Friday, November 25, 2011

A Wedding

A wedding is a good thing isn't it?
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a friend's wedding in south-western Virginia and I have some good stories to share.

2) Weddings in general
I've been to a bunch and I've been in a few - perhaps more than my share. When you're of a particular age, or perhaps have been in your own wedding(s) in the past, or are unhappy about singleness, it's somewhat expected to have a somewhat reluctant approach to weddings. Yeah, it stinks when you're there and wondering "why not me" - but I prefer to turn my thoughts to the joyful way a marriage should be and pray for the bride and groom that way.

3) This wedding in particular
This, comparatively very young, couple have known each other for many years.
Both had siblings standing with them and each took a turn to speak about them and bless them and their marriage. Some had words from scripture, others shared deeply heart-felt thoughts and all came with genuine tears or laughter. It was amazing to hear their parents talk to and about them in such glowing terms. There was so much story there that is good and interesting.

Her parents know and understand who he is, and his parents know her. Their admiration for each other's parenting, their children, now poised to become one with each other - it was written all over their faces. I particularly enjoyed his father's thoughts on marriage.
Scripture commands husbands to love their wives sacrificially as Christ loves. It does not command wives to love (it's ok if they do) but to respect their husbands. A wife who respects her husband is easy to love, just as a husband who loves his wife is easy to respect. Not one before the other, but both. 
My challenge to those reading this is to be sure you follow your own commands, and let God hold the other accountable to theirs. In other words, it's not your job to point out how your spouse doesn't do what they are supposed to, but rather to take care of your own assignment in marriage. That's kind of like grace.

The pastor gave an impassioned, scripture-filled, albeit somewhat rambling message. His key thoughts were about God's amazing love.
To have a manifestation or a revelation of that love
Hope will not disappoint
And that their grace for one another and others will be evidence of that love
Their words to each other focused on lifting each other up for Christ's purposes. They both spoke about their roles as husband and wife. Then the pastor started with the ring and vows. He asked the groom to repeat after him. Then, he announced that he had the wrong notes. The groom repeated that announcement - hilarious of course. Thankfully, the pastor was able to complete his work from memory.

1) What story do you want to tell?
The bride and groom at this wedding have an amazing story to tell about knowing each other, figuring out each other and in a beautiful old-fashioned way, court each other. I personally admire their commitment to each other and to doing things in the way that honored God and each other. They honored their families, their friends and there was nothing about their experience where one could have said, "gee, it's too bad that they..."

It's really a blessing when things work out that way isn't it? It's awesome when you know up-front what story you want to tell about your life and then go about living in such a way that you get to tell such a beautiful, good story. If you have the opportunity to tell such a good story, I highly recommend it.

Not everyone gets that opportunity. I'm so in awe of God's amazing love in this. I've messed up and I can't get back anything that's lost to me. There is nothing I can do, no magic incantations, surgeries, or penalties I can pay to start my life again. So, here's where God comes in. We have an extraordinary opportunity for a do-over. It's not license to keep messing up, but loving grace to keep trying. So, if I ever do get married again, I can be assured that I can bring her, the purest me I can, and a forgiven, new creation because of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:16-20
17 [CEV] Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.

That is unfathomably good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Good Stories

It's Thanksgiving! And it's not just about food. I swear. Thanksgiving has a rich history and good things that transcend green bean casserole.

2) Not just a harvest festival
Its roots as a national holiday are grounded in thankfulness to God.

We all know the pilgrim/indian story. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists, religious separatists all, and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.

It was September 25, 1789, when Elias Boudinot introduced to the United States House of Representatives the case for giving thanks to God. His strong resolution declared:
"that a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness."
In response, on October 3, 1789, George Washington issued a proclamation designating the first day of prayer and Thanksgiving. It wasn't until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

3) Thankfulness in the face of difficulty
The pilgrims arrived in September 1620 after over two-months at sea. The winter was so brutal, most stayed aboard ship where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original 102 passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March 1621, the remaining settlers moved ashore and established a colony at Plymouth. They gave thanks.

In the day of Elias Boudinot, the USA was a fledgling nation, barely six years old. The country was recovering from war. The post-war economy was in sorry shape. Jobs were scarce. They gave thanks.

It was in the midst of the Civil War, among the darkest days in this nation's history, that President Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day. With the nation divided along geographic, social, economic, religious and idealogical lines - they gave thanks.

