Thursday, October 29, 2009

15 Minutes

I started reading The One Year Chronological Bible NIV a month ago today. On the back cover, it says you can read the entire Bible in one year by reading just 15 minutes a day. I've noticed my daily readings are about 4 pages in length. 4 pages! How have I not read the entire Bible through every year before now if I only needed to read 4 pages per day? Honestly, I didn't like the structure of most one year Bibles where you read part of the Old or New Testament and a little bit of Psalms or Proverbs every day. That was too confusing for me. I like things to go in order. To wrap my mind around a concept, I have to start at the beginning. So you can imagine that I am loving every minute of every reading in the Chronological Bible and sincerely hope this desire and discipline remain for the next 11 months.

But should I read the Bible twice through in one year? It would only be 8 pages a day which would be a total of 30 minutes of reading. I say to myself, "Yeah, I could definitely read it twice through in one year." Ah, but there's more than just reading. There's the meditating, prayer time, Scripture memory... And what if I miss a day? It's easy to catch up on a few missed days with the way the readings are organized as is. Better stick to the "15 minutes."

This is how I think sometimes: the more the better. But what happens when those great expectations aren't realized? I end up with 0 instead of 15. For example, in college it was the norm to have 1 hour daily devotions. I had way more free time than I do now. I have had to learn that just because I don't have as much time as I would like today, I have a little bit of time. I shouldn't disregard a task meant for today in hopes for a more substantial amount of time that can be dedicated to it tomorrow. Just like compound interest, the little bit that I give today will be quite significant over time.

Other than reading my Bible for 15 minutes a day, I started to think of other ways that I could apply the concept of just 15 minutes a day.
  • Exercise. If I'm going to get in my gear, I want a long, worthwhile workout. Bryant always tells me it's better to be consistent in this area rather than sporadic. It's better to run 2 miles a day (15 minutes or so) than run once a week for 105 minutes (15 x 7). In order to be consistent in this area, I'm asking for a treadmill for my birthday and Christmas gift. I'm thinking it will be so much more convenient to hop on the treadmill than wait for amiable weather conditions since I don't run or walk in the cold, hot, rain or snow (did I miss anything?).
  • Brushing Miles. I know this sounds ridiculous, but since Miles is 1/2 Poodle his hair gets tangled if not brushed often. If I skip a few days, it gets so bad it takes forever to work out the knots. I take Miles about every 4 weeks to a professional groomer and he comes out of there with straight hair as fluffy and soft as a teddy bear. He probably wonders why he gets so much attention on those days... Poor thing, if only I would spend 15 minutes a day combing him so he would stay snuggly all the time.
  • Paperwork. I get off work around 4:00 to 5:00 every day. My workday consists of meetings, presentations and trainings. I record what was discussed at these meetings and how to follow up with my clients. When I get home around 5:00, my brain switches gears. I grab the mail, greet my family, and turn off work. But if only I could spend 15 minutes each night to enter the details of the day into my computer, I wouldn't have the ongoing pile of paperwork that's sitting on my desk right now. 15 minutes a day adds up to 105 minutes a week; and once I have a couple of hours of paperwork ahead of me, it's like I get paralyzed. When I have an insane amount to do, sometimes I don't know where to start and it just sits there.
  • Dinner time. Bryant and I don't do much for dinner. We tend to eat a more substantial lunch than dinner. Here again, even though I don't spend an hour in the kitchen each night, I can still make something in 15 minutes. A salad, baked potato or veggies only takes 15 minutes of hands-on preparation. It might not be what Julia Child would make, but it is SOMETHING.
I guess this list evolved over the past week as I've been thinking about what a big impact a small concept can make when applied daily. I'm curious, are there any areas in your life that you relate to the 15 minutes a day concept?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Anthropologie

It's been rumored for quite some time that one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie is coming to Memphis. First, there was talk of a high-end retail strip going in at Poplar and I-240 where the new Target and soon to follow Best Buy reside. Then I kept hearing that the shops at Saddle Creek was a possible future location.

This summer there was an article in the Memphis Business Journal confirming that Anthropologie is still in the horizon for Memphis and may just end up in the space that was formerly Yia Yia's. I was so sad when Yia Yia's left and can remember driving by the vacant restaurant saying something like, "What can be better than Yia Yia's?"

I would be ecstatic if this rumor finally came true. I'm sure Bryant won't quite share my enthusiasm on their moving into the neighborhood. Not only do they have adorable clothes, but a charming home section as well. In fact, I'm hoping to see their colorful measuring spoons in my stocking this year. I saw them at the Nashville store this summer.

