Saturday, February 27, 2010

Six Word Saturday

The Olympics are Making Me Sick

I hate to say it, I really do. But I am sick. I have been staying up every night for the past two weeks watching speed skating, ice skating, half-pipe, mogals, slolem, biathalon, hockey... you name it, if it's been on NBC in the evenings, I've been watching it.

And my body has finally spoken. And now I'm oozing and coughing. How hot is that? (Although I did have sexy phone voice for a while today, until it just sounded painful)

For those of you who are wondering why a) I haven't posted much lately and b) why the heck I never read your blogs, it is because I've been doing nothing but work, watch the olympics, take naps, and sneeze.

So believe me when I say that I am looking forward to Sunday. I've got a fun weekend planned though, and I'm taking Monday off too, which is probably the smartest decision I made too. Saturday I've got a women's breakfast with my church where I'm doing a craft and a devotional, and then I need to see about finishing my taxes (ok that's not super-fun but I'll be getting a bit of money back so I'm excited about that) and hopefully I'll get a good night's sleep. Sunday I have a meeting before church, then church, then I'm having lunch with some friends and we're going to come back to my place and play with Mary Kay. I'm so excited! Then another friend is coming over to watch the Olympics closing ceremonies. Then on Monday I have my midterms for VLI (a post-graduate-level leadership class I take). So busy busy but at least I can sleep in Monday since I have nothing else planned. I am sooooo excited about that. :)

Well, that's all I have to write about--my lack of sleep and the fun (hopefully) things that I WILL be doing. Here's hoping that next week I'll have something more exciting. But I do have Be My Guest Monday coming up, so never fear, you will actually get an extraordinary post in the next few days. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fictionary Friday - Resonate

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Good. Here we go:

Dictionary Definition:
Resonate v. to amplify vocal sound by the sympathetic vibration of air in certain cavities and bony structures.

Fictionary Definition:
Resonate n. A houseguest named Nate who seems to have taken up residence and never plans to leave. "Who's that guy on Mrs. Smith's front porch?" "Oh, they've got a Resonate." "Wow, that stinks. Hope they can get rid of him soon."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.


"Whatever you are, be a good one."

~ Abraham Lincoln ~

Monday, February 22, 2010

Be My Guest Monday! The Negative Space

It's Monday! And here at Out of the Extraordinary that means it's Be My Guest Monday. If you'd like to get this super-cool award and guest post on my blog some Monday, click the link, read the deets, then contact me!

Today's guest blogger is Katherine at One Girl's Journey To The Altar. I have to say right now that this post is awesome, and such a blessing, because due to a communication error on my part, I didn't have the person lined up for today, nor had I set up Katherine with a blogging date. Well: Problem Solved! I emailed Katherine and not only was she quite gracious, but she also had a post already brewing, just for me! Hooray!!! Please go to Katherine's blog after you read this and catch up on her journey (unless you're one of her readers, in which case, please stick around here a little longer!) and give her some support as she reaches the final countdown to the wedding!!!

The Negative Space

This week, high school art class is on my mind. I think it started when I decided to (was forced to) clean out the back of my closet (for more details on what and why of that experience, click here.

One thing I learned from art was about drawing the negative space. I don’t know if they still teach this concept today, but I was taught that when you draw a tree or a face – or anything – attempt to not draw the tree, but the space around the tree. Don’t draw the nose, but draw the space around the nose. So, it’s almost like you are drawing these abstract shapes and not the pre-conceived ideas of what you think the tree or nose looks like.

I guess the good thing is that you can maybe draw a better picture like that. But the bad thing is that, because you are dissecting what is there so it is no longer a cohesive whole – just odd, individual shapes – you miss the beauty of the object, of what is actually a face or a tree.

So, it hit me that I sort of view life through the negative space. I tend to see all the things that aren’t there – or just the abstract pieces or voids – and I miss the beauty of the whole arrangement and what really is there.

Here’s the story of where this hit me this week:

In the same post as the closet adventure, I discussed the birth certificate debacle. Long story short, I needed to get a copy of my birth certificate for my marriage license, and I was annoyed that my mother lost it. So, instead of waiting for her to fix her mistake and get me a new copy (can you sense my anger here?!?), I decided to drive the 45 minutes to Town Hall to get another one myself. I was heading to the other end of Long Island to return something to Crate and Barrel (the only C&B on Long Island), so it was sort of on the way. As I Mapquested the best route from A to B, I realized it took me the scenic route. I don’t know if it was the shortest route, but it was definitely not the fastest. But I had the time, so I decided to take it.

Well, it was snowing on that day (not that that is unusual these days!). It was my favorite kind of snow – enough to be pretty but not enough to be overly dangerous or ruin plans or make me shovel. And as I was driving this route, it was one of the most amazing, scenic experiences I ever had. Through the trees and by the water and over these hills… absolutely breathtaking. I felt like I was in the middle of a black and white picture of this snowy universe that was familiar but brand new at the same time – unlike anything I had seen before. And I am not exaggerating.

