The Random Writings of Rachel: February 2013

Why Did I get Married?

Chances are, you've heard of girls making lists of the characteristics that they would like their future husband to have. But have you heard of the concept of making a list of the reasons why you think you should marry a certain guy who you already know?

I have. When Angel and I first started courting, I made a list of all the reasons why I thought it would be a good idea to marry him. I only have vague memories of that time...but I think I also may have started a list of all the reasons why I shouldn't marry him--that list no longer survives.

I'm glad I made this list of "Whys?" because I enjoy reading through it on the days when I truly wonder why I did decide to marry Angel. Not in a regretful way, for sure, but rather in a "How in the world did I, at the age of 18, decide that I wanted to grow up and be a wife and get married and spend the rest of my life with this guy?" Sometimes our whole love story seems a little farfetched to me. Unbelieveable. And this list reminds me why it happened.

So I thought I'd share the list with you today, in all of its unedited glory.  I have to admit, to read it today makes me a bit embarrassed. Some reasons are shallow, some aren't so shallow. Many are purely practical, and at least one clearly demonstrates my lack of knowledge of the Spanish language in the pre-Angel era.


Why? [Written March-April 2010]

  • Because he is crazy about God and the Bible, and always very interested to learn more.
  • Because English is his second language.
  • He is generous. To his family as well as to strangers.
  • He loves Auntie Lilian.
  • I like his eyelashes and his teeth. Very much.
  • Nursing is a good and practical job, and it's always interesting (although sometimes disgusting) when he tells me stories about it.
  • He is absolutely not okay with divorce.
  • He is taller than me.
  • As far as I can tell, he's a pretty smart guy.
  •  He doesn't complain when I talk about my family for long periods of time.
  • I really like his first name, even if I can't pronounce his last name.
  • He does well in positions of leadership.
  • He likes to wear nice clothes, and notices nice clothes.
  • He does not say sweet things often, but when he does, it's special. (i.e. "I just wanted to say, I think you're pretty with or without your glasses.")
  • Because he has an interesting sense of humor.
  • Because he really likes The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
  • He works well with people
  • He loves his family.
  • He is aware that Calvin is not the greatest college in the world.
  • He is sympathetic when I feel cold, even though he never feels cold when I do.
  • Of course, he's attractive.
  • Because he knows how to fix cars.
  • Because he asked me to go witnessing with the guys on Saturday nights.
  • Because he beat me at dominoes and monopoly.
  • He can play the guitar.
  • He likes Rich Mullins.
  • He paid attention and could recognize the members of my family by name before he met them.
  • He's 7 years older than me.
  • He doesn't like to be messy.
  • He can pick me up.
  • Does Hard Things.
  • He doesn't like The Message version.
  • He reminds me of Mom. 
Oh yeah, that's why.

What would convince you to get married?

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WBBE: My New Haircut!




So, I was fairly angry at my hair on Saturday, and I did what any logical woman would do, I got it all chopped off. The guy used a razor to cut my hair and I'm not sure why, because I've been taught not to use a razor on naturally curly hair, but I've noticed no disastrous effects, so everything might turn out okay. There's really not much more to say about a haircut, so I'd like to talk about the mall instead.

I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that the mall is pretty much my favorite place in the whole world. Not one mall in particular, but malls in general. I have loved malls for years. In high school, I wrote a poem about my most-frequented mall at the time--that was a 7-floor mall which I knew so thoroughly that I could direct anyone to the exact location of any store or restaurant in the mall. I was that good.

Last summer, I convinced Angel that taking a road trip to Minnesota was a good idea, mainly because it has been my dream to visit the Mall of America since I was a little kid and heard that the Mall of America existed. It was just as amazing as I expected it to be.

I frequent our area malls on a regular basis, too. It's not that I'm a shopping fiend of any kind. I'm actually not an impulse buyer at all. To me, the mall is just a happy place to be. I love seeing all the people, eavesdropping on tidbits of conversations, staring in at the window displays of the fine jewelry stores, and giving Angel my honest opinions of the clothes I see that do not meet my high standards of fashionable ingenuity. Occasionally I will fall in love with a pair of polka-dot sneakers or a sparkly sweater, but I can easily go to the mall without spending anything. 
 
Do you have a happy place where you go just for fun? Is it a more reasonable one, like, say, a park? I like those, too.
 
 
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Dear Anonymous...

