Blue. Mother Trucking. Apron.

A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane and visited my BFF in the beautiful state of Michigan.

An aside: I’ve been on a whole lot of planes this year, let’s call that the reason I’ve forgotten to write. Don’t worry friends. I’ve renewed the URL for a whole year. So you’re bound to get at least TWO  blog posts out of that. Probably. Maybe.

Anywho, we laughed. We dreamed. We hit up the local college football game (it is, after all, fall). I drooled over some Ethan Allen furniture. I stood in line for an hour to get into *thee* college karaoke spot.

Glitter tattoos and a new hunter green colored shirt? That's a sure fire way to get me to say yes to any adventure.

Glitter tattoos and a new hunter green colored shirt? That’s a sure fire way to get me to say yes to any adventure.

Second aside: No joke, this place sold BUCKETS of beer. Not like a bucket filled with a few bottles of beer. Not like a fishbowl. Like a giant bucket you would put a mop in. Thirty year old Betsy thought it looked like death. Twenty two year old Betsy would have organized a party. Also, they had a cranky door man (not like Sheriff Woody) who lost all grump and became a total charmer when he saw my Nebraska license. “NEBRASKA!” He exclaimed. “The friendliest people I’ve ever met live there.” Heart melt.

Here’s the really critical part of the story – in the 72 hour fog of running around town with one of my favorite people in the whole wide world – she received a package on her doorstop. Her Blue Apron delivery of the week.

Everyone – lean in , here’s where the story gets amazing – this box? It was magical. And out of it appeared fresh veggies, meat, and EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO CREATE THREE MEALS FOR THE WEEK.

What?

It’s like a non-domestic women’s dream.

I stand paralyzed in groceries stores. What aisle should I go down? Should I have brought recipes? Do I want to cook this week? Should I make enchiladas again? How do these other women look so confident and assured of what they want to make?!

Friends – no more.

Some genius (I have to believe woman) has put together a years worth of seasonal, fun, random, incredibly different recipes. And every week (or as often as you ask for) the exact portion for three meals comes to your door. With the step by step recipe guide. Like, the kind of guide that tells you the exact order of operations so that your meal all finishes at the exact same moment.

Look! It's everything you need. Seriously everything. And it's so pretty. And pre-portioned. You're just going to have to wash, chop and cook. And you'll look amazing while doing it. I just know it!

Look! It’s everything you need. Seriously everything. And it’s so pretty. And pre-portioned. You’re just going to have to wash, chop and cook. And you’ll look amazing while doing it. I just know it!

And so easily that I made a remoulade.

See that little dollop on top? Yeah. I made that. It didn't just come out of a can.

See that little dollop on top? Yeah. I made that. It didn’t just come out of a can.

Yes, I’ll say it again because I’m sure you’re dying and you don’t believe me right now. I. Made. A. Remoulade.

A remoulade as a side to my cajun catfish and dirty rice.

I’ve never cooked fish in my life.

And I not only attempted it, but I dominated it thanks to my new best friends at Blue Apron. 

The Boy was a bit skeptical of a random box of food that comes to your door delivered by FedEx and if it would be chilled appropriately. But this guy was not only super frozen wonder box packed. But it came with two ice packs. Which I absolutely saved for later when I need them. (No, I’ll probably not ever use them again… but if I need them… I totally have them.)

Like layers of adorable perfection. In a box. All perfectly chilled and ready for me to chop, cook and eat.

Like layers of adorable perfection. In a box. All perfectly chilled and ready for me to chop, cook and eat.

I wish that I was like – AND TADA I CAN SEND YOU YOUR FIRST WEEK FO’ FREE BECAUSE I AM AN AMAZINGLY SUCCESSFUL BLOGGER AND THEY ARE HELPING ME DO A GIVEAWAY.

Insert chuckle here.

I can’t do that. I can tell you that it’s $60 a week. For three meals. Each feeding 2 people.

Sure. You can probably buy those groceries cheaper. Sure. You can probably eat healthier.

But this girl? The one that would always prefer to eat out with friends? I stayed home. I made food. I ate that food. And I never had to go to the grocery store.*

And The Boy? Yeah. He even liked it.

I’ve scheduled my next delivery for a week I’m home 80% of the time and have a strong chance I’ll be able to consume all three meals and their leftover portion (they are sizable portions, no one has finished eating and been hungry yet). Because I can say “No Blue Apron, please don’t send me any meals this week, I’m busy (out of town, don’t feel like eating your seasonal turkey chickpea chili, whatever your excuse is).”

And it’s going to be worth every penny.

Probably more pennies.

Thank you world for creating a product where you’ve eliminated even my basic need to leave the home for the grocery store. I thought mail ordered yoga pants was genius (I have another pro rant for Fabletics if you ever want to hear it…), but this? On call steak in the mail? This is perfect. God bless America.

And the internet.

And food.

Amen.

