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What a week

It has been such a rough week.

{Short recap: My mom was diagnosed with Shingles, my dog died, there was a false alarm with some health issues of another family member, and my grandmother had heart surgery.}

Maybe rough is an understatement? Last Sunday feels like it happened months ago.

But, through all this, God is good. My grandmother is recovering (slowly, but well overall) and the rest of us are all still here, at least for today.

Accomplishments of the week:

1. I may have found someone to replace me at work when I leave. Someone who I actually know, and who actually knows something about finance (unlike me)

2. By 2:00pm today, I had already made tonight’s and tomorrow night’s dinners. All that’s left is the cooking. (And, since there will be leftovers, those will get us through Wednesday night. Thursday night we have community group dinner, which means that the next meal I need to think about doesn’t happen until Friday.) A-mazing. I sense a new trend in the making.

3. Going hand-in-hand with no. 2, I touched raw meat. As in, raw red meat. Something that is generally completely out of the realm of possibility for me. But I did it today. And my husband is proud.

Tell me about your week(end)!

❤ LF

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I realized last night that I hadn’t blogged in over a week. Oops! I realize that maybe a list doesn’t quite count as a post, but all the cool kids are doing it (see here and here), so I think it will be okay.

1. This Sunday is mine and Chris’s first anniversary! I can hardly believe it’s been a year. Sometimes, it feels like our wedding happened last week. One of these days, I will actually write about our wedding and the ridiculous year leading up to it, but today is not that day. (Tomorrow or Sunday won’t be either.) We have a wedding to attend tomorrow, but then, we’re free to celebrate!!

2. I love my job and I am so grateful that I’ve been blessed with it. Yes, it still has its little frustrations, but what job doesn’t? No, my bosses aren’t perfect, but who is? No, my paycheck doesn’t hold a candle to what big D was paying me, but, I’m actually happy here and with life in general, and who can put a price on that kind of happiness? I haven’t even looked at my CPA review materials since my last exam, not because I’ve been working around the clock, but because I have been spending time with my husband! And with my friends! What a concept! Such things were hardly even possible to think about with my former job. I know I’ve said it a lot, but God has been so good to us in this.

3. Have you heard of Andrew Peterson and his Behold the Lamb of God tour? No? Go here. Right now. I was able to see the live performance a few years ago and it was spectacular. It’s a wonderful, amazingly artistic, “song cycle” of the coming of Christ. This year, we decided to get the album for multiple people on our Christmas list, and when the cds arrived in the mail, we found a pleasant surprise! Included in the package was an untitled cd with a small collection (4-5 songs) of Andrew Peterson’s music. I listened to it for the first time today and fell in LOVE. It was such a moving cd. Do your self a favor this Christmas and get your hands on some of his music. Behold the Lamb of God is obviously amazing, but I know the rest is just as great. (The songs on our free cd came from Resurrection Letters, Vol. II and The Far Country)

Have a great weekend! When I come back, I’ll have been married for a whole year!

❤ LF

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I haven’t been a very active blogger lately because my week looked somewhat like this:

Monday: Go in to work late since I worked the weekend (I’m not sure if that was technically allowed, but I wasn’t assigned to a client, so I decided it was okay!), sit through 4 ridiculously boring hours of training on our “new audit methodology” (NAM)

Tuesday: Sit through 8 hours of training over the NAM

Wednesday: Sit through 5.5 hours of training over the NAM and take a working lunch so that we could be out by 1:30 (So amazing! but super intense), rashly decide to get my hair cut at a new place, come home and decide to go eat a 3 hour dinner in honor of restaurant week*, during dinner realize that I need to quit my job sooner rather than later

Thursday: wake up and spend the morning praying about quitting, experience a life-altering re-realization about the power of God, and decide to put in my resignation letter on Friday

Friday: wake up, send my resignation letter, freak out all day because OH MY GOSH I AM GOING TO BE OUT OF THIS PLACE IN TWO WEEKS!

Yeah, that about sums it up.

