Monday, November 21, 2011

One small step for man.....

Ok, so maybe what I am about to post about isn't as big as putting a man on the moon, but it is a breakthrough that I will sit in anticipation for until it becomes the real deal.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed an advertisement on Facebook (of all places to click on an ad), and it sparked my interest. I didn't know this until a couple of days ago, but depending on key words that you put into your profile updates, certain ads will pop up that relate or cater to those words. For example, the other I put the word God in my update, and right after all the ads were centered around Christian-type links. Interesting little site you are, Facebook.

I must have typed something about gluten free or Celiac in one of my posts, because I saw this ad about Gluten Team. What is Gluten Team? So, I clicked. Yes I took a risk, but it turned out to be a good one.

The link took me to a site where it talked about a research study that is being conducted in my area on a new treatment medication that is being tested for Celiac patients. You could fill out a little pre-screen survey to see if you qualified to be in the study....of course I did it.

I didn't expect that anyone would really contact me after entering my name, email and phone number. If anything, I expected spam.

I also didn't expect the phone call I got the very next morning from Dana, the research nurse who read my pre-screen survey. She said based on my answers I was pre-qualified to be a participant in the study, I would have to come Salt Lake for the appointments, and it would last for about 22 weeks (about 5 months). Tell me more, Dana.
I asked her about 30 questions (give or take a few) to find out more about this up and coming treatment drug that will be used to prevent reactions to gluten on a cellular level in the tissues of your small intestine.

What? Prevent reactions? How is this possible?
She explained to me how the drug works, how long they have been studying the drug and testing it on human patients, that it doesn't get absorbed into the bloodstream, and that up to this point the studies have proven that the drug works.

It's working. A little ray of hope just flashed before my eyes as I sat there listening to her on the phone. A hope that I could have peace of mind knowing that if I went out to a restaurant and for some accidental reason my food was contaminated with gluten, there would be no worry of a 2 week aftermath that often leaves me curled up in a ball in the middle of the night or making constant, running trips to the ladies room (uh-hum).
There is hope.

The research group (Alba) is to the point in the research where they know that Larazotide Acetate works in preventing gluten from entering the cells when food is digested through the system, they are now researching which dosage of the pill works most effectively in preventing the reactions from occurring.

I wanted in. I was ready and willing to test this puppy out, knowing that this might be the next step in living reaction free and not worrying so much about the long term effects each gluten encounter might be wreaking on my body.
So I scheduled an appointment and a week later I was sitting at the doctor's office of the research group, filling out consent forms, reading, reading and reading some more, asking more questions, and handing over my blood work from 4 years ago that showed I had tested positive for Celiac.

As I was finishing a little electronic questionnaire for the food journal that I was going to be filling out every meal I ate and any reactions I felt I was having while in the study, Dana popped into the room and asked me if I had a copy of my biopsy results.....I did, but I had to call my doc's office to get them. Lucky I know the office receptionist, and she faxed them right over.
A couple of minutes later, Dana said that the report for my biopsy showed a negative result...that there was no damage showing up on the villi of my intestinal wall (you totally wanted to know all that), and that she was going to go talk to the doctor to see if I could still be a part of the treatment study.

At first I didn't really understand what she was saying. My blood panel showed positive, but my biopsy showed nothing.
After she came back and said that the medical assistant could be done with the prepping for the study, I was a little sad. I don't know why, maybe because part of me was excited to be a part of something new, something up and coming, something that would help me and so many other people out there suffering from the effects of Celiac disease who actually wanted to live a gluten free lifestyle but just not worry about cross contamination.

As we talked, I realized that I wasn't alone in this desire to be part of the study by couldn't because I didn't have both of the criteria to be eligible.
Dana explained that in order to be eligible for the study, you had to provide both a positive blood panel and sample from biopsy for Celiac/damage.
What we ended up figuring out was that because I had the blood work done in October of 2007 and didn't have the biopsy until November, my body had already started healing itself and showed no signs of damage caused by gluten intolerance. Thus, the mixed results.
There are actually a lot of people wanting to be part of the study who this has happened to, because part of the pre-screening questions ask if you are currently on a gluten free diet and have been for the past 12 months.....Well, I am, and so it makes sense that of course I wouldn't have as much or any damage compared to a person who may think they are eating all gluten free but maybe just not paying as much attention or are sneaking in gluten foods here and there, causing damage here and there. She let me know that because they were having a more difficult time finding enough patients to complete the study than originally intended, they are trying to get the research group to cut that criteria out of the qualifying conditions. If they do, I am back in the game.

For now, I am waiting, continuing to hope that some time in the next couple of years, I will start seeing ads for Lorazatide Acetate for Celiac patients, and it will be an affordable option for people like me.
What does it mean? Before every meal I can take a pill, and if I just so happen to have a gluten encounter, the medication will prevent the gluten from bonding to the cells in my small intestine and therefore no adverse reaction taking place. Pure bliss for Celiacs and gluten intolerant peeps like me.

One small step......

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When you don't have something nice to say

Recently Chas and I made two visits to restaurants where they sell wings.

Wing Nutz is one of our favorite places to go for wings, mainly because they have several different flavor options, but mostly my reason is because they are good about making sure you know which sauces are gluten free and which ones aren't. If there is a question, they always refer to the trusty GF menu. The manager knows us well enough now that she knows what we like to drink, how we like our appetizer, and which sauce we like on our wings. She pays attention well.

Wing Nutz is one of those awesome places that offers rewards for dining there, something a couple who is trying to save some pennies while still having a date night can appreciate. The rewards are linked to your email so every once in a while they will send you a survey that you can complete to let them know how your experience was. I made a comment on the bottom that we had noticed the last couple of times we had been there that we didn't end up getting our appetizer until our meal came out.....it's not really that big of a deal, but when you are overly hungry, it can be a little frustrating (speaking for myself sine I am the more grumpy one when my blood sugar drops below 50) when you notice they are not so busy that you just figure they are behind or something.


That same day the manager of the Ogden location sent us an Email personally apologizing for what happened. She had actually talked to our server later that day after she got in and he told her what happened. She knew that this had happened before (she has given us many, many free drinks and buffalo chips) and suggested to the servers that they wait a few extra minutes before putting in the wing order, so that the appetizers wouldn't keep coming out the same time as the meal.

To me, that is awesome customer service. To personally be the one to Email a customer back, instead of some corporate customer service rep. who sits behind a desk and doesn't really know what's going on in the restaurant where customers are being served, is huge to me. Maybe it's because I have been on the other end of being a customer, serving patrons and making sure they are the happiest they can possibly be while enjoy a nice meal. Maybe it's because for the past four years I have been overly sensitive to dining out since so much of my physical well being depends on the food I consume.

Which leads me to my next example, which unfortunately didn't end with the same results as our lovely manger at Wing Nutz.

Last Saturday before our gig with Cheatwood, I talked Chas into going to Winger's for a wing dinner (yes I crave wings a lot, I don't know why). We have eaten there before and they advertise a gluten free menu, so I had felt safe in the past.
If there was one word I could use to explain the experience I had eating at Winger's, I would combine the words horrifying, frustrating, and infuriating...perhaps to make a new word horrifrustinfuriating.
It was obvious towards the end of the ordeal that our waitress had no idea what it meant for a meal to be gluten free. It was also obvious, to me anyway, that the manager had no idea what it meant to provide decent customer service.
The dialogue between myself and the server at the beginning went something like this:

me: I wanted to get the boneless wing dinner but I need to know if that is something that I can get gluten free?

server: Oh yeah, we can do that, we have a separate fryer that we do the gluten free wings in, I will let them know.

me: Awesome, I will take that then with the original sauce."

