Friday, November 30, 2007

From Heaven to the Holidays

This morning, our breakfast conversation turned to Heaven--how this life on earth is only a mere shadow of what is to come. Hubs got so excited, he jumped up and went to his book shelf where he pulled down his anthology of The Chronicles of Narnia. He began to read Lewis' description of the new Narnia (at the very end of the last book of the series, The Last Battle), and both of us got teary-eyed. Our life on earth is full of beauty and wonder and love, and those are the things we'll experience more of in Heaven. The unsavory things of earthly life--the fear, the tragedy, the suffering--will be no more.

And as He [Aslan] spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. ~C.S. Lewis

Reading that thrills my heart! Somehow, reflecting on Heaven seems like an appropriate way to greet the holiday season. After all, Jesus came into this world to make Heaven possible for me. As November comes to an end (yea, NaBloPoMoers!), I really want to turn my heart and mind toward God in a meaningful way.

I like practicing some sort of spiritual discipline during the month of December because it helps me connect with God during the Christmas season and leading into the New Year, which always feels like a season of renewal and new beginnings for me. For the month of December, I'm going to be writing about and reflecting on prayer on my blog.

As I wrote in this post, I am inviting any of my blog buddies and readers to join with me in a month of prayer (not necessarily to write about it--though you can--but to practice it). Would you like to join me? My thought is that during the month of December, we can:

-take time (even if it is just a few minutes) to be alone with God each day.
-give thanks for the blessings He has given us.
-ask Him for something only He can do (He doesn't mind our bold requests. In fact, He encourages them!)

I also want to invite anyone to leave prayer requests in my comments section. It is fine if they are anonymous. I would love to pray for you.

Anyone is welcome to join me. Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Girls' Night Out!

Once a month, The Melting Pot (my fave fondue restaurant) hosts a Girls' Night Out. So my three friends and I decided to splurge in honor of the holiday season for a little celebration!

Skewer power!

The drink special of the night was a cherry lemon drop. It was sugary and resembled a lemonade with a shot of cherry tylenol.

This was the cheese fondue that is now happily residing on my hips.

It's really nice to have these girl friends here in my new community. Thanks for a fun night, girls!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kristin Chenoweth singing "Taylor, The Latte Boy"

I love Kristin Chenoweth, and if you're looking for something to put a smile on your face today, this song will likely do it! I hope you guys are all having a happy Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Five Books on my Shelf

Isn't it fun to walk into someone's home and scope out the books they have on their shelves? It's a fun way to have a quick study on that person's interior world. So this morning, I'm going to scope out the books on my shelf that would tell you something about me.

Turning Point by Jimmy Carter - It's a signed copy that I've never read, but I thought it would be cool to have a book signed by a United States President. He came to my university in 1992 to promote his book, and I got to meet him and get my photo taken with him.

The Official Preppy Handbook Edited by Lisa Birnbach - For some reason, I was obsessed with all things preppy in 8th grade. I even applied to a couple of prep schoools. My friend, Carol, and I picked out preppy nicknames for each other. She was Buffy, and I was Mitsy.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss - This was a college graduation gift from my fairy godmother. It contains encouraging words such as these at the beginning of the book:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes,
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.

And these wise words at the end:

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - I find the plays of William Shakespeare to be captivating. Much better to see one than to read one, though each play is a brilliantly crafted work of poetry. I'm particularly fond of his comedies (Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream), and acting in Shakespeare is an actor's (at least this actor's) dream and pleasure.

The Message trasnslated by Eugene Peterson - The Bible in contemporary language. Peterson's translation is so beautiful, and has breathed new life into my Bible reading experiences. Compare the same passage of Scripture below (Ephesians 3:14-19)--the first is from the King James Version and the second is from The Message translation.

King James Version:
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

The Message:
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

See what I mean? Both translations are beautiful, but The Message speaks to my heart.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nanners and Oatmeal

This morning, Hubs made me oatmeal with ground up flax seed in it. YUM! Only problem was, we were fresh out of brown sugar, and Starshine doesn't do unsweetend oatmeal. What to do? I savagely scoped out the kitchen for some sweet salvation, and gloria in excelsis!...I spotted a banana. I mashed it up as if I were making baby food, and mixed it into my oatmeal, added a splash of vanilla organic light soymilk, and MMM-MMMMMMMMMMM! It was delicious! Not too sweet, but just enough to keep me feeling healthy and my sweet tooth satisfied.

