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July 31, 2012

Calling The Called Comes to an End

Well, that's the end of the guest posting.
I hope you enjoyed it.

Here are links to the posts, just in case you missed it.

Please take the time to visit the blogs of these wonderful ladies.
Cheerios and Beer
Life With The Hawleys
Not So Newlyweds
Last Year of a Twenty Something

So my lovely readers, what did you think of the little series?
Did you enjoy the posts?
Do you like the writers?
How about the subject?
Did it get you thinking?

I know that I'm inspired.
I love hearing about individuals who are still searching, or are reaping the benefits of their hard work.

Please feel free to stop by their blogs and give them a little (or a lot) of love.
I truly appreciate each of them for participating. 

July 30, 2012

My Second Birch Box

I got my second Birch Box
I'm trying to decide if I enjoy getting them or not.
So far I am happy with 90% of what they send.
I'm trying to decide if the 10% of poop is worth keeping.
Unfortunately I'm also one of those girls easily distracted by bright colors and pretty packaging.
I admit it.

{linking up with Jennifer at Vintage Gewn}


This month's box was a senses type of theme. 

{pic via}
The mints are from Tea Forte.
I don't enjoy chocolate.
They claim they're good for energy...
I'm not feeling any boost of energy while I'm plugging away at my desk job.

{pic via}
The ear buds are so awesome and colorful.
Mine are lime green with pink buds.
Unfortunately, they're cheaply made.
Nothing you can do about that, they are a BirchBox exclusive.
I do enjoy them though.
My tiny little ears like the squishy bud awesomeness.

{pic via}
The eyeliner is Eyeko Skinny Liquid in black.
I used the eyeliner during my summer show.

I was blown away.
Honest to goodness, I've only used liquid eyeliner once and I hated it due to the little brush.
I adore this liquid eyeliner pen.
I can even claim to have gotten the little cat eye right.
The liner lasted through a theatre production and longer. 
It's staying power was great, but fixing any mistakes was a little rough.
This liner is in it to win it.

{pic via}
The perfume sample that came was Harvey Prince Hello
I loved it.
It's gone.
I tried spraying the last bit of it into my closet to make my clothes smell fabulous.
I'm weird.
Anyway it was very light and one of very few flowery perfumes I enjoy. 

{pic via} 
Alterna BAMBOO® UV+ Color Protection Fade-Proof Fluide has dimethicone in it...
I don't use hair products with dimethicone in it because it's not water soluble.
No review to give.
Sorry loves.
{pic via}
Supergoop! City Sunscreen...
It's sunscreen.

Anyone else get a monthly subscriber box? I'd love to see you link up and share what you think of your boxes.

July Book: Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

This month's book club choice was Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.
My opinion:
I started this book with a minor head start. I say this only because I caught Opera's Life Class on OWN that was about this community. It was a great series about the women in the Hasidic culture and in the very same New York community. The 2 part series had Opera talking to 5-6 women about their daily lives. It was really interesting, one of the reasons I wanted to read this book.
The book was an interesting look into the mind of a child in the community. An insider's perspective on a very private, secluded community. I really enjoyed seeing the growth that takes place. You can see the independence and self value grow from something unexplained to something that can't be denied. 
It was really good.
I give it a solid 8.

After talking about the book with my book club and hearing that they did some research on the book and events that took place I got curious about the author. One of the girls wondered out loud if the authors blog was still up. This caused my search to start. 
I was not shocked to find blogs and articles trying to discredit Deborah and her book.
It's a personal account over many years in a community that is seen private and different from American society. People look after 'their own'. It's human nature.
I found the interviews given from people who went to school with the author interesting.

It's all a very 'he said, she said' thing.
I respect the fact that the author never claimed to be a journalist, just a writer.
But it also opens her book up for criticism... Point of view and personal experience doesn't necessarily equal fact.
The little thing about leaving a little sister completely out of the book doesn't really help.

So all in all, it was a good book.
I'm not thinking of it as a work of fiction based on someone's life, rather than a memoir.
I still recommend it.