And then I realized that if my mom hadn’t lost my birth certificate, I wouldn’t be driving this. I just would have taken the expressway to C&B. I had been looking at the negative space – what wasn’t right, what was annoying. But when I really looked and saw the whole of the circumstances, I saw what was there - the beauty of this amazing gift God gave me in that moment.

So, that is one example. And then I realized I do see the negative space in lots of things. Like relationships, for example. After 36 years of a diet of ‘emotional porn,’ as I like to refer to it – don’t get nervous; by that I mean romance movies, novels, etc – it is easy for me to look at the negative space in my relationship with my fiancé – all things he isn’t doing, all the things that aren’t there….

But when I shift my focus to broaden my view to see the whole picture – I see everything he is doing and everything that is there and everything that is going right and all the ways he daily shows me he loves me…

It was there all the time…but I just wasn’t seeing it. I was too focused on the negative space.

And I think that’s what happens when we dissect life and look at it in abstracts pieces and see all the things that aren’t there. But when we back up and take in our lives as a whole, we can use the negative space to highlight and emphasize all we do have and all that is there…the beauty of our lives as a whole…each moment, each experience, each person. There will always be negative space if we choose to look at it. But on the other side of that negative space is the object of beauty, if we just look a little farther.

Just like those weird pictures where they ask if you see an old woman or a young woman.

It’s a bit of a mind-bender and brain shift… a new way of looking at things…a little uncomfortable and awkward at first. It hurts a little.

But if you look hard, you really can find the pretty young woman. It really just depends on where your focus is.

~ Katherine ~
One Girl's Journey To The Altar

Saturday, February 20, 2010

SWS: Four Awards? For Moi?? Merci Beaucoup!!

Four Awards? For Moi?? Merci Beaucoup!!

Ok, so I luuurve awards! I've heard that there are some bloggers out there who are kinda "over" the whole award thing. I don't really get why. I mean, someone thinks you and/or your blog is cool. Maybe it's just because my primary love language is Words of Affirmation, but I think awards are stellar.

Of course some people may just hate having to post 19 things no one else knows about them and forward the award to 50 of their closest friends, blah blah blah. Well, no one ever said the blogging police would get you if you don't. It's kinda like a chain letter, you know? Someone somewhere will break it. So what? The other 3,090 people are blithely sending them along.

So this is how I'm going to do it. I have recently received a total of FOUR awards, from four fantastic ladies who think I'm somethin' special. (gee, thanks ladies!!). Seriously, here's a shout-out to Katherine at One Girl's Journey to the Atlar, Lauren at Her Silent Musings, Elle at A for Effort (B for Blog) and Lottie at Kaffeine Addict. What I'm going to do is show you the awards and list what you're "supposed" to do, nominate some random number of blogs, and give you some amount of information about myself. I don't even know as I type how I'll do this--I guess we'll find out together. :)

The Happy Award!
1.) Acknowledge the person who gave it to me (Thanks Katherine!)
2.) List 10 items that make me happy
3.) Award it to 10 other bloggers

The Circle of Friends Award!
1.) Acknowledge the person who gave it to me (Thanks Katherine!)
2.) List 5 things I love to do
3.) Award this to 5 other bloggers

The Beautiful Blogger Award!
1.) Acknowledge the person who gave it to me (Thanks Lauren and Elle!)
2.) Share 7 things about myself
3.) Award it to up to 7 other bloggers

The Sunshine Award!
1.) Acknowledge the person who gave it to me (Thanks Lottie!)
2.) Award it to 12 other bloggers

Ok, so I'm generally very legalistic, but I just cannot nominate 34 of you--or technically 41 of you since I got the Beautiful Blogger award twice (how cool is that?). So because of that, I'm going to give you brief (very brief) "things about myself" and then nominate like 5 of you.

10 Things That Make Me Happy:
  1. Chocolate
  2. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter
  3. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter and butter
  4. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter and butter and poured over Crispex cereal
  5. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter and butter and poured over Crispex cereal and dumped into a plastic bag with powdered sugar
  6. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter and butter and poured over Crispex cereal and dumped into a plastic bag with powdered sugar and shaken until everything is coated with the sugar
  7. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter and butter and poured over Crispex cereal and dumped into a plastic bag with powdered sugar and shaken until everything is coated with the sugar and then left to dry overnight
  8. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter and butter and poured over Crispex cereal and dumped into a plastic bag with powdered sugar and shaken until everything is coated with the sugar and then left to dry overnight and then shaken with more powdered sugar
  9. Chocolate mixed with peanut butter and butter and poured over Crispex cereal and dumped into a plastic bag with powdered sugar and shaken until everything is coated with the sugar and then left to dry overnight and then shaken with more powdered sugar and then eaten.
  10. Giving you guys a recipe for Puppy Chow without actually giving you a recipe.
Five Things I Love to Do:
  1. Eat
  2. Blog
  3. Sleep
  4. Polish my Pulitzer
  5. Pretend I won a Pulitzer
Seven Things About Myself:
  1. I cry at really good commercials. The Visa commercials during the Olympics get me every time.
  2. I read Christy by Catherine Marshall 1-2 times a year.
  3. I really only know how to cook about 3 real "meals."
  4. Sometimes I actually have to ask myself how I've managed to successfully feed myself with zero cooking skills.
  5. I'm actually fairly intuitive when it comes to cooking and if I were to apply myself I'd probably be pretty good.
  6. I'm really rather intelligent, although my social skills probably leave something to be desired.
  7. I firmly believe that the reason I haven't met my future husband yet is because he's still at home doing sit-ups. And by "home," I mean the condo he owns because he (unlike myself) has actually managed to amass enough money/credit to own property.
And now, to pass these awards along. Here's the deal. I'm going to list some people/blogs below, for whom all of these awards apply (Yay!) Please go visit all of these bloggers, they're quite phenominal and I'm happy I found them!

