Tuesday, June 8, 2010

1950's Wife Blog

As many of you know, I have started a new journey for the summer. For fifty days, I will do my best to live as a 1950's housewife. This includes making ALL my husband's meals, making homemade jam, wearing aprons and pearls, and writing handwritten letters.

The blog is located at www.everydayexperts.com.

I hope to see you there! I will be waiting with my homemade cake :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Beauty of Teaching

I could list one hundred reasons why I love teaching, but today I am reminded of at least twelve. Today is the last day of school, and as I walked through the halls of Strong Rock, I saw teachers smiling, students laughing, and parents taking pictures. It was a great celebration! Around 11:30, one of my favorite students ran into the room and threw his arms around me. "You are my favorite teacher," he said. I can live for a whole year on that compliment.

After six years as an educator, these are my top twelve reasons to teach:

1. Where else do you hear the words, "I love you" so often?

2. If you have a bad day, someone might draw you a picture of your dog, and even though the dog looks like an angry dragon, it's a masterpiece.

3. Six year olds explain new features of my laptop.

4. Starbucks Giftcards, oh yeah!

5. If I get a new haircut, everyone notices. They might say, "You look beautiful," or "You look weird today, Mrs. Osburne," but at least they notice.

6. Fall Break

7. Winter Break

8. Spring Break

9. Summer, of course!

10. It is surreal to hear a second grader repeat your words.

11. I love working with adults who spend extra time, money, prayers, and effort to see a child succeed.

12. It's a privilege to be a small part of the plan God has for each child in your classroom.

If you have ever taught, what did you love about it? What do you remember about your teachers?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hope Remembered

I am happy to report that I am adding a word back into my vocabulary. It snuck out for a while, but it somehow found it's way back home in my heart.


When it comes to having a baby, I have tried not to be too hopeful. The greater the hope, the greater potential I have for let down. The last time I allowed hope to run wild in my heart was in November, when Clay and I had an IUI. I just knew I was pregnant. I swore I felt morning sickness and craved pickles, but apparently, I just like pickles and happen to be a grump before 9:00 AM because the test came back negative.

Since then, I have been somewhat guarded.

So last week, I had surgery to check for endometriosis. And guess what? I had it! Praise the Lord! I have never been more excited to hear that something was wrong with me. It was almost as exciting as hearing that my teeth were messed up enough for the orthodontist to recommend braces.

I told my dear friend Carolyn last night that I feel hopeful again. But after I hung up the phone, I wanted to retract my statement. Should I feel hopeful ONLY because the doctor found endometriosis? If that is the case, where am I placing all of my trust? In the hands of doctors? Of mere human beings? They are not the source of my optimism.

Psalm 20:7 reads, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." If I get pregant soon, it is because God has ordained this time for it - not because I finally realized that the reason I have horrible cramps is because I have had endometriosis. And if we don't get pregnant immediately, I will not lose hope. Because God hasn't snuck out the back door of my heart. He is always there.

So I always have Hope.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Surgery on Mother's Day Weekend

Have you ever HOPED you were sick? PRAYED for an illness?

I have been doing that lately. I am hoping that I have endometriosis. It just makes sense (that is what I've been telling God - I'm sure He's laughing). If everything else - like my eggs, hormones, and tubes are okay, then the only possible answer my infertility must be that I have endometriosis.

Okay, that's not exactly true. Here are other possible explanations:

- God has been teaching me patience, developing my character, and drawing me closer to Him.

... OR, maybe I picked up some weird germ when we lived in Spain... this is also the reason why I still can't seem to do the Cupid Shuffle.

- More likely, God has a plan for my life, and He is still weaving all the threads together to make a tapestry that only He can see.

.... OR, maybe I shouldn't have fed my broccoli to the dog as a kid. I missed out on some very important antioxidants when I skipped the veggies and headed straight for dessert.

- I think it's probably that God is working all things for my good, even when I don't understand it.

....Or, maybe the radiation from all my electronics has finally reached a tipping point.

