Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My heart is breaking this week. Matthew left last Saturday to spend the week in Chicago with his dad and sister going through Carolyn's things at the house. It is Matthew's (and I believe Shannon's as well) first time to be at the house since Carolyn passed away. Steve and Carolyn moved to this house after Matthew had gone to college, but there are still so many memories of holidays and other visits there.

So Matthew is in Chicago going through his mother's things. I haven't been able to talk to him for any length of time since he's been there, but I know this must be so hard for him. He definitely was not looking forward to it.

The pain of losing his mother less than 3 months ago is still so fresh. It is still shocking to remember that she is no longer here.

She made holidays an incredibly big deal. You would not believe the amount of food she would fix for the 6 people around the table. It seriously would have fed a small army. She asked for each person's request for a favorite dish. And she found pleasure in making every detail about the meal special - from the meal itself to the china, crystal, and linens. She also made sure to give thanks to the Creator of those special moments.

This Thanksgiving will be a difficult one, especially for the Merritts. I have to say it is hard to look forward to being there during such a tumultuous time. But I am looking forward to loving on my husband. It has been a hard road knowing what to say or how to act toward him during his grief. It is hard to see those you love in pain and not be able to do anything to ease that pain.

I first met Carolyn Thanksgiving Day 2001 - seven years ago. I remember vividly seeing her for the first time at the airport. I remember Matthew making a big deal of her hair. I'm not sure if I was aware she had battled breast cancer at that point. If so, I guess I hadn't considered that she may have lost her hair during that battle. She made me feel welcome in her home and had left a gift in the room she had prepared for me. I remember peeling and cutting up rutabegas while Matthew and Carolyn went to the airport to pick up Shannon and Dave that day. I had never eaten rutabegas before - I think they were one of Carolyn's favorites.

She was a beautiful woman and I hope that our gathering will bring healing. I hope it will be a time where we can happily recall so many good memories of her. Most of all, I hope that Matthew and I can glorify God in our attitudes and outpouring of love and thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"She's Having a Baby"

This post has nothing to with the movie. I have been planning this post for quite a while. I have some very exciting news to share.

Matthew and I are expecting our first baby! I am a little over 12 weeks right now and our baby is due at the end of May. Even though we have known for almost 2 months now, it is still hard to believe. After waiting for what seems like a long time, it was shocking to find out. I think we had almost given up hope this would happen to us (at least I think I had). This week we heard the baby’s heart beat at our appointment. It was amazing. There is a miracle growing inside me. All I’ve felt so far is nauseous, picky/specific about what I want to eat RIGHT NOW, headache pain, and EXTREMELY tired. And Matthew has felt really tired of hearing me complain about everything listed in the previous sentence.

We have made our announcement to most of our family, close friends, and co-workers, however we haven’t told our Sunday school class yet. We have several couples in our class that have really painful pregnancy experiences. It has been hard to know how to share our exciting news in a respectful and gentle way. I know our friends will be excited for us, but I also know it will be painful for them due to their own circumstances.

When I can stand to be awake after the work day, I have been reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Eating Well When You’re Expecting. I have already learned so much about the baby’s development and the changes my body is going through (and the explanation for why I am so incredibly tired). At my appointment this week, my doctor gave me this plastic replica of what size our baby is this week. Isn’t that fun? It is seriously miraculous to see that even at this size and only 12 weeks the baby already looks like a baby. How amazing is our God and His creation!

I cannot say that I have been eating particularly well. I have not been eating a bunch of junk food, but I’m having a hard time getting many of the foods that I should be eating. I have had a strong aversion to onion which I previously really enjoyed. I cannot even stand the smell of them. And they give me indigestion which is quite uncomfortable. Cooking has been challenging. When I’m hungry, I am hungry for something very specific (generally from a specific restaurant – and I’ve found that substitutions for what I’m craving don’t work out so well) and I want it RIGHT NOW! I have not gained much weight yet…by my calculations less than 5 pounds, although my body is definitely going through some changes. I am currently still able to wear most of my pants except the ones that were tight on me to begin with.

89 pounds of snuggly fun

Matthew took Max to the vet yesterday for his annual checkup and shots. They apparently lost track of time and were in a hurry to make it to the vet’s office on time such that Matthew forgot to put Max’s collar on him and take a leash. Thankfully, they were the only folks in the office while they were there.
Matthew called me at work to tell me how good Max had been there. Whatever Matthew told Max to do, he did. He sat, he stayed, he got on the examination table via a chair, etc. Matthew couldn’t believe he was so good. We have the best dog!

He is definitely a big part of our family. In showing the following, I am probably proving to you that I love my dog a bit too much. I am a scrapbooker and made the following scrapbook about Max during the Olympics. I finished everything but the journaling in August and completed the journaling this past weekend. It was a fun small project to work on and my first time to scrapbook in something other than a scrapbook. I found this journal at Target and thought it would be perfect for such a project.

Black & White Bag

I have had this idea in my head for a while but either have not been motivated to get it done or have been too tired to get it done. I think a little bit of both.

I used the pattern for the bag I made here, but made some adjustments. I really like the material I used in the first bag, but the bag is really big and does not hold its shape at all. I hoped I could make something a little bit different.

