Sunday, December 30, 2012


It’s the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013….which can only mean one thing: the world did not implode on December 21st, 2012. It also means that I should clean my house again, since I stopped cleaning it several weeks ago due to the impending end of the world. Ha. Only kidding. But I do need to clean though…….terribly.

The beginning of a New Year actually signals the birth of ten million New Year’s Resolutions. So it is only fitting that I write a post with how I did on my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions and end with my Resolutions for 2013. *deep breath* Okay…here goes!


Resolution #1: Lose the college fifteen

Results: Hahahahahahahahahahahaha I love chocolate.

….no seriously…..I was doing pretty good with this resolution….up until the point that I tore my ACL in my right knee and it swelled up like a balloon. But I do love chocolate….a whole lot. And that may possibly be a teeeensy weeeensy bit of the problem. But then…how can something so wonderful be bad for you??!??

Resolution #2: Get a tattoo

Results: I’m a wimp. And I probably won’t ever get a tattoo. Not even a little tiny one on my foot like I wanted. Why? Because every time I think about getting one, I wonder how bad it might hurt…and then I automatically chicken out and eat chocolate as a coping mechanism. Please see Resolution #1. Ahem.

Resolution #3: Be on time for work. And all other events that I am supposed to attend. Like church and life in general.

Results: *shoves chocolate in mouth* All I can say is…...I sort of tried? Don’t judge me.

As you can probably already tell…..2012 was not a good year in the Resolution accomplishment department. So how about we finish off this post with some hopeful 2013 Resolutions?


Resolution #1: Lose the college fifteen

Game Plan: Stop eating chocolate. Hahahahahahaha like that would ever happen. Trying to quit chocolate entirely is like asking a turtle to walk around without its shell. So I’m not going to quit chocolate…..I’m just going to cut back. And since my knee is bad enough to cause me pain but not bad enough to require surgery, I’m going to have to get creative on an exercise plan. Or just chop the bottom half of my leg off with a chain saw.

Resolution #2: Buy a chainsaw

Game Plan: Totally kidding guys.

Resolution #3: Be on time for stuff

Game Plan: I have no idea. So if anyone would like to share how they manage to be on time for anything they attend in life (work, church, your own wedding, etc.) please feel free to share. PLEASE!!

Resolution #4: Read the entire Bible

Game Plan: I have grown up in the church my whole entire life. I got saved when I was five. But I don't think I have read the whole entire Bible. Which is pretty pitiful. So in 2013, I plan on using the little Bible app on my phone to read through the whole entire Bible in one year. The app has a reading plan that evenly sections out the Bible throughout the year so I can complete it, so all I have to do is read. Woop woop!!

So there ya have it folks. I’ll be back tomorrow with a waaay too long post with lots of pictures for a fun recap of 2012. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a bowl of M&M’s and a jacuzzi tub full of hot water awaiting my presence. I mean….c’mon, it’s not 2013 just yet, so I can still eat all the chocolate I want…right?!?? 

"Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it."  ~Psalm 119:140

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Whole Lotta Weird

This post could be potentially lame or potentially hilarious or both at the same time. I recommend having some chocolate while reading….but not a glass of milk. The chocolate will make it less lame…and the milk might come out of your nose. Or it may not. Who knows? I’m not the boss of you….so eat and drink whatever you want. Or don’t. It’s a free country.
Last night I dreamed that I rode my horse to the gas station to fill her up with gas, only to find that some dude had passed out while pumping his gas (into his car…not his horse….weirdo….WHO DOES THAT???) The paramedics were blocking the entrance to the pump, so I had to ride around to a different pump and my horse was all jittery because of the lights and the dude lying on the ground. Dumb horse…..just stand still next to the gas pump already so we can get out of here. GOSH.

So in the spirit of being a cowgirl, I ate beef jerky for breakfast this morning and drank my coffee black.