(meals come out about 10 minutes later)

I proceed to cut up one of the chicken wings and start eating it.....in the midst of eating mostly fries because they looked super tasty and they were easier to eat.
I take another bite, just before Chas looks over and with a question in his voice, proceeds to tell me that he has gotten the boneless wings before and he is pretty sure that they looked exactly the same as the wings I was in the process of eating.
I stop eating and wait for our waitress to come by to ask her if it is in fact gluten free.

me: Hey I just wanted to make sure that these wings are coated with the same cornstarch breading as the bone-in wings, can you find out and make sure?

She leaves for about 10 minutes and I have to get her attention to remind her that I was waiting for an answer from her.

server: Oh yeah, I talked to the cooks and they said that those do have wheat in them, but they are made gluten free??? (question marks inserted to reflect the tone of her voice, apparent that she had no idea what she was talking about)

It pretty much went downhill from there. I proceeded to tell her that either a meal is gluten free with no wheat in it, or it is made with wheat/white flour and it is gluten saturated which would mean detrimental things for my body for the next 1-2 weeks.
She leaves with a deer in the headlight look in her eyes. About five minutes later she comes back with the manger, good ol Phil.
There were three main reasons why I didn't get along with Phil, at ALL.
1. Every time I tried to talk to him about what happened, he interrupted me and wouldn't even let me finish my sentence.
2. He asked me what would happen to me since I was exposed, and proceeded to let me spend the next several minutes explaining to him what happens to people with differing levels of severity of Celiac once they are exposed to even a tiny amount of gluten. Then, as to try and sound like he knows what he is doing in the Winger's kitchen, he says that his wife deals with the same issues.....well sir, then why did you ask me what happens, if you apparently already knew since your wife has it???
3. During the time I was trying to explain to him the conversation between myself and the server, it was brought up that my gluten chicken fingers were fried in the gluten free fryer...I tried to explain to him that I couldn't eat anything else that he was offering to have them make for me (trying to at least give us a free meal, which was the only nice thing he did throughout the conversation) because anything they fried that was gluten free in that fryer would now be cross-contaminated. He proceeded to say the following question (insert mocking tone here): "Would you like me to hold your hand and take you back in to the kitchen and show you how we do things back there?"

I was pretty much done and ready to leave after that. Not only was I going to experience pain, bloating and a skin rash for the next several days, but I was mocked and left feeling like no one in that restaurant knew anything about cooking a gluten free meal. So after good ol' Phil told us that he was giving us our meals free, we stood up and walked out.

I decided that after everything that happened, I wanted to write to corporate. I located the online "send us your feedback" website and proceeded to write a very lengthy but very non-aggravated letter about how I feel that the people working for their restaurant/corporation should be better educated on the importance of making sure that if you don't know if a meal is gluten free, don't just make it up and say yes. I also found out who the founder of Winger's is, and sent him the letter as well. The website says that customers should get a response in 1-2 business days.....that was 4 days ago. That's not a very long time, per se, but when you feel like you are trying to defend yourself and the other gluten free customers that may decide to visit their restaurant in the future, it seems too long.

In the back of my mind, I can't help thinking that had it been something positive, they would have most likely Emailed me back that same day thanking me for my words of praise and how glad they were that I enjoyed my visit to their restaurant.
Maybe they are really super busy right now, or maybe they are researching the incident with Mr. Phil the manger....who knows. But I also couldn't help but compare their lack of response to the quick response of the manager from Wing Nutz.... And decide that we probably won't be going back to Winger's ever again.

On a positive note, a research company is very close to coming out with a medication that helps prevent reactions of gluten exposure in people who have Celiac and gluten intolerance....More on that in another post.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A monthly to-do

I didn't intend for it to take me a month to post about the current happenings with the Burks couple, but for some reason it just worked out that way.


Maybe it was because of my frequent lack of desire lately to continue a blog. I guess I feel like I use other ways on a daily basis to get updates and update others who care to read my FB status on what's going on in life. Therefore, this feeling leads me away from the blog and to other things.

But one thing I have been spending time on and a topic I have been thinking a lot about recently is from a study I have been doing on Esther. The topic of restraint.


During the time that Esther was being prepared to meet the king who would decide if he liked her enough to make her queen, she never took more or asked or expected more than what was suggested of her. She presented herself in such a way that showed more of who she was and the beauty she already possessed without tons of fancy gold jewelry, fake lips and a skin tight dress.
She was the Esther that God had beautifully and wonderfully created her to be. And it was that genuine real-ness that no doubt and more than likely led the kind to "love her so much that he crowned her queen over Vashti".

There is a lot of fake in this world. It is easy for people, women in particular, to get caught up in the who and what and how much and what does it look like on me of appearance and social gossip. It is easy to find a way to blend in and feel accepted, just like everyone else is doing.
I don't think it is wrong to want to be accepted, there is a level of healthiness in wanting to feel comfortable around the people that you like and are friends with. But for me, I don't want to feel I am compromising who I am to short myself of being the person that God has so uniquely and purposefully created me to be. In a place where it is so easy to act like you are just like everyone else, I sense that my heart is striving to find a way to stand out and sh0w those around me that I AM different. But it can be a complicated tight walk to show enough level of restraint to say how you feel and what you believe, and do it in such a way that is not making others feel you are comparing yourself against them. Or that they are wrong and you are right. It's not about that. Beth Moore asked the question at a conference I went to recently, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to have a relationship?" That was a powerful question for me as I seek to find a way to witness to those around me who I feel have been caught up in a way of life that I cannot pretend is the same as what I have grown to believe.

And so as I continue this journey of learning what it means to show Godly restraint, in many aspects of my life, I am finding that He is showing me other awesome things in His word along the way.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

You are the best thing

One year ago today, I married my best friend.




Telling someone they are your best friend doesn't always mean that you agree on everything, handle everything they tell you with grace, or that you always get along when you come home and are just, well, in a bad mood. Best friends are there for each other when you need someone to talk to. They are the person who will tell you the truth in love, because they know that even if it means you will endure a little pain, knowing the truth will help set you on a path to forgiveness and freedom. A best friend laughs with you, and sometimes at you even you think you are cool and not just acting like a fool. A best friend seeks to know what is happening in your life, what your dreams and fears are, helps you achieve those dreams and encourages you to do you best at those dreams, and prays away the enemy when fears become a present reality. A best friend will stay up as late as you need them to, to ensure that after crying for hours, you really will be ok.

And when you are married to your best friend, you even get to wake up next to them every morning, and you know, cuddle and stuff. There is a level of intimacy that cannot be explained outside of a God breathed, blessed marriage that I have been so mercifully able to experience being married to Chas. There has been growth, love, challenge, forgiveness, joy, and happiness throughout this first year of our marriage, and I am praying for at least 70 more years with this man by my side.

Happy 1st anniversary, Mr. Burks.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Facing it

Out of all the times I have been stung by a bee (4), it was never because I did something to make it mad or because I even knew it was near me and was swinging my arms trying to get it away from me. I was minding my own business when...bam!, there it was.

People talk about how as they get older, some allergies tend to die off and they become immune to things they were once allergic to. Others say that their allergies to things have gotten worse. I was about 3 when I encountered my first bee sting. I don't remember it really, but my mom says that my foot swelled up a little but I seemed to be fine. The last time I got stung, I was about 14 and my entire arm swelled up like a balloon and there was so much fluid in it I had to go to the doctor and receive a series needle pokes for Benadryl and draining. So I dare to say, I feel as though that particular allergy is getting worse over time.

Enter my fear of bees. I know that most of the time, if you don't bother them, they don't bother you. But, due to my past encounters of bees while minding my own business, I tend to forget about that rule and just try to avoid them at all costs. I guess you could say I have a slight fear of bees, mostly of the fact that if stung by one, I could face grave consequences and end up in an ER or have to shoot myself with an EpiPen. No thanks. I don't know that 100% for sure, but those are the thoughts that enter my mind when thinking of what could happen to me if stung by a bee.

Life has a lot of unknowns. Sometimes, it is the fear of the unknown that can cause us the most anxiety in our lives. I can relate the above situation to many circumstances in my life, both present and past, that have caused unnecessary angst in my life. I can also see how giving these circumstances up to the One who has control over all things has allowed me to have a peace and freedom that those who have also felt that peace which passes all understanding can relate to.


