Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Vegas of the Bible Belt

Lee and I had a great time on our trip to Branson. We got the idea from some friends to get away every 6 months to just spend time alone and talk about our marriage. Since we've been married 18 months we took the chance to go to the hotspot that is Branson, Mo. We got a good deal on a room at the Radisson so we drove the two hours there. We also had booked tickets to The Dixie Stampede. If you know the planner I am, you're not surprised that I pretty much had the whole trip planned a month in advance. We get about 10 minutes away from the hotel and I realize that someone (who will remain nameless) had forgotten the packet of papers containing, hotel confirmation, maps, show tickets, etc at home. I'm embarrassed to admit that I got kind of angry. I get unreasonably upset when things don't go according to my plan. I'm slowly (and frustratingly) being broken of that. We make it to our hotel and get checked in, and they have a business center so I'm able to print off the ticket confirmation number. By this time I've calmed down and am ready for some fun. We watched a juggling/magic act for the pre-show and then headed in to eat some great Southern food (with our hands of course) and cheer on the South. Lee and I had a lot of fun joking about the cheesiness of it all and the South won! My favorite part was the racing pigs. I wish I had some pictures but photography was "strictly forbidden." The next day Lee and I had some delicious, warm Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast and headed out shopping. We got a few things (Lee needed some new shorts since I threw his last pair away that had 11 billion holes in them). Mostly we just wandered around and hung out.

Lee is super excited about "Noah the Musical"

Our attempt at getting a picture of ourselves in front of the fountain that's timed to music. You can also see my new haircut!

We had lunch and got the chance to talk about our marriage. What we think we've improved on and what all we still needed to work on. It was a good time to be honest about where we were and to encourage each other. We read a little bit of a marriage book every time we travel anywhere. They recommend to get away every 3 months. We don't quite have the budget for that but take advantage of the opportunities we have. God has been changing both of us dramatically in the last year and a half and we really look forward to what else He has in store for us. Thank you to everyone who's helped us along the way so far.
After dinner we headed home and picked up Hero (who had been kept by the amazing Penicks) and got unpacked. We went to see a movie that night and ate at Mexico Viejo to cap off the day. Overall, a wonderful weekend!

In more exciting news I picked up my cap and gown for commencement on May 14. Even though I won't technically be done until August, I'm looking forward to walking in May. The hood isn't exactly my colors, but I guess I shouldn't complain right. Very excited. It's getting close!

Luckily I don't think much of the "gold" will be seen. Excited regardless.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Try Something With Me?

So, I discovered something new the other day. It's this free website called It's main function is as a search engine, but you earn swagbacks as you search (although not every time). You can also earn swagbucks by doing other things like watching videos (some of which are actually interesting), doing a daily poll, answering surveys, playing games etc. These points can be redeemed for prizes. I've got my eye on the $5 Amazon giftcard which is worth 450 swagbucks. You can even get electronics but they cost several thousand swagbucks and I'm not patient enough. I figure if I can get enough to get a few Amazon giftcards a month I can be selfish and get a book for myself or save them up to help pay off Lee's school books. From what I read online this is a legitimate website and I do plenty of web searches so I feel like it can't hurt.

I've tried some of the other ways of earning swagbucks. I never can get the surveys to work. I don't seem to ever qualify. I've played some of the videos in the background. From what I've seen, you have to play at least 10 to get a chance to win swagbucks. Each video is about 3 minutes, and I got 3SB. I tried some of the tasks and they're pretty frustrating, but I got 32SB for one. I have yet to try the games, and I plan on printing off some coupons (which I do anyway). You can follow their blog, twitter, and facebook accounts and have the possibility of finding swag codes. I found one yesterday and got 15SB. I got 28SB the first time I searched, but I got spoiled there because I seem to only be able to earn them every 3-4 hours after 4-5 searches and get about 10SB. You could probably get 30-40 a day from searches though.

