Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday fun continues!

I don't know who began the whole "birthday celebrations last a least a week" thing, but I'm a big fan. As I posted last week, I was pleasantly surprised by the fun I had on my birthday, as I thought my surgery would put a big fat damper on everything. January 22nd was a grand day, and the fun just kept going. Here and there throughout last week, I received additional little gifties and cards and belated birthday wishes. The celebration culminated with the arrival of the deGrassie's on Friday.

Now, my poor Kelly had an annoying stomach bug, but champ that she is, she still came to spend 27 hours with me to ensure that we did not miss a birthday opportunity. And of course, she came bearing fantastic gifts: help toward the surgery fund :), the Twilight Saga Scene-it game (which includes Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse!!!), and a Psalter to balance out the previous item. She and John (sorry, D-Brt, I forget that the gifts are technically from you, as well) also treated Rob and me to a delicious lunch at the Lunch Box, the newish sandwich place on Main Street. You can read more details about our weekend at Kelly's post by clicking here.

It was a great time, but as always, and perhaps even moreso than other visits, it was way too short. I'm so glad we have a couple of things planned with the deG's over the next few months. How else am I going to get through these dreary foggy days ahead??

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just put a bird on it.

You all know my obsession with birds. (Okay, everyone is pretty much obsessed with birds right now.) In my defense, I do believe I began loving those cute little avian friends before the trend went crazy, but who can be sure? Somewhere I probably saw a little sparrow outline on a bag and fell in love.

The point: Watch this funny video called "Put a Bird on It" that is now on Design*Sponge. Click here to go to the post. Even if you miraculously steered clear of the bird trend, I'm sure you'll still appreciate it and probably want to send it to your other bird-crazed friend.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Post-op News

I shared that a couple of weeks ago I had a laparoscopy done. Today was my post-op appointment, so I wanted to give more info about what the doctor found. I haven't shared much of this on my blog, but being that I'm excited and hoping to see some exciting things happen this year, I wanted my friends to know a few details.

The laparoscopy helped my doctor see that I have (or had, since at the moment it's no longer there!) endometriosis. Endometriosis is categorized into four stages depending on the severity, and mine was at a 3. It was mainly around my ovaries, especially my poor right ovary which was nearly obscured by an endometrioma cyst, but touches of it were elsewhere, too. This discovery explains many of the problems and struggles I've had over the years, and I'm excited about the good that will (hopefully) come! Even though this surgery cannot remove the endometriosis permanently, we are hoping that a greater result comes, perhaps in the form of a little snuggly person! :)

Please be praying for my continued recovery. I feel nearly back to myself (praise God!), but it may take a little more time for my body to be back to itself. Also, pray for us and the year that is ahead!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why I could never be a movie critic

Within the last few weeks, Robby and I have probably watched more movies than we have in the entire previous year. These movies have been from a variety of years and genres. From old Bill Murray comedies (Groundhog Day) to Robert Redford classics (The Hot Rock) to BBC series (Wives and Daughters) to family films (The Ant Bully) to documentaries (The September Issue) to recent releases (Inception), we've definitely been getting our money's worth from our Netflix account.

Spending all this time watching movies has made me realize again that I am not the greatest film critic, and this is why: I like movies that make me feel good. Period. I can watch a movie and recognize that it has all the makings of a great film: good acting, great characterization, fantastic special effects, beautiful composition. But if it has me continually squirming for fear of what might come or feeling unsettled hours after it's over, I hate it. I don't care how realistic the effects were or how well the character was developed. I want redemption at the end, and I want a lot of it. I want life to be the overarching theme, not death. I want to feel like I can do anything, just like the character did, and that good always prevails, no matter how unlikely it may seem. If it's action, I want just enough to keep me sitting up in my seat without having to cover my eyes. And if it's drama--though I tend to shy away from those because they're emotionally draining and my life already is emotionally draining--I want it to be more implicit than explicit and for all to work out in the end. And I want a lot of things left out - sex, violence, crude language. In fact, I'd be ecstatic if every movie was edited to be PG.

And if I can't have all of that, I want to laugh a lot at things that are genuinely funny, turn off the television, and go to bed without any disturbing images rattling around in my mind.

I think this is why I tend to like movies that are either based on books I've already read and loved or stories I already know well. I didn't know how to handle Inception (did good even prevail in that story?), but The Last Airbender? That's a story I can wrap my mind around. I'll give that the former was a "better" film in terms of acting and complexity, but the latter ended with me smiling and hoping there will be a sequel. Besides Eclipse and Harry Potter, probably my favorite film last year was How to Train Your Dragon. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to have my very own dragon. That is a successful movie.

