Friday, February 29, 2008

Don't Judge Me!

Okay, I don't really think anyone out there is really JUDGING me... but that is one of my favorite catch phrases, so I just say it all of the time. I feel like it gives me permission to say whatever the heck I want! Ha!

In the spirit of non-judgy-ness (I just made up a word, I think), I would like to share with you, my friends, some of the common grammatical mistakes that irritate me beyond belief. Again, don't judge me. But I do secretly judge people who DO make these mistakes on a regular basis. Okay, not really. I mostly just wish they'd had better English teachers. So. Without further ado...

Misuse of the apostrophe -- Seriously, people. If you are trying to make a word PLURAL, it does NOT have an apostrophe before the "s". Just add the "s". My last name is Lawson. Therefore, as a family, we are not the Lawson's. We are the Lawsons. If I were trying to show ownership, I would add an apostrophe. For example: the Lawsons' dog, the Lawsons' house, etc. See how I did that? I pluralized AND showed ownership. If it were a singular person or thing showing ownership, a sentence would read something like, "Kelly Lawson's car is silver."

Their, There, They're -- people often get these mixed up. I will now correctly use each word in a sentence:

Please put my Dr. Pepper over there. (Shows location)

Please give the Lawsons their Dr. Pepper. (Shows ownership)

They're drinking Dr. Pepper today. (A contraction for they are)

Your & You're -- people also often mix-up these two words. Again, the best way for me to demonstrate this would be by example:

I like your outfit.

You're going to look great in that outfit! (You're is only to be used as a substitute for you are).

I vs. Me -- this is a understandably a little trickier. When do you say, "You and I" versus "Him and me"? Basically, it's quite simple when you think about it. If you can take out the other person besides yourself (I or me) and have the sentence make sense-- then you're right on.

For example, the sentence, "Thank you for meeting with my mom and I today," is incorrect. A good test? Take out "my mom". You wouldn't say "Thank you for meeting with I today."

You WOULD however, be correct in saying, "My mom and I went to a meeting today." Because if you take out "my mom", the sentence would read, "I went to a meeting today." Makes sense, right?

The official explanation? “I” is a nominative pronoun and is used as a subject of a sentence or clause, while “me” is an objective pronoun and used as an object.

Affect vs. Effect -- affect is a verb that means to influence. Effect is a noun that means a result. Basically, you can affect something to cause an effect.

I think we'll stop there for now. These are the biggies that bug me the most. I know, I'm a jerk. And a nerd. I love grammar, and I love spelling. I will be the first to admit that I do not always use perfect grammar. I know for a fact that I am "comma happy". I know that I do not always use proper sentence structure.

However, these things that I have mentioned are a few COMMON errors that I am lucky enough to have grasped when they were first explained to me. I share them with you to complain, yes. But also to help you "get" these rules of language if you weren't already aware!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Voting Schmoting.

I'm a big fan of voting. I say it's a right that none of us have an excuse NOT to exercise. If your voting rights are intact (meaning, you're not a convicted felon and you're an actual US citizen), vote. Vote.

I'm from Texas. If you asked any non-Texan (or native Texan) to name off a list of Texas stereotypes, you might hear a few of the following: cowboy hats, horses, riding a horse to school (or work), conservative. Christian. Republican.

I, however, grew up in a home of all things Democrat. There were portraits of all of the Democratic presidents hanging in the hallway. For vacation one year, we went to Austin to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson library and museum. We lived on a street where during election time the yards were lined with campaign signs for whatever Republican candidate was running. And then there was our house. Sporting the "Dukakis '88" or "Clinton/Gore '96" sign. Many of these signs mysteriously went missing from time to time. Or were ripped up and scattered in pieces in our yard. My stepdad was (is) a hard-working, working-class man, with a deep commitment to his political party that prides itself on its commitment to the working-class people. As a kid in middle and high school I was the ONLY kid I knew whose parents did not vote in the REPUBLICAN primaries. I hated it.

When I was finally old enough to participate in a presidential election, the year was 2000. I voted absentee in county and city elections that year (I was off at college) and I registered to vote as a Republican... yes. Merely as an act of defiance to my stepdad (Um, I'm sorry Dad Tony!! Those were my reasons!). I happily marched to the polling place and cast my vote for George W. Bush. I felt like such a grown-up. And I felt like such a rebel.

And then there was the 2004 election year. If you don't know it about me, I actually was employed by Bush-Cheney '04, and spent 2 years of my life doing work for the reelection campaign. I got to meet the President, the First Lady, and The Vice President, along with some other very interesting people. I was living history and couldn't believe that I had landed such a fascinating job right after having graduated from college. A job so many others would have given anything to have. It was hard work. I was committed to my work. I enjoyed my work.

