Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Free Stampin' Up! Giveaway Promotion

So, I became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator in spring and have just started my first Stampin' Up! promotion, see my creative blog, Labor of Lovely, for more details to win!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Making Update

So baby making has taken quite the back-burner this year, although it's always in the back of my mind. I have some hope left that it's not a closed door, and I still wonder if any of it is 'in my hands' persay.
My cousin came across a contest that peaked my interest, to win a book on some naturopathic things I could try, I posted a little more about that here on my baby-making blog. My interest led me to enter the contest at least, we'll see how far it goes after I've won/lost :) I find it hard to invest too much energy or finances into this for fear it will get my hopes up too much, but if I win the book I think the suggestions will be worth trying to impliment.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My To Do List Update

I've actually added something back on to my list so I've actually got more to do now!
Here is my updated list of accomplishments for my 101 things to do in 1001 days:
Out of 101 to dos - 54 Completed ~ 14 In Progress ~ 19 daily/weekly/etc. items implemented ~ 8 No Can Dos
15 LEFT TO DO! With 245 days to go! (as of last update - 08/17/09)

House & Home

1. Finish curtains for living room on MIL's sewing machine - just bought new ones to stay with house, 2008
2. Buy new curtains for dining room - same as above

3. Find a better shoe shelf, to keep shoes off the floor – built in shoe rack at new house, 2008
4. Replace old light fixtures with same as ones already replaced - done by BIL 2008
5. Buy new couch and love seat, something smaller and cat hair resistant – bought new love seat, recliner and couch, chocolate brown microsuede 2008
6. Buy a new coffee table with drawers and cubby holes to hide junk in – found a storage ottoman, can be a seat, foot stool, or the lid flips into a tray, and there is storage inside 2008
7. Have or share a garage sale - block garage sale May 10/08
8. Continue working on growing grass in back yard - grass grew fully in before we moved 2008

9. Re-do sidewalk to garage - didn't get done at old house, planning for new house, 2010 project10. Add step for garage entrance - didn't get done due to moving
11. Replace bedroom doors with doors with vents - didn't get done due to moving
12. Back up and reformat computer - done , 2008 and with new laptop 2009
13. Have Dutch Elm Diseased trees removed - all removed 2008
14. Childproof the house for babysitting: managed two occasions of babysitting with no incidents, new house and furniture much more kid friendly

15. - door blocking mudroom (with cat door) - didn't get done due to moving
16. - reorganize shelves close to the ground - done
17. Rebuild mudroom, with drywall and linoleum, and possibly more energy efficient furnace & water tank - settling for replacing flooring due to moving, BIL laid down plywood and we laid peel and stick tiles
18. Match siding on house to garage (if we don't move first) - done, been painted to match garage 2007
19. Make a timeline for moving into a bigger house, if not actually move - house sold as of June 25/08 and new house bought as of June 26/08, moved in as of August 16/08

20. Replace locks for the house/fix the front & back screen doors - didn’t end up needing to replace them, just fix them, 2008
21. Replace broken drawers/cupboards in counter - BIL finished fixing 2008

22. Make one BBQ usable - decided we'll buy a new one or a BBQ pit when we build patio and sidewalk at new house
23. Clean off the deck and patio set, and protect from fall/winter weather - done 2007
24. Scan negatives, as well as family members negatives – finally bought scanner to start this but waiting for some free time!
25. Go through clothes and make a pile to give to charity - done 2008
26. Finish going through still packed items for 'keep' and 'garage sale' piles - done 2008

27. Organize craft supplies so I can find what I am looking for – added back to list in new house28. De-clutter shelves in living room, less décor, better storage - done 2008
29. Burn back up DVDs of computer in more organized fashion – backed up on flash drives, 2009

30. Finish on the job training - done
31. Take at least one Golder U course per year - 2- 07/08, 2 - 08/09
32. Re-organize office library - done
33. Organize server room - done
34. Create a birthday list and start birthday celebrations - done
35. Create a better manual for my job responsibilities – finished for new admin hire
36. Aim to use less than 5 days of sick time per year - 07/08 =6.5/5 days, 08/09 = 4/5,
09/10 = 0/5