LovelyBeautifulHappySunshiney Blogs:
Hooray to all you award winners!!! And let me share a secret with you, everyone... if you would like one of these awards and I follow you, you can have it. If you want it to look all official and stuff just let me know and I'll add your name to the list. 'Cause really, we're all winners, right? :)

Have an Extraordinary Day, everyone!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fictionary Friday - Distance

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Good. Here we go:

Dictionary Definition:
Distance n. the extent or amount of space between two things, points, lines, etc.

Fictionary Definition:
Distance n. the position or bearing of a person while they say something disparaging to someone else. "Did you hear what she said to the teacher?" "Hear her? I could see her distance from the other end of the hallway."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Found God in a Lutherin Church Today

I thought I was rushing home to watch the Olympics.

I only saw one person today at work with the ashen cross on his forehead, and it made me a little sad that my church doesn't do an Ash Wednesday service. I have to be honest with you, I'm not sure that I've ever ever ever been to one. At least not one when I ended up with ashes on my forehead. Which is probably a requisite of an Ash Wednesday service. :)

As I traversed the few blocks from the train to my apartment building, I was contemplating my spiritual life. I feel as though I haven't really developed a relationship with God like I could, and I realized that I don't want to open myself up fully to God because that means I'd have to let go of some of my control over my own life. So I prayed that God would speak to me, right then and there, about His love for me.

About three seconds later I noticed the parking sign outside the Lutherin church I live near. Hm... I thought, I betcha they've got a service.

And sure enough, they did. And it started at 7pm. The current time: 6:59.

Well, then, I had to go in, didn't I?

I hadn't stepped foot in that church in about 9 years, even though I've walked past it every single day of those years. Now don't get me wrong, I have my own church. I'm not saying that I haven't been to church, just that I haven't been to that one.

And it was an awesome experience. The service was definitely very--Lutherin, very traditional. I enjoyed doing that sing/chant thing and going forward to kneel for communion and the ashes. Although I had no idea how the whole process worked so I'm sure I marked myself as a novice when I was a bit late in noticing that everyone had formed two nice orderly lines and I was standing right in the middle of the aisle. :)

But I was touched during that service. The minister spoke of how Jesus told the people not to give outward shows of ostentatious fasting, but to hide it. But in the US, in the city of Chicago at least, it seems that most Christians swing the other way and hide their faith so deeply that no one even knows they're Christian. Which is one reason why Ash Wednesday is such a cool thing. Not only does it remind us that we are but ashes to ashes in this life (hooray for the eternal body that believers will be given in heaven--mine will have a six-pack), but it also points out not only the "us" that is instrumental in a God-Me relationship, but the "us" that is evident in the body of believers. When you walk around with a cross on your forehead, it's pretty obvious your faith.

I was also convicted tonight. We did a few prayers of repentance, and each one resonated deeply within me. I have put myself first and attempted to control my life because to some extent I didn't believe that God really has my best interests at heart. And I am sorry for that, because I know in my head that God has some great amazing plans for me.

When I went forward and received the ashes on my forehead, I got to experience the palpable reality that we are but walking the hyphen between our birth dates and our death dates, and that what matters most is Christ. So what truly am I doing with my life? And what do I need to do?

The minister did that thing at the end of the service where he stood out on the steps and "greeted" us all as we left. I felt like I should shake his hand--I rather wanted to shake his hand--to thank him for truly "ministering" to me tonight. But everyone in front of me pretty well just nodded at him and kept walking, so I did the same. But oddly enough, after I started up the sidewalk to my building, I felt a pressure on my hand, as if I had just shaken the minister's hand.

And I knew what it was I felt--or rather, Whom. I knew it was God's hand I had shaken, God's hand I held in mine. And I asked Him what He wants of me. "Get your act together," He spoke into my heart. "Get your act together because I have so much I want to do with you, only your life needs to be in order first."

So here I go, attempting to get my life in order. But at least I know always that His hand is in mine... or rather, my hand is in his.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.


"Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless."

~ Jamie Paolinetti ~

Monday, February 15, 2010

Be My Guest Monday! Me, Myself & PIe

Hi Everyone! Thanks for stopping by on another Be My Guest Monday! If you're interested in being a guest blogger, just click on the link and check it out.

Today's guest blogger is my dear friend Rachel over at Me, Myself & Pie. Rachel is someone I actually knew before I started this journey out of the extraordinary, and I am just loving her own journey as well. She loves to eat, she's learning to cook, and she's a fantastic writer. So read this post, and then go check out her blog! And if you're stopping by from Me, Myself & Pie, welcome!! I hope you take a few minutes to check out my other posts... I'd love to get to know you and maybe have you Be My Guest!

