Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nine Days!

I'm going on a nine-day trip this week (and next). I just thought it would be fun to list all of the places I get to go on this trip. So here it goes:
Hanover, PA
Lancaster, PA
Elizabethtown, PA
Grantham, PA (Messiah College)
Kutztown, PA
Reading, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Vienna, Va
Arlington, VA
Sterling, VA
Westminster, MD
Grove City, PA (Grove City College)
It's a lot of traveling, but I also get to see a lot of great people and kids. Typically, my trips don't last quite this long, but this time it just worked out to be a little bit crazy. The Super Bowl made it a little more wild, and my parents are coming, so I'll be "busting a move" from Reading to Pittsburgh for the big game. My goal on this trip: try to accomplish something sort of fun & memorable in the places that I visit. For example, when I had to recruit in Baltimore, I went to Ellicott City, MD, to see where my grandmother had lived when she was first married. I'm sure I'll find something interesting for this trip, too!
Wish me luck (and good weather!).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Newbery Update

So, in case you were wondering, I'm making good headway on my Newbery Award Reading List. Since September 1, 2008, I've read (drumroll please)....49 Newbery Award Winners! I started with 2007, and I've made my way back to 1944. I've missed some in between because they've been checked out of the library (you'll notice that the difference between 2007 & 1944 is not 49), or because the library doesn't have a circulating copy. But I'm working with the inter-library loan and we should be able to work that out.
Anyway, so far favorites are:
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

A few not-so-favorites:
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
M.C. Higgins the Great by Virginia Hamilton

But overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by how great the books are! They're tough to put down. Some of the not-so-favorites had rather adult themes about them, particularly, "Jacob Have I Loved", which bordered on the inappropriate. I have a friend at church who is reading the Newberys with her kids, and I advised her to really check that one out before reading it aloud.

If you're looking for a new path to pursue in your reading, I highly recommend the Newbery list. There's a lot of creativity and variety in them, and the stories are interesting and generally uplifting.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to the Super Bowl.

My pledge: wear at least one piece of Steelers bling/flair each day leading up to Super Bowl XLIII.

Zayn, a free t-shirt is coming your way. And it's good...very good.


I think I wrote about this before, but I was walking my dog yesterday and thinking about how cool dog adoption is. It was a pretty simple process, and I got to take home a dog that house trained and mellow, albeit a little strange.

I know that purebred puppies are really cute, and it's fun to be able to raise and instill your own doggie values into your pup. But they also relieve themselves on your carpet, chew on your furniture or clothing, whine at night, go out five times a day, need lots of shots, and eventually, a spay or neuter (unless you are certified dog breeder). Plus, they're expensive to "purchase".

When I got Angel (and no, I didn't name her), she was eight years old, eight pounds too heavy, and shy of strangers. And though she is still a little overweight and shy, she's adjusted really well. Plus, she lets me know when she needs to go out, she only goes out three times a day, she has no interest in chewing on anything but her own food & treats, she needs only two shots a year, she's already spayed, and she is doing great welcoming "strangers" (strangers to her = friends to me) to the house - she even let Jim pet her belly.

Anyway, my point is that adopting a dog can be a really rewarding experience because it's easier on you. Also, it's good for that dog who can't find a home. And your adopted dog will learn to love you because you have given it a home and a family.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Year

It's the new year, and a time for new starts. I generally get really excited about that "clean slate" feeling that a New Year can bring. Unfortunately, the New Year was incredibly busy so far...and I feel far from "clean-slated". I'm behind on my laundry, I missed my school loan payment (fortunately paid ahead, so no penalty), my work "to-do" list is a mile long, my last promo visit was a little slow, I have phone calls to return, I'm already behind on the 40-day challenge, and I have a boiler in my basement that goes out once every three weeks and spits soot all over, leaving my house at about 45 degrees. Aughh! It has not been a pleasant start to the new year. I desperately need some time to get my house in order and my brain on task.

But then I started thinking. Who says I have to have my clean slate on January 1st? If I give my heart and my time to God today, he offers me that clean slate. I don't have to decide on the first of the year to get in shape or commit time to God or to save for vacation, I can do it today! And while my mounds of laundry won't disappear by the time I get home tonight, my bad attitude about it should and will. It might mean that I need to take a day from work (I still have one comp day this week), and get my laundry done, get my Dave Ramsey-approved budget back under control, and get some food in my fridge!

And call Suzannah to watch the "Countdown to the Crown" & Miss America together. It's my girly guilty pleasure. And also this.