Four years ago on August 5th, I experienced a loss that I had not yet encountered in my life. At that time, I watched the person that I had spent the last year of my life with whither away and pass right before my eyes. I had never known grief like that before. I had known OF the Dark Place that people talk about, but I had not experienced the feelings associated with being in the Dark Place until that point. Losing someone you love, watching someone you know in a deep and emotionally intimate way pass from this life and enter into eternity, stings much more than a bee. It cuts you like a knife deep down to your core and exposes everything you never wanted anyone to see about you. It causes you to realize that all the things you thought you have control of, you never really did, and the things you wish you had back, you will never have again. It causes you to see pain and sorrow and grief in a totally different way. I became much more exposed to the loss of others, and felt deep emotional pain for them. I have read stories and listened to situations of others around me who have lost the one they love, people I have never even met, and it has driven me to tears for that person. There is a glimpse of that loss that I can relate to, and I know that feeling of complete emptiness after seeing death head on.

And then comes the fear. When you lose someone, no matter how good of a job you feel you have done at allowing yourself to grieve, praying to God that he would restore your wounds and feeling like you have somewhat come back to a place of real life, there is a lingering fear in the depth of your heart that stirs you like a wild wind. It makes you lose sleep at night, and most of all, it makes you build up a wall that China has nothing on.

At first, I thought that being alone was what God had planned for me, and that He would calm my thoughts and make me ok with being single for the rest of my life. Lots of people do it, and being married doesn't define who you are, I knew that. But deep down, I had to get real with my head that part of this facade that I was putting on was in fact of a ploy against myself, to set myself up so that I could not get hurt by losing someone else again. I distanced my relationships, so that a. either I couldn't get hurt or b. if I did lose them it wouldn't hurt as bad because I wasn't 100% in the game, so to speak. I quickly started to realize through a long devotional for about 6 months that this was not how God intended for me to live my life, and desired for me to allow Him to make a change in my heart so that I could fully love someone again.

Choice and free will are still somewhat mysterious to me. Had I not made the choice to start a new path to healing, I know my life would be different. But how, I will never know. But God gave us a choice, even though He already knows what we are going to choose, and continues to lay things out in our paths according to the choices we make. That's the part that blows my mind sometimes. I don't deserve the mercy, grace and blessings that God pours out on me even for the seemingly "good" choices I make in my life, and yet, He continues to lay them out in front of me anyway. I could have made a choice to allow fear to keep me from knowing what it means to love a person like you have never loved before. To miss a person when they are only 5 minutes away, and to wake up knowing that you have someone there who loves you even when you don't say the nicest things to them or when you don't exactly look like you won a beauty contest. When you lose someone, and you make the choice to love again, you gain so much more than a partner for life. And, you learn to cherish the smallest things you experience in your every day life because you know that those are the things that mean the most when you are with the person God has blessed you with to be able to love as long as you are on this earth, or as long as they are with you. I may have lost a friend 4 years ago, but by allowing God to heal the wounds of my heart and teach me what it means let go of the fears I had of losing someone and just loving as best as I possibly can as a human being, I gained a husband that I am more in love with than anyone I have ever known in my life.

That's what I got for facing my fear, here's to praying you are learning how to face yours.





Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A little ladybug's birthday

There are so many things in life that you will only get to experience once. Turning one, for example, is an event that parents will get to celebrate once with each of their children as individuals. I am so blessed and so happy to have been able to share in that celebration with my best friend, Amy, and her adorable little family. They really are like family to me too, her house was a safe haven in many ways in high school when my family was going through some pretty tough times, and they have always treated me like their own.
Amy and I have been best friends for 15 years, and I can honestly say that we have seen the best times of each other's lives, and also some of the toughest and most devastating times.

Recently some events in Amy's life left her feeling very overwhelmed, and as a best friend sometimes being there really is the best thing you can do for the person you have shared most of your life with thus far as a friend. I couldn't turn down the opportunity, with the help of some very giving family members, to visit and be a part of a very special birthday for miss Madison Rose Pepper. She is Amy and John's first little bundle of joy, and she is nothing less than a sparkle right down deep in the core of everyone's eye. How could you not love a little ladybug as precious and full of life as her? That's how I feel about her anyway, and she isn't even my own.

Amy has always been the type of lady that when she puts together a celebration, she knows how to bring the spread and has just the right touch for all the decorations that make it look so special and so welcoming. Madison's little ladybug birthday party was just that, as special as the guest of honor herself.

It has been a trying couple of months for Amy, John, her dad and the rest of their family involved in the process of praying and supporting two of the strongest men in their family to my knowledge. At about the same time, both John and Amy's dad found out that they had early stages of two very different kinds of cancer. We both spent time talking about the unknown, and sometimes just how downright scary it can be, trust me I said, I know. Having lost someone to cancer in the past, I know that exact feeling. Where you want to be able to do something to change the outcome so that it is how you want it to be, but in the end you just know that here is only One person in control of every situation, yet He hears the prayers of everyone who calls on His name for help and comfort.
And to Amy's relief, and all the rest of her family, both John and her dad Randy are cancer free at this point.
God IS good, all the time. Even if the outcome would have been different, He is still God and I know He still loves us. But we are especially grateful for this outcome, and we were able to all share together in relief with joy and thanksgiving the little precious life that Amy and John have been given in Madison. Here are just a couple of my favorites of her from the weekend.





She got a bouncing/rocking horse, probably her favorite gift, from John's brother Chad. Loving that look on her face as she rides away.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tonight....

That's the name of Cheatwood's first official Album, which we got today.

We weren't expecting to get the shipment of our first 200 CD's until a week or more from now.

Chas was pleasantly surprised when the UPS man pulled up in front of our house this afternoon just as he was getting ready to leave for work with a package. A package for Cheatwood.

Having a finished product and something to show for all the time and effort you have put into something feels, well, really good. Do I expect everyone to like it? Absolutely not. Do I think we are even remotely famous? NO. I work for the state of Utah for heaven's sake. Pffft.

I am just so so so happy and thrilled beyond words to be able to share in the making of something that Chas and love doing together, making music. We have an incredible band of people and I have absolutely loved being able to sing along side my good lady friend, Kelli Jensen. It has caused growth, change and challenge for me to continue to move forward with doing things that push me to my limits of thinking that I can't do things, only for God to prove me wrong.

If you want to check it out, we would love the feedback. Chas is totally the type of person who loves to hear what people love and hate about things, so bring it on, we can take it.

Interested in buying, check out the purchasing option now available on our website, www.cheatwoodmusic.com

Just want to ear shop? You can also listen to a clip of each song on iTunes.

Either way, we hope you enjoy Tonight.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On God's green earth

I am so excited to post an update on our little growing garden! Things are sprouting and popping up out of nowhere, especially since we have been having so much rain, tomatoes and onions love water! Chas and I were a bit skeptical, we admit, when planting our garden only because it was our first time trying it out and we just weren't sure if anything was really going to grow. But, so far this little box of dirt and goodness has exceeded our expectations, and we feel so blessed to be able to grow our own garden in the beauty of God's green earth.
Here's a little peek at how nicely the plants are growing so far....


Our strawberries are growing, but we are going to have to put something around them to keep the birds off the middle of those sweet, tasty little things. They peck out the innards and leave us with the top and bottom of the fruit, not nice!


Chas is VERY excited that our jalapeno plant is growing our first ever little green pepper. He likes the hot stuff, I will stick to the strawberries and tomatoes.


Speaking of tomatoes, check these little bad boys out! We have two little 'maters growing so far, can't wait to sink my teeth into one of these juicy boys when they are good and ripe.





The tops of our potato plants are pretty huge, about up to my knee......let's just hope there are some nice potatoes growing under that soil...it will be fun to dig these ones up and get nice and dirty in the fall!