I suppose I am glad there are people out there who have a slightly stronger stomach (and heart and mind) than I. Some movies should be made, even if I don't like them or won't watch them. And I recognize that life is not always pretty, and there is importance in capturing the sadder parts of life. But even the saddest and darkest story of all time -- man's sin and Jesus' gruesome death on the cross -- ends with light and joy.

New Favorites

Steph introduced me to this fun crafty blog called MMM Crafts. It's pretty cool, a la Design*Sponge but a bit more crafty than designy. I especially love the free printables the site offers. (Who doesn't love free, right?)

My cousin Kristen shared with me a site called Missouri Star Quilt Company. It's targeted for quilters, but it has really good prices on materials in general. What sold her (and is getting my attention) is the daily deal. She says she has received yards and yards of beautiful quality material for little dollar prices. You have to check the site early though because the deal does run out.

Jessica pointed my attention to this blog called I Sew Lucky. It is a hodge-podge of her everyday life, her decor, and her design. She has amazing and adorable plushies and dollies she makes. (Jessica, have you seen today's giveaway on her site? An owl, of course!)

Another fun blog that I passed on to Steph is called Manhattan Craft Room. What I really love about this blog is the simple sewing projects she'll feature. Oh and I love that her name is Brett. So cute. Check out her awesome Christmas tree skirt. I'm thinking I need to adjust this to be a table cloth or something.

Any other neat craft/decor/home/food/life blogs or sites that you've found? Please share them with me!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Twenty-eight!

Saturday was my 28th birthday, and it was a grand day. Robby began my celebration by hanging the "Happy Birthday" garland and setting up a pretty display of a card and gift on the table. (See how my name is spelled from cool stickers on the home-made envelope?) After opening my iTunes gift and sweet card, we headed off to Starbuck's to enjoy my first cup of coffee since the surgery. It was great! And the best part is, since we're still loaded up with gift cards from Christmas, it was also free :)
After coffee was the impromptu lunch that Chelsea Boyd and Steph so kindly arranged for me. I received a text from Chels the day before saying that she was going to be in town (she never is here, so this was something) and asking if we could get together for my birthday. Nine of us met at Fugazzi's for lunch - Robby, me, Chels, Steph, Molly, Carly, Camille, and Chelsea and her boyfriend Roger. The food was delicious (especially since Roger and Chels so kindly treated me and Robby) and the company fantastic. My only regret is that Chels and Steph and I didn't get a picture together! (Girls, why do always do that??) I guess that tasty complimentary cheesecake had us all distracted. Okay, it had me distracted.
After we said our good-byes to Chels, Steph, and Molly, the rest of us went to my parents' house for a little hang time before dinner. At this point, I was feeling a bit sore, so I got to take a little rest on the couch as we caught up on American Idol and the Bachelor. We also took some time to watch Camille's latest finds on YouTube. (Have you all seen Marcel the Shell with Shoes On?)

Dinner was great and fun. My mom set up a mini pizza bar where we each grabbed a delicious bread and topped it with our heart's desire of toppings. Of course, each of us thought our creation was the best. But really--mine was the best. Auntie Di came and brought an array of desserts -- chocolate cake with white chocolate glaze, boysenberry pie, and a variety of cheesecake slices. Needless to say, we were all wishing we ate a little less by the end of the night.

Whew! What a day...and more celebration came the next day as Robby's grandma treated us to a dinner in honor of my birthday at Olive Garden. Again, cheesecake found its way in front of me, so how could I resist??
In all honesty, I was expecting a pretty laid-back birthday, but once again my loving and thoughtful family and friends made sure my day was special. It was a perfect way to begin this new year of my life! Thanks all for making it memorable!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22nd already?

Goodness this month has flown by. I usually feel like there is a good amount of time between Christmas and my birthday (today!), but this year, it seemed I blinked and there I was awake at the end of January. Truly, I have been asleep for a good part of this new year, whether I was sick, recovering from being sick, having surgery, or recovering from surgery. You'd think that with all that down-time, I'd have a lot of energy! Nope. I am still exhausted, and it will probably be a few more days until I feel back to myself.

Nonetheless, I had a great birthday! Not only was I feeling 90% today, I was also able to spend all day celebrating with people I love, two of whom I wasn't planning to see at all (Steph and Chels), and the birthday wishes just kept coming. Plus, the celebrating really isn't over. I still get to have a birthday dinner with Robby's family, and the Bestie/BFFAEAE weekend extravaganza that begins on Thursday.

I will post pictures as soon as I get a chance. For now, I'll just say good-night from me, a happy and blessed 28-year-old girl!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Week!

