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"