~   ~   ~  

Life Without Corn Dogs Is A Sad Life Indeed.

First of all, Janet, thank you so much for having me as a guest. I’m honored to contribute to your lovely blog!

Now…I’ll just go right out and say it. I love food. While other people collect snow globes and ski down mountains, my hobby of choice is making, eating and writing about all kinds of glorious food. At least that’s been the case these last few months.

In October I decided to really learn how to cook once and for all by pledging to spend a year behind the apron – making and blogging about a new Cooking Light meal and dessert every week for a year. Julie Powell style, only with less butter.

At first, I was excited to try my hand at fancy shmancy, Martha-like creations, but one thing I quickly learned was that it doesn’t take an extraordinary recipe to make a memorable meal. In fact, it’s all those ordinary foods that seem to make so many moments of our lives...well, extraordinary.

Don’t believe me? For just a minute, try to imagine all the important, cherished and unforgettable events we experience without the foods and drinks that make them what they are. This is what you’ll be left with…

Birthday parties without birthday cakes.
Break-ups without ice cream.
Mornings without coffee.
Midnight gossip without wine.
Third grade without tater tots, chocolate milk and Jell-o cups.
Tailgates without burgers.
Baseball without hot dogs.
Football without wings.
Summer without ice cream and watermelon.
Spring without salads.
Winter without chili and cocoa.
Autumn without apples, cider and donuts.
Top Model marathons without giant bowls of potato chips. And fat pants.
Movies without popcorn.
Sleepovers without pizza.
Prom without spiked punch.
Tea parties without tea sandwiches. Or tea.
Carnivals without funnel cakes and corn dogs.
Grandma’s house without homemade….everything.
Valentine’s Day without chocolate hearts.
Easter without chocolate eggs.
Thanksgiving without turkey and pie. And naps.
Halloween without candy.
Christmas without sugar cookies, gingerbread, and those little powdery snowball things.
Vacations without mai tais and margaritas.
Midterm all-nighters without grande mocha cappuccinos.
Potluck picnics without potato salad, taco salad, lasagna and fried chicken on the same plate.
Weddings without wedding cakes.
Campfires without marshmallows.
Saturday mornings without sugary cereals.
Shopping sprees without food court Chinese.
Pregnancies without taco bell, pickles and Cheese Whiz at 4 a.m.
Anniversaries without chocolate syrup and whipped cream.
Road trips without Cheetos and Doritos.
New apartments without pizza on the floor.
Childhood without mac ‘n cheese, Cheerios and heart-shaped, crust-less peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

These foods make up our lives. Our memories. Our comfort zones. At least mine, anyway. That’s why we talk about them. Obsess over them. Recreate them over and over.

But notice how there are no fancy French names? No required weeks of planning or hours of preparation? They don’t call for expensive imported olive oils or 20-dollar ingredients.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my fare share of fancy foods. Expensive dinners I couldn’t pronounce. Frilly L.A. cuisine. But you know what? I couldn’t even tell you what it was that I ate. And I bet I’ll never crave it again, or yearn to make it for my family.

Yet those plain old normal foods above somehow mean far more to me than any caviar-encrusted, rare fruit-infused, bank-breaking cuisine ever could. My life wouldn’t be the same without them. And to me, that makes them extraordinary.

So I leave you with this. Bread. Butter. Cheese. A simple, easy recipe for quite an ordinary food, but with a fresh twist. It’s a divine creation (that even Oprah approves, apparently) that I had on my birthday last year at a little café in Michigan. Maybe it’ll even become one of your extraordinary favorites. (And in the meantime, I’d love to hear about your “ordinary” pastime fare.) Cheers!

Grilled Three-Cheese with Tomato, Basil and Honey
(Café Muse’s grilled cheese sandwich)
Yield: 1 sandwich

1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 slices tomato
2 slices bread (multigrain or sourdough works well)
1 slice Havarti cheese
1 slice mozzarella cheese
1 slice fontina cheese
*NOTE: (I’ve also made it with feta, mozzarella and Swiss, with just as delicious results.)

Butter bread on one side with softened butter. Place in pan, butter side down, over medium-low heat. Place mozzarella on one half of the bread and fontina and Havarti on the other. Cook until golden on bottom and cheese begins to melt. Place tomato on mozzarella side and honey on fotina/Havarti side. Place under broiler for a few minutes to heat up tomato. Sprinkle on basil, assemble your sandwich and enjoy a huge bite of summer even if there are icicles on your radiator.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yay Olympics

Ok, I'm sure everyone else out there is blogging about the Olympics. So I'm not going to. I'm kinda in an emotional state what with the men's luge, the visa commercials, and apparently my raging hormones (yes, overshare, sorry).

But I love love love the Olympics, and this year I've already missed the opening ceremonies, and I'm not sure how much I'm going to be able to catch over the next two weeks. So I think I might have to live vicariously through other people. So tell me...

