Thursday, February 20, 2014

Extreme Over-Sharing

This week has been a truly crazy week for Roman and I. (Prayers are much appreciated for Roman; he’s got some sort of infection and is feeling really bad. Hopefully the antibiotics and the shot he got today from the doctor will start kicking in soon!)
But there are some things that are too funny not to share…..
I walked past an office earlier this afternoon and overheard a snippet of a conversation between two of my co-workers:
“Oh yea, I’ve got to show you that picture of my grandmother’s gallbladder that she had removed….”



I just…..I just don’t know.

I mean, I know we work together for long hours every day of every week. I know that sometimes our co-workers can start to feel like family. I know that we tend to over-share on things that really need to stay within our own personal lives. But really? Why would anyone ever ever ever want to see a picture of their co-worker’s grandmother’s gallbladder that was surgically removed? And more importantly, why do you have a picture of it on your phone in the first place???

The office world is a strange, strange place. Very strange, indeed.

In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.” ~Ephesians 1:13-14

Friday, February 14, 2014

This is NOT a Valentine's Day Post :)

Roman and I don’t do a whole lot on Valentine’s Day. He normally will buy me some flowers, and I think we may have gone to dinner once or twice, but for the most part (since we’ve been married, anyways) Valentine’s Day is just not that big of a deal. This year, my “gift” is actually pretty expensive, but only because I must have a new hair straightener ASAP (and the reason why is another story for another day.)
Really though, one of the main reasons why we don’t make such a huge deal out of Valentine’s Day is because today is also my mother’s birthday. We’d much rather spend the evening with her than standing in a line at a restaurant for three hours any day. This year is pretty simple even for her birthday; she only wants to meet up for some ice cream and she said (like every year) “no gifts”….which means that I of course got her something anyways (like every year.) I’m actually pretty excited about her birthday present this year, so I’ll be posting a picture on Facebook later on this evening after she sees it.
My mom is a very special lady in my life. I remember in fifth grade, right after we moved here from Atlanta and I started my first school year at my new school, I was getting teased a lot. I told one girl on the playground that she had better stop or I was going to tell my Mom. I was thinking that was an awesome threat, because no one wants you to tell on them to your Mom. I was very wrong. “Why would you tell your Mom that??” “Because I tell my Mom everything,” I said. “You are so weird. Why would you tell your Mom everything? What is wrong with you? You shouldn’t be friends with your Mom!” I walked away really confused because my tiny 10-year-old brain didn’t understand how someone couldn’t be friends with their Mom.

Me and my Mom, Mother's Day 2013
Ever since I can remember, my Mom has always been my best friend. Even at 23, I still call her and tell her about my day almost every day. She still hears about my dreams. She still hears about my failures. She has been there for me through the good times and the bad. She has given me so much wise advice that I could write a book. Sure, we argued some when I was a teenager (mostly over boys and why my shorts couldn’t be a liiiiitttle bit shorter) but even then the arguments were short and over quickly. I couldn’t stand having my Mom be mad at me for a long period of time.

Me and my parents, Valentine's Day Banquet, 2013
I know I am blessed. I KNOW how awesome I have it to have such a great role model. And I know that other people don’t have that great of a relationship with their mothers. This isn’t to make you feel guilty or ashamed. I’m not trying to parade how awesome my family is and wipe that in your face or anything. But at the same time, I feel like I should show respect and honor where it is due, and it is certainly due when it comes to my Mom.
Her expression in this picture makes me
laugh every time!
She has such a huge heart! She loves missions. She loves kids. She loves the elderly. She loves being a light to people who have no hope. She inspires me to see beyond someone’s grumpiness and serve them anyways. Her love for Christ is so evident in everything that she does. She has been married to my Dad for almost 47 years! She has five children (including me) and stayed home to raise all five of us. She can’t turn on a computer, but why would she need to when she has the ability to sew anything she needs to and diagnose sicknesses from hearing how you sound on the phone? She is so consistent in everything she does, especially when it comes to reading her Bible every morning and praying for her family. My Mom is leaving a legacy behind for younger generations, and one thing is for sure: if I can be half as great of a wife/mother/friend/servant as she is, I’ll be doing pretty good.
So to all of my readers, I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.
But to my Mom, Happy Birthday. I hope you know just how much you are loved and adored by your children on this special day! (And I’m really ready for that ice cream tonight!!)

