Tuesday, August 30, 2016

4 Years Ago


Four years ago you flew to Korea to visit me.
Four years ago we ate Korean pizza and we went to the Busan Tower together.
Four years ago we said goodbye and you flew across the ocean, back to America.
Four years ago you told me you were driving from Kansas back to Oklahoma.
Four years ago my phone rang a 5am and my best friend said, "David is alive but did you hear what happened?"

I will never ever in my life forget that phone call. People always talk about those dreaded phone or Skype calls and when they come your way they are so so scary.


                                              

Let me explain this story.

Dave came to Korea to visit me in August of 2012. A group of us went to Taiwan and then we spent a few days in Korea together. He flew back to Kansas and was going to rest for an extra day or two to get over jet lag but he felt good enough to drive back to Oklahoma for work.

In Korea, I had a phone that hooked up to the Internet and it rang at 5am. Phones don't ring at 5am you guys unless something is wrong. My good friend Shenel told me that Dave was alive and okay but that he had been in a horrible car wreck where his car had flipped. There aren't really words to describe the emotions you feel when you get news like that. It's scary.

I immediately hung up the phone and started calling David over and over. Finally he picked up and told me he was okay.

How exactly did Dave wreck his car? Well, the road to Oklahoma is straight forever and ever and ever, except for this one turn in the road. Dave was going around 80mph (speeding!) and while he glanced down to change the music, that turn came, and he couldn't correct his car in time and it rolled several times.

You can see by the pictures that there is no way he should be alive. No way. The car was completely smashed except where his head was. Here are some other factors that could only be God. Dave didn't always wear his seatbelt and that day he did. He also had 3lb.weights in his car that he would lift for a long period of time while he drove that boring drive and somehow those didn't hit his head. There are little poles on the side of the road and he didn't hit one of those. Basically, God spared his life and I'm sure the guardian angels in the car that day got smushed. I am also glad I was in Korea as if I were in that car I doubt I would have lived.

Here are pictures from that day and the captions underneath each picture is what Dave wrote with his FB caption when he shared them. 

Still amazes me I got out with just a few small scrapes and didn't even go to the hospital. Praise God!
Now its a convertible
My head was in the only part of the car that didn't get crushed.

trying to figure out how/why I survived and how i was walking around and feeling perfectly fine.


Glad and shocked to be alive and well! God wants me here for some reason...
What else is only God is that Dave walked out of this. The only injuries he had were a cut around his eye and a cut on his elbow. His Mom was a doctor and sewed him up. He didn't even go to the hospital for it.

Dave and I used to drive that road all the time and I would always joke and say, "You're lucky to be alive but not really lucky at all because God spared your life."

I share this story for several reasons:

1. Life is fragile and we could go any day. 

Seriously, if it weren't for God that day Dave should have died. If he had died that day I know for sure where he would be because he has trusted Christ as His Saviour. I share that to ask you if you know for sure where you would go?

2. Life is precious

Seriously, you never know when something might happen or when someone might be gone so appreciate each day God gives you.

3. Don't be a distracted driver

I will admit I am not perfect at this but I will tell you that this wreck changed Dave and I both forever. We don't speed much more than 5 over, we always always always wear our seat belts and we try to put our phones away. Granted, I'm obviously not perfect at this because I backed into a pole while I was in a parking lot because I texted. Fail on my part. But I do think it is so good to be intentional in being alert on the road.  

So this is my reminder for you ( and me) to be alert on the road. Buckle up. Put your phone away. Drive smart.

It's interesting because Dave has no emotional trauma from this wreck. He isn't scared to drive. He isn't scared to get in an accident. Me? I was horribly terrified and am still working on it. I am overly adamant that Dave's seatbelt be clicked right away and honestly, I'm sometimes just super tense in a car. It is interesting to me how we each reacted to that situation. I mean, I wasn't even there, I was in Korea.