1) A long weekend
What does a long weekend do, anyway? Psychologists (and the travel industry, naturally) have said that several short breaks can do a body more good than one big one. Humans need downtime, frequently. In international vacation comparison charts, the United States is typically around 13 days per year, compared with Britain’s 26 or Italy’s 31.

I don't know about you, but I feel gloriously refreshed after the long weekend, whenever I take one.

Sue and I both wish you and your friends and families a wonderful, restful, full... Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Warm and Toasty!

The temps are a droppin' here in the Midwest leading us into what most people call winter, but what I call my worst time of the year. Sure, I like watching the snow fall, drinking hot cocoa, snuggling under a warm blanket and all that, but cold weather makes the harsh symptoms of my illness flare up big time.

Therefore, it's very important for me to keep my body, especially my hands and feet, as warm as possible during the long cold winter months. Because moving to a warmer climate is out of the question at this time, I need to rely on good things that will keep me warm and toasty. Here are three of my favorites:

2. Our electric blanket. My parents gave this to us as a gift a few years ago. It has controls on each side so I can crank mine up to high, while T keeps his turned to low or off. When our furnace went out during the night one time, I didn't even notice because I was snug as a bug under . . . my blanket. No doubt with my fleece jammies and socks on, too.

3. Heated seats. I do not drive a fancy car. It's a 2005 Subaru Outback (for the very outdoor-sy person hiding inside me - go ahead and laugh all of you who know me well) Besides not being a mini-van and having an awesome turning radius, it has heated seats up front. Yep, those darn kids just have to freeze their little bums off in the back 'til the car warms up, while I do not.

1. Gloves and mittens. I have a wide variety of warm gloves and mittens - some are small and stretchy, some are thick and woolly. I have a new favorite pair given to me recently by my good friend Barb. They are soft and knitted in pretty shades of aqua. They are my indoor gloves because they are fingerless, which is great for me when I'm typing on my computer or texting.

*Bonus good thing: My Uggs - My mom gave them to me for my birthday last year. Some say they are ugly, but I don't care. They keep my feet and toes warm and toasty, too!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Short and Sweet (weekend-y good things)

For today's post, I am getting right down to business with three good happenings from our busy and tiring weekend.

2. Homemade banana bread. I left a recipe for quick and easy banana bread on the counter the other day. T gave it a go Saturday morning. It was quick and easy, and tasty, too. I just gobbled up the last piece for breakfast today.

3. Birthday sleepover. O turned 11 last week, so we hosted her first ever sleepover party for her and five friends. With the help of my sister J and her friend Miss L., the party turned out fabulous as did the chocolate "fun" due! Yummy!

1. 15 seconds of fame. Pie lovers T and I made the editing cut on the Cooking Channel's For the Love of Pie show. T is ordering pie, I'm stuffing my face with my favorite - the chocolate cream, and we both are exclaiming how creamy, and good it is at Hoosier Mama Pie Co. in Chicago. Check the TV listings here so you can catch the show, but don't blink or you will miss us!

Ciou for now, here's hoping your weekend was full of fun and tasty happenings, too!

Friday, November 11, 2011

100 Good Things

It's the boiling point of water for those of us using the metric system. (100 degrees Celsius)
It's a square number. You know, 10 x 10!
It's C in Roman numerals.
It's been 100 years since Crisco, the all-vegetable shortening, has been on the market.
It's the age my kids have labeled as the "Super Oldie Moldies" However, many famous people have lived to be 100 like comedians Bob Hope and George Burns, and composer Irving Berlin.

and it's our 100th post today! wOOt hOOt!

In celebration of this momentous event, we've invited our family, friends, and fans to share 100 Good Things with us. We snuck in some good things of our own as well, so pour yourself a cuppa, pull up a chair, and enjoy!

100) My husband and I volunteer at the County Animal Shelter on Friday mornings cleaning cat cages. These cats are so grateful for the attention we give them; they purr when we pick them up. It is very heart-warming to help homeless animals. We are very happy when animals are adopted, and feel like we are making a difference in the world, even if it only is in the life of a kitty cat.
Chris K.
Lombard, IL

99) Knowing that good or bad your true friends will always be there!!!
Michelle B.
Virgiani Beach, VA

98) A good thing is a six-week old kitten we recently brought home. She has brought so much love and laughter to us and our six full grown cats. Her name is Sheba and she is amazing and quite a snuggle bunny.
Debbie M.
Spring, TX

97) My WARM winter boots. No more cold, pruned toes for me!
Amanda B.
New York State