- I am pretty sure that God is still in control, that He is blessing me beyond comprehension, that He has chosen the perfect family for me, including my beautiful Mother, precious Father, talented brother, wise husband, sweet dog, and all the friends who bless my life on a daily basis.

... Or maybe I do have endometriosis, and by having it cleared out, all my problems will be solved.

That's probably it.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mother's Day Gifts That Save the World

In preparation for Sunday School, Clay and I have been re-reading The On-Purpose Person. It always encourages me to utilize every minute, every decision, and every opportunity to do something purposeful.

Well, Mother's Day is coming up and I hate to waste money on some random trinket my Mom won't even use. So, I thought, "How can I be purposeful with this money?" And of course, God answered my question immediately.

I was reading Erica's blog where she mentioned that she was buying her Mom a necklace that was made from recycled magazines that benefited orphans in Uganda. How much more purposeful can you get? It is perfect for four reasons:

- It helps others.
- It helps the environment.
- Mom will love it.
- It's a great price.

Check out the Ugandan Magazine Beads.

Here are four other Mother's Day Gifts that meet those four purposes:

1. TOMS Shoes - For every pair of TOMS Shoes purchased, the company gives one pair to someone in an underdeveloped country. By purchasing these durable, super-cute kicks for your Mom, you will give another pair to someone in need.
2. Fair Trade Coffee and Chocolate - Purchasing anything under the Fair Trade Label ensures that you are supporting small farms and encouraging good practices among trading partners.
3. Sponsor a Woman on Kiva - Microlending is hot! You can donate as much or as little as you'd like to help someone in an underdeveloped country purchase materials to start a business. Your Mom can even choose who she wants to sponsor. And the great part... It's a loan, so you will be paid back!
4. Clocks Made from Recycled Materials - These little clocks are hysterical. They will be a conversational piece for your Mom, and environmentally friendly for everyone else.

Do you recommend any other purposeful gifts?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Free Design Giveaway

If you had to rank the rooms in your house in order from BEST to WORST, what would that list look like? Is it just me or does everyone have rooms they love, rooms they are proud of, rooms that scream, "Hey, look at me! I'am a designer!" Then, you also have rooms that remind you that your house is a work in progress.

Here is my Room Ranking:

1. Living Room - Thanks to Kellye who made the window treatments.
2. Dining Room - Thanks to my grandmother who had no space in her new house for the dining room table.
3. Master Bedroom - I love to sleep!
4. Office - It's not perfect, but any room full of books will make me smile.
5. Pool Table Room - The pool table was given to us when my parents downsized. Did we buy ANYTHING in our house?
6. Man Cave - Cool TV.
7. Guest Bedroom #1 - A hodgepodge of unrelated, unmatching randomness
8. Guest Bedroom #2 - It's almost completely empty (I obviously don't take good care of my guests).
9. All the bathrooms - The fixtures are from the '90's, but look like they are from the '80's.
10. Kitchen - It needs so much work... I don't know where to begin.

Luckily, my friend Erica, a great designer and humanitarian, is giving away a free room design on her blog. If you have a room that is in need of love, or a kitchen with brass fixtures (I have this, too), or a guest bedroom full of boxes (I used to have this), go ahead and win her giveaway!

If not, then help me win. Post a comment on her blog and let them know that I sent you.

Here is the link: http://ericaharless.blogspot.com/2010/04/giveaway-free-e-design.html
What is your favorite room in your house? Least favorite room?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Cup

Just now, I was quickly checking my e-mail for the tenth time today, expecting to see Pottery Barn Spam, Facebook Mafia War Requests, and maybe an e-mail from Clay about dinner.

Instead, I found two e-mails from dear friends telling me that they are praying for Clay and me... for our family, for our adoption, and even for our marriage as we wait. I felt tears well up in my eyes, not out of sadness, but out of the most unbelievable peace my heart could ever know.