Okay….not all of that is true. I would NEVER drink my coffee black. That is just plain nasty. And I also did not eat beef jerky as a result of my dream last night. But I DID eat beef jerky for breakfast this morning. And it was amazing. True story….don’t judge me.
You may think I’m weird….with my strange dreams and my beef jerky eating ways…..but just know that Roman is (in every way) just as strange as me.
Our shower in the bathroom has a glass door and glass walls and all that great stuff. I walk in about a week ago to find Roman writing a math problem on the shower door with his finger. Conversation proceeded as follows:
Me: What in the world are you doing? Why are you doing math?
Him: Sometimes I just do math. I’ll be standing here…taking a shower….doing math problems in my head and then I can’t figure them out so I write them down. It helps me solve them.
Me: *erupts into laughter*
Him: You never do that?
Me: *continues to laugh* NO!!!! WHY WOUOLD YOU DO MATH IN THE SHOWER??!?? *more laughter*
Him: You mean to tell me you never write on the shower door? Ever? Like…some days I’ll think of a word and I can’t remember how to spell it so I’ll write it in the steam on the shower door so I can see it and figure out how to spell it.
Me: *still giggling* You are the weirdest person I know. In the universe.  

See what I mean? He’s every bit as weird as me. And unfortunately, we are both OCD and weird at the same time. Roman likes to use all the same coat hangers in his closet and has all of his shirts hanging the same way….color coordinated and everything. My closet generally looks like a tornado swept through the place (although I did organize it a little last night at midnight…got one of those crazy cleaning bugs….and yes I was late to work today). I will hang and re-hang the towels in the bathroom until they are perfectly straight….Roman generally leaves his on the floor. So while he is scoffing at my lack of organization in my closet….I am scoffing at his jumbled up towel draped over the edge of the tub.

It’s funny to me how two people can be so different, yet still be perfect for each other. It’s almost like God is playing a joke on us.

God: “Hey Gabriel, watch this. I’m going to create these two people and one day they’re going to get married. She’s going to get mad at him ten million times over his bathroom towel while he continually fusses at her over her lack of closet organization skillz.”
Gabriel: God, you’re so funny.
God: Duh.

(Note: Dear God and Gabriel….I meant no disrespect. Now quit laughing at us.)
Anyways….my point is that we are weird. But you are probably weird in some ways too. So there. Let’s be weird together, m’kay? I hope all you weird people had a really great Christmas. I know we did! Over the weekend I’ll write a big long post with lots of pictures recapping the year of 2012 and then hopefully I’ll get another post in before New Years with my obligatory New Year’s resolutions for 2013 and how I did on my resolutions for 2012. (Hint: the only one I accomplished was not dying on December 21, 2012…a pretty big accomplishment if I say so myself. It definitely makes me feel better about not having a six pack of abs and slimmer thighs. So, yay me!)
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." ~Genesis 2:24
((ADDED: And they shall war over towels and closets. And God shall snicker at them with Gabriel from above. Amen.))

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

There Are No Words.....

I jokingly call my pets my children, but I know that it is not the same. So I don’t write this post from the perspective of a mother who will get off work and go spend time with her children. I won’t pretend to know what it is like to carry and give birth to a child, or to have that special bond that people talk about, because I have not experienced that in my life yet. Therefore, I really do not know what the parents of Connecticut are feeling today.
 I can only imagine….and I pray that I never have to experience the hell they are going through right now.
Friday was a busy work-day for me. I didn’t have the chance to go online and check the news or to check Facebook. It was one in the afternoon before I heard what had happened….and at that time the word was that only one adult and one child had died. The rumors were many and spread like wildfire…..the shooter had a child of his own in the school…..there were multiple shooters…..the shooter was dead….the shooter had been arrested…..twelve children had died…..the shooter had a mother that worked in the school…..sixteen children had died… entire class was unaccounted for….

Twenty children.
Six adults.

