Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I feel complete again.

He is home. I picked him up from the airport, we had lunch, and he is sitting at my house (really our house, come September 15th), resting, playing with the dog, and waiting for me to get there.

It was so great to see his sweet face at the airport. He is sick, his leg is so bruised, and his is really tired, but his trip was amazing. He will be posting on the blog today, so make sure that you keep up to date with that.

Boston had kidnapped him for a day or so, but I got him back, a bit dirty, and tired, but he is here, just the same. You are right, Tess, they are fiends.

Monday, July 30, 2007

stinkin stinker

Slim's flight was bumped. He won't be in until tomorrow morning at 11am. This totally stinks.

I am sad.

Read this today. It is pretty interesting.

Having a Pet makes you a healthier person?!?!? (again, thanks Dude.)

A pet is certainly a great friend. After a difficult day, pet owners quite literally feel the love.
In fact, for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They boost our immunity. They can even help you get dates.
Allergy Fighters
"The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided," says researcher James E. Gern, M.D., a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

However, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with "furred animals" — whether it's a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals — will have less risk of allergies and asthma, he tells WebMD.

In his recent study, Gern analyzed the blood of babies immediately after birth and one year later. He was looking for evidence of an allergic reaction, immunity changes, and for reactions to bacteria in the environment.

If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies — 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.

"Dogs are dirty animals, and this suggests that babies who have greater exposure to dirt and allergens have a stronger immune system," Gern says.

Date Magnets
Dogs are great for making love connections. Forget Internet matchmaking — a dog is a natural conversation starter.

This especially helps ease people out of social isolation or shyness, Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, tells WebMD.

"People ask about breed, they watch the dog's tricks," Kaslow says. "Sometimes the conversation stays at the 'dog level,' sometimes it becomes a real social interchange."

Dogs for the Aged
"Studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home," says Lynette Hart, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog," says Hart.

Walking a dog or just caring for a pet — for elderly people who are able — can provide exercise and companionship. One insurance company, Midland Life Insurance Company of Columbus, Ohio, asks clients over age 75 if they have a pet as part of their medical screening — which often helps tip the scales in their favor.

Good for Mind and Soul
Pet owners with AIDS are far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. "The benefit is especially pronounced when people are strongly attached to their pets," says researcher Judith Siegel, Ph.D.

In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.

People in stress mode get into a "state of disease," in which harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine can negatively affect the immune system, says Blair Justice, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health and author of Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods, and Thoughts Affect Your Health. Studies show a link between these chemicals and plaque buildup in arteries, the red flag for heart disease, says Justice.

Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine — nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties, he tells WebMD.
"People take drugs like heroin and cocaine to raise serotonin and dopamine, but the healthy way to do it is to pet your dog, or hug your spouse, watch sunsets, or get around something beautiful in nature," says Justice, who recently hiked the Colorado Rockies with his wife and two dogs.

Good for the Heart
Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease — lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels — than nonowners, researchers say.

I heard his voice.

Slim called from Doug's phone. They are in Boston. All I heard was I am in Boston, and then he cut out. I could no longer hear him. Sad, but happy!

An amazing weekend.

This past weekend was awesome. It started out with a fun shower, given to me by married girlfriends. We ate icecream sundaes with lots of sprinkles, and wet walnuts. Daaaalicious. There are pictures coming, but you will have to wait until I get them from my dear Heather Longshore.

I saw No Reservations with Kelsey, last night. You should definitely check it out. Very good! I give it 3.5 stars, plus it was rated PG, so you didn't have to worry about things getting too out of control.

Oh and in case you forgot, SLIM COMES HOME TONIGHT!


Friday, July 27, 2007

mmmm mmm good.

It is pretty much the greatest restauratnt that has come to Naples, since I have moved here. Slim and I have been talking for a while about starting a healthy, fast food joint, but someone beat us to it. Luckily it is right across the street from where I work, which means that I get to go at least once per week.

If you have yet to visit this fine establishment, be sure to check it out. It is mmm mmm good.

Some of my favorites:)

Kicken Thai Chicken with sweet potato mash and broccoli
Chipotle Chicken (in a wrap)
Chicken Ceasar wrap
MY FAVORITE are the Un-fries- Daaaalicious!

Carly's favorites:)

Portable Portabella
Enticin Bison with sweet potato mash and broccoli

Let us know if you want to meet for lunch. We are always down for some UFoodGrill.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wedding plans

They are coming along very smoothly. When Slim gets home, we will meet with the Embassy Suites for tasting, and I am really looking forward to that.

I have a dress fitting today, so that is always exciting. It is surely right around the corner. 50 days and counting.