July 26, 2012

Days Off

Sorry for the missed days.
I've been sick.
Like, I fell asleep in the bathroom kind of sick.
I took almost 3 whole days off work, sick.
I even went to the doctor...

I just wanted to let you know that I'm on the mend, back at work and working on things I've left undone.
Next week I'll be up and at 'em.
Back in the flow.
On the ball.

Hope you had a great week.

July 19, 2012

Asher's Present

I'm skipping Theirs/Mine this week due to summer show exhaustion.
This means I get to bring you my funny fur baby. 

This winter Asher was so studly in his sweater and pajamas from RebelWag's Etsy shop
We love how everything is catered to a sighthound's body shape.

The only issue.
The pajamas fit his 7 month-ness like a second skin... 
And they were peach...
I thought they were grey...
Either way, he didn't look too comfortable.

Here is Asher, opening a present we, meaning me, got him for this fall.

July 18, 2012

Cabaret Photo Bomb

This past weekend was the summer musical.
I've been involved with my community's summer theatre program for the past 14 years.
Dance corps and chorus for most of them. 
Soloists for a few.

This year I was the choreographer's assistant and the telephone girl.
2 lines and 2 singing solos, thank you very much.
It was a surprisingly fun show.
I know that the subject matter and setting isn't really great.
I'm the first to say that it's not my favorite show in the world.
But, nothing can beat spending 2 months of my life with people that I truly love and care for. 
It is my summer family.
I don't know what I would do with out them.

This show also provided a great distraction for the months of June and July.
It made them go by crazy fast.
Now I just have to get through the rest of this month and August.
I think I'll take my time recovering.

Here are some pictures from the show.
{the Sobbing Sisters reunited from Big River}

{The kick line... Yes the tallest is a man.}
{The Kit Kat Girls and their 'kitten', me}

{The dance corps in their Sitting Pretty costumes.}

{Me and my theatre little sister, our star!}

{the stage band!}

{The dance corps' fearless leader}

{Our inspiration, Stamos}

{Mmmm, Stamos}

{Getting notes}
{My favorite costume as the 'Telephone Girl'.}
Well there you have it. 
I'm spending this week re-cooperating from the late nights.
We'll see.

July 17, 2012

Calling the Called: Brittany from Not So Newlyweds

This week you get to hear from Brittany who is one of the first bloggers that I followed.
She's amazing and has quite the experience.
I think you'll enjoy what she has to share.


A few weeks ago, Erin emailed me asking if I would like to write a guest post for her blog. She wanted to do a series on finding yourself and figuring out your life. My first thought was, I have nothing figured out!! But she also mentioned that this post could be about overcoming obstacles, school, or what I wanted to be when I “grow up” and I thought that I had a great story to tell. Yes, it may be a little long, but I think it’s worth the read.

I went into college majoring in Music Education. I wanted to be a high school band director—yes, I said it. I was a drummer in high school and loved the competition. I especially loved that not many women were in the profession and my dream was for my band to win, especially against all those bands that had male directors. When winter vacation rolled around of my sophomore year, I came home miserable. I didn’t like what I was doing. Honestly, I didn’t really fit in with the rest of the music majors. I joined a sorority—it was not the one all of the other music majors belonged too (outcast). I didn’t participate in choir, not that I didn’t want to, I didn’t have time (outcast). It wasn’t that I didn’t get along with the other music majors, they were all so kind and I still talk to a few, but I just didn’t fit in. It all didn’t feel right. So when I went back to school in January, I changed my major. For me it was one of the best and hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I hate disappointing people and felt as though I was disappointing a few of my music professors. I knew I wanted to work with kids and loved the middle school age, so I changed my major to middle childhood education.

Fast forward to my senior year when I had come to find I would need to stay for an extra semester. At the end of the year, the majority of my friends graduated and I had come to terms with finishing in January. The only part I had left was my students teaching, which started after 6 weeks of classes. Since I had family in the area I went to college (2 hours from home) I decided to live with my grandparents for 6 weeks, and then finish my student teaching in a district at home. All was okay with my college, as long as I passed my Praxis.