96) Standing in front of the ocean with the anticipation of running in and diving into a wave!
Beth T.
Chapel Hill, NC

95) A good thing is Thai that is just the right distance from my house to make for a good run and then carry food home :)
94) Holidays with family.
Anna L.
Celebration, FL

93) A clear, cool fall day.
Mark G.
Burnaby, BC

92) My daughter's face when she saw Cinderella's Castle for the first time.
Vicki B.
Yorkville, IL

91) Jumping in the car on Saturdays, heading to the beach with my husband!
Joan K.
Tallahassee, FL

90) A reliable car that hasn't had any issues in a long time.  that is something you don't think about every day, but you would if the car did have issues.
89) A baby smiling just because you smiled.
John N.
Royorsford, PA

88) Forgiveness.
87) Two Words - Pet Costumes!!
Pennie R.
Stafford, VA

86) One good thing . . . the sound of my children laughing. They crack me up!
Eva S.
Wheaton, IL

85) When a good friend sends you a quirky card and some candy in the mail in an envelope with Toy Story stamps!
Sue B.
Yorkville, IL

84) A good thing: freshly laundered, crisp, cool sheets on your bed.
83) Oh, another good thing: my dog, Batman
82) Bob (a good name) B.
81) Fishers, IN (a good place)

80) The smile on your firstborn’s face . . . both as an infant and as a young man.
79) Acting insane and still knowing there is a special someone who 100% accepts you the way you are.
78) Biking a hilly 54 miles in the blistering hot summer sun and 95% humidity with salty sweat dripping down your face. Accomplishment never tasted so sweet.
77) Riding up the steepest hill you’ve ever seen and feeling a good friend’s hand on your back to give you that extra push to let you know that you can make it up without walking.
76) The embrace that envelopes you after surviving an extremely difficult situation. It magically melts away all the pain and self-doubt.
75) Getting that short text message to let you know that someone thinks you are memorable.
74) Knowing that someone is thinking about you.
73) Hurting and coming to terms with it.
72) Feeling strong after a hard workout.
71) Knowing that you are stronger than you ever thought you could be.
Julie L.
Plainfield, IN

70) A good thing is sneaking up on a coworker and scaring the bejeezez out of them.
Brian A.
West Chester, PA

69) Saying the word "bejeezez!"
Sue B.
Yorkville, IL

68) Sitting on the porch swing on a warm spring day, listening to the birds sing and reading a good book.
67) Finding a REALLY good book on a cold winter day and spending the whole day reading until the book is finished.
Connie M.
Chillicothe, MO

66) One good thing about being an American living in London is introducing the non-Americans to interesting American traditions . . . like pumpkin pie. At first, most non-Americans wrinkle up their nose to a vegetable being used in a pudding (Brits call it pudding, not dessert!). But, once they taste it as homemade by me and with loads of whipped cream (not Cool Whip because you cannot get that in UK), they are hooked. I get asked every year now to make sure I make pumpkin pie. So, good for Brits to try something different, and good for the pumpkin farmers, too. Pumpkin... it's not just for soup ya know!
Deanne T.
London, UK

65) I'm going to spend three weeks in Cancun - wonderful Caribbean ocean, beach, warm weather, and good Mexican food. Life is Good!
Kathleen B.
Bolingbrook, IL

64) The movie "Solyent Green" with Charlton Heston.
63) That someday we will be able to have a happy, joyful, and easy end of life.
John B.
Bolingbrook, IL

62) Breakfast for dinner is a fun change once in awhile.
Scott B.
Lockport, IL

61) Being with all my good friends in (pulmonary) rehab and sharing each other's experiences with this dreaded disease.
Jim B.
Naperville, IL

60) Having furry, four-legged friends to love and curl up with is a good thing.
Barb J.
Warrenville, IL

59) Looking down the street seeing trees in full color.

58) Trying a new recipe - fun!
57) Having it turn out - satisfying!
56) Giving it away - rewarding! "Everything is better when shared with a friend!"
55) Oh, and making the recipe from an heirloom rhubarb plant!
Marilyn D.
Naperville, IL

54) Not having to bake on a busy day because a friend gave me some extra rhubarb cake to share with the teachers at my children's school. (Thanks Marilyn!)
Sue B.
Yorkville, IL

53) Yesterday was one of my grandson's birthdays - Collin turned 4 years old. I brought over his little gift: a tool box with a battery-charged jigsaw, and he told me after pretending to saw for an hour, "It's the BEST EVER present, Grammy!"
Karen K.
Naperville, IL

