Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Favorite Quote/Thought

I really like this quote from the September 2011 Ensign magazine ... I feel like it was written especially for me.  The context of the article is talking about marriage relation-ships, but I think it's applicable to friend-ships, family-ships, work-ships, etc.

"All of us carry excess baggage around from time to time, but the wisest ones among us don't carry it for very long.  They get rid of it.  Often, the things we carry are petty, even stupid.  If you resent someone for something s/he has done - or failed to do - forget it.  We call that forgiveness.  It is a powerful, spiritual medicine. ... The best response to being hurt is to get over it.  Marriage (or any relationship I care about) is too important for us to clutter our minds and hearts with resentment that is created by dwelling on the faults and weaknesses of our spouse (or friends/family/coworkers/etc).  We need to forgive and move on."
- Boyd K. Packer & Richard Miller

Monday, August 8, 2011

Husbands... Can't live with 'em ... Can't live without 'em!

We are going to be moving in a few months.  To try to get ahead of the game, Tom and I decided that we should do a little "spring cleaning" and get rid of junk we don't need.  Then we don't have to move that junk to the new place!

Let me set the scene:  Tom is downstairs in the "under-the-stairs" closet.  He is cleaning out his tubs of old electronics to donate. I am upstairs in my bedroom closet.  I am cleaning out clothing to donate.

For about 45 minutes, we are cleaning away.  I, very begrudgingly, decided to donate clothes, shoes, purses, belts, etc. that I have had all the way back to high school!  (I had to admit to myself that I'm not size 7 anymore... My days of 130 pounds are LONG gone....)  It was hard for me to say goodbye to many old favorites.  I do clean out my closet fairly regularly, but this was a SERIOUS clean out.  Two giant garbage bags of stuff.

Enter Tom upstairs.

Tom is carrying a small, hand-held device.  "I want to get rid of my bulky scripture case and take my scriptures to church on THIS."  He shows me his Palm Pilot, circa 1995, is my guess.  "Tom... the point of tonight's cleaning is to get RID of these things... not resurrect them!  Put that old Palm Pilot in the "donate" pile."  "No Way!" he cries.  "This thing is awesome.  And now I can be cool like you and have my scriptures on an electronic device."  "Tom, there is nothing cool about a Palm Pilot anymore!"  "It's just like your fancy phone, Morgan, except with my device, I have to use a stilus."

I already know that in about 2 weeks time, that Palm Pilot is going to be back on his shelf, never to be used at church.  I will just wait out these next 2 weeks, and then sneak the Palm Pilot into the donation bag.

Oh, by the way... Here is a picture of Tom "downloading" the scriptures onto his Palm Pilot:

"I just have to plug it in to the back of my computer .... It doesn't have internet download like your phone does."

No kidding, Tom .... It's a Palm Pilot at least 10 years old!!

Silly Kitty!!

We have two cats.

Harvey is black and white, about a year old, and nicknamed "The Linebacker".  He gets into trouble constantly.  He loves attention, especially between the hours of midnight and 6am.  For that reason, he sleeps in his own bedroom with the door closed.   He also barks at birds.

Rita is a dilute-tortie.  She is sweet and kind and likes to be left alone.  We rescued her from Friends For Life, a no kill shelter in Gilbert, AZ.  She is the perfect kitty, except that she meows bloody-murder at 4am for no apparent reason.  We're working on that ....

Surprisingly, Rita loves company, whereas Harvey freaks and hides.  The other night, Collin and Nikki came over to play.  They watched our cats for a week while we were in Utah, so the kitties are very familiar with them.  But Harvey, as always, runs upstairs and hides the minute they come over.  A few hours later, with C&N still here, I go upstairs to use the potty.  While sittin' on the toilet (a bit graphic, I know!), I try to peek under the bed to see if Harvey is there.  That's his usual hiding spot.  SUDDENLY, i see out of the corner of my eye, the cabinet under the sink slowly begins to open.  I see 4 white whiskers peek out of the cabinet.  No nose, no head, no ears.  The whiskers slowly retreat back into the cabinet and the cabinet door closes without a sound.  That little rascal hid under the sink!!!  He gets himself into so much trouble.

