Sunday, September 30, 2007

Birthday Birthday

Wow, what a weekend. I am a happy girl right now.

I've just had blessings showered upon me for the last couple days and it has been amazing. I'm just going to start thanking people, so in your mind picture me making a speech, like at the Oscars.

I want to thank Jesus, who loves me so tenderly, understands my every thought and need, and orchestrates every blessing.

I want to thank my amazing family, who love God and trust him with every step. You showered me with fun gifts (a basket delivered to my work, new "cozies," running shoes, a purse from Erin, money -already spent!- from Grandpa and Grandma, and more) and glasses of red wine and amazing conversation. I received some fun gifts from the Brown side, too - shoes, Dance Dance Revolution for the Xbox 360 (I should really post pictures of that one sometime), and more spending money (also already spent!). Thank you, thank you. You made me feel so special.

I thank my co-workers at Z, who sang Happy Birthday to me, took me out for lunch (thanks again, Brenda!), and just stopped by my cube to say hi. It was so great to be back in the office for a day!

And I want to thank my friends. I had friends call and/or leave messages for me on Facebook. I shared sweet fellowship with Grace and Kathy (Saturday morning) and then Kara and Julie (Saturday afternoon). (Erika, we missed you!!!) I'm so thankful for friends to share life with... good times and tough times. No need to put up pretenses or make small talk. Just honest, encouraging, real conversation. I also loved seeing/kissing/snuggling little babies that I don't get to watch grow up as easily these days. Thank you for also for my gifts! Burts Bees products, a yummy candle, Chinese takeout, and a flower holder. I love them all.

And, last but not least, my sweet hubby, who couldn't be with me on my birthday (he was on a Wild At Heart-themed retreat with some guys from school) but gave me lots of calls, let me order a Timbuk2 bag last weekend, and had beautiful flowers (and a cleaned-up living room) here for me when I returned home. He knows knows what I like! And then a dinner out at our favorite pizza place when I got home. Perfect.

Such blessings. So thankful. So smiley right now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shoplifting Seagull in Scotland

I got an email about this from a friend at work. Hysterical.

Season Premier TOMORROW!

Anyone wonder what they did all summer?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Good for the Soul

Tonight was a "good for the soul" night.

I had a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte for supper. Picked out new scrapbook stuff at the cute little store down the street. Checked out Macy's for a new coat (didn't find one, but it was fun to look.) Turned on some Jeremy Camp/Derek Webb/Third Day. Scrapbooked for a couple of hours. Made a couple of cards. Took Riley on a walk.

And now I get to go pick up my hubby from school. Yay! I think the "good for the soul" night will continue with investigating the new samples (!) he'll bring home and then snuggling into bed.

A good night.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great thoughts (but not mine!)

I've been thinking all evening about what I should/could blog about. Trying to come up with interesting or profound ideas and insights. But I didn't come up with anything. So I turned to John Baillie's A Diary Of Private Prayer, a place I often turn to for fresh thoughts, and found this prayer:

Now unto Thee, O heavenly Father, be all praise and glory that day by day Thou dost richly fill my life with various blessings:

A home to share, kindred to love, and friends to cherish;

A place to fill and work to do;

A green world to live in, blue skies above me, and pure air to breathe;

Healthy and simple pleasures;

My race's long history to remember and its great men to follow;

Good books to read and many arts and crafts to delight in;

So much that is worth knowing and the skill and science to know it;

Those high thougths that sometimes fill my mind and come I know not whence;

Many happy days, and that inward calm that Thou givest me in days of gloom;

The peace, passing understanding, that comes from Thine indwelling in my soul;

The faith that looks through death and the hope of a larger life beyond the grave.

I thank thee, O Lord God, that though with liberal hand Thou hast at all times showered Thy blessings upon our human kind, yet in Jesus Christ Thou has done greater things for us than Thou ever didst before:

Making home sweeter and friends dearer;

Turning sorrow into gladness and pain into the soul's victory;

Robbing death of its sting;

Robbing sin of its power;

Making peace more peaceful and joy more joyful and faith and hope more secure. Amen.

I feel like I have so many things jumping around in my head - blessings of a restored friendship, memories of a great weekend spent with friends, looking forward to a weekend in GR but sad Josh won't be with me. I feel all sorts of things tonight - happy, worried, excited, overwhelmed (mostly about chores/details I need to take care of but haven't yet), bored, blessed. All over the map. But this prayer spoke to me and reminded me of the wealth of blessings God has given me. I bolded the words and phrases that particularly stuck out to me.

A Diary of Private Prayer was given to me a few years back and never fails to remind, instruct, end encourage me through the simple prayers printed on each page. I love praying through them, and once I'm done wonder at myself for not praying more of them. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Knew?