*Pro tip: I did this the first weekend I moved into my house because I thought ‘wouldn’t it be magical if food just showed up on my doorstep and I didn’t have to venture out for yet another task.’ You do actually need to have oil olive and salt and pepper. That’s it. Every other spice, veggie, meat, garlic clove, butter chunk or mayonnaise bit is included.

The Fitbit

There’s only one thing that’s powerful enough to drag me out of my six month blogging hiatus.

Something small, magical, inspirational, strong, filled with light and with connections so strong it changed me to my core.

My new Fitbit.

Don’t know what a Fitbit is? Oh, well, I apologize you’re living in 2014. Quick – look at the website and familiarize yourself. Or better yet, keep reading and let me paint you a picture with my ridiculous words.

For Christmas last year I was gifted a Fitbit Zip. It’s just a little guy that you carry around in your pocket and count your steps. Standard pedometer style.Since it was received with a new ski helmet and goggles, naturally I wanted to take it out for its first spin on my trip out to Breckenridge. Plus, talk about going big or going home… I was going to DOMINATE my step goal. 10,000K you’re TOAST!

All morning I ski. And ski. And ski. I don’t want to say I was sweating bullets when I sat down for lunch – but I probably had one million steps. I sit. Check my Fitbit… and it tells me I’ve been active for like 4 minutes and had 1,000 steps.

Which looking at rationally sitting here on my bed typing this in the warm comfort of my temperature controlled room – I get. I mean, skiing is gliding. I understand now. That makes sense.

But at the time it was more like “ARE YOU MOTHER TRUCKING KIDDING ME YOU TERRIBLE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?! I HATE YOU AND ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS. I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE HOT PINK AND YOU MATCH MY SUPER COOL NEW SKI GOGGLES YOU ARE NO LONGER WELCOME HERE.”

And that was the end of my Fitbit for months. I thought nothing of it. Until I notice a girl at work swinging her arm like a crazy person and taking lots of walks. And I see the band on her wrist. It’s a Fitbit Flex. Which I’m fairly positive my brothers got for Christmas and had yet to remove from the box.

I won’t say that 50% of the reason I was interested in this option was solely because Tory Burch had decided to sell stylish accessories… that would be silly (Ahem… shop here).

I nicely asked my brothers if I could temporarily (forever obviously) borrow their Fitbit to see if it was something I was interested in and one (lucky for you blog readers) obliged. I get it out of it’s packaging, put on this rather ugly looking bracelet, sync it to my phone (thank you 2015 technology, you’re so snazzy), start swinging my arms 90% more when I walk and that was that.

Until one day, when as I’m browsing around the app, I realize I could invite people into a step off. That’s right – step off.

You simply invite your friends and see who can get the most steps from Monday to Friday.

Now, I pride myself on being fairly easy going. I’m a people pleaser at heart. If we’re playing something and you need to win, you have at it. All yours. I’m happy to lose. (With the slight exception if you’re my significant other… then I hate to fail in front of you and I hate to lose. Ahem. Sorry babe. Loooooooooooooove you.)

But this step competition? Changed. Me. To. My. Core.

All of a sudden, second place wasn’t good enough in this competition against co-workers and friends. I was walking to EVERYTHING.

No joke – I thought about exercise all day errr day.

People in the competition were simultaneously encouraging and taunting the other participants. Sitting wasn’t an option. I paced the hallway on phone calls. I found myself taking my allotted 15 minute walk breaks at work. I passed up lunch invites so that I could spend extra time in the day walking. I WENT TO THE GYM FOR FUN.

By the time Friday night rolled around, there were a few people fighting for the top spot. I was still in the running and victory was a mere 7,000 steps away.

Only problem? I was headed to North Platte for a romantic getaway with the love of my life that I hadn’t seen in three weeks.

Sure, most people would never look at that as a problem. They’d be delighted. But I was in a crazy step challenge daze. Should I have attempted to look my best for my guy? Probably. Should I have planned some fun outings? Absolutely. But all logic was out the door. The only thing I could focus on was how to squeeze in more steps.

I knew The Boy was an hour behind (time zone wise) and wouldn’t be able to leave work for an hour after me.

So I did the only natural thing in this situation, I ran home, changed into grubby workout clothes and started walking… waiting for him to call so that I could quickly walk home and hop in the car. Sweaty clothes and all. Because what better way is there to drive four hours.

And that resulted in three blissful extra miles.

Which really, only made everything worse. I was so close to winning. So close to victory I could taste it… and yet… I was stuck in the car for the next four hours and out of time.

Or was I? I arrive in NP, call The Boy to check on his progress, turns out he (unhappily) hit a hail storm that slowed him down and was going to be an extra hour.

One. Extra. Hour.

And then friends – I did something that I have never done before in my entire life. I checked into the hotel, threw my bags on the bed… and ran right down to the gym at the hotel to hop right back on the elliptical.

At a hotel. On a vacation.