Here is a picture, taken just the day before the bathroom cabinet incident, where Harvey decided to take a rest in the kitchen cabinet.  What a stink pot!

We certainly love our kitties!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Favorite Scriptures Right Now

I downloaded a "Scripture-a-Day" app on my phone and it has been giving me great scriptures that really apply to my life!  Here are a few favorites...

The first one is from James 4:11.  But I am going to take the liberty of exchanging "the law" with "Christ".  

"Speak not evil one of another, brethren.  He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of {Christ}, and judgeth {Christ}:  but if thouh judge {Christ}, thou art not a doer of {Christ}, but a judge."

I like this scripture a lot because often I get caught up being gossipy and talk about people behind their backs.  I need to be better at being more positive and Christlike.

Next scripture is from Proverbs 3:5-6.  This is one of my all time favorites.

"Trust in the Lord with all thing heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

There are a few reasons I like this one.  With Tom and I really praying about jobs and housing right now, I try to remember that God has a time frame for us.  It's hard when we don't know the plan for us, but we have to trust and believe that God is taking care of us, and is mindful of our needs and desires.  I also really like that it says, "he shall direct thy pathS", as in more than one path.  On this journey we call life, there are a LOT of paths we take, not just one.  There's not just one right path to take, there are several. 

Last favorite scripture for the time being is a favorite for the same reasons stated for the Proverbs scripture.  It is Jacob 4:10.

"Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hands.  For behold, ye yourselves know that he couseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works."

Lesson?  Quit telling the Lord what to do and know that He knows what to do!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Love Sprinkles Cupcakes?

Do you love the outrageously over-priced Sprinkles cupcakes???  Well, I sure do!!  But I hate making the drive up to Scottsdale AND spending a fortune ... just for cupcakes!!  Thanks to a friend of mine, I've found a solution... make 'em at home!  All you need is some fresh strawberries, a little bit of time, and a BIG appetite!

These strawberry cupcakes and their frosting can be found at the following websites:

For the cupcake: http://www.oprah.com/food/Sprinkles-Cupcakes-Strawberry-Cupcakes-Recipe
For the frosting: http://www.oprah.com/food/Sprinkles-Cupcakes-Strawberry-Frosting

Note: The frosting recipe makes enough for 24 cupcakes, while the cupcake recipe only makes 12 cupcakes.  Some people might half the frosting recipe, but those people are suckers!!  I doubled the cupcake recipe for double the deliciousness!

I rate these cupcakes 5 out of 5 stars!

"Tamale" Peppers

A delicious and nutritious meal that we made.... however, when we make it again, we are going to make a few tweaks... such as adding meat and maybe some different cheeses.  This recipe comes to us courtesy of what I like to call "Fry's Free Recipe Cards in the Produce Section".

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  (P.S. 5 stars is extremely difficult to achieve in my book!)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 4 medium green or red bell peppers,
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatos
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  •  3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Cut tops off bell peppers and remove seeds.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine tomatoes, beans, corn, salsa, 3/4 cup of cheese, cornmeal, green onions, cilantro and 1/4 cup water.  Spoon mixture evenly into bell peppers; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of cheese.
  3. Place stuffed peppers in an 8x8-inch baking pan.  Add 1/2-inch water to pan.  Bake, uncovered, 50 minutes or until peppers are tender and filling is heated through.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Per serving: 240 calories, 3g fat, 1g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 475mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 14g protein

One Boy .... One Girl

The Story Of How We Met

Our story differs .... depending on who you ask!!

Our Story According to Tom

The True Story
I had reached a point in my life where I felt I could be happy without getting married. I had good friends, hobbies, and a promising career. But then I met Morgan.

(Psyche! She hasn't changed the fun in my life. I still have all of those things! She just makes them all better.)