Last night, I had a similar experience. I got home at 10:20 PM, and before I could raid the fridge for leftover lasagna, I saw a card on the counter. It was from Clay's sister. She wrote, "I want you to know that we are praying for you guys everyday, that we stand boldy before God's throne on behalf of your future family."
I just stood in the kitchen and wondered how my life could possibly be so blessed.

Baby or no baby, I have never felt more abundance.

As if that wasn't enough, Clay and I were having a discussion about THE BABY THING and about all the people who have encouraged us, when out of nowhere, he said, "I just want to make sure you know that you are enough. If we never have a baby, you are all the family I need."

Yes, I cried.

Like the Psalmist wrote, "My cup runneth over." That is also a quote from Hope Floats, and sadly, I remembered it as a quote from the movie and had to look up the Bible verse. Oh well. It's Psalm 23:5, if you were wondering.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

11 Ways to Escape the Pollen

I can’t do it. I just can’t stay inside when the weather is so gorgeous, but according to Atlanta Allergy, the pollen count was over 5,495 today (before the rain). Normal is 120, by the way. So, if you are looking for a way to have fun inside, try one of the following activities:

1. Watch the 8,000 policemen guard Tiger Woods at the Masters this weekend.
2. Listen to sports radio talking about Tiger.
3. Send e-mails to your friends about why Tiger will not win the Masters.
4. Plan a weekend with your friends to watch the Masters.
5. Complain about the media coverage of Tiger and Elin.
6. Send texts about obscure golfers to prove your expertise.
7. Stalk golf blogs and leave anonymous comments about Tiger.
8. Observe a moment of silence in front of your Masters flag that is hanging in the basement.
9. Remind your wife to wash and iron your Masters t-shirt.
10. Ignore your wife when she talks about anything other than the Masters.
11. Act shocked when you read your wife’s blog about your obsession with the Masters.

I’m not bitter, though.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Phrases You Hear at a Writers Conference

When I first became a teacher, I had to learn to speak education. Education is full of acronyms like SST, ESL, SACS, IEP, IDEA, and ILT (teachers, you know exactly what these mean).

Last week, at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference, I realized that writers have another language, too. Rather than acronyms, it's chalk full of phrases you hear only amonng writers. I have been home for a week now, and I miss the following phrases:

1. What are you writing?
Since this phrase is music to every writers' ears, it is the first thing we say to one another. Upon meeting an author here, the first question is not, "What do you do?" or "Where do you live?" It's "What are you writing?" The answer to this question could last one minute or twenty... or it could lead to question number two.

2. Why are you crying?
The Mount Hermon Website states that the purpose of the conference is to help writers in every phase of their career. The unwritten goal is to make all conferees doubt their ability, purpose, and overall decision to write. It is a requirement to have at least one emotional breakdown each conference. Check!

3. Felt Needs
Nonfiction books always address "felt needs," so editors want to know what need your book will address. My answer is, "It addresses my need to be published." No one seems to laugh at that.

4. Dabbling in
To answer question number one, writers might say, "I write narrative nonfiction, but I'm dabbling in Sci-Fi." This means that the writer has commitment issues. Like a man who is unwilling to define a girl as his "girlfriend," this person just dabbles because they are keeping their options open.

5. What genre are you?
Every author must be placed into a category. That way you know who to sit by. If you sit by a fiction author, you will be forced to use additional terms like "plot points," "character development," or "story lines." If find yourself rubbing elbows with a fantasy writer, you'll undoubtedly hear about fairies, gremlins, or magical powers. And if you are fortunate enough to sit by nonfiction writers, your life will likely be improved, uplifted, and encouraged.

6. Memwa (Correct pronunciation of memoir)
If you meet someone trying to sell their memoir, you will probably need phrase #2 soon.

7. Y.A.
To use this phrase in a sentence, editors say, "We are not looking for Y.A. right now." Y.A. stands for young adult books.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What Are You Looking forward to?