Just to clarify, this is not the same 'Anonymous' that many bloggers write to, the Anonymous who writes spam comments in extremely enthusiastic and grammatically incorrect English. Nor is it the 'Anonymous' who doesn't have a kind word to say in his comments on blog posts.


I've come across both of those before, but this is something completely different. This 'Anonymous' goes by the name of Sput C. Lure III and muffin.

What the heck?
 
 
 During my sophomore year of college (09-10), I received this inexplicable note in the mail. It actually came through the U.S. postal service. At least, it had my address and a stamp on the envelope, and was found in the mailbox, so I've always assumed it came through them. I had no idea what it meant at the time, and I have no idea now.
The note claimed that it had a purpose, though, and strangely, I believed it. Obviously, since I've kept it all these years. I've always suspected my uncles, or other prankster relatives, but as of this date, no one has admitted to the crime. My Malaysian family and friends are off the hook, because the envelope bore an American stamp. Unless of course they came up with an elaborate plan that involved an American co-conspirator. Who knows, really?

This note has lain among my files for several years, but I think it's time to reopen the case. If you sent it, confess, and tell me what the purpose of the note was. Did you want to gain fame and fortune by being featured on my blog? 

And before any of you suggest it, let me just say that I'm fairly certain it wasn't from Angel. I don't think we were in contact at the time I received the note. Of course, I can never be quite sure with that guy.

............................................

And if you didn't notice the Shabby Apple Giveaway yesterday, you should go notice it now.
 
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Shabby Apple Giveaway!!

It's no secret that I'm very fond of dresses in general, and Shabby Apple dresses in particular. And I put my money where my mouth is.

Shabby Apple doesn't currently sell this dress as far as I am aware, but it was part of their Manhattan collection.

 The French Quarter dress

 The V. P. dress

 And my most recent acquisition, the Santa Monica dress.

Now, it may look like I'm being a bit greedy and am just trying to accumulate all the dresses for myself. But I assure you that this is not the case: As a thank-you to you all for reading my blog, whether you've shopped the Shabby Apple website before or not, now's your chance to win a $50 giftcard to buy a dress or accessory that fits your own style (your favorites might not be my favorites, ya know.)

Here's how to enter: In order to qualify, you must have liked Shabby Apple on Facebook, and you must be a GFC follower on my blog. You must also have a U.S. shipping address.

We're keeping things simple here, today. Just one entry: Visit the Shabby Apple website and comment on this blog post, telling me what your favorite item is!

Remember, you must have liked Shabby Apple on FB and followed me via GFC in order for your comment to count as an entry. Entries will be accepted until midnight on Sunday, and the winner will be chosen using Random.org, and announced in next Monday's blog post. That's all folks! Have at it!
 
 
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Fire

Earlier this week, Angel and I braved the cold and had a little bonfire in our backyard while we spontaneously went sledding down the hills. I think it was the first time I've actually stayed outside for more than 5 minutes in weeks, and it was a blast.

My face also got kind of frozen during our sledding adventure, so warming up by the fire after a ride down the hill was very important. I watched the flames as the sun sank and the sky became completely dark, and I reflected on how much fire has always been a part of my life.

From the moment perhaps 15 years ago when my Mom assigned me to help her carry pieces of our broken dining room table and the 12 chairs that went with it out to the burn pile, I've known fire as a useful tool, a dangerous weapon, and an integral part of nearly any celebration.

(My Mom was hoping to get rid of all traces of our dining room table before Dad got home from work so that he couldn't fix it again. It worked.)

When my dad and uncles found reason to chop up a tree, or when a storm took heavy branches to the ground, they were always saved up in large brush piles to be lit at the next social gathering.

 This was at my college graduation party.

In high school, my siblings and I ceremoniously burned old tests and notebooks full of notes as the official end to every school year. And then we roasted hot dogs over the ashes.

Squatting barefoot on the shore of the Indian Ocean, gleefully cooking hot dogs over sticks and burned-up schoolbooks. Have I ever mentioned how much I loved my childhood?

Angel and I have found that a having a little bonfire in the backyard is a nice alternative to investing in a paper shredder for documents that you don't want to see the light of day again. We have a couple of hobo pie makers, too, so we can accomplish two chores at once by cooking pizza sandwiches for dinner at the same time as getting rid of paperwork.

 This was the time we burned all of my school papers after my Junior year of college. There is a hilarious video accompanying it recording the fact that I can't light a match successfully.

