a transition point

Jake and I have found ourselves in a bit of a quandary.  We love our church we currently attend and have attended for almost 2 years.  We love the services, the friends we have made in our Sunday School class and the overall atmosphere of the church.  However – we are not fond of our new pastor.   We know that with any transition such as this, that there are changes made and you have to give it time.  Our new pastor came around Easter of this year when our old pastor (who we loved) retired.  We have tried and tried, but find ourselves wanting to skip because we just don’t like the way he preaches.  Having been through several pastor transitions in my home church in VA, I know that some people will just “suck it up” because it is their home church and they don’t want to change.  We have adapted to some changes in regards to service times, the way that the children’s space is run – but we cannot get past the fact that we are just not fond of the pastor.   One of the other things that sits with us, is that our church is on the far side of the city – about 25 minutes away on a Sunday morning – but on a weekday evening – much more with traffic.  We are not able to do things in the evenings because by the time we got home from work to go there, it would be too late.  Leaving our jobs early is not an option.

However, the challenge in finding a new church is that Lexington has a lot of options, so so many in fact.  We want to be able to “plug in” to small groups, and Wednesday night suppers and be active in our church in a way that we cannot with our current church.  But we are faced with this scary prospect of “church shopping”.  We are fond of contemporary services with bands and praise music, and if you can wear jeans its a plus (in our minds, god doesn’t care what you wear, he cares you are there).   We have gotten a list together, and researched their websites.  We have listened to sermons & podcasts of different activities and our next step is just getting out there and going.

I guess in some ways I wanted to type this all out to “get it out” and ask that others pray for us in this transition.  It is hard to leave behind something, and maybe it is more so the people for us – we adore our Sunday school class.  While I guess it is possible to just go to that portion, and skip service – I feel like we would be doing ourselves a disservice.  And also, we would be unplugging ourselves from so many opportunities to mission to others.   I’d love to hear from others that have been in a similar position as us, so give me a shout if you have been through something similar.

 

 

 

Swagbucks & Disneyland!

Swagbucks, the online rewards site where you earn cash and free gift cards for the everyday things you do online, has added Disneyland eTickets to their lineup of rewards!

If you haven’t used Swagbucks before, here’s how it works: You get points (called SB) for things like online shopping, discovering new products and services, answering surveys, watching videos, and even searching the web. Then you redeem those points for gift cards from places like Amazon, PayPal, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and now you can redeem them for tickets to Disneyland!

For you Disney fanatics out there who are planning a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth, Swagbucks is a great way to stretch that travel budget further. You can earn while booking your hotel, get gift cards for travel and restaurants while you’re away, or just offset the cost of the tickets using your SB points!

Here’s some information from their FAQs about it:

How will I receive my eTickets?
These are electronic tickets that will be delivered to you via email.

Where can these eTicket be used?
These eTickets are specifically for use at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, and cannot be used at Disney World in Florida, or at any Disney Stores or other Disney resorts. Tickets cannot be used for admission to special events (ie. Mickey’s Halloween Party).

What type of eTickets does Swagbucks offer?
2 Day, 1 Park, Child (ages 3-9)
2 Day, 1 Park, Adult (ages 10+)
2 Day, Park Hopper, Child (ages 3-9)
2 Day, Park Hopper, Adult (ages 10+)
3 Day, 1 Park, Child (ages 3-9)
3 Day, 1 Park, Adult (ages 10+)
3 Day, Park Hopper, Child (ages 3-9)
3 Day, Park Hopper Adult (ages 10+)

What happens if I redeem for the wrong ticket?
These eTickets are non-refundable. Please make sure you are redeeming for the correct ticket and pay close attention to the type of ticket you are selecting, as there are different tickets depending on the amount of days you wish to attend the park, the type of ticket (one park per day vs. Park Hopper), and the age range the ticket is for (adult vs. child). Adult tickets are for ages 10 and up.

Also, please keep in mind it may take a few business days for you to receive your eTicket, so be sure to give yourself enough time when redeeming before you plan to visit the park.

WW – the way he looks at me

I was looking back through our wedding photos a few days ago, and I was struck (again) at some of them.  I have looked at them dozens of times, but one thing stands out in all of them:  The way that Jake looks at me.   He looks at me like I am the one person he has been waiting his whole life for and truth be told, there are some photos of me looking at him the same way.  He is, he is the man that I  wanted and what my heart needed.  He is the man that God led me to, in the right time and space.  For some looking at this photo he looks terrified…LOL – and I get it.  This was the moment they opened the doors and I started walking down the aisle.   He started tearing up and I had the biggest smile on my face (trying not to cry!).   I knew I was walking down that aisle to my best friend & the love of my life.
I’m so glad that you picked me Jake – I love you babe!

