Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Didn't Mean to Lie

I made everyone open their gifts last night so that I could take pictures today and obviously it is dark outside and I still haven't posted any pictures.

The day was filled with frisbee golf for some and buying fabric for curtains in the guest room for me. No one seems to like the red sheet we hung up over the windows because during the day it looks like a little slice of hell from the inside and then at night we are sick of people ringing our bell thinking that we are "open for business" (if you know what I mean) .

So after I bought the material I dropped off The Mom and went to a work meeting. That my friends is how I spent the sunshine. Maybe tomorrow we'll have show and tell.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Unveiling ... soon

For the last 3 months I have been sewing on our Christmas presents. We gave everyone a handmade item this year so I haven't been able to really show the internet what I have been been making because I would ruin the surprise. However, the majority of my family is coming today so tomorrow I'll do a little show and tell with the presents.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to a great new year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Surprisingly Empty

Joshua and I hit Home Depot today to get a medicine cabinet for the master bath. I expected the place to be a mad house but there were maybe 20 cars in the parking lot.

Once I stopped and thought about it - of course it would be empty the women have already bought and wrapped the Home Depot gift card or power tool and all the men that would normally be frequenting the store are at retail stores realizing they got nothing for their wives.

I talked to my friend who works at Anthropologie and she confirmed that in fact that is where all the men were today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm the Constrained Type

Right now I am taking a break from writing script treatments for a client. Over the last 5 years I have figured out that I'm a pretty creative person which before I didn't think was possible since I like math. I'm very rarely a "sit down with a blank sheet and be creative" kind of person, but I am creative within constraints. I need a topic and then I can come up with a crazy idea to teach that topic, or I need someone to throw out an idea and then I can morph it into something better.

I often wish I was the blank sheet type but today I'm enjoying the constrained creativity I'm getting to play with. Plus, I just need to team up with a blank sheet creative and then we are an unstoppable force ... like Superman ... or the flu.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Visit

Joshua's cousin Jeremy was in town for a few days. I really enjoyed having him here because he and I have never hung out longer than 2 hours. He is quite the opposite of Joshua. He is very outgoing, talks to strangers at bars and will drive to watch sports.

While he was in town they drove out to Goodlettsville where their grandparents lived. It is pretty sad because there is a Dollar General in the front yard of their house now, but they also drove out to visit their grave.

Joshua's plan for finding their headstone: drive around and look for it. Jeremy's plan: go ask the front desk. Two points for Jeremy's plan.

Friday, December 19, 2008


1503 Forrest-3

I've waited five years for a client to NOT say:

"we're thinking very traditional, maybe colonial or french country style"

Hear me say I have a large appreciation for and am heavily influenced by architectural history and traditional "styles". However, what I really love about architecture is letting designs evolve out of a combination of the owner's desires, their personality, respect for the site and it's context, ideas of building responsibly (green building, site impact, building orientation/configuration), the function of our built surroundings as a motivator of form, etc., etc., etc.

Sorry for the architectural nerdery, but I love going into the design process with no pre-conceived ideas, so this project has really been a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Internet Stalking in my Dreams

Last night I dreamt about people who's blog I read. It was very strange and I don't remember much but the dream was basically a day of us getting to know each other. We introduced ourselves and laughed a lot. I talked about how much I enjoyed their blog and they told me that if I wore more makeup people would like me. There was also a strange sea monster involved now that I think about it.

Isn't the subconscious strange?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why I Hate December

On Sunday Survivor:Gabon ended. My love of Survivor is only rivaled by my love for Friends but back when they were in direct competition Survivor always won. My college roommate and I would watch Survivor every Thursday night and record Friends to watch later. There was only one rule from 7pm to 8pm and that was NO TALKING - except on commercial breaks. We finally stopped inviting people to watch it with us because no one seemed to really understand that we were NOT kidding about the no talking thing.

While we were in the throws of remodeling our first home in Nashville we worked every night on the house except Thursday night. We combined our one night of TV and our one night of hanging out with the friends and called it Survivor Night (the rule still applied). Then while I was taking classes at MTSU on Thursday nights we would record the show and have Survivor Night on Friday night (now talking was allowed because of our ability to rewind).

I think I have missed 2 episodes in the 18 seasons it has been on the air. There have been bad seasons and there have been good, but no matter what at the end of every season I am so ready to apply for the show. I know I would never win and I have an awful feeling I would be cast as a villian but I would just love to try it.

More than I want a million dollars, I want the experience of 39 days of competition. I really want to know how I would do. Could I keep my mouth shut long enough to make it past the first vote? Would I be able to sustain for 39 days with little sleep? How long before I get hurt in a challenge? Please, we all know I'll get hurt.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Paragraph

Every year my parents send out a Christmas letter and each sibling gets one paragraph summarizing their life over the past year. Since being married Mom doesn't consult us anymore about what to include in our paragraph, but I would have to say I have made her life super easy this year. Basically my part could be:

If you want to know about Tiffany and Joshua just go to and find out more than you ever wanted to know about their 2008.

I don't know if she would really do that though because then everyone she knows would be introduced to the fact that her daughter lets strangers sleep in her house and actually leaves the country with no real accommodations planned, etc. Mom has come to grips with our strangeness but I don't see her letting her friends in on our absurdity. Unless of course they are playing that game where you tell 2 truths and a lie and then she will totally make our life one of the truths that no one in the group would ever believe.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cozi Here I Come

On my work trips you end up spending 12-15 hours with the people you work with. Conversation consists of all kinds of things-some internet appropriate and some not. There was one really interesting thing that came up at dinner on Thursday night that I think everyone should know about. Mike Breece (Nashville's best jib operator) mentioned this website his family uses called Cozi.

Its a website that is like a family organizer. I'm excited about the calendar that everyone can access but I know you have that on google, or yahoo. Here is the part that is going to blow your mind. You ready?

There is a place for a grocery list. I know that doesn't sound very special-but people, you can call a number and have your list read to you. Or you can text a number and have it sent to you. So if are out and have some time to stop by the store you can do it with your list just by texting a number. Now that feature won't work for me unless I have the coupons in the car but you can get your appointments sent to you as well over text.

I think this has to be the most interesting and great idea for a busy family so that everything is not just in one place but it is accessible from anywhere. The Breece's have a central computer in their kitchen where they keep it up and runnning so that it is easy to use.

Hands down, best idea last week. Thanks Mike!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Keeps Coming

So we were greeted with snow as we returned to Nashville. Actually to be more accurate the snow attacked us around the Murfreesboro exit on Interstate 24. I think 3 people in our van would have laid good money on us never making it home. However, we did make it home completely safe and here in Nashville the snow was much more pleasant.

It was a beautiful dusting that I'm sure made every school child happy. Well, except the smart ones who realize they are missing their last day of review before finals. Joshua even had to cancel his early morning meeting because our road was just one big sheet of ice.

I don't think it has snowed this early since we have lived in Nashville. I hear we are in for a "real" winter and because we have a garage and work at home I say, "Come On!"

