Catching up….

I just noticed that it’s been awhile since I posted something meaningful. Sorry about that. When tax deadlines roll around, it’s a bit hectic…add to that Jon travelling for work, and being all important now (did I mention he got a promotion at work….SO proud), it’s been a crazy time at the Sutter house. I have some catching up to do, so we’ll start with Camping. On Labor Day weekend, Jon and I did a first in our marriage. We went camping all by our lonesome. Our little family loaded up and headed out to Saddler’s Creek State Park. This was our fourth time camping there, but our first time alone. I checked the forecast at 3, and it was ALL CLEAR! No clouds, no percent chances of rain (I like to call this foreshadowing if you haven’t picked up on it). Well, as I mentioned, Jon has been working crazy hard, so we did not leave our house until 6:30, and the park is an hour away. Usually, that would stress me out, but this time it was just us, and we had no schedule, so it was perfect….and how couldn’t it be…Jon bought me my favorite sugar cookies as a snack.

We got to our site, and we were quickly losing daylight, so Jon and decided to break up the tasks. I put up the tent, while he made fire and got started on supper. He would periodically help me unload things once I got the tent up. Thankfully, we got the tent up JUST IN TIME. The wind started swirling, and the drops started falling. Jon quickly rushed the girls into the tent and found safety. The storm continued for about 45 minutes. Our tent was literally blowing over above us. A little unsettling at times, but it was a nice time together, and we just chilled out until the storm ended, and then ventured out for supper. I think Jon’s fire survived the storm (must have been a good one).

As you can see from the pictures, we spent the time RELAXING. We took the girls swimming. I FINALLY finished my book that Jon bought me for my birthday, and we of course played some games and slept. There’s no need to mention who won the games again this weekend…Who are we kidding, I won again at Phase 10 AND Yahtzee. How could I forget the people that we met…The campsite next to us was occupied by a couple from North Carolina who were there for a bass fishing tournament. It made me miss my cousin from Michigan, because he and his wife are into fishing in tournaments, and I know they would have loved meeting them (and of course hanging out with us). The man was very kind to Jon. One evening, they went fishing at 10pm or so after the man had been up since 3. He was teaching Jon how to try different baits and what the best techniques were. While down there, he shared a lot of his story with Jon. He was a cancer survivor (at 50 or so), and he told Jon that he would have never made it through without his wife. He said there were days that he couldn’t move, and he didn’t even have the strength to get to the mailbox. He said it was at those times that he wanted to give up, but his wife encouraged him so much to keep going that he was there that day speaking to Jon. They had been married 24 years I think when we met them. While I don’t know their spiritual background, it was definitely encouraging to hear the effect a wife can have on her husband. Obviously, I hope to never face the trials they did, but I do hope I can support Jon the same ways that woman supported her husband.

Well, on that note, I’ll sign off and leave you with some pictures. Until next week.

Been a little slow lately

So, you’ll see over my next few posts, I’m playing catch-up. There is so much to tell you and so little time. I wanted to share some sweet pictures today of the sweet dates I had yesterday for lunch. Oh how I love them, and the excitement and hugs when they first see me will NEVER get old. I miss them when I leave them….

Max on Life by Max Lucado

So, if you haven’t been reading my blog very often, one of the things I do is review books periodically for a website called booksneeze. It’s really my sneaky way of getting free books. Just kidding. It’s not too sneaky since that’s what they’re about. You sign up, read a book, write a review, and then get a new book. If you don’t ever review the book, you just don’t get any more books. I have been a little lax in the department of reading, but this has helped me read more this year and to actually broaden my reading horizons a bit. So, without further adieu…

Max Lucado’s Max on Life is a great resource for new and growing believers. I even believe it would be a great resource for maybe a strong Christian to break down difficult answers and scriptures while training new believers in the Word. Max touches on common questions relating to marriage, hope, life after death, prayer, children, work and money, and more. Each question and answer is about one page long, so they are not too overwhelming to get through even if you try to read the book from cover to cover. This book will serve more as a resource though for those counseling others.

Based on what was written above, this book surprised me a bit because the answers to some of the topics seemed very vague or circular. This was not the case with all of the questions, but with a small handful of them. It also would have been nice to have more scripture references included with each question. The way the book is currently formatted, it appears that Max’s opinion on life is more important than God’s opinion on life. I know from reading other Lucado books, this is not his intention, but unfortunately, it appears to be that way in this book.  Overall, this was a good book, and I would recommend it to others. I just do believe there could have been better decisions made in the formatting to acknowledge that Lucado’s are only that of a man’s and that God’s ideas are supreme over any man’s interpretations.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Poor Mocha….

