Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ruh Roh

my golden retriever talks to me.  she used to just bark, but now she backtalks when i tell her to go do something that she doesn't want to do.  it sounds just like scooby doo and it is quite comical.....whine, moan, groan, when this dog wants something she is as relentless as a two year old begging for candy.  i mean let's get real.  who needs an alarm clock anymore?  every morning at 08:15 she nudges me with her nose and in her scooby doo voice tells me, no demands that i let her outside.  punk!  maybe this is God's way of getting me ready for children.

here is her favorite way to sleep...with just her head stuffed under our bed!

My Shower Addiction and Other Adventures....

I have an addiction to taking showers.  In the past 36 hours I have taken four of them.  That is one for every nine hours of living these past couple of days, and I am not the least bit ashamed to admit it.  There is something so amazing about washing off the grime of the day and putting on a cool pair of cotton pajamas.

I have an addiction to clean towels.  Matter of fact, I only use a towel once before I throw it in the wash.  My husband is the same way.  We got a full set of towels from my brother and his wife as a wedding gift, and I wouldn't let him use them.  Not yet.  These are soft plush towels, the kind you want to keep around for a long time and more importantly, are not the towels I use when I bleach my hair.

Maybe I am a little weird, but I like clean smells. Being an army wife, I find amusement in the simplest of things such as putting a spritz of my husband's cologne on a piece of paper and walking around with the paper against my nose.

I dislike poopy smells.  To me, bathroom spray is poopy spray and I don't understand why people can't courtesy flush when they go kayaking on the toilet.  If you are going to pitch a tent while in there, at least be kind to the animals who wander in after you.

I can't stand gas.  Being married to my husband has ruined that for me.  He has a reputation for making noises in his mouth that sound like the world's worst gas.  Case in point.  A couple of Christmases ago (when we first started dating), we were in the Holiday/Garden Center at our local Walmart (which is horrific enough), when to my utter horror he started to make gas noises.  The poor lady in front of me thought I was the one doing it.  He died laughing until I turned around, grabbed the front of his shirt, and hissed at him to knock it off.  Can't complain though. Growing up with two very athletic brothers, I was forced to endure their endless shenanigans in the back half of my parents van on long distance roadtrips.  Their favorite thing to do was eat the raunchiest, methane inducing food possible, not clue me in on what was about to be expelled and watch my face when the scent finally hit my nose.  To make matters worse, they used to lock the windows so I couldn't let any fresh air in and they would bust a gut laughing watching me dry heave.  Oh well, boys will be boys and I married a shower loving, clean towel sniffing, gas passing Soldier who is all mine.  I feel a shower coming on...drats, all my towels are in the wash right now!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Poiema




I have been keeping to myself lately and deeply thinking about the significance of a Greek term I recently stumbled across. It is the Greek Word "Poiema" and out of curiosity I looked it up just to see it in Biblical context.  It means "Masterpiece of God" and it appears in Ephesians 2:10.  


If you start off broadly, it basically entails anything artistic or beautiful which conveys a message.  If you reverse the direction of the message, it basically entails any medium captured through art, music, sound, visual, literary, or creative means.  In Ephesians the word "poiema" means we are the expressed created masterpieces of God and we carry His likeness. Likewise, our beauty is the artist expressing Himself to the rest of the world. We were made by God and for God. After all, it is through Him that we live, move and exist.

How freaking cool is that?  Think about it.  The word poiema is where we get the term poem, and basically means we are the song of God and the expression of His artistry.  Well duh.  All of creation reflects His artistry and mankind was the last thing He created and declared good.  I cannot help but consider what this means for those who feel their lives are insignificant or who question whether or not God really cares about them individually.  Our lives are so much more than we can even comprehend.  

Consider the perpetual hunt and chase by collectors of things like stamps or coins. They will tell you that something which has been mass produced has more value if a flaw is discovered, so they hunt for that rare piece which is missing from their treasured collection.  In the same way God has made millions of people, full of flaws, yet we are no less treasured by Him.  Just as a collector seeks and desires for that which is imperfect, God seeks and desires to connect with us.  We are His treasure, His Poiema, and our flaws make us irreplaceable in His eyes.  


Value is not derived from what you get, but comes from who you are as God's masterpiece.




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Publix Jackpot on Dog Treats

I got a good deal on the Purina One Begging Strips at Publix this week, so in true BOGO fashion, I couldn't resist going back and getting some more.

Here is what I got on my last run to Publix a few minutes ago.  

Deal 1:  Purina One Begging Strips Normally:  $3.00 a bag.  Here is what I scored:  Using a B1G1 for every Purina One Begging Strips bag I purchased, I also scored a free Busy Bone Dog Treat...which basically translates to any newbie couponer the following deal:  B1G3 Free...in other words, I bought 1 bag of Begging Strips, got another one free PLUS two Free Busy Bones.

Total Price Paid:  $6 for four bags of Purina Begging Strips and four Busy Bones.  If I had paid full price for all of them it would have cost me $26. So I saved 77%!!!! or $18.

Deal 2:  Bic Mechanical Pencils for Back to School:  Normally $2.69 a piece.  They were on sale for $1 or 3 for $3.  Bought two and used two $1 Target coupons.  Paid:  FREE and saved $5.38 or 100%.

Deal 3:  Contessa Microsteam Shrimp:  Normally $6.99 a piece.  They were B1G1 this week knocking the price down to $3.50 a piece.  Using a $2 off coupon, I got it for $1.50 and saved 79%.

