Sunday, November 13, 2011

Compassion International

Remember that time I had a blog? I feel like I'm always thinking 'as soon as I get through _____ I'll have time to breathe.' And then whatever I was working on is over and the next thing is right behind it. Thus completely ignoring the blog.

But that's not at all the point of this post. I have been surrounded by Compassion International lately. Our church church is extremely missions-oriented. They partner with Compassion and many, many others. Recently there was a woman who came and spoke at our church that was a Compassion child and now works in social services in Atlanta. It was extremely touching and she just couldn't say enough about how much she valued the people who sponsored her. My mom and sister went to El Salvador over the summer with Compassion and got to meet their Compassion family. The children (and families of the children) who are sponsored through Compassion are SO, so grateful. Our pastor went on one of many trips with them several years back and as soon as he entered the home of one family, they went and showed him an old microwave that they had painted and were using as storage in their house, and it was the place where they kept their letters from their Compassion sponsors. It was the first thing they showed him when he arrived, their most prized possession. The woman who spoke at our church said the same thing. She lived for letters from her sponsors.

This is Sterline.

Patrick and I have sponsored her for years now. We try to do a good job of writing her fairly regularly, but I really want to do a better job of writing more often. (Especially since Compassion now lets you send emails and upload pictures online to send to your sponsored child. I really have absolutely no excuse not to do it.) Sterline lives in Haiti, near Port Au Prince. Luckily, she lived through all the destruction in her area. Well ok, we know it's not luck, but we won't go there right now. That, again, is not the point of this. The things that gets me about Sterline is the things that she writes to us. When I look at our lives compared to hers, the difference is honestly ridiculous. When we think of things that are going on with us to write her about, if we think about it in the same way we would be sending an email to a friend, it's typically things like a vacation we recently went on, or updates we're making to our house, or Patrick is training for a marathon, or whatever. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things.

However, on our honeymoon, we sent her a postcard from Maui because we were thinking of her. She loved it and said it was beautiful. And that she had never seen the beach. Y'all. She lives in Haiti, which is an island. Not far from Port Au Prince, which is ON the water. And she has never seen the beach. She has never left her little village. She ended her letter by stating that her parents were having trouble getting work and then asked 'is there poverty in your country?'

Here's the thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with us telling her about our lives, the way they really are. I don't think that we're flaunting how wonderful our lives are to her, and I don't think she's ever felt that we are. I think she likes to hear about the things we do. I don't think she was trying to be rude when she ended a letter about our vacation asking if there was poverty in our country. She was 9. But of course she wonders that... of course she wonders how in the world there could be poverty in a country full of Americans who can afford to sponsor Compassion children and go on vacations. Of course she wonders that... when we give her money at Christmas, she uses it to buy rice. When I get gift cards or money of any kind, it's a given that it won't be used on a necessity. It's a gift. In my world, gifts are for luxuries. In hers, they are for eating.

Again, I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with us taking vacations or buying things or whatever. I don't think there's anything wrong with sharing things that excite us with our Compassion kids. But her description of her life, and her wonder at a vacation, is a sobering reminder of how much they need us. And when we think about how much money to give her for Christmas, or her birthday, or just in general, it's good to remember she's going to use it for food. And when I get an email asking if I'd like to consider visiting my Compassion child, and my first thought is that no, I really have no interest in visiting Haiti, it's a very good reminder that in fact it does not matter one bit whether I'd like to visit Haiti. It matters that I know it would change my life to see Sterline in her life. And the fact that her sponsors would come to Haiti to visit her would hopefully speak to her about how much she really does matter to us. That even though she is one of MANY children living in poverty in Haiti, she matters. In reality, we aren't just sponsoring Sterline. We're feeding her parents as well. When she needs medicine, it comes from Compassion. When she hears about Jesus, it comes from Compassion. She has stated in every last letter we have gotten from her that she is praying for us. We get updates every now and then about Sterline, and sometimes she is a 'below average' student. But she loves Jesus and she prays and that matters a LOT more than being an 'above average' student. I think I have a lot to learn from Sterline.