In other news, I have to go to Bay City from Sunday-Thursday for new client I start on Monday. At first I thought this was Baytown, but then I realized that Bay CITY is an entirely different, much further away, place. Bay CITY involves me staying in a hotel, spending four nights away from my husband in a probably creepy hotel room, and canceling on three separate church-related commitments. I couldn’t be more excited about quitting on the 27th.

Anyways, I didn’t mean to be so glum. Let the randomness commence:

-I’m QUITTING MY JOB!!!!! HELLO, BIGGEST NEWS OF THE MONTH! I will be free of this terrible terrible curse that has ruled my life for the past 8 months!

-For the past two days I’ve had a really great boss at work. Even though he makes us stay late sometimes (8PM last Friday!!!!), I think he is the most appreciative, encouraging boss I have ever worked for. Lesson to be learned?Encouragement and appreciation go a long way, guys.

-I still have never sat on the couches in my office’s cafes. I think I will make it my goal to sit on one before I quit. I need to know if they’re comfortable. NEED to know. I don’t know why.

-I have eaten lasagna at least three times in the past two weeks, and while they have been good, none have even come close to the one my husband makes.

-I am terrible at Project 365. Last night I completely forgot until 11:59 when I was about to fall asleep. I took a screen-shot of my phone as a cop-out. I’m going to try to work harder on this.

– I finally scheduled my CPA exam. August 30th—the date that I wanted. From 5-10pm in College Station—definitely not the time and location that I wanted. I’m extremely nervous, especially considering that I haven’t had a chance to study in over a week and I have a lot left. But then again, maybe I’ll fail it and then give up accounting all together and just do something fun like be a private airplane pilot or a scuba diving instructor. That could happen, right?

– I am trying not to think about the fact that post August 27th I will be unemployed without any job prospects on the horizon. As I am the main source of income for my family, this means a lot of things including but not limited to: loss of income (duh!) and no/much-more-expensive insurance. And let’s not forget that I’m a planner and you can’t exactly plan anything when you have no idea about the future. Instead, I’m trying to hold on to my re-relevation and remember that my God is bigger than me and has a plan for me and is more than capable of providing a way to bring His plans to fruition, regardless of the obstacles that I might think are in the way. He will provide. That is the main idea right now.

-Watering my new plants with a mixing bowl is not working. I need a watering can. A cute one. I don’t like the ones at Home Depot or Target. Does anyone know where to find a really cute one for not a lot of money?

-Also, I still don’t have any birds. I have had my bird feeder for a month and still no birds! What am I doing wrong??? Help please!

-Today my husband and I saw a commercial for an app that shows you what dogs are currently at your local shelter for adoption. I made him rewind so I could see what it was all about and he told me that I wasn’t allowed to download that app. Wasn’t allowed! That has got to count as some kind of wife abuse, right?

I think that’s enough randomness for one night. Maybe while I’m hanging out by myself in a creepy hotel room in Bay City I will be able to blog about more interesting things.

❤ LF

*While I didn’t think this through before participating, I have decided that “Restaurant Week” (which actually lasts a month—you try to figure that one out!) is one of the dumbest concepts ever. I will write about this in a separate post, probably tomorrow.

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Whew! Sorry for the hiatus. Searching for a new job is a full-time job in itself! More on that another day, though. I would like to continue fantasizing about happier places for as long as possible.

Without further ado, here is part two of the most spontaneous vacation I have ever taken! (To read the beginning of the story, please visit here.)

After celebrating my birthday (and celebrating being in MAUI!! Hello! Most exciting birthday ever!!!) on Thursday, late Friday morning we drove to the other end of the island to do what I quickly discovered was my FAVORITE part of the trip: Snuba diving!

If you’ve never heard of snuba before, I need to explain. Bear with me because it’s amazing and you should definitely try it some day. It’s a cross between scuba diving and snorkeling and gives you the best of both worlds. When you snorkel, you swim around just under the surface and can only really interact with fish who swim up to the surface to you. You can always hold your breath and go deeper, but obviously you’re limited by how long you can hold your breath. If you want to scuba dive, you have to be certified. Or you can take a training session in a pool and then later visit the ocean with your instructor. (HUGE time commitment.) Also, it’s kind of dangerous! And you have to carry a really heavy tank of air around on your back. Serious stuff. So this is what happens when you snuba, are you ready? You wear a weighted belt around your upper torso (like 30 pounds max, way lighter than an air tank), a snorkel mask on your face, and a scuba tube in your mouth. The tube is connected to an air tank that is in a raft on the surface. The tube is about 25 feet long and allows you to go about that far under the surface. You wear flippers and…dive in! You are free to swim around anywhere to your heart’s content and the raft floats along the surface with you. No long training session, no being stuck at the surface, it’s great! Anyways, back to the story.