I chose to spend New Year's Eve 2009 with my good friends Marlin, Erin, and Aundre. Marlin, who has always complained about my bachelorhood, demanded that I do some online dating. "You need a woman," he has always told me. I acquiesced--partly to please Marlin, and partly to add a little excitement in my life. I had been on hiatus from dating for some time, and interest had picked up again when some friends from Church set me up with someone. That hadn't gone anywhere, so I thought it would be worthwhile to see what fun could be had online. So I got on Marlin's Mac Mini and pulled up Google, which helped me find a cheap LDS dating Web site. Marlin insisted that I start browsing while he watched over my shoulder. I remember specifically seeing Morgan's profile. I remember liking Morgan's profile--she characterized herself as a homebody. (I'm one, too.) She had some cute pictures up. Looking over my shoulder, Marlin said, "Tom. She looks like a cool girl! You should get in touch with her." Filling out my profile was tiring work, and I needed a break. So I excused myself to go to the bathroom.

When I came back, Marlin had sent some flirts using my profile. Now, nobody can remember exactly whether I sent the initial flirt to Morgan, or whether Marlin did. (An article appeared in an online news source that explains this issue in detail. See "Silly Stuff" on this Web site.)

When I got back to Arizona, I was happy to find that Morgan had written me back. She said that I was "lucky" that she had e-mailed me. In fact, I was the first one she had sent an e-mail to on that site. Since we were both teachers, she sent me a Youtube video from Schoolhouse Rock. We started communicating directly through e-mail for a bit, then I asked her out.

On about the 4th date, we bought pizza ingredients and took them to my place to make a pizza. I wanted to initiate some physical contact. My kitchen is tiny, so the idea was that we would make the pizza together, giving me an opportunity to make a move at some point. But no. She stood just outside the kitchen and watched while I loaded up the pizza stone with goodies and shoved it in the oven. Then we went to her house to play Guitar Hero on her Wii.

When I was about to go home, she wanted to show me some materials from the class she was taking for her Master's degree. She needed to write a review of literature, and she seemed like she wanted help. "Perfect!" I thought. "I'll win her over with my expertise!"

But no. She had set the materials on the back of the free-standing recliner in her living room, and continued to flip through the pages while standing behind the recliner. This was my chance! So I walked around to where she was, and I pretended to be interested in the book. While I was moving behind the recliner to stand next to her, she walked around to the opposite side, thwarting me yet again.

On our 8th date, we played Backgammon on my old Atari computer. We played two games that night, and one more since then. Right now, the score stands at Morgan 3, Tom 0.

But I'm really happy that all of this has happened. I've had time to accumulate some vast experience with dating, and the qualities I'm looking for in a companion have developed quite a bit over that period. Morgan meets my criteria well, and I love her very much. She talks tough, but she's very sweet and kind. And she's right--I *am* lucky! I'm excited to start a new life with her!

Our Story According to Morgan

The True Story
For several months, if not years, people tried to convince me to do online dating. I refused to even consider that as an option! But then .... in November, the ladies at work finally convinced me to give it a try. I had one specific criteria for choosing an online dating website: price! Whatever was cheapest was the route I would be taking. So, I begrudingly paid the steep price of $14.95 to find love. I was not shocked, however, that all I actually found were men in the "Over 60's Age Range" that were trying to hit on me. (I must admit, the idea of having a sugar daddy did cross my mind once or twice!) I gave myself the oh-so-long time frame of one month to find my "online" soul mate. Well, as I expected, one month had come and gone and I hadn't even emailed anyone. And then the unthinkable happened.... the website had kept my credit card number on file and they charged me for a second month at $14.95!! I was livid! "Money down the drain" is what I told myself. With more creepy old grandpas emailing me, I was ever more convinced that online dating was not the route for me. AND THEN ... about one week before my online profile expired, I received a "flirt" (which is nothing more than a pre-constructed email that is sent to you that basically says "this guy is mildly interested in you) from a fairly attractive young man. The day was January 3rd that I received the flirt. I had just returned home from a New Years trip in L.A. It was about 10 minutes before I had to leave for church that I decided to email this handsome stranger that sent me the flirt. Of course, in all Morgan fashion, I sent a rather "abrupt, harsh, forceful (insert your adjective of choice)" first email. I believe the basic contents, if not word-for-word, read something like, "You are the lucky winner of receiving the first email I sent on this website. And what makes you the lucky winner? You're under the age of 65 and you were able to spell everything correctly on your profile page. Email me back if you're interested." AND FOR WHATEVER REASON he actually emailed me back!!!!!!!