I know there's not a huge following on this blog, especially since I haven't used it in so long. But in case you stumble upon it, please PLEASE consider sponsoring a child through Compassion. There are so many kids waiting on sponsors. It's not terribly expensive, and many of them literally need it to survive. Everyone who has an experience with Compassion International reaffirms that they are doing amazing things around the world, and they are using their resources in the best way possible. It's a very well-respected organization. Please consider sponsoring, and if you do, please remember to write to your child.

And that is all! Maybe I'll blog again before 2013.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Show Us Your Life- Crockpotapalooza

I'm not typically one for linking up on here (and by not typically, I mean never), but I love this recipe to such a ridiculous degree, I can't pass up the chance to share. So I'm linking to Kelly's Korner's Crockpotapalooza.

This is my go-to 'someone had a baby' or 'someone got sick' or 'I really like you' dish. It's so, SO easy. And delicious. And I just had cereal for dinner and I am REALLY wishing I had this now!

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
A few shakes of onion powder
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth


Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion powder in a slow cooker, and cover with chicken broth.
Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 90 minutes before serving, shred the chicken. Place it back in the slow cooker and add the torn biscuit dough. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Don't skip this recipe. I promise.

Happy crockpot cooking!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


We went on vacation last week with 21 of my family members. Honestly I had some slight concerns that it wouldn't measure up to our Cancun trip last year (LOVED Cancun!) but I have to say I think it did. I love my extended family and wish we could see them more often, so to have them all in one place for 8 days was really, really fun times.

We went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina and I would recommend that place to anyone. It's awesome.

There are about 9234890 pictures to be seen, but here's a pic of the cousins with my grandparents.

Wish I was there right now!

Monday, June 13, 2011

the not-so-million-dollar question

You know how when you're like in 5th grade, and you're trying to figure out what you wanna be when you grow up, that silly test they have you take asks you 'if money was not an obstacle, what would you want to do?' And typically you wind up being like a stargazer or a trash collect or something?

(Insert quote from The West Wing regarding the importance of trash collectors in society.)

Well if we all started living on monopoly money or it grew on trees or something, I would hang out with teenagers every day. Patrick and I returned from youth camp last night. I. love. camp. Truthfully, there are very few places I would rather be than at youth camp. Returning is the pits. Except of course that it means I don't have to sleep in those terrible beds anymore. Or eat the food. But other than that.

The speaker was really good, the kids responded to him well, and I personally thoroughly enjoyed myself. The thing about youth camp is that when I describe it without being there, it sounds terrible. Tons of time outside in the heat. Bunk beds that are specially created by camps all over the country to be the least comfortable thing imaginable. Tons of fried food for lunch when it's over 100 degrees outside. A camp staff that is less than spectacular and ridiculous rules galore. Having something on my schedule from 7 am to midnight. Never fails, a clogged toilet every single year. (This year's was especially yucky. That's all you need to know.)

I mean it really doesn't sound all that enjoyable. It's a hot, jam-packed, often gross, exhausting time. But throw in some teenagers and some water games and you've got yourself a party. I absolutely love it. My face hurts from laughing so hard by the end of it.

And just because I've been so severely lacking in the picture department, here are two of the reasons I love it so much:

Happy summer, folks! I hope you get to go to camp!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What the heck have we been up to lately?

Everything. :-)

I went on yet another blogging sabbatical, I know. Life just got crazy here. I didn't want to blog about this before it was over since I figured posting that I was home alone constantly on the world wide web was not a fabulous idea, but we're in the clear now I'm free to blog.

Patrick wound up on a project this year that had him traveling every week. For 16 weeks. You read that right. It has been extremely challenging, and I can't say I handled the situation with grace and patience. I CAN say that it makes me value the time he is home so, so much more. I never would have known how I take that for granted until I couldn't take it for granted anymore. :-) But thanks goodness, it is finally over. We're back in the same city with some fun trips in our future, and I'm excited.

It's graduation season around here also. Our sweet 12th graders that we work with at church are all graduating, so graduation stuff is going on all around us. I'm excited for them, but I can't believe this has actually come. Not sure what I'm going to do with myself next year! I intend to stay in denial until August when they actually leave. Very much my style.

Patrick is wrapping up his Team in Training season and heads to the Grand Canyon next week. I can't believe it's the middle of May already! It seems like every year goes by faster and faster. I'll be joining him in Arizona this year so that should be a good time. I hiked with him yesterday morning for 6 miles and let's just say that I will be feeling that for a good while.