One of my favorite pictures from my wedding  :)

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” ~Proverbs 31:28

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Is it just me, or is “smorgasbord” a ridiculously strange word?
February is zooming by, but here are some cool things I’ve been reading online that I thought was worth a second mention (some of them have already been posted to my personal Facebook page.)
I have quite a few friends that are getting ready to get married. I’ve talked a lot on here about how beautiful yet difficult marriage can be, but this article said some things that I haven’t necessarily said, yet are totally true. I really love her perspective, and whole-heartedly agree with the statements she made at the beginning. It’s definitely worth a read!
I am vehemently against abortion. That’s one of those topics that really strikes a nerve with me. (Quick note: If you have ever had an abortion, you can be forgiven. This is not meant to make you feel ashamed.) Matt Walsh is an amazing blogger that writes fifty times better than me, so I really (really) loved his article, “‘Pro-choicers’: Here’s why you cannot support abortion while opposing puppy murder.” I’ve often wondered myself how people can so aggressively support abortion, while also being vegetarian or petition for whales and stuff like that. Makes. No. Sense.
Something that will always be big on my heart is missions. Going on my mission trip to Peru when I was fifteen rocked my world and forever impacted the way I see poverty. But sometimes, we forget that poverty is right at our back door as well. Kristen’s article, “The Two Questions Every North American Christian Must Ask Themselves” reminded me once again that you do not have to search far to find people that desperately need us to be the hands and feet of Christ.
On a much less serious note, this spoof had me laughing for a really long time. Roman read the first paragraph and said he couldn’t take it anymore, but I read the whole thing and almost died laughing. What was so funny was me and my co-worker were just talking about how it seemed like no one had any writing skills anymore…..even the big-wigs that get paid the big bucks. (Note: not talking about any of my bosses, just America in general.) Right after she left for the day, I stumbled across this article. Perfect timing! And now I'm re-reading this post so that I'm not hypocritical with numerous grammar mistakes.  ;) 
I’ve mentioned a few things that I’m scared of, but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned the one animal that truly terrifies me. As in, don’t even make me walk close to the enclosure at the zoo because I'm so scared. And that animal would be the crocodile. Something about an animal that hides really well in the water, has enough power to snap your body in two, and likes to finish killing its prey by dragging it under the water and drowning it just gives me the creeps. I seriously have a plan of action on how to get away from one if I ever see it: run as fast as I can until I can get to a tree and then jump in the tree and hide there forever while cry-screaming hysterically. And then I read this article today on Fox News, “Crocodiles are able to Climb Trees, Study Says.”
This is the worst news ever. Now, anytime I’m near a body of water I’m going to have to look up to make sure a crocodile isn’t chilling out on a tree limb waiting to jump down like a ninja and take my arms off. #worstfear

And just a nice reminder to all my dude-readers: Hey guys, Valentine’s day is tomorrow. Be sweet to your ladies, m’kay? Don’t forget!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:4-7

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Weight Worries

Okay ladies, let’s talk weight…..
I know, I know, but don’t leave yet, just stick around for a bit, m’kay? (And guys, this post is not aimed at you, but it might be helpful for you to read and get inside the minds of the ladies in your life.)
I get it. I totally get it. We are surrounded by images of models and a trillion different ways that we do not measure up. I would LOVE for my tummy to be flatter, to achieve the *ahem* “thigh gap” that alluded me as soon as I graduated high school, for my skin to be clearer…and about ten shades tanner, and for my hair to do those big beautiful curls sported by the runway chicks. I have spent years, YEARS, watching other women around me and being envious of not having cool clothes like her, or not having a tighter backside like her, or not having super white teeth like her.
But frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of it. And I’m pretty sure, most of you are too. I’m pretty sure that I can say women today are tired of seeing all the ways they don’t measure up, making new year’s resolutions every year to try and fix all the ways they don’t measure up, and then giving up after a few weeks because the difference between us  and them is just too much.
Yesterday, I was surfing Pinterest during my lunch break. Particularly, the health & fitness board of Pinterest. I’ve been going to the gym and getting back into running, so I like browsing through some of the motivational fitness stuff online to keep me excited about fitness. The more time I spend on that board, though, the more troubled I become. Why? Because so much of the pictures that are getting pinned by my friends are pictures of women that, quite frankly, are not truly healthy.
They are bone thin. A whisp of a woman. With impeccable make-up and designer clothing. With teeth that probably cost thousands to get that white, and not a single wrinkle in sight. Can I tell you a secret? We won’t ever make it to that.

