!

III. I am currently listening to a song on repeat on YouTube. I get that way. I can listen to the same song over and over and over. All day. Which this song is turning into. I wish I could say it was some deep and meaningful song that really impacted my soul - but its not. It has a fun beat and I like it.

* Since I have talked to you last I have been to 5 states, reached the quarter-centennial milestone in life, been in a wedding, celebrated my 3 year anniversary of being a missionary, taken lots of pictures, lost a lot of sleep, gotten lots of hugs, gotten my soul restored by being around my soul restorers, met new people, roadtripped a lot and learned a lot about myself and God. Bit by bit I hope to reveal these things to you as well!

In the meantime, know that I have been keeping up with ya'll as much as I can and look forward to stepping back into the role of being an active participant!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

this summer

hello all my adoring fans! i am so sorry that i have been quiet for so long, but i cannot even explain how fast this summer is going by! we are 6 weeks into our 10 week season (except my season is actually only 9 because of a wedding i am going home for the last week of camp).

so here we are, 6 weeks in. 2 weeks of staff training, 4 weeks of camp. and wow.

God has been doing amazing things this summer. we have had over 40 kids make decisions to trust Jesus as their Savior. we have had many who have felt the power of God in their lives. we have had many who come in hurting and walk away with that first step of healing.

we have also had those who knowingly walked away unsaved. we have had those who came in hurting and left hurting. we have had those who are leaving a safe haven and walking back in an area littered with landmines.

oh that we could fix everything! that we could make everything all better. but, we can't. we can do what we can do with what God gives us. we can be faithful to share His news and His love and His power with these kids. the rest is up to God and them.

Monday, June 29, 2009

a day in the life of a secretary ...

I start my day off by working hard:


very hard.


After awhile, I take a break and enjoy hanging out with other staff members.
We throw dance parties.
Except not really.
Because there is no dancing at TER.
It's simply not done.
But there is plenty of jumping!!


Then I use my chance to sell important products to my captive audience.
The campers are a great resource of money.
Except not really.
Cause they're little and the point is to not exploit them.
But we still try to sell them some Satan-B-Gone.
Because you never know when you're going to be in need of it!
Cause he's sneaky!

It's a tough life being a camp secretary, but I assure you, someone has to do it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

my choice

today, i made a choice. i made a choice to be cranky, crabby and just generally snarky.

you know its bad when a generally good-natured, roll with whatever you say kinda friend says "wow, you're just so sarcastic!" and that was before i made the choice to be ms cranky-pants!

i don't know if it was the storm that came in? or the fact that i was tired? or perhaps *ahem* pmsy? too much sugar? overthinking some things?

well, whatever it was, i didn't like who i was part of the day.

i listened to the words coming out of my mouth and heard the tone i was using and winced. but, i didn't stop. i didn't do a turn about face and use kind words with a cheerful tone.

i indulged in my selfishness. i let things get to me. i ate too much sugar. i let jealousy come over me. i let stupid things get to me. i let my pride get in the way of my ministry.

and so, now i sit at home, thinking back over today and not liking what happened.

good thing we serve a God whose mercies are new every morning eh?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

thoughts tumbling through the trails taken

i just got home from camp. it's 1:35 and waaaay past my bedtime. in fact, i was exhausted at 9:30 and almost left then. but, i was working on writing a letter and wanted to spend more time bonding with the staff (we're finishing up our first of two weeks of staff training) and so i hung around.

we discussed our plans for a movie night at my place tomorrow and told different stories. we laughed and we bonded. we threw flirtatious glances at the cute boy across the table and we hugged our girlfriends. we helped pull pranks on others.

then, when it was just down to two of us, a girl came and got us. another one of our fellow staff was hurting. hurting badly. and needed to talk. so, we listened. we listened while she told of her past and of the realizations that are coming to her. we listened while she cried and listened while she thought about the future.

and we were useless. how do you take 19 years of pain and hurt and agony and fix it in an hour? its impossible. we do not have the wisdom, the knowledge, the power to take that information and turn it to good. so, instead, we just sat there, in the dark, listening.