I love going to sleep with the moon reflecting so brightly on the snow that it lights the windows in the house a bit. I love watching Austin try to manuever the yard looking for a place to pee where she doesn't get the blasted white stuff on her. And most of all I love how our Christmas tree is so sparkly in front of a window that shows nothing but snow.

Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just Giddy!

So while I've been out on the road working I've also been coordinating the completion of our FYK Architecture (pllc) website. We have been working on it for a while because we all know you can't have things fast, cheap and good.

So we chose the latter. But people - this was worth the wait! Plus, I love it when I get to work with friends and so last night, with Joshua on the phone, Greg and I launched the page.

I want to introduce everyone to the FYK website. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Sam, Nathan and Michael for photo and text consulting/comments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

One Hour? Right!

Joshua and I put up the Christmas tree last week. We were planning our day and Joshua kept saying "So the Christmas tree will take an hour and then we can watch TV."

This is one of the few occasions that I let him live in his delusion. Normally I would correct him but I'm trying to be a better wife. You know, less annoying.

About 2.5 hours in he stopped and looked at me and said "Yeah, this is going to take longer than an hour. What was I thinking?" That is an excellent question.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Currently Listening To: Into the Wild (ST)

Eddie Vedder - Society

We watched this movie not too long ago, and I loved it. I had a mix of emotions during and after. It invigorated me, made me want to drop everything and head off into the wilderness on an adventure, while at the same time I was really angry and grieved over....well I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it. Let's just say after watching this and having a conversation with my good friend Josh (not Joshua....Josh) I've given thought to the "rules" we each live by, self imposed or otherwise.

The soundtrack is equally great, this song in particular ties in beautifully to the film.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Where in the World?

Joshua and I periodically go through the "where should we live?" conversation. Just out of curiosity if you could do your job anywhere where would you live?

No need to leave a diatribe but feel free to expound if you would like.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tis the Season

So I stumbled on this at one of the blogs I read daily. I know a lot of you will be all about it as well so I wanted to spread the joy.

Amazon is giving away a free Christmas song everyday until Christmas. I love that Barenaked Ladies was one of the first ones out of the gate because I LOVE that CD. I can almost promise we will be decorating our Christmas tree to that album this afternoon.

Seems like there is going to be quite a diversity of artists so everyone enjoy and early Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If Only I Loved Sci Fi

Joshua and I watched a movie last night that an acquaintance recommended - Serenity. I really wish I liked that genre of film because the writing was witty and there were some great one liners.

It would be the perfect film for college friends to obsess about and constantly quote to each other. You'd hear people saying "I'm a leaf in the wind" and "You best make peace with your dear and fluffy lord." Kind of like in my friend group you heard "P.C. Load Letter?" or "Ummmm. Yeeeeah. I'm gonna have to ask you to go ahead and come in on Saturday."

I would actually really love to read this script because I don't think I can sit through the science fiction plot again but I'd love to get another crack at catching some of the humor buried in the dialogue.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just to Clarify

At the party we had a few weeks ago we played a game where everyone in the room answers questions about themselves and then people have to guess who said what. The question that is sparking this post is "What would make your home complete?" Seems like a simple question right?

My Answer: A queen size bed for guests

Joshua's Answer: A baby

Everyone thought it was hysterical that two of the boys in the room wrote down baby. I didn't see the humor since one was my husband and as far as I knew unless being bored is a good reason to have a baby we were NOT trying to have a baby.

When all the guests left I asked Joshua why in the world he wrote down baby and this was his response: "Coffee table would have been too obvious."

Monday, December 1, 2008

4 People are the Perfect Fit

So we discovered this Thanksgiving that four people are the perfect fit in our kitchen. We each had our own counter space, plenty of elbow room and no one was ever on top of another person. I honestly think that we might have had room for one more, but lets not push it.

The Smiths came over to bake with us and so we turned this

into this

and this

and this

and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.

We split up the booty and now for the next few weeks days we are going to be stuffing ourselves with baking goodness.

Let me just say that baking with friends is the way to do it. You aren't having to make the mess all by yourself, you aren't having to eat everything yourself and when you are debating if 3/4 cup of Karo syrup is enough you have someone beside you saying "Sure, whatever, just throw it in!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Worth Pushing Back from the Table For

This week CVS has got Walgreens beat and the best thing is you can shop there tomorrow. I'm listing the things I want but there is a complete list of free items in the CVS ad tomorrow. I have $7 in ECBs so that is how I choose my groups. I want the least amount out of pocket so I will be checking out 2 times tomorrow.

Transaction One:

Bic Soleili razor w/ 2 blades...2.99 (5.99 ECBs back)

  • $3 coupon from the paper

Colgate Total toothpaste...1.49 (2.99 ECBs back)
  • $1.50 coupon here
  • or $1 coupon from the paper

Gatorade G2 20oz...1.49 (1.49 ECBs back)

Hershey King Size Bar...1.00 (1.00 ECBs back)

CHECKOUT: 6.59 ECB and $0.38 plus tax OOP

Transaction Two:

Gatorade G2 20oz...1.49 (1.49 ECBs back)

Colgate Total toothpaste...1.49 (2.99 ECBs back)
  • $1.50 coupon here
  • or $1 coupon from the paper

L'Oreal Colour Juice sheer lipgloss...5.99 (6.99 ECBs back)
  • $1 coupon from paper

CHECKOUT: 8.48 ECB and $0.49 plus tax OOP

I start with $7 in ECBs and then end with just over $15 in ECBs plus I got all this fun stuff for free.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Dear Oatmeal Snickerdoodles

Thank you for coming into my life. You will be the bar by which all other cookies are judged.

love, Tiff

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Color Him Excited

I love to see Joshua get excited about something. Most people wouldn't know it was happening because the shift is very subtle and almost imperceptible to the untrained eye.

Me? I jump around, sing, dance and make him join in with me just so that I know he understands how excited I am. There is no missing the fact that I'm excited. I think its part of the whole package that you can read everything I'm thinking on my face.

Joshua? There is a very slight adjustment to his face. I can't really explain it but I think it is a little bit of a relaxing of his facial muscles and rarely is it accompanied by any words.

Today, it dealt with a project he was working on and he actually said the words, "This could be an award submittal." There was no smile, no jumping and no singing but I still got real excited with him and I can't wait to get the 3D models of the project up on our website.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Currently Listening To:

music that makes me cry - pt. 1

Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy Jr.

For all have sinned and fall short...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Full House

I want nothing more than to be able to produce a couple of Full House references right here but for some reason I can't do it.  I can hardly even come up with the name Uncle Joey, D.J. and Stephanie.  The rest of the show has apparently slipped my mind. If you are looking for Full House update you can go here. Otherwise, back to our life.

Last night we had a full house and so much fun.  We have only one picture from the night because you can't really hold a camera when you are doubled over laughing ALL NIGHT.