And there I stayed until The Boy arrived.

Yes, it was nearly 11pm. Yes, he wasn’t all that thrilled that he showed up and I was a breathless sweaty mess. Yes, I am out of my mind. … but most importantly… YES I WON THE DAMN STEP CHALLENGE.

fitbit77,797 steps in five days.

I’m simultaneously proud and terrified of myself. I won because other people went to bed at a rational hour… or did something fun on a Friday night.

Nope. Not this girl. She just kept walking! Arms swinging, calves cramped, walking. Like the true lunatic she is.

So do yourself a favor and get yourself a Fitbit.

Then invite me into a challenge.

And just try to beat me. I dare you.

Home Sweet Home

Well friends, I have a bit of a big announcement.

I’m coming home.

Permanent style.

Home to family. Home to friends. Home to Speedway.

HOME.

The land of corn, beef and Runzas.

Gosh I’ve missed you.

And you know what’s crazy? Now I’m going to miss Colorado.

It’s the place that I learned how to pick myself up and dust myself off after falling (literally and figuratively), the place I learned that kitchen knives really were worth the investment, that you should never cover oil on the stove and that keeping an organized bathroom closet is so fulfilling.

I found out that outdoor adventures weren’t so bad (especially if you didn’t end up covered in mosquito bites), living frugally can still mean living fully, all things are possible with a good GPS and that you really can survive away from home in a town where you don’t know a soul.

I’ve found the kind of friends that enjoy cuticle care as much as I do, the type of friends that will drink red wine out of Oliva Pope inspired wine glasses WHILE watching Oliva Pope (love of trashy tv is a universal language!) and the type that just show up on your doorstep carrying cartons of Chinese food (or heck, even McDonald’s, don’t judge me).

Not to mention, I discovered some pretty great coworkers. The kind that say ‘Bless You’ after every sneeze, the ones that laugh with you at your daily frustrations and, my favorite, the ones that will steal away with you for a coffee when you need me a pick me up and refuse to drink the office sludge (I’m sorry Young Life, but seriously, sludge).

And these coworkers might even name the area you sit in after you when you leave.

Are you dying over how great that is? Because I am. Totally and completely.

Are you dying over how great that is? Because I am. Totally and completely.

Magical.

The land of skiing, climbing and crunchy granola crazy hippies.

Whom I’ve come to love.

And I will miss terribly.

Guess I’ll just have to come back and visit. A lot.

Especially for one super smart, super adventurous ginger. Don’t worry, I’ve developed quite a few frequent flyer miles in the last two years, I’m happy to have an excuse to use them. And if that supportive, loving, infuriating Boy isn’t just the best reason, I don’t know WHAT is! Heck, you may even see him appear in the great state of Nebraska a time or two…

So, hard to leave? Yes. But am I smiling and giddy running around the house punching my fists into the air knowing I’m headed back to the midwest? To a place where my life is full of dirt tracks, street rods and car shows?

Yes.

A thousand times yes.

The Good Life. Life is Right. Nebraska Nice.

I’m coming home to you. Get excited.

I know I am…

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Coconut Poke Cake

For my birthday this last year, I had a wonderful friend tell me that she was bringing me a cake.

Because it’s not a birthday party unless there is cake. She was so right. I adore her.

And the cake she brought? It was magical. Honestly, I’m not a giant cake person… but I am a giant everything in the world coconut person. And this little magical beauty is covered in coconut. It was perfect and incredible and sweet and marvelous and so heart warmingly coconuty that it filled my birthday with so much happiness and joy. Not to mention, it’s just a very pretty cake. Totally went with my princess themed party (seriously). And when Stevie brought the cake out there was singing and dancing in all of the lands. People rejoiced. I think I sang on a rooftop?

Okay okay, you get it, it was a great cake.

So when a friend of mine asked some of her friends to bring some desserts to her wedding – this cake came floating back into my mind. It was tasty enough to be acceptable at a wedding, but also pretty enough to belong on a shabby outdoorsy chic dessert table… and it felt like my big chance to test drive this cake! Don’t worry, I realize that test driving a cake at a wedding feels a little risky, but I knew if I failed I could just pick up a cake at Whole Foods and throw it on a platter and no one would be any wiser.

Not that I’ve ever done that before… Ahem.

So I asked my friend for the recipe and she shared her secret with me – it’s easy to make.

Stop it. A cake that tastes like happiness and is so incredibly attractive can not possibly be easy?

Wrong friends. It totally can. And I will now share with you how to succeed in making a cake that requires almost no ingredients and will stun your guests (granted, those guests have to like coconut).

Thanks to allrecipes for publishing this gem!

Coconut Poke Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut (not coconut milk!)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 ounce) package flaked coconut

  1. Prepare and bake white cake mix according to package directions. Remove cake from oven. While still hot, using a utility fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake. (I used a straw, because who knows what on earth a ‘utility fork’ is?!)
  2. Mix cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the still hot cake. Let cake cool completely then frost with the whipped topping and top with the flaked coconut. Keep cake refrigerated.