And now here we are. It's 2008. And we're deep in the throes of another election year. Names are being called. Attacks are being made. And I have no idea who I am voting for. The other 2 presidential elections in which I participated were easy for me. The first year I voted Republican because it was the opposite of what I'd been raised to do (that's what happens sometimes when you're 20). In 2004, I voted my convictions and what my convictions were at the time.

The problem is (actually it's NOT a problem!) that I am a different person now than I was 4 years ago. I've grown, stretched, changed, and have been challenged to new ways of thinking in many areas of my life. I like the person I have become... the person that God shapes me to be. So now I have to figure out how all of that will play out for me in this election year. For as I've already mentioned, I'm all about voting.

I did a tricky thing when I moved to Kentucky. Billy and I went to register to vote a while back as Kentuckians, and I (perhaps in another act of defiance?) registered as an Independent. I just couldn't commit either way. Democrat. Republican. I'm just me.

So... here's to research! And here's hoping that by November I'll have made up my mind.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Tastes of Texas

I may be posting this particular entry because it's lunchtime and I'm hungry. Or because I'm pregnant and missing all of the foods I'm not "supposed to eat" in order to stay healthy. Maybe I'm homesick. But whatever the reason, I have been thinking about food this morning. Billy and I try to eat "smart"-- we like to prepare healthy and delicious meals at home (and I must say that my chicken, orzo & spinach soup I made last night was awesome!), but on occasion, it is a real treat to go out to eat. But the problem is-- we live in Wilmore, KY. In Wilmore, there are only 3 restaurants. One of which is Subway. Nicholasville is pretty close, but there's not much there besides fast food. And Lexington... Lexington is good and only 20-30 minutes away. But we always get in such a rut. We find ourselves eating at major chains (some of which are good), but I really miss the fun, local, neighborhood restaurants of Dallas, TX. Chances are, I just haven't discovered what the fun spots are here. But today, here is my nod to my favorite flavors of Dallas:

Two Rows Restaurant & Brewery -- give me a honey-pepper bacon burger and a Honey Blonde Ale. YUM!

Cathy's Wok & Grill -- really good Chinese food near our old apartment. They've got a great menu and great food.

Cristina's Mexican Food -- their salsa is fresh and I love their fajitas. Mostly because their homemade tortillas are so yummy and warm.

Cafe Express -- "fast" food... ish. But really fresh and yummy. Their soups are always good.

Campisi's -- YUMMY Italian, yummy pizza, great atmosphere (in the Egyptian room of course!)

Herrerra's on Denton Drive -- bean soup? YUM. A #2A? DELISH.

Bubba's -- unbelievable fried chicken & homestyle veggies and homemade rolls

Ernesto's -- a great little Garland joint with fresh salsa, great guacamole, and reliably good Mexican food

A Taste of Italy -- another Garland joint with great garlic rolls

Matt's Rancho Martinez (and also Mattito's) -- The Bob Armstrong Dip is so good (but NOT good FOR you!)

Potbelly Sandwiches -- okay, it's a chain, but we don't have them here, so I miss it!

Cafe Pacific -- I've only been there a couple of times, but but the Chilean sea bass was so tasty

Mi Cocina and/or Taco Diner -- Ridiculously delicious food at both of these places-- they're not the same restaurant, but under the same ownership... and both locations have unbelievable food. Taco Diner is more Mexico City style food and Mi Cocina is Tex-Mex

Peggy Sue BBQ. Or Sammy's BBQ
-- both great options for good, Texas barbecue. I really thought Kentucky would have good barbecue, but so far I've been unimpressed. But you can't go wrong with Peggy Sue's or Sammy's!

Jake's Burgers -- a truly delicious burger

S & D Oyster Company -- the shrimp po-boy is great, and their seafood gumbo is full of flavor. For dessert? Their lemon icebox pie can't be beat!

Pizza Villa
-- unbelievably addictive pizza

El Fenix -- who could ignore this Dallas favorite? The food is always reliable and good and consistently flavorful. My favorite thing to order is half an order of nachos and a bowl of their tortilla soup. It's got great big chunks of avacado.

Posado's -- again, another great Mexican food joint. I know, it's kind of a continuing theme throughout this post. Posado's actually got started in my hometown of Tyler, TX and spread to the Dallas area. Really delicious. Their tortillas are really good.

Snuffer's
-- really good burgers and other goodies. But their cheese-fries are my favorite thing on the menu!

I think that hits the high spots for me. For now. NOW, I have to go eat some lunch!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Forgiveness

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

I sometimes don't like hearing things that I need to hear.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

April 10... A Day to Celebrate!

