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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I'm having a really difficult time with perspective this week. Really difficult. I feel the need to remind myself of the following:

God is who He says He is.

God can do what He says He can do.

I am who God says I am.

I can do all things through Christ.

God's Word is alive and active in me.

The five-statement pledge of faith from Beth Moore's "Believing God."

Monday, February 23, 2009


I just dropped a bottle of Sally Hansen's Laquer Shine Nail Color in Dazzling on my light-beige tiled bathroom floor. It shattered into about five large pieces, and lots of little pieces. Of course, the electric red contents of the bottle splashed all over the floor, on the baseboard, on my cabinet. My bathroom looked like a crime scene. I had to dispose of the evidence. While I managed to get the floor clean, I somehow got red nail polish under my nails, in the creases of my hand, and even some on my forehead. Guilty as charged.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Get control.

I'm sure all of you realize how type-A, organized, systematic, and carefully coordinated (read: borderline OCD) I am in conducting the affairs of life. Afterall, I do have the spiritual gift of Admnistration. If you hadn't already realized that, I invite you to go back to the first week of January this year and read about how I freaked out about my unpreparedness to purchase a new vehicle. It wasn't pretty.

So, it may come to a surprise to most of you that I don't have a budget in place. That is, no formal budget. It's all in my head. Sure, I balance my checkbook religiously, and pay my bills on time, live debt-free (no longer true, thanks to RJ), and try to be cognizant of my savings, but I've never, ever, had any fancy Excel spreadsheet or Dave Ramsey envelope system.

But, let's be real. It's unwise of me to be so flippant about the money that God has blessed me. During a time of great abundance in Egypt, Pharoah entrusted Joeseph with management of the grain and when a famine swept the land, Egypt didn't go hungry. Why? Because Joseph was a very wise, God-fearing man, and he made the decision to conserve grain when the harvest was plentiful. As a result, the storehouse was full when the drought came. See Genesis 41.

And, look at the Proverbs 31 woman and how she "laughs at the days to come," as she "worked with eager hands." I know what God is preparing me for, and in order to learn how to be that woman, it's imperative that I take my finances seriously.

So, beginning March 1, I will begin to track my income, expenditures, and savings. I began the new year by taking my lunch to work everyday, and only eating out on special occasions, and that alone is already saving me a ton of money. I'm also learning to say no to some social engagements that require a swipe of my credit card, and I haven't entered a Target since before Christmas. Because many of you out there are money gurus (Sarah Scott and Rhonda Hendricks, I'm thinking of you), I welcome your advice, warnings, and encouragement.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Silver Lining

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Praise minus the Velveeta

One of my biggest pet peeves is over-the-top, cheesy praise music. And there's so much of it out there. So, most of the time, I just don't listen to any. I recently stumbled across a band called Oceans Above that makes the most beautiful praise music. If you smash Death Cab for Cutie and the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack together and added praise music, you have Oceans Above.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Because it's Necessary.

I'm dying of workdom. It's for the birds, although I doubt they enjoy it either. So.... join me friends. Participate.

Mary Anna Brown

2. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME:(mother and fathers middle names)
Marie Leonard. Good to know in case I ever testify in a high-profile mob murder trial.

3. NASCAR NAME:(first name of your mother's dad, father's dad)
Jackson Leonard. Hmmm... I wonder if he's related to Marie?

4. STAR WARS NAME:(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name)

5. DETECTIVE NAME:(favorite color, favorite animal)
Green Lion

6. SOAP OPERA NAME:(middle name, town where you were born)
Anna Hendersonville

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fav color, fav drink, add "THE" to the beginning)
The Red Tea. I guess I could be "The Red T."

8. PILOT NAME:(first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)
Mawn. Yawn.

9. ROCK STAR NAME:(current pets name, current street name)
Stella Knox. I rock.

10. GANGSTA NAME:(first 3 letters of real name plus izzle)

11. IRAQI NAME:(2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, first two letters of your middle name, last two letters of your first name then last three letters of your last name)
Aoanryown. This question seems slightly offensive. And I think my name is more appropriate for Middle Earth.

12. GOTH NAME:(black, and the name of one of your pets)
Black Jack. Ooooooh beware of me.

Nworb Anna Yram. I am a palindrome. Jealous?

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Tonight is our last in Park City, and I'm kind of sad. This has been a very enjoyable, relaxing, and fun trip for Mom and I. We've had countless cups of hot beverage, and read hundreds of pages in books. Mom's finished two books on this trip---that's HUGE, considering it's been a long time since she's been able to read a book. And I finished one of my book club books, and probably will finish another one on the plane ride back tomorrow. This is fabulous, because it means that I can read what I want to for the next two months!