Dave and I still laugh because he went back home to Kansas and he looked in the bathroom and his Mom was in there dying her hair black because Dave had given her more grays. I think she got the biggest scare out of everyone. The authorities called her to tell her that her son was in a wreck and Life Watch (the helicopters) were being flown out. She immediately left to go to the wreck, which was about 1 1/2 hours from Wichita. Then the authorities called back and told her Life Watch had been cancelled, and they only cancel that if someone dies. She was horrified and then they said, "Oh and here is your son on the phone." Poor Carol! They cancelled the helicopter because Dave climbed out of his car and was fine. I felt terrible for her and if I were her I'd probably die my hair black, go to the spa followed by therapy and then I would have given my 27 year old son a darn good spanking. ha ha!

We only get to see a few sunsets and we never know which one will be our last.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Opinions



Today I'm here to share some things I've seen and heard  lately. Some make my jaw drop and some are just opinions of mine. I keep thinking that some of these things are new since being back from Asia but let's be real, I've been back 9 months so this must just be new stuff happening.

These are also just my opinions. They aren't meant to be directed at one person but rather just some collective thoughts of things I have seen lately. 



1. Fundraising / Begging 

Okay, let me start by saying I understand that people beg because they have a difficult lot in life. This is not what I'm talking about. 

The begging I have seen was when I was driving down the road and saw a basketball team standing on the side of the road holding signs asking for money. I immediately wondered what happened to car washes where you actually earn money? Since when do you just hold a sign and expect everyone to drop their cash in your hand. I think the kids could learn so much more by doing some sort of job rather than just expecting a handout. It was also someone I knew from a long time ago that was directing this (don't worry she doesn't read my blog). I tried to secretly take a picture but then one of the kids was like "That girl is taking our picture!!!" Busted. Has anyone else seen this in their community? 

Dave and I like to give too so I'm not trying to sound stingy. We had someone ring our doorbell asking for a little bit of money and we could get a calendar for donating. I appreciated that because at least they are going door to door trying to sell something.

***update: After writing this post I was out and about and drove through that same intersection. Instead of basketball they now have football. AND, get this, they have their lawn chairs and just sit there. There were a couple of kids walking around too with their helmets asking for money. End of rant.

Speaking of money let's move to point number 2....

2. Go Fund Me

Seriously! I would love a Canon6D maybe I'll just start a Go Fund Me page. I 100% understand raising funds for a funeral or a medical expense but I feel like people slap up a Go Fund me page for just about anything. Then to top it off, after they ask for money they post about a vacation they went on or they post about a fancy restaurant they ate at. My jaw drops. I mean if you really needed that money what happened to savings? or picking up an extra shift or two at work? or perhaps eating at home rather than eating out.  I'm baffled you guys!

Again, I totally support the campaigns where the need is genuine.


3. Birth Stories / Hard Motherhood Tales

Okay, I know I might be walking a fine line when I write this one out but I hope you'll hear me out. It honestly really freaks me out when people write about or when people tell me every detail about their birth. I just don't think everyone needs to hear that. It especially freaks me out when women rage on about how their women parts are just never the same. The fear that that can create in someone like me who hasn't had a kid isn't fun. I don't mind talking to close friends and listening to them at all but I have had people I don't know well at all tell me some horrific stories and I honestly just don't even know how to reply??? What are your thoughts on this? Mom's how do you feel about telling your story?

The other part that gets me is when Mom's make a comment about how tired they are, how much they have been pooped and barfed on, how sleep deprived they are and can never do what they want again BUT they sure do love their baby! That does not help those of us who don't have kids. That freaks me out. Sometimes they will then ask or wonder about when we are having kids. I have no idea how to answer that. 

Lastly, birth pictures. Not okay. I get that a human entering the world is a miracle and I have indeed seen a birth in persona and it is a beautiful and sacred moment. What isn't sacred is when you post that picture on FB, especially graphic ones. Not okay, people.

Moving on.


4. Facebook

FB baffles me. I just can't make up my mind about it. However, here is something I notice: people will post how busy and tired they are followed by 20 million more posts. I wonder if the logged off of FB if they would rest and be able to tackle their busy life? Just a thought.


5. Online Grocery Shopping

This is a new thing happening in Kansas. Youc an go on-line and order your groceries and just pick them up. You can also order your Starbucks on-line now too so maybe you could do a coffee grocery run at the same time. 