Last December, fire (and the fire department) came in handy when it was time to burn the remnants of a century-old barn that once stood on my parent's property. Now that was a blaze.

 
 
Believe it or not, Angel is the more careful one out of the two of us when it comes to fire. This may possibly be related to his career as a nurse working with burns. So don't worry about my enjoyment of a bonfire every once in a while. Angel's always around to keep a hose nearby and make sure that we burn things safely. Fire is one of those things that you can enjoy only from a safe distance. But man, does it come in handy when you have an ugly couch to get rid of. 

# of couches my family burned in my growing up years: approx. 4

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I'm the Kind of Rachel who....

For a long time, the line I had that went along with my profile picture on the right side of my blog was "I'm Rachel, and that explains everything." I still think that explains everything, but it has come to my attention that there are a variety of Rachels in this world, so I thought it behooved me to clarify which type of Rachel I am, specifically. 

 

 I'm the kind of Rachel who....

Does not like winter. One bit. I can't even pretend to like it for politeness' sake

Uses words like "behoove," "echewed," or "incumbent" in blog posts. Sorry, I can't help myself.

Gets extremely excited about the little happy things of life. Like Gilligan's Island or Riesens or nail polish or sparkly things or a pink and purple sunrise or my favorite song playing on the radio.

Does not have a reputation for adjusting well to change.

Does not crave chocolate, but craves a lot of unpronounceable things: Char Koay Teow, Muar Chee, Roti Canai, Murtabak, etc.

Is easily startled by spiders and/or my husband attempting to startle me.

Rarely, if ever, wears heels.

Kisses my my husband at red lights.

Is always up for a good game of hide and seek in the dark. Or a waterfight, either one. Or combined.

Loves painting my nails but hates using nail polish remover. I assume you can guess the usual state of my nails.

Uses my poor vision as a good reason not to be overly worried about housecleaning. If I can't see any dirt, there must not be any dirt.

Dreams of the lifestyle of an eccentric author

Has been known to give standing ovations in the movie theater.

Has a little too much fun getting dressed every day.

Doesn't swear. Or drink. Or smoke. (One of those people....)

But is still fun to hang out with.

Is not afraid of the camera.

Got both a B.A. and an MRS. before the age of 21, and is proud of it.

Is an annoyingly picky eater. Nuts? Seafood? Asparagus? Bell Peppers? Lasagna? No.
............................................................................

In other news, there were 100 total entries into the 500 follower giveaway via comments, and 12 was the number that Random.org chose, therefore, the winner of ad space and a $50 Target gift card is Sharon from The Tiny Heart! Thank you all for reading and commenting, and keep doing it, because I'll let you in on a little secret...there will be another giveaway around here very shortly....

Also, this post is most definitely a variation upon Holly's idea from Running in Stiletto's


WBBE: I Actually Can Do Hair

Just in case this whole "Worst Beauty Blogger Ever" thing makes you think I can't do hair...
I can.
 
 My first time doing cornrows.

 The longest/most hair I've ever curled, for a client who was going to a high school dance.


Bored at school so I invent random updos on mannikins.
 
 I give him all of his haircuts. And they always turn out exactly the same, which is what we're going for.
And to top it all off, there's this masterpiece of a monstrosity of a "helicopter" perm wrap that I did yesterday. You're welcome.
 
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My Stalker Story

I think many of us girls out there have some kind of stalker story in our past. I know Michelle does. And I do too. Mine was definitely more of a happy, enthusiastic, random stalker than a scary stalker, so that's always a good thing.

The homework table where it all went down. And look--a sandwich, apple, iced tea, cheez-its, and a nokia phone. I was so one of the cool college kids.

Here's the story: When I was in college, I made the money that I lived off of in a number of random ways. One of the ways I made enough money to keep the gas tank full was by regularly submitting articles to Devozine (a devotional magazine aimed at teenagers). And one day, I was sitting innocently at my usual table where I did homework every day, and a guy walked up to my table.

"I'm sorry, but I just have to ask you something," he said, "Are you Rachel (maiden name) who writes for Devozine?"

Looking at him suspiciously, I slowly nodded my head in the affirmative.

He became very excited and reached out to shake my hand, "Wow! This is an honor to meet you! My family reads Devozine together after dinner every day, and we love it when one of your articles shows up!"

