Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Let me win, but if I cannot win...

Let me be brave in the attempt.

This is from the Illinois Special Olympic website.
Read this story about an amazing girl!


Friday, September 07, 2007

"A delicate shade of pink has become a very powerful thing."
-Mary Kay Ash

Thursday, August 02, 2007

German Fest and the Beach

On Sunday (July 29th to be exact) I went with some friends up to the German Fest in Milwaukee, WI. You may never have experienced something as entertaining as the German Fest so here are some pictures of the entertainment:

It really was a lot of fun. A lot of music, a lot of dancing, and a lot of eating. Not to mention all the people walking around in hats with feathers, and "lederhosen." (see picture below)

Please keep in mind I am very serious- these groups really get the crowd moving and dancing!

And finally-
We had the pleasure of seeing this woman (pictured above). She happens to be a world famous yoddler.

Did you know that potato pancakes with applesauce are amazing? Sounds weird, but it's true. There are other things that I ate, but I cannot remember what they are called.
Later on Sunday after having my fill of food at the German Fest I made my way to my favorite place- Kenosha Beach. I saw the most amazing sunset over the lake. It was incredible! That is the one place that when I go there, time stops, everything else fades away, and all seems at peace.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

As clear as it gets

(Sent in an email, and I really liked it):

Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush, "Why did my son have to die in Iraq?"
Another mother asked President Kennedy, "Why did my son have to die in Viet Nam?"
Another mother asked President Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea?"
Another mother asked President F.D. Roosevelt, "Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?"
Another mother asked President W. Wilson, "Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?"
Yet another mother asked President Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?"
And yet another mother asked President G. Washington, "Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?"
Long, long ago, a mother asked, "Heavenly Father, why did my Son have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?"
The answers to all these are similar -- "So that others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness, and freedom."
This was emailed to me with no author and I thought the magnitude and the simplicity were awesome.
Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American Soldier - one died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Light in the Dark

"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby."

~ Ruth Renkel

I have always found that the story of Abraham being called to go to a land far away fascinating. The fact that God asked Abraham to go, not so crazy. The fact that Abraham went- is.
Who does such a thing?

Yet, the fact is that every day as I open my eyes, I find myself being asked by God to do the very same thing. Every day is a mystery. The beginning, the middle and the end. Where is God going to take me? What will God ask me to do? Where might He ask me to go? It is a scary thought. Shadows surround us. The unknown overtakes us. But there is something about the freedom that we live in when we surrender our lives to God.
There is this poster that hung on my wall when I was younger. There was a little girl swinging being held up by a large hand. Underneath the picture were the verses, Proverbs 3:5,6. At any moment the hand could have let go of the girl. But, of course the hand doesn't. And, of course the girl doesn't going flying wild-ly through the air, eventually landing on a heap on the ground. (I know- that's comforting). Our lives are the same way. God may ask us to go places we don't know, places we cannot see, places we have never been. And yet, we are not left alone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


"There is nothing on my horizon except everything.Everything is on my horizon."
- Dwight Shrute

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Bubba, an airline mechanic, was bragging to his boss one day. "You know, I know everyone
there is to know. Just name someone, anyone and I know them."

Tired of his boasting, his boss called his bluff, "Okay, Bubba, how about Tom Cruise?"

"Sure, yes, Tom and I are old friends and I can prove it."

So, Bubba and his boss fly out to Hollywood and knock on Tom Cruise's door and sure
enough, Tom Cruise, shouts, "Bubba ! Great to see You! You and your friend come right in
and join me for lunch!"

Although impressed, Bubba's boss is still skeptical. After they leave Cruise's house, he
tells Bubba that he thinks Bubba's knowing Cruise was just lucky.

"No, no, just name anyone else," Bubba says.

"President Bush," his Boss quickly retorts.

"Yep", Bubba says, "I know him, let's fly out to Washington ."

So, off they go. At the White House, Bush spots Bubba on the tour and motions him and his
boss over, saying, "Bubba, what a surprise. I was just on my way to a meeting, but you
and your friend come on in and let's have a cup of coffee first and catch up."

Well, the boss is very shaken by now, but still not totally convinced. After they leave
the White House grounds, he expresses his doubts to Bubba, who again implores him to name
anyone else.

"The new Pope," his boss replies.