I think this is a great thing for someone that is handicap or has an injury. I also think it is a great thing for working Moms as this would utilize time with their kids at home verses the grocery store. However, part of me just doesn't like that our society is so 'order on my app and pick it up'. I mean we don't even have time to walk into Starbucks or heaven forbid, drive thru and get a cup of coffee? I also don't understand what is so hard about getting in your car, driving to the store, walking through some aisles, placing things in your cart, having someone bag it and then you drive those things home?

I think part of my opinion on this comes from living abroad. Grocery shopping in most countries is not easy. Just getting out of your apartment requires much more effort (think pad locks and gates) to weaving through crowds, finding a taxi, walking, shopping, hauling your groceries to finding another taxi, getting home and then having to bag and freeze everything that same day before it goes bad. And to be honest, I'm so thankful for those experiences. It taught me to be grateful.

If I get to the point where I'm ordering everything on-line then I hope I move back to Burma for a reality check. Not kidding either. 

Side note: I will say that Walmart has a $10 off of $50 right now with on-line shopping so that is a $10 savings and I'm all about coupons and savings. Plus, if you combined that with Ibotta coupons and Checkout51 your bill could be super cheap.

Again, if ordering on-line is for you then that is your choice and is totally fine. I'm just voicing my opinion.


6. Burmese Earthquake

Okay, this is kind of random but last week Burma had an earthquake. Did you heat about it? It was actually bigger than the one in Italy but caused less damage because it was in a remote village called Bagan. Dave and I have visited Bagan and you know what is there? Thousands and thousands of evil Buddhist temples. Seriously, you can feel Satanic presence when you walk in there. Well, last week the earthquake knocked the tops off of around 200 of those temples and I have to tell you, I was so glad! I feel like Satan got a kick and that is always a good thing. Dave and I visited those exact temples that got knocked over. Here is a picture.



And that is the conclusion of my opinions, for today. =) Feel free to comment with what you think about the things I've shared about. Even if you view something completely different I'm up for hearing about it. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Colorado Budget


Thank you Groupon for sponsoring this post. It's fun because I had planned to share a majority of this content anyways and then Groupon contacted me about writing for them. My only regret is that they contacted me the last day of my trip to Colorado rather than the beginning because I forgot to check for Groupon deals while we were in Denver. And the Groupon link they sent me was indeed for Denver. Fail! As always all opinions are my own.


Today I want to share about our budget for Colorado. I have been on a big kick to revamp our entire budgeting system these past few months. It was really hard in Myanmar to budget well, especially when funds were depleting and we had no steady income. It was fine because we planned for that, but doing a monthly budget overseas was really really hard.

These past few months I have been doing a Dave Ramsey class on-line. I've done one before but my Dad purchased us a class for our wedding and I'm finally getting around to watching the lessons. I think my favorite thing about the class is learning more about budgeting. I know budgeting doesn't always sound like fun, but I do well with structure and knowing exactly how much I can spend on what. I don't plan on going in depth in this post about our budgeting but if you want to know more of my process (I combine some of Dave Ramsey's ideas and implement things that work for us) let me know and I will share more about that in a different post or via e-mail as well.

Back to our Colorado budget.

Dave and I left on a Monday evening and we got back Sunday afternoon. We had a total of 6 travel days. Here is a graphic of what we spent.


Lodging - $247.16

We spent 6 nights either camping or in a hotel. It averages out to $41.19 per night on lodging. The first night we slept in the back of our SUV. I roll my eyes as I type that. It isn't too bad to sleep in your car but yet it is. Our seats do lay down in the back of our SUV so we we can actually lay down but I just don't like sleeping in a car very much. Moving on. Tuesday - Thursday we camped. The camping sights were $26 / night. Friday and Saturday we stayed at a nice hotel in Denver because after camping I need a nice clean hotel. I had a $50 Expedia voucher plus $40ish dollars in rewards so that took about $90 off of our lodging bill. All in all I think $41.19 per night is pretty good for traveling in the US. 