my thoughts were prayers. prayers for the words. prayers for the answer. prayers for the healing. for her. for me. for him. for all of us.

and? and i felt nothing. nothing. i had nothing. this was nothing i could fix. i was the "voice of reason" as the oldest there and i had no reason to give. the most i could do was pray over her and send her to bed. make her go to bed.

but it isn't me. there is absolutely no way i could ever fix anything through me. nor could the others there. that is up to God. and so, thats where we started. we started the process through the power of prayer. because there is nothing stronger.

but what comes next? what happens with her? or with the girl sitting next to her? and the other hurting people that God has brought to our ministry? what happens when it doesn't end neatly and tie up into a nice bow? what happens when its messy and we can't just check it off the list?

what now?

Monday, June 1, 2009

this is what life in montana looks like


beautiful cowgirls


cowboys on bucking horses


tools of the trade


calves meeting their destiny


working as a team


putting our brand out there for all the world to see


soaking it all in, enjoying it to the fullest!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

my weekend ...





Friday





















Saturday


















Sunday












Sometimes, I love having mutiple personalities.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Do I?

I am standing on a precipice. Toes on the edge, arms stretched out for balance.

Right behind me is the comfortable meadow where I have spent my days. Sure, there are some cacti and there are some scrub brush. But the sun is shining down and there are flowers that smell divine. The grass is green and lush.

However, in the distance storm clouds are gathering. They are increasing in strength and intimidation. I can stay in my meadow and all will be the same for awhile. But what will happen once the storm hits?

Below me is a gaping ravine. What is down there I have no idea. It could be a flowing river or raging rapids. It could be all rock or a soft landing. All I know is that I have a parachute and I can jump if I want.

Do I? Do I want to jump?

Friday, May 1, 2009

sunshine

This morning when I woke up the sun was shining. What a hallelujah moment that was!

As those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know, I do not do well without sun. I am solar powered. So, that makes living here in the frozeness a bit difficult. The winter does not shed a lot of light upon the situation. However, I have come to expect that and know that spring is comin.

Then, we got to spring. And spring? Well, spring has been about what winter was. Except, to me, it has been worse. After all, I got through winter. I went through December 21- March 21, knowing that spring was coming and the sun was coming back. Then, spring decided to play an extended April Fool's joke on me and not come. However, today it came.

So, I did my little exercises and went on my merry way to work. Except work? Well, work wasn't merry. Work was a lot of things, but not merry. Luckily I was only there for an hour before I went to Bible study and spent a couple of hours talking about faith.

Faith. Ahhh. Now there's a merry sunshiney topic! Sometimes. When I'm not letting my emotions rule my faith. When I'm not letting my humaness get in the way of my belief. When I'm not getting my butt kicked by Satan's lies.

So, after this morning I came home for lunch. I was thinking about work and I was thinking about Bible study and I decided to make this a non-entertainment lunch. So, I drew up the blinds in my bedroom (I dislike blinds. I dislike curtains. I dislike things that close me in. I never put my blind back up in my living room after taking them down to clean. I have blinds in my bedroom and my bathroom for modesty sake and that is it.), and was enjoying the sunshine pouring in throughout my house.

Then, I went and looked in the mirror. Do you know what I saw? I saw all the imperfections that unnatural light hide. The sunshine, the wonderful glorious beautiful sunshine, brought forth everything that I like to pretend isn't there.

It showed my zits and my worry lines and my uneven skin tones. It showed my unbelief, my hardness of heart, my emotional vacancy, my pettiness, my jealousy, my uncontentedness, my shallowness.

That's a tough thing to see when you're just trying to enjoy the sunshine. Here I was, just soaking in the wonderfulness of God and He chose to highlight those things that aren't my best feature.

Why didn't I see my laugh lines or my caring expression? Why didn't I see love or joy or peace or patience or kindness or goodness or faith or gentleness or self-control?

Perhaps it is because I lost it in the gloom of the clouds. Perhaps it is because I let down my shield of faith and let the arrows of Satan pierce me. Perhaps it is because, just for a little bit, I was choosing to live in a dungeon, not on a moutaintop.

