Saturday, January 05, 2013

12 days of christmas

If you are friends with Bobby on facebook, you've seen him post everyday what "day of christmas" it is. For example, today he says, "Happy 12th Day of Christmas!" I've never celebrated the real twelve days of christmas so I was unfamiliar, as you probably are too. So like a good GenXer, I went to wikipedia. 

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day (25 December). This period is also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide. The Twelfth Night of Christmas is always on the evening of 5 January, but the Twelfth Day can either precede or follow the Twelfth Night according to which Christian tradition is followed. Twelfth Night is followed by the Feast of the Epiphany on 6 January.
Currently, the twelve days and nights are celebrated in widely varying ways around the world. For example, some give gifts only on Christmas Day, some only on Twelfth Night, and some each of the twelve nights.
See, it's more than a song!

So why don't we celebrate this in America?! One word: Commercialism.

The traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas have been largely forgotten in the United States. Contributing factors include the popularity of stories by Charles Dickens in nineteenth-century America (with their emphasis on generous gift-giving), introduction of more secular traditions over the past two centuries (such as the American Santa Claus), and the rise in popularity of New Year's Eve parties. The first day of Christmas actually terminates the Christmas marketing season for merchants, as shown by the number of "after-Christmas sales" that launch on 26 December. The commercial calendar has encouraged an erroneous assumption that the Twelve Days end on Christmas Day and must therefore begin on 14 December.

Celebrants observing the Twelve Days may give gifts on each of them, with each day of the Twelve Days representing a wish for a corresponding month of the new year. They feast and otherwise celebrate the entire time through Epiphany morning. Lighting a candle for each day has become a modern tradition in the U.S. and of course singing the appropriate verses of the famous song each day is also an important and fun part of the American celebrations. Some also light a Yule Log on the first night and let it burn some each of the twelve nights. Some Americans have their own traditional foods to serve each night.

For some, Twelfth Night remains the biggest night for parties and gift-giving. Some households exchange gifts on the first (December 25) and last (January 5) days of the season. As in olden days, Twelfth Night to Epiphany morning is then the traditional time to take down the tree and decorations.
I love it all! Except for the part of taking down the decorations on January 5th, it's family tradition to wait until closer to February 5th. :)

Friday, January 04, 2013

In the last 18 months...

I really can't believe it has been 18 months since my last blog post. I don't know why I decided to stop blogging. But do we ever really decide to stop to doing anything, or does other stuff just get in the way? I'm not sure, but there certainly has been a lot going on around here. I could sum it all up, but in the last 18 months, the top three events were: I officially became a Realtor in OKC & have had several successful closings, we started the process to adopt through the OK DHS foster care system but have not had a match yet, and we planted a church, City Pres, and we have over 150 members!! It hasn't been an easy year/year and a half by any means, but we're thankful for it. We're thankful for the opportunity to love and serve God and the people of Oklahoma City & Norman, and hoping that this will finally be the year we become parents.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Major Storm

I salute you, Major Storm of June 14, 2011. (HIMYM fans should get that joke.) You came out of nowhere. Normally I know about storms (especially spring ones) days and weeks in advance. But you knew I had my guard down - recently home from vacation, I had a lot of housework and new real estate work to do, so I didn't have the tv on. Gary England didn't call to warn me.

I left home at 5:45pm and it was hot & sunny - 100 degrees to be exact. We were inside a training facility when it started raining, maybe around 7 or 7:15, then we heard a little bit of your hail. "Well, that sucks," we said. Then the skies turned a little darker, the rain picked up, and then the wind. Whoa, the wind! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I've only seen such things on tv when watching hurricane footage. And the funny part is, the trainer never missed a beat. She just kept on talking like nothing was happening. We never lost power, but the lights flickered a lot. We were about 5 miles from home, so of course, my mind was wondering what you had done to my house.

