When the Lights Go Out (literally)

Monday night we had a big storm that came through Sugar Land and knocked out power for a lot of people.  Ours ended up being out from 6pm until around 11pm.  I learned several things that night...

1) Everything looks better under candlelight!
2) Ben and I have become WAY too dependent on TV for entertainment.  
3) I wish I had a gas stove (instead of electric) for times like these.
4) My house smells really good when candles are burning in every room.
5) I get a lot accomplished when I don't have the distractions of computers and TV.
6) Ben is more of a drama queen than I ever realized! (regarding it being hot)
7) Our neighborhood comes alive with people when the power is out.  Everyone was taking walks, hanging out in their front yards, etc.  It was great!

I'm hoping to apply some of these lessons learned and make some changes in my daily routine, such as...

- burn my beloved candles more often!
- turn off the TV!!
- spend more time out in my neighborhood!

Food Memories

So I'm eating green grapes right now and it's taking me back to a specific place from my childhood--Grandmama's (my mom's mom) kitchen.  I love how food can be such a memory jogger!

Green Grapes and Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches* = Grandmama and Grandaddy's house
Doublemint Gum and Fried Okra = Nana and Papa's house

*Grandmama mixed the PB&J together before spreading on the bread.  I don't usually make mine like that now-a-days, but if I want to feel nostalgic, I certainly do!

I can't wait to spend some time in Ethiopia so I can develop some food memories from my child's birthplace! 

What about you?  Got any food memories?  If so, share them with me!

P.S. (because I'm sure this is going to bug my mom) Obviously those aren't the only things I ate at my grandparents' houses.  They were all wonderful cooks and they spoiled their 4 grandaughters like crazy.  Those are just a couple of the food memories from their houses!

So it turns out I'm a troublemaker...

You just never know where you’ll find truth during your day. For me, today it was in a very sarcastic boss. He simply greeted me this morning with “how was your weekend?”, then “have you gone ‘a round’ with anyone yet?” Nice.

As a bit of background, a large part of my job—what I get paid to do—is to “push back” on people and make sure they are “upping their game” and turning in a very high quality work product. So, for the type of job that I have, my skillset and qualities are perfect, and my boss loves that. However, when he said that this morning, I heard it and applied it to my personal life...and a big light bulb went off!

Things I’ve known about myself for a LONG time: I’m a planner. I’m assertive. I’m organized. I’m efficient. I’m opinionated. I’m a leader. I challenge the status quo. I have high standards.

As you can imagine, there are some interesting “side effects” of having those qualities…

First, the good: Every generation needs people who will not simply sit and do what the generation before them did—I’m the type who doesn’t accept “because we’ve always done it that way” as an acceptable answer. I have the ability to organize data in a way that many people can’t. The way my brain works is useful in planning events or meetings—I can think ahead to everything that will need to be covered so that it’s covered in advance—I can anticipate questions that will be asked and go ahead and answer them in advance. Every group needs a leader, and that comes naturally to me. I produce high quality work products. My opinions often lead to great conversation. I rarely get stuck in a situation that leads nowhere—I make things happen!

Now, the bad: I get annoyed easily when others fall short of my expectations. I’m terrible at just “going with the flow” if I can see a more efficient way. I step on people’s toes. I can’t stand indecisiveness. I’m not a gracious loser. I hate being ignored. My opinions can hurt others. I get extremely frustrated with people who don’t speak up. I’m impatient. I have trouble functioning in a disorganized environment. I really don’t like to be wrong. It’s hard for me to give up the reigns to someone else if I feel I can do it more efficiently and effectively. I can often come across as bossy, controlling, arrogant, sassy, cold…or even like a drama queen, spoiled brat, or troublemaker.

You’re probably feeling very sorry for my husband, family, and close friends right now, aren’t you?!

The truth: My intentions are always pure and I’m never out to hurt anyone or step on anyone’s toes. However, I know that my actions can often come across in a bad way, and I’m owning up to that.

Something I’ve recently realized: It doesn’t matter what my intentions are, perception is reality. So, if people perceive me to be a troublemaker, I’m a troublemaker.

Until now I have always justified it to myself. “But that’s just my personality—that’s Lauren.” Well, that’s enough of that. Yes, that IS my personality—it’s how God made me. However, if some of my talents are causing these bad “side effects,” then I need to do something about it. God created me with these abilities and talents, and I should use them to glorify Him.