Yay! It's been one week since my surgery. Although the last couple of days were rough, I'm feeling much better today, and I'm looking forward to feeling better and better as each day goes by.

The thing about sitting around all day doing nothing is my usual blogging topics are limited. I haven't cooked, crafted, sewed, shopped, or even cleaned in seven days now, and it will probably be a few more since I do. For now, I am just so thankful for my wonderful family and friends who have helped me, especially my sweet hub, and I am thankful to be feeling well!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A new couch

For the last five days, I've spent most of my time on my couch. Today, I moved my recovery over to my parents' couch for a change of scenery. It was nice spending time with my mom as we watched food and craft shows, pretty much our favorite thing to do when we're lounging around. She introduced me to a chef named Nick Malgieri. He is a cooking instructor at a culinary institute in New York, an author of many great cookbooks, and a frequent visitor on cooking shows. I am putting his book Bake! on my list of must-haves this year. Until then, he keeps a great website by the same name that includes some of his recipes and tips.

While looking for more of his recipes online, we found this awesome "How to" on epicurious.com written by the very man! It's called Cakes: Recipes and Tips and includes a complete guide to baking, plus ten classic cake recipes. It is worth your time to check this out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quick Update

I can't believe it has already been four days since my surgery. Physically, I am recovering well. The first three days I stayed on the pain medication prescribed to me. Not only did this remove my pain, but it also made me pretty out of it most of the day, which (I'll be honest) was kind of nice. (Maybe that's why the days have gone by so quickly??) Today is my first day just using tylenol, and although I don't feel quite as good as I did, I'm still relatively comfortable. The biggest thing I faced today was fatigue. Just moving from one room to the next is exhausting!

I've had a lot of help, and this has truly been amazing. Robby has been super-husband and spends his day preparing meals, cleaning, monitoring my meds, and overall keeping me as comfortable as possible. My mom has been over almost every night with meals, my dad and sister have stopped by, and my cousin Kara came by with a pot of soup, as well. Everyone has been so good to check on me and offer help. I feel blessed by all of my support.

For the most part, I think I had accurate expectations of the surgery and recovery. What I wasn't prepared for and what is most surprising to me is how emotional I am. I cried a lot today and became frustrated with things that wouldn't normally bother me. I am just feeling down, and I wasn't expecting that at all. It brought me some comfort, then, when I found this helpful article on endometriosis.org, "Laparoscopy: Before and After Tips." This little article, by the way, is the best thing I've found concerning laparoscopy. It really does cover every major thing related to the surgery and gives good tips for recovery.

I'm very pleased with my recovery, but I am ready and anxious to get back to normal as soon as possible. Thanks everyone, for your continued concern and prayers!

Post-op blues, from "Laparoscopy: Before and After Tips"
Most of us experience a period of emotional ups and downs following surgery. For some, the blues remain for several weeks. It's not unusual to cry easily or become anxious, agitated, frightened, or suspicious. Some of us have also experienced nightmares following surgery. All of this will pass in time and you will begin to feel in control again. Be gentle and patient with yourself during your physical and emotional recovery

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recovery

This has been quite an eventful week for me. Yesterday, I had a laparoscopy done, which is a surgical procedure that diagnoses and treats any problems in one's abdomen, such as endometriosis, cysts, scar tissue, etc. This has been long overdue, as I have been dealing with issues for some time now.

Even though this was an outpatient surgery, and in the hospital's view, outpatient is an "easy" procedure, I have been amazed by the whole process, especially since this was my first hospital experience. First, I was amazed by how many different nurses and doctors I saw in one day, which was ten by our best count, not including Monday's pre-op visit. Second, I was quite overwhelmed with the whole anesthesiology thing. This was the first time I've ever been "put under" (except for wisdom teeth, which is apparently a different type of sedation). I had only a couple of minutes to be shocked as I was wheeled into the operating room before I drifted off to sleep. Then, waking up was quite an experience. My whole body was shaking, and the pain was so intense, but I wasn't coherent enough to get a nurse's attention. They of course noticed me quickly, and gave me medicine to help relieve my discomfort, but it was a bizarre couple of minutes.

Third, I am astounded by my body's recovery in two ways, both in how much this hurts, but also in how much the pain is controlled (if that makes sense). This surgery is comparatively a minor surgery: I came out with only three small incisions in my lower abdominal area and not even one stitch to fix them up. Even though the incisions were small, the pain and discomfort is shocking. As soon as my pain medicine wears off, even the smallest abdominal movement (like sitting up) causes pain. Walking, laughing, coughing, even talking forces my muscles to tighten, therefore causing discomfort. It's incredible. On the other hand, this "minor" surgery was still pretty dang invasive, and yet I am able to be comfortable most of the day, as long as I limit what I do. And three tiny incisions were enough for my doctor to completely clean out the unwanted stuff. Amazing.