Tom and I began a string of emails that lasted for about two weeks. We basically emailed each other once a day and discussed our daily happenings and views/opinions of world and religious issues. Without ever talking on the phone, we decided to finally meet up for a face-to-face date. Tom had suggested three different ideas: mini golfing, a study session at the ASU library to refine my study habits for my Master's program, or a study session at the ASU library to assist me in teaching a Sunday School lesson. Well, I loathe mini golfing, so that left me with the two ASU library options. To be perfectly honest, I cinically thought to myself, "Who in the world does this guy think he is to even suggest the idea that HE needs to help ME with any type of study skills. I have straight A's and I have been able to earn my grades without his help up till now .... " So I went with option #3, which was that we would go to ASU library and he'd help me with a church lesson. I was still skeptical of him being pompous and arrogant (which was not the cause at all) with his skill-set in thinking he could actually teach me something. The worst, I figured, was that I would go on this date and even if it was horrible, I would leave with a lesson for church that I could use in the future.

A day or two before we went on our first date, I had emailed Tom a list of 11 reasons why he SHOULD NOT go out with me. Self-sabatoge? I guess so! But I just wanted him to have his eyes wide-open and know what he was about to get himself into. I also made it abundantly clear that he was not to pay for my meal, as I was an independent, self-sufficent woman. (Oh heavens... as I type this out, I am just realizing more and more what a miracle from God that Tom even went on ONE date with me!! He truly is a diamond in the rough... or just enjoyed my abuse early on!)

The night of our first date came.... It was very stormy and rainy. I chose the restaraunt: my favorite Thai restaraunt, so even if he turned out to be a dud, I would enjoy my meal! The initial meeting went fine. I talked a lot at first because I didn't want any awkward silence. My intial impression of Tom was, "He is quiet and reserved.... this is NEVER going to work out!" But then I noticed his manly hands and how attractive those manly hands were .... so I decided to give him a chance!
About 20 minutes into our meal, a group of about 7 people entered the restaraunt and sat at the table almost adjacent to ours. Low and behold ... it was about 7 of some very close friends of mine. I could have DIED!!!!! I already have a very hard time being "a good listener" so I had no idea how I could focus on Tom when I could hear every word at my friends' table. But I tried my very best to focus, focus, focus on everything Tom was saying and ignore the group of 7 people who were shouting things out like "Pearl Jam rocks!" or "Morgan loves Eddie Vedder!". My friends had no clue that this was not only a first date, but also a first meeting off the internet!

After dinner, Tom and I went to the ASU library to work on the church lesson. At this point, Tom hadn't even laughed aloud a single time, so I made it my mission to make him laugh vocally. I told him some ridiculous story (that I refuse to reitierate here) that I tell my students at school, and he finally broke and gave me a laugh. The ASU library was actually not as bad as I had imagined. I enjoyed our time together, and I distinctly remember watching Tom walk away from me and towards the computers and thinking to myself, "He has a very nice walk .... and a nice butt!"

The end of our date had come and heaven forbid I give the guy any physical contact, so I just said, "Don't be a stranger!", got in my car, and drove away. I had no idea what his feelings towards me were but I can honestly admit that I was "mildly" interested in "perhaps" going out with him again, "maybe".

The next day he emailed me and said he enjoyed himself.

At date #6 I finally let him give me a hug.

At date #7 I finally let him hold my hand and kiss me. After our first kiss, I was sickened that I had waited so long for that little slice of heaven!!

Tom is quite possibly the most amazing human being I have ever met. He is patient, kind, caring, smart, handsome, loving, generous, and selfless. I truly believe that our online meeting was a gift from God, as He knows exactly what type of man I need in my life to balance me out!