37. Renew passports - renewed April 2008 for Sean's trip to Vegas and our trip to Nashville
38. Driving vacation through Saskatchawan & Alberta, Edmonton, Calgary,and Rockies – 2010 project
39. Attend a Big & Rich concert – on January 21st, 2008
40. Attend as many Paul Brandt concerts as we can – on November 19th, 2007
41. A long weekend with Sean in a major US city - went to Nashville for more than long weekend, June 2009
42. A long weekend with Sean at a cabin
43. Go to a State or Province we've both never been before – went to Nashville June 2009
44. Go horseback riding with Sean
45. Girls only road trip/shopping trip
46. Collect DVDs of favorite movies and t.v. shows – now have PVR instead
47. Eat at Confusion Corner Grill, on the building top patio
48. Eat at Café Inferno's Bistro – ate there for my birthday in 2008
49. Eat at the Tavern, on the building top patio
50. Have a BBQ in our back yard with at least 2 other people over - 2010 project w/ new BBQ pit

51. Plan an amazing 5 year anniversary date! – had a wonderful 24 hours at the Inn at the Forks March 2008
52. A romantic stay somewhere in the mountains with a hot spring – 2010 project
53. Once a month, not including date night, do something as a couple that will allow us to carry on a long conversation (no t.v./movies/video game), such as; boardgames, walks, car rides, bike rides, etc. – once a month dedicating one weekend to spend time just the two of us
54. Continue dedicating each July to the Honoring Husband Challenge – did my third July of this challenge and it still is continuing to teach me more about being a great wife. 3/3 July's done.
55. Go out for a one-on-one coffee/dinner with at least 6 family members each year – 11/16
56. Organize a day of scrapbooking for the females in the Braun family
57. Have a WOG friends get together - have hung out with 2 old WOG friends seperately, hopefully can with at least one more couple before this is over58. Have an ECC friends get together
59. Go out for a coffee/dinner with at least one friend each month – 17/32
60. Babysit my neices or nephew - babysat Landon once overnight and Brooklynn and Landon together overnight61. Organize a 'paper crafting' club that will meet every other month - became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, possibly might organize a club but working on doing workshops first62. Become a mom (even though this one is a little out of my control) - my cycle was regular for 6 months and now the last two have not been again...not sure what's up

63. Join a cell group/Bible study
64. Copy sermon notes from Church into my notebook - done
65. Make entries in a prayer journal at least once a week, including a weekly list of people to pray for – a sermon on prayer has changed my perspective on this and I am still journaling but without time constraints.

66. Post scripture around me to remind me of important verses to me – working on this
67. Make a song book (just lyrics) of my favorite worship songs – working on this

68. Read the whole Bible – 14/66 books, struggling through Revelation a little, trying to get back on track
69. Find and implement ways to reduce allergies (and therefore snoring) – trying specialists suggestions, some improvement
70. Follow 1200 calories per day meal plan (snacks incl) until I lose 30 lbs - re-adjusted to range of 1100-1700 calories, but trying not to exceed 1450 calories per day. Have lost 27 lbs
71. 30-60 minutes of walking & orbitrek each 3 times a week until I lose 40 lbs - working out 180 min.+ per week
72. 30-60 minute bike ride once a week until I lose 30 lbs - part of above plan
73. After reaching goal weight, maintain weight with 5 hrs weekly exercise and healthy meals - reducing that to 1.5 weekly
74. Drink 8 cups of water a day – been doing really well at this lately, I’ve been averaging 2 litres a day
75. No more than 250 ml of a sugary drink per week (pop, Starbucks, slurpees) – need to get back on track here
76. Start taking vitamins again – daily multi-vitamin, plus Omega 3-6-9 and vitamin C too
77. Get into the WPG Sleep Clinic – 2-5 year waiting list so talked to a specialist (#69) instead.78. Start regular massage therapy – bookings are a regular

Purchases to make
79. My second tattoo – had my consult, can't do my design as small as I wanted it, going to go back to an original design which will be actually 3 smaller tattoos
80. New cell phones and new cell phone plan - done 2007
81. Manicure & pedicure - done 2008 & 2009

82. Get fitted properly for a bra and then purchase some in correct size (not sure if before and/or after #73) - I know my proper size now but will have to get this re-measured after weightloss.
83. At least 2 new casual-dressy tops for each season - did a mini-shopping trip because all clothes way too big
84. At least 2 new casual-dressy bottoms for each season - did a mini-shopping trip because all clothes way too big

85. Buy a new two piece swimsuit - got a new suit because the other one was falling off me, couldn't go swimming like that
86. Cheap/small digital camera for events I can't bring the big camera too - finally bought it 50% off!
87. New video camera - using one on second camera, does decent videos for now