He excused himself to go to his next class, and I was left at my study table wondering "How?" My picture never appeared in Devozine. My full name did appear as the byline with my devotionals, but I didn't talk about the town where I lived or the college I attended. At that time, articles by me appeared 2 or 3 times per issue, but there were dozens of other writers in each issue as well, and I have no idea how you would pay attention to or even remember all of the authors' names. I was a freshman, and had no friends close enough at the college that I had told them that I wrote for Devozine frequently. In all honesty, I had no idea then and I have no idea now how he made the connection between a little brunette studying in a corner of the commuters' lounge and the Rachel of Devozine magazine. It was odd.

I never learned the stalker's name. I never really wanted to know. Throughout the rest of my years at college, I would pass by him occasionally in the hallways of the buildings on campus, and he would always wave and shout, "Hello, Rachel!" and would tell me something specific he'd liked about the last article I wrote for Devozine.

Some time later, I believe it was my sophomore year, during finals week, I was sitting in an empty classrooom where I was due to take a final in half an hour, doing a little extra review over my notes. The stalker walked past the glass door, saw me inside, and came running inside the classroom.

"Rachel!" he said, "Here are some people I want to to meet. This is my dad, and this is my younger brother. They really enjoy they way you write, too!"

His dad and brother shook my hand and looked pleasant, although not as enthusiastic as he did. After the introduction, they walked out of the room, and I tried to focus on everything I had to remember about East Asian Philosophy.

Writing is my dream job, and it always was a dream of mine to get recognized by a stranger for my work, but I never thought such recognition would come in college from a guy who never told me his name, but who was, to all appearances, one of Devozine's most faithful readers.

Do you have a stalker story?

What does Marriage Have to do with Getting Dressed?


 
Angel likes it when I wear white.
I like it when I wear fuchsia, blue, purple, turquoise, red, or black.
Angel likes it when I wear a dress with no tights.
I like to wear tights with crazy colors and patterns.
Angel thinks that floor length skirts are not pretty.
I feel like a Victorian lady when I wear floor length skirts.
 
Typically, I dress however I want to. I'm not much of a rule-follower and I'm not terribly fashion conscious. I'll never, never tell someone that they shouldn't wear something just because it's not in style or the color isn't a trendy one. I always say, if you like it, wear it.

But at the same time, there are guidelines set around what I wear. When I lived with my parents, the general standard for how all of us girls were allowed to dress was no skirts or shorts that showed our knees, no sleeveless shirts, and no bikinis. I have no problem with those guidelines at all. The way I express my personal style has always been much more through bright colors and pairing unexpected articles of  clothing together than through showing skin. I used to regularly wear jeans or floor-length skirts in 90 degree weather and think nothing of it.

Then, I got married. After marriage, my parents don't get a say in determining what I wear, rather, my husband does. Shortly before our wedding, Angel told me that he would appreciate it if I would dress a little more "sexy" when we were married. Now here's the problem, I've never really been known as a "sexy" dresser. A sparkly one? Yes. A colorful one? Yes. Similar to a five-year-old who just puts on all the clothes she loves the most and calls it good? Yes. Sexy? No. Since our first acquaintance, apparently, the outfits that I so enjoy wearing have been making Angel roll his eyes at my weirdness. However, since he is my husband now, I have tried to listen to his request and incorporate some articles of clothing that HE likes into my wardrobe, such as skirts that hit above my knee, white blouses, and a pair or two of shorts. When it's warmer outside, I'll wear dresses without my beloved tights, because Angel prefers a normal-legged wife to a blue, pink, purple, or polka-dot-legged wife. During the winter, however, Angel's kind of out of luck.

In all honesty, there's really not a whole lot we wholeheartedly agree on when it comes to my clothing, except shoes (we both appreciate pretty shoes).  But when I tried on this Shabby Apple dress as soon as it arrived in the mail, the first thing Angel said was: "This is my favorite dress out of all of your dresses!"

This dress was almost a shoe-in for Angel's approval, because it's white. But I'm not going to lie, I think it's the fitted cut of the dress that he likes most. I tend to gravitate toward dresses with a flared skirt, but I'm glad I picked this one out with the $50 giftcard that I won on Rachel Sayumi's blog (see, entering blog giveaways can pay off!). I'm sure Angel would have liked it better without the turquoise tights, but it was below freezing. I try to keep my husband's tastes in mind when I get dressed, however, the outfits he likes are much more appropriate during the summer!