MANY conversations around the B-School (and the Partner's Club) revolve around asking where people want to end up after school. This subject is of great curiousity to me, the big planner that I am. Josh and I discuss it quite often (more than he'd like to, I'm sure!). Here was a recent conversation of ours:

Jessica: So where do you want to live after you're done with school?

Josh: Depends on where I get a job.

Jessica: But if you could choose?

Josh: I don't know... Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnatti, Chicago, Indy... somewhere in the Midwest, probably. Or Kellogg's is in Battle Creek. Or Whirlpool in St. Joe. Don't want to live in L.A. or on the East Coast, but we'll see.

Jessica: What about the Pacific Northwest? Or Denver?

Josh: I could be up for that.

Jessica: I could never see us living south of the Mason-Dixon line, could you?

Josh: Honey, we now live south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Hm. Good to know.

I forget that we live so far south.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Free Samples

I don't know if I'm alone on this one (and I don't think I am) but I LOVE getting free samples. I love Saturday "Sample Day" at Sam's Club and getting the bag of goodies during Clinique bonus time. Actually it is the only time that I actually purchase Clinique products. Free samples have become a bigger part of my life these days for two reasons. First of all, we have less money than we used to, so products we can get for free are always welcomed. Second, Josh takes them home ALL THE TIME. Just a couple days ago he brought home a box filled with coffee creamer, a bag of dog food, dog treats, an insulated travel mug, and Sweetarts. We've also gotten stuff like Tide, Cheezits, and Post-It Notes. Yipee!! Why this stuff? Well, these days Josh often has to sit through presentations and network with recruiters from different consumer products companies in the evenings. He is already on the hunt for next summer's internship (which seems very early to me, but whatever) and some places won't even consider you if you didn't come to their sessions. It definitely keeps him busy, and can get a little stressful when combined with other school work, group meetings, and the like. But such is life. Would I trade my free samples for a hubby home in the evening? Definitely. Would he trade them for a little more relax time (or study time?) OH YES. But since he has to be gone it is at least nice to go through all of the treats with him when he returns. So what if I don't need 3 highlighters with tabs built in? Still very exciting. Too bad Toyota doesn't hand out cars. I think we got a pen from them.

... and as I was looking online for the highligher-with-tab graphic, i came across this way fun website. You can actually enter a sweepstakes to will a free Timbuk2 bag! AND - genius - if you interact with their site (basically click around a fake office and learn about Post-It products) you can get yourself more chances to win it. Some marketer somewhere was thinking!! I was very impressed. And, not surprisingly, more interested in Post-It products than I ever have been.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My First Recipe Post

My bloggy friend, Sarah, often posts recipes on her blog. I've tried out quite a few and they are DELICIOUS. In preparation for tomorrow's Cookie Night with the Partner's Club, I tried out this one. AMAZING. Huge fan. They are also very easy. Perfect for baking novices like me.

Sarah, hopefully you don't mind me passing this one along! I just can't resist.

Iced Shortbread Thumbprints

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup preserves, any kind (I used Peach, Strawberry, and Raspberry)

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together with mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add flour until combined. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon preserves. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to rest on cookie sheet. In a small bowl, mix together confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over warm cookies. Yield: 2 dozen
I'll see what I can do about adding more of my favorite recipes one of these days...

Weekend Update

This past weekend was spent (once again!) in good ol' Michigan - this time in Battle Creek. Josh's cousin Lacey got married over the weekend and we were there, along with my in-laws and Josh's Nana, to celebrate. We enjoyed the time spent with Josh's parents - although it was sadly short - and Riley had fun with my parents and Chloe in GR. They said it was a practice run for someday when we dump our human babies off on them :). I know they can't wait. Well wait they shall.
And here are the boys in the car on the way home...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My fun moments of the week

This week has been long. And busy. And stressful at times.

There have been so many small, exciting moments, too. Let me share some (NOT in any particular order - Josh looked over my shoulder and was sad he didn't make it until #5):

1. I discovered the Monroe County Library and it is big and wonderful and has a great book selection. Good becuase I have no budget for purchasing non-Zondervan books.

2. They gave me a library card that attaches to my key chain! I've never seen that before! Maybe those are common place now... I'm not sure. But someone was thinkin'.

3. I went to my first Partner's Club Book Club, and it was really fun. We discussed One True Thing and made plans for the next few months. I'm very excited for the books we'll soon be reading! I even got a Zondervan book to make the list.

4. I got a couple more books from my mother-in-law in the mail. One was a different Charles Martin book (because I loved When Crickets Cry so much) and the other was The Truth Teller, which looks really good!