We had some friends come over for soup, pie and games in celebration of Joshua.  Joshua picked a game we played all the time in college and have rarely pulled out since moving to Nashville, Loaded Questions. This is one of those games that doesn't sound that fun in a description but once you play it, it becomes a quick favorite.

We were lucky to have smart alecks and sarcastics representing over half the room so there was probably more trashtalking and mocking than actual playing of the game. We learned who hated Harry Potter (Joshua almost asked them to leave), who isn't shy about talking about animals, and that Kacy and Joshua will, if given the opportunity, adopt a baby together and move to the city.

We are thankful for friends whom we are comfortable with, who we can mock mercilessly and who warm up our house (literally 3 degrees). Hope all of your weekends were as fun as our Saturday.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Favorite Day

I am so happy that 29 years ago Joshua was born because my today would be incomplete without him.

love, tiff

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Free Dr. Pepper

So back in March the marketing team at Dr. Pepper said they would give a free Dr. Pepper to everyone in America if the release of Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" drops in 2008. I don't really understand their tie to Guns N' Roses but I guess they felt like it was a safe bet since the recording began in 1994.

But people ... the album goes on sale on Sunday November 23rd at 12:01am and for the 24 hours after that you can get a coupon for a free Dr. Pepper at

Enjoy - or print the coupon and send it to me :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Making Holiday Plans

So next week is Thanksgiving and Joshua and I are making our firm holiday plans. These plans don't involve any blood relatives or turkey. I know, crazy isn't it?

Two years ago we decided to claim Thanksgiving as our family holiday and we haven't looked back since. Most of our friends still make the trek home for this holiday but we try to celebrate with those who don't. Last year it was a little depressing because we were homeless and living in Heather's condo so we spent the morning with friends and then ate Baja Fresh on her couch while watching Gilmore Girls.

This year we have a kitchen and dishes and so our holiday plans will be a bit more exciting. We will still be attending our friend's Thanksgiving Miracle Breakfast and then we are going to do a baking afternoon/evening with any friends who are left in Nashville. But here is where you come in...what should we make? Joshua is crazy about cookies... got any good cookie recipes? or pies? I don't know, but I need help because I don't have many any baking recipes.

Also, if you are in Nashville and want to hang with us on Thanksgiving we would love to have you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Its My Friend, Sam

So I just got a txt message from Sam saying, "Go to and click on SAM under Family Favorites"

So come on what are you waiting for...go see my friend being famous.

Comas, Peru

Hills outside Comas

Parade in Peru

Comas Park

Sneaky Cat

feeding the kids in Kilometer 23

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Blog Material

It is really hard to come up with good blog material when you rarely leave the house. In the last 4 days I have left the house twice. Once to go teach 4th grade Saturday school (which is the Saturday version of Sunday school not the delinquent student kind of school) and another to do our Sunday grocery game.

Nothing of consequence really happened on either of those trips and so I'm left with the happenings in my living room and home office. I need a gig or fun activity that will take me out of these walls, not just for my sake...but for your's.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My First Graphic

So I was sick of not having a banner for my etsy shop so I decided to put something together. I spent all of 20 minutes on it, and I know it would look much cooler with a bunch of layers, and my graphic designer friends are going to rip it apart...can you tell I'm stalling?

Anyway I'm a little proud because I figured out how to make the file be 760x100 pixels. Check it out, but font snobs beware!

Friday and Saturday at Walgreens

Yay for the $5/20 coupon from Walgreens this week. You can get it here.

What I'm Going To Do:

L'Oreal Age Perfect Pro Calcium Radiance Perfector...13.99
$1 coupon from the paper
Submit for full 14.99 rebate through November Easysaver

Almay One Coat Mascara...5.99
$1 coupon from the paper
Submit for full $6.99 rebate through November Easysaver

Progresso Soup (buy 4)... $0.60
$1.10/1 coupon here (print 4)
4/$5 coupon from weekly Walgreens ad

Clabber Girl Baking Powder (buy 2)...$1 or FREE (don't need this for the scenario but I want it)
$1/2 coupon in some papers last week
2/$1 coupon from weekly Walgreens ad

Don't forget to use your $5/25 coupon

TOTAL AFTER COUPONS: 15.98 or 16.48 plus tax


What Tawna Should do for Some Diapers

L'Oreal Age Perfect Pro Calcium Radiance Perfector...12.99
$2 coupon from the paper
Submit for full 14.99 rebate through November Easysaver

Pampers Jumbo Pack...8.49
$1.50 coupon from the paper
$1 Register Rewards will Print

Don't forget to use your $5/25 coupon

TOTAL AFTER COUPONS: 16.48 plus tax


So you can either make $4.00 or get some cheap diapers. Either way it is a great deal!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Now That is Just Great!

Today Joshua and I were just talking about the fact that we haven't worked out in a while ... like 2 months. We haven't been back to the Y since it was too cold to swim in the outdoor pool so we decided it was about time to set up our winter workout schedule. We figured out what we wanted to do and decided today was a great day to start.

Joshua swam in the indoor pool until the swim team practice kicked him out. Me? I walked the treadmills and watched Grumpy Old Men. I even ran .25 of the 2 miles I walked and had glorious plans to raise that to .5 miles in the next few trips.

Then we come home immediately to a letter from the Y that says Lifeway just informed them I am no longer an employee so I don't qualify for the corporate discount rate I was receiving and our membership fee will be going up next month.

Why does this happen the day we make our workout plans? The letter yesterday would have been less devastating since we can't afford the full Y membership rate and we will have to cancel.

Yes, I'm perfectly aware I should be thankful for all the additional discounted months I received (since I have been gone from Lifeway for a while) but that is not my feeling at all. NOT AT ALL!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why I Can Never Pay Full Price Again

Joshua and I are about 3 months into our Grocery Game experience and let me just tell you it has changed our perception of groceries and eating. Every weekend we no longer have to sit around and say, "what do you want to eat this week?" "I don't know, what do you want to eat?" We dreaded the day of grocery shopping and meal planning.

Now we only shop the sales and we make whatever can be found in our pantry. This sounds boring but to us it is a game.

Sunday is Scavenger Hunt. We search the list for great deals and then race through the store finding all the items, because there is nothing more frustrating than watching the person in front of you pick up the last $.04 soy sauce. Seriously, we love Sunday shopping.

Then the dishes for dinner are like a puzzle. What can you make with noodles, ground chicken and tomato sauce? Oh yeah, I know we have some cheese and so we can make Chicken Spaghetti. Woo hoo! Right now we have about 10 boxes of pasta in our pantry so we are getting creative with noodles.

And all this fun...for the price of the grocery game which is $7.50 a month for 2 grocery stores ($5 if you just do one store). We have literally cut our grocery bill from $70/week to $30/week so you will find no complaints here. Plus, we have some friends who are also into living embarrassingly cheap and there is just nothing like geeking out with them about the free Reynolds Wax Paper, or the salad dressing we got for $.20

Shameless Plug: If you decide to try the grocery game (trial is 1 dollar for 4 weeks) let them know you heard about them from wiffut at comcast dot net

Shake, Shake, Shake

backyard tree

This is the tree we see out of our kitchen window, and the 12 leaves still clinging to its branches. The other 54,231 are...........

leaves everywhere1


leaves everywhere2


leaves everywhere3

and here.