We took a boat filled with snorkelers out into the water until we reached a place with lots of fish and turtles(!!). Our instructor explained our snuba process…and then we jumped in! It is such an amazing feeling to look up and realize that the surface is a good 20 feet above you and yet you are still breathing perfectly normally.

And then we saw turtles. HUGE turtles! We couldn’t get super close to them because our depth was limited by our air tubes, but since our instructor was actually scuba diving she was able to go deeper and take my camera with her.

Clockwise: The turtle and us! Chris and me snuba diving! The HUGE TURTLE!*

It might be hard to tell just how big that turtle is, but in the first photo we’re at least 5-10 feet above it and probably further away from the camera than he is. Besides turtles, we also saw some fish and even got to hold a sea urchin! That part was really neat, but I wasn’t able to get a photo so you’ll just have to trust me.

After we resurfaced we had a little time to snorkel around the boat and it was instantly disappointing. Nothing against everyone who loves to snorkel, but it’s just not the same as being underwater WITH the fish and the turtles like this! We loved the underwater experience so much that my husband instantly suggested we get certified to scuba. I’m all in – but I really should study for my CPA exam before I can start learning to dive!

On the way back to our side of the island, we stopped off at a little public, but deserted, beach. It was beautiful, guys. I don’t know why no one was there taking advantage of the pure gorgeousness. Crashing waves, fresh sand, no crowds! I didn’t get any pictures of that either, but it more or less felt like paradise.

When we finally made it back to our little villa, we realized that sunset was quickly approaching. Naturally, we high-tailed it back down to the beach where we had previously snorkeled, camera in hand. (Well, my hand. Chris is not so much a sunset-photo-taker.) This was one of the best ideas I ever had. The photo at the top of this post came from this outing. The tide was WAY in and the water was crashing over and submerging the rocks we had previously walked across. I’ll spare you from the million photos I took, and just tell you that it was a wonderful sunset.

Since I wrote way more than I planned about our snuba-diving trip and I doubt anyone is even still reading, I’ll conclude our amazing adventure in the next post.

Do you think you’ll ever try snuba or scuba diving? What is your favorite thing to do in the water? I want to know!

❤ LF

*Note: I took these photos with a cheap film camera that was inside a water-proof case and then I had them developed and scanned onto a cd at Walgreens…naturally the quality is terrible. Also I have no clue how to edit underwater photos to look normal-ish…any advice would be appreciated!


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This past week was my birthday week and boy was it a crazy week. By last Saturday, my husband and I had everything planned for what we were going to do each night of the week. It was a great plan that worked around our families’ schedules and the necessary evils that had to be included (like my husband’s work and my studying). It was fantastic, and I was excited. And then on Sunday night, we had some drama. Some really frustrating drama. Jokingly-but-half-way-serious I said to my husband:

“I wish we could just go away for the week! We could just fly to Hawaii!”

Apparently those were the magic words.

Husband: Do you want to go to Hawaii?? Let’s go.
Me: Ummm, I was kidding. We can’t just go to Hawaii.
Husband: Why not?
Me: Do you know how expensive plane tickets are? Especially if we buy them now? And I have to study!!! And we can’t just “go to Hawaii!” that’s a crazy idea.
Husband: Let’s at least look at tickets, we can just see how much they are…

So I helped him look at tickets. And there was a link for package deals. And then we found a flight + hotel + car combination that wasn’t nearly as much as I thought it might be. So we thought about it. And examined our bank accounts. And how leaving would affect the aforementioned drama. And how we would still be able to get some work done while away. And so we rationalized. And then we purchased. I’m fairly certain that this was the most crazy and spontaneous significant decision of my life.