Food - $132.10

I made food before we left for this trip and I didn't include that in the price of food here because that money came out of our grocery budget rather than traveling budget. I made soups and froze them and we took sandwich stuff and snacks. We ate out several nights and then bought some snack stuff as well. Food averaged out to $22.01 a day. 

Gas - $107.77

Gas averages out to a whopping cheap amount of $17.96 a day! Once we arrived at Rocky Mountain National Park we didn't do much driving. Most of that gas came from driving to Colorado and back. 

Miscellaneous - $43.50

This item came in because Dave and I had a big miscommunication on when we were leaving. I thought we were leaving Monday evening and Dave thought we were leaving Tuesday morning. I had everything ready and packed when he come home from work on Monday evening so he threw his stuff together and we left. And because we were rushed we left things at home. I forgot a coffee maker, and I don't care if this sounds snobbish, but I wasn't going to camp without coffee. I purchased a percolator and I just have to say, it is awesome!

We also had to pay for showers when camping. I told you before that I went 5 days without showering and by the 5th day I NEEDED TO SHOWER! It cost $2 for 6 minutes and I shower longer than 6 minutes. And by that time I didn't care how many quarters it cost to get me clean. #firstworldproblems

Freebies

Something that also helped cut down our cost was free things we had. Dave purchased a National Park pass back in January when we traveled the west coast. It cost $80 up front but saved us a bunch of money in the long run. Just to get into RMNP it costs $30. The pass was also good for the entrance fee to Mt. Evans and that saved us $15. 

I purchased  Botanical Garden Pass in Wichita and I was told it worked at other gardens too and it did in Denver. The passes were $12.50 / person so it saved us $25. 

Again we had that money from Expedia and that was a total of about $100. 

So total we didn't have to pay $145! That's a pretty good savings. 

Coupons 

And here is where I wished I would have used Groupons. Something I really wanted to do was to go kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. Dave hiked a 14,000 foot mountain and that takes from 3am - 3pm. I just kind of chilled out but I wished I would have used this Groupon for paddleboarding or this one for kayaking. They are half off the normal cost so definitely would have been worth it. 

Groupon also has a lot off offers for family events or theme parks so it would work well if you are traveling out there with your family.  


How do you budget for travel? 

What are you best money saving tips for traveling? 

Have you ever used Groupon when you travel to other places? 

Do you think our traveling amounts or low or high? I'm curious. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Little Update



Hi! Hi!

I'm just popping in to say hi and do a little update on what's been going on over here.

Dave has been working some intense work hours these past few months but this month, his schedule had a gap in it, so we headed to Colorado to do some camping and hiking. I went 5 days without showering. FIVE! All I have to say are two words: dry shampoo!

It was one of the most relaxed trips we have had together. Our trip down the west coast this past year was scenic but I was very stressed out coming back from Asia and not having a home to come home to. I'm super thankful for a home. It's so nice to see new sights but to be able to come home when we are done traveling.

I plan on sharing some more about our trip soon. I want to put a video together (thanks to Amanda for the inspiration) and our budget for this trip as well as share some pictures and places we stayed. 


This past month I interviewed for a different job. It was a great job as an Office Manager but it required 40-50 hours a week + some weekends, and that just isn't for me right now. I am staying at the Y and they are giving me some more office responsibilities like scheduling and helping coordinate the swim lesson program. It was stressful not knowing which direction I was supposed to go but I finally got on my knees and asked God for direction. That same afternoon the job I interviewed for called and told me it wouldn't work since I couldn't do full time. I was so thankful for an answer and I know God wants me at the Y. Something that I thought about over and over was that the Y is a place where I can interact with people more and will have more opportunities to minister to families and show them Christ's love. I'm thankful God opens and closes doors.

Is anyone else a bit sad the Olympics are over? I loved loved loved watching them. I wish you could see the disgusted look on my face right now as I type out the word - football. Come soon February. Can we just have Olympics from August - February instead of lameball?

Today the pool in our area had a fund rasier for the Kansas Humane Society. You could pay $10 and your dog could swim and swim. Static loves to swim so I took her. She enjoyed every aspect of it, except all the other dogs around. She acted like they were dead to her. It was funny.