It was very reminiscent of the scene where the whomping willow at Hogwarts shakes all its leaves off.

We love our trees, wading our way to the door though.......not so much.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This Weekend We Learned...

Shower doors take a while to assemble but the process isn't that hard and maybe not doing it for 6 months was silly.

I really enjoy making things with my hands.

Never leave the house assuming you won't see anyone because that will be the time you run into a long lost client.

Leaves are pretty on the trees, but are a real hassle on the ground

I, just like Phoebe, enjoy my sexy,raspy voice and now that it is gone...I miss it. I don't miss the part when I sounded like a prepubescent boy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Free Things at Walgreens this Week

There isn't a coupon that would make a scenario worth publishing but I want to make sure that Tawna sees these free things at Walgreens this week. The great thing is most of these are just free after coupon which means you never have to see the money leave your pocket.

Schick Quattro Razors for Women (disposable)...FREE with $2.00 overage

Buy One Get One Free(BOGO) coupon from the paper
$2 coupon from the paper Schick Women's Razors
$3 coupon from the Walgreens EasySaver Booklet in the store (will take off $6)

Celestial Seasonings Tea (buy 2)...FREE
$2 coupon from the paper (use 2)
$1 coupon from the Walgreens EasySaver Booklet in the store (will take off $1)

Bic Soleil Razors...FREE or $.99
$3 coupon from the paper
$3 coupon from the Walgreens EasySaver Booklet in the store

Almay One Coat Mascara...FREE with $2 overage after rebate
Buy One Get One Free(BOGO) at the store so buy 2
$1 coupon from the paper (use 2 if you have them)
Submit for full $6.99 rebate through November Easysaver

Last but not least is a free 8x10 photo... no strings attached. Just go here, upload the photo, enter the coupon code FREEPIC and then go in the store and pick it up when you go to buy all these other fabulous free items.

With best case scenario you'll end up spending about $6 including the tax and you'll get 6.99 rebate. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Version of Counting Sheep

We had a red eye flight from Lima to Miami on Saturday. At about 3am when I was still not asleep, but the sleeping pill I had taken made me unable to focus on the in flight movie, I decided to do a little math. See, when I can't sleep I have a process of things I do to remedy my awake state. I know I can't sleep on a plane but I thought, "what the heck lets pretend like there is a fighting chance I'll sleep".

In real life I start off counting to 100 in Spanish to make sure that I'm not focusing on something else and that the "something else" is what's keeping me awake. Counting in another language makes me focus just enough on the numbers that it takes my mind off whatever I was obsessing about.

Made it to 100! That didn't help.

I move on to step 2: Math. Normally I do a division problem because multiplication in your head is just easier and I need something to totally consume my brain. You know what I decided to do? Lets see what percentage of this year I spent out of the country.

I rounded 51 days down to 50 (gimmee a break, I AM on half a sleeping pill) and figured out that I was out of the country 13.69% of the year. That is crazy, I spent almost 15% of the year away experiencing new things, meeting amazing people and seeing things I had never seen before.

When I woke up, I credited the the thirty minutes of sleep I achieved to the amazing feeling of blessedness for an amazing year over the actual procedure of doing math, but whatever, it all worked together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

by Patrick Moberg

We're Being Attacked

This is our first fall in the Salem house. Last year at this time we had torn back the interior to the studs and were slowly building back so we didn't have the pleasure of sitting in our fancy new kitchen watching the wildlife around us. Although I wouldn't call last November peaceful I think Joshua might trade for it.

This year the few squirrels we have seen have apparently sent word to their squirrel buddies about all the great dirt at our house. Now we have hundreds of holes in our landscaping where they have dug holes to bury the pecans they are stealing. Yesterday they actually unearthed one of Joshua's plant babies and you know you don't mess with Joshua's plant babies.

Nowhe just walks around the yard grunting, pointing and becoming a little obsessive. The squirrels don't know any better but Joshua worked so hard on all the landscaping over the last month that I can't blame him for his new hatred of these creatures. I don't think they will displace "THE MOLE" as his archenemy but they will be a close second if they don't cut it out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bienvenido a Nashville!

fall leaves

After 9 days of living in the dirt and the smog of Comas I returned home to this view out the kitchen window. Although I miss the beautiful people of Peru - this is the whole reason why I love Nashville and I'm glad I didn't miss all the colors.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Currently Listening To: visceral music - pt. 4

The Roots - The Seed 2.0

Get up and shake a leg!

(or at least do some chair dancin')

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Currently Listening To: visceral music - pt. 3

The Pixies - Where Is My Mind?

Let it rip on this amazingly beautiful Saturday!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Currently Listening To: visceral music - pt. 2

R.L. Burnside - Old Black Mattie

How about a double shot on a Friday? I'll clue you in on what you're listening to this time.

B.R.M.C. - Shuffle Your Feet

P.S. - all the posts in this series will only have their full impact when experienced through a decent set of speakers. I just tried cranking it on Tiff's laptop, does not work.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I am laughing so much on this trip. I love that almost everyone on this trip gets each other. We just laugh and poke fun and laugh and make up Spanish words. Sarcasm abounds and all is right in the world.

My first trip to Peru was full of "Earl Had to Die" and "Would you Rather?" This one will be remembered for "Catch Phrase" and shameless mocking. We are visiting families, building sound panels for the sanctuary and teaching classes, but oh the laughing.

On Top of the World - Lima

Peru Team - Lima

Currently Listening To: visceral music - pt. 1

The Hives - Hate to say I told you so


After the seriousness of the last post, some head thumping garage punk seems in order. I can't speak to the message of this song......or any others by these guys, but the music definitely stirs something raw, creating the uncontrollable urge to thrash about. As any really good rock song should, right?

Look for more parts to follow. -Josue

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mending the Cracks

And Tiff thought I wouldn't blog while she was gone.....psshhh. Well its only been 3 days and counting since Tiff left for Peru, it feels much longer. It's strange, but I think I've grown out of my loner nature a bit since we've been married and especially since we started working at home together. When she travelled frequently with Lifeway I enjoyed and looked forward to time, not so much. I still enjoy being super productive, but I miss looking over from my desk and laughing with her, lunch break, random errands/tasks during the day, silliness................................her.

the crack 2

I've been packing every hour with activity: work of some sort (either design work or landscaping), hanging/dinner with friends, cleaning, anything. One of the tasks I've tackled is mending some major cracking in the brick near the chimney. No, the crack wasn't really this big, I had already chiseled out the joints before I took the shot. After the joints were clean though, I stood back and it freaked me out. It was very unsettling. Being up close, pounding out the mortar, I didn't get the whole picture. But when I stood back, I thought: "sure hope I can put it back together".