Anyway, on Saturday morning, Mom and I slept in for a little while, but got moving for the International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race at Quinn's Junction. Long name, long race. The race began in Jackson Hole, Wyoming several weeks ago, and the last leg was Saturday in Park City. Before the race began, we got to meet the Mushers and the dogs. I've never heard the likes of howling and barking dogs before. We also got to see an ice-sculpture demonstration. We trekked out to the starting point of the race to wait on it to begin, and found ourselves in snow a foot deep. It was a beautiful sight---like fields of sparkling diamonds, perfect and untouched. While we waited, we built a snowman and ate fresh snow. It's been years since we've had enough snow in Tennessee to provide the necessary building materials for a snowman.

Soon enough, the race began. Before the start of each round, the dogs had to be held back by five or six people. They were chomping at the bit to get started. It was a really exciting experience to watch them race off, and surreal to know that they'd run nine miles before crossing the finish line. Today we found out that the same woman that won the race last year, won again this year.

The weather was gorgeous and sunny, yet still snowy and cold, while we were at the race. After the last pack of dogs crossed the start line, Mom and I left to go eat lunch. We found a place called Souperman, serving a bunch of homemade soups. I had the Thai Noodle, and it was all-natural, freshly made that day, and delicious! I wish we had a place like this in Nash, but I know that it wouldn't do well but a couple months out of the year.

After lunch, we caught the shuttle up to Deer Valley Resort, and read and napped in the lodge while we watched skiers coming down the mountain. Well, at least until cocktail hour started, and we were told we had to order food and drink or leave. So, we left. Mom and I went back down to the historic district and found ourselves at Java Cow for a little while longer.

By this time, dinner rolled around and we found an Irish pub called Flanagan's that looked good. I had fish and chips and it rivaled what I had in London. And the housemade tartar sauce was extraordinary!

Mom and I had spa facial appointments later that evening at Aura Spa for the Spirit. Two hours later, we were pretty exhausted, and ready for bed.

This morning we woke up and ran a couple of errands before driving up to the Tanger Outlet Mall. It was a dry run though, as we didn't really find anything interesting. So, we headed back downtown to the historic district to visit the Kimball Art Center. We got there when the museum opened, but the receptionist set off the security system alarm, so it delayed our entry a bit. While it didn't take us long to go through the exhibits, it was interesting to see what local artists are doing around here.

Lunch was at Main Street Pizza&Noodle, as we'd been craving pizza. The dough tasted fresh, and we stuffed ourselves. After lunch, we hopped the shuttle to the Park City Mountain Resort and took over two plush leather chairs at the base of the chair lift. It's been a trend on this trip to read and drink coffee and watch the skiers, but it's a trend that we've enjoyed. It snowed all day today, and so everything felt right.

Several hours later, we emerged into the cold, snow and wind to check-in for our horse-drawn sleigh ride on the mountain. We bundled up, and the driver told Mom and I to get up front with him. We climbed in, and started laughing as visions of "Rusty!" and "beef-a-roni" from Seinfeld arose. A few minutes later, the horses started up the mountain and onto the trail. It was slightly frightening at times, considering two horses were dragging this cumbersome sleigh on a narrow, uphill trail. We had a sharp turn on the way down the trail, and one of the horses got spooked, and started tearing down too early. It drug our sleigh off the trail and through the brush, snapping a tree like a catapult back at the last row of people on the sleigh. Harrowing, but still funny. A cheap thrill, anyway.

After a photo-op with the horses, Mom and I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some fruit in lieu of dinner. We were still full from pizza earlier in the day. We rounded out our evening by a dip in the pool and hot tub---while it was snowing, no less.
Our flight leaves tomorrow, and while I'm ready to get home, I'm going to miss the time spent with Mom. We wondered tonight where we should go next. Any ideas?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thunder Snow

I'm tempted to call it a night and go to bed. Mom and I are exhausted, but we've had a really great time in Park City so far.

Mom and Dad picked me up at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday morning to head to the airport. The flight into Denver was smooth, and didn't seem to last long because I watched a movie on my iPod. We had a short layover in Denver on our way to Salt Lake City, but we almost missed the flight. Neither one of us were paying attention, as we sat in a group of chairs that served five different gates. Mom elbowed me about 20 minutes before our flight time, and said that she thought our flight already boarded. We both looked at each other and popped up, grabbed our stuff, and as we walked aboard, the pilot asked us if there was anyone else behind us. Yep, we were the last ones to board. At least they didn't have to call for us over the airport intercom...

We got into Salt Lake a little early, and rented our car for the 30 minute drive to Park City. The snowy landscape increased considerably as we ascended into the mountains. After a stop at the Visitor Center, we checked into our hotel, Newpark Resort. Our room is really, really nice. I was quite impressed. By this point, we were starving, so we went over to Whole Foods to eat dinner and grocery shop. It wasn't long after that we came back and climbed into bed.