And there you have it! We can't wait to show you more pictures later as our little garden continues to grow :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In a month's time

Hello friends! (and people to happen to stumble upon these ramblings)

It's been exactly a month since my last blog post, so you know what that means....time for an update!

I can't say I haven't posted for a while because I was too busy, but also not because I didn't have anything to write about. Lots has been happening and will be happening this up and coming summer, including some very exciting and fun shows that Cheatwood will be performing for, so cool! Let's just hope this rainy weather clears up since a lot of the shows coming up will be outdoors.

Here is a listed update of some of recent happenings and things to come (gotta love the lists people :)

- Chas decided to recruit me to sing harmonies with Cheatwood a couple of months ago, so now whenever they gig, I gig. So that means more shows this summer. We will be heading up to Idaho Falls this coming weekend for a show with just the trio (Chas, Kelli J. and me). Next up will be the Ogden Arts Festival, a few weddings, some Sunday gigs on the patio at Wolf Creek Clubhouse, and some other smaller shows including at Huntsville BBQ and Savannah BBQ. One of the ones that we are all especially looking forward to is opening for a pretty big show put on by a lady named Anna Wilson. She travels with a full band, including a horn section and the works, and it will also include the sax player from the Dave Matthews Band......so essentially wheat this means is, there is a chance that Cheatwood would get to do a couple of songs with him, that would be amazing. We are still working out the details, but that concert is set for July 23rd. We will also be playing our usual at the Antelope Island Balloon and Kite Stampede over Labor Day weekend. Definitely a full summer of shows lined up for us, which is awesome!

-Our lovely garden, which is a first for both of us and something that we have loved putting together with each other, is growing! However, the massive amounts of rain we have been getting so far this year have limited the tomato plants from growing as much as we would like them to. But not to despair, we still have some starters we kept in the jiffy that are still growing nicely, so we may be able to transplant those in exchange of the ones that sadly have taken a beating with the hail and sleet storms we have had. Our potato plants recently just sprouted out of nowhere and are now 5-6 inches high out of the ground. I can't wait to see if the bean and cucumber plants will sprout!

-I recently have been seeking out a few possible changes in my career. I have loved my job working with youth at the state, and I will be sad to tears when the time comes for me to leave my job, but I have also felt a slight tugging from God to explore other options now that I can put my masters into full use. This is kind of a works in progress, so I will have to update you on some of this later.

- Serving as a worship leader at the Bountiful Heights campus has been such a blessing and a learning experience. Chas and I continue to head down once every two weeks to lead a team, and I will be honest in saying that every week brings a new challenge to face. Recently some of the leaders have made the decision to step down, either due to moving on to other things or feeling the need to help elsewhere, so that has created much change in the direction of the teams and who plays for what team on what weeks. God has really blessed us with willing people who volunteer their time to serve and use their talents to create music that glorifies God every Sunday. Some of the people on our team change, so that brings a challenge. Some are beginning music players, and some can be very timid. But no matter what, I know that this is an opportunity to work along side others and see in what ways God is using these situations to teach me things as well. We are also just excited to see the outreach having a church in the heart of Bountiful is creating for the community.

-Chas and I got to spend some fun quality time with my family last weekend while my dad was here with his wife. My twin cousins graduated high school, which is so crazy to me considering that when I moved here, they were 7 (almost 8). They are two very bright, beautiful and mature young women, and I was happy to be able to be there to support and cheer them on in finishing this chapter of their life. We have had some really good talks together about their upcoming plans, and I am so excited for them to see what is in store for them.

Those are just a few of the happenings, there are a lot more things going on, but I feel that this post is getting long enough, so I will end here.
Maybe I will wait another month to post, that way I have more to blog about :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

How does your garden grow

In March, I started a 30 day blog challenge. After that 30 day challenge, I took a little break from blogging, partly because really, truly and honestly I didn't feel like I had anything interesting to blog about. Let me take that back, that I COULD blog about.
Since then, many new and exciting things have been happening, some happy, some frustrating, some sad, all around me. I am grateful for my friends and the time we get to spend chatting. But mostly I am excited for the new things happening in their lives, and I am thankful that I have friends who are true and honest and real, and feel like they can share the intimate details of certain parts of their lives with me.

I have to admit, there seems to be a lot of women around me who are diligently growing babies. Don't get me wrong, it makes me smile inside. I am so excited for them and the little ones to come. But every once in a while, I get that "feeling". You know, the I-Waaaaaant-one feeling. And then reality smacks me in the face. As cute and lovable a little baby Burks would be, we just know right now is not our time. Like, we aren't even close to being ready to try, time.

So instead, we are working on other things together. In one of the blog challenges I posted last month I discussed a goal to plant a garden. Well, that's what Chas and I have decided to spend our time on together this spring (or still winter, or whatever you want to call it). He did most of the hard work by digging and tilling, and tilling again (there was a LOT of grass to get out of this thing) It is also a little bit bigger of a garden than we were thinking it was. Not huge, just bigger then a 10x10. But we have managed to get it to the point where we are ready to plant! We just need some nice weather to accommodate our desire to get down and dirty in the planting mode. We even started a nice little jiffy of tomato plants which, I think, are growing quite nicely.

Here's to our first time planting a garden...together, and ever!




Sunday, April 10, 2011

In my spare time

I was thinking the other day, and I realized that it has been over 5 years since I have had cable. Before Chas I got married, I had never owned my own TV and even house watched for about 6 months for people who didn't even own one.

When it comes to TV, I made a decision a while ago that so much of what is on TV is either a. degrading, b. pure crap, or c. noneducational and a waste of brain power to watch. Case and point, Jersey Shore. I know, people have their shows, and I am totally ok with that. I am not talking about things like the news or PBS or things that actually teach people something. I know there are a lot of good things people can watch that are on TV, but I think Chas and I have just kind of made a conscious choice to save money and not be tempted to just sit in front of the TV all night and not say anything to each other during the time that we are together.

There was also a period of time where I just felt I was too busy (mostly during grad. school), so I knew that having cable would just be a waste of money to pay for every month. So, we have just kind of done without it, and really we feel that we are fine and just as normal as any other American who has cable and watches their daily dose of shows.

However, I recently have found 2 shows that I really like and have resolved to watching on Hulu.com once a week. I get my fill of the Biggest Loser on Tuesdays when I am at the gym, and that I like because it shows people being willing to change their lives and get healthy and lose weight. I like that they are learning how to live healthy lifestyles FOR life and not just get a quick fix. I know some people don't like the show because they think it's unrealistic, which I agree with to a point. I think this season one thing I have noticed is that the trainers have really addressed and tried to do a better job of helping the contestants prepare for going home, living in real life again, and not being able to work out for 6 hours a day like they have been on the ranch. It's a great motivator for anyone who has been wanting to lose weight and learn how to live a more healthy lifestyle, and I personally get great workout and eating tips.

The first show that I have been watching on Hulu is Who do You Think You Are?. I recently got interested in finding out more about my family lineage and where we actually came from. I did a 2 week free trial on Ancestry.com and then printed off the family tree with the names I had found so far before cancelling the trial (otherwise I would have paid $300 for a yearly subscription, no thanks). Then I saw a preview for this show on NBC, so I decided to watch it. It is just so interesting to see people be able to actually go to the places where their ancestors have come from, how they got to where they were going, and get a glimpse into their life and how they lived. I find it educational because they are able to visit all the history and genealogy museums to find clues that eventually lead them to where their ancestors lived. There is a sense of mystery to it that I really enjoy, it definitely keeps you on the edge waiting to see what they will find out next.

The second one is called Secret Millionaire. A lot of people say that this is similar to another show that I have never seen before where CEO's of huge companies secretly work as a layman worker somewhere in their company. That I think it different about Secret Millionaire is that people are finding those in low income and super poor communities who are making a difference and give them a generous portion of their wealth. They have to kind of hide their identity until the last day and pick a couple of places to give their money to. It is so amazing to see how giving these millionaires are willing to be, and it is heart wrenching to see the reaction of the people receiving the money. For me, this show hits a part of me that I know God desires for all of us to be more like, giving. More loving, more gracious, kind and just willing to pour out love to those who are in need without judging them and just showing them what it is like to just love, as Jesus showed love for us.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

At the end of the road

Blog challenge day 30: Who are you?