Packing will be my life for the next three weeks, but I can’t complain because all of the trips will have great highlights. I leave today for New Jersey (assuming the airports are back to normal). The job is a pretty fun one. I’m auditing the Company’s 401(k) plan, but the company makes eye liners for various cosmetic companies. Last year, I got to go on the plant tour to see how it works, and you would NEVER imagine how many pieces and machines it takes to create an eyeliner pencil. CRAZY! The other fun time is that I am going to be in Jon’s hometown of Piscataway. I will get to see his Grandma, aunts, and even our parents and sister. I am so excited to see some family. It makes the travel so much better when I can spend the evenings with family.

Work has been crazy busy with taxes recently. We have a corporate filing deadline in less than three weeks, so the stress level has definitely risen. Somehow, I got put on a lot of very difficult returns this year, but once they get turned in, it’s SO refreshing. Here’s to hoping the next three weeks fly by for more reasons than this one. Jon and I have had an unusual amount of free time, and I am SO thankful for it. We had been so busy that we actually scheduled a weekend where we weren’t allowed to schedule anything. So this weekend, Jon and I spent extra time together. On Friday, we were able to see the new Captain America movie. My credit card has a Buy One Get One each month if you buy your ticket on Friday, so we snagged up that deal. After we got home, Jon was cleaning out his closet of some clothes that he is going to get rid of…as you can see, we had a little too much fun. I don’t think Mocha agreed…I mean look at the picture where she gave us the stink eye.

On Saturday, Jon had to work since he’s in his second busy season. It gave me time to get the house cleaned again which we know from last week is much easier now. Thankfully, we were able to meet up for my nephew’s first competitive soccer game. It’s the first time he played in a game where they kept score and had to follow the rules of soccer. He did great, and I was so proud of him. I don’t know how he made it since it was so hot!. That evening, we used one of our Living Social deals to eat a local establishment called the Peddler. Our favorite features about the Peddler are the salad bar and the atmosphere. It’s set in this old stone building which feels like a dungeon when you walk in. If you want prime rib, they will bring it out to your table to cut it right in front of you. We were told the wait was 45 minutes, which we were fine with since I have been practicing patience. Well, the wait turned into an hour and fifteen minutes, but all was well, because we found a checkers board. Too bad for Jon, his losing streak continued, and he forfeited just in time for them to call our name. *As I write this, Jon is telling me that I must put that he would have beaten me if we had continued playing…however, I had more kings than Jon, so this statement is VERY questionable.

After supper, we took a late night stroll downtown. It reminded me of when we were dating. We would walk on the bridge and hang out in the park. I was experimenting with my camera while down there. I am not very good yet, but I do enjoy taking pictures where the shutter stays open longer grasping as much natural light as possible. They are a bit blurry, because it is a suspension bridge so even though I was still and the camera itself was still, the bridge was moving. I’ve been trying to learn the terminology and features of my camera a bit more before our big trip. Here are some pictures of what I was able to capture. I’m super excited too because I bought some photography books and a new lens this week with some money I have been saving, so I am hoping to learn a lot. Maybe I’ll share with you my practice pictures along the journey of learning…or maybe I won’t. Oh, and the house you see, Jon and I like to drive around looking at houses sometimes, and this one caught our eye…..we think it’s far out of even our dream’s price range, but we found it beautiful and unique. Hopefully, you enjoy.

Enjoying the “slow” times….

Our week started slow and surprisingly relaxing…then, it just sped up. It was so slow that I had time to keep the house clean during the week. As I was cleaning on Saturday (i.e. vacuuming, washing the sheets, dusting, etc.), and a crazy revolution… that it’s crazy how easy those tasks are when you are able to keep the house picked up during the week. Don’t get me wrong though, this week was filled with its stresses. As most of our readers know, Jon and I travel a lot, and we use our cars for most of that travel. Well, this week turned out to be car repair week, and I mean car REPAIR week…like they had to replace a tow bar on my car whatever that is, Jon got new brakes, my rotors got rotated, and other small repairs. It’s so sad to throw money into huge pieces of metal, but to counteract it, I decided to price out our insurance and it saved us about 60% of our car costs. It might sound weird to you, but I was SO thankful to recover some of the costs.  We still have to buy Jon some new tires…I was so excited to save money that I tried to win them during a raffle at a United Way even that we went to this weekend. Sadly, we lost.

Thursday was the first night of our new study. I was very humbled by what God did that night. We had 15 ladies crammed into my living room, yes, FIFTEEN. I had been joking with the ladies before this study that I had no problem buying some pews and bringing them in, so they all found it a bit humorous that I had a “back row” set up behind my couch. The first tour of the Truth Project helped us determine what is Truth and encouraged us to ask ourselves the question, “Do I really believe that what I believe is really true?” After the video we had great discussion that ultimately led into us throwing out some practical ways of learning truth. One woman mentioned that in the secret service, the men study the real money so that when they see the fake stuff, it’s obvious. The same should be the case in life. We need to study the Word so much that when a lie of the world is presented we will instantly be able to spot the Truth.