With Christmas just one week away, I’m sure that gifts had already been bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree. I can’t imagine what that must feel like……to stare at your Christmas tree with all of those presents and want so bad for your child to be there to open them on Christmas morning….only to have to go to your child’s funeral today instead.
I can’t imagine running to a fire station….hoping with every fiber of your being that your child is waiting for you there…..only to read your child’s name on a list and later have to identify their body.
I can’t imagine returning to an empty house, or having to explain to your other children why they can’t play with their brother or sister anymore.
I can’t imagine the grief. The pain. The anger. The chaos. The reporters everywhere wanting a statement….the phone calls from concerned neighbors and extended family members. All the while wondering how in the world a twenty year old man could walk into a school and murder an entire classroom of innocent children along with several staff members.
What happened on Friday was terrible. A special kind of evil visited that school on Friday morning. Our nation has been rocked by a tragedy.
This morning, Fox News had little to say about the victims, but a lot to say about the shooter. Was he mentally ill? Where did he get the weapons? What was his home life like? Should guns be illegal? Politicians are arguing over our right to bear arms. The United Nations thinks we are too liberal with our gun rights. Texas thinks the teachers should be allowed to carry weapons. Gun sales spiked on Friday afternoon and Saturday.
Not that this stuff isn’t important, but I really hope that in the midst of all of this, the American people remember those suffering families. I hope that we take the time to grieve with them. To support them. To pray for them. To remember their loss…long after the reporters have left and the attention is moved to another world crisis.
Sunday morning, our little church did what we Christians are called to do: we wept with those who are weeping. It was a somber worship service, as our Pastor took the stage and talked about what happened on Friday morning. We sang songs as the Holy Spirit led us to. We cried together. We prayed over the families that are so lost in their grief right now. We prayed over the pastors who are trying to lead funeral services and make house calls. We prayed for the service men and women who responded on that day and saw haunting images that will stick in their minds for the rest of their lives.
This is why we are here… be God’s hands and feet. To lift one another up in prayer, and to comfort those who are in need. I hope that as we move forward with our individual lives, that we take some time to pray for others as well. As Christmas quickly approaches, followed by New Years, the “fiscal cliff”, and tax season….I hope that we don’t forget the lives that were lost on Friday. I hope that we remember to pray for our nation…..that our country would turn back to God…..that we never have to experience this again…….that the families are comforted as birthdays pass by uncelebrated and holidays pass by with empty seats at the table.
In the midst of this tragedy, we can give thanks that we have a healing Father. A Father who loves us and wants the best for us. A Father who mourns with us in times like this. A Father who is just and wise and directs our path. And we can certainly give thanks that if we call ourselves His, we will see these precious children once more….alive and well.

Lysa Terkeurst wrote a very moving article on how to pray for the families here.
Roo from NiceGirlNotes lives just a few towns away from Newtown. She wrote a very touching article and included links at the end for those who would like to financially support the victims’ families here.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”   ~Romans 12:15

Monday, December 17, 2012

We Like Cats Too

I write about our dog, Duke, a lot. But I rarely write about our two cats, Ralph and Lauren. Get it? Ralph Lauren? Yea, I know....kinda lame in a cute way.

We *ahem* acquired Ralph just one month after we got married. We actually had seen him around our neighborhood while we were moving in and thought he was just like all the other strays. I jokingly named him Ralph because when he meowed that's what it sounded like he was saying. Roman didn't want me naming him because that meant I might want to keep him. One month later, he was living in our house and sleeping on our pillows. Note taken: you really shouldn't name stray wind up getting attached.

Ralph is a big cat....not big as in fat, big as in really tall and long. He also thinks he is a mountain cat and can jump onto my shoulder from a sitting position. And oh yea, he hates Duke with every fiber of his being. Duke finds this amusing and tries his hardest to find new ways to "connect" with this stubborn kitty....which only deepens Ralph's hatred.