"Sure!" says Bubba. "I've known the Pope a long time."

So, off they fly to Rome .

Bubba and his boss are assembled with the masses in Vatican Square when Bubba says, this
will never work. I can't catch the Pope's eye among all these people. Tell you what, I
know all the guards, so let me just go upstairs and I'll come out on the balcony with the

He disappears into the crowd headed toward St. Peter's.

Sure enough, half an hour later, Bubba emerges with the Pope on the balcony. But by the
time Bubba returns, he finds that his Boss has had a heart attack and is surrounded by

Working his way to his boss' side, Bubba asks him, "What happened"?

His boss looks up and says, "I was doing fine until you and The Pope came out on the
balcony and the Japanese tourist next to me asked, "Who's that on the balcony with

Monday, April 23, 2007

Business is Business

(received in an email)

One day at kindergarten a Teacher said to the class of
5-year-olds, "I'll give $10 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived." A little Irish boy put his hand up and said, "It was
St.Patrick." The Teacher said, "Sorry Sean, that's not correct." Then a little Scottish boy put his hand up and said, "It was St. Andrew." The Teacher replied, "I'm sorry, Hamish, that's not right either."
Finally, a little Jewish boy raised his hand and said, "It was Jesus Christ." The teacher said, "That's absolutely right, Marvin. Come up here and I'll give you the $10."
As the Teacher was giving Marvin his money, she said, "You know, Marvin, since you're Jewish, I was very surprised you said 'Jesus Christ'."
Marvin replied, "Yeah. In my heart, I knew it was Moses, but " business is business".

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Facing Fears

So last night I decided to accomplish something that I've never done before...

I went into the attic at church!

It was very scary- mock me if you like, but it was a terrifying experience. (I was moving all of the Easter Eggs into the church attic for storage). The entire time I continually said to myself, "I climbed a mountain, I can be in the attic."

Strange how our mind plays tricks on us. The entire time I was paranoid that I would come crashing through the floor. Every step I took I tried to make sure that I was holding onto something. I am also petrified of the hole where the ladder comes up. That is probably the weirdest fear of all. It's as though I'm afraid no matter where I am in the attic I will some how fall, and manage to catapult down the attic ladder to the hard floor below.

Needless to say, I thought about posting more pictures of how the attic looked inside, BUT I didn't want to have to go back INTO the attic. I had enough of facing fears for one night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

There is nothing like spring...

I love walking out my doorstep, closing my eyes, and feeling...

Wet snow smacking me in the face.

How WILD is this weather!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Moving Day, Easter Eggs and More...

I moved. Finally. It was quite the process, but it is done. I am still recovering, but I love my new place.

Pictures of the move:
Pics of my downstairs:

Once my room is finished (it should be soon, I'll add those out here. I'm in need of a little bit more decorations, but that will happen eventually. .

On Saturday we had the Easter Egg hunt- It was snowing! I have never hunted for eggs in the snow before, but it was fun. We almost had 200 people come out for eggs, puppets, hot dogs and lemonade!

Other news -best described with pictures:

On the Beach-

Sand angels (no those feet aren't mine)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What has Stephanie been doing?

Hi everyone-

Here's a quick update on my life (prepare to be amazed).

This past weekend I moved back to the "VVA" as my friend and I call it. There is a pool- and a great place to walk. That causes me to be very excited. My room is now pretty much in place, except for some additional books that I need to bring up from my downstairs living area- which is NOT in place at all. Hopefully I'll get that tackled by the weekend. (I'll get pictures once it's decent)

Saturday is my church's annual Easter Egg Hunt. I am very excited about it. There are over 10,000 eggs, hot dogs and lemonade. So, it should be fun.

Next week (6 days and counting) I'm going to see my friends in Nebraska--YAY! That will be so fun!

I also have our Junior Bible Quiz State competition a week after that. For those of you that really know me, you should know that once a Bible Quiz geek, always a Bible Quiz geek. I can't seem to get away from it. It's been fun hanging out with the kids and getting to know them.

After that, hopefully things should return to normal for me. (I don't really know what normal is---I suppose it'll be more of me being my homebody self that I am).

Other than that, and getting over this cold, nothin' much else going on.

Love ya!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Life's Survival Kit

(I thought this was cute)
Toothpicks...pick the good qualities in everyone-including yourself.