Last night, the sweet little man at Starbucks shared some disturbing news with me. Apparantly, Starbucks is discontinuing my favorite drink, the Espresso Truffle. It debuted November 4, 2009, and has been an important part of my life since that faithful day. And now, I must say goodbye... until Christmas. Around the holidays, Starbucks unveils rich drinks like the Peppermint Mocha and Egg Nog Latte, so hopefully they will bring back the Espresso Truffle for the holidays. So, last night, I started looking forward to the holidays, just so I could get an Espresso Truffle.

It reminded me of Clay, at the end of college football season. He starts counting the days until the NEXT FOOTBALL SEASON as soon as the national champion is announced (seriously).

We definitely look forward to different events.

Clay looks forward to...

- The Masters

- Clam Dip and Egg Nog at Christmas

- March Madness, especially when Kansas has a shot

- Sports Illustrated Magazine arrival (every Thursday)

- Sports Center at 11:00 AM, 6:00 PM, and 11:00 PM

- Shopping for hunting gear, although this has not proven to be money well spent

- Quiet time to read the fourteen books by his bed

I look forward to...

- Buying the newest tech gadget

- Sipping percolator punch and watching The Mentalist

- Spending $4.00 on Starbucks even though I have an espresso machine at home

- Time to putter around the house in my fuzzy pink slippers

- Saturday morning snuggle time

- Anytime I can go without makeup

- Purchasing new makeup (hmmm, weird)

The list could go on and on. What do you look forward to? What does your spouse look forward to?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

50 Days as a 1950's Wife

I have an idea that has captured my imagination for the past week. Summer will be here before you know it, and we have already begun to make plans for home repairs, vacations, etc... But I have a more intriguing idea. What if I spent 50 days treating my husband (and our home) the way women did in the '50's?

"What do you mean?" One of my friends asked when I told her about this idea. I mean, what if I took care of Clay the way my grandmother took care of my grandfather? What if I treated my responsibility as a wife as my number one responsibility? What would that look like?

Here are 10 reasons why I am considering this:

1. The life of a wife has changed over the past 60 years, and in many ways, it has changed for the better. We experience equality at home, share the workload, and more. However, I believe that my grandmothers were true artists, expending their energy to make their home a beautiful haven. I wonder what that is like.

2. I'd like to learn how to do things women used to do (and some still do) such as make their own jam, pickle cucumbers, sew, and even play bridge.

3. I want to wear a cute little apron every day!

4. It might be fun to spoil Clay, to see what his life would be like with a woman who devotes her day to making his home a delightful place.

5. I'm fascinated with women who lived through this era. I'd love to meet with them and hear their thoughts about the changes they've seen over the past 60 years.

6. This experience would draw me closer to my parents and grandparents. That kind of time together would be priceless.

7. I wonder if I could do my vacuuming in heals and nylons, the way my Mima says she did.

8. My life verse is, "Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men." Colossians 3:23. I'd like to see what it's like to be a wife with ALL MY HEART, to really focus on this endeavor with all my attention, creativity, and drive.

9. As a teacher, I have the unique opportunity to try something for a summer. I will still be receiving a paycheck, but can pretend to be a stay-at-home wife.

10. Most importantly, I'd love to try something new! I have always been adament about the kind of wife I will be, and this would be a complete departure for me. It's an opportunity to grow, and experience something completely different from my everyday life.

What kind of differences do you think exist between today's wife and the wife of the '50's?

Be advised, I know that this era had plenty of problems... such as civil rights issues, rampant smoking, etc... I am not attempting to revive the entire era, rather to understand the dedication women had to taking care of their home and husbands.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What I Learned at the Prayer Shower

I'm not sure what to call it, but it was one of the most overwhelming and moving experiences of my life. Some dear friends, girls I would call my "Steel Magnolias", gathered last weekend for the purpose of praying for God's will for my family (or as Clay reminds me to say, "our family"). I would call this gathering a Prayer Shower because it had all the elements of a shower - food, friends, and family... but they showered me with encouragement and prayer instead of gifts.

This is what I learned...

