Sunday, October 28, 2007

my new me

Friday afternoon I drove two towns over (because i had a coupon) to donate my hair to locks of love. This is something that i've always had an urge to do, ever since Cassie Bernall was killed in 1999 and never had a chance to donate her beautiful long blonde hair. I remember after she was murdered all my peers were growing their hair to donate it in Cassie's name. But i never did. I've always been afraid of what i would look like with my hair SO short. Even the lady who cut my hair said to me, "your hair is so beautiful, are you SURE you want me to cut it?". Welp, my fears were confirmed - i do look 10lbs heavier and butt-ugly with short hair (maybe i'm exaggerating just a bit), but possibly, my ugly bob will give some child the opportunity to have her own beautiful hair! Plus, i was wearing my hair in pony-tails every day because of starbucks health regulations's nice to give my hair some freedom!

Though there are some perks to having short hair: it has cut my shower time in half (seriously!), and i don't get it caught on things like my gri-gri, starbucks apron, hairblow dryer, and underneath my while i'm rolling over in my sleep. Also, it's amazing how much lighter my head feels! (weird?). I also look a little more clean-cut and professional, with my mommy-hair-cut. It is strange though, when i look like someone i don't think i am inside. somehow, with my new haircut, i don't see hair is just not an expression of myself - if hair can be so. But no biggie, it'll be just like it was come next october.

here is a picture of kylie, with her pony-tail of love. this picture will have to do for now, as landon has our digital camera with him in south dakota on a hunting trip with duvick and his brothers (yeah, he'll be in for a surprise when he gets home!)

Locks of Love


Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics.

Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

to learn more about locks of love, visit their website at

Thursday, October 25, 2007

welcome back to the neighborhood

Illinois welcomed us home with it's usual glamour. It is so sweet to us, to say "we missed you" with gloomy weather and traffic....

here's the top of the Sear's tower in the clouds - that's pretty cool.

Um...i'm not sure if this is a mid-western thing, or just a gurnee thing, but it seems really cool here to adorn your yard with all sorts of figurines. click on the picture to see it bigger. I mean, my grandmother has a goose on her front porch that she exchanges outfits according to the current season or holiday - that's cool! what goes on here is just weird. most of the time the statues aren't life size or realistic looking at all...i'm not sure why this seems so great, but really, a lot of the yards around here look like this. this one is just down the street from our house.
Crystal and Greenlee

The Family!

Ann, Peyton and Addison!

Merritt, Avery, and Brent (notice little Griffin in the belly!)

Ruby Mining!

My basket of precious jewels (with the help of Preston, Brianna and Landon)

Beautiful Landon - looking happy!

The Mountains:

Last Wednesday when Landon got home from class, we crammed our stuff into the Passat and headed on a 7 hour drive to Indiannapolis (should have been 5 hours, but we got stuck in Chicago traffic for...i kid you not...2 hours). After a glass of wine and some reminiscing (happy 3 year anniversary us!) we went to sleep in our trusty tent and awoke at 2 am to a pounding storm! Actually, Landon awoke to a storm - i didn't even notice it as i was SO sleepy from having opened Starbucks the last 3 days. He told me later that i was sleeping with my hair (and i discovered later - my phone) in a puddle of water below my sleeping bag - who knew!?

The next day we ventured to North Carolina to meet landon's family at their yearly reunion - "The Mountains" as it is so appropriately called. What a joy to be with family again! And to be amongst beautiful changing leaves upon rolling mountains! We got to see our nieces! And meet little Greenlee for the first time. I can't explain the preciousness of being with family again - just to be stranded out here without any close friends or family makes time with family even more valuable and cherished.

here are some pictures - all a part of the essential "mountains" experience:

Caramel Apples in Cherokee

Cherokee people

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Guatemala pictures are in!

Here's a picture of me with some Guatemalan sweethearts. i was walking through the school courtyard and these girls just ran to me and gave me the biggest hug - i was so surprised and grateful!
Tom, Mariellyn, and I eating some grilled corn we picked up on the side of the road. Reminded me of Kenya, except this corn we smothered in lemon juice and salt - really delicious!

This picture is so sweet to me - it is a picture of myself with one of our school directors, sponsorship coordinator and our sponsorship kids! They all stayed after school to meet me and i was so grateful! What sweet kids.
This adorable little girl is Pahola, she needs a sponsor - any takers?

Here is a picture of Tom, Mariellyn, and I speaking with the director of one of our schools. She is showing me what the children have been learning and how they keep tabs on their students and teachers. I was so grateful for Mariellyn and Tom to translate for me.