 This is not meant to discourage you, this is meant to set you free. Photoshop doesn’t work in real life. So why are we using Photo-shopped pictures of women who eat cotton balls soaked in orange juice as motivation for our weight loss journey. (That’s not sarcasm, look it up. These models go to extremes to be that thin.) I’m seeing pins of workouts supposedly used by Victoria Secret Models, and pictures of girls that are so tiny I can see their hip bones jutting out over their bikini bottoms. And this is what we are using for inspiration?
The insanity has got to stop.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t strive for healthiness. I’m not saying that wanting to be a little slimmer around the waistline is sinful. I’m all for some cutbacks in sugar consumption and more exercise for our country, where obesity and diabetes and heart disease runs rampant. But before we ever start any kind of weight loss journey or look for any kind of inspiration, we have got to realize one thing:
We are most beautiful when we are us.
No one has that same beautiful smile as you. No one has that same freckle pattern across her nose. You are uniquely you, and as much as the world screams at us to look a certain way, we should not listen. Being unique is special. It’s what makes us human. I can line up a herd of elephants and they will pretty much look exactly the same…..same color, same size, same facial structure. Sure, there might be a few small differences because of genetics, but they are basically the same. But humans? Line up all of the humans in your office and you will see a group of people who are all uniquely individual. There will be different eye color, skin color, body shape, facial structure, hair color….you get the point. God put a whole lot more creativity into the creation of humans than He did any other creature that walks this earth. Why? Because we are His most prized creation! He didn’t want a group of robots that had the exact same bone-thin body structure, bleach-white teeth, and wavy blonde hair! He wanted you. Beautiful, wonderful, unique, you.
Does He want us to be healthy? Of course! He wants us to enjoy the fullness of life, and He wants us to be good stewards over what He gave us. But the definition of “healthy” is not often found on Pinterest, and I don’t think it’s ever found on a Hollywood runway.
This year, I didn’t do a New Year’s Resolution, per se. Instead, I just decided that 2014 was going to be a year that I took on a healthier lifestyle. I decided that for once, I was just going to try to be a happier, healthier me. If I wind up a few pounds lighter at the end of the year, great. But if not, as long as I am feeling happier and healthier, I will consider this goal met.
What has this meant for me? Well, so far, it has meant that I’ve carved some time out to go running and go to the gym. Exercise helps tremendously with stress relief for me, so I’m feeling so much better. It is also essential that I keep my right leg strong now that I’ve had my knee surgery, and so far it is holding up really well! It’s also meant that I’ve stopped taking all fertility medications, because they were making me feel depressed and emotional. I’ve cut way back on Diet Cokes and have tried drinking more water. But I totally ate that chocolate covered donut on Saturday because I wanted to. I’m going back to the chiropractor because that doctor has some sort of crazy talent for making my back cooperate with the rest of my body. I’ve started reading books again and painting some crafty stuff. I slept in until 1:30 Saturday afternoon because I could. I read my Bible more, crank up my music in the car louder, and started “date night” again with Roman.  
But I am unique, and my picture of healthy may look entirely different from yours. It may mean that you play with your kids a little longer in the backyard. It may mean that you go buy some new clothes to help you feel more confident in your own skin. It may mean that you stop eating sugar for a little white to get better control over your eating habits. I have no idea what being healthy will look like for you, and guess what? Neither does Pinterest. Or Hollywood. Or those magazines in the line at the grocery store? Why? Because they are not you. They are not living your life. They have no idea what your schedule looks like and what you have the time/strength/energy/schedule to do.
So sure, browse Pinterest for some motivational quotes. Follow some blogs that have some good exercise routines that fit your life. But don’t take it any farther than that. Don’t let these images of “perfection” cloud your mind and choke out who you are as a daughter of Christ.
Be you. Be unique. Because you are, in fact, beautiful.
PS: To any of the guys who stuck with me on this one….tell the wife/mother/sisters in your life that they are beautiful. It will mean the world to them.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” ~1 Peter 3: 3-4

