Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Things Germaphobes Do In Hotel Rooms

Shawn was offered a free room and coupon for a free dinner at Indigo Sky Hotel in Joplin so we headed down there Saturday after he finished up his appointments at the clinic. We are not big travelers and as a result, I think I set the bar high for the times I stay in hotel rooms. I thought I'd share some of the things germaphobes do in hotel rooms. Some of these things are common practices, but I've been teased about others.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 1
First of all, a sign like this strikes fear into the heart of a germaphobe. Not even joking here. See that last bullet point?

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 2
A germaphobe who rarely stays in hotel rooms has an immediate instinct to pull back the bedspread. We closely inspect for a stray hair. I pulled back the perfectly smooth bedspread that was expertly tucked under the matters and this is a sampling of what I saw across the whole sheet. I think a farmer had slept in his clothes in this bed. And to avoid using the "b" word, I think he also cleaned the debris out of his nostrils while he was in bed. The human brain's ability to combat shock is impressive. Rather than hyperventilate, I started laughing and looking around for someone to come out of the closet and yell, "You just got punk'd!" Shawn wasn't with me and I thought he'd set me up with a really cruel joke. Then I texted my friend Kristi who gives me grief for being such a wimpy hotel guest. She was outraged right along with me.

When I went down to meet Shawn for dinner, I stopped at the front desk and patiently waited for the people in front of me to finish. When it was my turn, I quietly asked the desk clerk if he would have our sheets changed and give us fresh towels. I was suprised at how embarrassed and apologetic he was. And when I shared the story with Shawn, he laughed at me. He said, "That sign is for people who are staying more than one night! They change the sheets when someone checks out. It was just a mistake." A while later I got a text from Kristi saying her husband was laughing at us for the same reason.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 3
When we returned to the room and saw that the sheets had been changed, I was back into rational germaphobe mode. Germaphobes don't walk on hotel room carpeting. Socks are not enough protection and I forgot my slippers. It's a good thing Frye boots are so comfortable and go with everything, even pj pants.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 4
Germaphobes don't stand in bathtubs without foot protection. You can't wear Frye boots in the shower and, while some germaphobes wear flip-flops, I already overpack so I use an acceptable alternative. I stand on a towel.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 5When a germaphobe gets finished showering, they never wipe their face with a towel that a stranger has wiped their unmentionalble parts with, no matter how "sanitized" it has been in a wash cycle. (My mama, a 30-year paramedic taught me to also never let the hospital staff encourage you to suck on a washcloth for this same reason!) If we forget to pack our own hand towel, we use toilet paper, but not from the roll on the wall next to the toilet. We unwrap a fresh roll.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 6
A germaphobe never sets their bag on a bathroom floor. I don't even set mine on the hotel room carpeting. That bag is going to set on the floor in my own bedroom.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 7
A germaphobe never lays their dirty clothes on a hotel room floor. As you can see in this photo, it is apparently OK to lay your dirty clothes on the clean towel someone else will use. It may be time to re-evaluate my practices!

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 8
And when you have to do your business . . . you never forget to put extra toilet paper in the water.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 9
As a germaphobe, I will never understand how anyone drinks coffee made from a coffee maker that's stored on the vanity in a hotel room bathroom. Maybe if I needed coffee in the morning instead of being satisfied with what I get in my mocha frappes I'd be more lenient? And then there are the drinking glasses in hotel rooms. My aunt has been a flight attendant for 40 years so she is an expert on hotel rooms. She came back into her hotel room one day when the maid was cleaning. The maid was using my aunt's bath towel, that had been on the floor, to wipe out the drinking glass on the bathroom vanity. She says don't use the drinking glasses! I'm a bottled water girl in a hotel room.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 10
A germaphobe looks at this bolster pillow and knows its spent a whole lot of time on the floor so that's where it gets kicked immediately upon entering the room. And the pretty towel swan (or if you're a country boy like my husband, the goose), a germaphobe would never dream of using that since it's on the bedspread.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 11
Since the bolster is touching the pillows, the first row of pillows also gets tossed off the bed.