Tuesday morning we were en route to Maui. By Wednesday night I was in love. With the island, that is, you already know I love my husband.

When we arrived on Tuesday, I was surprised to find that we would be staying in a “villa” instead of a hotel. It was HUGE with a full kitchen and a porch with a glimpse of the ocean! It was even fully stocked with beach towels, chairs, and a beach umbrella! (Note, if you’re taking a beach trip, always check to see if your hotel provides beach towels. I was unaware of this and packed almost a whole checked-bag with just towels that we never used!)

The door in the top-left leads to our villa!

View from our porch. See the ocean??

We kicked off Wednesday morning with a breakfast on our porch of bagels with berry cream-cheese (my favorite!) and Passion Fruit-Orange-Guava (POG) juice. I think POG is well known on the island, and for good reason–it’s amazing! (It didn’t last long in our villa!) Afterwards, we rented snorkel gear and a boogie board and headed out for my first experience in the Pacific Ocean. The lady who rented us the gear advised us to visit a beach that was great for both snorkel and boogie boarding. Unfortunately, she was wrong on both counts. It was pretty, but there weren’t any waves and the only thing underwater was sand. No worries though, we found a public beach with magnificent waves and soft sand that just happened to be shared by a fancy resort. (Meaning there were tons of free beach chairs as well as lots of people in the ocean. Lots of people = less chance of being eaten by a shark and dying!) It was wonderful!!! (In case you’re planning a trip to Maui, this was Polo Beach) We tried to snorkel, but all we could see was sand here too. (And for a while all we could see was…nothing. At which point I may or may not have panicked a little and swam back to shore because swimming around with your head underwater when you can’t see in front of your face or touch the bottom equals a good chance of surprise shark attack!) That night we went to a cool place for dinner called Stella Blues with great food and fun live music. I recommend the coconut shrimp and a “Blue Hawaii.”

On Thursday, it was my birthday!!! We started the day with another perfect breakfast on the porch before heading to the beach. There was a beach (Ahihi-Kanau) that we were told wasn’t “a pretty beach” but was great for snorkeling, so we headed that way. We soon found that the lady at the rental shop was 2 for 2 on being incorrect. Not a pretty beach my foot! It was a gorgeous beach!!…kind of. The catch was that it wasn’t actually a beach in the traditional sense. It was a cove that was lined with dried lava-rocks rather than sand–but this just meant that the water splashed over the tall rocks in the most beautiful ways! Then, when we got in the water, we realized that there were tons of fish there! The bottom of the cove was covered in more lava-rock formations and various types of coral–perfect for the fish to swim in and out of and hide among. It was beautiful! However, since I hadn’t actually snorkeled in the past ten years and was kind of nervous to be out so far in the water, I developed a tendency of trying to stand on the underwater rocks that I was tall enough to touch. This resulted in lots of tiny scrapes and cuts on my legs when I inevitably slipped off of the rocks every time the waves pushed me to and fro. Blood equals shark feeding frenzy, so we didn’t stay too much longer. No reason to endanger my fellow snorkelers! We made another visit to the beach with the great waves before getting cleaned up for dinner.

The cove during high tide at sunset - it's a lot less dangerous-looking at low tide, I promise!

I had a hard time deciding where to eat my birthday dinner, but eventually I picked a restaurant…on the other side of the island. Which also happened to be at the Ritz Carlton. Totally accidental, I promise. I chose based on the menu choices! Which didn’t list any prices! Anyways, we took a beautifully scenic hour-long drive along the coast to the fanciest hotel I have ever seen.

View on the left

View on the right

Drive up to the hotel

One thing I forgot to tell you is that in Hawaii, everything is outside. You can visit just about any hotel and the front-desk lobby-area will all be in an open-air patio. And it’s actually pleasant rather than the miserableness that would exist if you tried to pull this off in Houston. I guess that’s what you do when you have perfect weather 365 days a year, huh? Anyways, we arrived at the hotel, in their fancy open-air lobby, of course, and were directed to the very back of the property. Through courtyards, down outdoor stone-staircases, by the pool, and finally to the restaurant along the coast where we were seated on another open patio to watch the sunset while we dined. Where we proceeded to eat the nicest meal I have ever consumed in my life and possibly might ever consume for the rest of my life. I probably should have read a review on the restaurant so I would have known what to expect before choosing this place, but I sort of forgot about that and by the time we got there we were kind of committed. While there, I googled the hotel’s room prices and then promptly choked on whatever I had been eating at the time. The rooms range in price from $400/night to…are you sitting down? $1,600/night. WHAT. THE. HECK??!?! That’s more than my rent. For ONE night in a hotel. Ridiculous! I don’t recommend staying there, but if you ever visit Maui and want the nicest food you might ever eat, definitely eat there.