The way you look at me with that spark in your eyes shows me just how much you love me
and remind me of all the reasons I love you.

Swago for 200mil!

The digital rewards site Swagbucks is nearing $200,000,000 in cash and gift cards given back to it members. Since 2008, they’ve rewarded members for things we all do online, like shopping, watching videos, discovering deals, answering surveys, and searching the web.

$200,000,000 is a huge number, and to celebrate they’re holding a “Swago” promotion starting Monday, September 11th at 9am PDT!

Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it. Here are a few tips:

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Tuesday, September 19th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you’ll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will not be available to use until 9AM PT/12PM ET on Tuesday, September 19th and will end at 9AM PT/12PM ET on Thursday, September 21st.

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus! That’s enough for a $5 gift card in their Rewards Store to the retailer of your choice.

Click here right now and click “Join” to get started! If you don’t already have a Swagbucks account, you’ll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if 300 SB before the first of next month, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

Wordy Wednesday – Magnolia

Visiting Magnolia, and the Silos in Waco was a dream come true.  I just kept looking at this place that I have seen countless times on TV and thinking “am I really here?”.   We met some wonderful people there, including a woman who worked there who once lived in Columbia!  She found out it was our honeymoon, and had a cupcake delivered to us while we were talking to her!   We had such a wonderful time, and I am glad that we got to go and shop here!

Tuesday Texas Tour

So – we didnt exactly plan on visiting college campuses while we were in TX, it just sort of happened.  The 1st full day of our honeymoon we visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum, which is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University (aka: SMU).  Well, we missed our 1st turn and ended up driving through campus and saw their athletics facilities.  So we decided that after visiting the museum we would drive back down there.

We ended up walking down to their football stadium, and was so surprised at how close we could get to it!   We then cut through the campus to get back to the car (if we were going to pay $8 for parking, we were going to use it up!).

 

On Sunday we decided to head to Fort Worth, and went to the Fort Worth stockyards, and while on that side of town we decided to hit up TCU – Texas Christian University.  Mainly because Jake thinks their mascot is pretty cool, they are the Horned Frogs.   This campus was also pretty open, and beautifully maintained.   We did hit up their bookstore, where I was surrounded by lots and lots of purple.  I guess its better than being surrounded by Tennessee orange or Michigan State green!    We did see a handful of student athletes, and were able to peek in the windows of their athletics center, where they have a huge Hall of Fame.  Kinda bummed that part was closed, as it looked really neat!

 

Lastly, we hit up Baylor.  This was one of those “if we are close to it we’ll go”.  Literally, you drive into Waco and BOOM its right there.  We went there on Tuesday evening after we left Magnolia.  We drove around campus a bit, and then wandered over to the stadium.  It is pretty big, but only has half of the capacity that Williams-Brice (at Carolina) has at roughly 45K.    They have a nice statue commemorating RGIII’s time at Baylor.  They also have what I think is one of the coolest tailgating features ever.  You can buy (for probably an insane amount of money) a “sail-gate” spot, where you can just dock your boat and come to the game.  What is this life?  This is awesome.   They have a “berm” on the one end of the stadium, which is probably their student section (I didn’t look this part up), and the stadium itself has the shape of a horseshoe, which being in Texas, seems appropriate.

 

Happy Gameday from Dallas!

Happy Game Day from Dallas, TX!!!

We will be getting up bright and early to drive down from our hotel to the stadium to tailgate with some friends, and hopefully see my college roommate & her husband.  We are super excited to see the Cowboys stadium, and Jake of course is over the moon excited to be able to see Michigan play against Florida!  I am just happy for the return of college football, and thanks to a grad student will be kept up to date on the Carolina game which is happening around the same time as the Michigan game will be!

Here is a throwback to when Jake and I were in Ann Arbor last summer!

Friday Foodie…

It has been awhile since I posted a recipe, so here is a throwback!

So the other day someone sent me this recipe for sauteed chicken breasts called “simple chicken”.  Checking out the ingredients list, I was thinking “there is no way this is simple chicken”.  Paprika, salt. pepper, garlic powder, cayenne.  If it has more than 4 ingredients, it isn’t really simple in my book and I love to cook.

Also, I am not even sure I have paprika at home anyway, and if I put cayenne in it the kids probably won’t eat it.  So, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just “wing it”.   

I cut up the chicken into manageable pieces ( more like chicken tenders size).   Then I sprinkled greek seasoning all over it on both sides and set them in my saute pan with about 1 tsp of coconut oil.  I sauteed them under they were done, and then (ready for this?) poured 2 cups of heavy whipping cream (basically a pint of it) in the pan WITH the chicken and ALL the juices.  Put a lid on it, turn the head down and cook it for oh… another 8-10 minutes until the sauce thickened some.Then, you add a handful or so of Parmesan cheese to it, and let it cook down some more. It is okay if the cheese browns a bit, this makes it even more yummy!! 