52) Comfort food (chocolate, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, etc.)
51) Good friends who like to laugh and have fun, and with who you can be 100% yourself around without being pretentious
50) Good genes (no early signs of aging and everything works good internally)
49) Good health (good test results)
48) Good family/in laws
47) Good fortune (inheritance, bonus, etc.)
46) A job/career that fits your passion and skills
45) The ability to laugh.
44) Kids getting good grades
43) Kids growing out of stages where you have to focus 100% of your life on them
42) Helpful people
41) Investments paying off
40) Discounts/bargains!!!
39) Music variety
Melissa G.
Phoenix, AZ

A FEW of the MANY things I LOVE about your Blog!
38) Always relevant and well-written by both co-authors!
37) I look forward to reading it as soon as it is published!
36) Your blog inspired me to begin my own! (THANKS!)
Ronda M.
Houston, TX

35) Inspiring a friend who's a fan to write her own blog. Way to go Ronda!
Sue B.
Yorkville, IL

34) My daughter Leigh Ann baked a batch of HUGE chocolate chip cookies, and a dee-lish banana bread. Om, om, om. Thank you Lord for these delicious treats through my daughter. Perfect snacks with hot cocoa on this brrrrrrrrrrr...cold night. ♥
Miriam M.
Matthews, NC

33) The beautiful Autumn colors... The Maple trees are stunning right now :)
Donna M.K.
Harrison, AR

32) No alarm on Saturday morning.
Robin H.
Aurora, IL

31) A scoop of mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone from Ozzie's Frozen Custard in New Buffalo, MI.
30) Doing upper level gymnastics skills when you are only a Level 5 like aerials and fly-aways.
Olivia B.
Yorkville, IL

29) Waking up thinking that it's Friday, but it's really Saturday.
28) Good eats in downtown Chicago like: Pizzeria Uno pizza, Garrett's caramel corn, MK Burger, and chocolate cream pie from Hoosier Mama Pie Co.
Tim B.
Yorkville, IL

27) My family and friends' love and support is a good thing.
Becky M.
Aurora, IL

26) Enjoying a powdered-sugar donut and the best hot chocolate ever at Munster Donuts in Munster, IN after winning a soccer game 3 to 1.
25) Jammin' on the drums with my percussion teacher Vern.
Adam B.
Yorkville, IL

24) Faith in God has given my life meaning and purpose.
23) A positive attitude. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Donna S.
Downers Grove, IL

22) I am in love with the crisp smell drifting through the air in New York City that somehow combines fallen leaves, hot pretzels and roasted chestnuts into one olfactory sensation that reappears every year, right on time with the first day of September.
Karin R.
Bronx, NY

21) A sincere smile given out and a dozen received!
Brittany L.
Sebring, FL

20) About 2 1/2 years ago, I was blessed with a wonderful friendship that was a total surprise to me. My friend Lissette tells me that she was also blessed because she had just lost her life-long friend, Maru, to cancer. That is my good thing.
Juli T.
Batavia, IL

19) Waking up in the morning and feeling like it's Christmas and you are 6 years old. I feel like this a lot. LOL
Donna C.S.
Dallas, TX

18) A good thing is keeping connected with friends/alumni from previous years; and making new memories for years to come.
Kelly B.
Spring Hill, FL

17) Reconnecting with old friends.
16) When your child still wants you to hold them.
15) Food from Chicago like pizza from Giordano’s or beef from Portillo’s.
14) Friends and family you can count on in good and bad times.
13) Grateful for God's healing hands. He helps us rise. Everyday is a precious gift!
Daphne B.G.
Dundee, FL

12) There's nothing like playing with a puppy!
11) There's nothing like how a dog is so excited when you get home, like you've been gone for weeks!
Deb T.
Aurora, IL

10) Playing with a newborn and the baby smiles, and then he smiles again - that's a good thing.
Karyn W.
Blue Island, IL

9) Smiles on the faces of the nursing home residents in response to greeting them in the hallways!
8) Friends and family together for the holidays!
Ginger Y.
Morris, IL

7) Seven is an awesome number to me. My birthday is 7/7. My middle name has 7 letters and begins with the seventh letter.
Brian A.
West Chester, PA

6) Getting married next weekend.
John L.
Kingsport, TN

5) My two awesome sons! They make me smile everyday! I am truly proud of both of them!
Pam S.B.
Plainfield, IL

4) A cup of tea - it’s good on any day. Bad day, sick day, day with friends, day alone with a cat and a good book.
Holly K.
Havertown, PA

1) A best friend who knows when I'm up and when I'm down and knows how to be there for either.
Brian A.
West Chester, PA

3) I can think of endless good things, but if I can only pick one I will say God's love, because I would have nothing without that.
Lori I.
Lisle, IL

2) A good Bible verse - Psalm 100:1-2
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing."