So, as I am sitting and recovering, I am so grateful to God for the knowledge and wisdom He has granted to our doctors, nurses, and scientists. I am also overwhelmed by His love, that He cares for me and my health, that He is with us every step of our lives, that He uses whatever He chooses for our good.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sunshine!

There is sun today, and I'm so glad. It seems that my week of singing "Mr. Sun" has finally paid off. You know that song, right?

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me.
O Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun,
Hiding behind a tree.
These little children are asking you
to please come out so we can play with you.
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun,
Please shine down on
Please shine down on
Please shine done on me!

Ahh, how I loved those fun songs in elementary school: "Baby Baluga," "I am a Pizza," "Down By the Bay," "Octopus," "The Months of the Year" (which I also learned in Spanish)...

I'll try to keep singing to Mr. Sun, so our sunshine lasts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Favorite Things 2010: Part 2

The faves continue...

Favorite New Appliance: Sewing machine! Debbie surprised me one day with a new sewing machine, and there hasn't been a week that goes by that I don't use it. I love it!

Favorite Cookbook: I remembered this after I talked to Kelly yesterday, and she told me she had found and purchased Best of America's Test Kitchen 2011, which is more of a magazine than cookbook. I had the 2010 version, and it served me quite well. Some of my favorites were the garlic mashed potatoes, popovers, cinnamon buns, baked ziti, mac and cheese, spiedies, chocolate cookies, and gingerbread cake. Love this!

Favorite DIY tool: Spray paint! I don't know why I hadn't embraced spray paint before this year, but I purchased three different colors (green, bronze, and silver) and have used it to update all kinds of things. Love it!

Other favorites from the past year that don't really have a category: the herbs and spices from Capriccio Specialties gifted to me by my mother-in-law (seriously, who knew spices could smell like these?); the spice jars from World Market that I have used to store anything from basil to beads; the collection of The Office and 30 Rock on Netflix; the clearance fabric from Beverly's; cosmo and dahlia flowers; my little lemon tree...

All in all, 2010 was a good year, and I have high hopes for 2011!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Better than the tin

The more I bake and try new things, the more I find out that it is possible to recreate my favorite store-bought treats, and, once the recipes are mastered, the home-made versions are ten times better. This was the case with the lemon sables I made this past week, better known to us as those sugar-covered butter cookies in the Christmas tins. I love those cookies and didn't think there was anything wrong with the tin version until I made these at home. They were amazing! And so very easy! These will definitely be on my gift list next year.


Lemon Sables

INGREDIENTS

1large egg
10tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
1/3cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (2 3/4 ounces)
1/4teaspoon table salt
1teaspoon vanilla extract
4teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 Egg white + 1 t water
Turbinado sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Place egg in small saucepan, cover with 1 inch water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill small bowl with ice water. Using slotted spoon, transfer egg to ice water and let stand 5 minutes. Crack egg and peel shell. Separate yolk from white; discard white. Press yolk through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl.

  2. 2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, salt, and cooked egg yolk on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl and beater with rubber spatula as needed. Turn mixer to low, add vanilla and lemon zest, and mix until incorporated. Stop mixer; add flour and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, press dough into cohesive mass.

  3. 3. Divide dough in half; roll each piece into log about 6 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in 12-inch square of parchment paper and twist ends to seal and firmly compact dough into tight cylinder. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.

  4. 4. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using chef’s knife, slice dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds, rotating dough so that it won’t become misshapen from weight of knife. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Brush with egg white and water mixture and sprinkle sugar on top.

  5. 5. Bake until centers of cookies are pale golden brown with edges slightly darker than centers, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using thin metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Perfect Lemon Bars

I have one lemon left on my Dwarf Meyer, so I was perusing Cook's Illustrated for a simple lemony dessert. I stumbled across these lemon bars that Kelly and I made last year. We couldn't remember where the recipe had come from, so I'm glad I found it! I don't have enough lemons to make these, but I wanted to share the recipe so we have it on hand, as well as encourage any lemon lover out there (no, I don't mean 30 Rock lovers, he he) to try these.

INGREDIENTS

The Crust
1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3cup confectioners' sugar , plus extra to decorate finished bars
1/4cup cornstarch
3/4teaspoon table salt
12tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at very cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
Lemon Filling
4large eggs , beaten lightly
1 1/3cups granulated sugar
3tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2teaspoons grated lemon zest from 2 large lemons
2/3cup lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons, strained
1/3cup whole milk
1/8teaspoon table salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Dot paper with butter, then lay second sheet crosswise over it (see illustration 1, below).