So, tomorrow? Tomorrow, when the sun is shining, what will I see? I don't know. But I do know that the Lord's mercies are new every day. I do know that He brings the sunshine and He brings the rain. I do know that He brings the joy and He brings the sorrow. And I do know that He brings the conviction and He brings the restoration.

Monday, April 27, 2009

what?!?

What? You mean I haven't been on here in forever?

You mean I have gone into radio silence for days and days?

What is up with that??

Hmmm ... well, nothing really. My problem is that I have a great idea for a blog when I am at a time where I can't blog. Then, I forget all about my idea when I do have time and so I don't take the time to sit down and blog. Silly Rachel!

Instead, I spend lots of time watching "The Office" and falling for a fictional character.

Oh well. It's just what I do! But now that I have finished Seasons 1-4 and they no longer have the earliest episodes of Season 5 online, I guess I will have a lot more free time on my hands.

Or just more time to get sucked into something else.

For example, I have Twilight sitting on my shelf, just waiting to be cracked open. We'll see. Soon perhaps. I have seen the movie and was not impressed and I don't necessarily see the need to fill my life with vampire love stories.

Or perhaps I can concentrate more on my work.

For example, I have about 15 books for little kiddos (just like the precious gem in the picture) that need to be wrapped before Wednesday for their end of Cubbies party. I have a whole computer system to switch over. I have a bunch of camp registrations to deal with. I have one more church to line up in my speaking schedule. I have cleaning and painting to do. I have one more test to take before I'm done with school. I have four more Beth Moore lessons to do before Friday.

Yes, I think I have plenty to do without spending my life sucked into TV/Books/Facebook/Google Reader/whatever else I choose to spend my life on.

So, what am I waiting for??

Thursday, April 16, 2009

my friend


My apologies for the smallness of the pictures.
I stole them from my friend's Facebook page and apparently that does not translate well.

This is someone who I am proud to call my friend. He is not afraid to answer the call of duty and go places.

Where is he going you ask?

Well, he is going to war. He is a proud member of the Minnesota National Guard and is soon going over to Kuwait for a year. This is his second tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a medic and is looking forward to being able to take care of his fellow soldiers and keep them well hydrated.



That's my mom. She went roadtripping with me to his going away party. We had a great time!
Isn't she pretty? She just got her haircut and I love it!!


Best of luck Elisha! I am going to miss talking to you and knowing that you stalk my blog. I can't wait to hear all of your stories and read your photo journal. And take a cut of your book! My prayers are with you!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

hello road! it's nice to see you again.


See that?

No, no, past the weird frog looking thing that is attached my window.

That, my friend, is the open road. The open road and I are tight. Close even. We've definitely made it past casual acquaintance and moved more to buddies. Especially this road. This road and I are even reaching the point of true friendship. After all, what do you need to build a good friendship? Time and commonalities? Check and check!

(the weird frog looking thing is pretty cool looking though, isn't he? he is why i took the picture. oh the wonders of mud! sadly, he met his maker soon after and was washed down the drain with all the rest of my carter county dirt)


This is me driving. Yes, I take pictures of myself while I drive. Yes, it's weird. Perhaps even a little dangerous. And, oddly enough, I look strangely mad in most pictures that I take. I went with a more friendly tone to share with ya'll.


How sweet is this?? I mean, seriously, how many side cars are out on the road these days? I considered asking for a ride, but then thought that could get a little weird. So, instead, I just took pictures (trying to be all sneaky so I wouldn't be caught).


I like partaking in a meal that isn't just a meal, but an event.

This boy loves his spaghetti. LOVES. HIS. SPAGHETTI.


This boy isn't too interested in spaghetti yet. But he and his chubby cheeks are still welcome to hang out with me anytime!


Have you ever been to wedding land? Wedding land it that magical place where you are inundated with tulle and lace and chiffon and shoes and tiaras and ribbons.