Yesterday a friend informed me of some of the best news I have heard all year. The Office returns to NBC with new episodes on April 10!!! This is a day to celebrate indeed.

In fact... "The party planning committee is all over it, they’ve been working 24/7 all day yesterday."

(Just a little quote from Michael's Birthday episode in Season 2.)

Three months have passed since we have seen our Office friends. I wonder how they will handle the return. Will they produce the six new episodes this season as though no time has passed? Or will we see them three months from when we last saw them? I read that there have been considerations for both options.

So yes. Six new episodes for Season 4. Sad that there's only going to be six... but six is better than zero. It's funny, because I had read an article shortly after Season 3 ended, that they had planned to air 30 new episodes for Season 4, rather than the typical 22. Of course the writers strike happened and they got nowhere near 30.

I'm a happy person today. Let the countdown begin. 51 Days until laughter resumes!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Baby Report

Well... I went to the doctor this morning. Nothing new or super-important to report. Everything looked good. My weight was good. The heartbeat was strong and consistent (151)!

And on March 26th we go for our ultrasound where we will find out if we're going to be parents to a son or to a daughter. Which will it be?! I'm so excited to find out... but March 26 is so far away!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Valentime's" Day

No, that's not a typo. That's just how my friend Danira says the name of this holiday. She's in 2nd grade.

I don't really "do" Valentine's Day. I never have. That's not to say I'm not a romantic... I am! It's not to say I don't love flowers and chocolate... I do! But I've never really gotten "into" Valentine's Day (Though I will say this-- For me, EVERY Valentine's Day MUST include candy conversation hearts at some point).

I'm not against Valentine's Day. I love to be loved. I love loving others. I love being reminded of the greatest Love of all. Love is good.

So what did I do today, on this fine holiday of all things pink, white, and red?

I woke up at 7 a.m. and baked cookies to take to my Greek class today-- I'm trying to earn my brownie (cookie?) points early! I went to class... a riveting discussion in Christian Ethics! I loved it. I went to chapel. AWESOME. I came home and had lunch and then went to Greek class. And then I went to Versailles...

I went to Versailles for Homework Helpers-- a ministry of our church where we hang out with kids and help them with their homework. It's pretty simple, really. Well, when I got there, my friend Mitzy informed me that she and her family were moving to Mexico this weekend to be with their family that still lives there. She said they were going for at least 5 years. Mitzy has been an important part of my life for 2 years now. She's a really cool 5th grader with a great smile, an even better heart, and a contagious laugh. I see Mitzy every Sunday at Kids' Club and every Thursday at Homework Helpers. I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but I must admit, she's one of mine. She told me this horrible news, and my heart sank. I thought,
"Surely this is not true." I asked her sister Danira if this was true. If they were moving. Danira said, "Yes. We're moving on Saturday."

I cannot even tell you how sad I was. For a whole 5 minutes. Then Mitzy told me she was only joking and that they were NOT moving to Mexico. I didn't really get the joke, but was sure relieved when I found out the truth!! Stinker!

Mitzy has been very instrumental in helping ME get a better picture of what the Kingdom of God looks like. What it's all about. What Christ's LOVE is all about. I'm glad that at least for now, Mitzy, my teacher, isn't going anywhere.

So we did some homework, and I played in an air hockey "tournament" against my friend Willie-- a 4th grader. He's a sweetheart. And MAN can he play air hockey! I won our first match. He won the second. And the third was very close! We were each only 1 point away from winning... when Willie made the goal first. It was a sad defeat for me. Willie was elated. :)

There was still some snow on the ground outside of the building where we meet for Homework Helpers. The kids wanted to go outside, so we did. One of the girls built a tiny snowman. When she wanted me to come look at it she said, "Come see my snowman. It has boobs! And a wiener! You know, just in case." In case of WHAT? I was confused. And apparently, so was her snowman.

You never know what an afternoon at Homework Helpers will look like. I was pretty entertained today.

Finally, I came home, and Billy and I made dinner. No, we made a FEAST! We had grilled tilapia (yum!) and asparagus and squash. Super yum!

And now? Now I'm off to the store to buy ingredients for CHILI! The Asbury Seminary Texas students get together once or twice every semester to hang out and eat and just enjoy being with other Texans. Tomorrow is our annual Chili Cook-Off. I've never really made chili before. But not to worry! My friend Shannon provided me with a Happy, TX cookbook filled with recipes, and she is coming over tomorrow so that we can tackle this task together! Wish us luck. We hope to take home the prize.

Know that you are loved.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another New Semester...

