Friday, March 20, 2009

The lightbulb has been replaced

So someone finally put in a new halogen at the end of my tunnel. This week I found out that I am set to be done with my master's work in May 2010! That's only a year away! PRAISE GOD!

For those that don't know my sad story, here it is. After finishing a grueling four years at K-State (it really wasn't grueling, I just wanted to use that word), I was swept away by my husband to be to this hot, humid state of Texas. I enrolled at Texas Woman's University, working towards completing my master's in family therapy. I took the maximum amount of classes I could take my first semester which ended up being a mistake. Although receiving all A's my first semester, I was BURNT OUT. I was trying to be a successful college student, work full time, plan a wedding two states away, build a house, and attempting to be civil to my future groom. It wasn't working. So I decided that I would take a semester off. I needed a break. I was owed a break. I had been in school since I was in preschool. Taking six months off would be good for me....

Six months turned into four and a half years. I got lazy. Plain and simple. MY plan was to always go back and finish, but I had other things I wanted to do. In May2006, Michael and I decided that we were ready to expand our family. But after over a year of trying and planning, as well as having to live through a miscarriage, I decided I needed a distraction and that I was going to finish what I started. So in August 2007, I enrolled at Dallas Baptist University, set out to complete this degree that had been hanging over my head for years. God decided to be funny and we found out we were pregnant with Gabriel two weeks after I started school. Funny how life works out that way isn't it?

I won't lie, I was tempted to quit again. I even took the semester after I had Gabriel off so I could adjust to being a new mommy. It was nice. My only responsibility, aside from being a good wife to my husband, was to take care of Gabriel. But God kept pressing on me that I needed to complete this opportunity He blessed me with. So here I am, still trucking away, trying to finish up this degree. And after this past Monday, I can finally see the light at the end of my tunnel! Only one more year of tough weekdays and hard-pressed weekends. In May 2010, I'll have my degree and will be well on my way of becoming the therapist that I've always dreamed of becoming.

God, thank you for putting that desire in my heart. It's only through you that it's becoming a reality.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Frugal Freeland

I believe I have reached a point of frugality that is cool. The days of Swedish Massages from Olga and pedicures from Hong Hanh (whose American name is Lisa) are LONG gone. About 10 years ago, being frugal was like wearing plaid with stripes. It just didn't work. You were not considered "cool" if you clipped coupons, shopped the clearance rack, or used Now we're in the present day. Times are different. Both Michael and I are busting it to try to keep our little family of three afloat on one income. I'm a nut when it comes to the Grocery Game, following Slick Deals on Twitter, and am a frequent peruser of FreeCycle. No longer is there shame or stigma attached to hauling in 40 coupons with you when you check out at Kroger or Tom Thumb. Far off are the times when buying anything in a resale shop would consider you of lesser socioeconomic status. Times have changed. Everyone is in the same boat, the Gotta Get a Deal boat.

Earlier this afternoon, one of my best friends and I were talking excitedly about planning a day date of going to Thrift World (the best Resale/Goodwill-esk type store this side of Dallas). I told her I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and she suggested we make a trip. What a great idea, Carissa! The money had been put aside for some new clothes anyway, but the thought of buying actual "NEW" clothes made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I can't pay full price for anything anymore. So what if it's gently used? If I'm getting it for a $1, vs. $40 at Macy's, who's the sucker?

My transition into Frugal Land has also made my husband thrilled beyond belief. We both get a feeling of joy after planning out our grocery list, taking the time to clip the coupons, and ringing up a whole cart of groceries, having the check out lady hand us a receipt saying we saved 50% or more. (Thank you Grocery Game and my coupon ammunition) It's our way of sticking it to the man...although I'm not quite sure what man we're really sticking it to...and what exactly are we sticking to him?

All of the hipsters are now on the cheap, tightwad train just like me. I actually feel like I'm finally in the cool crowd, sitting at the popular table of prudent, penny-pinchers. Who knows, maybe I'll get nominated for prom queen this year. I'm pretty sure Thrift World has prom dresses on sale in March.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Addiction

Hello. My name is Kristina. [Hi, Kristina.] I'm addicted to TV.

I admit it. I'm completely enthralled with this little box that lights up. Michael and I have always joked around about our perfect date being dinner at home and watching a movie together on the couch. But the more we think about it, the more it's not a joke. We really love TV. What's funnier than just being addicted to television is being addicted to television when you don't have cable (or satellite). Our new best friend, offering loads of prime time drama, is Have you heard of it? It's fabulous! Most of the shows we enjoy watching can all be found on hulu (minus Lost). And now that Michael has figured out how to hook up our MacBookPro to our rather large television, the enjoyment of TV watching is even greater.

Here is just a sample of what we're addicted to. (Don't you love that I'm throwing him in this addiction admittance, too?)

In no particular order:
1. Lost
2. The Office
3. Battlestar Galactica
4. Chuck
5. House
6. Heroes
7. Fringe
8. Lie to Me
9. 24 (although your days are numbered Jack've jumped one to many sharks as of late)

Wow. That's only 9...that's not too bad, is it? I mean, we're not even in double digit territory. Maybe I'm not as much of an addict as I thought.

Well, even if I'm not an addict, there is no denying that I LOVE to watch shows with my handsome groom. Although the story lines seem to go no where sometimes (House and Cuddy are never going to do it, Hiro will always think he's meant to save the world alone, there will always be tension between Jack, Sawyer and Kate, and Michael Scott will NEVER learn to be socially appropriate) it's a dang good source of FREE entertainment. Thank you, television networks for feeding my addiction with quality programming. I heart you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I think I have an Anxiety Disorder....

I've been prepping for several weeks for 3 things at school. One has been to write a rather large term paper on a Christian counselor named Paul Meier. Next, has been preparing to give a presentation on the paper and third was to take a very difficult test in my Psychopathologies class. Now, if I was single and sans child, I think this would be pretty do-able. But, goodness. Trying to find time to write, prepare, and study, not to mention keeping up-to-date on my readings for both classes, is next to impossible when you're a wife and mother. The laundry is piled up almost 3 feet high, dinner from 3 days ago is clinging onto dear life in the bowls still sitting in the sink, and my house looks like Romper Room. (do you guys remember that show???) How do you find balance to make it all work?

I know that this path is what is best for my family. Eventually, I'll have the degree I've been facinating over for years and then I can go back to work, doing something I feel that God has purposed me for. But the journey of getting there is wearing me thin. Last night, as I was getting my #2 pencil out to take my Psychopathologies test, I was certain that I was about to have a panic attack. Was I ready for this test? I should have studied more. I shouldn't have fallen asleep reading about the medicial treatments to unipolar disorder. What is a neurotransmitter again? Do I remember the mneomonic devise to Obessive Compulsive Disorder? Did I leave the stove on when I left the house? AGH! Then, Dr. Cook (my rockstar teacher) said, "Let's say a prayer shall we?" He proceeded to ask God to bless our time together , to calm our anxious hearts, to sharpen our minds, and to allow us to recall the information we had studied. In that moment, God's peace washed over me.

Now, did I ace my test? No, probably not. (But I did remember the symptoms for OCD!) But God's peace came over me and allowed me to get through that test without going into convulsions or throwing up. I think I even gave a desent presentation. That's sufficient. And for that, I'm grateful.