(just to clarify ... I did not visit wedding land for me. I visited wedding land for the glowing girl sitting beside me)

Please take note of this picture. This is me and my Bethany. The following pictures are also me and Bethany. But, well, ummm ... I guess I just wanted to give you the heads up on that. So there wouldn't be any question. Cause, well, umm ... we don't really look like that. Well, mostly like that. But not completely.


See what I mean?


I guess this one would have been pretty obvious as to who we are. However, I did want to provide you with a normal picture (see above. no, not that above. the above above) of us so that you wouldn't think this is just how we walk around. You know, all tulled and cowboyed up. It might be common ... it's just not ALWAYS.

And finally ... a little erkins (Perkins to the unintiated), a little breakfast, a little coffee (for her, not me) and a little girl talk ... great way to get me ready to head back out on the road!

(just for the record ... I am not entirely comfortable starting my sentences with "and". but it just works out so well a lot of times. I'm sorry Mr. Undseth!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

thursday night in a small town

Tonight a dog ran into the diner I was eating in. And I sat there and watched while people ran around chasing it, shooing it away from the kitchen towards the door and then repeat that sequence a couple of times. Then the girl I was eating with sprayed Dr. Pepper out of her nose.

Hows that for a hook? Specially when it's all true? Welcome to small town living!

One of the local ladies decided to do something different with her Sunday school girls this year and get the Christian ladies of the town involved. During the summer/early fall she passed around a list of Biblical women and asked us all to pick the person that we identify the most with.

After thinking about it and getting her input, I went with the Widow who gave her mite. Granted I did not give up all THAT much to come to Montana, but I was still willing to take what little I had and give it over to God. I had never really thought of my story in relation to sacrifice, but it was cool to think about it.

Anyways. As Debbie worked through the Bible, she would ask each lady to come and have supper with her girls on the Thursday night after they talked about that specific story. That way that girls would get a chance to get to know some of the local ladies better and the ladies could spend time with some of the younger generation.

Tonight was my night. I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for months and finally got the call. So, I excitedly headed over to the Wagon Wheel at 5:30, ready to impact these young minds and impress them with my wonderful self.

Of course, of her class of four girls, I know three of them fairly well and recognize the other one. But still. You never know what God has for you!

Turns out one girl was sick. Bummer. Another girl had to go home cause it wasn't very nice out today and she lives on a ranch, so they just headed out of town after school. Well, that left two girls. Not bad.

Except these are the girls that I have worked with in AWANA. One of them for two years (she stopped coming this year) and the other one for three years. So, I'm nothing too exciting to them. But they still seemed willing to hang out with me so we sat down and ordered (Thursday = breakfast night at the Wheel!) and waited for the food to come.

Soon the girls are regaling me with stories from school of being hit on the head by the door and getting kicked for accidentally hitting someone else. They slurp down their shakes and Dr. Pepper and gradually get more and more animated and excited. Soon they are laughing and choking and falling out of their chairs.

Occasionally they ask me questions about myself but do not really have a long enough attention span to pay attention to the answer. The only time they focus on me all night is when they ask me if I am dating a certain guy because they always see me with him (I am not, just for the record). Then they want to see the pictures on my phone and found videos that were taken by my friend when the phone belonged to him.

People we know walk by and come in and we smile and wave and say hi. Then in trots a dog. Just like that. Walks in and starts for the kitchen. Soon everyone in the place is yelling the dog's name (cause obviously everyone knows this dog) and chase it around and around the room. One of my girls gets up to help block the kitchen. Just when they think they have the situation under control, the dog makes a break for it and goes back to the food. Finally the owner figures our where she disappeared to and comes in to get her out.

After the girls got calmed down from that, they finish up their meals and start wandering around. They pick up a lot of the different "Made in Montana" products and start oohing and aahing over the lotions and the huckleberry taffy. After awhile, they come back to the table and suck down the rest of their beverages. I was making fun of them for being so hyper and while one girl claimed she was going to go home and calm down, the other girl said she was going to go home and eat sugar cubes all night. Apparently this was the funniest thing she could have said, as the other girl shot Dr. Pepper out of her nose in appreciation.