Ok, for some non-book-related happy moments:

5. Josh is taking me on a date tonight to The Olive Garden... mmm... I don't get to see him as much as I used to so these date nights have become even more special!

6. There is a FALL CHILL in the air! Yipee! I LOVE FALL. Sweatshirts, jeans, apple cider, football, pretty colors... what more can you ask for. Plus, since it has been crazy hot here lately it is a beautiful wonderful thing to have to wear long pants when you go places. When I drove to work this morning (and I go straight through campus) it was like 50 degrees and all the students were wrapped up in their hoodie sweatshirts... it made me smile.

7. I made lasagne for the first time (that time with Kara when we made some for Julie and Erika didn't count, because she was really holding my hand the entire time and it was still a disaster). It tasted good but didn't exactly hold together well. Pretty much a mishedy-mash of sauce, cheese, and noodles. However, when you use Grandma Ackerman's "Bear Meat" sauce recipe, anything tastes good.

8. Lets just say Riley was struggling with some digestional problems earlier this week and I believe they've cleared up.

9. The Riley/Josh snuggle reading moment from a couple days ago.

10. Discovering an outlet mall about an hour from here with a BANANA REPUBLIC outlet store... and wow was it good. Josh even got a new suit. He looks very handsome in it :).

I'm thankful for a God who gives me unexpected little blessings that I don't deserve throughout my days and weeks.

Now I'm off to go on my date with my cute hubby.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

G-Rap Visit

So I'm headed into GR the weekend of the 29th of September. Josh has a retreat he is going to and so I figured Riley and I might as well come up for a visit! YAY! Are there any fun GR folks that would want to hang out/do lunch/something like that?

That's all for now!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Reading Buddies

This afternoon Josh spent significant time reading for class, alone on the big chair. He was sitting exactly how you can see below when our little brown friend decided he needed his snuggles. So he then made the fairly impressive leap/shimmy into the small space under Josh's left leg and curled up between his feet. He stayed there for quite awhile, content to spend time with his dad.

The reason for the new blog title

We're a little obsessed with The Office these days, especially since Season 3 came out on DVD last week...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Slightly Naughty

Yes, that was once a roll of paper towel.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


This was the beautiful bouquet the wonderful folks at the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce gave me on my first day! How sweet is that? I was so encouraged... it such a blessing to be working there. Thank you Lord for helping me make the right decision! I think I will be very happy in my new position.

So great to have two fun jobs.

And The Office Season 3 came out today.

A good day :).

Covered Bridge

The county next to ours, Brown County, is known for covered bridges. I found this one with some buddies yesterday in the po-dunk town of Bean Blossom. I think it will be fun to discover more over these next couple of years.
My friend Lora (in yellow below) has lived in the area for a few years and showed up to an event a couple weeks ago wearing a "Beautiful Downtown Bean Blossom" t-shirt. It is actually kind of a joke because Bean Blossom consists of a convenience store and a couple of junky-looking, nondescript buildings. Well, we decided on the spot that we each needed a Bean Blossom t-shirt and then made the pilgrimage to Bean Blossom for a fun Labor Day activity. The students actually had school (how crazy is that) but us working folk had the day off. Why not take a random trip to the countryside?
Check us out: Me, Lora, Amber, Kendra, Allison, Laura in our new, VERY fashionable t-shirts.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Riley's Big Day

I'm Riley. Let me tell you about my exciting afternoon.

Dad and Mama took me to the cute little town of Nashville, IN. They said it kind of reminded them of Petoskey or Saugatuck, and it was only about 15 minutes away from our house.
We had a great time exploring.
I met the biggest dog I'd ever seen...

... and Mama shared the core of her caramel apple with me... so yummy.

They even had a treat shop just for dogs!

So Mama and Dad bought me some goodies.

I met so many people! I was the talk of the town, being both unique-looking and slightly gimpy.

After walking around for awhile I got so tired that I laid down and refused to move...

...and Dad had to carry me to the car.

I had a bunch of fun in Nashville, but I was ready to go home.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Corn Hole

As this is the first college football Saturday of the season I'm dedicating this entry to a HUGE tailgating game that until two weeks ago I had never heard of.

Corn Hole.

It basically involves two boards set on angles, each with a hole in the middle. And bean bags that you try to get into those holes. You can read more about it at - quite the website. Around here it is THE GAME of lawn games. Back in Michigan we played lots of washers (well, Josh did) but it looks like we'll need to add a new one to the repertoire. I think we need some maize and blue ones. I'll be sure to keep them all outside in the shed all winter, however. Our friends 3 doors down kept the bean bags in their townhouse all winter and woke up one Saturday in the spring to an army of weevils marching in to eat the beans out of the bags.