Hugs...give hugs and praise daily.

Rubberband...be more flexible.

Paper clip...hold things together.

Caramel..."Chew the Fat"- talk, listen and act positively.

Bandaids...take care of each others hurt.

Candle...celebrate! Every day things happen for which we can be thankful!

Mint...realize you are worth your mint.

Button...know when to BUTTON YOUR LIP. Don't let anyone push your button.

Erase...understand that everyone makes mistakes; that's okay---we learn from our mistakes.

Nuts...There's got to be some in every group!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Would you rather...

Be left handed or right?

Be able to swim like a fish or fly like a bird?

Have 3 eyes or 3 ears?

Live in New York City or Chicago?

Have 3 cats or 5 dogs?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Passed!

Yesterday for the very first time I experienced a Vehicle Emissions Test for my car. (In Missouri I think I had to take a work vehicle, but I don't really remember- and it wasn't my car). Indiana does not have this type of a test for vehicles.

So, I took a deep breath and faced the music. It was very exciting. You pull up a gate outside a white building. A ticket pops out (like when you are going to a parking garage). You have to then follow the yellow lines and pull up to the cone. An attendant waves you forward, asks for ticket, and sternly instructs you to sit in park and not move. Then you drive forward, and again are told to go into park. This time, however, you have to get out of the car and stand to the side while they hook up a gadget to your car. Next, you get inside the car and have to pull forward to another cone.

Fortunately, the tunnel of "doom" really wasn't all that dreadful. The VETG (Vehicle Emissions Test Guy) came out and stated almost gleefully that I passed. He started to walk away, but I hollered after him, "What do I do now? I'm new." He told me very nicely that I save the paper in my glove box, and throw away the "invitation" that I had received in the mail. I was then free to drive away.

The Point of the Story:
Don't be afraid of the VET.

The Sweetest

My cousin's son said the sweetest thing to my aunt (his grandma) the other day.

"I love you so much, my heart is coming out."

Isn't that so cute!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Need a laugh on a Monday?

This was sent to me in an email. I found it again, and thought it was worth sharing.

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their
collections of actual analogies & metaphors found in high school
Here are last year's winners.....
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides
gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making & breaking alliances like
underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E Coli & he was room-
temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog
makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated
because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a
surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a
bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag
filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an
eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city
& Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when
you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced
across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains,
one having left Cleveland at 6:36 PM. traveling at 55 mph, the other
from Topeka at 4:19 PM at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences
that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John & Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who
had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant & she was the
East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap,
only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike
Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not
eating for awhile.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either,
but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land
mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe & extended one slender
leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around
with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells,
as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Wild Weather

This morning I woke up to the sound of thunder and the flash of lightning. For a moment I thought that it was weird weather because it was February, but then I remembered that it was March so it didn't seem as strange. Then, just another moment later I realized it was still weird. There are inches and inches of snow on the ground, and yet it was thundering?
So I got up, got ready and went outside to leave for work. Then I realized something even stranger was happening. Not only was there thunder and lightning, but there was something akin to a clear slushy falling from the sky and covering the ground. It was a thick combination of snow and rain and ice, and it was, very....well, wet.
It made the drive to work somewhat interesting as snow plows drove along trying to clear the streets of the slush. Which, by the way makes NO sense. Not only would the new falling slushy fill in the holes immediately, but the snow plows would spray the slush hazardly on all the oncoming traffic. That in and of itself caused even more hazardous road conditions as drivers swayed out of the way to save their lives from any oncoming... slush.
Well, Happy March Everyone!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


A little girl was diligently pounding away on hergrandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story."What's it about?" he asked."I don't know," she replied. "You know I can't read yet."

Stop the madness...

I think everyone around my part of the country thought we were getting off easy...and we were, until madness struck. How is it possible to go for three months of winter in the 20s and 30s and then suddenly, plummet to subzero temperatures? I, for one, do not know. I also did not know that it was possible for it to snow when it was zero degrees outside. Can anyone explain that to me? How is that possible? So, it was the worst of the worst. Usually it's either cold or snowy, but not both.

This week, a heat wave has taken over, (double digits- 15 degrees) but it's snowing. I realize that other parts of the country are covered in feet rather than inches, but I'm ready for spring.

