Saturday, August 27, 2016

Friends, Fun, Buried Treasure

By far my favorite thing about this 300 list is all of the fun I've had with my amazing friends. While I was having my Starbucks day, two of my good friends, Melanie and Jed, were following along with the fun and told me that they wanted to help me cross some things off my list when I went to visit them in San Antonio in April.

#127 visit a cave
I hadn't been to a cave in so long and I really enjoyed this. We went to the Natural Bridge Caverns and saw some incredible formations. Absolutely beautiful!

#122 visit the Alamo
As someone who grew up watching the Davy Crockett movies, the Alamo was a must-see while in San Antonio. Really neat to see his musket & Jim Bowie's knife and to learn more about the history of the events surrounding the Alamo. This is Melanie, one of my good friends who lived on my floor at Taylor. I had such a great time visiting them and hated having to leave. She and her husband Jed are wonderful hosts, but also make you feel like you're part of the family while you're there. Abigail is hilarious, smart, and sweet. And I swear that I love Jed too even if it doesn't look like it in this picture. It's because the stroller was cropped out of the picture. Which leads me to this...
Lillian. Oh my word. Let's be honest- Lillian is really the reason I didn't want to come home. Those cheeks! She is such a happy, cuddly, chubby little angel. I definitely miss all of those hours I spent holding her and having her snuggle into my shoulder.
#260 go on a blind date
I think for Mel & Jed this may have been less with helping me cross an item off my list and more because they thought it was really funny to set me up on a blind date while I was on vacation. Picture credit goes to Mel who was a total creeper taking pictures out the window as we left. Scott is a co-worker of Jed's who was basically told that he should go on this date because he had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. We went to the Japanese Tea Garden, the San Antonio Zoo, and then out to dinner (it's been 4 months so I forget what the name of the restaurant was). Definitely the most low-pressure date ever due to the circumstances, so we had a fun afternoon.
I Heart San Antonio & the Hefners!!

#45 read The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
My coworker Jan gave me this book for my birthday after her husband recommended it since he knows I love sports. Roger Kahn grew up as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and then went on to cover them as a sportwriter during the 1950s. It's such a fascinating look at how baseball was played and managed at that time, as well as a discussion of all of the hardships that black players faced in those early years of integration. In the second half of the book Kahn visits the former players to see where life has taken them since playing for the Dodgers.

#109 read Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I don't read a lot of science fiction, but this was an award-winning book that my sister Holly recommended to me. It takes place at Oxford in the 21st century and involves a young historian named Kivrin who travels back in time to the year 1320. While they are battling a deadly new epidemic in present time, they discover that she was mistakenly sent back to the year 1348 when the Black Death was spreading throughout England. And that's all I'm going to say. : )

#58 read For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
My buddy Liz gave me this book for Christmas and I finally got around to reading it. This was the first book of hers that I've read (no, I don't live under a rock!) and I loved her sense of humor as she discussed God's grace and how it helps us to live well and deal with others in our lives. A few thoughts from her:

"Stop minimizing what you are good at and throw yourself into it with no apologies...You are good at something for a reason. God designed you this way, on purpose. It isn't fake or a fluke or small. These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you've been given, so use them."

"But when we are locked in a toxic relationship or community, spiritual pollution can murder everything tender and Christlike in us; and a watching world doesn't always witness those private kill shots. Unhealthy relationships can destroy our hope, optimism, gentleness. We can lose our heart and lose our way while pouring endless energy into an abyss that has no bottom. There is a time to put redemption in the hands of God and walk away before destroying your spirit with futile diligence. Sometimes the bravest thing is to stop fighting for something that is never going to produce a winner."

"We are not promised a pain free life but are given the tools to survive: God and people. It is enough."

#142 go to 10 Indians games (6 done) 
This is a pretty fun group of people. Several people had won tickets from the Cru 100 Holes of Golf event in May so we all went out to a game together. The rain held off, it was a beautiful night, and we won the game in 12 innings!

Karen had another pair of Indians tickets that we were going to use. This time the rain did not hold off and it was nasty all day. We did not go to the game- we went and ate some wings instead. But...I'm totally counting it as one of the 10 games since the tickets were purchased and the intent was there. : )

#154 go to a roller derby bout
This is Amy Baker aka Lay 'Em Out Lydia. She is a beast. She thought she'd try out roller derby for fun and now she's good enough that she skates with the Circle City Derby Girls. I'm so impressed with her and how she's always willing to experiment with new activities. This was my first time watching a roller derby bout and I now have a working knowledge of the sport so I can mostly follow along with the action. Also, if Holly was richer (and perhaps less injury-prone), I'm pretty sure this would be her sport of choice.

#216 make a scrapbook for Lily

Perhaps another slight stretch to cross this item off my list, but it was approved by the List Master. A poster collage is basically equivalent to a scrapbook for me and it was a bit of a frustrating process to make this actually happen (of course that may be attributed to me trying to get it done last minute). Bean & Lulu are pretty much the best aunts in the world though. We've been promising Lily a scavenger hunt for her last two birthdays and finally got around to doing it. It was a very rainy day today, but we powered through. She completed 9 tasks all over our parents' yard, got tons of prizes along the way, and ended it by digging up her treasure chest filled with all kinds of awesome loot. Lots of superhero and Star Wars things especially! The dress code was "wacky/crazy" and I am indeed wearing a handmade, quilted shirt. It was a lovely gift from two of my former youth, Emily & Amanda Blake, and I definitely don't bust it out frequently enough...especially when pairing it with plaid shorts and argyle socks.