If you are a teacher or studying to be a teacher anywhere in the U.S., you know you have to take those magnificent state tests. They’re the best! {kidding} In Ohio, we have the Praxis series. As a future educator, I had to take the Praxis II and then the content tests for language arts and social studies. I took the Praxis II and language arts content earlier my senior year and passed with flying colors. The last one I had left was social studies—really, how hard could it be? I loved history and felt very confident. Boy, was I wrong. I took my test in the summer before starting my last semester and I failed…by one point. Since I took the test at the end of the summer, I didn’t get my results back until the fall. My advisor let me start my classes, but told me if I did not pass I would have to stop my classes and couldn’t student teach. Since I was so sure I would pass, I didn’t see a problem. Not so fast Brittany!  I was heartbroken. I really thought my world was ending. What was I going to do? I didn’t pass. I knew they wouldn’t let me student teach that fall, but since I was already a week into my classes when I received my score, I was determined to finish my classes. I went into the education department pleading my case. With tears streaming down my eyes, I had to convince all of my professors that I deserved to finish my classes and then start my student teaching in the spring. This was not something that I would have typically done. I am a “play by the rules” girl but know there can be exceptions. God had a plan for me that day and after voting all of my professors (but one) agreed to let me finish.

After the 6 weeks of classes were up, I moved in back home with my parents and worked every day until spring rolled around for my student teaching. Even though I was extremely thankful that everything had worked out, I was still disappointed in myself. During that time I was stuck in a rut. I wasn’t happy with how things were going and I was very sad in general. Then once again, He had different plans for me. One crisp fall afternoon I met up for coffee with a boy named J and it completely turned my world around.

I truly believe everything happens for a reason. If I had passed my test and graduated in January I may never have met J, who two years later became by husband. I also may have never been offered the job I have today! I needed to see that everything doesn’t work out as I had planned. Everyone has a story that is being told and even though we would like to be in charge of it, we’re not. I still love to plan my future. When is it the right time to move? When is it the right time to have kids? Should we go on this vacation? What about buying a new (used) car? But when you plan too much, He will show you that it’s time to slow down and that He is still in charge.

I’m not perfect by far and I’m still working on getting everything in order (although I don’t think that will ever come). I have a wonderful job teaching 5th grade and I just finished my masters. Now I look back and think that I was crazy for thinking my world was coming to an end because of some test. In reality, it was such a small hurtle. But really, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It made me stronger, helped me decide what I really wanted out of life, and allowed me to meet my wonderful husband.
Love, love, love!

Favorite recent posts from The Buckeye Couple at Not So Newlyweds:
Meeting My Olympic Idols
The Blogger Party
Funny Friday
And The Next Thing I Knew, I Woke Up!

July 16, 2012

What is FRG?

FRG is a group that is put in place to enhance communication between family members and their soldiers.
Family Readiness Group.
It is what it is...

My take on the group:
(Or ours, at least...)

FRG is a great thing for soldiers and families who don't have the ability to communicate throughout a week.
As I've already mentioned in a previous post, Jake and I are able to talk about ever other day.
I've found that the FRG group is redundant for my situation.

I'm positive that soldiers who are stationed on more primitive bases for their deployment, as well as their families, appreciate the FRG concept quite a bit.

I just found that I heard 99.9% of information from my soldier weeks before the monthly meeting held by our FRG.
By the time the meeting rolls around their news is old news.

To give you an example of things I can tell you that quite a few people were deployed with Jake's unit.
They were from all over Ohio.
The FRG meetings were announced 3 months in advance.
The average number of people who came to the monthly meetings ranged from 8-13.
That's individuals, not families.

If you think about it, KG and I, along with our husband's parents would account for 3-5 of us.

The good things that the FRG does, is they set up family parties and send out a monthly newsletter from our unit's commanders.
Not that much is ever said in the newsletter...
Or that it's all true.
But it's still nice to have it.
Morale is high. HA

The parties are generally OK.
Nothing to get to excited about.
They are mostly geared toward small children whose parent is over seas.

My situation and my circumstances leads me to say that with where Jake and I are in our lives, the FRG serves little purpose in this deployment.
But, that is just us.