88. Upgrade computer to be able to upload and edit videos - bought a laptop, haven't put on video editing software yet though89. Stampin Spot ink pads from Stampin Up! – done thanks to my turn to host
90. At least 10 stamp sets from Stampin Up! - thanks to it being my turn to host, I now have more than 10

Hobbies/Crafts91. Finish wedding album by our 5th year anniversary – 7/19 pages, didn't finish on time but still trucking!
92. Make a scrapbook for Brooklynn & Avery's first years - journaling my memories of them currently
93. Finish the Braun Family Wedding Album I started – working on this

94. Finish one digital design kit/month – 3.5/32 - decided to quit making these
95. Make at least 100 cards for at least 10 different occasions, to have ready on hand for each year's events – created 58/100
96. Take different photos to test out camera capabilities in different modes – working on this
97. Read about one book/month – read 16/32
98. Finish the poems I have started but left incomplete – done
99. Make at least two journal entries per week, on blog or on paper - 265/284
100. Finish the memories book mom asked me to make her – turned this into a blog, which is much easier and adds to my journal entries each week!101. On day 1001 post a new 101/1001 list

102. Have the house reinsulated - didn't get done due to moving
103. Buy plastic garbage bin to alleviate cat in garbage worries – bought one for the new house 2008
104. Try ethnic foods I haven’t tried before; Japanese, Caribbean, French – tried all three, Japanese at Shogun, French at Inferno's Bistro, and Caribbean at the Forks.
105. Make guest room into craft room also – done at old house, new house has both craft and guest room
106. Get a computer armoire to hide computer in dining room - done
107. Buy new Tupperware, especially collapsible kind to save room in kitchen cupboards - done
108. Buy kitchen organizing tools (racks, dividers, etc.) - done
109. Buy a smaller oven - didn't get done due to moving
110. Buy a portable island cupboard to replace microwave cart (for more counter space) - didn't get done due to moving

Monday, August 17, 2009

Musical Mondays - Here By The Water

Here By The Water (click this link to listen to)
Soft field of clover
Moon shining over the valley
Joining the song of the river
To the great giver of the great good
As it enfolds me
Somehow it holds me together
And I realize I've been singing
Still it comes ringing
Clearer than clear

And here by the water
I'll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I've found here
I'll set them down here
Rough as they are
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy

I think how a yearning
Has kept on returning to move me
Down roads I'd never have chosen
Half the time frozen
Too numb to feel
I know it was stormy
I hope it was for me learning
Blood on the road wasn't mine though
Someone that I know
Has walked here before

And here by the water
I'll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I've found here - what stones have I been given to create my alter?
I'll set them down here - will I lay them down when and where He asks me to?
Rough as they are - will I let myself give even my rough stones?
Knowing You can make them holy - I need to know God can make whatever I bring holy
Knowing You can make them holy - I need to realize by knowing God I'm becoming more holy
Knowing You can make them holy

~Steve Bell

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prayer Podium

Answers to Prayer!
~ Thank you for my sister and BIL who have found a youth ministry position in Altona, and were just given the job on Monday! And thanks that it's only 1.5 hrs away :)
~ Thank you that some family I was praying for is now attending Church again
~ Thank you for a friend I was praying for who has recently stopped pursuing things in addition to God, and for helping their spouse handle them lovingly
~Thanks for my very loving, committed, protective and forgiving husband, and for making this week not so bad so far (see below :)

Continue Praying For
~For hubby who is dealing with some potentially difficult transitions at work this week, especially with him being the boss who has to impliment the changes
~For my family and friends (and friends of friends) who think they need more than God, for those who think they don't need God at all, and for those that think they can live with the small amount of God they have
~For help in finding a new home Church in Winnipeg that will allow us to share God with the people in our life better
~For continued help to make my thoughts obedient to Christ, and receive His peace, guarding my heart and mind, and thankfulness for healing me and showing me His truth
~For help being the wife God asks me to be, who saves the best of herself for her husband
~For trust in my purpose, and the boldness and courage to fulfill it
~For the many women who are struggling with fertility (including myself), and for our continued patience, and willingness to let God be in control
~For my sister and BIL, for patience and success in their adoption from Ethiopia