My mom turned 50 a few days ago, so we went to a birthday party for her last night. It was quite fun! And we're headed out next month to vacation with her family at the beach. Hooray for vacation! You know how I love a good beach!

Patrick's grandmother has been in town this past week so we've gotten to spend some time with her. That's been really nice. We definitely wish we could see our extended family more often. We said goodbye to her this morning, but we plan to get up to see her in the next few months and that will be nice.

So life is crazy busy here at the Gilgour household (which seems to be the norm for us at this stage of our lives), but it's (mostly) fun stuff so we'll take it. It seems like every weekend we've got 7 places to be. Today we've made two stops and have two to go. I'm currently relaxing for another hour or so before we hit up stop number three. But really, it's all things we really want to do and places we really want to go, so we can't complain. We have wonderful friends and family that we wouldn't trade for the world.

Sorry that was a totally lame catch up with no pictures, and I am going to make another statement that I plan to blog more often and hope for the best. :-)

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A little bit of crud and a lot a bit of goodness

How did it get to be April already?! I mean, other than March ending. Of course. Seriously, time just goes by faster and faster.

Aside from the fact that I'm currently fighting what I believe to be a sinus infection (and really that's what I'm hoping for, since it's not contagious), I've had a lovely weekend.

Patrick came home from Dallas early on Thursday which was SO wonderful. We spent the whole evening together just hanging out and it was so nice.

Friday I got to meet sweet, sweet Emily June (before I was sick) which was awesome. She is so beautiful. And I got to have lunch with my husband. And then I got to spend the evening with some of my very favorite high school girls at a girls night out (and some of my very favorite my-own-age girls who came too). It was a really fun night.

Saturday I was feeling bad so we just laid low. Patrick and I spent pretty much the whole day and night together and it was wonderful. He's taken great care of me. I sadly had to skip out on church and small group today which I hate. But again, I got to spend the day with my husband. And just hanging out without doing anything for 2 days is really not something we get to do often, so I'm happy to look for the silver lining in that.

One of the very exciting things we did this weekend was book our flights to Arizona for May. I'll be joining him at the Grand Canyon this year which should be interesting. :-) I'm sure it will be fun. I was listening to KSBJ in the car this afternoon (during the 12 seconds I spent out of the house). They were talking about marriage and somehow they got on the topic of how some people have this idea of the perfect person that they want to marry and they think that if they meet someone who doesn't measure up to one of those standards, they'll feel like they settled. I was thinking that if Patrick had sat down to write one of those lists that defined his 'perfect person', she probably would have been someone who loved the outdoors. So it's a really good thing that marriage doesn't so much work like that. (Insert plug for the book Sacred Marriage. It's fabulous.) The truth is that I don't even come to close to a person who loves the outdoors and "adventure." I know you're all absolutely shocked as you read this, what with my extremely adventurous history. And I know this is totally random, but as I listened to that I was thinking about how I'm very glad that Patrick doesn't think he "settled" since I don't so much fit into his "list." Plus, now that I have a husband - he pretty much defines my list. So whatever my list used to look like, now it looks like him. So it's really a moot point.

But anyway, I digress as usual. I need to go find something to do with myself until I fall asleep. Watching the West Wing is out since Mrs. Landingham is about to kick the bucket and those episodes are just too much for me right now.

Happy new week, friends! Hopefully I recover from this crud quickly and get to thoroughly enjoy it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

P&B Fun Day

Patrick had some vacation time to kill before the end of March, so he was off work this Thursday and Friday. Since we don't really get full days together on the weekends in the spring while he's working with Team in Training, I took off on Friday so we could have a P&B Fun Day. It was great! I really just like spending time with him, so it probably would have been just as great if we were hanging out at home. Our original plan was to go to Galveston, but since it was the last day of Spring Break we figured it would be crazy crazy crowded there. Plus the high in Galveston yesterday was only 70 degrees so the beach wouldn't have been all that warm. So we decided instead to go to College Station. Ohh Aggieland, how I love you.