I guess we're still a little jet lagged, because both of us woke up at 5 a.m. this morning. Mom looked out the window and realized that it was snowing heavily---about four inches overnight. We ate breakfast, watched GMA, and then left to go have coffee at Starbucks. I had my quiet time over a sub-par London Fog. What's up with that? Ever since Starbucks officially put it on the menu, the recipe changed. Anyway, while we were at the Bucks, it snowed another couple of inches.

At about 9:30, we caught the free tourist bus to the historic district of Park City and shopped at the cute little storefronts for a couple of hours. It was pretty much a ghost town...evidently no one gets up before noon up here. We stopped and had lunch at a local cafe, and then shopped a little while longer. Early afternoon led us to the Java Cow, a coffeeshop where we spent several hours reading while we watched the snow fall. It was fabulously relaxing.

Around four-ish, we caught the bus back to Newpark and met two older men from Pennsylvania. They were headed to the same place we were, Utah Olympic Park. The men were nice enough, but forgettable. When we got back to Newpark, we got in the car and drove the couple of miles up the mountain to the Park. Mom and I paid for the tour, and while we were waiting, the two gentlemen walked in with two more gentlemen in tow. We all kind of laughed, and made small talk. One of the men asked us if they could have a ride back down the mountain, and asked what kind of car we were driving. Mom and I kind of looked at each other and changed the subject. Ya right, buddy.

The tour began, and we climbed aboard the tour bus to shuttle us to the ski jumps to watch the freestyle aerials. Up on the mountain, there was a ton of snow--more than I've ever seen in my entire life...combined. It was snowing hard at this point, with flakes sticking to my eyelashes and little piles collecting on my shoulders. It looked like powdered sugar. Light and fluffy.

The tour guide led us back to the bus after watching the skiers for a little while, and drove us up to the Olympic bobsled course. We watched as the bobsled made it's way all the way down the course in less than a minute. If we'd have ponied up $200 each, we could've had a 60-second thrill too.

We got back on the bus, and headed up even farther on the mountain...7800 feet to be exact. Our guide led us out onto a platform, and we peered down at a ski slope that disappeared into the fog. The slope is the length of one-and-a-half football fields. I don't know if it was the altitude or the thoughts of going down that slope on skis, but it made me feel lightheaded.

Finally, we got back on the bus and gingerly made our way down the mountain. When the bus pulled up, Mom and I high-tailed it to the parking lot, reminding ourselves not to look back and make eye contact with the men.

Dinnertime was approaching, and we were both starving. We stumbled upon a place called "Chinese Kitchen" in Kimball Junction, and walked in. Something caught the corner of my eye, and I did a double-take as I realized those four men were at the restaurant eating! Mom realized it at the same time, but it was too late for us to turn back. We both got the giggles as we were seated, and a few minutes later, one of the gentleman came over to say hi to us. What are the odds that we ran into them again???

After a delicious dinner, Mom and I came back to the room to go for a swim. The indoor pool is connected to the outdoor pool and hot tub, and so we experienced swimming in 20 degree weather. It was crisp. You know how you can feel the movement of the water as it laps and bubbles in a pool? I'm still feeling that now, and it's driving me toward bed.

I just checked the weather a few minutes ago, and tomorrow they're predicting Thunder Snow. You heard right. Thunder Snow. Cool.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like February

It's only five 'til seven, and I'm getting ready for bed. That's because I have to catch an early flight tomorrow morning to Park City, Utah. By this time tomorrow night, I'll be in the snow-covered mountains, sipping some hot cocoa and window shopping on the colorful streets of the old mining town. This is a girls vacay--just me and mom. I love traveling with my mom. We somehow seem to get ourselves in all kinds of shenanigans, and laugh until our sides hurt. Kip's coming with me on the trip, so I'll likely try to blog a couple of times. And, heavy snow is predicted the entire time we're there, so it looks like I'll get to see some white precip this year afterall.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hat Trick

I've come to understand that it's the simple things in life that make me very happy. For example, the gift Siebe surprised me with before Bible Study tonight. It's a single serving pack of Nutella, in the shape of the original jar. Could my heart sing any louder? It doesn't take much, folks...

In true Tennessee tradition, it was in the mid-60s and sunny on this first day of February. Tonight, it's supposed to flurry. But, I sure did enjoy the warmth it while it was here. Emily and I had tea this afternoon al fresco at Provence. It was windy, and with people walking up and down the cobblestone, it felt like we were in Paris for a few moments.

Today is the third birthday of the Queen MAB Manifesto. It's hard to believe that what began as an escape from work boredom, became a huge part of my life. While my blogging can be egocentric, narcissistic, and self-indulgent, it humbles me greatly that you care enough to read during the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thank you for spending a few minutes with me each week as I journey through my twenties.

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