  2. 2. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. (To do this by hand, mix flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater into flour mixture. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.) Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and, following illustration 2, press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

  3. 3. For the filling: Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon zest, juice, milk, and salt to blend well.

  4. 4. To finish the bars: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend; pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Following illustrations 3 and 4, below, transfer to cutting board, fold paper down, and cut into serving-size bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts, as necessary. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over bars, if desired.

Favorite Things 2010: Part 1

Today feels like Day 1 of the new year for me, and as I was plotting how I plan to spend my next week (organizing, cleaning, purging), I started to think about those things that made 2010 great. No, I'm not talking about the non-material things such as family, friends, and love; I'm talking about the material things, the purchases and the finds that I'm still happy about, even as 2011 is beginning.

These favorite things just may be the topic of my blogging the next few posts. I'd love to hear what your favorite things of 2010 were as well!

Favorite Wearable Item: Guess flat leather boots that I received for Christmas last year and became the go-to component to fix up any outfit. You see how they turn a white skirt and oversized top into something fabulous? Love these.

I also have to add in my favorite wearable item in the jewelry category. The little "C" monogram necklace Robby bought me in New York is wonderful, the perfect dainty piece to wear everyday. Love this.
Favorite Face Product: Stila's Convertible Color, the compact that gives me instant pick-me-up color even when I'm pale and pasty from months of winter. (Okay, we've really only had three weeks of winter, but it feels like months!) Love this.
Stila Convertible Dual Lip and Cheek Cream
Favorite Kitchen Appliance: The garlic press Ben and Stephanie gave me because they know how much I love garlic, especially on my pizza. Sadly, I tried to cram too much garlic in it and now it has to be fiddled with to work, but it still is my fave. Love it!

Favorite Read: Lucky for me, I don't have to choose between Twilight and Harry Potter because I read the Twilight books in 2009. Harry Potter, you are my favorite read of 2010 (and will probably be a future year fave, as well). Love you, HP.

That's all for today! I'll need to think of my other categories, but I'm pretty sure furniture piece, food, and tv show will be my next post. Any other ideas?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rest

Today I awoke to sunshine. How grand! The last couple of days have been dreary with the rainy weather outside and two sickies inside. (This dreaded bug just will not give up!) But today there is light coming through the windows, which is perfect, since I'm finally feeling a little better. The light (and lack of fuzzy cold medicine) makes me see all the things I need to be doing, though, for which I have no energy: take down the Christmas decor, clean the house, organize the mail, complete the half-finished bird mobile, do the laundry...you get the picture.

Those things are just going to have to wait. Even though sitting around watching lame movies and sipping cough syrup the last five days is not how I wanted to ring in my new year, it has given me time to think about the importance of rest. Real rest. Rest that comes from a soul and heart at peace, not consumed by unimportant things. Rest that comes from dedicated time with the Lord. And yes, rest that comes from listening to what I physically need, which sometimes may simply be a day of nothing.

The irony is that the type of rest I long for actually requires energy. It takes practice to learn how to rest my soul; it takes discipline to spend time with the Lord each day; it takes prayer to recognize that "nothing" may be just as valuable as checking things off of a list.

I suppose that "rest" should be right up there with "exercise" in my New Year's resolutions. I just have a feeling that I won't be mastering any of my resolutions, let alone learning the spiritual and physical reality of rest, by 2012.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

To a new year!

Our New Year's celebration was not what it was supposed to be. We were supposed to be with John and Kelly, ringing in the New Year with good food, good drinks, and good laughs. Instead, Robby and I spent it alone as we continued to nurse ourselves back to health. We did stay up until midnight and toasted the New Year with cups of cough syrup, but, of course, it wasn't the same at all.

Even though Robby and I both have hardly moved from the couch since Wednesday night, I still awoke this morning with a sense of excitement. A bout of coughs had me up early, so as I waited for the codeine to take its effect, I had about half an hour to think about the new year. I love new beginnings. I love a chance to make lists and set goals, an opportunity to adjust and improve.

My list this year includes much of what it always includes: I want to exercise, read the Bible and pray daily, eat better. I want to continue my crafting pursuits, although I need to find a way to balance that better. I want to work on my music, and I want to see the children's music ministry at church continue to grow.

There are about ten things I'd like to get started on right now, but being that I have no energy, they're going to have to wait.

I wish you all a happy, joyous, and full 2011!