1-26-13 Indigo Skies 12
A germaphobe gets the heebie-jeebies at the thought of using hotel pillows, but it's not practical to bring your own. Packing an extra t-shirt or two to cover the pillow makes for much more efficient packing and it's more convenient than trying to stuff the pillow into your own pillow case.

In case you haven't guessed, a germaphobe can be a little annoying to share a hotel room with. But our neurosis makes for cheap entertainment!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I've been so hit or miss blogging for the past 6 months that this feels weird! Kind of like when you don't keep in touch with someone and it's a little awkward at first when you reconnect.

I was going through our analytics for our clinic website last week and reading them off to Shawn when I realized that I was actually looking at the analytics for this blog. He said, "What? Why would people look at a blog that never gets updated anymore?" He doesn't understand the power of Pinterest! So I'm back today. I'm not sure where I'm going with this blog from here. It's way outdated. I haven't kept up with the improvements in efficiency and how people use blogs differently than they used to when I started doing this. I don't even have a link to my home page for those (most everyone) who arrive here via Pinterest. And spam has become a major problem. It's ridiculous. I'm trying to decide whether to overhaul this blog or just start over somewhere else, whether to keep my blog name or start over there as well, whether to keep it as personal as it's always been or go more the direction of a DIY blog. Too many options and it's made me just keep walking away from making changes and from blogging. But I do miss it so I'm going to have figure it all out!

In my absence, I've done a lot of soul searching. Don't you "love" cliches? Honestly, I wasn't really searching. I actually was walking along quite content and I got smacked upside the head. It started with this book.

Forgotten God

The Holy Spirit. That's always been that part of Christianity that I just ignored. I'd like to say it was an accident, but it was intentional. It was uncomfortable to tackle, first because it sounded weird. Not the ha-ha-you're-funny kind of weird. The real deal weird. To say outloud that Someone lived inside me? And it was scary. What if I said it and then I wasn't overcome by constantly feeling the presence of it and I found myself feeling like I didn't really believe it? It was intimidating so I just ignored. I had God and Jesus and that was enough. As I got into this book, I couldn't continue to ignore. I discovered it's been there since that day I found myself on my knees almost 18 years ago looking down at Matthew 7:13-14 in Shawn's bible. It's been working in me the whole time and I have felt it. I've just been resisting it.

After that, Caelan went to Alabama with the youth group from church and heard Matt Chandler speak each day he was there. He didn't even wait until he got home to start talking about Matt Chandler. It started before he even left Alabama. I had never even heard the name Matt Chandler before the announcement of the trip and of course, I wanted to know what I was sending my kid into so I started listening to the podcasts of his sermons. And I heard this one on The Holy Spirit. I've listened to it at least 15 times since.

These two resources led me to the choice of my One Little Word for 2013. It's Control. My focus this year is on learning to turn over control to The Holy Spirit. To listen. To obey. To let go of frustration when my own situations, in spite of my best efforts, don't go the way I want them to. To stop trying to control others, control their situations, to let go of frustration when people don't listen my advice or "have the sense" to do things the way you're supposed to do them. To be more compassionate and loving in my heart and in my mind because it's not enough to just do it outwardly. I'm still just as completely flawed as I have ever been, and I know I always will be so I don't have any business trying to control anything! Try to lead and influence, yes. But not control. And the only way I can do that is turn over control of my flawed thoughts and feelings and choices to One who is not flawed, and then pray that I pay attention when He tries to guide me.

third day 2
After wrestling with the book and the sermon for a few months, I found myself last week in Joplin at the Third Day concert, a treat from my friend Meilissa (in the center). It was my first time seeing them in concert, and I definitely want to do it again.

Third Day 1-17-13 Joplin MO
Mac Powell's voice is just as incredible live as it is in their recordings. That's not always the case when you see someone live! We were sitting way off to the left of the stage and I couldn't see him through most of the show. The concert was in a church and I think that made everyone more reserved. It was funny to be at a concert and see a huge gap between the front row and the stage. It was definitely the quietest concert crowd I've ever been in.

Third Day 1-17-13 Joplin, MO
He had to work a bit at getting everyone clapping!

But it was awesome because it was a more intimate setting. He told a lot of stories between songs. And because everyone was so reserved, anyone who wanted to was able to go up front and take photos. I kneeled on the floor in the middle of a group of little kids taking pics with their iPods, which was really cool.