But Lauren is totally every way. She was dumped on my parent's property when she was still a kitten. I think her brain got deprived of nutrients because....well, she's not very cat like. Example: she tries hard to jump on the counter tops. Sometimes she makes it.....other times she just kind of...doesn't. Her problem is, she has the body of a full sized cat, but her legs are still the length of a kitten's. Which means she stinks at jumping and when she runs I always giggle a little bit. I admit that is sort of mean.....but then you've never seen her run. Trust me, it's funny.

Saturday night though, she made a successful jump onto the counter and ate an entire square of Hershey's milk chocolate. Me, being the panicky person that I am, immediately searched Google. You should never do that. Because Googling stuff like that just gives you all sorts or irrational fears. Apparently chocolate is not only bad for dogs, but is also really bad for cats as well. If she had eaten too much of it, it could apparently give her a heart attack or stroke. Or she could start violently throwing up and die of dehydration. Awesome. But the article didn't say how much was too of course I was freaking out all night long wondering if she would die or not.

She didn't die. She didn't even throw up. Stupid cat. Note taken: Google doesn't have all the answers. And one square of chocolate will not kill your cat. Although it is still toxic, so you shouldn't just give it to them for dessert. Not that i would ever volunteer my chocolate to my pets. I love them....but i love chocolate too. There are some things i just won't share. Ahem.

Oh and one more fun fact about my pet children....Ralph is an escape artist. So if you ever come to my house, I will demand that you enter the door quickly lest he escape. And if you ever see me creeping around my own front yard with a container of cat food, it's because the $($(#*-&" cat got out again. Maybe I should just feed him a bunch of chocolate so I won't have to worry about it anymore.

KIDDING PETA. I would never waste chocolate like that.

.....oh yea, I would never poison my cat-child either.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased!" ~Luke 2:14

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas 2012

Note: I wrote this the Monday after Thanksgiving and then forgot to post it. Oops.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, me, Roman and Duke drove out to the Christmas tree farm. Usually we don’t get a tree until after December 1st, but this year we decided to go on and get ours a little bit early. (Here’s hoping we remember to water it and it makes it to Christmas day….note: since I wrote this, we have forgotten to water the tree several times. Needless to say, it is looking quite droopy.....) Last year we went just two weeks after we adopted our precious Dukey-face from the pound. It was his first major outing…other than to the vet. This year, he was much bigger….but still the cutest dog I’ve ever seen.

I had absolutely no intentions of fully decorating my house after church that night, but once we started decorating the tree, things just got a little out of hand. Suddenly it was two in the morning, my house had been Christma-fied, we had put up two baskets of clean clothes, vacuumed the house, and done a load of dishes in the dishwasher. 

Was I exhausted? Absolutely. Was I late to work the next day? You betcha. But was I super excited to go home that afternoon to a fully clean and decorated house? Dang right I was!

Anyways, I really am trying to make a much larger effort to be thankful this holiday season. Because most years I am one of those who go around grumbling “do I REALLY have to listen to Jingle Bells one million and five times again this year??!!??” And normally once you get to Thanksgiving, life turns into a whirlwind of decorating, gift-buying, giving, receiving, eating, more eating, singing Jingle Bells and just general craziness. Suddenly, you blink and you find yourself watching the ball drop in New York City on television and telling everyone Happy New Year.  And then you continue to write 2012 on all of your checks for the next month because there is just no way it’s 2013 already.

This year, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to take things a little more slow and actually enjoy Christmas this year. I know right? Novel idea.

Yes, I went shopping on Black Friday. But I didn’t charge a whole bunch of stuff to my credit card or stand in a line for ten hours just to buy a TV. I had an enjoyable time with my mom holding up funny dresses in Belk’s and teasing some of America’s latest fashion trends. And she bought me new clothes, which was an added plus. (YAY!!) And we also didn’t go shopping until after 7:30 in the morning, so most of the crazies had cleared out. Shablam.