Thank you all for sharing your joyful, good things with us!

Sue and Brian

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

and a bug

There I was minding my own business, when suddenly.... (insert ominous and scary music here)
a bug

This BUG dropped down onto the back of my neck. Gah!!!

I don't mind bugs.

I dislike when they are sneaky and try to surprise me.

(I put it outside into the cold and told it to fend for itself. I felt very Dickensian about it but it's not Christmas yet, so I doubt I'll be visited by the bugs of the past, present and future anytime soon.)

However, I do like to be surprised by people. I think it's so much fun when a friend tries to sneak up on me and scare me or wait for me around a corner and jump out at the last second. It's the adrenaline. It's the laughter afterwards. It's the camaraderie.

With that, here's three good things about being scared!

2) What a rush! I don't care if it's a scary movie, a roller coaster, or something that jumps out at you from nowhere. There is a physical response. Scientist-types call this fight or flight and it's really fun. The adrenaline shoots into your system and hits your brain and muscles hard. Your heart races and if you've been in the presence of a major dose of Gamma radiation, you might turn into a big green rage monster. Regardless, it's fun! Give me scary movies where things jump out and make me jump - and I'm a delighted man. (notice that I'm not talking about the slashers or things like that. I want something to go bump in the night)

3) Oh my sides! Immediately after the rush and you realize that you're ok, the laughter sets in. It doesn't matter if you're the one on the scaring end or the being scared end, everyone laughs. That is unless you're five years old and freak out. That's not good. But, as an adult, it's a riot. A friend of mine came out of the bathroom the other night to find another friend hiding next to the door. She got so scared that she reached out to smack him on the face, but realized in mid-swing that it was him. The slap turned into this pseudo-tender stroke on his cheek and we all just lost it. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

1) It's what friends do! As in the story I just relayed above, that's a way for us to have fun together. It's child-like, prank-ish and so much fun. I do enjoy being the perpetrator of such a scare, but it's even more fun when someone gets me. When your friend really gets you, this is called "having a good time."

and a bug.

Now - to bug you a bit... please help with our 100 Good Things 100th blog post coming up Friday 11/11/11. That's this Friday! We are getting close to our 100 good tings goal, but you are critical to making that happen and we need your help!

Send your good things to twothreeoneblog-good at yahoo dot com. Thank you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Catching Up

It's been almost two weeks since I last posted on this here Good Things blog. Geesh, I'm a slacker!

As for Brian, I will not call him a slacker, he is just very busy! After all, he does have a real, full-time job with deadlines, commitments, phone calls, meetings, commuting, pay, and a brand new office that sadly does not have a proper window.

Sometimes the busyness of life simply takes over, in turn, making the business of writing about life take a back seat.

But I'm jumping back in with this little catch-up post, highlighting three recent good things.

2. Good grades, good kids. Because I'm a parent, I'm proud of my children and I have to boast. They both received excellent report cards last week, and very good reports from their teachers at parent/teacher conferences, too. I suppose we must be doing something right?!?

3. A good check-up. I met with one of my many docs last week - Dr. B, the gastroenterologist, or GI guy. It was a good visit because everything is stable on that end (bah dum dum) which means no new meds, and even better - no poking or prodding tests. He's on time, has a good sense of humor and rapport, and he wears gym shoes, too!

1. Monthly support group. Once per month, I meet with a group of people who are also living with lung disease like me. I always look forward to our meetings because I'm surrounded by people who get it. They understand, they listen, and they offer insight and advice. There's also treats like coffee, fresh fruit, and baked goods - yum!

At last week's meeting, I encouraged my support group friends to contribute to our 100 Good Things 100th blog post which is coming up very soon - this Friday 11/11/11 to be exact. They shared many good things, and so can you! We have not yet reached our goal of 100, so we still need your help!

If you have already shared your good things, thank you so much! If you are so inclined to share some more, go right ahead. Invite your friends and family, too. There are plenty of good things out there, we just need to find them. If you have not yet shared a good thing with us, then we will simply think you are busy, and not label you a slacker like me ;-)

Send your good things to twothreeoneblog-good at yahoo dot com. Thank you!