…just like this one today

MOPS Convention. November 26, 2008

Filed under: MOPS,Spiritual — itzforever @ 12:01 am
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100_6920I spent October 2-5 in Dallas, Texas, at the MOPS International Annual Convention.  It was my first time attending Convention, and I was in no way prepared for the amazing time I had.  I traveled with 3 other ladies from my church: Pacifica, Nina, and Christy.  I only casually knew these women before our trip, but after spending these few days together, I feel as though we’ll be lifelong friends.  The 4 of us had a wonderful time bonding together, sharing with each other, laughing, staying up until all hours of the night talking, and drinking coffee!

Convention was held at the beautiful Gaylord Texan Resort just outside of Dallas.  The hotel was huge (it was Texas, after all!) and gorgeous.  I tried to take some photos of the center of the hotel, but I had little time and even less camera battery.  Unfortunately, my camera died on the evening of the 4th!

100_6927The theme of MOPS this year is “Adventures in Mothering”.  We certainly had plenty of adventures at Convention!  This theme will continue through the year in the discussions at each MOPS group around the country.  I was awestruck by the extent of Convention.  I’m struggling to even find words to describe my feelings.  On our first night, during the general session, there was a duo of acrobats who performed Cirque Du Soleil-type stunts in front of an audience of 6,000 moms.  It was amazing!  I never expected Convention to be larger-than-life, but at the same time to reach moms exactly where they are and give practical, real-world advice!

We were treated to excellent musical performances every day.  Jaci Velasquez, Plum, Go Fish, and Avalon all put on incredible shows for us!  I was expecting worship music, but not concerts!  Our worship leader was Grammy winner Kim Hill.  The music was one of the best parts of Convention for me, because music speaks to my heart like almost nothing else can.

100_6941Compassion International had a booth at the Resource Fair.  Alex & I already sponsor a little boy from the Dominican Republic through Compassion, but I’d been thinking for a long time about sponsoring another child.  I especially wanted to find a little girl from an AIDS-affected area in Africa.  I believe I found the perfect child to sponsor during Convention.  Her name is Ruth and she lives in Burkina Faso.  I’ve already received two letters from her, and am thrilled to be her sponsor!

Oh, did I mention that we also managed to attend workshops and general information sessions about how to make our MOPS group as successful as it can be?  All of the sessions I attended were wonderfully put together.  After leaving Convention, I truly felt prepared to begin our program at Andrews.  I can’t wait to see how God uses our group and our willing hearts to equip mothers in our community.  Better moms make a better world!

Click any of the photos to see more from our trip!


I don’t even know where to start. November 22, 2008

Filed under: Daily life,Fifty-two green,Hanson — itzforever @ 10:57 pm

It’s been way too long since I’ve updated my blog!  October was filled with the craziness of the MOPS convention in Dallas, Carina visiting, getting Oscar neutered, Hanson tour, and a couple of Sixers shows.  Needless to say, I’ve been playing catch-up for a few weeks!  I’ve thought to myself many times, Gosh, I need to update that blog! It seems so overwhelming at this point that I’m not even sure where to start.

Even though tour, I tried my best to keep adding one new ‘green’ resolution to my list each week.  I haven’t posted anything, but I’ve been doing – and that’s really the important part!  I’m hoping to set aside a few moments to get Fifty-Two Green up to speed!

I’ve found a new love/project!  (I know, just what I need is something else to try to accomplish!)  I downloaded a trial version of Adobe’s Photoshop and absolutely fell in love with it.  Many of the first days of November were consumed with Photoshopping all of my photos from the Walk Around The World Tour.  Alas, I’ll never be able to afford the program, but it was amazing to experience it for 30 days!  I actually discovered that I had downloaded the trial for CS3, and CS4 is now out.  I’m in the process of attempting to download the CS4 trial, and hopefully have the program for another 30 days!  It really is an incredible tool and I wish like anything that I had a spare thousand dollars to drop on it.  Alas, my financial priorities are elsewhere….

Speaking of financial priorities, I’m proud to report that Alex & I are officially out of debt!!  We didn’t have much to begin with, but after listening to Dave Ramsey, we decided that we want to operate on a cash-only basis from now on.  We paid off our car, my student loan, and our credit card.  It was a thrilling feeling to close our Capital One account and be able to quote Dave: “What’s in your wallet?  MONEY!”  Of course we have many more ‘baby steps’ to accomplish, but for now, we’re very satisfied with being debt-free!