July 12, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration: Craft Room

I'm dreaming the day away.
Thinking of a day when my apartment will be my own.

I'm thinking I may turn the second bedroom into a craft/guest room.
Did I mention that my wardrobe will be moved into the closet in the guest room?
It's like my own personal clothing room...

I'm excited.

Anyway. I'm excited to finally get a little space for my sewing machine.

I'm totally going to do this.
I can't wait!!!

enjoy some of my pins!

July 11, 2012

Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum

The musical that I'm in this year is Cabaret.

{pic via}

It's been an interesting show so far.

Things started out rough.
I wasn't able to audition due to personal things and babies being baptized.
No biggie, I'm in the chorus with a little vocal solo.
But there was some confusion with a younger member of the cast.
It was a little comical in a bitter kind of way.
But things got fixed.
And I get to be the dance choreographers assistant for dance rehearsals.
I'm totally cool with that.

Anyway, it's getting exciting.
The show is shaping up.
Costumes are starting to get pulled together.

It's a different show than our little performing arts group usually does...
But it's going to be good.

July 10, 2012

Calling the Called:Darby from Life With the Hawleys

This wee's guest post is from My lovely blog friend, Darby.
She's amazing.
Her blog is inspiring.
Her puppies are adorable.

Hi everyone!  I’m Darby from Life with the Hawleys!  First of all, I can’t forget my manners: I’ve got to thank Erin for having me.  I’m not only thrilled to be a part of this series, but completely honored.  I would not consider my life “together” or “complete”, but more like a work-in-progress.  Just for some background about me: I am definitely a nerd, who loves to learn, teach, and drink coffee :-)  I’ve been married to the man of my dreams for almost 5 years now, & he keeps me smiling everyday.  I really believe that I fall more in love with him everyday. 

I firmly believe that my life is a gift from God, & I want to use what I’ve been given to honor Him.  I am not perfect at this & I have made some HUGE (not to mention, embarrassing) mistakes, but I can’t change the past.  I can only move forward, learning from my mistakes.  So how did I decide what I was going to be when I “grew up”? 

All of my decisions, are based on prayerThe more I come to God in conversation, the more I am in tune with what He wants for me to hear.  I am in prayer constantly about the little things & the big things in life.  When I was applying to undergraduate school I prayed about which school & major was best for me.  I ended up attending RMC with a major in Religious Studies & a minor in Education.  God placed people in my path while I was at RMC & I ended up switching & graduating with a major in Biopsychology.  That is a HUGE switch LOL!  I continued on that path throughout grad school, receiving my Masters and Doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience.  Through all of these chapters in my life prayer has been the common denominator; I must keep the conversation between me and God going so that I know what the next step is that He wants me to take.68679963037758459_BInoazw4_c

Each next step has not always been easy or even something that I completely understood.  For example: Why would God want me to switch my major from Religious Studies?! Why would God want me to enroll in such a competitive graduate program when He knows I’m an anxious person?! Why would God want me to go through such a challenging graduate experience half-way across the country without my family for support?!  This is where patience and trust comes into play.  I had to choose faith in Him for what was to happen next.  So even though I might not have understood it at the time, I knew that one day I would be able to look back & see why His way was better than anything I could have ever planned for myself.110619734567323370_HTVllNwL_c

What I wanted at the end of high school was different in college, & completely opposite in graduate school.  But now that I am getting ready to start my new faculty position in the fall, it all makes perfect sense.  I will be the newest faculty member at a Christian university starting in the fall.  This position is a combination of everything I have been studying for the past 10 years; it’s perfect for me because I still get religion, education, & neuroscience.  Do you know how challenging it is to find a scientist with faith?!?!  Almost impossible!  Most scientist are atheists, so to fill a science position at a Christian university presents multiple challenges, but not for me.  Because I have faith I see God’s glory in science, & God has been training me for this position for decades.  I could have never seen the availability of this opportunity 10 years ago, but now looking back, I can see that my life was a puzzle waiting for each piece to click into place.  I admit though, this process did take some time, so through prayer I asked begged for patience, and I trusted His will.135178426285390654_3mwKW6b7_c