Do your husband's preferences influence the way you dress?

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5 Ways to Acquire Textbooks

 I was spoiled rotten in that I received many generous scholarships while I was in college--if it weren't for the scholarships I received, I may not have even gone to college, and I most definitely would not have attended the private college that I did graduate from.

 I hated. Hated. The cap and gown I had to wear for graduation. I tried to talk the students I was sitting with into boycotting the cultural norm and not wearing the silly square hats that would crush our hair, but they were all pretty sure that we would get in trouble if we tried being different during the graduation ceremony.

One thing all college students have to deal with is paying for textbooks. This annoyed some of my classmates more than it annoyed me,  because I actually read the textbooks and didn't consider them a waste of time. I did, however, consider them expensive. So I thought I'd talk about a few different ways one can handle the problem of textbooks in college:

1. Don't buy the required textbooks, and either sponge notes off of your classmates or simply guess when it comes to tests and assignments. This may earn you a passing grade in a certain easy courses, but I don't really recommend this strategy.

2. Find the textbooks in your college's library, and in order to prevent other people from checking them out during the semester,hide them behind bookshelves so that no one else but you can find them, and do all of your studying within the library doors (believe it or not, this is how Angel graduated from college while buying as few textbooks as possible. I still don't think that this is a highly ethical plan.)

3. Buy textbooks from your on-campus bookstore. This is what I did during my four years. Campus bookstores can often be more expensive, but if I bought books through the school, I could apply my scholarship money toward them instead of having to pay out of pocket, so it worked for me.

4. Buy textbooks online. Online, you can usually find books that are much cheaper than the books in the campus bookstore, but you have to be careful. I've heard all too many horror stories of purchasing the wrong textbook edition, or purchasing a textbook that takes so long to ship that the first test of the class is over before the book even arrives. Make sure you do your research well and plan ahead if you choose this strategy.

5. Rent your textbooks. In reality, you aren't ever going to need any of the books that aren't directly related to your major again after you're out of school. I kept my Chinese books, and Angel kept his nursing books, but we don't have any other books from the myriads of other courses we took. My college instituted an on-campus renting program through the bookstore during my senior year there, and I was able to take advantage of that. Today, anyone can rent textbooks from Campus Book Rentals--the prices are much cheaper than buying new books, plus you get free shipping both ways!
 
After doing some searching around their site, it was obvious to me that Campus Book Rentals offers quite a wide selection of textbooks. They even offer one of the Chinese textbooks I used as well as a book that two of my professors wrote while I was still in school--I did not expect to see that there! If you're in college, and the other options for acquiring the textbooks you need just aren't working for you, try renting for a semester! You just might like it. If you already own textbooks that you're not using, their RentBack program might be a great way for you to earn extra money off of those books by renting your old textbooks to other students.

Did you rent textbooks while you were in college? Did you keep any or all of your college textbooks, and if so, have you ever used them in post-grad life?

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of CampusBookRentals.com. All opinions are mine.
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A Husband's Perspective on Blogging

 Angel came up with a brilliant blog post idea the other day. I laughed hysterically while reading what he wrote, and I hope you do, too. Here is Angel's post, with my additions and Englishifications thrown in. I think you'll be able to tell that it's still mostly him, though.


You begin to notice more time for yourself.

You are asked, "Give me ideas for my next blog entry" and you respond with "Sex" and she says, "No, out of the question."

You know that if she is dressed especially pretty, you will inevitably be taking outfit pictures of her at some point during the day

 Where are my boots???


You have learned, through a long process, that said outfit pictures must include the blogger's feet. Pictures without feet are invariably rejected. Apparently, outfits include shoes.

You know that if your wife says, "No one commented on my post today," the appropriate response is to give her a hug, and probably afterwards go and share her post on your Facebook page.

She talks about friends you've never met with names like Carolynn wrote this and Angi said that and her open web page says something about Sippy Cups.

You don't know what the difference is between blogging friends and Halo, Call of Duty, and Modern Warfare Xbox 360 Live friends, but your wife insists that a difference does exist.

The word follower/s is not associated with a cult.



You know that any and every picture of you that your spouse happens to have on her computer can and probably will be used in a blog post at some point in her blogging career.

You know that if you say something ridiculous, it will most likely end up on a blog for all the world to see. You may even say ridiculous things for that very purpose.