Stay tuned for snuba diving (<~~That’s not a typo, it’s a cross between snorkeling an scuba diving!), a submarine trip, and my idealistic plan for my new future!

❤ LF

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I might be exaggerating a little, but it was pretty great. In a non-conventional way.

I started off the weekend at 1:00PM on Friday! ONE PM!!!! And then promptly drove to my husband’s work to help him finish a project for HIS job. The things you do for love. Around three, I started on my extremely long to-do list, just a little behind schedule. I started by taking almost my entire work wardrobe to the cleaners (we’re talking like…22 pieces), because it was long overdue. And then I went grocery shopping. On FRIDAY afternoon! Complete with my grocery-store-cup-of-Starbucks! Thanks to the million dollars in Starbucks cards I inherited in this marriage. Best way to start a weekend ever!

After grocery shopping, the next item on the list was cleaning. Hardcore cleaning. I’m not talking about dusts and mops and bleach and toothbrushes, I’m talking about about boxes and bags and storage bins and organizers and trash bags and “give away” sacks. I went to town. Since in January we pretty much went from  sick-and-sleep-deprived-from-our-honeymoon-and-terrible-delayed-flight-home, to quick-buy-everything-else-we-need-to-survive-in-our-apartment-and-get-Laura-through-her-two-week-out-of-town-training-while-at-the-same-time-driving-45-minutes-every-day-to-see-our-family-that’s-“in-town,” to my auditing busy season, to Chris’s term-paper deadlines, there are a lot of boxes that never got unpacked. This weekend, I fixed this.

I started with the bathroom cabinets. I’m excited about this, but I know you’re probably not at all, so let’s move on to the study closet. Before I started, we couldn’t take two steps into the closet. When I finished with it, it had become a full-on walk-in closet again. Amazing. I know. I owe it all to my many years of Tetris. And  a little to our bed that leaves enough room to store guitars underneath it. And maybe to the trash can. And possibly to the fact that sometimes my husband uses an entire box to store one book. Yes, I discovered that this weekend.

By the time I finished with the closet it was around 11pm and high time for me to go to bed. I was feeling exceptionally adventurous, so for the first time since maybe November, I read a book before I went to bed. Ever since I finished my last book series, I haven’t found anything to really hold my interest. I even abandoned a series a quarter into the first book, something I’m not sure I’ve ever done before, because it just couldn’t hold a candle to what I’d just finished. But I started a new book on Friday, and I think I really identify with the author. It’s a little different, but I think it will be good. I’m excited!

And then, after a good night’s rest, I spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday tackling the study. Let me explain our study. When we moved in, my husband lined the walls with bookshelves. He painstakingly placed all our (mostly his) books on them. By category. And then alphabetically within those categories. (This is serious business, you guys). And then I came in and lined the floor in front of the shelves with boxes. Overflowing boxes. Boxes preventing anyone from getting within 5-7 feet of the shelves. And then I covered my desk with boxes. And papers. And then things accumulated as the the months went by and I still hadn’t set up my desk. So basically…I avoid the study at all costs. It’s a scary place. It means lots of work. Lots of time commitment. Lots of me being ashamed that I haven’t conquered it sooner. When my mom asks me when she can see wedding pictures. Or when I’ll send out my wedding thank you notes, I use the study as an excuse. “I still have a room overflowing with boxes!” It hangs over my head like that thing you know you’ve forgotten to turn off as you leave the house for vacation, but can’t seem to remember. Or that essay you know you need to write over Spring Break. You know the feeling I’m talking about. But now, Ladies and Gentleman, I can announce that I have cleaned our study. Perfect it is not. A few wedding and decorating related boxes remain. But OH MY GOODNESS YOU CAN SEE THE FLOOR AND OH MY GOSH I HAVE A DESK AGAIN!! Most exciting accomplishment of the year! And afterwards, I even started the process of going through my wedding photos to decide on things to print. Am I on a roll or what??