What's the one (or two or three) medal race(s) that you absolutely cannot miss? Is it Apollo Anton Ohno trying to break the record and be the winningest winter athelete ever? Shawn "Don't call me the Flying Tomato" White grinding on the half-pipe? Watching the ice skating with the world's favorite commentator Scottie Hamilton? Or just curling up on a couch with Bob Costas (on the TV) every day?

That's what I want to know. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Thursday: The Five Hour Cleaning Project

My evening in Tweets:
  • The Five-Hour Cleaning project commences now. I will tweet as I clean, so I can keep myself accountable to what I'm actually doing.
  • 4:58 Cleaning needs sustinance. Putting frozen pizza in the oven. Will put away clean dishes and random groceries that never left the table.
  • 5:48 Pizza is cooked and eaten. Dishes are put away and cat is working on cleaning the one I put the pizza on. :)
  • 6:42 have just finished scrubbing kitchen floor on hands and knees. Is it perfect? No. Is it good enough for now? Yes. Kitchen Done.
  • 6:42 Just realized that if hadn't taken off work early would only just now possibly be getting home.
  • 7:08 Made a phone call about a project I'm doing. Good progress, he's on board.
  • 7:19 Just made Phone Call #2. Why is it that all of my calls are happening on the day when my phone cracked and I shouldn't be using it?
  • 7:40 Left a voice message and sent two very important emails. Why am I suddenly so busy? I wish I only had to work 6 hour days all the time.
  • 7:55 Just updated my blog post for tomorrow. Glad to have that out of the way. Ok, time to do more things that requrie movement.
  • 8:30 Have successfully procured an empty washing machine. Took a few minutes to read and have now forgotten when wash went in.
  • 8:45 Did a garbage run, walked into laundry room and washer stopped. Success!
  • 8:45 FYI January temperatures + Un-controllable radiator heat + living on the top floor + have all lights on to clean = 85 degree apartment.
  • 10:08 Took a twitter break there. Working on cleaning out the email inbox. Also had a chat with the person I left a message for. Lots done.
  • 1:04 am. OK, kinda gave up on cleaning the apt but still working on inbox. Oh well, got a good amount done. And yay for clean undies.
  • 1:05am btw... dude, whatever happened to going to bed at 10pm? *sigh*
Well, there you have it. That was my night. I've gotta say, I did get a lot done, even if it may not look like it. I might need to do another 5-hour cleaning project tonight though, at least if I don't want my Valentine's guests to have to look at the piles of stuff in my living room. (That's what bedrooms are for) :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fictionary Friday - Marketable

So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Good. Here we go:

Dictionary Definition:
Marketable adj. readily salable. of or pertaining to selling or buying.

Fictionary Definition:
Marketable adj. a type of thick disposable paper used in restaurants on which it is fun and easy to place "marks," allowing patrons to draw or color on it without damaging the table underneath.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Moon

**This is taken from another post on my other blog, Moments of Majesty. Sometimes I just write better over there, so I feel like I should share it with all of my readers. Enjoy.**

His line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky. (Psalm 89: 35-37)

Yesterday morning when I got up the sky was still dark but it was perfectly clear--an amazing feat considering the snow storm we had all the day before and into the night. And, hanging in the middle of the sky was a beautiful crescent moon. It was so gorgeous that I wanted to go outside and take a picture of the clean white snow, the midnight blue sky, and the bone-white moon.

So on a whim I did a Bible search for the word "moon," and came across this psalm. I will tell you I didn't really pay attention to much of that verse except "the moon, the faithful witness in the sky." (I gave the sentence for context.)

But I just love what this verse says about the moon. Because what does the moon witness by its very light? The sun. The moon is just a rock, pitted and dead. But when the sun's light shines onto it, it shines brightly enough to light up the earth. The light is nowhere near as bright as the sun itself, but is beautiful and illuminating all the same.

And so it is with us, isn't it? We are called to reflect the glory of the Son (Jesus) and be a light to all peoples. When we use our talents, when we extend a hand of love and mercy, we are reflecting God's grace, and He shines out of our very actions.

When you think of the moon you know that it waxes and wanes, from a beautiful full moon to a tiny sliver. I believe that this also is reflective of our personalities... some days I feel much, much more in tune with God than others. Remember that the moon is still the same size and shape all the time. But what happens is that the Earth gets in the way of the sun, so that only some of the sun's light can shine through. Does this remind you of your own life at all? It sure does remind me of mine. Far too often I let the things of this world stand between myself and Jesus, and I do not reflect His love, his grace, or his mercy to others.

This is why we are called to be in the world, but not of it. To stand gently aside from the things of this world which would obfuscate our line of sight to the Son. Because as long as we are looking to Christ, He will shine through us, even when we are not outwardly attempting anything extraordinary. Just our presence will show God's hand in our lives, and we will be ourselves a silent witness to His grace and love and beauty.

So today let us all be a new moon, let us separate ourselves from the world so that we may shine in full with the light of God.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.


"To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing."

~ Unknown ~

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We Have a Winner!!!