I am super excited to see people who I haven't seen in a long time. There are some who will be traveling who I haven't seen in nearly 5 years. Crazy. I know some of my dear friends won't be able to make it, as they will have very large bellies, with babies itching to enter this world.

Slim and I emailed back and forth, a bunch of times today. He is doing so well. He loves Africa, and the people love the big white man, so that is encouraging. Make sure that you check his blog today, and leave him a nice comment.

Be blessed today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I miss his sweet face.

He has been gone for a week. It is not getting any easier. I want him to come back. I am selfish. I know it.

I also want him to bring some of those sweet African babies with him.

Check his blog.

Slim, I love you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

the same Jesus...

Acts 3:1-16 (paraphrased by me)

Peter and John were going to the Temple, one afternoon, for prayer. Outside the gate, there was a man who couldn't walk. He had been this way since birth. He was placed there, every morning, to beg for money. As Peter and John passed by, he begged them too. They didn't have money, but they saw his greatest need and that was Christ. He was healed in the name of our Savior. Peter took the man by his hand and helped him off the ground. For the first time, he was able to stand on his own, because his ankles were strengthened and healed. The man jumped to his feet and began to walk. He was so excited and was praising God as he joined Peter and John in the temple.

The people in the temple saw what he was doing and realized that this was the same man who they passed every day on the way to the temple. THEY WERE ASTONISHED!

(next comes my favorite part)

Peter used this opportunity as a teachable moment. (I can just see him being like, hello... don't you get it?) He confronted them, saying: "Why are you shocked? The God of the universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, did this to bring glory to Jesus. Yes, Jesus, the same Jesus, who you handed over and rejected before Pilate, even though Pilate wanted him released. The same holy and righteous one who you killed and in doing so released a guilty murderer. The same Jesus who is the author of life. Yes, the same Jesus, who God raised from the dead. Faith in this same Jesus healed this man, right before their eyes.

Keep your eyes open, to see what this same Jesus is doing in your life, today!

Some recipes for you to try...

In the summer, my family always enjoyed eating fresh fruits and veggies. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to visit the Farmer's Market on a Saturday morning. There were always great treats there. I don't remember a week going by when we didn't share one of the following at our house.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • olive oil
  • crazy salt
  • vinegar (my favorite is red wine, or balsamic)
  • italian seasoning

This is such an easy dish. Simply slice the veggies, and season them. Then add the oil and vinegar to your likeing. It is so fresh and goes so nicely with grilled food, or on it's own for a healthy lunch.

Veggie Frittata

  • sauteed veggies (I ususally use onion, summer squash, green zucchini, and peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons of parmesean cheese
  • 4 eggs (I use egg substitute- just follow the conversion chart on the carton)
  • non-stick spray- try the new olive oil spray- it is delicious!

Sautee the vegetables in a flat omlet pan with the non-stick spray. Sprinkle the veggies with one tablespoon of the cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk egg with the other cheese. Pour egg mixture over vegetables, and cook until the egg is no longer loose. Flip onto a plate and serve.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A weekend away

On Thursday afternoon, I headed to Orlando with a group of 17 middle school and high school students, along with 7 leaders. I wasn't thrilled about being away for a whole weekend, while I should be finishing wedding plans, but it proved to be an enjoyable time.

We set off on our journey and made a stop in Avon Park, FL, at Jared's parents house, for dinner. They grilled out, and it made for a good stop on our trip. Once we finally made it to the hotel, we checked into the hotel, and had our first session. The entire trip was based on a the verse in Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

The first night, Levi shared the vision for the weekend and gave an overview of what each of the sessions would be about.

On Friday morning, we went to Universal Studios. This was supposed to be a full day event, but due to the heat, we cut the day short, and were home by 2. We relaxed until dinner and then after dinner, Levi spoke about the idea of 'denying your self' and we had a foot washing time. It was really neat to see students go to other students who they might have had some conflict or issue with and offer to wash their feet. I was really proud of them. This was a great preparation for what was to come on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning, we left at 9 am to head to a non-profit organization called Give Kids the World. It was so great to see our students die the themselves to help children who were terminally ill. There are so many stories that I can tell, but there was one kid who truly affected a bunch of us. I will call him J. A bunch of us had contact with J, throughout the day. He was a 12 or 13 year old boy who was obsessed with riding the train with Jared, and Levi. He would push the horn button, pretty much the whole time that he was riding with them. J brought his sister to ride the carousel, which Alex and I were running, and he told me that he didn't want to ride, but he certainly wanted to push the start button. We chatted for a while. I found out that he had arrived at Give Kids the World on Thursday, with his family. They were from North Carolina, and he was having a blast. Drue walked into the carousel area, and J said "I remember you." Now Drue had never met J or seen him before, but he was great with J. J wanted Drue to walk with him to go to the arcade, and even though, I could tell that Drue didn't want to go at all, he died to himself. and went anyway. I was so proud of him. I could tell that this would be something that would be so much more life changing for Drue, then it was for J. I was right...

