Good thing I have a conscience

Alright Becky, this one's for you. Becky 'tagged' me on her blog - and though I willingly and without guilt or remorse feel no obligation to do these things when they are forwards that promise luck, love, and wealth over email, I'll play nicely for you here Bec!

So tag, I'm it: For the love of all that's holy...
Here are the rules: Go to your fourth picture folder and then go to the fourth picture in the folder. Write four things about the picture and then tag four other people. You never know what fun will follow...

Tag you're it, you have to play along!
1. Rebecca
2. Adele

3. Katie Kate
4. Amy

1. This picture is of Kaden and Natalie -
Natalie is my sister-in-law and is married to Dave, Terry's brother
2. This was on a trip to visit Terry when we started dating and we were in Hawaii,
it was Kaden's first trip to the water
3. Kaden is now a 3 year old child-prodigy drummer
(I have probably mentioned this before in previous posts)
4. I love this kid. Dave, Natalie & Kaden happen to be in Charlotte
this week and we hung out with them last night.
Kaden and I were playing last night while the band was finishing up,
and we sat down to take a break and he looked at me and said
"so, how's your day going?" Melt. My. Heart.


Team Edward

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas after filling our bellies full of good food, my family goes to see a movie together. We decided that this year's movie would be Twilight since we have all (minus the husband) been totally hooked on the books.

So last weekend at my surprise birthday dinner when the girls all announced they wanted to see the midnight showing of it [yes we know the target demographic for these books and the movie are teeny-boppers but we were not ashamed], I fell right into the peer pressure trap and agreed to go. We talked about getting some of these hilarious Team Edward shirts but couldn't decide which one to get decided to pass. Terry couldn't believe I was going to sell my family out like that, but I assured him I would just still go see it on Thanksgiving. Plus, I'm still working on my boring factor over here and going to see a midnight premier of a movie has to give me some points in that category (nevermind that I went in my sweat pants, tried to take a nap before going and had a venti cup of tea with me...)

Now I didn't expect the movie to live up to the book, because movies NEVER live up to books, and this one especially was so relational that I knew that would be hard to convey on screen. But I was excited all the same and had relatively high hopes!

[insert sound of a plane going down and crashing]

Surrounded by hundreds of 13 year old girls squealing and clapping as the lights went down I knew I was in for a ride. It was not long before I knew this was going to be a huge disappointment. The acting was terrible, the special effects were lame, there was not character development and no plot progression. I laughed out loud several times when things happened that were supposed to be amazing and captivating fell so short that they were instead painful and humorous. I can't decide now if the movie would have been worse if I had or had not read the books. If you haven't read the books, I don't think you will get 90% of the underlying points in the movie, and since there is no character or plot progression you will wonder how on earth Bella went from meeting Edward to wanting to die for him in what the movie made seem like .2 seconds.

The movie was a huge let down and I cannot believe the author put her name on it and likes it. I felt it was my DUTY to my family now to tell them I had seen it without them and was trying to save them from pain and torture by telling them they should not go see it. You would all be better off not seeing it. Adam hung up on me, and Laura went to see it afterwards but called me hysterically laughing afterwards. I think we'll be going to see something different over Thanksgiving either way.

What a let down. And as Alli said, by the end of the movie, I was kind of glad I wasn't wearing our Team Edward shirts. But don't worry, despite the movie, the book series still ranks highly among my favorites. And if you haven't read it, put away your pre-conceived notions about vampires, do not - I beg of you DO NOT - go see the movie, and I promise, you will love them!


Change is good

I have this alter ego that if you are new to my life, you don't really know about. It's not the one I referred to in the previous post...though I guess now that you know about her too we should talk about multiple personalities...another time...

I have always [well always might be a strong word, I should just say since growing up; but then ago, I kind of think I have always felt grown up - I digress] felt this pull on my heart to be these two people that never seemed to meld. One was serious and driven and professional, that part of me that drove me to succeed in school, to make my bed even when my mom wasn't looking, to get a good job, to make a training calendar for myself for my first 1/2 marathon and give myself stickers when I finished each bench mark (yes, it's true - sheesh, I can't believe I tell these things on here). The other grew up at camp since she was 10; was relaxed, taught outdoor living, led highschool girls on the Appalachian Trail, takes pride in her fire building skills, and would pay money to kick back in jeans and a t-shirt every day. For 23 years I wondered how I would ever meld these two people into one. Not just camp-girl in the summer and school-girl during the year, but somehow, both all the time.

Then I moved to Asheville to start Grad School. To say the least it didn't really go down how I planned, but it turned out to be the beginning of the best part of my life. I lived in the mountains with amazing friends, I breathed that life in day in and day out. I drove up that mountain for school and came back down to my home. And that summer, I stepped out on a huge limb. I was feeling confident, getting healthy, and needing a fresh start. From the time I was 10 I spent my summers at Ridgecrest Summer Camps as a camper. From the time I was 16 I spent my summers there as a counselor or director. 7 years later, it was time for a change. I spent my summer at Windy Gap, a Young Life camp outside of Asheville as one of 11 interns for the summer. I should have had a clue about how the summer would go when 'some girl' pulled up to camp in my same car, with the same shirt and belt on, and shared my love of Wheat Thins dipped in whipped cream cheese [seriously people, you are missing out on life if you haven't tried this...] That girl and was in my wedding and is now one of my very best friends, my twin, and a pea in the pod of my life. But I had no idea.