My point is, it makes no sense for us to be running around yelling and screaming JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, if we are spending all of our time worrying about whose house we’re going to go to for Christmas dinner this year and piling up huge amounts of debt just to try and give the “perfect” gifts.  Yes we will still “do” Christmas this year with all of the eating and gift-giving and all that, but my main focus is going to be gratefulness instead of stress.

This year, I’m opting out of all the craziness. In one night I cleaned my whole house and I put out all of my Christmas decorations. But you know what? I enjoyed every minute of it. I set up my multiple nativity scenes around the house and paused to contemplate the birth of Jesus each time I pulled one of them out of its box. And I walked around the house thanking God that He had so much mercy to send His Son to our broken little world to hang on a cross for us. I thanked God that He gave me such a beautiful house to put a Christmas tree in and to live my life in.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a whole lot to be thankful for.

I married the best man I could ever dream of. He loves me and takes care of me. He is faithful to me. He is a man of God that truly desires to see our family run after His heart.

My Dad turned 65 years old two days after thanksgiving. I’m thankful for the time I’ve had with him and I’m thankful that he is still a healthy man that dearly loves his children and his wife.

My nephew and his wife have orders to return to Georgia this December. I get to see my nephew after three years, and I finally get to meet his wife for the first time. After two tours overseas, this is truly exciting for me and my family to see his face again…..alive and well and home in time for Christmas.

I have a wonderful job that more than provides for Roman and me. I love working here. I love the people I work with here. I love knowing that what I do makes a difference. And Roman has a wonderful job as well that he truly enjoys and gives us the flexibility to do the things we enjoy. Most families in America cannot say that they enjoy their jobs…..or that both adults are even gainfully employed. So we are beyond blessed with our jobs.

My little brother hit a deer on Thanksgiving morning. But he is totally okay. Hallelujah.

My house is amazing. My dishwasher is still the coolest thing since sliced bread. The fact that the heater works and I can take a hot shower for over an hour if I want to is the second coolest thing since sliced bread.

Roman and I get to do ministry in the best church in the universe with the best people in the universe. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. I seriously love our church and our Pastor and the leadership team there. I can’t imagine where we would be in life if it weren’t for our church, but I can assure you we wouldn’t be who we are today.

We have great friends. Great family. A great dog. And two stupid cats that try to escape every time we open the dang-blasted door, but we still love them too. 

There are probably a zillion and five other things that I could list off, but you people probably don’t want to read them all, so I won’t. But more than anything, I’m thankful for my God. Because if it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t have any of this. He blesses me and Roman more than we can handle sometimes, and in the year of 2012 we have definitely been hit with some for-real blessings. From job promotions, to a new house, to going on an amazing cruise, to physical healings, to graduating college….God has really pulled off some big stuff for us this year. We don’t deserve for Him to heap so much goodness on our heads, but for some reason He just really enjoys making us say “WOW”.

And so over the next few weeks, I’m making a big, huge effort to say thanks. Because that’s the best I have to offer Him in return for all He has done for us this year…my feeble offering of “Thank You.” I’m sure that everyone reading this has some big things to be thankful for as well. Maybe 2012 hasn’t been such a great year for you….but you know what? You’ve at least got the Internet to be reading this post, which means you have electricity, which means you have a roof over your head, so there are three things right there that you can be thankful for. Unless you’re a homeless person using the free Internet in the library just so you can read my blog. Which is quite doubtful. And slightly disturbing. #creeper

Seriously folks, as America hustles and bustles and swipes their credit cards and argues over whether we should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, let us make it our first priority to pause and give thanks. Because Jesus truly is the reason for the season. He did so much for us 2,000 years ago, and He still works on our behalf today. I hope we can all put on an attitude of thankfulness this holiday season…because God so deserves for His people to give Him thanks.

“Wish that I was there, on that silent night, when Your tiny heart started beating for mine. I wish I could’ve seen, the star in David's town, when You turned a stable into Holy ground. I sing along, the angel’s song:

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive. Emanuel, hope is here tonight. So go, and tell, the world that death has died. 'Cause Jesus is alive. Yea, Jesus is alive.