There is something incredible about the snow. Especially late at night, when I stare out my window with all the lights off, it's like I'm living in a snow globe with magic falling all around. If time could stand still for a few moments, I could live in that world. (That would be the world where I would not be driving to work the next morning.)

Anyways, enough of my rambling.

Be safe everyone!

Monday, January 29, 2007


When you're from Texas, people that you meet ask you questions like, Do you have any cows?" "Do you have horses?" "Bet you got a bunch of guns, eh?"
They all want to know if you've been to South fork.
They watched Dallas.
Have you ever looked at a map of the world? Look at Texas with me just for a second. That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast, and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be.
As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is. It's Texas.
Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt and he'll know what it is. What happens if I show you a picture of any other state?
You might get it maybe after a second or two, but who else would?
And even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you? In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup.
There is some little bit of Texas in everyone.
Did you ever hear anyone in a bar go, "Wow...so you're from Iowa? Cool, tell me about it?"
Do you know why? Because there's no place like Texas.
Texas is the Alamo.
Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom.
We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and Crockett and do you know why?
Because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to cross it and be heroes.
John Wayne paid to do the movie himself.
That is the Spirit of Texas. Texas is Sam Houston capturing Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
Texas is "Juneteenth" and Texas Independence Day.
Texas is huge forests of Piney Woods like the Davy Crockett National Forest.
Texas is breathtaking mountains in the Big Bend.
Texas is the unparalleled beauty of bluebonnet fields in the Texas Hill Country.
Texas is the beautiful, warm beaches of the Gulf Coast of South Texas.
Texas is the shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas. Texas is world record bass from places like Lake Fork.
Texas is Mexican food like nowhere else, not even Mexico.
Texas is the Fort Worth Stockyards, Bass Hall, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Astrodome. Texas is larger-than-life legends like Michael DeBakey, Denton Cooley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Landry, Darrell Royal, ZZ Top, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, George H. W.Bush, Lyndon B.Johnson, and George W. Bush.
Texas is great companies like Dell Computer, Texas Instruments and Compaq.
And LOCKHEED MARTIN AEROSPACE,! Home of the F-16 Jet Fighter and the JSF Fighter. Texas is NASA.
Texas is huge herds of cattle and miles of crops.
Texas is skies blackened with doves and fields full of deer. Texas is a place where towns and cities shut down to watch the local High School Football game on Friday nights and for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football and for the Night In Old San Antonio River Parade in San Antonio.
Texas is ocean beaches, deserts, lakes, and rivers, mountains and prairies, and modern cities.
If it isn't in Texas, you probably don't need it.
No one does anything bigger or better than it's done in Texas.
By federal law, Texas is the only state in the U.S. that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland, California, or Maine and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Pine Tree High in Longview or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height - 20 feet. Do you know why? Because it is the only state that was a republic before it became a state. Also, being a Texan is as high as being an American down here. Our capitol is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in Washington, D.C. and we can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to!
We included these things as part of the deal when we came on.
That's the best part, right there.
Texas even has its own power grid!!
If you are a REAL TEXAN you won't even need to be told to pass this on

Monday, January 15, 2007

Experience of a Lifetime

You will never believe what I had the opportunity to do-

I went to Chilis! Okay, so that really in and of itself is not an opportunity of a lifetime considering it's my favorite restaurant (I love their chips and ranch).

It was about two weeks ago, and it was a Sunday night. I went spur of the moment with my friend Karen. We arrived to the favorite hangout where there was no wait. Unfortunately after we sat down we were forgotten for about seven minutes. Score for us, however, because when they finally remembered that we were there they offered us FREE chips and salsa. By that time we were ready to order. The waitress kindly took down our choices. Suddenly, there was this flash of light outside the restaurant, and then everything went black. The emergency lights kicked in, and there we were- sitting in Chili's, with no lights. No only was Chili's out of power- the entire strip was without power, along with hundreds of residential homes. My imagination, of course, kicked in at that point, and I began to think of all the possible scenarios. (I am a fan of 24.)

In reality- a transformer blew, causing a section of the area to lose electricity for about 2 hours.
Karen and I sat in the darkness and were some of the last people to leave. We sat talking, munching on chips and salsa and drinking our water, and had ourselves a good ole time!