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Musings

Here is a random conglomerate of thoughts that I put together for your Monday:
(I know, you can’t get over the fact that I knew the proper usage of the word “conglomerate”. Just move along, m’kay?)
The Super Bowl…..
Lame. Really lame. Except for the half-time show. That part was pretty good, but only because I really like Bruno Mars (not what he stands for, but let’s face it, the guy can sing and he’s an excellent entertainer) and there was (surprisingly) no nudity. Unless you count the shirtless Red Hot Chili Peppers, but then, those guys are always weird. So they don’t count.
Of Bruno Mars….
I posted the link on my personal Facebook page last night, but I thought it was worth repeating. Lisa Baker wrote an awesome post…..What to Teach your Daughter about Bruno Mars and Love Songs
Sure, lyrics like “when I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change” make us ladies feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but the truth is that true love is not always warm and fuzzy. True love is really hard work, and you need a man that is going to do more than offer up poetic lyrics. You need a man that is willing to fight hard to keep a marriage alive, because some days it truly is a fight. Yes, there will also be those warm and fuzzy times too. And over the years you will (hopefully) find that there are more warm and fuzzy times than fight times. You just have to work to get to that point….and Hollywood never shows that side of love.
On a more positive note…..
This video is making its rounds on the Internet, especially since the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, but if you haven’t seen it, it is totally worth sixty seconds of your time:
#TrustYourPower – NFL’s Derrick Coleman, Seattle Seahawks
“They told me I was a lost cause. But I’ve been deaf since I was 3…so I didn’t listen.”
Click here to watch the video:#TrustYourPower
What more can I say? I love stories like this. They show my generation and the one coming up behind me that hard work and dedication truly can pay off. They show us to ignore the negativity that society likes to dish on us and chase after our dreams anyways. Also, the video makes me glad that the Seahawks won.
The Super Bowl commercials….
Lame. Really lame. Note: I really hate football. And all other televised sports events. Except for the Triple Crown and the Olympics…..those are okay. So when I am *forced* to watch the Super Bowl, I have high expectations for the entertaining commercials that usually air during the game.
Only except this year they were pretty lame. I only had a few favorites: The Doberhuahua commercial (hilarious), and the two Budweiser commercials. #SoluteASoldier made me cry like a little girl. And then the other commercial with the puppy and the Clydesdales was just adorable. Because puppies and horses. Enough said. (PS: I do not support Budweiser in any way, ever. But they do make some pretty awesome commercials.)
I love my husband, and here is one reason why….
Roman is not a sports watcher (thank God.) Occasionally he will ask to watch a baseball game and he always watches the Super Bowl and the BCS championship (did I say that right??), but in general my life is not filled with TV broadcasts of games and endless chatter about who should beat who and why that man in the shiny pants just tackled the other man in the shiny pants and why it was a good deed. Praise God, He was definitely looking out for me when He created Mr. Casterline.
Since my husband really doesn’t care all that much about sports, his reasoning for which team to cheer for was this: I will cheer for the Broncos because Broncos starts with a “B” and my last name starts with a “C” and “B” is right next to “C” in the alphabet.
Glorious reasoning. You can totally see why we are perfect for each other, right? I can. Except, I guess we should have been cheering for the Seahawks because their name starts with an “S” and so does mine. Oh well, better luck next year!
Enough about the Super Bowl….
My dog was standing in the doorway the other day and shook his head. When he did, he shook it so hard that he accidentally slammed his head into the side of the doorway. He scared himself so bad that he tucked his tail and hid in the corner for five minutes. I could not. stop. laughing.
Last week….
I wrote a post called “Church, We Have an Emergency.” It was kind of long, but I felt like it was really important and needed to be said. If you missed it, check it out!  :)

Okay, I think I’ll stop now. I’ll end on the Scripture verse that I used to open service yesterday at church, because it’s a really good one.

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  ~1 Peter 1:8-9