And since I’m now aware of it, it’s my responsibility to adjust. Honestly, the only way for me (or anyone, for that matter) to adjust my behavior is with the help of the Holy Spirit. I’ll be praying specifically for myself in this area, so feel free to join me if you’d like.  And PLEASE speak up and tell me if I do anything to hurt or offend you in the future. (remember, I get frustrated with people who don't speak up--heehee!)

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m not writing this in an attempt to get positive affirmation from all of you that I’m a good person, etc. I realize that I am not defined by these qualities I've listed. I know that I have many more God-given talents and qualities that are great.  Actually, writing it is therapeutic for me and I hope it gives you a little bit of insight into what makes me me. Also, I want accountability and I need your support and prayer. Thanks for loving me in spite of these things!

A CHALLENGE: Hopefully this will spur you to do some self-examination like I’ve done. It kind of hurts, but it’s one of the greatest things you can do!

New Digits

We got our August numbers over the weekend...

#45 on the girl list (moved 6 spots since July 13th)
#28 on the boy list (moved 2 spots since July 13th)
#30 on the sibling list (moved 1 spot since July 13th)

Although we're trying to stay encouraged, it's definitely not easy.  The numbers just don't seem to be moving very quickly, and there isn't a way to explain it or predict when we'll be matched with our baby.  I know, I know--it's all in God's hands.  And we certainly believe that with all of our hearts.  But it's hard to explain that to our emotions. 

On a light-hearted note, I had a minor freak-out moment when I realized that the girl list is moving faster than the boy list:  I don't know how to fix hair!  That's right people--I'm 30 years old and I don't know how to fix hair (well, if you count a ponytail as a style, then I've got that one down)!  I've got a head full of curly hair that I've never done anything with besides leave it down, pull it half up, or put it in a ponytail.  You can even ask my sisters who always had to fix it for me!  (sorry for that,  Jenny!)   Needless to say, if we do get matched with a girl, I'll need some lessons from my sisters and girlfriends!

Who Needs Billy when You've Got Ben

This morning around 6:30am, while I was downstairs drinking my coffee and having some alone time with God, I heard some rustling upstairs.  I thought it was strange because Ben didn't have to work today and therefore wouldn't have a reason to be up that early.  I reasoned that he must have gotten up to go to the bathroom.  Then I heard it again and realized that it wasn't Ben.  The dogs must have realized it at the same time as I did--they sprinted up the stairs.  I followed behind them and we were all quiet, standing at the top of the stairs, waiting for the noise again.  It didn't let us down--we heard it again.

So I woke Ben up to get him to do something about it (no way was I going to confront something in our attic).  He heard it too.  Without hesitation, he then proceeds to pull the attic hatch down so he could confront the critter.  Then this exchange...

As a side note, every year around late-summer / early-fall, we have a possum problem.  So, my first thought was that this critter we were hearing was a possum.  Those things are not cool.  They are mean.  They have fleas.  They bite.  You get my point.

(as Ben is pulling down the hatch)
Me: Wait!  Don't you have a plan?
Ben:  No.
Me:  But you don't even have a box to catch it in.  And you're only wearing underwear.
Ben:  So.
Me:  Come on.  At least let me bring you some kind of container before you pull the hatch down.  I don't want some rodent loose in my house.
Ben:  Fine.
(so I bring him an empty box)
Me:  What are you going to do?
Ben:  You don't want to know.
(he's right.  so I went downstairs and covered my ears.) 

Ah, my husband knows me so well!  He knew that he just needed to "take care of it" and not let my innocent eyes see what he was going to do.  However, my husband is also quite the "funny guy" (so he thinks).  When I was about to walk out the door to head to work, I grabbed my cell phone and guess what photo was my new background?  Yep, a photo of the culprit.  A HUGE rat!  G.R.O.S.S.

Some closing thoughts about this lovely story...

1) I'm SO happy I married a "man's man."  You know, a man who isn't afraid to crawl into a dark attic with nothing but his bare hands to catch a critter.  Yes, it's definitely gross.  But I love that he isn't a "pansy" who is scared to do those things. 

2) I'm SO happy that Ben is a carefree, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy.  It's a good balance to my over-cautious, very scheduled nature. 

3) I'm SO happy that we have humor in our marriage.  It's awesome to laugh together--even if you're laughing about a rodent in your attic.

4) I'm very thankful that today was trash day...

P.S.  Everytime I typed the word "hatch," I thought of LOST.  I miss Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Ben Linus, etc...

P.P.S.  For those who don't know, my reference to Billy in the title is about Billy the Exterminator, who my friend Holly knows personally.