Mod Measuring Set

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let There Be Light

After Alex and his crew finished smoothing our ceilings, Bryant spent a couple of days plus part of last weekend installing recessed lighting throughout the house. One of the things that we really liked when we first saw this house was the amount of natural light that was present throughout the house. Our last house had a ton of windows so that was definitely a key factor for us when we were house hunting.

Since we had to remove all of the light fixtures in the house to prepare for painting, we thought it would be an ideal time to update some fixtures and replace others with recessed lighting. Bryant took down every light so the painters could paint underneath them.


Here is a picture after Bryant installed 2 can lights: one at the top of the stairs and one in the hallway.


Bryant installed 13 can lights in all - 9 of those replaced existing lights and 4 of those were areas he added new wiring. Two of those newly wired lights were added in the den which now gives us a significant amount of light in the back of the room. All that time on the ladder paid off.


The additional 2 lights were added to our closet which I'm real excited about. Previously, there was just one light in the middle of the room.


Since can lights concentrate the light mostly in a downward direction, after switching out the old light for a can, the corners of the closet were still a little dark. And so I convinced Bryant to install 2 more can lights...


All that's left is to add the clothes! After paint of course...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oprah Care

Personally, I do not care for Oprah's show. We have completely different political views which make it impossible for me to be a fan. I used to occasionally have her show on in the background, but since she has become more blatant in pushing her political agenda while consistently using subtle techniques to express those views, I can't seem to tolerate it at all. Which is why I was so frustrated after watching 20 minutes of her show today. Flipping the channel can be very dangerous in this political climate.

But I was so curious after I saw she was interviewing women in other countries. They were sharing their views on consumerism, taxes, government, child care, health care, religion and happiness. I thought the interview with the women from Denmark was very interesting and infuriating at the same time. Of course, these women were hand picked because their feelings toward their way of life in Denmark lined up with Oprah's goal of the show which was to get American women thinking and hopefully believing that Socialistic governments are not in fact Socialistic but "civilized."

My intent is not to bash Oprah or mock her. Focusing on the content of her show today, here are my thoughts just a few hours after watching:

1. The women that were interviewed were very attractive, had nice homes, and the overall image was, "they have a great life."

2. Most of the women agreed that they don't need a lot of stuff or don't want it. Oprah thought this was just fabulous. I couldn't help but seeing the irony of that one. How many houses does Oprah have? How much stuff does she have personally?

3. Denmark has government run health care. The women said it was civilized to take care of the old and the poor. Can we not take care of the poor and the old with privatized health care? Can we not reform the current health care system to make it more affordable?

4. Most people think government run health care is free. In Denmark it is not free. You have to be in the working class to get government benefits. What if a stay-at-home mom prefers to stay at home and not go to work? Will she have the liberty to choose that lifestyle or will she be forced to enter the workforce to receive health care? How much will it cost if she is added to her husband's plan? These are all questions that need to be addressed and debated if the U.S. is going to follow suit, but our senators don't have time to read the 1,000+ page bill.

5. Denmark has free daycare for 1 year old children and up. The mark of Socialistic and Communistic governments is controlling education. By the time these kids are 5, they will have already been in a government run daycare and childcare for 4 years. I looked up the stats in Denmark and in the year 2000, 56% of 0-2 year old's were in government run daycares and 92% of 3-5 year old's were in nursery schools. The government is taking the place of the family.

6. Denmark has a progressive tax system where the people pay up to 60-68% of their income in taxes. Wow, and they think free education and health care is worth that?

7. The ladies from Denmark said they are known for being the happiest people in the world. Well, if Denmark is so happy and they have a Socialistic government than it only makes sense that America should turn away from our Capitalistic government for a more happy Socialistic one. The "pursuit of happiness" is no longer good enough; we need to guarantee the end result is happiness.

8. Sipping their coffee at an outdoor cafe, the group of ladies from Denmark said they are the least religious country. Their churches are empty. They do not believe in God.
Oprah asked several times, "Don't you believe in a higher being?"
The answer was still, "No."
"Well, maybe you do, you just don't realize it. It's more of a spiritual thing instead of a religious (one)..." Oprah trailed off.

