Always An Adventure

About a month ago I bought tickets to hear Francis Chan speak.  I had done a study on his book “Crazy Love” and really enjoyed it.  The big draw though is the band that will be opening, Rend Collective Experiment.  The tickets were only $12 and so Marissa, Rebekah, and I decided it would be a fun Friday night.  Phil and Alisha aren’t so much into the concerts.  Unfortunately it’s been a long, tiring week, and driving an hour and a half to Wheaton Bible College in Illinois was not on my top 5 things to do list.  I’m frugal if nothing else and the thought of throwing away the unused tickets (I tried with no success to give them away) was just not acceptable.  So, I took a nap for an hour, drank 2 cups of coffee, and ate a piece of chocolate cake. Pumped on sugar and caffeine we headed out.

I should have taken it as a sign when the Garmen couldn’t find the address for the church the event was being held.  We took the closest address it could find and pulled out of the driveway…only for me to realize the van had 1/4 tank of gas, not the 1/2 tank I thought it had.  We stopped for gas which was a pain since it was rush hour traffic time and the wind chill was about -30.  Back on the road following the Garmen I soon realized it was taking us the most ridiculous way possible.  To get to Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, there’s a few different ways to go, but I prefer the most direct 80/94 route.  I’m sure the Garmen was smoking crack to take us the way it did.  In full disclosure those were the words I shouted at the Garmen when I figured out where it was taking us.  My kids found great delight (I’m not sure why) in relating to their dad that was what I said.  We ended up getting to the general area we were going in a decent amount of time so I pulled over to call the church to find out exactly where it was.

The kind lady who answered the phone informed me where the church was, however the particular event for which we have tickets isn’t until NEXT week.  That’s right, folks, I was a week off.  We drove an hour and a half, paid way too many tolls, and navigated Chicago traffic…all for nothing?!?  Nope.  Not for nothing.  Lemonade from lemons I say.  We were about 20 minutes away from Schaumburg, the home of :)IKEA 🙂  and the Land’s End store.

Our evening turned out to be fun anyway, and I practiced great restraint when I didn’t buy the most lovely dress and shoes I’ve ever tried on at Land’s End.  I didn’t need them and have no events coming up for which I could wear them, but this is the dress (in chalk poppies).  I’m still kind of smarting because I didn’t buy them.  Stinkin’ Dave Ramsey and his financial peace!  I’m joking, I’d rather become debt free than look pretty.  Not really, but it sounds good.

So that was our Friday night adventure.  To sum up…I’m a dork who doesn’t double check dates on tickets and loves this dress.

Have you ever shown up somewhere on the wrong day?


Vacation All I Ever Wanted

I’m already mourning spring break being over.  Today we had errands to run and left the house early.  As in I had to set the alarm.  Not cool.  Breakfast out with my husband and some friends of ours was fun though.  Seeing as how I knew we would be out and about and I didn’t want to frighten anyone, I did my hair and makeup.  Good thing since we ended up meeting friends for breakfast!  It got me thinking about what vacation means to me.  I’m not sure what other people think about when they think of the word vacation, but there are 5 things that define it for me.  I thought I’d share them with you, since I’m you know, nice and informative like that.

  1. Vacation is not having to wear a watch.  This whole week I haven’t worn a watch because I don’t have to keep track of the time.  When I’m teaching I constantly have to know what time it is so I know we’re staying on task.  On break…heck no!  I check my phone every once in awhile, but I don’t have to worry about the time.  It’s a beautiful thing!
  2. Vacation is only doing my hair and makeup if I feel like it.  Today I felt like it. Basically because I couldn’t go one more day looking at myself in the mirror with my “naturally curly hair” and pale as death face.  I haven’t worn makeup in a few days and my hair got a much needed break from the hair dryer and flat iron.  Getting dressed in clothes is optional as well.  Mostly I would shower then put on different pajamas.  One can never have too many pajamas!
  3. Vacation is not having to set the alarm.  Getting up when your body tells you it’s time to get up is vacation to me.  I can’t stand the alarm clock.  Hate is a strong word, but I hate it.  It’s incessant beeping.  I’m a much happier person when left to wake up on my own.
  4. Vacation is having no set agenda.  Even when we go somewhere else for vacation, I hate having a set agenda or schedule.  That’s too much like work.  I like to be easy breezy with my days.  Go where we want, when we want.  I don’t like coming home from vacation feeling like I need a vacation!  This week has been great for this.  Besides a couple doctors appointments and 1 piano lesson, there was nothing we HAD to do or places we HAD to be.  That more than anything has been amazing to me!
  5. Vacation is about family.  I say that and you’re probably picturing game nights with the Mongolds sitting around laughing and conversing.  Nope. Not so much.  That’s not how we roll.  More than likely you will find us spread out with our various electronic devices (laptops, ipods, iphones, tvs), but all in the same house, often in the same room!  There has been little to no fighting amongst us this week and we’ve even has a few laughs.  The thing is we were all here.  Together.  In the same place for extended periods of time.  It’s done us a world of good.