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vision improved by Sunlight

So, it’s time for the optometrist appointment. You know your eye sight has been getting worse and you don’t see things the way you used to, but you weren’t prepared for how bad the optometrist tells you your vision has become, apparently a lot of damage has happened in the last while. The explanation, lack of exposure to the sun. It creates blurry and distorted vision, and not being able to see things accurately has created a lot of unnecessary headaches and frustration. And it can get worse, the blurriness will eventually become darkness and you can become completely blind. After being told the amount of time you would need to spend in the light of the sun you protest, you claim you don’t have the time to be lounging out in the sun that much, you have too much to do at home and at the office, life just doesn’t allow for that kind of waste of time. The doctor explains that fixing it is more than a matter of just giving you a prescription, it wouldn’t get to the root of the problem and therefore your vision would still end up getting worse in the long run. What about reading exercises, strengthen your eyes that way, would that work you inquire? The doctor shakes their head, knowing you are grasping at straws, after all many patients attempt the same avoidance. Reading alone won’t solve anything, only direct absorption of the sun’s light will fix your vision.
Of course it’s up to you, you are told, it is all about choosing quality of life. You can live with the pain, the frustration, and the never being sure if you are seeing things the way they truly are, etc., or you can make the effort to get healed. In fact, your vision can get even better than 20/20 if you spend enough time in the sun, if you expose yourself long enough to absorb its healing properties. There will be an adjustment period, you will probably not be able to dedicate yourself to a lot of exposure right away, but the doctor encourages you to start in small doses, and when your vision starts getting better you will want to spend more time in the sun light. It’s a lot like drinking the required amount of water per day, it’s hard at first but once you are used to it, you can actually crave it when you don’t get as much as you are used to. You are sceptical but it seems it is your only option if you want to avoid becoming blind, and the only thing you can do is try. If it doesn’t work you are no worse off then you were before. You’ve never heard of this before and you wonder why now?! But if this works it would seem you were quite fortunate to have this particular optometrist, who will have spared you a lifetime of more pain.
There is an epidemic of blindness in our world and it seems to be getting worse. People who can’t see things the way they really are; they look at the world through jaded lenses, their perception of their interactions with other people are distorted, and it’s causing them additional and unnecessary headaches and frustrations. And the blindness doesn’t allow them to see the only thing wrong is their point of view.
We seem to be short on really good optometrists as well though. If only there were more of them telling us an easy answer. Well I'm tell in you now it is just that easy. Exposure to light is the answer! Exposure to the light of the world, the Son of God. The more you absorb Son light the more you are healed and can begin to see more clearly. You can see where your self-absorbed thoughts have led you down the wrong paths, and you can see when other people are steering you and themselves wrong. Having an accurate perception of the world and other people eliminates a lot of the barriers between you and others, eliminating a lot of friction and misunderstandings. But even when those things happen you have a lot more empathy for others because you can see they are suffering from the same blindness you once had.
And the Son is not only the sole source of complete healing, but the light He shines on you promises more than just seeing the world truthfully, it’s like putting on a pair of rose-colored glasses. It’s not an illusion or delusion, it’s a filter He’s placed in your perception, allowing you to see every little blessing in your life magnified. A lot of people will see a lump of coal, you will see a shining diamond. People will see an icky catapillar, you will see a beautiful butterfly. No matter the circumstances, you can expose it to His light and see the blessings instead of the curse perceived by those who are blind.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Gift

I'm going to transport you to your wedding day.
The day you commit to sharing your life with the most amazing man you could ever have imagined.
Like any other bride you want the day you unite with your partner to be perfect, this is a celebration of your love and commitment after all! You are excited about all the little details, the dress, the flowers, the party, and of course the marriage you will be celebrating! And what is a celebration without a gift? Well, there will be many gifts of course, but you have in mind a very special gift you will be creating for your husband-to-be.
For the sake of commonality let’s say this gift you have for your groom is the wedding cake, because generally speaking guys like to eat and girls like to bake (I stereotyped men and women equally, have to be fair ; ) For months now you have been planning the perfect cake for your husband, the perfect recipe, the perfect flavour, the perfect size, the perfect icing, etc. You’ve researched just exactly everything you can to make this THE best cake ever, then you put a lot of hard work, time and effort, to create this masterpiece of a cake.