You occasionally receive emails from your wife, saying, "Baby, please answer the list of questions below and send it back to me ASAP. I need to write a post for Friday."

You've ever asked "Why have we been getting so many packages in the mail lately?" and your wife's believeable response is, "I've won a few blogging giveaways, isn't that great?"

For Valentine's, birthday, Christmas, or Chinese New Year, you've purchased a blogging-related gift for your wife.

........................................................................

I love that guy. Anyways, remember, there's a giveaway going on here, so every time you follow and comment, you have another chance to win! (Guidelines for commenting are found in the giveaway post)

 
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500 Follower Giveaway!!!

This lovely Valentine's Day, I woke up to a big bag of Sweet Tart Hearts, basically the best Valentine's candy in the whole world. They say little love messages, but they taste a whole lot better than the traditional candy heart.
 
 I'm continuing my most sacred Valentine's Day tradition by wearing this outfit today.

I also woke up to 500 followers. Funny story, I was shocked to find that my 500th follower was Ech, who I've known in the blogging world since before she was even blogging on her current blog. So she just decided to follow me via GFC to get me to that milestone! Thanks, girl!

As promised, I have a giveaway for you! How does a $50 Target giftcard sound, and I'll throw in a 200x300 ad space on my blog, too. The trick is, I'm going to handle this giveaway a little differently than your typical Rafflecopter.

Enter to win the gift card and ad space by commenting on this post, my previous post about Our Song, and any post on this blog from now through next Wednesday, the 20th. Each blog post comment earns you one entry, so if you want more chances to win, comment on every post I publish from this morning till then!

Not-so-fine print (I want you to be able to read it!):
To win, you must be a GFC follower of this blog. Only one comment per person allowed per post, and all comments must be the good kind, ya know, the kind of comment that you leave when you actually read the post. My goal here is to encourage actual blogging interaction, so have at it!

Also, in case it is too challenging for you to leave an interesting comment on a giveaway post, I will leave you with a question that Angel has been dying to ask all of you. Here's another of his icebreaker questions that I have, until this moment, prevented him from asking on the blog: Where did your first kiss occur? Not who or how or when, just where? He asks this of everyone, so now it's your turn. Angel's answer is "The Laundromat." I claim the fifth.

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Our Song

We have a song. I know, I know, it sounds like a bizarrely romantic thing for a couple like Angel and I to have.

Oh well.


Let me explain. There are several songs which might lay some claim to being our song. Among these competitors are "A Woman Like You" by Lee Brice, purely because that's my favorite love song of all time.

Another competitor is "If You Could See What I See" by Geoff Moore, because that is the song my uncle sang as a solo at our wedding. (Back Story: I didn't know that was the song he was going to sing until the day of the wedding. It was originally supposed to be "When God Made You" by Newsong and Natalie Grant, but technological difficulties changed plans)

So I guess "When God Made You" could also be considered a competitor for 'our song,' since it carries the title of "song that was almost sung at our wedding."

"Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer could possibly be in the running, too, based on the fact that Angel suggested it to be included somewhere in our wedding--but upon listening to that song for the first time, I was far too scandalized by all the kissing talk, and immediately vetoed his choice.

But none of these lovey-dovey songs quite deserve the title of Our Song--that is reserved for "If I Stand" by Rich Mullins.

When I was 17 and he was 24, and I wasn't allowed to date and Angel was dating somebody else, he occasionally gave me  rides when I didn't have a car available. Or when I didn't have a driver's license. "If I Stand" was often playing in his car, and we'd have conversations about Rich Mullins and his other songs (i.e. the somewhat confusing "Jacob and 2 Women") or random topics such as theology and Fernando Ortega and other completely platonic subjects. Ever since, there's been no question in either of our minds when it comes to which song is ours. "If I Stand" was playing when our story began.


*Lest you begin to think I am waxing too romantic this Valentine's Day, I would like to announce that this day is the approximate anniversary of the day about 5 years ago when I gave my little sister a secret admirer letter that was so well put together that she actually believed it was real for about half a minute. I did it at church, too. And I am immensely proud of this achievement.
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WBBE: Hairstyling Tips

I don't blow dry, straighten, or curl my hair daily. Daily? Not even once a week! Actually, I never blow dry my hair. I do straighten my bangs frequently....and for rare special occasions I will get out the curling iron to add a little polish to my hairstyle. Once every couple months I'll use some hairspray. Why should I let the fact that straight hair is in style dictate how I spend my time in the morning and why should it make me fight against the natural unruly texture of my hair?