Ok, so am I the only person who gets super excited when someone's blog starts with "We Have a Winner!"? I mean really, I'll look to see if I've won even when I didn't enter. :)

But we do have a winner, thanks to You have 48 hours to get back to me or else I'll pick another winner, but I'm sure I'll hear back from you.... Autumn in Jeans!!!

Congratulations and thank you to my newest follower! How exciting is that! And for everyone who didn't win, thanks so much for sharing how long you've been blogging, and how many posts you're up to. It's so nice getting to know you all a little better!

So here's a few more questions for you all, because... well, because A)  I'd like to know and B) I don't feel like writing an official post today. So let's get those comments rolling with interesting tidbits, eh?

Questions: Have you won a giveaway before? What was it? How many giveaways have you won? What is the best thing you've ever received? What's the best thing you ever gave away? Have you ever been told you'd won something but you never received it? (Don't worry Autumn, I've got the bubble envelope all ready to go) :)

Aaaaaaaaand...... GO:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Be My Guest Monday! Lessons Learned

Hello everyone and welcome back to Be My Guest Monday! Today's guest blogger is Working Mommy. She's a wife, a mother, a member of the "working world," a blogger, and she just celebrated both her birthday and her 1-year wedding anniversary. Congratulations!!! Her post is also so extraordinary it made me cry. Well, grab a tissue and read on.

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A lot of you may not know me...I am Working Mommy from Lessons Learned. I am a brutally honest mommy blogger who works more than I'd like!! Come on by, take a seat, prop up your feet and stay for a while. If you're lucky, I might even provide a few libations (YAY RUM!)!!

I was so excited to get the opportunity to post about something extraordinary in my life and am honored to be featured today!!

So, it took me a little bit to figure out exactly what I would write about. I mean, my parents are two of the most extraordinary people I know. When they were my age, they found out that they couldn't have children of their they decided to adopt me. Growing up we always joked that I was really the one who adopted them. They definitely made me the person I am today and I couldn't be more thankful for their constant and continued love and support!

Then I thought back to a few of my teachers throughout my education career. My third grade and sixth grade teachers made such a huge impact on the future of my education. My third grade teacher always said I would be the first woman President and she never let me become a slacker - even though that was the easier choice. I also had a few high school teachers - my senior anatomy teacher, my junior homeroom teacher and my french teacher (all 4 years) - who would push me to always be the best. They never gave up on me, even when I wanted to give up on myself. I recently found out the my french teacher's cancer has come back and she isn't doing well. My heart goes out to her family.

The one person who I wanted to highlight, though, is my husband. The man and I met on and after our first date, we knew we wanted to be together forever. We had been talking about getting married and having children in a year or so...but we never knew that a wedding and a baby would occur quicker than we had been planning!!

Not having known the man for very long before we got pregnant concerned me a little. I didn't know how he would react when the babe finally made her appearance in the world. I know now that my fears were misplaced...and I couldn't have asked for a better husband and father! The day of my induction, I was worried about the drugs, being in the hospital, the pushing, my lack of a shower...I could go on forever.

After I was all drugged up (which was FABULOUS, by the way) I was oblivious to most other things that were going on around me. I tried to sleep as much as possible because I knew that pushing was going to take a lot out of me. I told the man that no matter what happened he should just keep taking pictures...because I wasn't going to remember anything and he would be too scarred to tell me the story. It was only AFTER we got home and uploaded those pictures that I found these:

I wasn't quite sure why he took these pictures and the man actually forgot about taking them - until I asked about them.

Me: "These are silly (the man). Why would you take pictures of the IV's I was hooked up to??"

The Man: "It might seem silly to you, but I wanted to take pictures as proof."

Me: "Proof of what?"

The Man: "Well, I have never watched a birth before and I wasn't sure what to expect withe the babe's birth. I took them as a worst case scenario just in case anything happened to you or the baby. Then the nurses and doctors couldn't deny what medications you were on...because I would have photo proof."

Me: "Who thinks of those types of things?"

The Man: "I do...and I'm glad I did."

Me: "Why is that?"

The Man: "You might not remember, but right after the babe came out, your OB was very concerned. She ordered the nurse to turn up your drugs because you were bleeding out. I was scared. I didn't know whether to stay with my wife - who might not make it - or go to our baby - whose umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and wasn't crying. Taking those pictures early made it easier for me to do both and know that I had photo proof, just in case."

I honestly don't know anyone else who would have thought about that...not even my parents would have been THAT observant. So, my post today is dedicated to my extraordinary husband who, even though he acts paranoid sometimes, was able to think of every possible thing - even under pressure.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Julie & Julia: Please, Me Next!

Ok, before I say anything else about my Six Word Saturday, I feel that I must put another link to my 100th post, where I have my first Giveaway!

Alrighty, so I'm sitting here at 2:52 in the morning, watching Julie & Julia and blogging, instead of doing something productive like, you know, sleeping.

Four days of working late and no sleep later, I'm watching the scene where she has an utter breakdown on the kitchen floor, just as that guy from the Christian Science Monitor calls, wanting to do an interview. And I feel as though I'm at that stage where I'm broken down on the floor. (Only it would take a really terrible breakdown for me to willingly sit on that floor.)