We got a lovely view of the blue bonnets on the way up. And we borrowed a convertible from the Mengers. Driving with the top down most of the day was lots of fun, but we both got pretty sunburned. We ate at Blue Baker for lunch, walked around campus, drove by the places we used to live.. it was very nice. Of course it was a ghost town since it was spring break so that was kind of weird.

I lived in Midtown while I was in college. Here's a picture I snapped real fast yesterday, in my attempt not to creep out the person that was inside:

Such fabulous memories there.

And this is where Patrick lived, among many, many shady people on Cooner Street:

It was a really nice day. We stopped in Brenham on the way home and did some shopping. Oh and we visited the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. I'd never really been in there - which is a bummer since you get in free if you're a student. But we went in and looked around everywhere and I found it surprisingly interesting. (Typically museums are not my thing. I just sort of glance around and I'm ready to leave, much to Patrick's dismay. But this was fun.)

So we had a wonderful day yesterday, and now today is only Saturday!

In other news, we are about to have some landscaping work done in our backyard. Since the yard wasn't really maintained by the people who owned it before us (they did, in fact, keep a chicken back there which I highly doubt is in compliance with the HOA) we had some work to do before we could get the landscaping done. The weeds/grass had taken over where there should have been beds around our current landscaping so there were many hours of work to be done to take care of that first. I didn't manage to get a complete 'before' picture, but we've made some serious progress on the right half of the yard. Before, the whole yard looked like this (everything green is a weed, the grass is behind me in this picture):

And now, the right half of the yard looks like this (please ignore the things hanging off the fence, they will soon be gone as well):

It may not look like much, but it's major progress I assure you. The weeds are gone from where there should be flower beds, and in 2 weeks we will have new dirt and new mulch and it might actually look landscaped. Hopefully just in time for things to really start blooming again which will be so lovely!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy birthday husband-o-mine!

(***Pretend I was a little more on top of my game and actually posted this on March 3rd instead of just giving it that date. Sorry babe... yesterday was a little crazy around here.)

March 3rd is Patrick's birthday. In honor of the occasion, here are some interesting facts about him/his birth date:

Patrick is the tallest human structure in the Gilgour household - The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, opened after 2.5 years of contruction on 3/3/1997.

Patrick loves U.S. History - The United States officially adopted The Star-Spangled Banner as its national anthem on 3/3/1931. (Above is a picture of Patrick's twin on the Korean War memorial in D.C. I've witnessed it people. It looks a lot like him, especially when his hair is longer.)

Patrick likes rock and roll music - Jackie Brenston recorded "Rocket 88", often cited as the first rock and roll record, at Sam Phillips' recording stuidios in Memphis, TN on 3/3/1951. (Above pictures of Patrick at a John Fogerty concert.)

Patrick was born in Missouri - Congress passed the Missouri Compromise on 3/3/1820. (Above is a picture of Patrick in Missouri. Isn't he cute?)

And this is us about to go to a formal my senior year of college. Not related to his birthday. I just like it.
I love you Patrick! Happy birthday!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What do I know of holy?

Every time I (Becky) hear this song (by Addison Road), the words are so convicting to me:

I made you promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made you too small
I never feared you at all
If you touched my face would I know you?
Looked into my eyes could I behold you?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stores and I leared to talk about
How you were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of you brought me down to my knees

That's all. Could you guys please be keeping a few different people and their 'we want to have a baby' situations in your prayers? I don't know any of them personally, but I've gotten lots of second hand stories recently of people who have had adoptions, in vitro, etc fall through.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Morning Live: Weekend Update

Becky and I are huge fans of Seth Meyer's SNL Weekend Update. We're often times too lame to stay up and watch it live, but we're pretty addicted and get our fix on Netflix. That's where the title of this post comes in.

This week has been cold and kind of lazy. We convinced ourselves we didn't have to do anything since it was 35 degrees outside. Jed Bartlett would call us "a bunch of tanned-ass Southerners." I will admit that we are wimps in the cold, but I don't want to hear any whining from those of you north of the Mason-Dixon line when the mercury tops out at 92 degrees.

Becky is a Craigslist fiend. Her spiritual gift is Craigslisting. She once bought a bionic arm from a man in Minnesota passing through town for $13**. It now sits on our coffee table. It was such a quick transaction. It literally went from helping him steer his Malibu to sitting on our coffee table in less than 45 minutes. It's a great conversation piece.