Layer, layer, layer! October 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — itzforever @ 10:02 pm

I generally consider myself to be a pretty bad gauge of temperature, because when other people are comfortable in a room, I’m most likely freezing cold.  Alex jokes that I could live on the sun, and sometimes I feel like he’s right!  It’s great in the summer, because it’s no problem for me to cut down on my electricity usage by leaving my thermostat at 80 degrees.  But in the winter months, I really struggle!  Last year I kept the temperature at or above 77 degrees all winter long.  I was (mostly) comfortable, but this year I’m compelled to change.

I already wear sweatshirts around the house to keep warm, but this year I’m determined to keep the thermostat no higher than 74.  It doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve got to start somewhere!  I have a feeling I’ll be spending lots of time upstairs in order to cope with this decision!  (Our first floor is easily 5 to 10 degrees colder than our upstairs, despite having all upstairs vents closed and all of the downstairs ones open!)  I’m making a conscious decision to put on an extra sweatshirt, robe, or whatever in order to keep myself warm instead of going to the thermostat!


Even on tour. October 12, 2008

Filed under: Fifty-two green,Hanson — itzforever @ 9:45 pm
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This week begins the craziness of The Walk Around The World Tour, for me at least!  I’ll be attending 9 shows in the next three weeks!  Often tour means many meals eaten on the road in a hurry, equating with lots of trash created.  My resolution for this week is that even on tour, I’m going to do my best to stay ‘green’!

100_9241-copyProbably the biggest way we’ll be green this year is to carpool to every show.  I’m not attending any shows alone, and for most of them, I’ll be riding with two or more people.  Not only does this strategy allow us to split the cost of gas and share the driving time, but we’ll also cut the amount of gas we would use in half or more!  Carpooling to shows is definitely the way to go – besides, it makes tour extra fun!  This week I have to credit everyone I plan to ride with this tour: Ashley, Chrissy, Emma, Erin, Karen, and Kim – you guys are the best!


Lather, rinse, repeat. October 5, 2008

Filed under: Fifty-two green — itzforever @ 9:36 pm

100_6891I recently purchased one of those Reynolds handi-vacs to use when I freeze food.  It’s an awesome little machine – there is virtually no freezerburn on anything I use it on!  I frequently freeze meat since Alex & I can rarely finish an entire package before it would spoil.  I could see, though, how this handy little machine could easily create a lot of waste.

The plastic bags used for vacuum sealing have a double layer on part of the bag, which means more plastic in the landfill for every bag thrown away.  The bags are also a little more pricey than regular freezer bags.  Solution?  I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve resolved to wash and reuse plastic freezer bags.  *Gasp!*  It sounds like a lot of extra work, but it really shouldn’t be.  And even if it is, it’s worth it to do a little to save the planet.


Use half. September 28, 2008

Filed under: Fifty-two green — itzforever @ 9:32 pm

Finally, I’m posting my green resolutions from the past two months!  I’m going to post-date them to make them less confusing.  Even though I haven’t posted these, I have been keeping them!

Whenever I use soap, it’s natural for me to use one pump for whatever I’m doing.  It occured to me this week that most of the time, I probably don’t need an entire pump of soap.  So, I’m commited to only using half a pump of soap when I wash my face, hands, or the dishes.  It doesn’t sound like much, but cutting my yearly soap useage in half will make a big difference!


BYO… M? September 22, 2008

Filed under: Fifty-two green,Hanson — itzforever @ 5:43 pm
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It’s officially fall, and that means I’ll be visiting Starbucks a lot more than I do in the summer!  I’m not sure what it is about the slight fall chill that makes me crave coffee.  I drink it more from September to November than I do even during the coldest winter months!  With all of those to-go drinks can easily come a lot of paper and plastic waste.  So this week’s resolution is to bring my own mug whenever I visit a coffee house!  If I forget the mug, then I’ll just have to make do without coffee that day.

I actually went 3 times last week, and thankfully had planned ahead and brought my favorite travel mug each time.  I adore the logo and saying on it (Hanson: highly caffeinated since 1992), but perhaps even more I adore that it was free!  I won it during the spring leg of Hanson’s “The Walk Tour.”  At each show, fan club members were able to get their membership cards scanned and entered in a drawing for free merchandise.  After the opening act, the winner was announced.  In Falls Church, I was that lucky winner!  By that point I’d already purchased everything I really desired, except the mug.  It was $25, and in my opinion that’s way too much!  I’m thrilled to have it, and it reminds me of tour and especially that show every time I use it.

So this fall, not only will I be helping to save the planet, I’ll be reminiscing about a wonderful tour and advertising for my favorite band.  Does life get any sweeter?