Now, scroll down to yesterday's post to see pics of my Thanksgiving in Virginia! (I'm feeling a little bossy today--don't mind me!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Recap

We had an awesome time in Virginia with Hubs' family. We spent the first couple of days in southern VA, near the North Carolina border. The foliage was off-the-charts beautiful! We spent a day walking around the town my mother-in-law lives in--very charming with antique stores and a main street that looks like one.

The day before Thanksgiving we drove up further north. We got to visit with Hubs' sister and her kids. His niece just loves him, and they were so cute together.

Thanksgiving Day was like something out of a Norman Rockwell picture. About 30 family members gathered together. Hubs got to see some cousins who he hadn't seen since high school! Here is everyone together.

On our way out of town, we got to have a quick visit with my bestie, Ad!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


We're home from Virginia. Thanksgiving was a great time! I'll be posting more about it, but thought I'd get things started with this oh so scandalous photo. The foliage was amazingly beautiful!

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Week of Thanks, Wedding Style: Friday

I'm thankful that God gave me my wonderful husband this year. 2007 started off with a bang when he proposed to me on the morning of January 1. When Hubs makes his New Year's resolutions, he means business! June 30th was our wedding day. I'll never forget the sincerity in his eyes when he made his wedding vows to me. It's amazing to me that we already have nearly five months of marriage under our belt! We have grown in love and closeness during that time. I'm just so thankful--to my husband for loving me so well, and to God for giving me immeasurably more than all I asked or imagined that a husband could be! My cup runneth over. I love you, Lovey!

My happily ever after!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Week of Thanks, Wedding Style: Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! Hubs and I are in Virginia, spending the holiday with his family. We are expecting to be a group of between 20 and 30 for Thanksgiving dinner. It will be my first time to meet a lot of them!

I am so thankful to have in-laws that have embraced me and love me. I'm especially thankful to have a good relationship with my mother-in-law.

I'll never forget this moment. Hubs and I had just arrived at our wedding reception and his mom came up to congratulate me on being the new Mrs! I love you, Jo!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Week of Thanks, Wedding Style: Wednesday

I'm thankful for my matron of honor--aka--BEST SISTER EVER!

I love you, Sissy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Week of Thanks, Wedding Style: Tuesday

It is such a blessing to have a mom who is also my dear friend. I am so thankful for our relationship. I can call her any hour of the day or night to talk about anything. Her love for me is unconditional, and my heart is full of thanks for her in my life. I love you, Mom!

It is absolutely fabulous that Hubs and my mom like each other! My mom always told me that she would embrace whomever I chose to marry, but thankfully Hubs is easy to love!

Mom, thank you for all you do for me! I never could have planned my wedding without you, but what's more important--I have a good marriage because of all you taught me about life:

You taught me how to love.

You taught me how to pray.

And you definitely taught me how to have fun!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Week of Thanks, Wedding Style: Monday

I'm really thankful that my Dad was able to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. Our photographer also captured some amazing images right before we walked into the church. I love you, Dad.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Smiles!

The happiest day of my life!

(Many thanks to my college roommate for e-mailing me this pic! If any of my other wedding guests happen to be reading this, I'd love it if you would e-mail or send me any of your snapshots!)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oh, doe!

I woke ub with a cold this bording, and by dose is stupped ub.

This is not good news considering that I'll be on an airplane soon for the Thanksgiving holiday. I do believe I'm off to the drug store now to buy a Neti Pot!

Friday, November 16, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things...

Mrs. G over at Derfwad Manor has invented a meme in which we get to write all about our favorite things. Here are some of mine in no particular order:

-Dolly Parton (Coat of Many Colors makes me cry like a widdy-baby)
-My one in the world!
-My Fairy Godmother (I am lucky enough to have one!)
-Pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Papa John's
-Portabello fajitas
-Climbing trees
-Foreign languages
-Zaragoza, Spain (site of the 2008 World Expo)
-Ice Cream
-Tex-Mex food
-The Sound of Music
-The Office on NBC
-Carol Burnett
-Blogging and blog buddies

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

¡Hoy es jueves!

For anyone who only remembers the few phrases they learned in their first semester of Spanish class, you will certainly appreciate this clever song, "The One Semester of Spanish, Spanish Love Song"!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Hump Day!

Today, I had the most fun in an "out there" way at an audition since I've moved to Los Angeles. A cell phone company is making an in-house "industrial" training video for its employees introducing its new line of products. The video will be a music video with new lyrics to the Black Eyed Peas song "My Humps". To see the Black Eyed Peas video on You Tube click here (please note that this song is vulgar in its lyrics and risque in its visuals).