The tearing apart was quite easy, the putting back together was much trickier and required me to have much greater faith in my own abilities (which, to be honest, have never really been tested in this area, masonry repair that is). A lesson learned several times over during home renovation: It's much easier to tear things apart than it is to put them back together.

As I was covered in mortar I couldn't help but draw parallels about the "cracks" in my life. The "cracks" and places that get torn apart scare me, because I can't see how they will get mended, or I think "how can I fix this?" I also can't "stand back" to see the big picture. This was just another great reminder (and I require them frequently) that it's nothing to do with my abilities, but everything to do with my faith in the unchanging abilities of the one who created me. That makes me smile.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

-Who's picking up the slack now 'o lover of mine? -Josue

Picking Up the Slack

Just as I suspected. It is Monday and you still haven't gotten a post from Joshua. He did say he has been eating in an email I got and if I had to chose between eating and blogging, I choose eating.

Well Peru is much different than I expected this time. It is still dusty and they live in half finished homes but they have advanced leaps and bounds since I was here in college. Yesterday we went up into the hills where "squaters" have built homes. Before it was a completely destitute life but now they have electricty and they are digging plumbing up there.

Everyone on the team is well and working hard. I am day 2 into the video production lessons and I am loving teaching Ricardo and Daniel. Last night we served dinner and made it into a party with dancing and singing and silliness. I know the people weren't expecting to have so much fun at dinner but that is what our team is - FUN! The church asked for a picture of our team and this is what we wanted to give them.

Peru Team 2008

Hope you are all well and I'll see if I get another chance to post something.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

41 hours to Lift Off

I leave for Peru on Friday morning early - no REALLY early.

I mention my absence because this means that Joshua is in charge of the blog. I have pitched a couple of ideas for him, but we'll see what happens. I also pitch eating at least 2 meals a day while I'm gone but that has yet to stick so I don't have high hopes for frequent posts.

As far as Peru, I'm ready to go. I have packed everything I'm taking in my Europe backpack so that I can carry-on and that leaves both of my checked bags for mission trip supplies.

Last night when I told my team I only had a carry on. By the looks I got I think they heard "Hey Guys, Decided I'm not going to need my right arm so could someone help me with cutting it off?" I tried to explain that I lived 6 weeks out of the bag but it didn't seem to compute. I know they think I'm crazy and you know what?

I love it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Winter a Little Early

Last night Joshua and I built our first fire of the season. It is a little earlier than most would expect but we have a "No Heater until November" rule and that means it's colder in our house right now than it will be in the dead of winter. We have been telling people who come over to dress warmly but last night we had a couchsurfer coming over, and we wanted to put our best foot forward. Our friends know we are weird and do really strange things but the strangers we have spend the night have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

So anyway, I finally convinced Joshua that no matter what the temperature was outside the 64 degrees inside the house constituted a fire. I knew I had a fighting chance because he got out his thick fluffy house socks.

first fire

We started it at 9:45pm and it warmed us up very well... right up until we had to open all the windows because the house filled with smoke. Darn our oversized firebox. Now our house smells like it went camping but we both agree it was worth it.

The Life of the Elderly

Joshua: "Man we are getting old."

Tiffany: "Why do you say that?"

Joshua: "Because I like to drink tea."

Tiffany: "Well our couchsurfer will be here around 10pm for dessert but I guess that is past your bedtime grandpa."

Snow Flower

While I was in Texas my mom gave me a book she had read called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I didn't get it started until I was on my four hour flight home on Saturday but I finished it before I went to bed last night. Yesterday Joshua and I decided to spend a few hours reading so he read his book Devil in the White City and I finished mine. Joshua's isn't a finish in one sitting kind of book but we would recommend them both.

One is about Chinese footbinding and the other is about the World's Fair in Chicago, can you guess which is which?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thank You Southwest

I am presently sitting in the Midwest waiting area of the San Antonio Airport because the seats are a little more comfortable than the Southwest waiting areas. Southwest oversold my flight home today so I took the voucher to get on the next flight.

I am notorious for taking vouchers to get off the planes because Joshua and I love to travel and little inconviences like this can stretch our dollars to make multiple trips a year possible. I particularly love when they oversell flights home from a job because then I get the voucher and I didn't even pay for the flight in the first place. My Lifeway co-workers didn't even bother looking for me after they called for volunteers because they just knew I was off their flight.

Unfortunately, today is a day I really want to get home to see Joshua so the voucher isn't as fun as normal. I also didn't let them sit long enough desperate because the people who finally caved after me got more money. I did force them to give me a $5 gift certificate to get food but I would much rather have an additional $50.

I have to keep reminding myself that I can use the voucher on a really great DING! fare and get Joshua and I both somewhere and all it cost me was four hours of my life.

Hope you are all having a great Saturday!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Walgreens for Tawna

I've been telling Tawna (my sister) my scenarios for Walgreens so that she can get the savings without having to do the work because she is a teacher and has a kid now so time is scarce for her. I know at least one other person who might like to see them so I decided to put them out here for everyone.

This weekend there is a coupon for $5 off/$25 purchase so this is my plan for $25 after coupons. The numbers to the side of the item are your checkout total so that you can figure out how much more you need to get to $25.

Arm & Hammer Detergent -- 1.99
$1 coupon from the paper
$1 rebate from Walgreens

2 - Bonne Bell Lip Smackers -- 0.80
$1/2 coupon here

Bounty Paper Towel --0.40
Walgreens coupon for .89 each
0.25 coupon from paper

Loreal Cleanser -- 4.99 or 5.99
$1 or $2 coupon from the paper
Full Rebate from Walgreens

Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation --6.49?
$1 coupon from the paper
Full Rebate from Walgreens

Extreme Energy 6 Hour Shot -- 3.99
Full Rebate from Walgreens

3 Dimetapp Products -- 5.98
3 - $2/1 coupon here
$10 Register Rewards print at end of transaction

You need something else for about 3.00 depending on what the cleanser and foundation end up costing. Since it is Halloween and you have a coupon for some candy go ahead and stock up on that or you can be practical and get milk.

If you check out with your total around 26.00 before tax you will end up spending around 23.00. You will get back $10.00 in register rewards and then about $15.00 in rebate for a total of $25.00 back. So you get everything for free and then a couple bucks for your trouble.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not Exactly What I had in Mind

I finished the first apron I made for myself right before I left for Texas. I didn't have time to take a picture to share with you before I left so I asked Joshua to take a picture for me. This is what he gave me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just like High School

I had a friend who told me a couple of years ago how great it was that Joshua and I didn't have to get to know each other because we always knew each other. While it isn't quite true, we have experienced quite a lot together since we met at 16. Until she said that I had never thought about the fact that we never had an adult introduction where we had to get to know each other's past. He and I have a collective memory for almost the past 12 years.

This week I am in Texas helping my mom recover from surgery on her right rotator cuff. Joshua stayed in Tennessee because it didn't seem fiscally responsible to pay for two plane tickets when we only needed to replace one arm.