Now, I switched things up and I made a layered cake. So I let the cakes cool, put one on the cake plate, frosted the middle, poked the holes and then combined the liquids and used about half over the cake (since it didn’t have anything to sit in and soak).

It looks weird in this stage, but trust me, totally not weird and 110% delicious.

It looks weird in this stage, but trust me, totally not weird and 110% delicious.

Then I generously frosted it with whipped cream (which, by the by, is fantastically easy and I had a ton leftover) and patted coconut all around the outside. And you guys – it was beautiful.

Did I use this wedding as an excuse to buy a cake plate? Yes. I absolutely did. Totally worth it for the 'wow' effect. I mean, it was going to a wedding, I just HAD to have a cake plate to be classy...

Did I use this wedding as an excuse to buy a cake plate? Yes. I absolutely did. Totally worth it for the ‘wow’ effect. I mean, it was going to a wedding, I just HAD to have a cake plate to be classy…

I made it the night before and let it sit overnight (as it was a early wedding Saturday) and I was mildly worried that it would dry out… but luckily there’s so much liquid in this cake I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

It looked good.

And for the record, it wasn’t the only thing there that looked good.

The cake wasn't the only thing there winning that day. Check out me and my wedding date partner in crime.

The cake wasn’t the only thing there winning that day. Check out me and my wedding date partner in crime.

I have got to start wearing more polka dots.

And making more cakes.

I’m pretty sure if people made more of these cakes, there would be world peace.

Start baking and let’s test this out shall we?

And if you don’t yet own a cake plate, seriously go buy one. I promise it’ll make everything you do feel so much more fancy.

Happy cake baking friends.

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The Ice Bucket Challenge

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about this week:

ALS.

And if you’ve been on twitter, facebook, instagram (and/or probably MySpace?), it’s something that you’ve probably thought about too.

Maybe it was just a passing moment where you wondered what it was and why on earth people were dumping ice buckets on their heads for it. Maybe you got nominated and you poured ice water on yourself and you laughed about how crazy and cold it was. Maybe you clicked on and watched all of the ice bucket fails because those are hialarious (thanks Jenny). Maybe you’re just plain sick of it being in your newsfeed and you hope you never seen another person get doused with water again.

Or maybe, just maybe, you saw it, did some research on what ALS actually is and educated yourself.

If you’re in that later bucket – I high five you.

If you went an extra step and you donated $5 – I applaud you.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not one bit about the ice, the water, the celebrities posting their videos, or even about you and me. No, it’s about $31.5 million (and counting) reasons that a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad disease might be cured and about hope for the 5,600 people a year that are diagnosed.

And you know what else it’s about?

Feeling compelled to donate.

Giving a little bit of your time, talents, resources to something that matters.

(I know, it just got deep.)

But really, I hope that’s the take away from this.

I hope you feel called to donate to something that matters.

And maybe, ALS doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you’re not personally affected by it.

Okay, great, fine. I get that. I totally support you.

But you know what? Something else in your life matters.

Are you giving to that?

And maybe you don’t have a spare penny to your name, maybe you’re streched so thin that giving $5 is exactly $5 too many.

I get that.

But I also know you have 24 hours in your day.

Could you give some of that?

And if you’ve got no spare money and no spare time, you just let me know and I’ll start praying for you, because in that case, you need a prayer warrior my friend, and I’m happy to be there for you.

But to you with a little bit extra each month? Spend some time learning about what ALS actually is (hint: it’s terrible), or research something else that matters to you and how you can support them. Sponsor a kid. Help cure a disease. Volunteer in your community. Give to your church.

Give from yourself, cheerfully and readily.

Thank you to those of you who nominated me. Know that this incredible challenge has made me take a deeper dive into what else I want to spend my spare pennies on. Sure, I’ve made a one time donation to ALS, but I’ve also started a monthly donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s all about support, advocacy and research for a disease I passionately despise and I can really get on board with that. I should have been sharing my pennies with them for years. Shame on me for not.

So I suppose that also means I need to share my thanks with you facebook, for making people stop and notice. I applaud you for sucking us in and for making something viral for a cause.

Now to my lovely readers, I hope you feel challenged to give of yourself. And while you’re at it, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you encouraged others to do so too?

I’m super into that… whether or not that involves dumping a bucket of ice water onto your head.🙂

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That One Time I Decided to Take Up The Boy’s Hobby

Guys.

I haven’t told you this yet, because I wanted to make sure I didn’t die before I completed the season, or do something super awesome like break my arm (WHICH ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO SOMEONE ELSE PLAYING)…

…but I joined a Frisbee league this summer.

For fun.

And mainly to figure out what this game that The Boy loves so much is all about.

And let me tell you, it’s all about running.