However, hairstylists are, after all, supposed to have nice hair. So I have to be tricky. I'm not going to iron my hair flat every day or blow dry it, but I sure will buy or make pretty flower hair clips and headbands to put on--creating the illusion that I have beautifully styled hair. Shhhh...don't tell anyone at my school!



These are a few I made with the help of fabric scraps, my sewing machine, and a hot glue gun. Seeing as I got a pack of 5 headbands for 4 dollars, so far, making my own is definitely cheaper than picking up some pretty ones at Claire's!

So there you have it--advice on how to fake fancy hair, from a cosmetology pro.

And, by the way, I'll be having a giveaway shortly, as soon as this little blog reaches 500 followers....

7 Steps to Good Babysitting

I have quite a bit of experience in various forms of babysitting. Not only am I the oldest of seven kids, but I have also volunteered in nursery, children's church, VBS, and Awana programs in a teaching/crowd controlling/game inventing/babysitting capacity. Most recently, Angel and I were charged with babysitting my 6 and 8 year old cousins one evening. I thought I'd share some of my best advice on babysitting so that others can benefit from my vast experience.

How to Be a Good Babysitter

1. Don't actually sit on the babies. They might tell their parents on you and then you probably won't get paid very well.

2. The television is your friend. Best bet? Bring along a movie of your own that the kids you're watching haven't seen a million times. But most kids are still pretty happy to watch a movie they have seen a million times, so don't panic if you don't own any child-friendly movies (I own one for just such special occasions: Toy Story 3)

3. Don't be afraid to push up bedtime a little bit. If the parents say, "Their usual bedtime is around 8," have them start brushing their teeth by 7:15. Don't underestimate the time it takes to get them sleeping before Mom and Dad come home.

4. It's okay to ask if your husband can come over and help you babysit. I know it was always taboo to have your boyfriend over while babysitting other people's kids, but so far, no one seems to mind when I ask if Angel can come along. See? That wedding band does mean something. 

5. Invent games that you can use to your advantage. Some games I've used successfully in the past: Quiet as a Mouse (everyone stays as quiet as possible for as long as possible to see who wins), Still as a Statue (same concept, only no movement allowed), Who Can Pick up the Most Toys, Who Can Put Their Pajamas on the Fastest, etc.

The Sleeping Game: Whoever can most convince me that they are actually asleep, wins. Who do you think is doing a better job?

The game where you sit on the couch and tell the kids to walk from one side of the house to the other side of the house using many different styles of walking: Do lunges, march, tip-toe, walk backwards, crawl like a baby, hop like a frog, hop like a rabbit, roll on the floor, somersault, etc. Angel and I watch them do this for about 30 minutes.

6. Do not forget about the kids you are babysitting. I've never done this, but I've had dreams that Angel and I had babies and we always forget about them and leave them in random places, so not forgetting about the children is a priority to me.

7. If all else fails, do the limbo with them.



How many of you supported your teenage lifestyle with an income from babysitting?

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Today, I am a Sparkly Pirate



I often get emotionally attached to my clothes. When you move frequently, clothes are sometimes the only things that you get to bring with you from home to home, and you can grow to look upon them as old friends, who have shared many memories and adventures with you. Sometimes, you might come to love them a little too much--and might still be wearing and loving certain articles of clothing long past their expiration date. 

You might think that that entire paragraph was pure insanity, but I'm not exaggerating much. My family knows how fond I am of some of my clothes

I tend to be able to remember where all of my clothes came from. Take this outfit for example. I bought this dress in high school, after a long search for the perfect denim mini-dress. The purple jeans were one of the very few "just for fun" purchases during my days as a broke college freshman. My black and silver scarf was part of a package my parents sent me after I moved out, and my sparkly pink Converse were a gift Angel bought me when we'd only been married a few months. The brass bracelet came from Cambodia, and the black one is from that year or two in high school when I was very fond of punk/goth accessories. My heart necklace I bought during the last vacation I ever went on with my family.

So, there you have it. I'm fiercely loyal to my clothing. Oh well. There are worse things, I suppose.

Do have any clothes that you're inordinately fond of?

And for the record, no, I have no shame in taking outfit pictures in the middle of Jo-Ann's while waiting for my fabric to get cut. I'm all about not wasting time.