The God who made us all, with these two little hands, is bringing us His kingdom, quiet as a lamb. Oh such Amazing Grace! A divine conspiracy, this Savior in a manger changes everything, that's why we sing:

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive. Emanuel, hope is here tonight. So go, and tell, the world that death has died. 'Cause Jesus is alive. Yea, Jesus is alive.

Sin you have no sting. Hell you have no power. Curse you are no more. This is your final hour. Because the Son of God has not left us alone; He'll live and die and rise again, and then He'll bring us home. The old will pass away, and we will become new. This baby Boy is making all sad things untrue.”      
~Jesus is Alive by Josh Wilson

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”         ~Matthew 1:21

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Awkward Moment When....

Everyone who has a Facebook has probably seen some of those “the awkward moment when….” statements. Some of them are funny, like “The awkward moment when your chair makes a farting noise and you can’t make the noise again to prove you didn’t fart” or “The awkward moment when you predict the end of the world and nothing happens”. Others of them are lame like, “The awkward moment when I couldn’t come up with something awkward to say” or “The awkward moment when you log onto Facebook and you have no new notifications”. Lame. *womp womp*
In the spirit of giving into peer pressure, I have two of my own for you. Unfortunately, these are from real life experiences….also, both events happened today, actually within ten minutes of each other….
The awkward moment when you reach for the door handle and miss….so you run straight into the door.
The awkward moment when you are fixing your hair in the bathroom and someone walks out of the stall, looks in the mirror, and says, “**&*%^&$&(*(*!! My &*^% boobs are too big for this dress! *(*&-$@@*!!!!!”
First of all, for all of those concerned, my face is fine. And THANK THE GOOD LORD no one saw me. Except for God. And I’m pretty sure He had a good laugh. I know I did.
Second of all, what in the world am I supposed to say to that? I thought of some possible replies….
“Maybe you shouldn’t have gotten a boob job” (am I allowed to say this??!?)
“Darn those genetics!” (I guess this is better than assuming she got a boob job)
“It’s really not that bad….” (kindof a creepy/stalker thing to say because, you know, I’d have to look at her boobs to say it)
“Do you not know how to try on clothes before you purchase them?” (sarcastic, but true)
“Lucky you, I never have that problem!!” (um….TMI?)
“Maybe you had a recent growth spurt?...” (just dumb. This was an old-ish woman….so it would have been dumb if I said it. Thankfully I didn’t say it.)
“Oh my! Did the dress shrink or something?” (probably the best response (??), but super fake concern would have been expressed)

I could tell I was expected to say something though, as she continued to make weird noises, throw out some more profanity, and tug and pull on her dress in a weird, rough way. Thankfully, just as she became more agitated and I felt like I had no choice but to comment on this woman’s boob dilemma (who I have never met, by the way) someone else walked in. Someone else that boob-lady knew. Soon afterwards I made my escape, but I feel 99% certain that the expression of boob-overflow continued. Probably with more tugging and cussing.
All I know is, I’m grateful to have made it out of the bathroom without having to comment on a stranger’s boob issue. And I also remembered to grab the door handle prior to walking into the door when I returned to my office. An added plus, no doubt.
And if you would like another chuckle, head over to The Life With The Casterlines’ Facebook page (or don’t, I’m not the boss of you). Short run down: After the door and the bathroom incident, I went to a staff meeting….where a manager called someone else an Information Monster. Which was weird….but also kind of funny. Thankfully I covered up my grin with my hand and managed not to laugh out loud. You people probably don’t think it’s funny….guess you had to be there. Anyways, if you want to see it, click here: The Information Monster
The awkward moment when someone calls someone else an Information Monster in a meeting…and you decide to draw it and post it to your Facebook.   ….Oh wait, that’s not awkward. Lame. *womp womp*

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. ~Proverbs 17:22