While I love my job, these reasons are why I’m sad to see spring break end.  The good news is come Monday I’ll be counting down: only 5 weeks of school left!  They will be crazy-busy weeks wrapping up the school year and preparing for our graduation and awards program, but I have summer break to look forward to!

How do you like to spend your vacation time?

Hard Stuff

It’s Friday, but I wouldn’t really know it.  It’s been like Saturday all week.  See, we’re on spring break in the Mongold house.  Phil even had the week off which turned out to be good, but not for fun reasons.  He came down with THE flu the last day he had to work, and was down for 5 days with it.  On top of the flu he’s had some gastro-intestinal issues, and for a guy who never, seriously, NEVER gets sick it was a rough week for him.  And us.  But, he’s on the mend and back to his normal self if not his normal weight.  I get sick and don’t lose anything. He gets sick and loses 10 pounds.  That’s really not fair.  So besides having to bulk back up, he’s good.

All those big plans I had for spring break just didn’t happen, and I’m good with that.  I did a lot of reading, a lot of catching up on tv shows, and a lot of sitting.  I needed that and so did this family.  We didn’t have 80,000 places to run and it was a beautiful thing!  Today the kids are gone for the day and Phil and I actually accomplished a few things on the to-do list.  The biggest one being that we cleaned out the garage.  I now have access to an extra pantry closet (for stocking up on things we use regularly when they’re on sale) and the treadmill.  I have a goal in mind, but I don’t dare share it yet seeing as how I’m sure to jinx it.  I’ll let you know as soon as I have a good week or so under my belt.  Let’s just say it involves me being way more disciplined with my time than I currently am.  It’s going to be hard, but I’ve heard it said things worth doing are.

Speaking of hard, I can’t share details, but Phil’s work schedule is changing and let’s just say it’s going to take our current life-style, shake it around and dump it out.  He’s happy about the job switch up, and I’m happy because he’s happy, but I’m very unsure of how I’m going to handle it.  Again, it’ll take discipline and it’ll be hard, but I have to make it work.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been at a major crossroads in your life, but I feel that’s where I’m standing right now.  The issue is not so much the decisions being made or actually doing anything with them.  The issue is how I’m going to handle it.  What is my attitude toward these changes going to be?  That’s the kind of crossroads I think I’m facing.  Am I going to meet these challenges head-on or mentally curl up into a fetal postition with my fingers in my ears, my eyes shut tight, and sing LaLaLaLaLa at the top of my lungs?  I think for the sake of my family I should probably go with the first one, but there will be days.  Oh, I know there will be days.  The good thing is that I am on break right now and I’m relaxed and rested, and mentally in a pretty good place.  Next week when I’m back to work and the kids are back in school and we’re back in to the day-to-day of life, we’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’m going to turn on some music that motivates me, and figure out how to hang our new blinds in the living room.  Me + power tools = ???   We shall see 😉

Musical Mondays

Spring break is not going as we planned.  My husband has been sick since last Wednesday, and many of the projects I had planned for this week he is needed for.  I can’t very well clean out his tools 😉 That wouldn’t go over well at all.  He’s sicker than I’ve ever seen him be in the almost 19 years we’ve been married, and should have gone to the ER over the weekend.  Being the stubborn strong man he is, he waited until he could get an appointment with a doctor today.  We shall see.  As for the long list of projects I wanted to get done this week?  No worries.  The clutter that needs cleaned out and the new blinds that need hung can wait.  I’m good with sitting around and relaxing all week.  The list will still be there six weeks from now when school is out for the summer. Six. Weeks.  🙂

This weekend I spent a lot of time listening to my favorite “Easter” songs.  Songs that speak of what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and rising again.  Even though Easter is officially over, these are songs I listen to on a regular basis, because in my life at least, the message of Easter is a daily thing for me.  Not just a one-time-a-year thing I think about.  Awhile back someone on twitter asked what one word do I most love to hear in songs and sing about.  My answer was, grace.  Songs that speak of God’s grace are something I need in my life regularly.  I need the reminder!  So here are my top five favorite songs that have the good news in them.

1. The Wonderful Cross– Christ Tomlin

2. Christ is Risen- Matt Maher

3. You Bled– Rend Collective Experiment

4. Glorious Day– Casting Crowns

5. Redeemed– REILLY

What songs really speak to you??