We were dismissed around 8:40 and I was super anxious to get home. The skies were a vast array of colors - beautiful clear skies and sunset to the north, gray clouds directly above, and dark, blueish black skies to the south - it was creepy. I wish I had my camera. As we drove home, traffic lights were out everywhere, homes & buildings were dark, the hospital by our house was operating on emergency lighting, an intersection near our neighborhood had a downed power line that apparently had once blocked the road and even gone onto I-35. You have created quite a mess, Major Storm.

Still, I wonder, what will our house look like. Surely we won't have power. The rain had stopped for awhile and the temperature dropped 30 degrees. (yay!) But as we pulled in the driveway, it started back again. We wanted to pull our call into the garage in case we got more hail, and guess what, we could, because we had power! I love OEC and our underground utility lines! So as we scurried to do that, I decided to look on the right side of the house and to my dismay, a tree had split and it was now "resting" on our fence. and our roof. Crap.

We didn't know what to do. Everyone was saying storms were about to hit us again in 10-15 minutes, so do we risk being outside cutting the tree down during the storm, or do we risk the storm causing the resting tree to push over the fence, possibly causing damage to fence, roof, and possible bedroom window? Plus, we didn't have a chainsaw. And neither did our neighbors. But, our neighbor's father did, a few miles away. So neighbor's wife jumped in car with 3 kids to drive over there and get it for us, and 20 minutes later, Bobby, and two neighbor men were out there cutting down our broken tree, and I held the flashlight. Fortunately we never got that second round of storms.

We think we got away with minimal damage. The roof is still yet to be determined because we do have a couple damaged shingles on the edge. But we know we were spared, once again. We have a lot of clean-up to do, but manual labor is good, right? (ha! not in 100 degree weather!) I think it is so strange that tornadoes come and go around here all the time, we've have blizzards and ice storms, and a crazy thunderstorm sweeps through and does more damage than all of them combined. Major Storm indeed!

According to the experts, Major Storm was considered a microburst, which can have effects of a EF1 tornado. Yeah, no kidding.

As you can see in the previous photo, the cats are quite curious about what has happened in their yard.

The next photo shows where the branches landed once they were cut. these were once on our roof. and that is our bedroom window. also, the area between the bended tree and fence is where my hammock hangs. It was once a shady area. :(

The following photos show the damage done to our window screens and flowers.

Again, we know we are very fortunate that this is all we have. Many people in Norman are still without power, siding was ripped off of houses, fences & roofs totally destroyed, etc.

Finally, watch this video of a storm chaser driving through Major Storm, and prepare to be amazed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

obligatory catch-up post

so since my last real post, the thunder basketball team's impact on our lives really changed. we went from casual/regular fans to psycho/obsessive fans. we not only watched most of every game, we started watching every minute of every game, every post-game interview, followed every player on twitter, hung a flag outside our house, and put a sticker on our car. (those players tweet a lot, btw!) and so, did this obsession pay off? you betcha! the thunder, in only their third year of existence, not only made it to the playoffs, they played for the western conference championship! I was fortunate enough to go to one of the playoff games - game two of the first round, and it was a blowout against the denver nuggets. the oklahoma city arena (aka "loud city") was the loudest arena I have ever been in. it was awesome!

let's see. what else?
  • bobby is working hard getting ready to plant a church - city pres!
  • our friend, doug, the former (founding) OU campus pastor left RUF to co-plant city pres.
  • two babies were born (not ours) - meghan had paige and bobby's sister mindy had gracie (I'm an aunt!)
  • one of our favorite toddlers turned two; bobby turned "more than two"
  • we planted a garden that is now like a forest (what is in that soil!?)
  • did I ever blog about the cruise we went on?!?
  • I've been going to a bible study at our church on John
  • bobby got a motorcycle (a small fixer-upper for $200)
  • a pretty bad storm came to central oklahoma a couple weeks ago, and since it was shortly after the devastation in joplin, I was super freaked out. we were spared.
  • we went to a pretty fun wedding of some folks that will be a part of our church plant
  • other good friends moved to downtown OKC to be a part of the church plant :)
  • but other friends are moving to delaware :(
  • we hosted another international student through the university of oklahoma. it was an interesting experience.
  • I started going to a chiropractor/kinesiologist/nutritionist. so far she is helping my reverse-curved neck, and telling me that I'm allergic to all the foods I love. so it's good and bad.
  • we just got back from our denomination's general assembly - PCA GA. it was at virginia beach and it was a blast. I will blog about that soon.