The last couple of nights we have talked on the phone for about an hour and as we were talking last night it felt very reminiscent of high school. Although the house and bedroom we were both in were different, the conversation felt very similar to conversations we had many nights 10 years ago. We recounted our day, talked longer than we should have because it felt like this was the only contact we had all day (in high school that wasn't true but it always felt like it), and neither of us wanted to hang up the phone.

I don't know which I like better, that we had those conversations at 17 or that we still have them at 28. I think it's a tie.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No One Welcome Back

I have a friend who keeps a much higher brow blog than I do. I'm taking the easy way out today by just linking you directly to a post he did last week.

Although I know he was being only half serious, I thought it would be interesting to hear what you think.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

If you could only see one game

It is hard being in Tennessee where you can walk around having no idea that this weekend is the Texas/OU game. Joshua and I were minding our own business and just happened to turn on the TV to find the TX/OU game in full swing. We of course threw all our plans out the window and have been watching the game ever since.

Let me say it has been an amazing and crazy game which always seems to be what the Cotton Bowl tradition becomes. There have been awful calls, amazing passes and even stranger touchdowns. I think Joshua is glad we don't see many Texas football games because I think I might be losing my voice. Good or bad, I can't seem to sit on the couch and just watch. I have to scream at the TV, I have to jump up and down and I have to sing the fight song every time it gets played.

Well Texas made us proud and has pulled out a win when many (including the announcers) didn't think it would happen. HOOK 'EM HORNS!

(photo from SI Vault)

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I stumbled on this today. It is awesome to do searches from 2001. "joshua fykes" doesn't even register on the books and "tiffany felton" comes back as a track runner which is NOT me.

I can't think of the kind of things I was searching in 2001 besides research for papers. Can you?

I do know I was living in Su Casa with the girl who used to be Mary Turner. 2001 was the "Summer of Fun" and the year I fell in love with New York City.

Thanks google for a look back.

Plant Babies

Plant babies - dward mondo grass

Credit to Sam for the term "plant babies". I've been using it frequently.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I have no idea what has possessed him

For being such a crazy person my eating habits are anything but extreme. I am the kind of person that finds one thing she loves at a restuarant and orders that EVERY time. I will taste other people's food to see if I like something else but I am not about to just try something new when I know I like "blank" on the menu.

I had the same thing for lunch everyday of school growing up. Tawna and Ty would mix it up but Mom always knew what I wanted : a ham sandwich with mustard and pickles.

Recently I've fallen back in my school lunch mode. Every day for lunch Joshua and I eat a sandwich and chips and everytime I eat a ham sandwich with mustard and pickles. Now that I am grown I add some tomatoes or cheese if we have it.

Well, Joshua has grown weary of the sandwich I fix him everyday and honestly I think he has gone a little crazy. He started by insisiting on no mustard and toasting the sandwich. That doesn't sound so weird, right? Oh just you wait. Then he started eating peanut butter and jelly. Still pretty normal.

Last week he started mixing them all up and I just can't take his concoctions. One day it is turkey sandwich with honey and mustard, then it is turkey with peanut butter and honey. Then he found some coconut in the fridge and is beginning to add that to his sandwiches.

Is it just my simple pallette that thinks that is crazy or has my husband really lost his mind?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Currently Listening To: Cat Power - Jukebox

Nice cover of classic Hank Williams.


I found this really interesting site. They create a word cloud out of text you give them and they give prominence to the word that you use the most. You can give them a text or they can crawl a website. Here is the word cloud for Getting Outside of Normal.

I'm guessing they only crawl the first page because Joshua isn't too large in our cloud. Regardless, it is super fun and a great time waster. You can change font and colors and all kinds of stuff. Let me know what you make.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Home Again

Last night was the first night I spent at home in five days. In 2001 that wouldn't be a huge accomplishment for me, but my pace has slowed just a bit as I've become friends with adults. We'll see if we keep up the "out all night" pace now that there isn't a motion picture picking up the tab.

I have money on our butts being back on the couch (or out in the yard) tonight.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Spring Event

FYI - The Crieve Hall Tour of Homes will be happening this spring in April, date still to be set. You might recognize the house pictured on the blog.

Friday, October 3, 2008


It is now 12 hours since the premiere ended and I still don't have feeling in two of my toes and a little bit of the ball of each foot. Those shoes looked awesome and worked great for about 3 hours but the night lasted 8 and a half hours. By the time the reception started I was using all my energy to walk like I could feel my feet. Was it worth it? Sure - I just wish I had brought some other shoes once we had moved to the over crowded reception.

I wasn't able to see the film last night but I look forward to seeing it again. I hear the final edit was great and so if you are thinking about supporting a Christian film in theatrical release go see Billy: The Early Years not Fireproof and stay for the credits.

I want to take this moment to thank the people who made all the compliments I got last night possible.

Megan - for helping find the dress and shoes and lending me earrings

Memry - for helping to find the perfect necklace and assemble a back up outfit as well

Heather - for the amazing makeup and coming to see me when I was closing up shop

The Wonder that is Tiffany

I'd like to take a moment and spend a minute singing the praises of my wife. She is amazing. As you may or may not know the premiere for Billy: The Early Years went down last night at the Green Hills theater. It went great, and Tiff was a huge part of organizing and making sure it went off without a hitch.

What particularly impresses me and I admire about Tiff is her "get it done" attitude. During the red carpet while all the cast were coming in and going through the media, many people would(and did) become "star struck" and lose sight of what needed to be done. Not Tiff, she was wrangling people, escorting the actors, managing the photo ops, making sure people moved along if they needed to. I really admire Tiff's ability to have grace under pressure, think on her feet, see what needs to be done and execute. And I'm not the only one who noticed, many people involved were just as impressed (without the whole marital bias).

I'm so thankful that Tiff was given the opportunity to be involved with the film, and I thank God everyday that I'm blessed to be able live life alongside an amazing woman, whom God has gifted in so many ways. I'm constantly learning from her. Love you.


Before Premiere

Thursday, October 2, 2008

More Playing in the Dirt

Oakland-Red Hybrid Holly

We have plants! They arrived yesterday morning and I "dug" in immediately (pun intended) It was a long, hard day of digging holes, holes and more holes. It was rewarding though, like giving birth to a whole litter of plant babies.

Henry's Garnet Sweetspire

I'm most excited about the Sweetspires, they're a very interesting native plant. They have a lot going on and they change a lot over the year, ending the fall with a really intense red. Of the twenty-nine plants delivered yesterday I got twelve planted, so I've got another good two full days of just planting left and then the work on the new pathway and mulching. Fun stuff.

Sky Pencil

In a side note, Tiffany had a total geriatric moment yesterday. As you know if you've been reading she's been in a whirlwind with the premiere. Yesterday she literally had two phones going at the same time, one in each hand. At one point she was sitting at her desk and then rushed up to do something, but apparently her feet were kinda wrapped around her chair, and so she did a half take off / half nose dive straight into the ground. She layed their for a moment and I had this weird mix of empathy and laughter. Her first words "Oh, my hip"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Slow Week

This is going to be a slow blogging week unless Joshua picks up the pace. The premiere for Billy: The Early Years is Thursday and I'm in full-on "get it done" mode. Not a lot of interesting things can happen when you are glued to your computer so I doubt I'll have much to share.