That’s the general summary.

You run. And then you run some more. And then you run extra for fun. All while trying to make sure a disc doesn’t hit you in the face and while attempting to run either to or away from someone.

The fact that I didn’t break something, hurt someone else, or die, is very amazing. Praise Jesus.

I showed up to the first game barely understanding how to throw a Frisbee and having zero idea of what the rules of the game were. I hadn’t eaten because it’s right after work and how long could a simple game of throwing a Frisbee back and forth take?

Answer: Two hours. It can take two hours. And thinking it was simple was dumb.

I finished that game more tired, hungry and sore than I’ve been in years. In fact, my poor friend Ellie (the amazing, wonderful, kind soul who lovingly agreed to play with me so I wouldn’t be alone) described her hunger as wanting to eat an Elephant. And then a bag of potato chips. And that’s exactly what it felt like.

This was what we looked like after the first game. Unfortunately, we look less phased then I think we were trying to convey.

This was what we looked like after the first game. Unfortunately, we look less phased then I think we were trying to convey. You can exhaust us, but you can’t take our cheerful away.

As the season went on, I started to figure out the rules, the general idea of how to play and I got to know my amazing and incredible team. Honestly, they are probably the reason I kept going back. Well, that and I wanted to run more.

Bwahaha. That’s a lie. Obviously. Carrying on…

By the end of the season I was bidding for discs and looked just like this:

Okay, but for serious, people dive to catch the disc. It's called bidding. Yeah, I know that now.

Okay, but for serious, people dive to catch the disc. It’s called bidding. Yeah, I know that now.

Okay, okay, you’re right, I didn’t look like that. I’m committed to my team… but I’m also committed to not dying on the field. So I honestly looked more like this:

He he he.

He he he.

But I had fun. I loved cheering the team on, loved the excuse to be outdoors for a couple hours a week and loved getting to see The Boy do something he loved so much. And let’s be honest,  this is much less terrifying then watching him rock climb or attempting to ski next to him. #adventurousboyfriendprobs 

Plus, I got my first Frisbee.

Oh and that blob of yellow in the back? Yeah, that's my jersey. Because wearing tight bright yellow is all the rage these days guys.

Oh and that blob of yellow in the back? Yeah, that’s my jersey. Because wearing tight bright yellow is all the rage these days guys.

Which we used in the tournament this weekend.

Wait, did you say tournament?

Why yes, yes I did.

As if one Frisbee game a day isn’t enough, after the season ends, they pair all the teams together and then you fight til death play for hours for fun against a whole bunch of teams. We lost. We won. We lost again. In my head, we’d play a game, take a break, eat some lunch, maybe play another game.

But no, these people are hard core, I should have known better. We played three games of Frisbee in a row. No stopping. Luckily Sadly, I missed the first game, so I only played two in a row… and that was about the perfect amount of fun for this girl.

And in the process of hanging out and running around outside, I burnt my skin to a crisp. You should be so lucky to see the tan line I’ve got going on my calves. It’s hot. Literally, still hot to the touch. Poor calves.

Also in the process? I won the Spirit Award for my team for the season. Which means that I may not have known one thing about playing Frisbee, but darn it I was NICE to people. And encouraging. And loud.

This should surprise none of you. The loud part especially.

And you want to know the crazy thing? When Wednesday rolls around this week, I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss the people. The laughs. Watching the games. The outdoors.

Maybe I’ll try to talk The Boy into a date night throwing a Frisbee around in a park. Just to relive my glory days on the field.

Plus, if I’m going to play again next year, I’ve only got a year to fully learn the rest of what ‘zone defense’ actually is, why you stop movement on the field if there’s a foul, and what you’re actually supposed to be doing when you’re on offense.

Turns out, venturing out of your comfort zone sometimes is pretty darn awesome.

Try it. I dare you.

Poop, Blood and a Whole Lot of Awesome

It’s taken me awhile to process all of the things that happened this last month. Mainly due to the fact that it took me a whole week of sleep to be able to function as a normal human being again.

But here we are. I survived a month in the mountains.

I wanted to write a poignant post about how meaningful the month was, how amazing my housekeeping girls were and the sheer awesomeness of living in the mountains and spending a whole lot of quality time in the Word.

Because all of those things are true. It was an incredible month, filled with joy and laughter and tears and painful honesty and growing and learning and eating camp food and being exhausted all of the time.

But ‘poignant’ isn’t really my style. I’m more of a ‘let me share this hilarious story with you’ – and people – boy oh boy was it a month of hilarious stories.

So I present to you ‘Betsy’s List of the Top Three Most Hysterical Things That Happened to Her This Month.”

Thing One: The Bedroom

As you gathered from the previous post, I didn’t have much advance notice in knowing that I was moving into camp. On the flip side, it only makes sense that the camp didn’t have much advance notice either.