Well, that's just a few pictures from my trip. Let me know if you need to see more!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Aunt Sheels and Uncle Doons

These our our nieces: Addison, Greenlee and Avery

This is Patrick, the eldest of all our nieces and nephews - setting a good example for the rest, huh? he's quite the cutie!

Aeneas, our other nephew, Patricks little brother. Hehe. Their mom sends us awesome pictures of them with captions.

Here is a picture of Avery giving Addison a hug. Addison will understand her cousin's affection in time.

we love our nieces and nephews.

We are so excited because we get to see our nieces this week in North Carolina! and we'll get to see our nephews for thanksgiving!

And for those of you who don't know and are wondering - yes, we ARE the ONLY married couple on either side of our families who do NOT have chillins'.

Sunday sticky Sunday

Tomorrow night is my turn to bring snacks to my womens' bible study. I was hoping to bring an autumnal snack for the ladies, and one that is eater-friendly. Somehow Landon and I decided that caramel popcorn balls were a great idea. So...I just finished my first-ever candy making afternoon. I called my mother-in-law for the recipe and cooking instructions, and while i was at it, i got another family recipe for caramel (at the request of my husband). So today i made these delicious caramel popcorn balls (i think they are the best caramel balls i have ever tasted - truly!) and i made caramel candy squares (still waiting for them to cool). As I was definitely NOT lacking caramel this afternoon, i ventured to dip some apples into the caramel as well. YUMMY! i love autumn. i love caramel.... and i do think that i have a sugar headache. I hope the ladies like the caramel balls tomorrow. Maybe i'll bring some apple cider to go along with it!

Monday, October 8, 2007

where reason fails...

"Lord, how great is our dilemma! In they Presence silence best becomes us, but love inflames our hearts and constrains us to speak. Were we to hold our peace the stones would cry out; yet if we speak, what shall we say? Teach us to know that we cannot know, for the thing of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Let faith support us where reason fails, and we shall think because we believe, not in order that we may believe." - A prayer by A.W. Tozer

This is something that i have been reading over in my prayers these last few weeks. Sort of where i am right now - trying to understand God in light of his incomprehensibility. As a Christian, i know that all i am is who God has made me and what God chooses to do with me in light of Him. So, these last few years as my idea of God as been uprooted and i have been so desperately searching the being and character of God, my own understanding of myself has been uprooted also and i have been living so unsure of who i am. Not that i seek God in order to understand my own self, but i am truly lost without him.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Starbucks jitters

Right now I am drinking an iced coffee and taking a sweet little break between my morning shift at Starbucks and the rest of my day working with sponsorship. Today was my third day in a row opening at starbucks (waking before 4am), and i have been so busy with sponsorship this week that i'm working 10-12 hour days. I guess I'll just have to have weeks like this sometimes to get things done! In order to endure a long rest of my day in front of the computer, i bring home the highest dose of caffeine that i can (a vinti brewed coffee). Hehe, but I have found that after some shots of espresso during my morning shift, when i enjoy a very large cup of coffee at home i tend to get a little jittery. Yeah, i get the shakes...but it's worth it if i can stay awake and energized enough to get my work done. Sometimes, it is simply necessary.

(it really isn't necessary, is it?)
Sorry nothing too exciting to blog about.

Grilled Cheese with Ketchup

Wives of McBrayer men (and Brent) have come to a shocking realization that when grilled cheese sandwiches are enjoyed with tomato soup, the scrumptious feast is never complete without globs and globs of.....ketchup. I have finally come to accept the fact that my husband will not grow out of putting ketchup on his grilled cheese sandwich. I was convinced that it is an act of nostalgia as he was raised this way, until yesterday. Yesterday Landon made himself a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch dipped in lots of ketchup. "You're a freak," I endearingly called him. "I was raised like this - everyone in my family dips their grilled cheese in ketchup," he explained. "I bet NO ONE in your family still eats their grilled cheese with ketchup, Landon," I assured him. The bet was on! He called everyone in his family last night and it was proven to me that ALL the McBrayers (by blood - not marriage) eat grilled cheese with ketchup - even Charleen (i was shocked!). Well, i guess this is not something that Landon will grow out of - and i imagine that all future little McBrayers will eat their grilled cheese smothered in (high-sodium) ketchup.

I love being a McBrayer. Learning more sweet and silly things about my husband and my family every day!

(at least they're not finding spiritual figures on their grilled cheese - it could be even more strange!)