In researching this song in order to prepare for my audition, I discovered that lead singer Fergie looked like this (photo found here):

Do you think I pulled it off?


While searhing for the song on YouTube, I realized that Alanis Morrisette recently made a spoof song/music video, also call "My Humps". Click here to view (see warning above). I've loved Alanis ever since she uttered her first angsty note. Now, she has grown up and isn't taking herself so seriously that she couldn't make this funny video, which makes me heart her even more that I already do.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm a little addicted...

I ate the arils of three pomegranates today. Do I look guilty?

P.S. Scroll down to Sunday's post. I added the cutest picture of our beloved Honey!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Candidate Calculator

One of my friends sent me a link to this Presidential Candidate Calculator. It takes a little bit of time, but it's a great way to educate yourself about the major issues concerning the upcoming presidential election. (For example, I learned about the torturous practice of waterboarding on Jelly Jules' blog, but I had no idea it would be a key issue to consider for the upcoming election. It is, and it's important to know about it.) After stating your position on 25 issues, the calculator will tell you the presidential candidates with which you are most aligned.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembering Honey

When I was 16 years old, my family got an adorable little honey-colored Lhasa Apso. We immediately fell in love with her sweet, laid-back nature. She wasn't much of a yipper for a small dog. Very quiet and loving. She stuck closer to my mom than her own shadow, and was a very loyal dog. Honey lived a long life--16 years! She died two years ago on November 10, 2005. I wrote my mom and sister this note that day:

Dear Mom and Jilly,

I just want to say that I love you both so much. I know we are all sad about Honey. She was the best dog a family could ever have! And when I think that we had her for 16 years, I just feel blessed--I've known her half my life!

It's funny...I know I'm not an animal person. But Honey is the exception to my rule! It was so sad to see her suffering over the summer, but it was probably the most quality time that I had spent with her in years. And I'm thankful for that time.

As we say good-bye to Honey, I just want to say that I loved her, and she was such a GOOD GIRL!!!



Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quick Saturday Update

This morning started off early....we had a community garage sale day!!! Last weekend, Hubs and I spent a half-day on Saturday setting up our garage with much our our pre-marriage "stuff" that didn't make it into our new married home. I tell you what, we sold the great majority of our stuff, and much of it was gone within the first hour! If you ever decide you have a garage sale, I highly recommend placing an ad in the Penny Saver.

Once we "closed up shop", it was so nice for both of us to be able to park our cars in the garage (for the first time since we got married)!

Then...we took a nap.

Tonight, we're taking ourselves out on a dinner date before heading over to a party with some of Hubs' work friends. Did someone say "karaoke"? I think someone did!!!


Friday, November 09, 2007

Planetary Philosopher

Johnny knew. He knew deep down that he was different. Not in an outcast sort of way. It was just an intuitive knowing. The way you know if you're a math person or a language person or an art person.
In fourth grade, his science teacher was educating the class about the solar system. He was fascinated with the model mobile hanging from the ceiling of the classroom--particularly with the vastness of the sun. An incurable philosopher at heart, Mrs. Owsly was nearly always finding ways for her students to draw some life-affirming truth from the lessons they learned from science.

That day, she told the class that some people are suns and other people are planets. Suns are people who are always on. Suns shine brightly. Suns are inevitably the center of attention, and usually a solo act. Planets, on the other hand, are more subdued. Planets function in community, working well with others. Planets draw their energy from suns, and don't mind not being the center of attention.

Johnny listened intently, being a bit of a philosopher himself. He waited for the next kind of solar system person to be described, but Mrs. Owsly was done. People are either one or the other...suns or planets. Johnny just smiled and breathed a deep sigh of satisfaction. Even though his teacher never mentioned it, he knew that he was a moon. He was humble enough to realize that he was not the center of the universe. He was truthful enough to know that he was too different from the rest to be a planet. He knew. He was a moon. He was content to reflect the glory of the sun, while still illuminating the planets around him with the glow of his soul.

Mrs. Owsly didn't have to know that moons were people too.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Humorology: A Study in Comedy

My acting class is doing a unit on comedy. One of our homework assignments was to observe situations in everyday life and try to find the comedy in it. Here are some of what I came up with:

1.) Eating my bowl of Puffins cereal: What if I were a hippy tripped out on a halucenogen and I looked down to my bowl, and each square of cereal looked like a live, baby puffin squalking up at me?

2.) You're on a first date and accidentally spit on him while telling a story: What if it were a funny story and it made the date laugh? And what if as he opened his mouth to laugh, a little bit of your saliva/spit flew into his mouth? What if that turned him on because he saw it as a prelude to a kiss?