Lastly, Dave and I went to Denver Botanical Gardens and there aren't enough heart eye emojis for the flower love. Seriously! Flowers, everywhere. It was great. So I leave you with a flower picture, unedited. God makes beautiful things.


How have you been?

Are you excited about fall? I am!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Home Tour - The Master Bedroom & Bath


I'm back to show you some more of our house and today I'm here to show you our master bedroom and bath. The master area is fun because it is the only area upstairs and it's our own little getaway space.

When we moved in I immediately told Dave I was going to paint the walls a light gray or white and thankfully he talked me out of creating a big project for myself. I left it the way we purchased it and I think it looks fine now.

Our bed and floating night stands were something I had when I was single so we just kept it. I saw a bed set similar on I think, Crate & Barrel and it was sooooo incredibly expensive. I have a friend in town that makes furniture so he made the whole set for me for a much better price. We decided to just keep this instead of paying for a bunch of new furniture.


This sits on my floating nightstand and was made for me by my sister-in-law. It is a ring holder made from various pieces of jewelry that my mother-in-law had. It is a treasure and one of the most thoughtful gifts I have received. 


This pillow has a story too. My mother-in-law had been to Burma many times and ended up leaving a suitcase full of clothes and medical supplies. I took some of her clothes and had a local seamstress sew me pillow covers. The pink heart is from a shirt that Carol owned and the khaki map of Myanmar is from a pair of pants she had. The other cloth is local Myanmar. I had a total of 4 pillows made. One went to my friend, Pam, in Burma and the other two went to my sister-in-laws. 


That dresser on the right...I wish I had a before picture. My friend gave me an old dresser and I just used some paint that the sellers had left to give it a facelift. And that is how we own a dresser.


And now lets talk about the main piece of decor in this room and that would be my curtains! When we lived in Woodwad Dave wanted black out curtains and I wanted Chevron so I went to Etsy and started searching. I came across a shop called Sew Panache that had so many patterns to choose from and you could add black out lining as well. I ordered a panel in Woodward and they worked great.

Our master bedroom has 5 large windows and Dave has to sleep during the day sometimes due to work so we needed another set of curtains. I contacted Jan from Sew Panache and she was able to get me another set of curtains for our room. The curtains I needed were super long and she did a really good job of connecting pieces of fabric without breaking the pattern. If you need curtains I highly highly recommend purchasing from her.

I also think they are affordable. I priced matched them with ones at Bed Bath & Beyond and these custom ones were a more affordable option. I view curtains as an invest them because I plan on having them for a long time. So pretty much you should get curtains from Jan!


Here is a shot during the middle of the day with the windows closed. They do a pretty good job!


Do you see that vent between the mirror and fan? That is the only vent in our room. It can get toasty up there during the hot summer months so the curtains pretty much stay shut.


Here is our super fun master bath. I'm not a bath person so I'm glad we just have a shower.

Do you see the door to the right of the shower? That is a little door that goes to the attic. I've never been in there because ... spiders!

Now I'll tell you the horrible part about this bathroom. The attic and this bathroom are not insulated and there is no AC vent in here. So, in the summer months that bathroom is literally 120 degrees. It's a sauna in there. Step into the shower and you might as well bake cookies. It's so hot! We shower downstairs unless it is early morning. Eventually we will get it all insulated but you know, we gotta finish the sewer fix first.


When we moved in the guy who flipped it hadn't removed his show furniture and he left these shelves, which we obviously use a lot.


Here are some other posts of our house tour. You can click on the picture or the words underneath

 The Living Room
The Living Room
The Spanish Guest Bathroom
               
I still plan to show my kitchen to you all and my porch, it's super fun and cute! Do you all like these home tours?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Lavender Basil Lemonade


Raise your hand if you love a good refreshing summer drink?!

Today I have a delicious lemonade recipe for you where a majority of the prep work can be made in advance and stored in your fridge to use all summer long. 

I feel like every summer I discover a summer drink and it is my go-to for the entire summer and this years lavender basil lemonade did not disappoint.  