It is April 7th, and there is nothing I would rather be doing right now than staying in my house, bundled up, watching a really good movie. Why? Why would I say that instead of being outside enjoying the sunshine? Oh yeah, probably because it is SNOWING outside. It's Utah, get used to it, I know. But I'm just saying, if it weren't for this snow storm, I would not be on this computer at this moment typing out my last post.

Anyway, onto the answer for my last blog post challenge.

Who am I?

I want to say that first and foremost, I am a daughter. A daughter to the only and most awesome God who cares for me and loves me just as He has made me. I dare to say that I would compare myself to somewhat of an Esther. I take a chance on things, and a lot of times I say what I feel in my heart needs to be said, even it it means creating a few ripples here and there. People know I am honest, but I would also truly hope that people also know I care so much in every way about them. Even in the midst of my "slow to warm up" self, a lot of what can sometimes reserve me is mere observation of those around me and how to best respond to them in their own element.

I am a woman who is prone to finding comfort in the rituals of organization in daily life. And at the same time, I often find myself looking for a reason to step out of that comfort zone and take a chance on something, not having any idea how it will turn out.

Simply put, I am my mother's daughter. And a little bit of my father's at time too.

I am a curious person. I think my parents got sick hearing me as why so much when I was growing up, and finally just starting saying "because I said so" as a way to finalize that I couldn't ask anymore.

I am a relational person, emotionally and physically.

I am a person who may be bound by some limitations, such as having celiac and not being able to eat certain things that I want to, or be able to run a mile as fast as I wish I could because I simply don't have a "runner' s body", but i know those things don't define me. They are just parts of what make me individually who I am, for no bad or negative or demeaning reason.

I am a helper. I find great joy in being there for others, helping them, and doing things for them. Specifically as a wife. I have always felt this desire to be helpmate to a husband, and I am so blessed that I finally get to be that.

I am someone who doesn't take no for an answer a lot of the time. I can admit it, I am stubborn. My mom told me once I could totally blame it on her and my dad, because they are both stubborn too.

I am someone who has a musical heart. I can remember a day in 2nd grade where my teacher had to ask me to stop singing to myself during reading time because it made it hard for the other students to be able to focus on their books. I don't always like the way I sound when I sing, but I would rather sing glory to God with a cracked-shrilled voice than never sing at all.

Lastly, I am someone who is committed. It may take me a while to get something done, but if I commit to it, it's going to get done. If a friend needs me to be there, if Chas needs me to do something for him, I will be there. Even if in my mind it isn't something I would necessarily want to do, because it something they need, I know my time will be worth it.

Maybe since I committed to this 30 day challenge, I will now commit to taking a couple of days off from the blogging world....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Working out my brain

Blog challenge day 29: In the past month what have you learned


One more day left of the 30 day blog challenge, and I am thinking that after this, I may spend the time that I have been blogging and take a couple of walks. Granted, the weather has to be nice enough, but there's always the treadmill too. I may even take a book I have been reading and catch up on some eye-brain stimulation.

What have I learned in the past month......
I have come to a place in my life where I can see myself hitting a plateau of sorts. I know there is something new coming for me, soon, I just am not totally sure what that might be. But, I have started seeking out what that might be, and I am just glad, thankful and blessed that I have a supporting, loving husband who encourages me to do the things that I am passionate about and want to make a difference doing.

Doing a blog a day was a bit more challenging than I had hoped it would be. I knew it would be a challenge, but I guess I figured that if I have friends with way more busy lives than me and blog every day, then hey, I could blog every day. But, as you could tell by my many, many late posts, it just wasn't on my mind every night after getting home from work, eating dinner, getting a workout in, looking up songs for worship, spending time with my hubby and finally falling asleep. I am just happy and glad that I am finishing it. Checking this one off the books (tomorrow, heh)

Signing onto the blog more meant I was looking around at my other friend's blog more too. Which means I had more of a chance to comment on the cool, interesting, and tasty things they have been writing about. I learned that I don't always have to get a comment, but it's nice if I give at least one comment a day.

My bad habit is still just that, a bad habit. You think I would have maybe changed it after openly posting about my tendency to leave clothes on the bathroom floor. But I didn't.

Posting about some of the things I was challenged to post about gave me some good insight to continue thinking about a few things, my goals, dreams, who I would want to trade a day with, etc.

That's all I can think of for now, time to watch some Hulu :) Hey that's what you do when you don't have cable. I think of that as a good thing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-changes


Blog challenge day 28: A picture of you last year and now, how you have changed since then


May of last year



February of this year

The most exciting change of all since last year is that this time last year I wasn't married yet, and now I am! That's a big life change too, I would say.

It's hard to tell in the pictures, but my hair is a little lighter and a little longer. Just a couple more inches before I will be able to donate it again. Come on hair!

Last year, I wasn't doing much in terms of music, I was singing for the morning and night service every other week at Washington Heights, but nothing as far as singing out or doing much more than back up vocals for the worship team. Now, I am backup vocals for Cheatwood (Chas' band) with Kelli, and we are even doing a little trio group with just the three of us. Chas talked me into helping him write another song (he only twisted my arm a little bit), so that should be coming out with the CD that we are making this summer.

I also started leading worship more for the "sister" church that we merged with in Bountiful, then called Grace Baptist, now called Bountiful Heights. I lead a team every other week, sometimes more if needed, and that has been a great challenge for me.

Last year, I was soooo close to being done with my Masters from Utah State, and now, I can officially say I am a Masters graduate as of August. Woo!

I am sure there are a lot of other things, smaller things, that have changed, but I will just leave it at that for now, since those are all great and exciting things!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What I got myself into

Blog challenge day 27: Why you are doing this blog (post) challenge

As you can see, I ended up getting behind on the days of the blog challenge. I should have committed myself to not posting on the weekends, they are just too busy for thoughtful posts right now!

But, I am committed to finishing, even if I end up doing 30 posts in 35 days, ha.

And that's actually part of why I decided to do this blog challenge. I wanted to see how many days in a row I could actually remember and be able to blog. I did get behind, those who actually read the posts already knew that. But, it was nice to have something to write about, because really there are times in my awesomely entertaining life (joke) where something is worth reading about. Not that everything that the blog challenge had you post about WAS worth reading, but, you get the idea.

It's just nice to blog, explain things you wouldn't normally explain in a normal conversation, or maybe some of you would and just are a lot more expressive and creative than me. Either way, I have no regrets taking on the 30 day blog challenge. It actually helped me to realize that I do want to blog more, but just have to think a little bit about what I could blog about. I think that is the part that gets me sometimes, that keeps me from posting. Things that may seem important to me, may just be petty or of no importance at all to those who read. I want to be honest, but I never intend to offend. I like writing about my experiments in the kitchen with gluten free foods, but often wonder if others care about that kind of stuff....because let's face it, if you aren't gluten free, you probably won't be trying gluten free...unless you believe in the new fad diet like famous people of eating gluten free just for the sake of eating it, to be cool or more "healthy" or whatever it is they want to think they are doing. Anyway, I also like posting about my adventures, challenges and joys of being a part time worship leader, but again, it's one of those things where either you relate to it, or you don't, and I just wonder if it has any meaning if I write about it.

I like to post about music and the gigs that Chas and I are doing with the band, but I don't want to become one of "those guys" who all they ever do is talk about music, playing, singing, gigging, blah blah blah. Music is and has been a part of my life and I am sure it will be for a long time, but I never want it to BECOME my life. If you get what I mean.