3.) A person is eating a plate of spaghetti in a restaurant: What if that person had been rude to the waiter, and everyone but that person knows that the waiter sneezed on it just before delivering it to your table?

4.) It's sprinkling outside in Southern California: What if you hear on the news that a five-minute sprinkle-storm caused a 50 car pile-up on the freeway, because SoCalifornians don't know how to drive in the rain?

5.) Your husband volunteers to change the baby's diaper: What if it is the most magnificent poop your baby has ever done, and instead of being grossed out by the smell, your husband has never been more proud of the baby?
The above photo was taken at my wedding reception. It is my sister Jilly being cracked up by her best friend, Catchy, the funniest story-teller on earth! Jilly and Catchy will tell any man, woman, child or house pet they meet that they are BEST friends. They're territorial that way. SHE'S MY FRIEND, TOO, JILLY! ;)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dan in Real Life

Update: Well, the softball audition went really well yesterday. It is for a Japanese electronics company, and the commercial will air in Japan during the summer Olympics. Cool, huh? Thanks for the prayers! I'll let you know if I hear anything!

Now for today's actual blog entry:

Movie Review: Dan in Real Life

On Friday night, I got together with a couple of friends for dinner and a movie. Gotta love girls' night out!

Dan in Real Life is a wonderful movie about Dan (played by Steve Carell), a widower and father of three daughters who range in age from 9 to 16 years old. Dan takes his girls out of school for a week to go to a family reunion in Rhode Island. What happens during their week away is a redemptive story of healing and restoring wholeness to their fractured family. It is sweet, full of humor, and very slice of life (which I love!).

Steve Carell turns in a dynamic performance. It is so fun to see his moodier colors, as I am more accustomed to his comedic character on my favorite tv show, The Office. Juliette Binoche is lovely as always, and she truly shines as Marie, the eccentric free spirit (and one outsider) who descends upon the family reunion.

Starshine gives this movie: a big, shiny gold star! Go see it!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hey, batter batter batter, swing batter!

Today, I have an audition for a commercial that will air in Japan. If I am cast, I will go to Japan for the shoot! I have never been, so I am praying that I get this job. The casting director actually said that all actors coming to the audition today must bring their passport to prove that they can leave the country! The part I am auditioning for is that of a softball player. I think that this is the first audition I have been called for that having "softball" as a special skill on my resume may have helped! Yea!!! Please pray for me!

I'm supposed to go to the audition dressed as a softball player. I have some cleets from college and my glove from elementary school. I also have my Dad's glove, which actually fits me better than my childhood glove does! I borrowed a softball jersey from a family that goes to my church, which I'll probably just wear with a pair of shorts. Here's what I came up with:

Reminds me of these days:

Oh, I'm longing for my childhood right now! I think it might be time to join a softball league.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Calling all Believers, Atheists and Agnostics!

This morning, I was in the shower thinking about this blog, and I believe that God put an idea in my head. The idea is to invite my community of blogging friends and readers to join me in a month of prayer.

Last night, Hubs and I were talking about what he calls a prayer of examen which he sometimes will do at the end of the day. As he is quieting his mind to go to sleep, he prayerfully reviews his day with God. It is a way of recognizing where and when God seemed especially present during the day, a way to see how He is working and what He is doing in your life. From there you can give thanks for the things He is doing and pray about what you see Him doing in your life.

I love the idea of paying attention to what God is doing, and I thought it could be cool to join with one another in a month of prayer during December. I like practicing some sort of spiritual discipline during the month of December because it helps me connect with God in a meaningful way during the Christmas season and leading into the New Year, which always feels like a season of renewal and new beginnings for me.

Would you like to join me? My thought is that during the month of December, we can:

-take time (even if it is just a few minutes) to be alone with God each day.
-give thanks for the blessings He has given you.
-ask Him for something only He can do.

And then we'll watch to see how He shows up and what He does! The reason I am inviting all belivers, atheists and agnostics to join me in this is because if you are a skeptic or just not sure if God is with us, this could be an awesome way to see Him at work. Take the rest of this month to think about if you'd like to join me in December. You can even pray about it! I'll post about this again on the last day of November as a reminder, and we can see what God does!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jilly's Got a Bun in the Oven!

As you all know, I'm going to become a tia soon!

For Halloween, my sister and her husband went as a bun-in-the-oven and the baker. How cute are they?!

Yes, that would be a red dish towel hanging from the oven handle. Oh, and look...the oven actually opens!

Keep that bun safe and warm! I can't wait to meet my little niece or nephew. :0)