Friday Favorites

Today is what is known as “Good” Friday, and while I’m thinking it’s a good day because this is the first official day off work of our spring break, that’s not why it’s so good.  In Christian circles we call this day “good” because we remember what Jesus did on a Friday long ago.  He died in our place, paying a penalty that we rightfully deserved.  We can call that good because we know the end of the story.  He didn’t just die and take our punishment, He rose again, thus giving us the chance at a new life.  If you’ve never taken Him up on His offer of new life, I encourage you to think about it.  Ask me if you’d like to know more about the new life I have.  It’s the best thing I ever did!

Now that the important stuff has been addressed…the trivial is next.  Last week when I shared some of my favorite things, people told me how informative it was into who I am.  I never thought of it that way, but it’s true. When someone tells you about their favorite things, it tells you a lot about who they are.  So here are 3 more favorites of mine:

  1. Homemade Chocolates– Recently some friends at work were on an all-natural, healthy diet of some sort and a friend shared some homemade chocolates with me.  They were amazing!  Since then I’ve made them myself numerous times.  Being the chocolate lover I am to say that I prefer them over any other store bought chocolate is kind of a huge statement, but I do.  If I don’t have a batch made and in the fridge, I will pass up Hershey’s or even Godiva till I can make some more.  And since I’m all about sharing, here’s the recipe.

Homemade “Healthy” Chocolates

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 5 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • toasted, chopped almonds
  • optional: toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes

– cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place in freezer

– place the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low to medium heat until melted and smooth

-add honey, vanilla, and sea salt and continue to stir until mixed in

-turn off heat and stir in almonds (and coconut)

-place spoonfuls on frozen cookie sheet and put back in freezer for 5-10 minutes.  Keep chocolates refrigerated (they melt!)

           2. Honey– Since I started making those chocolates, I’ve been buying honey a lot more often.  I’ve also found that honey in my coffee  is pretty amazing too!  I only do this occassionally as a treat though, since the honey has a lot more calories than the stevia I usually sweeten my coffee with.  And don’t let all this talk of “natural”, “honey”, and “stevia” make you think I’ve gone all crunchy granola on you.  I ate a cold piece of Papa John’s pizza…for breakfast.  Balance people.  It’s all about balance.

3. Draw Something–  I think I currently have 15 games going right now!  It’s like pictionary and a word guessing game combined.  So fun!  If you don’t have this app, check it out.  It’s definitely worth getting the paid app.  If you play the free one it freezes up a lot and repeats words way too much.  I’m Lisa Mongold on there if you want to start a game!

Happy Good Friday!


Thankful Thursday: Spring Break Edition

It’s official. I’m on spring break! Can I get a woot, woot?!?  It doesn’t feel that fun yet since today I still had to get Bekah to piano, Marissa to a small group event, and Phil came home from work feeling sick.  Alisha fell asleep on the couch as soon as she got home from school.  Not sure what that’s about, but I can tell you one thing…sickness will NOT be taking over MY spring break.  It doesn’t dare!  Phil is officially off too, and hopefully he feels better soon.  He’s  never sick…I mean never.  In the almost 19 years we’ve been married I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him lay down in the middle of the day because he doesn’t feel well.  My to-do list for spring break is about a mile long and I’m going to need some assistance.  Installing new blinds on our windows is not my thing.  We have no fun plans, just lots of cleaning and sorting and getting rid of things.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m thankful for it being spring break, but I’ll tell you why…in bullet points no less!

  • I can nap at will.  Oh…I’m feeling tired…I can lay down right now and sleep.
  • Not having to get dressed.  If I want to clean the house in pajamas I can.
  • Not having to do my hair and makeup.  I’ll have to this weekend since we have church Friday and Sunday, and Saturday we’re invited to friend’s for dinner.  But starting Monday…don’t just drop by unless you are not easily frightened.
  • I’m really looking forward to cleaning out our garage.  Sounds strange I know, but when I’m done with it, we’ll have a mini-gym that’s usable as opposed to pieces of exercise equipment in various closets.  The real test will be if I’m disciplined enough to use it.
  • Re-organizing the house.  Again, sounds not so fun, but when I think of all the time-wasting clutter in my kitchen it makes me mad.  Having the time to clean things out is awesome!
  • Being able to sleep in.  Did I mention that none of these things will take place until my eyes open of their own accord each day.  No alarms allowed!
  • Having more time to read and write…since I won’t be teaching those things.

These are the things I’m thankful for and looking forward to over spring break.  What did you do or are you planning on doing over spring break?