We all had an amazing time on Saturday during the day, and we were exhausted, but had a debriefing session that night. It was so awesome to hear the hearts of our students. I know that Todd was worried that the kids wouldn't 'get it', but after hearing what they had to say, it was clear that they did. It was awesome to have students understand the fact that yes, it was awesome that we could help children with terminal illnesses, but we all have friends who don't know Christ, and they too, have a death sentence. It was awesome to hear the kids understand that their friends were 'terminally ill' without Christ.


Students, I am so proud of you. Keep putting yourselves in the cabinet, and others up on the pedistal to shine the light on them. I love you guys!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What I am learning...

While Slim is away, we decided that we would study Acts together from a far. Today I was reading about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and one verse stuck out to me...

'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved' (Acts 2:21)

I was thinking about this verse and it got me thinking about EVERY man's need for a Savior. We all are sinners, there is no difference among anyone. We all need to call on His name to be saved. This remided me of a verse in Jeremiah chapter 6. It is just sort of stuck in the chapter referring to Israel's rebellion. The people of Israel were going against the way of the Lord, just like we do, every day. This was the Lord's response to them...

16 This is what the Lord says: "Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way and walk in it. Travel its paths, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, 'No, that's not the road we want!'

Who is joining me in walking the old, godly way? I have decided time and time again that my way gets me in to the branches and thickets. There is no promise of an easy path, but there is promise of someone to walk alongside, and rest for our souls!

I missed his call...

Slim called last night from Detroit to say that they had to run through the airport to make it to their Amsterdam flight. He was boarding the plane while he was leaving the message, and by the time I got it, the flight had already taken off. I was crushed, but very happy that they were on their way to Africa.

He should be arriving in Africa around noon my time. It will be around 7 their time. Sure is a lot of flying. I will keep you updated when I get some emails. I will be expecting one tonight.

Slim, if you are reading this, I love you and miss you. Dude was sad last night, and there was nothing to do, and no one to talk to, so I just went to bed when I got home from CRAVE. I am going to see if I can use Drue's phone to check my email while I am in Orlando this weekend, so, if you can send them, I will be waiting. You are my favorite. Be encouraged, and be blessed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Into Africa

So, as you know, Slim leaves for Africa tomorrow. My heart is proud and sad at the same time. I am so proud of Slim for going to follow what God is calling him to, but sad for me who has be here.

You can check up on him by reading his blog. Pray for me, if you think about it.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wedding bells are gonna chime... in 2 months:)

Yesterday, I had my first official wedding shower. Slim and I had an engagement party thrown for us, back in December, but this was my first girly shower. Brandi, my sister-in-law had a family shower in Orlando. We had it at the Goff's beautiful home, and it was just so nice and relaxed- a great time with family.

My mom was going to make a fruit salad, but I talked her into making these... Carly and I did this for Heather's shower, and it just makes things fun.

Here is Car's famous fruit dip recipe, that makes a great addition.

1 small 7 ounce container of Marshmellow Fluff
1 small Strawberry Cream Cheese (I used light) Mix together and serve. (all you have to do is stir it by hand- it really couldn't get any easier, and it looks so pretty)

Slim and I loved all the presents we got, but there are some that when I picked them out at Pier 1, I knew that they would be the favorites in the Gillian home... See below. I had registered for them thinking that they would be a perfect addition to the music room, but Slim had other plans. He told me that they have to stay out in our main room, so that everyone can enjoy them. Thanks Cathy, for our music men!

They're cool huh?

Oh, and here are some of Jimmy, with Roxy and Bruiser.Bruiser "The Pooper" McElheny

Jim and Roxy (Jimmy doesn't always look this way)

Friday, July 13, 2007

The other picture has arrived...

Happy Birthday, Julie Sterrett!

Today is my dear friend Julie's birthday. She is such a gentle spirit and has a tender heart for people. I am blessed to call her friend.

Last night, a group of 8 girls got together to celebrate the life of our dear Julie! We went down to 3rd St. S to Handsome Harry's. The food was delicious, and the conversation was truly enjoyable. Here is an older picture of Julie and me. Once I have a picture from that evening, I will upload that, too. Jules, I hope that you have an amazing day. I love you!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Congrats are in order...

Congratulations Levi and Julie on your engagement!