Just To Update: I have achieved almost mindless walking in my shoes and am fully confident that I will be able to stay vertical the entire night. I might lose my baby toes in the process because they will become fully fused to the toe that is next to them, but that is the cost when you cram your feet into shoes that are too small.

Happy Monday All!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


As we were leaving the grocery store today on our scooter a little boy asked his grandmother, "Isn't it illegal to have groceries on a motorcycle?"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back in Kindergarten

Tiffany was off at a shoot yesterday so my day consisted of playing in the dirt, drinking a gallon of water, some more digging and finally coloring a picture.


Now if you're thinking to yourself "that looks like a new home design in the Colonial Georgian style meant to re-create a historic plantation house that has been added on to over the past century and a half", then you are exactly right and you should be a critic, or maybe a professor.

Or if you thought "you went outside the lines in some places", you are correct there as well. What they don't teach you in kindergarten is it's good to get outside the lines sometimes, it's called artistic license.


All the digging is an effort to create a new path in the back and some new plantings. I'll show-and-tell when I'm through. See you guys at nap time!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Teetering Around

The "World Premiere" for Billy: The Early Years is a week from tomorrow. I have enjoyed working on the project but I am ready to get this thing released. However, the whole idea of a red carpet event terrifies me in the wardrobe department.

I asked a very fashion conscious friend to go shopping with me and she was a lifesaver. I found something I liked at Anthropologie so that took some pressure off. Then, after finding the dress we found the most amazing shoes that were just what I needed for this dress. The only problem is that they were half a size too small and had 3 1/2 inch heels. I haven't worn heels anywhere near that tall in my life. I decided to suck it up and be a girl. Isn't that what girls are supposed to do, sacrifice comfort for "perfection?"

Well perfection means I'm re-learning to walk. Yesterday, I put on the shoes to cook dinner so that I had counter support all around if I fell. I also knew I would be required to stand the whole time so that was the accountability I needed. My ankles hurt and I have the start of a blister but now I can stand and walk without looking like Bambi. Joshua says I still look like I'm tippy toeing around so I'm going to work on the length of my strides this weekend.

I hope I don't fall at the event, but if I do, I'm going to look good on the way down.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For Christmas

So I've asked for my first Christmas gift of the year. I want a wireless SD memory card so that I don't have to take the card out of our camera to upload the images all the time. Yes, I have officially become that lazy. Either that, or I'm just sick of getting somewhere without our memory card because it was left in the reader.

This puppy will just upload the pictures to our computer as soon as it comes into range of our wireless router. I love it! However, I'm not on the cutting edge of technology so I need someone to talk me out of it if they know something I don't or if there is something better out there.

Thanks friends!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Little Belated

picnic setup

We have owned our new house for one year and to celebrate we decided it was time to get the neighbors together. The "party" went great. Our 95 year old neighbor came and I'm going to have to say that she was my favorite. We had a total of 8 neighbors attend and now we all know each other.

neighbor picnic

The mosquitoes were held at bay (mostly) for the evening and we had people here until almost nine which I think was pretty good since we were the youngest by at least 15 to 20 years.

picnic action

At dusk, they started asking if they were going to get to see the house. I knew this was going to happen but Joshua didn't really believe it. Luckily, I'm a more forceful persuasive arguer and so we had cleaned the house the night before.

I don't think it was anyone's personal style but they were impressed with how different it looked. They kept saying "Ossie wouldn't recognize her house." I don't think they really meant it as a compliment but we took it that way.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Something to Notice

So there is a little google ad on the right side of our blog. Have you noticed it?

It is that orange square you see just to the right of these words.

I have it there as an added element of interest. I think it is hilarious what it pulls up sometimes. It is supposed to "crawl" our site and pull relevant ads but it rarely hits that mark. Usually it is just a little east of ridiculous while still be just south of accurate.

The great thing is it changes constantly though so you never know what you are going to get. Last time I pulled up our page it was an ad for a "Fun, New Parenting Method." Then another time it was for "Heat Stress Kits." I am not asking you to click on it, rather I am asking you to enjoy the humor of it with every visit.

I can't wait to see what it thinks is relevant for this post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I really don't understand this so I am hoping everyone can help me. We still don't have gasoline. I understand the mad rush on the stations last Friday, and I understand 2 of every 4 stations being out over the weekend. However, I don't understand why almost a week after the hurricane (that didn't destroy all the refineries on the coast) 3 out of 4 stations are still out.

Is this happening everywhere or are the oil companies just finally taking a stand against the partially offensive monument to the confederacy on I-65 and are refusing to deliver to Nashville?

I don't know, but I hope we get gas soon. Every time we notice another station running out we think, "hmmmmm should we get our gas tanks and fill them up just in case?" But then that feels a bit ridiculous. However, at what point do you say "yeah there is going to be a problem" and just be ridiculous with your eight gas cans at the one pump in town that still has gas?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Windows Open

There is nothing like cool weather to remind us that we live in front of an after school care facility. Our back neighbors run a before and after school care business out of their home. During the weather that warrants the windows closed we are only reminded by the passing child walking home through our yard.

I know most people would be bothered with children and parents trouncing through their yard at random times but not me. It just reminds me of my childhood when we would sit down to dinner with the family and wave to a Peska child who was walking shoeless through our backyard to get to a friends house. I mention the shoeless because my mother always thought it was so strange that they rarely wore shoes. Sometimes they would come over to play in socks, without shoes. They could afford shoes and had plenty but they weren't made to wear them out of their house.

Anyway, now that the windows are open we only have five hours of quiet in our house because the sound of children playing is constant (morning and evening). I am upstairs right now and Joshua has his music turned up so loud I can hear it clearly on the other side of the house. My guess is he is trying to cover up the "children at play" noises coming in the windows. At one point this afternoon he looked up at me and said "What is that? Is something wrong?"

No Joshua that is just the sound of a girl getting chased by a boy. If she was smart she wouldn't run - she would fill her purse with rocks and use it as a weapon. That worked for me every time.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So Joshua and I have been meaning to throw a neighbor party and the 70 degree weather has us thinking this is the perfect time. We walked around to all the houses that touch our lot (plus the guy that redid our hardwood floors a little further down the street) and invited them over on Friday evening for a cookout.

This party is to foster a little neighborly spirit between everyone. It is also our way of dealing with the offhand comments we get all the time when we see someone getting mail.

"Now I can't imagine there was anything wrong with that house when you bought it. What are you people doing over there?"

"Well thank you so very much for asking, come over on Friday, eat our chicken and we'll give you a tour."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Currently Listening To: Horse Feathers

Their music makes me smile and cry at the same time.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Guinea Pigs

I heard an ad today for a clinical study for lasik eye surgery. Is it just me or would you have to be crazy to let someone "try" something with lasers anywhere near your eyes?