I gracefully extracted myself from the situation (read : ran away as fast as I could) and came home, grateful to not be in 5th grade anymore.

However, there must be bliss in just being yourself. Enjoying the moment and everything in it to the fullest. Every joke is the funniest, every story is the best. Remember those days?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

my reality

Today I had to go to town to buy tires. Well, actually I wanted to go last week, but this was the first day that my schedule and the weather meshed.

I stopped in to get gas at Fruits and asked about the condition of the road. You see, the road that I need to travel in order to get where I was going has about 13 miles of gravel. Pavement on two sides, gravel in the middle. The report to be had was that it was rough, very rough.

So, I did the sensible thing and went around. Which means in order to go south, I go north. And west. Then south. But hey, at least I got to be in three states!

(add the one other one I went through to get home and I hit a grand total of four states to go to a town two hours away)

Went to town, sat at the tire place, became the proud owner of four brand new tires, went to Maurices, tried on pretty much everything in their store, bought barely anything, went to Walmart, tried on nothing, bought lots of things and then it was time to head home.

With the mood I was in, I definitely definitely definitely was no the least bit excited to go around the way I came. It adds an extra hour to the trip and it is also in the middle of nowhere.

Yes, I am also from the middle of nowhere, so it is nothing new to me. But at least in my normal middle of nowhere I know people who live nearby who would gladly help me out.

Not that the SoDak and NoDak people wouldn't help me out too. It's just that I don't know them. And that makes it just a bit more creepy when you're a single girl, traveling a lonely road with no cell phone coverage in the dark.

I tried calling one of my sources to ask about the road conditions (I know it was rough this morning, but I figured with a full day of sun, the situation had to have gotten better). I couldn't get through to them, but I was willing to go for it.

Even the negative report from the convenience store lady couldn't discourage me (so what if yesterday all that could get through was 4 wheel drive pick-ups??) After all, I had brand new tires that were super-ply and picked especially because I drive the Alzada and Hammond roads (which means nothing to you non-Carter countians, but thats ok!). So, no problem right?

And, this time I was right. (there have been other times when I haven't been so right ... but that was when I was new here and not quite so Carter county savvy. all that has changed now) There were a couple of tricky spots and it was pretty rutted which swung my car around a bit, but nothing at all like camp where I drive everyday. So, no worries.

Of course, in addition to having to be careful not to get pushed around by the road, I had to keep the usual eye out for deer, cows and sheep. The rabbits ... well they're on their own. They don't damage the car as much and they are just plain suicidal.

However, the Lord placed a battallion of angels around my car and I made it home quite intact. The new tires are beauts and performed way above expectation. The animals all behaved and avoided my car like the plague (well, come to think of it, we did have one who thought its immunity was up to the challenge, but I was able to persuade it otherwise). Now I am home all safe and sound.

The whole way home I kept thinking about what was not normal and never thought of by me when I first moved here has now become commonplace to me. What do I mean by that? Well, since you asked, let me summarize:

Everytime I want to go to "town", I have to watch the weather like a hawk. Blizzards and snow storms and extended periods of rain are all bad. That makes the gravel gooey and ooey and generally undrivable. Once I have a good weather day, I have to plan to be gone for a whole day or at least a majority of it. With a minimum of four hours of travel, plus doing whatever needs doing, time flits quickly away! Which means Millie needs a babysitter and I need to take time off from work (unless the places I need to go are open on the weekends). When I do my shopping I have to keep in mind my niece's friend's sister's daughter's birthday coming up in two months so I will have a gift. I have to remember to get that toothpaste and shampoo, because there is no running out to the store to get it (well, I could, but I would pay about double of what WalMart charges). I have to keep my eyes peeled for deer and cows and sheep (yes, all of the above. yes, I know people who have hit any or all of the above list of animals, plus some others). All that and much more is part of my reality here in Montanaland.

So, what's your reality? Planning for rush hour and lack of downtown parking? Planning around the kids' soccer practice and when the busiest time at the grocery store is? Planning around work and church and small group and Bible study? What has become commonplace and not consciously thought of in your life?