1.The throne of God is peacefully powerful
Loulou set the tone for my heart by describing the power in God's throne. Ezekial 1:15 - 26 reminds us that God's throne is never empty. Even when He descends to rescue His people, His throne moves with Him, so we never pray to an empty throne. God is always there.

2. God's Word says a lot about having children
Psalm 113:9 reads, "He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother." Then, between Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth, so many people in the Bible struggled with infertility. And yet, God used their story to bring glory to Himself.

3. Hearing my name in Psalm 139 is awesome
Knowing that God understands my thoughts, even when I don't always understand them, brings such enormous comfort. It makes me want to insert my name into other verses and feel the impact.

4. God's will is never what you expect
As the girls shared their stories of struggle and triumph, I was encouraged by the predictably unpredictable nature of God.

5. There's no better place on earth than the center of a prayer circle
I memorized Matthew 18:20 as a kid, but I never grasped it until Saturday. Truly, where two or three are gathered in Christ's name, He is there in our midst.

6. Prayer is a precious gift that I don't give enough
After feeling the impact of such loving, personalized prayers, I want to give others the same gift. I feel like my eyes are open now, searching for opportunities to pray for people around me.

To so many people who have prayed for Clay and me, I can never thank you enough. Your love encourages us more than you know.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walking in Little Shoes

Last week, our school challenged twenty-one teachers to become "Students for the Day", and I participated in the experiment. I dressed like a student, and for an entire day, I was a fourth grader in Mrs. Cain's class. I completed assignments, played Homeworkopoly, and even climbed the monkeybars at recess.

To be honest, I was pretty nervous about being a kid again. I worried about looking stupid, feeling hungry, and even going to the bathroom. Although I've taught at Strong Rock for two and a half years, I'd never seen it from this perspective. At lunch, one of the kids said to me, "You should let us be teachers for a day!" We really should. If only they could see how tough it is to make learning fun, they might appreciate us a little more. Then another kids piped in, "We should be principal for a day." And I agreed. We could all learn from walking in someone else's shoes.

That night, when Clay got home from work, I tried to imagine what his day had been like. I thought about his crazy schedule, and what it must be like to have people waiting to meet with him all day. I actually WANTED to cook dinner for him because I took a few minutes to ask myself, "What would it be like to be him?"

Then yesterday, I saw an amazing video of a coach who asked the same question. I should warn you, though. Every person who has seen this video has cried their eyes out.

(If you cannot see the video below, click on this link to watch the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNn7SXAyuhQ)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

10 Things I have in my Purse, Just in Case

<---- Contents of my purse - Hard to believe, isn't it?

Last week, after eating dinner with three dear friends, I felt that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the one... when you reach into your purse, feel around, dig a little, panic slighlty, shake your head, and realize you can't find your keys. I then proceeded to stick my head into my purse like an ostrich, burying his head in the sand.

After five minutes of plowing through the mess, I emerged with keys, covered in cracker crumbs. My friends got such a kick out of my messy purse that they wrote the following ode. I think they were making fun of my purse AND my blog, but this kind of masterpiece should be published.

10 Things Emily has in her Purse, Just in Case...
1. Polka Dot Headband - Just in case you need to take off your makeup while driving home from work so Clay will think you look tired and offer you some of his food from his hidden stash in the basement.

2. Bra Clip - Just in case you are a little red-neck strappy.

3. Desk Flip Calendar - Just in case you need to set up a desk and work for the day at Starbucks.

4. Crayola Blue Fine-Line Marker (stolen from the elementary art room) - just in case you need to create a one-of-a-kind Venn Diagram on the fly for a Toastmasters presentation that you are expecting to win first prize for.

5. IPhone - Just in case your Mother calls during dinner and you have to tell her that your friends are more important than the woman who gave birth to you.

6. Pens, Pens, and More Pens - Half of which don't work, but you may have to use them to create an emergency airway for a friend who choked on her Italian food while laughing at your messy purse.