Long story short, an unmarried woman that’s a work crew boss, lives with the girls. They were short a bed. So I got a bed… in the middle of the room, full of 16 high school girls, right next to the bank of mirrors… and without a closet or drawer.

Good news I’ve watched my fair share of HGTV, so I was able to redecorate the room and come up with THIS!

It's basically ever girls dream... a tutu hung above the bed!!

It’s basically ever girls dream… a tutu hung above the bed!!

Yes, that is an ironing board that I’ve folded down and put crates on to store my clothes in. You say ‘white trash’… I say ‘dream come true.’ Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to.

In all honesty, I loved it. It was the couch, the gathering place, the hub of all things and the perfect place to hit the lights and climb into bed. In fact, it was so wonderful, while we were at it, we created a living room at the foot of my bed too:

Three chairs and a coffee table made out of a crate with a towel on top? I know, we're wildly fancy.

Three chairs and a coffee table made out of a crate with a towel on top? I know, we’re wildly fancy.

Who needs Pottery Barn? God bless camp. It’s the small details that make something so stinking wonderful!

Thing Two: “It’s Soiled”

Agreeing to being the housekeeping boss at a family camp in the mountains basically just means that you’ve said yes to cleaning up bloody nose mess, washing sheets with accidents from the previous night and maybe an occasional bout of handling the after math of an upset stomach. I get it. Altitude sickness. Makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense? Getting a radio call telling you that the carpet in the game room has been soiled. Let me set the scene: I’m out, cleaning one of the out building bathrooms, when I hear… “Betsy copy Betsy, there’s a situation in the game room.” Innocent Betsy thinking something needs to be vacuumed says “What kind of situation?” Slow pause. And then the dreaded response: “It’s soiled.”

Based on what I can tell from the trackings (yes trackings), is that some adorable heathen of a small child had an accident… which some how made it to the floor… which was then stepped in and tracked… all over the carpet.

God bless these girls.

God bless these girls.

I can’t make this up. A little carpet cleaner… mixed with an actual carpet cleaner (you don’t mess around in these situations) got the markings right up.

It was both amazing and utterly terrifying and made me laugh for at least two days.

Thing Three: The Feedback Form

I now applaud anyone, ever, in the whole wide world that spends their day housekeeping. To the tawashie bosses/kids of the past, I salute you. To the people cleaning my hotel room, I vow to be more awesome and less messy in the future.

And to my tawashies? God bless you. You girls were the greatest.

The greatest group of girls any work crew boss could ever ask for!

The greatest group of girls any work crew boss could ever ask for! I mean look at them, they are just ADORABLE!

They are tired, they are working hard and they are away from home and potentially out of their comfort zone.

Here’s a general outline of my day, every day,  to set the scene:

5:30 AM: Alarm goes off. Get out of bed. Stumble to the pot of coffee. And sit quietly with my new BFF Carlee, while preparing our souls for the day.

6:00 AM: Wake up girls. They hated this. We hated this. It took the entire next thirty minutes to accomplish getting 26 high school girls out of bed, into clothes and out the door.

6:30 AM: Devo.

7:00 AM: Breakfast.

7:30 AM: Housekeeping time.

8:00 AM: Cleaning Begins.

From there, you paused for lunch at some point and then you cleaned until all of the chores were done. First couple of weeks, it was 3pm. Second couple of weeks we got faster and it became 2… and then 1… After which you had free time until dinner, and then an activity after that.

10:30 PM: Wrangle all of the girls into the room.

11:00 PM: Lights out and yelling at the girls until they were quiet enough for people to fall asleep around them.

For those of you keen on math… if all of the girls were in the room and went to bed right at 11PM (in your dreams) and then your alarm rings at 5:30 AM… that’s 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night, followed by 17 1/2 hours of working on your feet.

The first couple of weeks I used the afternoon free time to catch up on work emails and personal emails and general life, because the idea of falling behind was a wee bit terrifying. However, the second couple of weeks I learned the error of my ways and began using some of that time as ‘nap time.’ Some days it was an hour, some days it was no time, and some days it was a glorious three hours.

So the end of the session rolls around, and the evaluations come out… because like a real job… the bosses review the kids, and the kids review the bosses! And as I’m reading through their evals, smiling about how they’ve matured in their faith I hit an answer that stopped me dead in my tracks:

Question: What could your bosses do to be better? (Or something close to that)

Answer: Maybe you should give the bosses more time off and naps. They seem to be happier after the naps.

I died. I laughed SO HARD. Way to go girl, you hit the nail right on the head. It’s really just an apt summary of my life: You give me more sleep, I’ll be happier.

And apparently enough nicer to really make an impression.

Trail West is an amazing place.  It was a wonderful, incredible, awe-inspiring and encouraging month. Watching families come together and grow in their faith and reconnect with one another was indescribable. It felt like you were watching tiny miracles happen each and every week. And to be there to serve quietly in the background? What a blessing.

