Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Karlie and Socrates

Well, Happy Wednesday, everyone! I wanted to share a little peek into the life and mind of Karlie. She just posted a blog about what she is learning in college and how she is growing. So, hop on over to her blog, Living in Timely Writing and check it out, and give her your thoughts.

I remember taking philosophy and thinking about those things and it making my brain hurt. (-: And then I remember doing it again in my philosophy of religion class. ha. Good times. I must say, it wasn't my favorite, nor was it my best subject, but it did stretch my thinking.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Extreme Lighting Makeover 2K12

You guys. My room looks awesome.

You may remember what my room looked like previously. No? Let me remind you:

Anything stand out in that picture? Perhaps the monstrosity of a ceiling fan? The picture really doesn't do it justice. That fan is huge, ugly, and doesn't even work right. Like, I never used it after the first time or two and realized it was very likely a fire hazard. So there it sat. An eye sore.

Well, thanks to Uncle Sam, or poor calculations on my part, we got back a tax refund this year, and have been using it to buy some things we have wanted/needed. (Shout out to our finally working garage door - with remote! WOOT! WOOT!) Anyway, I purchased a beautiful chandy to go in the place of this fan.

Our BFF's Leah and Tyler came over to help. I admit, Tyler did most of the helping. Leah and I just posed for a couple pics and made a cake. I had full intentions of helping Tyler and learning, but then I decided I'd rather talk with Leah. So Mark helped Tyler. We baked a cake. Win-win.

So Tyler took down the hideous.

I had previously assembled the beaut, so all we had to do was hang it at the proper length. Leah is helping Tyler here by cutting the chain. Aren't they cute?

And here's my handsome hubby, just because he's cute:

See those gloves? Yeah, apparently you are supposed to wear those when you hang the crystals on the chandelier. Somehow I never saw the gloves until after I had hung every. single. crystal. But here I am, sporting the gloves for the heck of it. (-:

After all that was done, it was time to hang the precious. We let the boys handle that (Boo watched):

Work it, guys! (-:

So, Tyler did a few last minute adjustments (Boo and Mark are moral support):

And.... ta da!!!

I know, right?! Isn't she lovely? And the shadows on the wall are so magical. I cannot believe how much bigger and peaceful it makes the room. Here's another shot, because I'm just proud:

And finally, the before and after:

I am so glad to finally get the chandelier up. It is something I have planned on since day one. Too bad all the things I want aren't free - ha! (-: Big shout out (holla!) to Tyler and Leah for being awesome and helping with this project. The plus side is we had a great time hanging out, as always. I am very thankful for their friendship.

Well, that's about it for me. Any new projects for you guys?


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Johnson Family Updates

Hey, everyone! You know I'm trying to blog more. I mean, now that my blog looks legit, I can't just leave it hanging. So, here are some random updates

Okay. Couponing. Seriously. Does anyone do it? Because I went to this couponing class tonight at Whole Foods, and these people take their coupons seriously. I'm not planning on getting 100 tubes of toothpaste or shopping at multiple stores or anything, but I'm contemplating starting. Love it? Hate it? I do love the free bag I got for going to the class:

Kind of belated, I know, but Valentine's Day was lots of fun for us. We are on a tight budget, so we don't spend much, but we have lots of fun. I made these homemade valentines last year, and had some leftover for this year so Mark and I each hand wrote each other a card:

Karlie got some beautiful gerbera daisies sent to her at OBU, and I got this beautiful rose:

It was a great day. (-:

Bella has recently received an extreme makeover. Like, when Karlie and I went to pick her up from the groomer, we did not recognize her. Karlie was afraid to pick her up because she didn't think it was our dog. Y'all. This dog has never looked this good. (Not that that is saying much, but still). Here she is, basking in the sun, with one ear flipped the wrong way. 

I got a chandelier. For our bedroom. I am BEYOND excited to put it up. My friend Tyler is coming this weekend to install the beaut, and I can't wait. I mean, there is currently an absolutely heinous, broken monstrosity of a ceiling fan hanging in there now, and we're about the completely makeover the room with this chandelier. Woo! It took my forever to hang all these crystals:

And here's a pic of me and Mark, living the dream, going out to eat for Valentine's Day:

Those are our updates. Tomorrow is Friday - Body Pump! Woowoo! Have a great weekend, everyone! (-:


Monday, February 20, 2012

Marriage Monday: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently my handsome husband sat on a back row of a "for guys only" break-out session at a youth retreat. The speaker posed this question to the boys: "What is the one thing that guys need more than anything else?" There was a smattering of incorrect answers that the teenagers offered, but then Mark spoke up with the correct answer, to which the speaker complimented, "That young man in the back is right." So what is the one thing guys need more than anything else? You guessed it: respect.