oh, and I am now (well, almost...) a real estate agent! I have passed my exam, paid a million fees, and chosen a broker to work for. I think I still need to "join the board," pay a lot more fees, and go through a bunch of training before I can actually sell, but I'm certainly on my way.

Monday, June 13, 2011

good grief

will I ever blog again? stay tuned to find out.

Friday, March 04, 2011

new link

you may or may not have noticed that I just added a new link to my list of favorites (in the right column) - it is the prototype website for CITY PRES! check it out, let me know what you think. again, this is not the "real" version of the website, just something bobby started so we would have something out there/here on the world wide web. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


If you haven't heard, Oklahoma City has an NBA team. But of course you knew that because in their first season (last year) they made the playoffs! Having never been a huge fan of the NBA (other than following Duke grads) I am surprised by how much I enjoy the Thunder. I guess it's part of that "love your city" thing we're always talking about. We watch at least 1/4-1/2 of every game, sometimes the entire game. Usually the second half because they're so exciting...I have never seen a team play in so many close games, and especially overtimes. We've been wanting to go to a game (or all of them) since we moved here, and this week we finally got to go. and boy, did we go! We got free tickets to sit in the champions club seats. otherwise known as, ten rows from the court padded seats. super swanky. my only complaint was that the game was a blowout, so the stars (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, & Krstic) didn't play much. I kept jokingly saying, "I paid $3 (for bottled water) to come here and I want to see KD play!" and "I drove TWELVE miles to get here, put the starters in!"

I am still not sure what these "people" were, but they moved around well for being in giant blowup costumes

crazy fans trying to distract the free throw shooters

check out the guy with the megaphone. you really should click on the photo to see it full size.

self-portrait-at-the-thunder-game fail

let's try some further away shot of each other

much better

newly inducted governor mary fallin was there

game over. thunder win!

cue the streamers

after-game handshaking

KD in center, wearing blue jacket

Thursday, February 10, 2011

gluten (free) update

it's been nearly two weeks since I decided to go gluten free, so I thought I'd give a little update. and just as I predicted, I have very little to update. which, in my case (I don't have celiac disease) that's probably a good thing. I haven't had any adverse side effects other than grieving over my loss of soft pretzels and pb&j sandwiches (as I know them.) a few days (like yesterday) I have noticed that I am super hungry all day long, which is not good, but I don't know if that's any different than when I was eating all the gluten in the world. however, I have had more energy throughout the day. not sure if that is because of the lack of gluten, or because I'm taking all my vitamins/supplements more regularly, or because I've amped up my veggie intake (yuk), or if it's because of the snow and how happy it makes me. maybe all of the above?

confession: I did cheat on superbowl sunday. I just had to eat some of my cookies. and a piece of pizza. and maybe something else. ;)

mealtimes take a lot more planning, especially because we (ok, bobby) have to make two meals. bobby likes the gluten free (gf) stuff, but because of its extra cost, we need to save most of it for me. fortunately he still really enjoys preparing the main courses while I make the salads or steam the broccoli.

here's been a typical daily menu for me:

breakfast - rice chex drizzled with honey, banana, or hashbrowns & bacon, or low-fat yogurt, or gf pancakes

lunch - baked potato & broccoli/carrots, or lunch meat/cheese/apple, or chicken/salad

dinner - whatever bobby makes me. :) gf pasta/salad, or an asian meal (pad thai or something similar with chicken or pork), salad/veggies

snack - popcorn & cheese, or gf chips & scoop of peanut butter, or hard boiled egg white & gf pretzels

I know that's not very creative, but I'm a boring eater; I always have been. I'm starting to read about gf recipes to get a few more ideas so I don't quite out of boredom.