Lastly, I do want to be feel like I can post more spiritual type things, and I know that has some meaning, it's just WHAT to post about, again, that I get stuck on sometimes. I started doing a study a while ago (like 8 months ago, it's one of those ones) that talks about your imprints growing up and how having a healthy spiritual walk with God can help you understand why you react to the things you do, cry or don't cry, love or are cold, etc. I would love to be able to express some of the things I have run across with this study, but again, just one of those things that is hard to do sometimes. I guess I will just have to muster up some blogging strength and focus on what it is that is most important when blabbing to the blogging world about the things that are going around in this teeny little grain of sand head of mine.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thank you for being a friend

Blog challenge day 26: What you think about your friends

My friends are talented, each unique in their own way, and have differing styles of fashion. My friends are loyal, loving, forgiving, and people I can turn to when things are getting a little difficult. They have great taste in music, and aren't afraid to dance even when people are looking. My friends are accountability partners, sisters, and people who allow me to get it all out and will tell it to me straight when I need to hear it. My friends are irreplaceable, and I am so blessed to have each and every one of them in my life for the reason that God has placed them there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Whachu got in that bag

Blog challenge day 25 (which was yesterday, I know): What I would find in your bag

I try not to be a pack rat. I really do. I think my purse my be one of the few places that things end up in for months and months. Especially ever since I bought a Miche bag. the inner bag stays the same, and you can change out the shells that go around the bag, so essentially everything in the bag stays there because you never have to clean it out to switch from one purse to a different one. So all that to say, my purse is probably the most messy it has ever been in my life.

On any given day, you may find these items in my purse:

Pens, probably a couple of them

Migraine medication, two kinds

My Coach brown wallet that my wonderful husband got for me as a birthday gift, filled with lots of hair appointment cards and old receipts

Foundation, not for my face, but for my lips. Yes, I am weird.

Bigelow green mint lip gloss, gotta have the lips gloss

Business cards, not for me, but for all the places I went around to the past couple of months getting donations for door prizes for the Northern Utah Marriage Conference

Old notes to myself of things I needed to get done, including grocery lists

The good ol' birth control, we're not taking any chances here

A Dave Ramsey starter CD for the Total Money Makeover

Tissues

An empty Orbitz gum holder

A checkbook

Old sermon notes

Two mini bottles of Sweet Pea and Warm Vanilla Sugar hand sanitizer, both of which my husband end up using more than I do

My phone, I typically keep it in the side pocket even if I am at home, so I remember where it is

And lastly, a business card holder with my own DWS Youth Counselor cards

Sounds like a big purse with all that stuff in there!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blog challenge day 24: A letter to your parents

Dear dad,

it has been your drive and determination that has helped me to persevere in times where I have been challenged and faced what I thought was insurmountable hardship. You have always worked hard, and even though there were times where I did wish you had been at home more instead of at the office, I have learned what it means to have a solid work ethic built on integrity and keeping your goals in sight to accomplish them. Thank you for being a dad who provided for us and made sure that we had a place to come home to at the end of the day.
Thank you for allowing me to get a dog, even though deep down I knew it wasn't your favorite thing to say yes to at the time. You can't blame me for knowing just the right time to ask, right after major surgery while you were still doped up on morphine and couldn't have cared less whether we had an animal in the house or not.
Thank you for taking me out on ice cream dates, for being willing to take the time to be a coach for my rec. league basketball teams, and for teaching me responsibility by making me pay for my own car and insurance while still in high school.
Even though I know it made you terribly sad to see me move away and begin a life of my own, I am glad that we have been able to stay in touch and I have constantly looked forward to being able to come home for the holidays to spend time with you. There were some times that were difficult, and I know that we have not always known the best way to communicate. Through the years though, I have learned many positive things from you as my dad, and know that God has blessed me with a caring, loving and dedicated father. I look forward to the conversations we will continue to have as adults and the events we will be able to share together as each of us gets older and more wise in our relationship as father and daughter.

Love you dad,
me

Dear mom,

It is said in the bible that God will not give us more than we can handle, and I know by many of the trials you have been through that God has made you a strong woman to be able to endure the things He has allowed you to experience. You are a mom who has taught me to never give up, even when you think the worst has come and there is no hope. I have learned how to be confident as a woman and how to have a spiritual life that is my own and is based on faith and God's truth because of the things you have taught me while growing up. I am still learning today from you, and I know that there will be many more things for you to teach me even as I get older and some day start a family of my own.
Thank you for always supporting me, no matter what my choices were, and for being a person who has been there through some of my toughest battles I have had to face.
Thank you for being willing to do whatever needed to be done to make sure your daughter accepted herself and thought she was beautiful, no matter how many trips to the dermatologist it took. Something was bound to work sometime. Thank you for encouraging me to sing, even though for a long time I didn't want to have a voice. That little extra push gave me what I needed to know that God had given me a gift and wanted me to use it for his glory.
I know that there are times where it is difficult to be able to catch up, sometimes time slips away and life gets busy. But just know that I think of you often and miss my mom just as much today as I did when I was little and you had to go to work and I just wanted you to stay at home and spend more time with me. As Chas and I eventually start to build a family of our own, we are excited to know that we have family, parents, and a mom like you who will support us and be there for us and will spoil our babies as much as you did me when I was little.

Love you mom,
me

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gotta have it

Blog challenge day 23: Something you crave a lot

A couple of months ago, Smith's had a really good deal on mangoes. I recently had also read something online about how to pick a ripe mango, so I thought this would be the perfect time to try out my fruit picking skills and purchase one.
That was probably the best idea I have had in a long time.
I love mango. I could eat it every day.
And now, whenever I go to Smith's, I check the fruit section to see if they have mangoes on sale. They are especially delicious in a black bean, quinoa, and mango salad that I also happen to like.

Monday, March 28, 2011

In my own way

Blog challenge day 22: what makes you different from everyone else

Hmmm, let's see.....

I have an older brother named Travis who first inspired me to get into music

I have a husband named Chas, who is by far one of the best guitar players I have ever met and known personally (and that's not just a biased opinion)

I ended back up in the state that I was originally born in, after living in another for almost 12 years

I grew up with a beagle named Pepper who ate pretty much anything she could get her paws on (yes, including other pet poop) and survived all of it, even the 1 pound bag of m&m's she devoured one Christmas

I come from a family of J's and K's: my cousins are Justin, Jerry, Kristy, Karly, Kylea, Kara, Jonathan, Jordan; my aunt and uncles are Jeff, John, Karleen and Karen; and then me, :)

I met my best friend named Amy in choir during my 9th grade year and have been best friends with her ever since. That's 15 years for anyone wondering how long that has been.

I tend to remember the most random details about stories and events that happen in my daily life.

God made me the way I am and like no one else He has ever made before. And that same holds true for everyone else, we are all uniquely different in wonderful and awesome ways.




Sunday, March 27, 2011

Picture this

Blog challenge day 21: A picture of something that makes you happy


This is the beach on Hilton Head island, South Carolina. This makes me happy because a. it's a warm sandy beach, b. it's a sunny place, and c. it's where Chas proposed on June 29, 2009 and we started the process of bringing our lives together for life.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

You had me at a note

Blog challenge day 20: Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future (this may be modified)


Well let's see....I am glad I don't have to think much about this one. :)

I already married the person that I wanted to spend my future with, so I get to check this one off and head to bed. But, I also want to say that I am so thankful for the way Chas compliments me and my own personality, and how I can see the ways that I compliment him in a positive way too. We create music together, which I think has a special bond all of it's own, especially since it is the thing that initially brought the two of us together in the first place. Even if we have nothing else, we will still have each other and we will still share the love of music together. And no one can take that away from us.
We enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking and camping, and I am thankful for those similarities. But I also am glad that we both are able to have our own outlets that allow us to just be who we are, and accept each other for what we like as individuals. We can come home at the end of the day after spending time apart and know that we will be coming home to each other and sharing what we did that day with each other.
And lastly, I am thankful that Chas is the type of man who verbalizes his feelings for me, who expresses how much he loves me, when he misses me during random moments of the day, and lets me know that he enjoys spending time with me, even if that time is just sitting on the couch doing nothing but being together.
And that's only some of the reasons why I see myself being with Chas for the rest of my life :)

What's in a name

p.s.: I am totally pretending that it is 11:59pm Friday night.

