Living and Experiencing!

One Year Anniversary

Theo and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary downtown on October 23, 2010.  I surprised Theo with a visit to the Old State Capital and a picnic on the levee.

The fountains in front of the Shaw Center proved to be a fun photo-op before we headed to the capitol building.

Before entering the beautiful building, my husband, who thinks he is a model, had to stop and practice his skills.

This is the mock station to the left of the entrance to the building. 

The beautiful spiral staircase in the entrance always catches eyes.  Theo was mezmerized.  He also pretended to be the governor giving a speech!

Finally, We headed to the levee for a picnic lunch. We ended the day with dinner at Monjouni's.  Best bread pudding around!

1 bag of Excitement

So, on a typical grocery trip, I have a basketfull of groceries, spend $120, and get home and realize, I don't know what to cook for dinner.  So, I checked out the Kraft website to try out the One Bag, Five Dinners.  I was amazed.

The website gives you choices of Chicken and Beef, Chicken and Pork, Chicken and Seafood, or Healthy Living bags.  It gives you 5 recipes to cook and a shopping list to get ingredients for all the recipes.  The shopping list suggests specific brands, but of course, I purchased Great Value brand when I could.  I spent $70 but on top of the grocery list, I bought spinache, tomatoes, and cucumbers (for salads for lunch during the work week), tuna, extra chicken, cereal, milk, manwhich, extra ground meet, hamburger buns (for sloppy joes I had been craving) and yogurt.  So, I probably only spent $50 or less on the actual recipes.

One down side, the Friday recipe is usually a frozen pizza.  I skipped this purchase.  But we have cooked our first dinner.  No-Fuss Tex-Mex Roll-Ups.  Not only were they delicious, but they took less than 30 minutes to cook.  Since it's just the two of us and we've been eating spinache salads for lunch, they fed us two nights!  I highly recomend trying the One Bag Five Dinners for your family!
Tonight's dinner, Quick-Fix Cheeseburger Meatloaf! 

LCA - Learning and Bonding

This weekend was the Louisiana Counseling Association conference.  I fully expected to go there and learn a good bit from the presentations.  I was not disappointed by any of the presentations.  The biggest shock to me was the benefit I got in bonding with my classmates in my Graduate School program.

I learned a lot that I had in common with a few of them that I never got a chance to talk to before.  They introduced me to Pinkberry.  It was good.  I had never heard of it before and was unsure of the concept until I tried it.

In other news, I got a chance Sunday to go to the opening night of the So You Think You Can Dance tour.  It was fantastic.  It left me wanting nothing.  They performed all of my favorite dances.  Can't wait for the next season of So You Think You Can Dance now!

Wellness...More Than Your Scale

Wow.  The theme of this week has been that I must take care of myself wholistically so I can function as a counselor.  One of the girls in my cohort had a client she reported on that was tough on her emotionally.  Then, Wednesday I had a girl come in and our session was tough on ME emotionally.  Which made me realize that I can't do a job where girls come to me with issues as important as sexual abuse unless I'm taking care of me.  I literally cried most of the way home because it is so tough to hear.

So, I need to revisit my wellness plan I had to make 2 years ago at the beginning of my Master's program.  I picked out the most important aspects to help me with the demanding emotional aspect of my job.

1.  I will begin working out again, at least 3 days a week.

2.  I will read at least one chapter of a book that is designated for RELAXING, RECREATIONAL reading each night before bed.

3.  I will wake up on time so I can read my bible and pray for at least 30 minutes each morning.

What will you do to incorporate wholistic wellness into your life?

Even When It's Unknown! ACK!

So, two weeks into my Practicum experience, I'm enjoying it.  I'm a semi-St. Amant Gator.  It's not as great as being a Central Wildcat though!  I went and visited and realized how much I missed everyone (even though I already knew it.)

So, onto the Unknown.

I have been on my Sabbatical and got my first paycheck reflecting just that!  Man, did that one hurt.  Every month, God shows how He's faithful when I start doubting and don't know what He's going to throw at us next.  But His plans are always good.

Right now, we're waiting on His next big solution to a BIG problem.  Having faith is easy to say but hard to do.  When we don't know what God's solution will be, Ouch.  It's easy to have faith in the after-fact.  But right now, when we're living in the Unknown, and only God knows where the story comes to a conclusion, things are hard and questions are pondered.  But in the end, Theo and I both know that God is in control.  And the best thing is, when I start to doubt, I can feel the Holy Spirit remind me that God has NEVER failed me.

Tennessee, North Carolina, Virgina, OH MY!

We are home from our great vacation!  We had a blast and wore ourselves out!  We only hit Virginia for a second to pass through to another part of Tennessee, but we hit 3 states durring our vacation.

Day One we visited the Biltmore, the house built by the Vanderbilt family.  It literally took us all day to tour the house and the grounds.  Everything was breathtaking!

The grounds were beautiful and the house was stunning.  They didn't allow photos inside the house.  And it was such a lovely house.  We had an audio headset that gave us history and facts about every room.  The grounds were extensive.  We walked all over and still didn't see everything!
Day Two, we went to Grandfather Mountain, Lynville Falls, and Elk River Falls.  All three involved a hike to see the views so we were not short on our exercise.

Finally, Day Three held great plans and a great mishap.  The plan was, go to church, go to Bristol Caverns, and go to Watauga Lake to relax.  We went to Sunday School and Church, and as you can see, we went to Bristol Caverns (missed an exit and passed through Virginia).

We never got to Watauga Lake.  When leaving Bristol Caverns, my pal Mullins hit the curb (in attempt to not hit the kids whose parents were not good guardians).  Theo promptly changed the tire.  But with the stress of Mullins having to buy a new tire and having to meet up with her parents so they could switch cars with her so she could go to work the next day, we opted for sushi instead.  But, it was a GREAT trip!

The Great AMERICAN Vacation

Theo is now a full fledged American Citizen.  Yay.  He worked hard to become a citizen.  When he came to the United States from West Africa (Burkina Faso to be exact) he had a he was always here legally.  As soon as he was elidgable he got his green card.  I think you have a visa for 5 years to get a green card.  Marrying a citizen also gets you a green card, but this didn't help Theo at all since he already had a green card when we met.  You have to have a green card for 5 years before you can apply for citizenship.  The month that he hit the 5 year mark (February) he applied.

He went through an application process where he kept having to drive to Metarie at a moment's notice to either be fingerprinted or interviewed.  Everytime we got in the car I quizzed him the whole way to our destination on US history.  (We had 100 questions he had to learn).  And finally, on July 22, 2010 he was sworn in as a citizen.  It was quite an experience.

With that said, Thursday we will be taking off for our first American Family Vacation to Johnson City, Tennessee and will return Monday.  I have a list of possible sights to be seen.

 It sounds like we'll be taking a trip or two into North Carolina to see some of the sights, but not all of them.  First, there's Wataouga Lake where we can picnic and swim.  I'm told that when you swim you can see your feet all the way to the bottom.   Looks beautiful.  This one is in Tennessee, I belive.

Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina has this mile high swinging bridge, which I would love to see!  I bet it's a beautiful view from the top looking down!!  There are also lists of waterfallls we can go see.  We can hike to some and see sights on the way, or we can just pull up to some others.  I'm all about the good hikes as long as I'm rewarded in the end with a view that was worth the exercise...which I need more of anyway.  We are also considering Andrew Johnson's house, the Biltmore, and a castle.  Basically, we'll either narrow it down or have a pack filled 3 days.