But the hope I get from that is the fact that she did get a breakthrough moment. Just when things were the worst they could ever be, when Julie was covered in stuffing and raw chicken, sobbing on the floor, she got a phone call, a call that gave her hope, that renewed her sense of purpose, and strengthened her resolve.

And if you've seen the movie, you'll know that the interview didn't quite turn out the way that she was expecting. She was hoping for a book deal (aren't we all), and it didn't quite happen. Well, at least not then. (I mean hello, this is a movie based on a true story. Clearly something turned out right for Julie in the end.)

So perhaps I'm still just in the kitchen. Maybe I haven't even dropped the chicken yet (oh God please say that isn't so). But perhaps I'm still just waiting for my phone call.

I'm just sitting here on the floor (metaphorically), waiting for my breakthrough, my Julie & Julia moment.

Bring it on.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fictionary Friday - Transcendental

This is Post #103! In honor of my 100th post I'm doing my very first giveaway! It's open until 11:59 on Sunday--you should totally check it out. :)

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So here are the rules. I will post a word and its definition. It will be a real word, and its real definition. But then I will create a fictionary definition for the same word, and invite you to do the same. Sound good? Good. Here we go:

Dictionary Definition:
Transcendental adj. being beyond ordinary or common experience, thought, or belief; supernatural.

Fictionary Definition:
Transcendental n. a government program which combines transit and dental services in an attempt to offer affordable options to both travel and health care. "I'm taking the 4:40 transcendental to my parent's house and I'm finally getting that upper bicuspid looked at."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jesus is on Your Elevator

Guess what! This is my 102nd post! In honor of my 100th Post I'm doing my very first giveaway! Please check it out--you can still get in on it until 11:59pm Sunday!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Oh my goodness, do you so NOT want to be on the elevator with these people? I mean really, the guy looking at his watch can't believe how long it's going to take to add your floor to the 11 other floors this elevator is going to, and that lady doesn't even look like she's going to let you on. The guy in the middle will just push all over you trying to get out and I really think the guy on the left just let loose a silent stinker and is trying not to show it. You SO don't want to have to deal with this.

But imagine something...

What if they were all Jesus?

Ok ok, I know, it seems crazy to think of an elevator full of Jesuses. (Except in a way it's perfect. I totally want to start a grunge band now called Elevator Full of Jesus)

But seriously people, think about it. I posted about this before but I can't remember which blog I put it on (I've also got a side blog over at Moments of Majesty) so I'm going to say it again here.

If you were on an elevator with Jesus, would you sigh loudly and roll your eyes if he accidentally pushed the wrong button? Would you fart on your way out just because it's kinda funny that he'd be stuck with it? Would you completely ignore him if he dropped his folder and his papers scattered all over the floor?

Would you hold the door for him if you were in a hurry and he was running to catch it?

I would think that if it were really Jesus, you would.

Well, didn't he say something about when you do things for other people, so have you done them unto him?

That's kinda the good and the bad, you know.

When we think poorly of people, we think poorly of the One who died so that those people might receive the same grace and forgiveness that God has extended to you. Yes, you. YOU. The one reading this. God loves YOU. He loves you so much that He sent His one and only son to die, to be separated from the Godhead, to break up (albeit briefly) the most perfect love-relationship EVER. All because we totally eff things up on our own and there's no way we could get into heaven otherwise.

And it's not just you. It's her too. It's him. Yes, even her. Uh, huh... him too.

Sucks a little doesn't it, losing that high horse?

We all get to get in, if we want it. So... maybe we need to treat each other a little better? If not for them, then for the One who gave them the same grace He gave us.

Because I'm sure someone else is looking at you half the time and saying "Really, God, them too?"

You betcha. All of us. We're just an elevator full of Jesuses, heading on up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wit & Wisdom Wednesday

This is my 101st post! In honor of my 100th post I'm having a giveaway! Please check it out!
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Time for Wit & Wisdom Wednesday, where I post a quote from a well-known (or not so well-known) person. Please feel free to comment with quotes that have touched your soul.


"Joy is not in things; it is in us."

~ Richard Wagner ~

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

100th Post and My VERY FIRST Giveaway!!!!!

**This Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Autumn in Jeans!!**

Six months and three days ago I began this little endeavor I call Out of the Extraordinary. Six months and three days ago I was getting fairly regular amounts of sleep. Six months and three days ago there were about 60 people who were living their lives quite happily, with no idea that they would at some point in the future be following a blog by a girl who pretends she knows something of what it means to find the Extraordinary in the ordinary.

My first post was, if I may say so, fairly good. The next few were wordy and self-important and I almost came to a crashing stop because I was trying so hard to write a great blog that I wasn't writing at all.

I certainly got over that, however, because in approximately 183 days I have managed to put up 100 posts. Hooray!!! To anyone out there who doesn't count the Be My Guest Monday posts, I say *pppptthhbbbbb!* (imagine spit in your eye. Yeah, there ya go.) But I know that no one thought that at all, and that you were all properly impressed by my ability to post something an average of every other day (and more often recently considering the August of Six Posts Total).