Hope you've all had a wonderful summer!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Halfway Done!?!

It is crazy to believe that I am already halfway through my 30s (and luckily, halfway done with my list)!! Here's the latest:

#73 read Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
Ugh another book that really challenges you to think about what you're doing with your life. In a nutshell, Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda while she was in high school, fell in love with the country & the orphans, moved there after high school, and eventually adopted 13 girls and started Amazima, a ministry to educate and empower children. She has so much wisdom at such a young age, such a love for Christ, and a desire to follow Him in all she does. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Thankfully, God's plans also happen to be much better than my own. You see, Jesus wrecked my life."

"Many days, I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and the incredible number of people who need help. Many days I see the destitute, disease-ridden children lining the streets in the communities I serve and I want to scoop up every single one of them, take them home with me, and feed and clothe and love them. And I look at the life of my Savior, who stopped for one. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian. I can do only what one woman can do, but I will do what I can. Daily, the Jesus who wrecked my life enables me to do so much more than I ever thought possible."

 "I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives."

 "Yes, that is what I feel like: one of His favorites, lavished with His love. Isn't that what He wants each and every one of His children to feel, all the time? The big God of small details loves each one of us so intimately, created each of us in His image. Each one of us is cherished. How would life change if we thought of each other as such? If each person who approached us we treated as beloved of God, cherished by God, one of God's favorite people? The God of the universe delights in you. In me. In them. Could we rest in that? Could we love like that?"

#230 find a mentor
I didn't technically find a mentor, but I did find a spiritual director, so I'm counting that. My friend Karen meets with me once a month and it's been a really great experience. The article My Journey Into Spiritual Direction by Bill Shereos, sidebars by Anita Lustrea and Lee Eclov, on Christianity Today does a great job explaining what spiritual direction entails. While it looks different for us every time, it's always a great time of seeking after God and listening to the Spirit's guidance.

#267 watch a sunrise with coffee
Well I sort of saw the sunrise...there's a coffee cup in my hand and it's getting light out. But this was the beginning of a highly entertaining, looong day. My sister-in-law Kelli had my name for Christmas and wanted to help me cross something big off my list. So she helped me with...

#274 sit in Starbucks open to close one day
Do you have any idea how long some Starbucks are open?!? 5am-10:30pm!! It was a ton of fun though. We put it out there to the Facebook world that we would be there all day and that people should come hang out with us. So here's some of the fun we had for the day...
We had various prizes we offered throughout the day for our visitors. Kenny won for being our first one!

Joanna was the winner of the best gift we received for the day- it was our first one and was a good combination of food, fun, and practical. Seriously though, our friends really outdid themselves with 21 people bringing us stuff . We got snacks, magazines, an adult coloring book & colored pencils, games, homemade pretzel bites, a song, and so much more.

My niece Kinsey is pretty stinking adorable!!

My brother Kyle & niece Lily ended up staying for hours & hours (and maybe only partly because of the free snacks)!

Sisters, sisters

John & his kids were hilarious. "Meet someone famous" is on my list, but they ran in asking for my autograph like they were meeting someone famous.

Fancy, skinny parents & my nephew Daniel made an appearance. Seriously, those curls!

The Boyds serenaded us with the theme song from The Cosby Show. They are ridiculously awesome.

#205 learn a cultural dance
I don't know what happened to the video, but my sweet friend Paula taught us the Hora (it's Jewish!). Yes, we danced throughout Starbucks for several minutes.

So that's a quick peek into our super exciting Starbucks day. If you need more details or pictures, check out my Twitter or Facebook from February 15th-16th. We had over 50 visitors and Holly added some intrigue to do the day by assigning a point system for number of visitors, gifts, etc. Usually if I cross off 15 items in one day I get 1 freebie to cross off at some point in the future, but I racked up enough points throughout the day to earn my freebie.

#250 build a fort
These are my kiddos that I've babysat for almost 9 years. I stayed with them for 10 days while their parents were on vacation, so we thought we'd make the most of it and get some items crossed off my list. We actually could live in this fort if necessary since we used 2 couches, 4 chairs, and a pile of blankets.

#144 go to a Fuel game
We also went to an Indy Fuel game and had a blast. They are affiliated with the Blackhawks and have unfortunately adopted the practice of playing the same song the Blackhawks do after they score a goal. While I feel much more knowledgeable now that I can recognize the song "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis, it also gets stuck in your head for days.

#25 read The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
I thought it was only fitting to read this now since I just saw the new movie and recently saw the other two Disney versions (all three are worth watching). While there were some interesting differences- Baloo is actually the teacher of the wolves & Mowgli and Bagheera is actually a big softie- the biggest difference is that Shere Khan was dead halfway through the book. And then it started talking about a seal. What?!? I was reading it on my Kindle so I thought maybe something weird was happening. It turns out that the book is actually a collection of seven short stories (the first three are about Mowgli). The others are "The White Seal," "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" (one I'd heard of!), "Toomai of the Elephants," and "Her Majesty's Servants." Who knew?