If you don't have a basil plant at home I highly recommend purchasing one. They are easy to grow and produce a lot of basil. I have three basil plants in my garden I can't eat it or give it away fast enough. Lavender can be purchased at a local spice shop or on-line. It costs around $2 for a couple of ounces and lasts a long time. I've only purchased it once this summer and still have plenty left.

This recipe is easy because you can make a batch of lavender infused simple syrup and keep it in your refrigerator. That way when you want to make lemonade you will have the syrup ready and just have to squeeze a lime and add in basil. Sometimes you can infuse water overnight with basil if you so choose but I often don't remember to do that. 



Here is what you will need: 

1/8th cup of dried lavender
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 lemon 
4-5 basil leaves 

Simple Syrup:

In a pot bring to a boil the water, sugar and lavender. Once it boils turn it down to a simmer and stir it for 2-3 minutes. Take it off the burner and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Strain the lavender out and place the simple syrup in the refrigerator until you are ready to make your lemonade. 

You can also substitute honey for sugar for simple syrup. It gives it a bit of a different flavor but is still really good. 

Lemonade: 

Squeeze 1/2 lemon in a cup, add 1 shot of the syrup, basil, water and ice. You can add more or less of the syrup or lemon to your taste. 

I think this drink is so incredibly tasty! If you take the time to make the syrup where it is in your fridge it saves time in the long run. 



What's your favorite drink during the summertime? 
Have you ever had a drink with lavender in it? It is surprisingly tasty! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A week in Whidbey Island


Last week I went up to Whidbey Island (which is just 1 1/2 hours north of Seattle) to babysit my nephew and niece for a week. My sister-in-law is in the Reserves and had to get some work hours in and my brother is deployed (was deployed actually, as he got home yesterday)! 

I originally wanted to stay in Seattle for a night to do all the touristy stuff I love but Seafair was going on and rooms were $250 a night and there is no way I was going to pay that. I looked into AirBnb and the options were really weird, like I'd have to sleep in a studio apartment with people...no thanks! So I got into Seattle and took a shuttle up to Whidbey. 

The shuttle ride itself is actually pretty fun. They drive you by downtown and then you take a ferry across the water. The ferries of Washington commute 23 million people a year, Dave and I just watched a documentary on this last night. Once on the island you commute north and it really does look like Prince Edward Island from Anne of Green Gables. It's super pretty. 




Sunday afternoon my nephew and I went to a lavender farm which is about 1 mile from their house. It was really pretty and fun. 




Elliot actually took this next picture. He kept asking to take pictures with my camera so with a lot of help from his Aunt Beka, I'd let him hold my super expensive camera and lens and take some pictures. It's kind of fun to do that with him and I think he took a really great picture.


I think Elliot's favorite part was when we chased each others shadows.


 Trying to get a good picture with a 4 year old is a big job. =) Here is what I got.


My nephew loves a restaurant called The Knead and Feed. Seriously, the best 'cimanon' rolls (as Elliot pronounces them) are at this place. I told him he could get whatever he wanted. What was I thinking??? He ordered hot chocolate, a cinnamon roll (which are huge) and a piece of toast. And I'm here to tell you he ate all of that by himself.

One day we were sitting outside swinging and looking at the ocean and the green trees and I asked him what his favorite thing about living on Whidbey Island was and he said, "going to The Knead and Feed." ha! I then asked him what his favorite thing about his Mom was and he replied, "that she takes me to The Knead and Feed." ha ha ha! I was cracking up!


This little girl right here melts my heart! She is one happy baby about 95% of the time and is so much fun. 




This is what happens when you don't get a baby quick enough from their nap.

Here is another picture taken by Elliot.


At night time when the kids were asleep and their Mom was home I would take my brother's dog and go for a walk down to the beach. It's so pretty there and I just love that PNW ocean!


The only thing not pictured is the one that my sister-in-law, Ana, and I didn't take together. We even said how we always forget to take a group picture and that we would do it but we totally forgot. =( That's okay, next time!

Have you ever been to the PNW? 

Also, for those in the Wichita, area come April of 2017 Alaska Airlines will be offering a direct flight daily to Seattle! I'm super pumped about that. 

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