We have heard over and over that women need love, men need respect. I think many times women recognize this in their heads, but we don't always know how to tangibly live by it. Many times we confuse love with respect. After all, if we are showing love, doesn't that mean our husband feels respected? Well, not exactly.

I respect Mark. I respect who he is as a person, his hard work, his sacrificial love he continually demonstrates toward me and Karlie, his encouraging spirit, and his brilliance. But sometimes I don't communicate with or show respect. And this took a long time for me to realize.

There are times that I have said, "Will you just let me do it, please?" because I felt I had a better solution. I thought if I solved whatever the problem was it would just make things easier. It didn't. I have said things in different ways that on the surface might not have seemed that bad, but they were.

There were incidences when my hubby felt like his wife did not respect his actions, his choices, his ability to complete a task, and ultimately, him. Mark Gungor said in Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage that "men need to be respected for who they are, not for what they do. If they don't feel respected, they can't survive." That's a pretty big time statement.

So how do we know when our husbands feel disrespected? I sure didn't know. I didn't know why he didn't see my commentary the same why I did. After all, I was just trying to figure out why he did something a certain way - I was just offering suggestions! It was love vs. respect at its finest. So, a year or two ago we had a brilliant idea and decided Mark would tell me when I said something that made him feel disrespected. Who woulda thought? (-: But here's the deal: instead of Mark just getting hurt and me not understanding, he now says, "I feel really disrespected when you say things like that." And then I feel that little twinge in my heart - knowing he is right - I wasn't being respectful.

And you know what the cool thing is? I get it now. I now realize before I say something that it might be something that would make my sweet husband feel disrespected. And unless my sin nature wins over - I don't say it. I think. I change my words. And I understand now more how my husband feels. And now, he says much more rarely that he feels disrespected.

I can also assure you that a husband who feels respected as a person is much more willing to accomplish those things you were upset about in the first place. A respected husband is in a much better frame of mind to be loving toward his wife. A respected husband makes for a happier home and a happier marriage.

How do you show respect to your husband? Can you tell a difference when your hubby feels respected?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Theology Thursday: Dealing with Conflict

(As you know, I'm a seminary student, so I spend a pretty significant chunk of my time attempting to study theology. I thought that perhaps I would share a little of what I'm learning on the 'ole blog, and maybe, just maybe, I might be able to offer a little encouragement. If you aren't a Christian, consider this a sneak peak into the mind of one.)

One thing I've been learning about while in seminary is handling conflict. Conflict seems to be the first of a few things that we can expect in our lives as believers as we work to become more like Christ and spread the gospel.

The story of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15 is so fascinating. Paul and Barnabas were partners in spreading the gospel - the greatest mission of all. Yet, somewhere along the way, they got into an argument about whether or not they should bring along John Mark as another partner in their mission. Apparently, John Mark had deserted them previously. Paul and Barnabas had such a sharp disagreement, in fact, that they parted ways. Barnabas actually left with Mark and went one way, and Paul took a different partner and went another.

In reading this, I think, "Why didn't they reconcile? Was the disagreement really that severe?" I mean, we all have conflict, even with believers. Surely there's something we can learn from this.

I think first of all, just because we have a conflict with someone doesn't mean that we should "part ways." I believe, if it is at all possible, that Jesus wants us to work out our conflicts humbly. We should be praying constantly for that person, for the situation, and for our own hearts. As believers, the one thing we should always be fighting for is unity within the church. I believe we are much more effective when we are unified  and at peace with each other.

But sometimes there are those extra tough conflicts. Those conflicts that you have prayed and cried over. Those conflicts that make your heart ache and your mind constantly try to answer. Days pass. Weeks pass. And you don't have an answer. And the best answer really seems like it may be best to part ways, like Paul and Barnabas. Is this ideal? Absolutely not. But can the gospel be advanced through it all? Absolutely.

In the times that the "right thing" is incredibly difficult to discern, those are the moments when the "right thing" is perhaps not doing anything in the heat of the moment. Acts states that Paul went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the church. And Barnanas and Mark sailed to Cyprus to spread the gospel there. The gospel was advanced. They did not let their argument get in the way of fulfilling their purpose.

They did not let their argument get in the way of spreading the gospel.

As believers, we are all on the same team. We may experience heart-wrenching conflicts. Relationships may be deeply and painfully altered, or even ended. But in those instances, we can strive to handle them in a way that brings about the least amount of damage. We can continue to pray for those people, for the situation, and we can always be on the lookout for a way to reconcile, even if it is years later.

You see, there is no time limit on reconciliation, as long as both parties are living. I have experienced and have seen many situations where a conflict was resolved years later, and witnessed the healing and peace that those situations brought. While the best scenario is for no conflict, or immediate resolution, there is always hope for eventual reconciliation.