7. Half-eated Ritz Cracker - Just in case you need a snack with extra lint for fiber during those irregular moments.

8. Silver Name Badge - Just in case you forgot that you are "blessed to be a blessing."
9. Gold Name Badge - Just in case you lose the magnetic strip on the silver name badge and so you won't clash on the days you wear your gold bling (or gold tooth).
10. Keys - Something you can't live without, something you need to find to get home to your adoring husband and dog, something you need to find in order to stop feeling guilty about blogging three months ago about your super-organized drawers while your purse was super-super messy, something you need to find so your friends will stop kidding you about all the junk in your purse.

Feel free to share what you have in your purse, just in case.

Friday, January 29, 2010

15 Classic Chick Flicks for a Girls' Night In

Last weekend, I hosted my first slumber party in years. After manicures, pedicures, and exercise videos, we were ready for a chick flick. We debated as to which movies top the list of greatest chick flicks. Below are a few we mentioned:

1. Steel Magnolias
Truvy: "I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence."

2. Baby Mama
Angie: "I'm sorry I farted into your purse."

3. Julie & Julia
Paul Child: "You are the butter to my bread you are the breath to my life."

4. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Andie: "True or False - All's fair in love and war."

5. Can't Buy Me Love
Cindy: "Just going out with me is not going to make you popular."

6. Flashdance
Nick: "When you give up your dream, you die."

7. Two Weeks Notice
Lucy: "Please don't tell me you called me out of a wedding to pick out a suit."

8. Serendipity
Dean: "You know the Greeks didn't write obituaries. They just asked one question after a man died: 'Did he have passion?'"

9. Father of the Bride
George: "This was the moment I'd been dreading for the past six months. Well, actually, the past 22 years."

10. Sleepless in Seattle
Sam: "I knew it the first time I touched her. It was like coming home, only to no home I'd ever known."

11. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Aunt Voula: "What do you mean he don't eat no meat?"

12. Shag
Luanne: "If I'm not engaged by the time I'm twenty, I'm going to kill myself."

13. Sweet Home Alabama
Melanie: "You're the first boy I ever kissed, Jake. And I want you to be the last."

14. Legally Blonde
Elle: "The rules of hair care are simple and finite. Any Cosmo girl would have known."

15. Grease
Sandy: "What happened to the Danny Zuko I met at the beach?"

Question: What movies and quotes top your list of all-time great chick flicks?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Adoption News - Paperwork Complete!

It is finished. The paperwork for our adoption is in the mail! For over a year, many of you have heard us talk about our Homestudy, I-800 Form, and biometric fingerprints, but as of today, the dossier is in the mail.

What does that mean? It means we have completed all the necessary steps to send our paperwork to China, and now, we will receive an LID (Log-in Date) and we are officially in line to adopt from China.
Although we are thrilled to have made it this far, we still have a lot of waiting and praying ahead. It will probably take over three years before receiving a referral, so Clay and I are already praying for this baby, who has likely not been born.
11 Phrases We Did Not Know Before Beginning this Process
1. Adoption Planner - Website or Notebook provided by an adoption agency that tracks each step toward your eventual adoption.
2. Secretary of State Authentication - Since almost every document during the adoption must be notarized, the Secretary of State must authenticate the seal before sending the documents overseas.
3. Homestudy (one word) - Although not just an inspection of your home, it's an in-depth look into your ability to provide a safe, loving environment for a child.
4. USCIS Approval - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services must grant approval for you to bring a child into the country.
5. Immigrant Visa Fee - Fee to bring a non-US Citizen into another country for an extended period of time
6. Dossier - Packet of documents to send to China which include personal statement, financial statement, homestudy, pictures, physical exam, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc...
7. Personal Statement - Cover letter explaining why you intend to adopt.
8. Paper Pregnancy - Adoptive parents refer to the time when they are doing paperwork as a "Paper Pregnancy" because you are anxiously awaiting your child, similar to a Mom who is physically pregant.
9. Adoption Decree - the document a judge signs to finalize an adoption
If any of you have adopted, feel free to add to this list by commenting!