 I chose to serve it over spaghetti noodles, with the chicken pieces & some of the sauce the first time I cooked it.   Now I make it normally with paprika and not greek seasoning – but either one would be good!  I also serve it with cous-cous and steamed peas. 

 

 

 

 

Counting Em’ Down

TEN of my favorite foods:

  1. Steak Flautas from pretty much any Mexican restuarant
  2. Grilled pizza
  3. Cheesecake
  4. those no-bake cookies with PB, oatmeal and lots of sugar (we call them fudgies)
  5. Shrimp
  6. Cheese grits from College Grounds
  7. Dark Chocolate ice cream w/marshmallows (ColdStone!)
  8. Hamburgers from Cook-Out
  9. lime sherbert
  10. Chocolate in just about any form

NINE of my all-time favorite movies:

  1. Hope Floats
  2. Sweet Home Alabama
  3. Steel Magnolias
  4. Bridesmaids
  5. Notting Hill
  6. Meet the Robinsons (Disney)
  7. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  8. Top Gun

Eight Celebrities I’d like to go on a date with…

  1. Eric Church
  2. Luke Bryan
  3. Thomas Rhett
  4. Justin Moore
  5. Channing Tatum
  6. Kenny Chesney
  7. Tim McGraw
  8.  Reese Witherspoon

SEVEN things I’m loving right now:

  1. The book about Detroit that I am reading.
  2. every second I get to spend with Jake
  3.  my oils team – killing it this month!
  4. that we are leaving for our honeymoon TODAY!
  5. country music
  6. countdown to football season  (3 days away!!!)
  7. students being back in our building

SIX places I’d like to visit someday:

  1. Mackinac Island
  2.  Young Living Farms in Utah.
  3. San Diego
  4. Key West
  5. Antigua to visit my friend Melissa
  6. Washington DC (to take the kids)

FIVE games I played as a child:

  1. Monopoly
  2. Life
  3. Rummy
  4. hide n’ Seek
  5. Wiffle Ball in our front yard

FOUR things I’d rather never see again:

  1. certain reality TV “stars” (honey boo-boo, teen moms, etc)
  2. anything my kids throw up (eww!)
  3. a replay of Marcus Lattimores knee injury or Kevin Ware’s broken leg
  4. Spiders.

THREE things I’d like to do this year:

  1. Lots of road trips with my kids!
  2. Thanksgiving in Richmond
  3. Surprise Jake with a trip “home” to Michigan

TWO facts about me:

  1. I had open heart surgery at the age of 5.  I have a nice long scar, but no problems since then.
  2. I suffered from pretty terrible PPD after I had Natalee, and I am very open about it.

ONE meaning behind my blog name:

  1. At the time I started VannClan5 – there were 5 members of our little family.  Clan rhymed with Vann, so it just stuck.   So, because I was recently married, and my last name is no longer Vann, I did buy:  http://www.careyfamily5.com

growing a tribe

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Tribe – a distinctive close-knit group

You hear the word tribe so often in the blogging world – find your tribe, what tribe do you belong to?  Really, this can be applied to any group of people, not just within the blogging world.

My tribes have varied throughout my adult life. based on my age, where I’m living and really what’s going on in my life.  As I have gotten older my tribe seems to have settled into a core group of people and I can honestly say I’m happy with that.   I am always going to make friends, no matter where I go – but I think my core group of close-knit friends is going to remain the same for the rest of my life.

So often my tribes overlap (especially my oily-tribe & my Marine Corps tribe), more so as I get older and I become a little more choosy about who I keep close in my life.  I shy away from people who cause my anxiety to shoot up, and try to surround myself with positive people.  My Marine Corps “girlfriends” are one of my biggest tribes.  We share a common trait, we at one time or another were married (or are still married) to a U.S. Marine.  This is a bond that divorce or even death cannot break.   This group of girls have watched each other grow over the last 15 years, watched babies be born, marriages dissolve and military funerals happen.  We have supported each other when we were weak and we lifted each other when we fell.  This group of girls is something I am incredibly blessed to have in my life, and I cannot say that enough.

This last week, one of them started a post in the facebook group we share about how long we’d been a part of the group and how many of us have met in real life.   What followed was the most joyful, mood uplifting thing I have ever seen – post after post filled with photos of lunches and baby showers, movie nights and get-togethers.   Someone asked me “how do you feel knowing you started this all?”.   I honestly tear up when I think of it.   I started a little website for military families that i thought would last, at most – 6 months.  Much less still be there almost 15 years later.  While the main website has gone by the wayside, taken over by easier methods of social media – the bonds and friendships are there.

These girls, these amazing, wonderful women who are mothers, sisters, wives, and friends – these are my tribe, and with them I will grow.