If I was able to reply my life and was asked to do this assignment again, I’d say yes in a heart beat. The friendships, the laughs, the tears, the adventure, the witnessing and the growth… so worth it, so full of Jesus and so life giving.

What an opportunity. Thank you Jesus.

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Being a Yes Girl

If you know me, you know that I’m totally a YES! girl. Which leads to a full, adventurous, exciting and rather packed to the brim life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

But sometimes, saying YES! leads me straight into crazy, out of the ordinary and slightly extreme situations.

Which, is why today, I’m sitting in a hotel room in a city not too far where I live, getting ready for 30 days of adventure.

Friends – I’m moving into a Young Life Camp for a month.

SURPRISE!

Don’t worry, I’m equally as surprised as I said YES! to this Tuesday. And since then, the week has been packed with readying the house, finding pet sitters (bless you friends), buying supplies (you’re a God send Sarah) and giving co-workers and friends a heads up.

Okay Betsy, but really, what exactly are you doing for a month?

Great question.

I get to hang out with nine amazing (I haven’t yet met them, but I’m sure they are amazing) high school girls; cleaning bathrooms, making beds and doing laundry for the next month.

You hooked yet?

This. Is. My. View. For the entire next month. Be jealous.

This. Is. My. View. For the entire next month. Be jealous.

How about now?

I’m spending a month in the mountains, quietly (well, as quietly as I can muster) serving behind the scenes at a Young Life camp for families as the house keeping boss. It’ll be tough work (I’ll be doing my normal Young Life job for fun on the side!), filled with mess, sweat, exhaustion, crazy and probably some tears (myself… and the girls).

But it will also be incredible. There will be joy, laughter, bonding, costumes, cheese balls and spending some good quality time with Jesus.

I’m a strange mixture of excited and totally and completely terrified.

I would love for you to send thoughts and prayers my way for the next month. For patience, grace, extra energy, health, happiness and that the Lord would use this time in my life exactly as he needs and has planned.

And know, I will absolutely be coming back with stories of vomit, poop and utter weirdness that will make you roll on the ground in stitches.

This is why I’m a YES! girl. It’s all about the stories to share. Oh, and something about God having one heck of a sense of humor.

You’re welcome.

Until then, thank you friends for the thoughts and prayers.

And then next time you look go to the bathroom, just smile and laugh about how at that moment, I’m probably cleaning a strangers toilet…

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The Love Fern

This is the story of how one little tiny measly fern brought me to the brink of crazy.

Okay, let’s be honest, it pushed me over the brink.

And into the street.

New Love Fern. In the street. Lonely, sad, but keeping traffic company.

A fern. Some cars. A little snow (yes from last weekend). One great story.

Now I’m just getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. The day The Boy’s ex-girlfriend saw How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days is the day she bought The Boy a love fern. It was a cute gesture, that combined pop culture (I’ll high five her there) with sass and was a perfect way to symbolize their everlasting love.

Which, fortunately for me, didn’t last.

But the fern did.

And the day I learned this ex-love fern existed was the day I started plotting its demise. Because I’m a girl. And we’re crazy. Don’t lie, you’d do it too.

I bribed his roommate to quit watering it when The Boy would take a two week business trip out of town. I accidentally fed it red wine or diet coke when I had a little left over in my glass. This little ex-love fern was on its last leaf.

Which led me to the grand idea of surprising him with a replacement love fern.

If you just threw up in your mouth, I forgive you, that’s the cheesiest part of the story, I promise.

Helpful hint: when attempting to buy something new to replace something that’s held strong for years, the replacement has to be cooler than the original. Cheap plasticy-looking replacement love ferns will not do the trick. They will end up sitting on the table next to the cooler more real deal ferns. Which will really make the replacement look jankety and will inspire no one to get rid of anything.

Noted.

What will get rid of a love fern? Finding out that it has accidentally been over-watered and has been sitting in one large puddle on top of one very fancy dinning room table… all night long.

Yes, that’s how the plant ended up in the street. Yes, he chucked it out the back door, clearing 30 feet of back yard and where it landed in the gutter. Yes, there were choice words from The Boy’s mouth in the loudest reaction I’ve seen from him in the last year.

It was totally and completely amazing.

But it was totally and completely amazing with my love fern.

I mean, was I hurt that my love fern was the one accidentally over-watered that got chucked out the door? Sure. Was I unhappy that the ex-love fern was still sitting happily on the living room table? Sure. Was I sad that my plan had failed and I was ready to accept defeat because I’m a rational adult who knows how to control her overemotional girl responses?

Man I’d like to say yes.

But we all know better. There may have been threats to chuck the ex-love fern out the door myself. Which I think was really just a grown up way to clearly and evenly tempered tell him how much I loathed that other fern and I wanted it to die.

Okay, maybe I lied a little. I’m still a totally over reacting crazy woman. Whoops.