I've been listening to Third Day a lot since the concert and rediscovered this oldie. It made me smile because it fits perfectly with my head thumping I got last year and my word for this year. I think I'll make it my theme song for the year.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Gratitude Journal

gratitude journal cover 2Thanksgiving is 2 days away and I'm finally sharing the cover of my gratitude journal! It's full of words right now. I may or may not go back and add a few photos, but this project was really all about the written word.

gratitude journal Frixion pen
Speaking of the written word. I know journaling is an intimidating process to a lot of people. It can be for me, as well, but not because of the process of choosing my words. Mine comes from making permanent, on a beloved project, handwriting that slopes upward on the page and my inability to remember to use all of the letters in a word when my hand is trying to keep up with my brain. While some people have a talent for making those mistakes look fantastically artistic, my mistakes just look like I'm trying to cover up the fact that I can't spell.

A couple of months ago, I found these Frixion pens. I found them in Margie Pearl's, our local fabric store. They are made by Pilot and they are erasable! If the 80s are not just retro to you and you helped to actually create the original, you're probably remembering PaperMate erasable pens and thinking, "No thanks." These Frixion pens are the real deal. The ink is not gooey, does not smear when the knuckle of your pinky finger drags over your handwriting, and, the best part, the ink really does erase. If you are a handwritten journaler, add them to your next shopping list!

Photos of the inside of my gratitude journal, as well as a list of Fiskars tools and how I used them on the project, can be found on the Fiskars website.

I want to close today by saying it's such a cool thing to be able to tell Fiskars I want to make something like this, something that's all raggedy with mismatched fabrics, and then for them to say yes and display it on their crisp, clean, modern website. And then they pay me for it. I'm grateful for the trust in the working relationship I have with them.
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Gratitude Journal

If you're still checking in here, hi!!! And thank you for still being here even though I rarely am anymore. I'll spare you the I've-been-too-busy-to-blog post. I'm here posting today because last year I followed the blogs (and a few Facebook accounts) of people who were doing a daily gratitude post and I decided I wanted to do this myself this year. I'm doing mine in a journal format rather than just online and the journal I made, I made for Fiskars. Since they post new projects on Mondays and the first Monday of November isn't until the 5th, my journal isn't live on the website yet. So I can't share the cover yet. But I can share my journaling as I add it.

Fabric gratitude journal for November

This is my opening page.

fabric gratitude journal for November 1

And this is my day 1 entry.

The journaling for it reads:

I made this gratitude journal to write in very day for the month of November & I was so focused this morning on someone in my life who is acting foolish, making assumptions that are wrong and causing a lot of dissension in our family that I forgot to start my journal. After I remembered, I was frustrated that I was trying to focus on writing in it & all I could think of is the conversation I'll have with this person next time I see them, struggling with knowing it would only make things worse & I didn't care that it was wrong. I've prayed through it this morning and ended with this, that I'm grateful God created forgiveness & reconciliation & that He showed us what that looks like. I know this relationship will be restored & my focus has changed to that instead of my anger.

I have to be honest and admit I'm not walking around with complete joy in my heart. I'm human and I'm still really bothered by what has happened. But because I'm able to remember that this will eventually be resolved, that misunderstandings and arguments are part of life, I've also been able to pull back and recreate that conversation in my head to be as free of confrontation on my part as possible. I've lived long enough to know that conflicts don't get resolved when insults and sarcasm are interjected. Not only do they not help, they are forever the part of the conversation that is burned into the mind of the person they are directed at. And those are not the kinds of things I want to be defined by when people reflect on their relationship with me.

I'll also be including a quote each day. It may be one that just supports what I already know I'm going to write or it may be something to help direct my thoughts on days when I need some inspiration. The quote for day 1 was, If the only prayer you ever said in your whole life was "thank you," that would suffice. -Meister Eckhart

If you're doing a daily gratitude for November and sharing it online, I'd love to see it! I may not be able to post every day, but please share a link to yours on the days I do post.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm Still The Boss. Until She Says Otherwise.