I also wanted to give a shout-out to Ted's Cafe Escondido. we went there the other night because we needed a break from making meals at home. this is quite an adjustment for us. we like making all of our meals from scratch and know the benefits of it, but we often choose convenience which means too many fast food hamburgers & french fries. but no more! ok, back to Ted's. we got a gift card for christmas (not relevant) and we heard they had a gluten free menu, and btw, we looooove ted's, so we went to check it out. first of all, we had the most amazing server. before the words "gluten free" came out of my mouth, she put in an order of gf chips & tortillas, and brought me the "menu." I loved those chips so much, maybe even more than the regular ones; I was so happy to still be able to enjoy my beloved teds and their amazing cheese sauce. I ordered a chicken tamale which wasn't too bad. I talked to the manager to tell him about the awesome service and he suggested the beef tamale with cheese sauce next time. I don't mind if I do, sir!

Monday, February 07, 2011

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

the best: the Pittsburgh Steelers made it to the Super Bowl for the 8th time! more than any other team in the NFL. for two weeks, the world (ok, america) focused on the steelers. no matter where you live, sports radio stations talked about the steelers, sports television channel showed steelers clips, sports illustrated highlighted the steelers, etc. I got to keep my flag waving proudly outside and wore black & gold almost everyday. people in lowe's & walmart wore their steelers clothes with pride. camaraderie was created even here in central oklahoma amongst steelers fans. my NFL neutral friends cheered for the steelers for my sake. we got to throw a (small) party and I got to make cute little cookies, and I love making the steelers helmets.

the worst: the steelers lost

Monday, January 31, 2011

goodbye gluten

well, folks, I've made the decision to stop eating all the foods I love. I am going gluten-free. ugh.

I've been reading for years about the possible benefits of a gluten-free diet, but we switched to a whole wheat diet 6 years ago and it's been treating us really well. why would I want to change that? besides, I get to eat everything I like (bread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, chips, pretzels, etc), I just trade it in for the whole wheat version. but gluten-free is a whole new ballgame. now I have to eat the rice version of everything, and it is NOT just as good.

today is just day 4, so I can't report any great effects yet. in fact, I really don't expect any significant effects (other than withdrawal) because I'm not switching due to a wheat/gluten allergy. it's not like I've been getting sick eating wheat, so now that I'm not eating wheat, I won't be sick. it's just that I have this pesky disease named endometriosis, and I've read that gluten may be contributing to it. I am also cutting out fatty meat treated with hormones. [fortunately I don't have to give up red meat all together because a friend of ours is giving us some venison, and as far as I know that deer probably wasn't given any hormones, and most deer (especially here in oklahoma) aren't fat. so yay!] caffeine intake really isn't a huge concern for me, but I'm going to cut back my 1 cup of coffee a day down to one or two a week. (baby steps, I know) of course, sugar has always been an issue, so I'm going to work harder on cutting that out. I don't eat many processed or fried foods, so that's not really an issue, but if the opportunity arises, I will just say no.

Dairy is another main concern. all the experts say to cut it out. but I don't want to. I love my milk & cheese! we buy our milk at braum's and they claim no hormones are used, so that can't be that bad, right? Of course though, I just read this sentence on an endo website: "dairy products stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a, which can worsen symptoms. The primary dairy foods that you should avoid with endometriosis include milk and cheeses." dangit!

my overall expectation of these dietary changes is: that they are going to suck. but fortunately my husband has been very supportive. primarily because this means we are going to (have to) eat much more asian food (and he LOVES asian food.) we went to a gigantic asian market and the health foods store in oklahoma city saturday and stocked up on everything rice-related... rice noodles, rice flour, rice "spaghetti," and... rice.

here is what I will be trying to survive on for the next who-knows-how-many-weeks/months/years.