Once the cake was ready, just a few days before the wedding, the anticipation of giving your cake to your groom began eating you up inside. You began to question, did I pick a flavour he’ll like? Did you follow the recipe exactly, did it turn out all right? Did you decorate it beautifully enough? Did you over-decorate it? You began to doubt your cake making abilities and worry it will not meet his expectations. If only there was a way of knowing if he would like it or not before the grand presentation of this gift.
Finally you just HAVE to know and so you find someone willing to taste test your cake, figuring you can patch up the spot from the missing piece. The taste is to their liking much to your relief. But that relief doesn’t last long, that’s just one person’s opinion, what if it’s a fluke that they happened to like it. So you find another person to taste test the cake. Again, the cake receives a positive review. Then a few other people heard there was some cake taste testing going on so they ask for a little nibble, and you figure, what’s the harm, the more opinions the better because if someone does find something wrong then you can fix it before your groom tastes it.
Next thing you know your cake is looking like a newly paved sidewalk, with the finger prints of every passerby engraved in it. With deep regret you look at the mess of a cake you have before you and wonder whatever were you thinking allowing anyone else to touch it before it was given to your love. Even if you did patch it up so that he didn’t know, you would know, and just about any spot your groom would pick to slice his first piece of cake, you would remember the person who had been their first.

Every woman has the perfect wedding gift for her husband-to-be, but it’s ours to take care of from the time we are born. Our body is that gift. And if we let it get sampled before the wedding day, there is no ‘patching it up’ to make it untouched again. It’s more like finger prints in wet cement, those markings are permanent, and they can never be erased. Can you imagine if every time we allowed our body to be touched sexually that it would leave a permanent mark, like a tattoo? How hard do you think it would be to look in the mirror if your body was marked by the name of every man who touched you? How hard do you think it would be for your husband to look at you and see a visible reminder of the fact another man touched you? Luckily God is more lenient on us than that, and we don’t have to live with such a constant visible reminder of that, but He can see all those invisible marks. And you will know they are there. Or you can avoid having them all together. It’s your choice which cake you present to your groom.

Unfortunately, I made the wrong choice, and I gave my husband the latter cake. Sometimes you think you are allowing your future groom to taste test the cake but life isn’t predictable enough to make that presumption, that man may never become your husband. I can only thank God for not letting the ‘marks’ left on me destroy me or my marriage, because without Him I think they would have. Just like tattoo removal is painful, trying to eliminate the effects of these 'marks' was too, but working with God has allowed these marks to fade, so that my husband and I can see me as the beautiful gift I was meant to be.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I kicked butt!

This July was the most successful HH challenge yet! I had a total of 56 individual things I did for my deserving hubby, ranging from playing video games with him more, choosing his type of movies, making MANY bacon dishes (both meals and desserts, yes, desserts! which led to bragging about me at work :), surprising him with homemade saurkraut bacon perogies, making a lot of his favorite meals (which were actually easy on me, like pizza, chicken nuggets, chicken balls, etc.), watching his choice of t.v. shows without complaint (even showing interest occasionally ;), encouraged guys nights out and drove so he could have beer, got a new 'hubby rocks' shirt and wore both of mine a couple of times a week, sent 'thankful' emails to him on the weekend so he'd get them on Monday mornings, saved him from having to accompany me on errands he doesn't like, helped with his 'chores', got him little gifts of food he likes, etc. And of course, on top of that I was doing my best to be the kind of wife God wants me to be; being encouraging, being someone who listens, being his complimentary partner in everything in everyway, praying for him a lot, reading my Bible more-studying what God wants a wife/woman to be, becoming a healthy woman free of past baggage, etc. I started the Love Dare book but I was repeating stuff I had just done voluntarily for my own HH challenge, so I'm going to start again with the book in September (when the initiating of appreciating him will most likely be slowing).
Signs this was a big success, well, I'm pretty sure I made him feel more manly, as all of a sudden he's working out in our gym more and making sure I'm noticing the results, lol. Also, intimacy has very noticeably changed for the better :) and I'll leave that at that. Hubby has seemed to bring less of his work stress home, so in our free time he's more carefree, more energetic, and just seems more content and confident in our relationship and life in general.
This has been one of the best months of our lives, maybe THE best. It amazes me how each year I can still be surprised at the wonderful outcome from this challenge. But I'm glad that each year it is proved to me more and more how investing in my marriage pays HUGE dividends and continually makes it easier for me to carry on my intentional investments throughout the year. And with my birthday right at the end of July, knowing how happy I've made my husband is the best birthday gift I could ever get!
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