08-27-12 Harper Kitty sleeping in mail basket

I'm not sure how we got here. This will sound terrible coming from the wife of a vet but I'm one who has long said I believe cats belong in barns or feed stores. This is not because I don't like cats. I do. It's simply because they spend 23 of every 24 hours on something other than the floor. So dirty kitty litter paws are walking on the things we touch and the surfaces we eat from. And then there's all that hair. She only got into our house because I killed Will's Beta fish and the brevity between my admission and the words, "Then can I have a cat?" tumbling from behind his quivering lower lip as he stood holding his handmade "funerol" programs left me both fascinated and, most unfortunately, cornered by his shrewdness. I said, "We'll see." To which he replied, "That means no." I think we both knew it really meant yes.

A few days later, Shawn called from work and said a lady had brought in a litter of kittens she was trying to give away. I caved. Will could have his kitten he'd been begging for for years, but there were rules.

1. It was only allowed upstairs during the day when it was being supervised. Otherwise, behind the closed door of the lower level of the house was to be its domain.
2. It was not allowed on any furniture while upstairs and absolutely, positively was it ever to be allowed on the kitchen counters or the table.
3. It was to catch every mouse that came into our house. We live on a farm surrounded by pasture. Mice are inevitable. And the cat had to earn its keep.
4. I would not clean up not one single puked up fur ball.

Four simple rules.

A year-and-a-half later,
1. About living downstairs, Harper is only allowed to go to the lower level of the house to eat. Otherwise, her people miss her cuteness, her purrs, her playfulness, her sweetness. If the door to the lower level is closed, we make sure she is on the same side of it as we are. She sleeps in the mail basket. Even after we missed paying our electric bill last month because it got shuffled to the bottom of the basket after one of her deep-sleep tumbles from the window sill that take the whole basket with her.
2. About being on the furniture, she has ruined my leather couch. The cushions are covered with scratches. Her favorite sunbeam spots are the chair or desktop in Caelan's room or the corner of Will's bed. At night she sleeps on Will's bed until 5 a.m. when she decides Shawn and I have had a full night's sleep (regardless of what time we went to bed). She is still not allowed on the kitchen counters or table, although during meals she does sit on the empty chair next to Shawn with her front paws on the edge of the table.
3. About her pest control responsibilities, she's pals with the mice. Caelan went downstairs one day and she was playing with one. I had witnessed her doing this myself more than once. This time he watched as she let the mouse go, it ran 1/2 way up the wall (wood car siding with lots of grooves for little claws to dig into) and then ran back down and right back to Harper. Shawn says the mouse must have been stunned and backtracking was completely unintintional. I like the cartoon feel to the scene and it makes for a better story to say the mouse was playing with Harper. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for the mouse, Caelan had a broom in his hand.
4. About puked up hairballs, I have yet to see one. To my knowledge, there hasn't been one. I'm barely hanging on here to my status as the rule maker. I wonder if she's torturing me by making me wonder when she'll take complete control or if she's a cat full of grace, allowing me to retain a little bit of dignity. As I look next to me right now and see her sleeping in her mail basket, where she stays while I'm on the computer occasionally stretching her paw out toward me and mewing, I like to believe it's the latter.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our Future

Since I haven't been blogging much, and since I've only shared on Facebook photos of the process of a major part of what has been keeping me too busy to blog, I suppose it's time to share it here. I posted this blog entry about being sifted almost a year and a half ago. If you've been around a while, you know Shawn joined the masses of unemployed in May 2011. It has been a long, challenging road of not only figuring out how to pay the bills but also trying to figure out what God has planned for our future. All the circumstances that worked together to lead us to where we are now leave me no doubt what He has planned. It may continue to be a challenging road from here and that's OK. But I go into it with peace that we've made a decision that aligns with His will for us.

Bolivar Pet Hospital for blog
In April, this building in our town went up for auction. It was right in the area Shawn had been looking to buy since we moved to Bolivar because he felt it was the perfect location for a veterinary hospital. He had made offers on land near this building when it went up for sale. He had made offers on land that hadn't gone up for sale! He had even talked to the owner of this very building, a friend of mine, about what she would sell it for when she closed her business, which happened to be a scrapbook store where I had spent a lot of time. Everyone was either unwilling to sell or wanted a premium price for what they knew was a premium location for a business targeting people with young families. Shawn wanted a price that allowed him to keep his prices reasonable for his clients. Now that the perfect location was finally available, we were almost a year into unemployment and barely scraping by.