Not all clinical studies sound scary to me, just this one.

Hmmmm... interesting. I don't think taking strange untested pills is scary. Maybe that is crazier!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am sitting out on our patio working today. Now that the weather is cooling (in the 80s), I am bound and determined to make the most of this laptop. Here is my arsenal:

The mosquito candle is the newest addition, although honestly right now I don't think it is working very well.

It is so great to live in a place where you can sit outside in September. I'm sweating a little bit, but lets be honest I can sweat in a fully air conditioned space so that isn't a really big deal. I have so many memories of going to classes in Austin drenched with sweat and then before that there were band practices in Corpus in November where we were still dying in the heat.

There are quite a few reasons why I'd rather not live in Tennessee but the weather IS NOT one of them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Be the Change

The Presidential Election has me all in a flurry this time around. Neither option is a great choice and it seems that we always run into that problem every four years. Don't worry, I'm not getting into politics - but it does make me think about how I want the world to look.

I want every child to have fresh water and food everyday. I want everyone to have the opportunity to go to school. I want people to be able to keep more of the money they work so hard to earn. I want people to give more of that money away to make the first two things possible. I want people who are sick to have access to the things that make them better. I want people to know the hope that I have and believe there is a better life.

Pretty lofty list and that is just the beginning. I don't think there is a candidate that can help with my list and that makes the choice hard for me. However, 3 things happened this weekend that showed me what I need to do.

#1 An idea "Be the change you want to see in the world." - That's a quote from Ghandi but I heard it on Grey's Anatomy

#2 An opportunity - We met with an organization in Nashville called Youth Encouragement Services that has worked for the last 50 years with kids in the projects of Nashville giving them an opportunity to change their destiny.

#3 An outcome - We watched Born Into Brothels about a photographer who gave years of her life to help children of prostitutes escape that world.

There is no easy solution to my list but that isn't my problem. I need to do what I can and trust that someone else will be working beside me to help with the other items. So this year, instead of teaching the ESL class we have done for 2 years we are going to tutor kids on Tuesday evening. I can't wait to get started and I don't think I'm going to change the world, I'm just going to do my part.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Get It, Watch It

Born Into Brothels: amazing documentary, highly recommended.

FYI - Don't go to the website, it will ruin the film for you (spoiler).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Paper Clips and Such

Joshua and I have had movies coming out of our ears the last few weeks. Between Netflix and a free month of a Blockbuster online subscription we would stay plenty busy but now the Blockbuster by our house is handing out one free movie a day (seriously, check it out). There have been good and there have been bad but there have been a lot of documentaries which I LOVE!

Right now we have 2 documentaries waiting for us to watch, "Born into Brothels" and "Wetback" but most recently we watched "Paper Clips" and "51 Birch Street."

Paper Clips should have been a touching story about children learning about the Holocaust. However, there was no conflict or story arch even though they kept acting like something was going to happen. So it ended up being something that was more interesting in the 2 sentence synopsis rather than the 1.5 hour movie.

51 Birch Street was quite the opposite. It was a very intriguing 2 hours that didn't sound as good on the back of the box. It was about a son's discovery of who his parents really were and what their relationship was really like. It was great because the movie didn't push the final outcome but let you discover with the filmmaker what he experienced. If you get a chance to get it, check it out. It makes you think about your own parents and how you would deal with some of the experiences he had in the making of the film.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It Happened!

So I have never had money just show up in my mailbox before. You always hear of God providing out of nowhere and with me He has always provided work that way, but not cold hard cash. Well yesterday that changed.

Joshua and I received a check from our insurance company for $700 for an error on something at the closing of our house one year ago but it wasn't discovered until this week. I can't wait to deposit it and write a check in that amount for my Peru mission trip. With that money and the garage sale I am only lacking a few hundred dollars for my trip which is crazy since I only just decided that I was even going on the trip.

I am always amazed at God's provision in the self employed life I was made for. When I was working for a company it was easy to think that I had something to do with my monthly income. Being freelance is different and I love it because there is no mistaking who is in control.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Hole

Joshua is presently outside in our front yard digging a huge hole. I am not overstating it with huge. It is going to be 3ft wide and 3ft deep. The last time I checked on him he was at 2ft and counting.

As the weather is getting cooler we are moving into phase 2 of the Salem house renovation. It is really appropriate that we start now because it was about one year ago today that we tore into the inside of our house.

Quick sidenote: I can't believe one year ago we had two houses. One year ago my life looked completely different and it is crazy to think of the things that I have lost and gained in just a years time. It has been a year of mourning and celebration and because I would have to trade the good with the bad I wouldn't change a thing.

Anyway, the hole he is digging will be used for drainage off the house. We are going to be building flower beds and planting plants. Then we'll move into painting shutters and doors and replacing storm doors. It is quite a task (we really hate yardwork) but we are excited about the front of our house not looking neglected and barren any longer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


To one of my best friends in the world:

I'm glad you were born! I'll go out on a limb and say that Sam is glad too (since she IS in the picture with us).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not Since the 99 cent Kids Meal

A couple of months ago Joshua and I stumbled into family night at the Chick-fil-A where they sell chicken nugget kid meals for $ .99 and now LOVE Tuesday nights at Chick fil A. Well, technically we've never been back but it's nice to know that if we wanted a 99 cent kid meal is it waiting for us there.

Anyway, I found out yesterday that Chick fil A is having an even bigger celebration on Monday in honor of not only Labor Day but also football season. Here are the details but they are basically handing out 3 piece chicken strip meals if you wear any football teams logo or paraphernalia.

Joshua and I have our Longhorn gear all picked out and can't wait to drive thru and each get our free chicken strips. If there is a Chick fil A near you make it a part of your Labor Day celebration and think of us as you are enjoying your FREE chicken.

Happy Labor Day!

P.S. Once I looked at the entry posted I notice we match our blog perfectly in our shirts - that is funny!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Your Opinion Counts

Here is the final house that we have photographed so far:

Green - sideview

We have begun the processing of the images but I thought this might be a great time to get some feedback. Joshua and I are having a bit of a disagreement about a few elements of the photos so be brutal and give us your thoughts on how the photos look. You'll probably be making at least one of us happy with anything you say so criticize away.

For some reason the blog is cutting off a part of the photo so just click on the image and leave your thoughts on flickr.

If you don't want to play our game with us, then just enjoy the photos of his house. We also worked on verbage for the website since we last posted so you can get the real information that will go on our website.

Green - WS Front

After the demolition of an existing home in the heart of Green Hills, we acted upon the owners’ desire to create a new home that would meet their needs, while also paying homage to the overall scale and history of the surrounding neighborhood. Porches wrap the front and rear, extending the home’s living spaces. Controlling the overall height and massing, we utilized authentic historic details to create a 4,000 sf home that is charming, approachable and fits in comfortably with its neighbors.

Green - WS back