And in 6 months I have managed to somehow coerce sixty people into following me! That's like 5 people I actually knew before I started, and 55 people who wouldn't know me if I ran into them on the street. Thank you, seriously, thank you. Seeing my followers count go up is just as fabulous as getting comments. And I really have to thank SITS (The Secret is in the Sauce) for all of my new and fantasitc followers. Seriously, for the three of you whom I didn't meet through SITS, if you want to grow your bloggy network, SITS is a fantastic place to do it!

So, in order to thank you properly, I'm taking a page out of Two Normal Moms' book. These ladies gave me my first bloggy award, and I won their first giveaway, which they did in honor of their 100th post, and they will be doing their very first guest blog post on my site in a few weeks! So in honor of these fabulous ladies, I give you...

If you aren't familiar with Joyce Meyer, well, you should be. Joyce is an absolutely amazing inspirational speaker. She's one of those "been there, done that" women--was abused, was married and cheated on, she and her baby were left by the husband, she came to Jesus, met a man who wanted a woman that needed his constancy (and boy did she), had a "small" problem with speaking before thinking... and loved God so much that she overcame it all, and overcomes every stumbling block in her way, and she will tell you about each and every one of them in case her words can help you get over yours. She's an up-front, in your face woman who has an international ministry that has served hundreds of thousands of people by giving them food, clothing, shelter, health care, and hope. (I have not been recompensed in any way for saying this, nor do I expect to. I just want you to know how special this book is.)

I have this book to give away because I had purchased it at a store that was going out of business (so sad!) and my mother also gave me a copy for Christmas. I knew when I bought it, I just knew, that I was going to get that book for Christmas, but I felt an incredible peace about it (not to mention it was half off). So when I decided that I had to do a giveaway, well, this is what I had to give.

So, the rules! (hooray, this is fun!) This giveaway is open until 11:59pm (CST) on Sunday Feb 7. Entries will be given as follows--please post a separate comment for each entry:
  1. Tell me how many posts you're up to, and how long you've been blogging!
  2. Follow my blog! Tell me if you already do, or if you just started.
  3. Post a link on your blog to my giveaway. (Please comment with that link so I can go see it.)
  4. Be My Guest! Tell me if you have already been a guest blogger, or if you would like to be one! (Make sure you check out the Be My Guest guidelines before you commit to this)
Let the giveaway commence!

And remember everyone... Have an Extraordinary Day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Be My Guest Monday! It's the Little Things

Hi there and welcome to Be My Guest Monday! Someone must be giving Heather, today's guest-blogger, a few extra hours in each day, because you will be amazed at everything she does. Seriously, I could only put one link on her name, but you can check out her alter-ego at Giveaway Chick. Yes, that's right: Two blogs, and she's doing Project 365. And she wasn't sure that this guest post was "extraordinary" enough. Well, I'll let you be the judge of that, but I know my vote. :)

And now I give you Heather:

It's the Little Things
Ok, so I'm not normally a downer, at least I don't think I am, who knows?  But, I've been thinking a lot about certain items in my life and why they have such a strong meaning to me and that inspired this post. I think people would look at me strangely as if they don't already if they knew the things I would save in a fire, flood, tornado, or any other emergency that would take my home.

Besides my external hard drive which has all of my files on it (pictures of my kids included) I would grab things like this -

my grandma's make up case, my grandpa's coin purse, and my Native American Dolls. Things that don't have a huge monetary value, but a sentimental value that could never be replaced.

I've been participating in Project 365 this year (here's a description of it if you don't know what Project 365 is) and in my first few weeks of taking a picture every day, I have started taking pictures of things that mean the most to me. While I'm taking these pictures I'm noticing that the things that I cherish are things that wouldn't have any value to anyone else (or outside of my family). They are almost kind of quirky.  It's not my computer, it's not my iPod, it's not our TV that I would save if I had to get out quickly.

It's things that other people I love have left their mark on for me. A little plastic dolphin that my brother gave to me when he was a teenager because he knew how much I loved dolphins, things my children have made me over the years, anything that I have that came from my grandparents are the items that are most treasured by me.

What is it about the sight of my grandpa's coin purse that takes me back years to when I'd sit beside him and he'd tell me stories from when he was younger, I swear I can smell the Old Spice when these memories come over me. When I see my grandma's make up case, I flash back to her kitchen, I can smell her perfume mixed with the smell of cigarette smoke and hair spray (ok, possibly not the best combination, I'll admit it) and I can almost feel her beside me. How are we able to attach such strong sensations to these seemingly trivial items? What about those certain items can take us back years to memories that flood us with what we felt at that time?

I am not a psychologist and I don't play one on TV, so I don't have the answer, but I'm so glad that we have that in us. Those items have helped me make it through times when it was hard to go on without those loving hands that helped guide me through my youth, without my grandma there to hug me when I am sad, without my grandpa and his smile that lit up his beautiful green eyes to make me laugh. 

What items do you have that would mean nothing to somebody else but mean the world to you? What would you save if God forbid there was a fire and you could get those precious to you out and only grab one or 2 treasured items in your way out the door? Hold those items close, but more importantly, hold those memories closer because those will always be with you no matter what. 

Heather Manning - Owner/Designer
Digiscrapping | The247mom
Giveaway Chick