Hmmm... Denmark, the happy, spiritual place of the world. No thanks, I still believe that America is the greatest country in the world with God as the highest authority in my life, then my family, then the government. That's my happy place.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Popcorn Effect

These last two weeks we have been busy working on the house and the biggest project to date has been having our ceilings smoothed. Spraying the ceilings is an easy way to hide any imperfections, making the popcorn style ceilings a very common practice. Smoothing the ceilings involves scraping all the popcorn off and then repairing the drywall. I can't imagine having this done while living in the house. The best time to smooth the ceilings is definitely before you move in when the house is completely empty. If you wanted to give it a try while occupying the house, you could clear out one room at a time and clean up before you start on the next room, but I would not recommend it. We heard it was a messy project, but that was quite an understatement. I had no idea how much dust and drywall would accumulate in the entire house.

The entire first day was spent laying down plastic and paper to cover all the floors, stairs and ceiling fans.


The crew started the next day scraping the upstairs and took about 4-5 days to finish the whole house. When we went to check on their progress, I could barely breathe in the house. It was like a giant dust ball.


Even though this layer of debris was on top of the plastic, there was still a good bit of mess that managed to get around the plastic. After the crew finished "cleaning up," Bryant and I realized our cleaning up was just beginning. The ceilings look great though and are ready to be painted.


We spent the entire past weekend vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping. After mopping the downstairs three times, I started to feel like it was somewhat under control. I'm not going to worry about the lack of sparkle in those tile floors just yet since we found MORE wallpaper that must come down before we begin painting.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hidden Treasure

We spent most the day cleaning up at our new house today. I recruited Leah and Mark to come help Bryant and I, and they were a big help! We had made pretty good progress and were winding down for the night. As I was almost finished cleaning the master bathroom, I turned the water on in the shower and was going to spray the shower floor. I was slightly confused because there are two shower heads and they were sort of tangled up together. I grabbed the one that looked mobile and started pointing it at the corners of the shower. Well, I pulled a little too hard, and at the base of the shower head water starts spraying straight up onto the wall.

I'm yelling, "I broke the faucet," and Bryant comes in to survey the damage. He manages to pull the faucet completely off the wall which is quite alright since we will be putting up a different one anyway. But as he's in the shower he notices the wall starts peeling and I hear, "Darling, look at this." And then that terrible word came next, W-A-L-L-P-A-P-E-R!

Seriously? Seriously. The previous owners painted over wallpaper in the master bathroom which we should have noticed before today. Maybe that almost identical shade of green that was only painted in the dining room and master bathroom should have given it away since it was only two weeks ago that we found a hidden layer of wallpaper underneath the fresh coat of paint in the dining room. It's like a scavenger hunt to see who can find the wallpaper in the new house. Let's just hope there's not anymore. I'm not sure how much more of this hidden treasure we can afford.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

9.12 March

I finally got around to posting pictures that Bryant took at the 9.12 March in D.C. He said it was the most people that he had ever seen in one place in his entire life. I believe the final count of those who attended was between 1.5 million to 2.1 million people. Everyday Americans like you and me. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then watch this story and hear their message.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Juliet Reese

Wednesday night Bryant and I went up to Baptist Women's Hospital to see our dear friends, Jonas and Ashley, and their sweet baby girl, Juliet Reese. Juliet is such a doll! I even got to rock her to sleep or should I say bounce her to sleep. We were all cracking up as we were thinking of the Friends episode where Monica keeps bouncing Emma until she stops crying. Rachel is so thrilled she tells Monica to keep it up while she goes to take a nap. I told Ashley to call me anytime and I'll come bounce Juliet for her :) And who wouldn't want to? Look at the little darling!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gravity

What goes up must come down. Especially stringcloth wallpaper or any wallpaper from the 80's or 90's for that matter. Actually, wallpaper is in right now, just not the kind that was hanging in the house we bought. We did close on the 21st of last month and took possession on the 23rd, the day Bryant left for a trip. I took advantage of this last week that Bryant was out of town and got several quotes for the house.

I was told taking down wallpaper yourself can be quite a lengthy project. Since we have quite a bit we would like to do before the move-in date, I went ahead and hired a professional. Our guy did a great job and was finished in just a day and a half. He took down the paper in our living room, entry hall, upstairs hallway, half bath, and dining room. I didn't even realize there was wallpaper in the dining room since the previous owners painted over it. I'm glad my mom pointed that out to me; I hadn't even noticed the seams on the wall. It would have been inconvenient to have to call Andy (the wallpaper guy) out a second time.

Bryant and I went this afternoon to see our empty house for the first time together. The walls are spackled and ready to be painted. Now if we could only decide on the paint colors...





 

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