So there you have it. I am halfway done with this blog. The grand total after 5 years...I have read 60/120 books and completed 160/300 items total. Whew. Only 140 more things to go! : ) I have also accumulated 2 freebies that I can use to cross items off my list. Thanks for sticking with me for the first half of this journey. Here's to a lot more fun in the second half!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2015 in the Books

New Year's resolution...actually work on the blog as I go so I don't have to wrack my brain to remember what these stupid books were about!

#114 read Eragon by Christopher Paolini
#115 read Eldest by Christopher Paolini
#116 read Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
#117 read Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
These books run in the same vein as Lord of the Rings- dwarves, elves, dragons, etc. They're big books, but they read really quickly since there is a lot of dialogue, as well as a lot of action. I really enjoyed them and it's crazy to know that the author became a New York Times bestseller at the age of nineteen.

#75 read The Book of Hours by Davis Bunn
My sister-in-law Kelli has lots of great book recommendations (she also recommended the Eragon books). This is a fun, easy read with mysteries to be solved and lots of twists and turns. It's also a great story of hope and God's healing power.

#140 go to 10 Pacers games (5 done)
A big thanks to First Financial Bank for the invite to watch the Pacers game from their suite. There are a lot of fantastic people that work there! This game featured a Veterans' Day tribute that was so sweet. They had a bunch of veterans march out onto the court and each one had a sign with a picture from when they served, their name, and what war they served during. So grateful for everyone who has served our country!!

#96 read The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Anytime my brother Travis gives a book recommendation it should be taken seriously. Because reading is not his favorite. Unless it's Davy Crockett. Or Barry Sanders. Or has lots of pictures. If you enjoy the movie version of this, you will enjoy the book too since the screenplay follows it really closely. William Goldman writes this as an abridgment of the original Florinese version as he remembers his father reading it to him. The hilarious thing about this book that you should know going in is that he weaves truth and fiction throughout. There is no S. Morgenstern that originally wrote The Princess Bride, Goldman's father wasn't from Florin (it's a made-up place), he doesn't have a son...but he puts enough real moments from his life (he really did win Oscars for All the President's Men and Butch Cassidy) that I had to go online to read what's true and what isn't. He's hilarious!

#35 read As You Wish by Cary Elwes
This was an amazing follow-up to reading The Princess Bride. Cary Elwes walks you through the entire process of making the movie (which is fascinating in and of itself) to get an inside look at what goes into that. There are quotes and memories from all of the actors, as well as the director Rob Reiner, all throughout the book. It gives you such insight into the people that made these characters come alive. Perhaps the most interesting part is reading about the months of rigorous training and studying that Cary and Mandy Patinkin underwent in preparation for their epic duel. It is incredible that they did not use any stuntmen for the actual sword fighting and no camera angles used to hide any deficiencies.

#285 buy something over $700
Sadly, this was not something that I wanted to cross off my list so soon. But right before Christmas, my old car died and I was forced to find a new one. As most of you know, car shopping is the thing that I hate more than anything else in life. Luckily, one of my former high school students and her husband were looking to sell a car. So I am now the proud owner (at least trying to be excited about a car) of a dark gray 2011 Camry. Sorry there isn't a better picture, but at least it was semi-clean here.

#118 read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
My friend Ashleyne recommended this book and I loved it. It was so incredibly clever in how it was written and there are wonderful illustrations throughout it. It's a story about a boy who travels through the Phantom Tollbooth to the Kingdom of Wisdom. He visits the cities of Dictionopolis (all about letters) and Digitopolis (all about numbers) as he searches for the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. So many great plays on words such as when he visited the Island of Conclusions...which of course you can only reach by jumping to. There are also some great little nuggets in it such as:

"But why do only unimportant things?" asked Milo, who suddenly remembered how much time he spent each day doing them.
"Think of all the trouble it saves," the man explained..."If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you'll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won't have the time. For there's always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren't for that dreadful magic staff, you'd never know how much time you were wasting."

#178 buy a bike
My roomie thinks this is cheating, but the (sometimes) extremely strict Blogmaster Holly says that being creative is part of the fun of my 300 list. I decided I don't really want or need a bike. Since Sarah has one she's getting rid of, I officially bought it from her for $5...and then sold it back to her for $5. #178 buy a bike? Check. : )

I just want to give all of you a heads up on one that's happening next month. Kelli had my name for Christmas this year and because she loves me so much, she's helping me cross off a hard one. Since we both have Monday, February 15th off for Presidents' Day (assuming she doesn't have a snow day in between now and then), we are going to tackle sitting in Starbucks from open to close. Do you know how long they're open?!? 17+ hours! Keep an eye out on Facebook as we get closer and I'll let you know what location we've decided on. We're going to make it a fun day of having people stop by to hang out, play games, and hopefully make the day go more quickly. It will be a day filled with lots of caffeine for sure!