Unfortunately, Jon had to work most of the weekend, but thankfully we spent Saturday afternoon together. A few months back, we purchased a Living Social deal to rent two bikes for half a day. We finally had a moderate weather day, so we rode all the way to Travelers Rest which is 11 miles away from downtown. Man, my legs hurt! Round trip was 22 miles, but it was a great time together. Jon and I had a great time together and added some great memories to our marriage. Here are some pictures until next week….

Date night, birthdays and work…

What a week. Do they ever slow down? On Friday, Jon and I had plans to attend another United Way event, but somehow Jon and I both misread the invitation so we unexpectedly had an evening free. We had both recently heard about something called Foodie Fest. Some really fancy restaurants in Greenville are were offering an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $30. We decided to take advantage of a restaurant that Jon has wanted to go to for three years! American Grocery…our meal included Rabbit Sausage, Tomato Salad, Duck, Steak, and fresh fruit cobbler. The neat thing about the restaurant is that absolutely everything is locally grown. It was all really good. Due to the high volume of patrons, our reservation was not until 8:30 (which is basically past any accountant’s bedtime). We did not end up getting seated until 9:15, so you can imagine that I was basically a zombie.  Before our reservation though, Jon and I played some card games downtown. Jon put up a valiant fight, but in the end, I was the master of Phase 10.

This was a Bible Study week, and we had a great group of ladies sharing about what they learned at Ladies Retreat. We are so excited to be starting our next study this week. It’s Focus on the Family’s Truth Project. I have been so blessed by our group.

Saturday brought a bunch of yard work. My mom was so gracious to come help me weed and plant some bushes. I have been trying hard to re-use items to save on our yard, so I spent the early morning digging up some monkey grass and that afternoon, my mom helped replant it around my larger flower garden. It’s really hard to see in the picture, but she re-planted them as a border to my big flower garden (doesn’t have too many flowers) since the Hostas that I planted 4 years ago never grew…well, one lonesome one did, but I did learn my lesson about buying from bulbs…sometimes instant gratification is a good thing. We also got some grass patch stuff that we are experimenting with to get our grass up to snuff. Jon has been faithfully watering and tending to it, and if it works, he’s going to fill the rest of the patches in the front yard and then move to the back which is still basically a construction zone due to last year’s patio project. Mom and I also installed some borders to the flower beds in the front yard. It’s amazing what work can get done when you aren’t at the office. 🙂

 

Well, Sunday just brought more of the same. We were able to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. Dan and Isabelle came over for lunch, and we had a great time catching up with them. Somehow they live in the same city, but it’s sometimes so crazy that we don’t get to see each other for months at a time. Anyway, Isabelle has been running faithfully, and she and her sister are going to be running a half marathon this fall, so Jon and I thought we would help her stay hydrated with a new water belt. Beyond that I went to help a lady in our Bible Study unpack since she recently moved and has three little ones occupying her time. I love organizing things so it was right up my alley. My girlfriend and I were able to get the kitchen unpacked while the mom ran some errands, so I consider it a success. I came home and just did more laundry…what’s to be expected, right? Speaking of that laundry…I must get back to it. Until next week!

Long awaited….

Were you expecting me to say something else. Well, sorry to disappoint, but I finally snagged some time to upload some pictures. I have been trying lately to take better pictures rather than taking lots of pictures if that makes sense. I can’t take credit for too many of the pictures from the Bible Study Ice Cream social, but can I just say I love kids. They are so uninhibited…is that a word? I think catching candid photos of kids is too funny. Like the picture where the sweet girl got in the back of the bike. She did it all on her own, and it was so precious. Or watching the kids run through the sprinkler. The one little girl asked me to run through it with her since there was a ring of adults around the outside of the sprinkler….I couldn’t resist.

I also loved watching the kids with the dogs. Look at the pic in the upper left corner. It looks like the boy is terrified, but I wish you could have heard the squeals of excitement when he saw the dogs. His mom said he didn’t really want to walk from the car to the house, but when she told him there were dogs, he began almost running to the house. So cute. I think my favorite picture though is the little girl in the middle trying to give Lexi a pretzel M&M. So cute. Would you believe we had adults at the social too? All of the ladies were from the Bible Study, and they brought their hubbies and obviously their kiddos too. Such a fun time of fellowship.

And back two weeks now…my pics from camping with Ethan. I can’t remember if I mentioned it in the original post, but Ethan helped me put up the tent. We didn’t even need Jon’s help! I was SO proud of him. It still makes my heart swell just thinking of how much fun he had. Even yesterday, he asked me if he could go back with us for Labor Day! Love him!