The future Mr. and Mrs. Levi Pancake! We love you guys, and are so happy for you both. Thanks for letting Slim and me share in the celebration. Be blessed in planning, and have fun!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I am an aunt again... officially!

So, my brother and sister-in-law are what we are now calling 'paper pregnant'. Yesterday, they officially received a referral for the two year old boy, who they will be adopting from Liberia. We are so excited! As Slim and I also have a heart for adoption, especially the adoption of a little black boy, we are thrilled that Greg and Brandi have followed what God is calling them to do.

Here is our sweet new nephew... You can track their adoption by clicking the link for Brandi's adoption, on the left hand side of my page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My magazine problem

If you know me well, you know that I truly have a problem with magazines. There was a time in my life, that within a week, three different magazines would show up in my mailbox. I have since decided that they might be a waste of my money... sad but true. Luckily, my dear friend Sarah Marie Moore Marquart sends me a subscription to Glamour, each year. One showed up today- making this such a great day!

In August's issue, it gives 20 ways to be healthier without even trying... I am only going to give you a few, so that you don't get bored.

1. Laugh out loud- apparently laughter makes your body pump out endorphins that boost energy and alleviate depression.

2. Get a massage- research shows that it improves circulation and releases serotonin. (I am all for this one)

3. Hang out with friends- woman crave relationships, we can unload our burdens, and people who have a strong network of friends are said to live 22 percent longer than people who don't. (Friends, I love you)

4. Have a pet- having one around helps you get out of your own head and focus your love and attention on something else.

5. Maintain a healthy weight- For women over 20, gaining 10-20 lbs. triples your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. (Notice this says a HEALTHY weight- don't go on a diet if you are already too skinny)

In case you're wondering, I love Dude! He keeps me healthy! This isn't the best pic of me, but it is a great one of the Dudetronicsita!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I am getting so domestic

Jan, a sweet woman who works for me, and her male friend Pat, are in Connecticut for the summer, and thus won't be able to attend the wedding. The week before they left, Jan showed up to work with presents for Slim and me. They got us gorgeous Pinot Noir glasses, that may be my prized posession at this point, and a roasting pan, that I had wanted.

Carly, who you can get to know by reading www.makingartagain.blogspot.com , and I were at work this week, and I decided that I was going to make a turkey, so that I could use the new roaster.

I did it, well Slim helped, too. We made turkey, green beans, red potatoes with rosemary, gravy, and had cranberry sauce, just because I felt like we needed to. The cranberry sauce looked like this. I am pretty sure that it has to, other wise it tastes different...

The turkey was awesome! Every bite was savored, but more enjoyable than the taste of this here turkey, was the company of our dear friends the Jones... Find their picture below as well... they are the cutest of the birds, not on the red plate.

Carly may kill me for this pic, but strangely, they do look a bit birdish, and since we are now into calling people birds, I thought that I had best go with it. We love you guys, and next time the girls will win Hand and Foot.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I wish I was more interesting

So, I read other people's blogs everyday, and it sure does make me feel like I live a dull life:).

It is almost two months from the wedding and Slim and I are starting to make final arragements. I am so excited to sit down and test food at the hotel, and to put together our wedding playlists, for the reception.

We are up for whatever suggestions that you might want to throw in, to help in our planning.

Slim leaves for Africa in two weeks. I am pretty much jealous that I don't get to go with him, but am also sad, because we have never gone a day without talking since we have been together. I don't know what the internet will be like there, or if he will even have any acess, but I sure am hoping. He will be gone from July 19th-29th. You can keep him in your prayers. I am sort of hoping that he comes back and says that he wants to be in full time ministry there. Don't tell Janice:)

Here is a map of Africa. He will be in Nairobi, Kenya.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Freedom and Liberty

Happy 4th of July.

I am thankful to live in the US, where people have fought for my freedom, but I am even more grateful for the freedom that I have in Christ. God has given us liberty from death and eternity in Hell, but also freedom to live, here on Earth.

Thank Him today for that freedom!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sad heart

Brayden and his "ugly" face, Uncle Slim, and Gracie Girl

Precious Gracie Lea Ann

Bray and Laura
Sweet eyes

I miss them, Greg and Brandi took the kids home today, and I have a heavy heart! They need to move closer.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

dragons, castles, and bare feet!

On the way to dinner at Sushi Thai, we stopped at Coconut Point so we could spend some time shopping. Brayden and Gracie really enjoyed the playground there.

Brayden told me that dinosaurs were bad... too bad this was a dragon!
Brayden peeking throught the castle window! He was cracking me up, whenever I took a picture, he would look at it and say, "Oh, that's cute."
Sweet Grace, in the tunnel!

Both of the sweets