We almost didn't even go to the auction because Shawn didn't think the building would sell for a price that would allow us to build a practice that would mesh with his philosophy of keeping prices affordable for average families. And we didn't have financing in place should we win the auction. The day of the auction, we had plans to go to KC to start the process that looked to be the only option we had . It made no sense to us because we felt like 10 years earlier we had prayed faithfully about where God wanted us and it was Bolivar. Bolivar for a long time. So while what we were about to do made no sense, we packed our bags for a trip to KC. Once Shawn found a job there, he would have to live there while the boys and I remained in Bolivar. He would leave behind major responsibilities that were part what we had so faithfully prayed about 10 years earlier and we had no idea how it was ever going to work that he could fulfill the things he felt God had entrusted him to complete. But we followed where we were feeling led. With a heavy hearts we got in the car to leave that day and decided it wouldn't hurt to stop in at the auction. The boys and I waited in the car while Shawn went to bid. Twenty minutes later I got a text from him with a dollar figure in it. We were the owners of the building for an unbelievable price and Shawn was going to own his own veterinary practice again.

We've been haggling with bankers and building walls and painting and lifting and bargain shopping and interviewing and not getting enough sleep the past few months. We have targeted September 24 as the day we open our doors to the public. We're still nervous about the future and we're humbled by the road ahead of building a practice from scratch. But I no longer feel like we're being sifted. My favorite verse in the bible has gotten me through the past 18 months and I've been reminded once again that God is faithful even when it feels like you're all alone.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why I'm Still Blogging

there is beauty everywhere
A little peek at a project for Fiskars that I finished last night. When I finished, the little pieces of paper the quote is printed on looked dull and unfinished to me. When I'm at the end of a project, I'm tired of sifting through my supplies looking for "the" thing I need when I don't know what that thing is so I start looking at my immediate surroundings for "the" thing. Yesterday, the final touch to something I'd invested a whole lot of time in planning, executing, photographing, and writing up instructions for was found sitting next to me on the kitchen table. I grabbed it, cut little pieces from it, and glued them to the paper strips. It was something that annoys us all, a plastic grocery sack from my trip to the store earlier in the day. There is beauty everywhere.

Shawn came here last night and laughed. He said, "You haven't updated your blog in 2 months? Where are you putting everything?" "The Baby" (my camera) certainly hasn't been absent from our lives the past 2 months so he knew I was sharing our lives somewhere. I could have been defensive and replied, "You haven't checked my blog in 2 months?" He wisely taught me long ago to focus on the issue at hand because going off on tangents only leads to more tangents and fights that never end so I decided to just answer his question. "Facebook." I admit with shame that Facebook has replaced my blogging. I've watched many of my friends' blogs close down over the years and eventually have seen them proclaim on Facebook that Facebook was the reason. Facebook is fast and it's easy. Everyone expects short and sweet so there is no need to justify taking the easy route. I used to look at those Facebook posts and shake my head. I was never going to do that. I enjoy far too much things like:
  • sharing my thoughts on life.
  • trying to motivate people to always try to find the good in life.
  • sharing details of Shawn's embarrassing moments,
  • making fun of myself (which Shawn says I never do but I say that photo of me should be all I ever need to share to refute that argument).
  • playing terrible, awful, mean tricks on our children.
  • sharing the ridiculously cute things our kids do.
  • bragging on my husband's skillz with crooked, overprocessed photos of our house.
  • making fun of the dog at completely inappropriate times.

    And I can't let you forget my favorite one:
  • sharing the details of Shawn's embarrassing moments.

    So while the hits to my blog may have dropped off dramatically over the years with advent of an abundance of blogs that are better designed and with more organized content, the introduction of Facebook, and my lack of consistency in posting, I think I'll stick around a little longer. There is a lot of history recorded here and it's fun to go back and remember. If nothing else, occasionally I share accidental discoveries that might be of value to the world, important things such as ways to keep the lowly, annoying plastic grocery sack out of landfills. Or from sticking to your windshield as you drive down the highway.
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