Something I had to continually repeat to myself, was that God does not make accidents, and there is no such thing as serendipity or coincidence.  NO SUCH THING!  God has a plan for my life and it is GOOD!  I had to relinquish what control I thought I had on my life, & give all of my concerns to him.  This is very frustrating if you’re a control freak like me, but also very liberating.  Through letting go & letting God work, I found my calling.  My calling is way better than anything I could have ever planned.  Praise the Lord!  I not only found my perfect career, but I also found my husband. 190840102929860732_NdblsZLQ_c

My best advice for something looking for their calling is to pray & have patience, trusting in the Father’s will for your life.  It is so GOOD, so no need to worry!  He has everything under control, so continue to work hard & value each day & relationship as a gift!  Thank you Erin for letting me take over your blog today!!

LOVE it.

Here are some of my favorite recent posts from Life With the Hawleys:

July 9, 2012

The Frustrations of Deployment

Often times I find myself frustrated with my situation. 
Anyone would.
It's hard doing things on your own after being part of a team.

Things happen.
Cars break down.
Vet appointments get pricey.
A utility account gets forgotten about.
Decisions have to be made without the other's opinion.

Someone decides to buy something from bodybuilder.com without telling you.
Then you think your account has been hijacked by some muscle head...
It turns out it was just your husband's turn to buy the weight lifting supplements and protein shake powder for the workout group he is in...

C'est la vie.

More than 10 months in and I'm starting to get worried that Jake will come home to a fully functional home and he wont feel necessary.

I'm not saying that I have it all together with him gone...
I'm just saying that all the bills get paid.
And the dog gets walked.
And occasionally I remember to make my self something to eat.

Independent living is nature of the beast when it comes to a full deployment.
I will just have to remind myself that Jake is a fully capable adult.

Another frustration...
I want to freaking shout my countdown from the rooftops and any place else I can...
But nooooooooo.
'No facebook posts, no tweets, no blog posts stating time lines, travel plans or locations of your soldier."
BOOO I say!
We're into double digits people.
I'm talking way less than three months, but not quite two months.
Jake would have it down to the hour if he could.
Just thinking of his welcome home ceremony makes me so giddy I think I'm going to pee my pants.
Like jump out of my skin excited.

It's like the feeling when you are sitting on a roller coaster at the top of the hill about to be let loose.
You're a mixture of scared and excited and you start to laugh nervousally and hope that all your jewelry stays on.
Praying that you don't throw up.

July 4, 2012

Deployment and Facebook

It's such a frusterating thing, to have facebook.
A blessing and a curse.
It's a blessing because I have the ability to talk to Jake throughout the day, if I wanted.
People can post pictures and I can facebook stalk my husband.
I can leave him a message and he will get back to me as soon as he is able to get online.

It's annoying because you are not allowed to post any true dates or information anywhere.
No pictures of your soldier in uniform.
No addresses for people who want to send care packages.
No dates of movements or traveling.
All of which is understandable.
I mean safety first, right.
But still annoying.

The bad thing is that every second of every day my phone, ipad, or computer is on facebook.
That means that my chat is enabled.
It doesn't look good.
Which also means that random people try to chat with me.
At weird times.
Like 3 am, when they are drunk and trying to reconnect with old friends.
Or in my case, people who they went to elementary school with.
No thanks.

The good thing is that I have a constant connection with my husband.
Not just phone calls.
I know when he is putzing around and commenting on other people's lives.
I know when he is in his room or when he is 'off to chow'.
It's a reassurance thing.
He isn't required to talk to me.
Heck, half the time I'm at work.
But I can glance at the Book on my phone and know that he is there...
It's nice.

Anyway, moral of the story.
Don't chat me on FB at 3am.
And don't pay any attention to me if I post on every. single. picture of my husband.
I can't help it.
I'm a little obsessed.

Hubs photo bomb:
{having fun in clinic}
{at the firing range}

{He loves chocolate milk}

{Getting ready to play some volley-ball} 
{He's got some mad up's}.
Even in looking for these pictures I found myself looking at his pictures for almost a half hour!
It's a habit I won't be able to break until September.