Now that I've told you about my experience so far, does it sound interesting to you? One other (probably selfish) thing, if people you refer sign up then you get the same amount of swagbucks they do every time they earn it from a search up to 1000SB per referral. Meaning if I referred you, you search and earn 20SB then I earn 20SB too. So if you're interested, click on the banner below so I can be your referral. You get 30SB for signing up. We can test out this crazy thing together. If you'd rather wait until I've tried it some more (and gotten my first Amazon card in the mail) then feel free to try it later. It doesn't cost any money and it doesn't have to take extra time (especially if you download the toolbar) so is it worth it to you?

UPDATE: Apparently if you sign up between now and Monday and use the code: "BirthdayFun" you'll get an extra 25SB on top of the 30 you'd normally get for signing up!

Search & Win

Ok, no more advertising for a while. The next post will most likely be about mine and Lee's Branson getaway this weekend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is love?

Happy belated Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you had a great day wherever you were and whoever you were with. Lee and I made dinner at our apartment (steaks and oven-roasted potatoes, yumm). Then we went out and got some ice cream and watched a movie back at home. A nice quiet evening which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Our dinner. We broke out the china and everything.

Lee even dressed up a little (after some prodding)

Something that I was really reminded of this Valentine's Day is that when we celebrate love, it shouldn't just be the romantic kind. We love many different people from spouses, to family, to friends and so on. There are many verses about love in the bible, but did you know love is commanded of us?

"'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And He said to him, ' "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." 'This is the great and foremost commandment. 'The second is like it, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 'On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.' " (Matthew 22:36-40 NASB)

So how good are we at loving those around us? If you're anything like me, not very good. Why do we need a day to tell us what God has already commanded us to do? Next time you tell someone you love them, think of what the implications of that are.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow Day Number Eleventy-Billion

I figured today would be a good day to actually start blogging since it's a little difficult to get out of the house. It snowed here in Fayetteville again, about 18" this time. We didn't get out much except to play with Hero, make a snow angel and see if we could even get the truck out (we couldn't). I also attempted to make snow cream for the first time and it didn't go so well (although we had plenty of snow to work with). Lee was graciously my guinea pig but had to lovingly tell me it was no good. We get another snow day tomorrow and making a snow man is definitely on the agenda. Here are some pictures of the snow.

There was a bit of snow on my car.

Hero kept licking the snow off his face. He also had to bound through it since it was usually above his head.

A little update on what's been going on with us. Well, not much school with all the snow days, but classes have started for Lee, and it looks like a lot of reading and papers this semester (13 books for 4 classes). He's also been leading a discussion group at church, leading a guys bible study and meeting with students on campus (along with a myriad of other duties involved with being assistant to the college minister). It looks to be a busy but fulfilling semester. I'm done with classes and finishing up research and writing my thesis. I just submitted my project on Monday (after much trial and tribulation) and hope to hear soon that it will get made. Due to a delay in the project it looks like I'll be graduating in August but still plan on walking in May. The end is in sight but there's a lot to do before then. I'm also leading a discussion group at church and the head of a leadership team. I'm really loving being more involved at church and serving God there. Lee and I also do extended care at church about once a month and get to play with babies. Lee doesn't look as awkward at this as one might think. God is doing some pretty exciting things in our lives.

I've been slowly working on memorizing scripture. I'm hoping after getting in the habit of doing it I'll be able to do more at a time. Right now I'm doing two verses a month. I'm working through Philippians 4:4-9. I'm on verse 6 right now which is well known to a lot of people. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (NASB) The problem with a well-known verse is that it's easy to look past it. To think we know everything there is to know about it. We all get the not being anxious and praying about the things we want/need parts. The part I often look past is the phrase "with thanksgiving." I'm so quick to ask God for things but not thank Him for what He's already done in my life. I don't acknowledge God's presence in the everyday workings of my life. It's easy to think the good things are my doing. How ridiculous is that. Everything good in my life comes from Him and I should be singing songs of thanksgiving as David did. I should even thank Him for the ability to ask Him for things in the first place. Thank Him most of all for sending His Son to die on the cross for MY sins. That's what God is teaching me, so what are you thankful for?