These 11 people became my family, the best of my friends; some amazing and truly divine and blessed connection formed instantly and I have never since been the same. It was that summer that the two halves of myself found harmony and I found balance. I laughed and felt more at home in my own skin more that summer than in most of the years of my life leading up to that time. It was the summer of 2004, and we were the best interns Windy Gap will ever have. It'strue, just ask them.

We come from New York, LA, Virginia, Atlanta,Knoxville, Charlotte, Columbia, Asheville and Greenville. Since then, we have gotten together for 2 impromptu reunions, a ruined-surprise birthday(yes that's right, the surprise was ruined just minutes before and people had flown in from all over the country for it), Terry & I's wedding, and most recently this weekend for another wedding; and one more next month. 11/12 of us have been together every time one way or another. But this Christmas, we will be rolling 12 for 12 deep plus 3 new spouses who have been welcomed with open arms. I cannot contain my excitement.

I am blessed beyond words when I spend time with these friends. They fill my soul, bring me to life, and show me love in every word, laugh and precious second of time we spend together. Their hands, words and actions molded and changed me in ways they will never know, and at the end of our summer together I had become more like the person I had always striven to be. And I trusted for the first time, in a long time, that in faith, change is good, and these friends were the fruit of that promise.


Halloween, ASU & More Camping

This past weekend was weighed down, boxed in, and surrounded by busy and unnecessarily stressful days. Let's have a week in review for the week before Halloween:

Monday: normal back to work monday, nothing fun about these days; went shopping to prepare for Thursday (keep reading...)
Tuesday: girls' Bible study night, my night to lead (interpret: stop by the store for wine and delicious dessert on the way home, drink glass of wine while cleaning house with one hand and holding Bible to read/prepare in other)
Wednesday: fabulous date with Whit & Andy to a new yummy Italian restaurant - not stressful, but still not time at home to prepare for Thursday
Thursday: 2nd annual letter-themed halloween party, prepare for Friday, pack and cook for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Friday: present lecture to group of psychologists at Behavioral Health Center with colleague, invited back after last year's presentation (thank goodness I could repeat my presentation!) 1/2 day at work, leaving for ASU game, tailgate, 8:00 Halloween game in Boone crammed into 2 bleachers with 16 extra people, one too many of whom had had one too many Fireflys; spend a relaxing (hooray!) night at Brittney & Jacob's
Saturday: delicious breakfast at Melanie's with friends, buy Christmas present with hubby, go to wedding shower for Lynn & Michael, hang out outside in cool chairs with matching caps, get lost with Matt & Kat driving to campsite (does this part sound familiar?), camp with 4 other couples
Sunday: wake up from a nyquil-induced semi-sleep (as well as you can sleep camping), drive through Stone Mountain, come home & nap, dread going to work Monday...

Not so stressful or crazy as I look back on it, but I'll tell you what...communication was far from its best in the Bruce household this week as my obsessive compulsive, need to be in control, easily annoyed, type A, high stress, why can't everyone just be like me, evil twin Eller, lesser self, seriously in need of Jesus self decided to put on a show in full force. No need to ask for encores, I was putting on a serious show every night! Sigh...always good to get a good dose of humility and a reminder of who I am when I'm not working on being who I am striving to be!

We all get our days though, don't we? I'm learning patience. And tough love. And realizing there are lingering parts of the serious side of me that are here to keep me grounded, it's okay that my sister used to call me boring, I need to be boring sometimes. I can't love other people well if I can't love myself; and I definitely can't help other people grow if I can't help myself. Don't grow weary in planting seeds, rejoice in the harvest, rest in the winter.


mom knows best

I like to think that as Terry's wife, I know him best. I've known him since high school, we've been best friends, I've broken his heart, we've promised to love each other forever, I spend most of my waking moments with him. But...we have only be married a year and a half...and I have only known him for 11 years.

A long time, I know.

But, his mom has known him for all of his years. That's why I knew I had to remember that "mom knows best" when it really counted. Last week, it really counted. Terry had two big job/promotion interviews at Lowes and I wanted to make sure he knew I was proud of him and believed in him and thought he deserved the job regardless of if they offered it to him or not. One thing I know as well as his mom knows it, is that the way to Terry's heart is through his stomach! Even though he isn't picky, he does has favorites, and his favorite is his mom's chicken/broccoli/rice casserole that he remembers eating as a kid. I tried to make this once when we lived in Durham...but I didn't go by her recipe, and I tried to be healthy and hip and used the closest version of a Cooking Light recipe that I could find. It did NOT meet his expectations. So last week I pulled out all the stops.

I started with the Bruce family cookbook his mom gave me a few Christmas' ago, where she even wrote in for me that this was his favorite recipe - she knew I would need it to show him a little extra TLC one (or several) time(s)!

I have to admit, it was delicious.

And he was gloriously happy.

And it worked. He got the promotion! Congratulations babe, I'm proud of you and I love you!