And what about Paul and Barnabas? We see, later, in I Peter 5 that Paul changed in his view on John Mark, when he said, "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me and my ministry." Who he once said was a hindrance, Paul, in his last moments, said John Mark was a help to his ministry and wanted to see him.

What a beautiful picture of forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation! This story should be more than a disappointment in our expectations of first century Christians. Yes, we should  always be on guard against Satan, who is constantly working to bring about conflict and disruption. But this story also serves as an encouragement. We should always be aiming toward reconciliation, we should never let an argument get in the way of spreading the gospel. Thankfully, the Lord is in the business of restoring relationships.

What about you? Do you have a story of reconciliation? Are you in the middle of something you are praying through? Has the Lord used a conflict to grow you spiritually?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Blog Design!

Hey Everyone! Over here at A Nerd and a Free Spirit, it's time for a makeover! I have always wanted a blog makeover by a professional, but have never had one... until now. (-:

I entered a drawing from one of my blog friends at Sweet Simplicity, and lo and behold, I won! I am so excited.

I love the new look! It's cleaner, fresher, and definitely more legit. (-:

What do you think?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Marriage Monday: Whose Team Are You On?

Maybe you remember that moment. You were somewhere with your significant other, with friends, or family, and you said something. Something that upset your significant other, and maybe you didn’t understand why.
But then the tables turned. You were with your friends. And your significant other said something. And suddenly you were upset or hurt. And then it hit you - it was about teams.
Very early in our relationship, Mark and I started using the phrase “We’re a team!” And to be disgustingly honest, for some reason, we changed the proper grammar to “is”, so we actually say “We’s a team!” I know. I said it was disgusting. Anyway, we said it about pretty much everything, but especially when we were with other people.

The team isn’t “us against them.” It’s about teamwork. Support. Encouragement. Working together to achieve a common goal. It’s about Mark and I supporting each other, and never being on opposing teams, especially in public. 
Sure, Mark might say something that I disagree with in front of other people, but I don’t say anything until later - when we’re alone. When we’re with people, I give the classic leg tap or “the look”.  Then later, I try to approach the subject very carefully, thoughtfully, and not accusatorially. I strive to be nothing but a cheerleader for my hubby around other people so he never has to question what team I’m on. When we feel hurt or not supported by the other person, we will later say, “I don’t feel like you were on my team when you said that.” 

What I also love about this is that my husband also holds me accountable for what I say to anyone - about anything. As much as I hate to admit it, on the drive home from almost any get-together we attend, my husband humbly and lovingly tells me that perhaps, just perhaps, I said something I should’ve have. I seem to have the gift of not always being as careful in my words as I should. And because of his sweet, honest reminder, I am slowly learning to be more thoughtful before I speak. He challenges me to be better. And what is more beautiful than that?

What about you? Do you have any rules for public? Do you help each other be more sensitive in speaking? Do you chant “We’s a team!”? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Today Was a Great Day

This goes down as a completely random post, but I'm okay with that. Why was today so great? Well, let's see....

I went to work and was so productive that I impressed myself and got all my work done in three hours. Yes, three hours (here's to hoping I didn't forget something). So I decided that I should take a half day off and left shortly after noon. I really think there's nothing better than suddenly being rewarded with free time. I remember days when class was cancelled in college and you would have thought that free 50 minutes was like willing a million dollars at the lottery. It's like when you think you gave your time away to something and then suddenly you get it back. For free. It's like, really awesome.

So, I left work early and ran a few errands. I got my bangs trimmed and bought some random things I needed. Anyone used Epionce face wash? LOVE IT. I got that and some other things and then I jaunted over to the local mall to try to complete my list of items to purchase with my tax refund. And I scored. I got a pair of black flats and a pair of brown flats from Payless that were much needed (thanks to dogs that liked to chew up my shoes). But the best part, I got these:

My very first pair of Tom's. Now, here's something I learned today: you can buy the youth sizes and save money. For instance, I would normally wear a 7.5 in ladies, so I would be a 5.5 in youth sizes. How much for these in youth size? $38. That's right, folks. Wheelin' and dealin'. Youth sizes go up to a 7, which would be 9 in women's. You should think about it.

I also did some homework... actually, I should be doing that now. Oh, how I love to procrastinate.

Finally, we topped off the evening with a lovely dinner at a local cafe with live music from one of my favorite bands. We spent time with good friends and even had FroYo for dessert.

And you know what the best part is? I don't have to work tomorrow. It's like I got all my errands done today so tomorrow I can... well.... do homework all day. Ha. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.

And the other thing that made my day super awesome is that my new pink lululemon jacket finally arrived in the mail. I love it. See photo: (-:

It's the small things, people. Anything make your life awesome lately?

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