Blog challenge 19: Nicknames you have, why you have them

I think my first ever nickname was started by my grandpa when I was still a little girl, and he has never stopped calling me this since. Instead of adding the "b" to my name, it was omitted and thus came the nickname Kimmer.

In high school a couple of my choir and basketball friends started calling me Kimbo...that one I haven't really been called since I moved to Utah.

When I first met my friend Brittainy after moving to Utah and working at the Target Portrait Studio, she started calling me Kimberloo....that one has seemed to stick and she still calls me that once in a while.

Lastly, since being married, Chas has more often been calling me Tootie.....I don't think I even have to explain that one, and out of embarrassment, really don't want to :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

I have a dream

Yesterday ended up being a little bit more busy than I expected, so, I didn't get to blog last night before I finally went to bed.

Here I am, a day late again, but you will get two posts today for your reading pleasure. I know, yay!

Blog challenge day 18: Plans/dreams/goals you have

I will start with a goal because this one was relatively easy for me to come up with.
I would eventually like to go back and get a Ph.D, preferably in some sort of family therapy or childhood development setting, and probably not in the state of Utah. It has been a goal of mine ever since I started college, and I definitely think it is something that God wants me to pursue. When though, that part I don't know yet.
Another goal that somewhat daunts my mind as I think about it is running a full marathon. I have completed 2 half-marathons so far, and I know what my body feels like after 13.1 miles. I can't imagine at this point pushing my body to do twice that amount of work without wanting to fall over and pass out. But, it is still a goal that I would like to achieve...maybe in the next 5 years. It's going to take me a while to work up to that one.

Plans: Chas and I have plans to grow a garden this year. There is a little box in our backyard that we are pretty sure at one point in time was built for a garden. It is overrun with weeds right now and definitely needs a lot of love and work. That's where we come in. We both have been talking about it the past couple of weeks and decided it was an activity that would be a good experience for us to do together. We got some great starting tips and have some family friends that have gardened for a long time so I am sure with their help we will be successful.

Chas and I have also starting talking about tackling our debt and using Dave Ramsey's debt snowball to start getting rid of some of the debt we have both accrued over the past couple of years. We have somewhat started this process since being married and so far have eliminated 2 small debts. Our plan is to eventually be debt free so we can start focusing on saving for other things.

Dreams: When I found out I had celiac, I also found out that in order to have a safe eating environment, I would have to cook a lot more. In doing that, I starting thinking a lot about how amazing it would be to open my own gluten free restaurant and bakery. I am sure there are states out there that have already started this trend, when Chas and I were in Tennessee for Christmas his mom took us to a 1/2 gluten free deli and bakery. Half of the deli was gluten free and half was non gluten free foods. But how cool would it be to have a completely gluten free setting for people with celiac and gluten sensitivity to be able to come to and feel safe knowing there is no concern of cross contamination. At one point in time I told myself that if I could create 20 flavors for gluten free cupcakes, I would open a bakery. I obviously have a long ways to go for that, as my baking and creating skills have been put on hold the past year or so since planning a wedding and getting married. But, that's definitely a dream of mine, to own a gluten free restaurant.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'll be you

Blog challenge day 17:Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why

So...I thought about this one a little bit, it's kind of a big decision to make.
I came to the conclusion that if I was going to switch lives with anyone, honestly, it would be with my husband.
That probably sounds weird, at first. I would still be living in the same house, sleeping in the same bed, visiting the same places we visit. I know what you're thinking.

But, here's the why.
I have often wondered what it would be like to have to live with, well, me. And there is no other person on this earth that knows what that is like better than my husband. He is there in my good moments, and there for my worst moments. I think it would be really good insight for me to see how things are from his point of view when he is dealing with all the aspects of me. Plus, it would also be nice for me to see how he thinks about things, because let's be honest, boy brains can be 1.hard to pick sometimes, and 2.a bit on the weird side at times. I am not saying Chas is weird by ANY means (ok, sometimes when he randomly says things and makes up pretend voices to fill his time in the car since his radio doesn't work), I am just saying I think it would really help me, us, if I were put in his life and could see his aspect for a while.

So, that's who I want to be, and why :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm so vain

Blog challenge day 16: Another picture of yourself.

Ok, you asked for it.



Showin off my mad singing skills, yeah.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Girl put your records on

Blog challenge day 15: Put your ipod on shuffle: first ten songs that play

1. Paul Wright- Sunrise to Sunset

2. Corinne Bailey Rae- Put Your Records On (Not kidding you, I named this blog before I hit shuffle on my iPod, and this just happen to come up)

3. Jeremy Riddle- God Moves in a Mysterious Way

4. Just a Vapor backing (played by Ben Smith)- Still Love You

5. Azusa Pacific University Choir and Orchestra- Crown You With Praise (Gotta love the worship practice songs, lol)

6. Matt Redman- Never Let Go

7. Hillsong United- Freedom is Here (One of my current personal favorites)

8. Starfield- I Will Go

9. Casting Crowns- Until the Whole World Hears

10. Mute Math- Noticed (also a current personal favorite)

And there you have it. I will say that right now the majority of the songs on my iPod are either workout or worship songs. So, it makes sense that I got the nice variety that I did. Ha.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We are family

Blog challenge day 14: A picture of you and you family



It's a good thing that Chas and I got married recently so that I have all these awesome photos for these picture blog challenge. Otherwise, I honestly don't think that I would have any pictures around my house to use, I am pretty sure my parents have all the old pictures of us as family.

Starting from left to right: My older and biological brother, Travis. He was an usher for our wedding. My mom, Rhonda, and her husband Jeff. My dad, Ron, and his wife Karen. Then my step-brother Michael, he was also an usher for the wedding. That's my immediate family that were at the wedding, we have lots more relatives but I will just leave it at this for now :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dear friend

Blog challenge day 13: A letter to someone who has hurt you recently

"Dear Friend, what's on your mind
You don’t laugh the way you used to
But I've noticed how you cry

Dear friend, I feel so helpless
I see you sit in silence
As you face new pain each day
I feel there’s nothing I can do

I know you don’t feel pretty
Even though you are
But it wasn’t your beauty
That found room in my heart

Dear friend, you are so precious Dear Friend

Dear friend, I'm here for you
I know that you don’t talk too much
But we can share this day anew
Dear Friend, please don’t feel like you're alone
There is someone who is praying
Praying for your peace of mind
Hoping joy is what you'll find

I know you don’t feel weak
Even though you are
But it wasn’t your strength
That found room in my heart
Dear friend, you are so precious, Dear Friend"

These are the words of a song written by Stacie Orrico, a girl who started very young as a Christian artist and has an amazingly beautiful voice. I thought of this song a couple of years ago when going through a tough trial with a very close friend. Though the hurt was minimal on my side, I still wanted to share how I felt at the time when our friendship was coming to an end. I still love my friend from the bottom of my heart and would happily be their friend even today. I love you, just like I loved you back then.

If you have never heard this song before, you should listen to it here

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the know

Blog challenge for day 12 is: Tell how you found out about blogs and why you made one

Hang on, I have to rack my brain for a minute to think that far back. I think I started officially blogging about 5 or 6 years ago.
I am pretty sure that I started blogging after my friend Claire (then Cain, now Teter) keyed me in to a blog that she started. She was in college at NYU at the time and was also doing some writing on the side. I found it super intriguing and also thought it was a great way to keep in contact and up to date with others who I didn't talk to or get to see on a regular basis. So, I decided to start one of my own.
And that's my blog story for today :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I've got friends

Blog challenge for day 11: (finally on time!) Another picture of you and your friends



This was taken 3 Valentine's Days ago. Blaire, the lovely lady with the pretty curly hair, had a party at her house. The other blonde beauty is my friend Kristin M. And someone decided to stick their head in the picture, I honestly cannot remember her name.