  • I made the bag much smaller.
  • I added some stuff to give the bag more shape.
  • I added a pocket to the front (it's hard to see in the photos).
  • And I added ribbon to the top so I could tie the bag closed.
Since I am so new at sewing, I was thrilled that I was able to make the measurement changes and add the pocket and ribbon without someone else’s help. Generally, I am uncomfortable trying such things on my own. Yeah for me! (Yes, I get excited about the little things.)

I am really pleased with how this bag turned out. I can’t remember when I started it…maybe Friday night. And I finished it Sunday night in time to start carrying it this week. I haven’t worked on my quilt at all since I posted about it last. I want to work on it and complete it, but it is just so overwhelming. When my mom was here in October, she brought one of her sewing machines with her so I could play with it. I haven’t touched it yet. I need to get that sewing machine set up and use it to work on my quilt. I have no excuses. Maybe I’ll work on that this weekend.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Thank you to all who have served and our currently serving our country in the military. I wish I knew how to show my gratitude each day for what you have done and are doing to serve and protect our country and freedoms.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know I will never truly understand your sacrifice, but I hope I can respect your life with my own.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"You people..."

I am embarrassed and horrified to say that these words poured from my mouth recently in a very accusatory way. I mentioned a couple of posts ago about going out with my co-workers on Friday afternoon. One of my co-workers is also originally from Texas and said something (I have no idea what) that made someone else start talking about Texas and how obnoxious Texans are and how they embellish everything. My reply, “You people make us this way.” Isn’t that a horrible thing to say?

Even before this conversation, I have been thinking a lot about prejudice and how I don’t think there are many (if any) people who do not have some type of prejudice. For example, I have found the following to be true in my own life.
If I see a car with an icthus (I have no idea how to spell that), I immediately have a warm place in my heart for that driver because he or she may be a brother or sister of mine in Christ.
If I see a car with a Longhorn on it, I also immediately get a smile on my face because I think that person is a fellow Texan in this tough Colorado world.
If I see someone driving a Hummer or another huge car, I think what a waste of money and gasoline.
For some reason, there is a group of people whose approval I would like because I have all the right stuff (money, the right clothes, a big house, etc) and a group of people whose approval I would like because they think I have less (drive an old car, etc).
I can get excited when visiting with someone who says they go to church and then get disappointed when they tell me what kind of church they attend.

The list could really go on and on. We all have so many opinions and it is hard (at least for me) to not get judgmental about someone who believes differently than I.

I found this to be the case during this election. I had a hard time understanding why anyone would want to vote other than I. I know that sounds completely ignorant or naive. While I was not excited about either candidate, I believe very strongly that as a Christian it is my duty to stand for those who are not able to stand for themselves. My pastor made this point recently, and I strongly agree with it. I am not to use my right to vote in order to vote for what will make my life the easiest and best. I am to consider what will be best for the citizens of this country. I am not what many believe to be a single issue voter. However, to me one of the most important issues has to do with life. I believe human life begins at conception. I cannot vote pro-choice. I believe all human life is created in the image of God and its purpose is to reflect the glory of God. I also happen to think it’s a good idea for the President to have military experience as that is such an important part of the job. I was so disappointed last week to see my state on the map colored in blue. As silly as it sounds, I missed seeing my state in red.

As my pastor said yesterday, “The votes are in, a new president has been elected, and I have good news for you. God is still on His throne.” The leaders of this world will all pass away, but God will be on His throne throughout eternity. That gives me hope. He is the same today as He was several weeks ago during the election. I am thankful that He is in control of all things.
By the way, you will not see me driving around with a bumper sticker that says “Obama is not my President” nor will you hear anything disrespectful come from my mouth. He will be my President, and I will do my best to pray for him and his leadership of this country. I pray that he will be a humble, moral, ethical leader who keeps the American people as a priority. I CANNOT imagine wanting to be President. What an impossible job.

Monday, November 3, 2008

1 year with Max

As of October 27th, we have now had Max for a whole year. Boy did it go by quickly! I have no idea what we did before we had him. He is such a big part of our family now. Some of my favorite things about Max...
  • He is such a sweet boy.
  • He gets so excited to see us when we get home.
  • Our neighbors like him and always say hi to him when we're outside (but don't say hi to us...weird, huh?).
  • He is fun to play fetch with.
  • He likes to cuddle.
  • He is just FUN!
Here is a picture the day we got him and another one taken a year later.
Saturday I got him a new toy. I found this Bevo (that was really what it was called). Max loves it! After about 20 minutes, most of the stuffing had been removed. But he will still play with it until there is absolutely nothing left of it. So I believe Max is officially a Longhorn fan as well.

We took him up to the forest yesterday for a walk. The intention was to keep him away from the water. We came across a tank halfway through our walk, however, that Max jumped into a couple of times. It was disgusting. So then we let him get in the pond to clean off. We hoped he wouldn't get sick from being in and drinking the stagnant water. So far, so good. He ran right into the water and laid down.

November 2008

This picture was taken of us last Thanksgiving.

November is another busy month for us as we celebrate the following.

2nd Lola's (our niece) first birthday

5th Steve's (Matthew's dad) birthday

13th dear friend Michelle's birthday

19th Lois' (Matthew's aunt) birthday

25th dear friend Melinda's birthday