On Saturday I even put my husband to work on the study, since he did have his own share of the mess to clean. I felt a little bad for making him work all day after he’s been working so hard in school lately. That is until our prayer that night when he mentioned being grateful for the relaxing day. Grateful? Relaxing? I need to put this man to work more often!

To top off the wonderful weekend of accomplishment, my husband made the Pioneer Woman’s Lasagna and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. Again. If I were a man, that would be the way to my heart. However, I’m not, so it’s just a way to make me very very content with life.

In closing, I want to leave you with what is most likely my absolute favorite wedding picture. Possibly my favorite picture of all time. (Click it to make it bigger!!!) These are my flower girls, all related to my husband, clockwise from the bottom left, my niece, Lily, cousin, Ashtyn, (Me), cousin, Emily (sister of Ashtyn), cousin, Renna, and niece, Ellie (sister of Lily). I love all of these little girls so much, but I can’t look at this photo and not want to hop on a plane to Norway. That face. The basket and circlet thrown on the floor. There aren’t words.

❤ LF

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And I left work at 3:30pm!!!!!!!!!

No, not because I was fired! But because I had worked my 40 hours and my boss had a meeting at 3:30. I love my new boss!

This week has been up and down and all over the place, but mostly down, so instead of my normal format of good/bad/promising, I thought I would break it down by day? Capisce? Cool. Let’s get to it.

Sunday was Easter! He is risen and we celebrated by not being bums and finally attending church! (More on that another day.) We heard a great message and then joined our extended family for lunch. However, we received news later in the day that my 5yr old cousin-in-law in Virginia had to be rushed to the hospital from a boiling water incident. She’s still in the hospital five days later being treated for mostly severe 2nd degree and a few 3rd degree burns. (Pray for miraculous healing with no scarring!)

MondayWednesday we started working extra late. Without any advance warning or real explanation. On Sunday, I had conveniently planned out all of my after-work hours for the week so that I could be more efficient with my time. Clearly that hasn’t worked out so well. Also on Monday, I brought some of the cupcakes I had made for Easter to work with me. I brought my dish home today, completely full except for the one I ate Tuesday and my boss ate Wednesday (I’m 90% positive it was a pity eating). At this point, it’s not even about the cupcakes anymore, but the fact that my coworkers just…refused to eat what I brought to share. They were star shaped…and had sprinkles..and were cupcakes. Who says no to cupcakes unless there’s a bigger reason behind it? I’m trying not to read too much into this, but I’m pretty sure I’m never bringing any baked goods to work again.

Thursday I had to attend a training session in my downtown office for half the day, which was amazing! It meant free coffee and cookies, not allocating every 15 minutes of my time to a specific task on my audit, and only a 10 minute commute home. Also, I managed to get free parking, so I didn’t even have that to take away from the wonderfulness of the afternoon.

Friday, today(!!), I kind of wanted to punch my co-worker in the face. But I didn’t, so I still have a job! And like I said, we got to leave at 3:30!! So I don’t have to see said co-worker for awhile. Tonight I’m going to my former university for an awards..ceremony…thing, because I was nominated for an award that I know nothing about. The nominees are myself and two of my friends, so even if I don’t win, at least someone I know will. I’m looking forward to seeing my old dean, one of my favorite professors, and some of my friends that still go there.

Saturday is the weekend, and automatically a good day! My husband I are celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday with some people at a new restaurant (new to me at least)!

Sunday brings with it some anxiety as we are going to lunch with the pastor of the church we attended last week. Meals with people you don’t know can always be a little awkward, so… here’s to hoping it goes well! We are also planning on taking advantage of the beautiful weather and going to the park near our house! I’m so so so excited since it’s been ages since we’ve had leisure time to spend at a park!

So, that was my past, present, and future. How was your week?

❤ LF

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