A day behind

So this whole trying to blog when I get home and have dinner and try to catch up with Chas after he gets home from work thing isn't really working out very well. Ha.

So, here I am, posting for day 10 on the morning of day 11. Let's see if I can even remember most of the songs I listen to without my iPod here with me :)

Blog challenge day 10:Songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad

Happy: Pretty much anything that has an upbeat tempo that I can picture myself listening to while riding around in my car on a sunny day with my windows down
Paul Wright- Rock the show
Ray Lamontagne- Trouble
Mutemath- Reset
Chris Brown- Forever

Sad:
Nora Jones- Feelin the same way
Sufjan Stevens- Casimir Puliaski Day
Barlow Girl- Here's my Life
Brooke Fraser- Scarlet
Mae- Giving it Away

Bored- I don't really have a specific type of music for this, because honestly I haven't felt bored in a reeeeeally long time


Hyped:
Daft Punk- Around the World
Barlow Girl- No One Like You
Hillsong United- Freedom is Here
Rhianna- Disturbia, Please Don't Stop the Music

Mad-:
Mutemath- Break the Same
Mae- This Time is the Last Time

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stand proud!

Blog challenge day 9: Something you're proud of in the past few days

After everything that the Japanese people have been through over the weekend, enduring a major earthquake and devastating tsunami, I am proud of the response of so many to offer aid, supplies, food, blankets, shelter and just overall help to their country. With a country in such a state of tragedy, it is heartwarming to see people reaching out to offer assistance in a time of such need. It offers hope to sometimes doubting hearts that there are people in a world that often seems so full of evil, greed, power hungry leaders, and ongoing turmoil between countries willing to sacrifice for the needs of others. I am proud of the people who have offered to lend any type of helping hand they can to Japan.

Technical difficulties

So, again, I am a day behind on the blog challenge. I came home last night after teaching a class and was getting ready to post, and realized quickly that our internet wasn't working. By the time Chas got home and made the easiest fix in the world to turn it back on (that's why he's my husband), I was too tired and it was too late to post.
But, I'm not giving up on you day 8! I will do one this morning for yesterday's blog challenge, and one tonight for day 9.

For now, blog challenge 8: Write what your short term goals are for this month and why

Woo a list!:
1. Start teaching something new
I am happy to say that I just barely started doing this last weekend, so I am glad to know that I am actually reaching the small goals I set for myself. A girl at church expressed interest in learning more about singing, so I have started small vocal lessons with her on the weeks that I lead worship in Bountiful. We had our first lesson on Saturday and it was all kinds of fun!

2. Make coffee at home more, buy out less
This is mostly an effort to save a little bit of cash, due to the comparison of coffee made at home versus coffee bought at the SB or other local drive-thru.

3. Start preparing for the upcoming Ogden Marathon, well, the 5K portion of it anyway
I signed up for this last October, 2 weeks after the marathon registration opened and was disappointed to find out that the 1/2 was already full. But, I still want to work on my running, so signing up for the 5k was the next best thing. My ultimate goal is to train for the 1/2 in hopes that maaaaybe someone won't be able to make it and I can sneak their spot :)

4. Start a food journal and keep it for 30 days
This is something I have done before but was not good at keeping up on it. I want to be able to really track what I am putting in my body and seeing if I can consume just a little bit less calories each day. Yes, even if that means skipping out on Sweet Cake on the weekends.

Well, that's it for now, I think I will go write up what I had for breakfast :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

six and seven make two...

Ok, so, Saturday was an incredibly busy day, and I didn't end up getting to post, so I am putting days 6 and 7 of the blog challenge together today.

Blog challenge for day 6 is to post your favorite superhero. Well, I have to go with Yvonne on this one, I don't really have one. If I were to pick any superhero, even though technically he isn't a real superhero, I would pick Mario. Super Mario that is. He defeats evil dragons and always saves the princess. That's my kind of guy :)

Blog challenge for day 7 is to pick someone/or something that has had the greatest impact on you.
Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of one of the person who has had the greatest impact on me, because her impact occured almost 20 years ago. My mom probably has a picture of her somewhere, but for now I will just have to tell you why I picked her.

When I was nine years old, I attended my first Vacation Bible School at Sunrise Baptist Church in South Hill, Washington. I attended a class with a teacher by the name of Danielle Mahnkin. That lady was the person who explained who Jesus was to me in such a way that I understood the meaning of his death and why it was such a sacrifice for my life personally. It was at that time I became a believer, and was then baptized as a Christian. Had it not been for her heart for kids and teaching them about the way to Life, who knows when or even if I would have ended up a believer today. I am sure I would have, with other influences in my life inclduing from family members (mom, brother, etc), but obviously the path to get there would have been much different.
I am grateful for people like Danielle who use their gifts to teach others, for she had one of the greatest impacts on my life at that point. I remember her because for years after that she and my mom were friends and we visited with her family and kids frequently until I moved away. Both she and her husband Skip are amazing people and have such great, kind hearts for others. A great example to those who are learning about what it means to follow a life for Christ.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 5: Here and there

Blog challenge for day 5 is to post a picture of somewhere I have been.
I choose.....this one!





This is the secluded beach that Chas and I got to see while in Jamaica for our honeymoon. The crazy thing is that we weren't even supposed to go to Jamaica, but because of a "storm" (aka hurricane) that hit St. Martin, our cruise got diverted back up and our captain was lucky to find a spot open at the port of Montego Bay. This was probably one of two of the nicest days we had while on the cruise, which made for a perfect beach day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 4: get rid of it!

Day 4 of the blog challenge is: a habit that I wish I didn't have


This may come as a surprise to those of you who know that I am somewhat of a perfectionist and pretty organized (but remember, I am a pocket organizer :)

I leave my clothes on the bathroom floor after getting ready in the morning, sometimes for days.
I know, so horrible, ha ha. There definitely could be worse things.

But now you know one of my bad habits.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 3: That's what friends are for


Blog challenge #3 is to post a picture of your friends. I have to say, these 5 ladies are probably the bestest of friends a bride could ever have on her wedding day. And, on every other day of life.

Why do I say 5, you ask?
Because there is also a woman behind the camera taking this picture that is most definitely included in this bundle of woman greatness.

Amy Pepper on the left, my best friend since 9th grade and Matron of Honor in our wedding

Claire Teter (aka: CCT) whom I have known for about 8 years now, and oddly enough, is married to a man I once dated. Not ironic, just God doing his thing.

Elizabeth Ross: Work friend from the good ol' DWS. I have to say we may have cried more times than laughed during the first part of our friendship, but the laughing has been more abundant lately and I like that

Brittainy Harris: One of my first and still best friends in Utah when I moved back here in 2000 to go to Weber State. She technically was my boss of sorts, but never acted like she was above me. She even made a pretty decent roommate for a while (due to the fact she was hardly ever there :)

And Melissa Oholendt, the woman behind the beauty that was captured in so many details on our wedding day. Her work is just a glimpse of the wonderful woman that she is on the inside.

God truly blessed me with wonderful friends.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 2: The blog name

A couple of years ago I decided to change my blog name.
Maybe it was during a time that I realized that I should be living my life more for others and not so much being concerned with what I wanted.
Sure, we all have things that we want in life, for our own lives.

But, sometimes I need that reminder that it's not always about me, or ever, even.

It's a challenge to myself, and those who care to follow the random thoughts of what I blog about, to live your life as if you were living it fully for Christ, loving and serving others the way Jesus did when he was here on this earth. God sent His son as an example for us to follow as they way we are to treat others.

It's not, in any way shape or form, a sounding board for me to say, "hey, look what I am doing," most of the time I don't write about the things I feel God has lead me to do to serve others and not myself. It's just a place I go to free my thoughts and expose some of those things to those who care to read them.

So, my friends, that's the meaning behind "Live not for yourself".