She's really wanted a sleigh bed for about two years now. It kind of got put on the back burner until recently. We bought one on Craigslist two weekends ago for $50. We started its rehab last night. With her keen eye and my pickup truck, we've managed to Craigslist quite a bit of good stuff.

Eventually it will go in our master bedroom. We're really excited to have a real bed for the first time in our marriage (we've been sleeping on a frame). Keep pressuring Becky for finished pictures. Until then, here are some cell phone shots of our progress.

**Portions of this story may or may not be true.

Monday, January 31, 2011

i know, i know... i'm the worst.

Apparently I much prefer stalking other peoples blogs (which I do religiously, every day) to keeping up with my own. I do apologize to my thousands of faithful readers who have been daily checking in to see when I will grace you with my presence here in the blogosphere again. Oh, wait... :-)

Well, in my last post I mentioned some home improvement things we were doing. And it turns out home improvement things have pretty much consumed our weekends lately. We did some updating in our bathroom and some other fun projects, none of which are 100% complete. But they are (hopefully) very soon to be finally done. Pictures to eventually follow, I promise.

In other news, the days are getting longer around here and you have no idea how happy this makes me. This 'getting dark at 5:00' business is the pitts.

Also... we have a roomie! Yep. Not a baby. A roomie. She's 19, it's been a long year, and she gets the sheer delight of living with us for a little bit. Lucky girl, you say? Agreed. Patrick's take on the whole thing? "Once she moves out, we'll be empty nesters!" We're WAY ahead of you, people. We skipped way past babies to 19 year olds, and we'll let you all know how the empty nest feels. :-)

My goal for 2011 (don't hate me) is to gain 10 pounds. I said don't hate me. I haven't done any consistent physical activity (who are we kidding... any at all) since high school. I've been losing "weight" (really just muscle mass) steadily since then. The pounds haven't really changed all that much, but the, shall we say, "girth" has. Apparently 8 years is too long to go without exercise. Who knew? So step one is going to be exercise more. (Please don't read back to January 2010 where I said I was going to exercise more. I did it once. It was a failed goal. Don't judge.) The rest of the steps I'm not a fan of. Apparently you are supposed to eat more 'hearty' vegetables than 'watery' vegetables. Water veggie number one... cucumbers. :-( How lame, I LOVE LOVE LOVE cucumbers. And I will probably break this rule several times a week for that reason. But no worries, I'm also a fan of (raw) spinach and that's on the hearty list. I'll put them together and be set. Apparently I need more red meat (I pretty much exclusively cook chicken.. another fail). And... get ready for this gem. I am to purchase Carnation instant breakfast powder milk and pretty much dump it on everything I eat. YUM-O! .......... Or not. One more slight issue - I should be drinking whole milk. First of all, I could go the rest of my life without drinking milk of any kind and be a happy camper. Second, I am fairly lactose intolerant. I can just barely handle skim milk, and only in small quantities. Whole milk is definitely off the table. I wonder if they make fatty soy milk? Somehow I really doubt it, but I will look into this. Again, for those out there who are trying to go in the opposite direction (i.e. lose weight) trust me when I say being on this end of it is not pleasant either. In high school my doctor tried to get me to drink some kind of raw egg smoothie for breakfast and let me tell you, those are yuck. But in all complete honesty, I'm trying to be healthier in 2011, and this is one of my goals.

Ok well that was a complete downer, and I apologize. No more complaining for the rest of the post. The good news is I looooove the way my bathroom cabinets turned out, it's a beautiful day today, there's a (very, very slight) chance of snow later this week, work has been very manageable, and I get to spend the evening with my husband watching Big Bang Theory. We also made it a goal to do a better job of Sabbath-ing. So yesterday we went to church, went to lunch, and then just hung out at home. We took naps and read some and just relaxed until small group. We're trying to let Saturday be the 'doing' day and Sunday be the 'resting' day. Our Sundays are going to be busy no matter what to some extent, but we're trying not to cram so much other stuff into the free hours we've got. And it worked out wonderfully.

That was all over the place. But you've come to expect that from me. Or maybe you forgot since it's been so long. But stay tuned for a picture-filled post of my newly painted cabinets and some other things my sweet husband is working on.

Happy Monday!