Grand Total I would have paid:  $38.37
Actually paid:  $7.50
Savings of:  80%.

Yeah, those who think that couponing is a waste of time are really not doing their homework.  I bought almost $70 worth of stuff today for $15.  With the savings I just made, I can either go get an hour massage, fill up two tanks of gas or go get a mani AND a pedicure.

Pens and Post It's at Rite Aid

So....just got back from Rite Aid and combining coupons with store sales I stocked up on pens and post it notes for back to school.  Here is a breakdown of what I got:

Deal #1:
8 packets of Bic Cristal Pens Regular Price:  $1.99 per ten pack. They were B1G1 this week, plus I had 4 x $1 off coupons on any two Bic stationary products.
Full Price:  $15.92
Paid:  $3.96
Savings:  75%

Deal #2:
4 packets of 3M Post It Notes:  2 x $3.49 per pack and 2 x $2.99 per pack.  They were B1G1/2 this week, plus I had 1 $2 off a $10 or more 3M purchase and 4 x $1 3M Coupons
Full Price:  $12.94
Paid: $3.71

Plus I bought a 20 oz Diet Coke for $1.11

Paid:  $10.05 plus received $3 in UP Rite Aid Rewards for my next purchase.  So, in total I spent $7.05 for 4 packs of Post Its, 8 packs of pens and a Diet Coke.

My Chunky Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are a great tool for surviving Operation Enduring 

Deployment!




1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chunks

PREHEAT
 oven to 375° F. Spray down a cookie sheet with non stick spray (trust me, you will thank me later!)

COMBINE
 flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 

BAKE
 for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 


My Favorite Song Right Now

Monday, August 16, 2010

OPSEC and Why I Keep My Mouth Shut

This is a reminder of why it is important for us to maintain our silence.....how quickly we forget that there are Terrorists out there monitoring our web activity.

By being a Family Member, you will often know some bits of critical information regarding our unit such as flight schedules, ship movements, installation activities, homecoming dates, and our Soldiers’ locations. This is sensitive information that needs to be concealed and protected, so please DO NOT discuss them outside of your immediate Family and especially not over the telephone or on the computer/Internet.


Your diligence in Operations Security (OPSEC) is key to ensuring our effectiveness in operations and our collective safety. When reintegration nears, I completely understand how excited everyone will get – it is great news – but it is not news that needs to be posted/said for anyone to read/hear. With resources such as Facebook and MySpace, it is easy to slip up and post, “One more month until my Soldier comes home,” “Our 12 month deployment is almost over . . . just one more week,” or “My Soldier will be on the Main Body flight coming in on 15 January,” but PLEASE DO NOT POST ANYTHING SIMILAR TO THIS – anyone can access your information online. You can protect your Family and friends by protecting what you know of the unit’s day-to-day operations. There are many countries and organizations that would like to harm Americans and degrade our influence in the world, and many of them collect significant amounts of useful information by using spies.

OPSEC is a vital element in protecting our Soldiers and missions, and I want to stress how vital a role every member of our Battalion plays in ensuring that we deny our adversaries potentially useful information. OPSEC protects our operations – planned, in progress, and those completed. Even though information may not be secret, it can be what we call “critical information.” Critical information deals with specific facts about military intentions, capabilities, operations and activities. If an adversary knew this detailed information, our mission accomplishment and personnel safety could be jeopardized. It must be protected to ensure an adversary doesn’t gain a significant advantage.

Here are a few things to remember:

Limit what you say about:

- Military movements (deployment/redeployment dates, dates of field exercises, flight information, etc.)…next Tuesday is a specific date

- Any issues with the unit

- Anything concerning security specific issues

- Equipment issues (what, no flak vest?)

- Locations of units (it’s OK to say they’re in Iraq, but not to say specifically where located)

OPSEC measures you should practice daily:

- Be aware of your surroundings

- Keep sensitive discussions in designated secure areas

- Keep a need-to-know attitude (if they don’t need to know, don’t tell them)

- Safeguard sensitive but unclassified information

Some other things to keep in mind:

- Make sure that your Family knows that the information you tell them is to stay between you and them

- Limit what you say on telephones. Whether they’re land lines, cordless or cells phones, they can all be ‘tapped’. Try using code words, or use birthday and anniversaries as time frames – i.e. “Our vacation will be two months after my grandmother’s birthday.”

- Censor what you put in e-mails. Anything sent out on the Internet can be seen by anyone on the Internet. (Keep in mind that the AKO and vFRG website is a secure site, hence why certain information can be posted there.)

- Limit what you say out in public. You never know who is trying to listen in on your conversations

Thank you all for taking the time to read this e-mail. Please, let’s all practice better OPSEC guidelines and protect ourselves and our Soldiers . . . watch what you say and watch what you do!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Life is Short. Make an Impact

Somebody on my Endurance Triathlon Team was tragically killed today by a drunk driver.  The tragedy goes further, for he was in a car with his three sons coming back from a movie.  All four were killed.  The driver was just 20 years old, travelling at high speed and is being tested for drugs too.  He ended four lives and now his life is over for drinking and driving.

Please pray for the McConnell family.  Roy was an amazing man of Character who often poured out heartfelt insight into the challenges a triathlete faces running their race.  He died tragically, but he died loving his Savior with every fiber of his being.

My endurance team mourns the loss of a dear family member.  Roy, we know you are in a better place and seeing Jesus face to face.  RIP brother.

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