And when I found out early this week (thanks roommate!) that The Boy had dumped the ex-love fern into the trash was there was rejoicing in all of the lands? Yes.

Did people everywhere start singing “Ding dong the fern is dead?!”

If ‘people everywhere’ can mean just little-old-me? Then yes.

You’ll be happy to know that this story has a happy ending. I’ve promised to take him plant shopping, so he’ll be able to water an attractive long lasting plant he really likes that I’ve given him. And not some trashy ex-girlfriend perfectly nice stranger.

In summary, this is a story of how a plant drove me into being a total and complete lunatic in the name of love. But really, I think that Kate Hudson would applaud my efforts. In fact, I feel a tribute movie night coming on.

And know, if you’ve bought someone a love fern, do the next girl a favor and take that sucker with you.

Or leave it and know she’s miserable.

Tough decision really…

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Random Acts of (Awkward) Kindness

There’s a grocery store two blocks away from me that I passionately despise.

I know, strong words for something as trivial as a grocery store, but this place is little, run down, always has too many people in line and is the most expensive chain in town. It’s mind-boggling. And true. And I avoid this store at all costs. But on the occasion where you just need a couple of things, it’s hard to justify going out-of-the-way to the nicer stores, like Walmart Grocery… because THE WALMART GROCERY STORE IS NICER THAN THIS PLACE. Deep sigh.

Anywho, last night, I just needed to pick up a couple of things on the way to a friend’s house. I tried to psych myself up on the way home from work, while letting the dog out and on that short drive to the grocery store. I got a close spot to the door, I found everything I needed right away (because now I know where they hide things like cheese – hint – NOT in the dairy section) and I quickly made my way to the checkout.

And as I was approaching the check out line, there was another guy approaching. I did that quick review to see what he was carrying  and to size him up to see if I was going to be able to sneak in front of him all stealth like.

Don’t lie, you do it too.

Well, this guy was carrying nothing and was in military garb (Army Camo, which I thought was Air Force until I confirmed the pattern on google today. Worst. Citizen. Ever.). Granted, I hate this grocery store and I wanted to get out ASAP, but I’m no jerk, so I let him in front of me like a decent human being.

Everyone.This is what the Army Camo looks like. Apparently it's been this way since 2013. Take note, in case you ever get quizzed on it in the future. Or if you find yourself living in a military town. Or if you just want to feel like a decent human.

Everyone. This is what the Army Camo looks like. Apparently it’s been this way since 2013. Take note, in case you ever get quizzed on it in the future. Or if you find yourself living in a military town. Or if you just want to feel like a decent human.

And that’s when three small-ish children rush up with a Gatorade in one hand and candy bar in the other.

At first I was outraged. Which, is a total over-reaction, but I’m being honest here. Where did these three hooligans come from? Where was this man hiding them? HOW DARE THIS AMAZING SERVICE MAN SNEAKY SNEAK INTO LINE IN FRONT OF ME WITH HIS THREE CHILDREN AND SIX ITEMS!

And then these boys started giggling and laughing and teasing each other and their dad.

And my grinch heart melted.

And it totally reminded me of the times my dad would take my brothers and I to the grocery store and let us pick any flavor of Shasta we wanted. Which, may sound silly, but absolutely meant the world to me. And that memory? Almost made me cry in the grocery store line and made me feel totally compelled to buy this strangers groceries.

So, I became a bumbling awkward stranger trying to ask the cashier if I could please pay for his groceries to thank him for the smile, for reminding me of my family that I don’t often get to see and for his service to our country. The cashier was shocked. The man was shocked. I felt super awkward.

And then I handed my card over.

And it got declined.

Oh you read that right. That perfect awkward moment of random kindness? Yup. Got more awkward as I tried to joke about “Wouldn’t it be funny if I asked to pay for your groceries and I couldn’t? But seriously. I can. Please run it again. There’s money on this card…I mean, there should be, it’s a high credit limit and I never spend to my credit limit because I believe in paying off whatever you put on credit cards right away…”

(These are the times I fly out of my body and look at myself from above and think BETSY STOP TALKING. But I can’t. And you’re welcome. Because it makes watching it from afar waaaaaay more hilarious.)

The cashier runs the card again. I pay for his items. He shakes my hand, says thank you, I thank him again for everything he does for me and then he and those cute little hooligans were out of the store.

And I paid for my four items and the sacker looked into my eyes while handing me my bag and thanked me for doing something so nice. I smiled and then ran out of the store (still trying to get over the awkward word vomit and the whole ‘my card got fake declined’ thing) and I climbed into my car in my great parking spot.

And I smiled.

Because for $10:

  • I just made a strangers day a little better… and most definitely weirder.
  • I shocked someone who stands at a counter and sees the same boring groceries roll by her face all day long.
  • I touched someone who hands people bagged groceries thanklessly all day long.

And it felt good.

Don’t be afraid to be weird and do something nice today.

And if you have cash on you, it might be for the best.

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