Spring 2008. Yesterday I began my 5th semester at Asbury Seminary. Usually, I make a big deal of it and buy new notebooks and folders and school supplies. This semester, I waited until an hour before class started to even look up the classroom numbers for my classes! It's not that I don't CARE about this semester, or that I'm not looking forward to my classes... I guess somehow in the craziness of last week's move to our new place and trying to get settled in (though I have MAJORLY lost steam for unpacking!), I kind of let the semester sneak up on me.

Nevertheless, I anticipate another great one. I'm taking three 2-credit-hour courses, and one 3-hour course. The problem is that I think sometimes professors of 2-hour courses don't really adjust the amount of required reading to reflect the fewer number of credit hours. They treat it just like a normal 3-hour class. So the reading is still hefty and the papers are still long. That's not necessarily a bad thing-- there's much to be learned- I'm just realizing that I've got a lot of work ahead of me this semester even though a quick glance at my schedule might not indicate that.

So... drum roll... what classes am I taking?!

Christian Ethics-- I think it's going to be a GREAT class. Really. Fun friends in that class, along with a professor who is deeply passionate about the material.

Concise Greek-- some of you may remember that I took comprehensive Greek last semester and did NOT enjoy. This is my attempt at an easier version of the course. I think this will be the semester where it sticks. :) The one weird thing? I'm the only female in this class. Really. I've been one of 3 or 4 female students in a class before, but never the only one. It's kind of odd. It doesn't bother me really. It's just strange.

John Wesley's Theology for Today-- SUPER excited about this one, even though it's a night class. It's taught by Steve Harper, who actually teaches at Asbury's Orlando, FL campus. It's a joint class between the two campuses, and Dr. Harper appears through live video feed, and we appear in HIS classroom via live video. He'll come to the KY campus a few times this semester so that we can see him "live" but he'll predominately teach from the FL campus. He's funny, interesting, and loves the subject material. Oh, and he's a Texan. So he's gotta be good.

Finally, I'm doing Part 1 of my Mentored Ministry-- basically, I work in a church for 8 hours each week, and meet with a mentor pastor for one hour each week. I learn what ministry is all about. Plus, I get to go to class and learn from Dr. Dongell every week, too. And write papers and do case studies. Sounds like a daunting task, but the beauty of this course is that I get to do my work at the church where I am already employed-- as part of my regular hours that I am already working. This way, I will continue to do the work I'm already doing, plus I'll get some structured time with my boss/pastor, who I love and look forward to learning more from.

So that's it, friends. An overview of what is to come this semester.

In other news? We've had weird weather this week. Snow, ice, rain, freezing rain, more snow. Kind of messy outside, but it started to clear up this afternoon. We'll see what tonight brings. I was supposed to go to the doctor this morning for a check-up, but I got in the car and saw how snowy the roads in my neighborhood were, so I rescheduled the appointment for Friday. Our doctor is in east Lexington (about 30 minutes away) and since I was driving by myself, I decided I didn't quite feel safe making the journey out into the cold. So... I'll go on Friday afternoon and if there's anything interesting to report about the baby, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Please, oh Please

As you all know, there's a little Lawson on the way. Sometimes I wonder if our kid will be funny-- I sure hope so! I wonder if our kid will be sweet-- PLEASE don't let him/her be the class bully! But today, I have wondered what our kid will SOUND like. I fear sometimes, that when we return to Texas, our kid will start to sound like a Texan. You know what I mean-- turning one-syllable words into three-syllable words. Things like that. Today, on my friend Kelly M.'s blog, I laughed hysterically at an adorable kid with a thick (Texas?) accent. This is exactly what I DON'T want my kid to sound like. But I still think this kid is awfully cute. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oh, what a night!

There is nothing more startling and nothing that will make your heart race faster, than the tornado sirens blaring outside your window at 1:30 a.m. We had both gone to bed at around 10:30 p.m. so we were in a very deep slumber when the sirens went off.

You might think that such noises would cause Riley to bark at least once. Nope. Instead, after we forced ourselves awake to figure out WHAT the heck was going on, I looked on the floor beside me, to find Riley curled in a ball, as close to our bed as possible. She was staring up at me, WAITING for me to get up, to protect her from danger (I thought that dogs were supposed to protect their people? Something is very mixed up in our household).

Well, if you've read or seen the national news today, you are aware of the storms and tornadoes that hit Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas last night. And you have no doubt heard of all of the deaths that were a result of that. Last time I checked, the count was up to 50. Awful.

The Lawsons are fine. We turned on the news at 1:30 to hear the weather man say, "Take Cover". So we got our pillows and blankets and all three of us laid down in the hall for about half an hour until the radio said it was safe and we were in the clear.

We are grateful for our relatively calm night compared to the night of terror so many others faced.