Sunday, December 30, 2007

Free Custom Blog Designs on Jan 1st!

Don't forget, on Tuesday, January 1st Megan and I will both be giving away free custom blog designs!


The giveaway will close on the 6th with the winners announced on the 7th.

We're leading up to The Big Bloggy Move on February 11th! If you are starting a new blog, moving to a new host, self-hosting, or redesigning your blog, then join The Big Bloggy Move! I'll put up a Mr Linky so that everyone who has a new or redesigned blog (as of December, so everyone who got one for Christmas can join) can sign up and debut their blogs. Megan and I will both be hosting prizes, and anyone else who is interested can host prizes also. It's a great way to spread the word about your new blog as well as find some new blogs and have a chance to win something.

Spread the word!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cambodia (part 16)

Our arrival in Cambodia was fairly shocking. It was 1997 (was that really 10 years ago?), so it was pre 9/11 and tight airport security.

Soldiers walking around the airport carrying large automatic weapons was a strange sight. I was told they were ak-47's. There were also soldiers posted on several streetcorners, and guarding a few compounds.

My fear was gone by this point, and the soldiers added to the feeling of adventure. We all crammed into a few tiny vans, and immediately thanked the person who had invented deodorant.

It was really hot, and we were really crammed. And a few people's deodorant had unfortunately failed them.

The streets were terrible, unpaved and potted so badly that we would bounce up and hit our heads on the top of the van. Plus, the drivers seemed a bit crazy. They relied more on their horns than on any laws we could figure out. And we all were shocked at the motorcycles and mopeds zipping around carrying entire families, loads of chickens, even baskets upon baskets of fresh bread.

And one of the American workers who lived in Cambodia zoomed by on the back of one that was used as a taxi.

And she was riding sidesaddle.

Holding onto nothing with her hands calmly folded in her lap.

Two years later, I would find myself in the same position, sitting two or three people on a moped, hoping the driver didn't hit a pothole and bounce me right off the back. But at that point we had so many people on the team that we traveled in vans and SUV's.

The first few days of our trip were set aside for sightseeing. We visited outdoor markets, where women squatted on tables and hacked the heads off chickens to give you fresh meat.

And they sold some sort of cockroach-looking bugs in large baskets as snacks.

About three or four days into the trip we took a tour of the Royal Palace. The wealth of it was staggering after the poverty outside the gates.

The rainy season was beginning, and being from California, I hadn't ever experienced the huge thunderstorms that could happen in Cambodia. Even inside the palace and the temples we could feel the thunder shaking the walls.

And then, one of the older men who was with the team turned to his wife and murmured in her ear, "I was in Vietnam. And that wasn't thunder." I looked around, but I was the only person who had heard them, and we all continued with the tour, until we were greeted by a strange sight.

A group of Japanese business men, all in their staid black suits were leaving the temple. But they didn't stop to put their shoes on.

They ran barefoot for the exit.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cambodia (part 15)

The summer after our junior year of college was busy for Isaac and I. He spent four weeks on a ship with the Navy, and shortly after he returned I was heading to Cambodia to teach English with a team of 30 college students and a few adults.

I had met everyone on the team at an orientation. Most of them were from Oklahoma, and I think there were only two of us who didn't know anyone else on the team. I was the youngest person on the team at 19.

I had some strange dreams before leaving. In one, I was hiding behind a broken wall of some sort with some children. War raged all around us, and I was trying to protect the kids and get them away from the fighting.

Despite the dream, I wasn't scared. I was so excited.

Until I got to the airport.

A bunch of people came out to the airport to see me off, but the trip that I had been excited about for months was suddenly terrifying to me.

If someone had pulled me aside and said, "You know, you don't have to go if you don't want to," I probably would have gotten in my car and gone home, despite the two thousand dollars I had raised to go.

Instead my BSU director pulled me aside and said that he thought that God was allowing me to feel the fear at that time for a reason. That later, I would be able to be calm and clear-headed when it was necessary.

It wasn't all that reassuring at the time, but he let me cry on his shoulder, which helped some.

But he turned out to be right.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007's a secret...


THe giveaways are now open! Click here and here to enter.

This is not the giveaway post!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas, Ya'll

A miraculous event

Today I come to you to bear witness to a miraculous event.

One unsurpassed by any other in the After a cup of coffee...or two household.

I was standing in my closet when a voice came as from on high.

And it was the voice of my husband.

And he spake unto me, and he said, "Hey, Babe? Would you want to go through my clothes and throw away anything you think I shouldn't keep?"

And I asked of him, "Even the clothes you've saved since high school and I've never seen you wear?"

And he answered unto me, "Yeah, even those."

And the angels rejoiced, and I raised my arms and shouted, "Yes! Yes!"

And I say, that our God is good, and if it can happen to me, then it can happen to you.

Can I get an amen?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

He's Home!!!!!!

Thanks everyone, for your encouragement. Be back in a few days!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


The power is flickering, people.

I just got out of the shower and I have wet, frizzy hair and no makeup on and the power is flickering.

If it goes completely out and I have to do my makeup in the dark and greet my husband with frizzy hair, I will just tell that plane to turn around.

They can come back tomorrow when I look fabulous.


It's 8pm and Isaac's flight has been delayed so I have several hours to kill.

I'm so nervous excited that I'm ready to throw up.

And I think time is moving backwards right now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Isaac (part 14)

With the ballroom dancing class, BSU activities, and just hanging out, something had to change between Isaac and I by the spring semester of my junior year.

It was time to fish or cut bait, as romantic as that sounds.

Believe it or not, we decided to stop spending so much time together.

Neither one of us ended up liking that option very much, though. We liked each other too much by that time.

Actually, we had gone way beyond liking, so we took the idea of dating very seriously. We knew that we were headed for marriage. Since Isaac was ROTC, I had to really consider whether I could marry someone who was in the Navy and had to deploy.

I decided he was worth it.

We also realized that the earliest we could get married was about two years. He was on a five-year program, thanks to a few changes of his major and an unfortunate semester of rebellion that resulted in a few failed classes.

So we laid out some ground rules to guard both our hearts and our bodies.

One of those rules was that we wouldn't tell each other that we loved each other.

And we didn't say it.

At least not until I almost died.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Big Bloggy Move

We here at the After a Cup of Coffee...or Two cafe are moving.

Truthfully, I'm tired of Blogger's new comment policy.

And I know Megan, over at SortaCrunchy is, too.

Anyone else tired of Blogger? Or just ready to move to a new host? Or just ready to redesign your blog? Ready to start a blog for the first time?

Then you'll want to check back here or at SortaCrunchy on Wednesday, December 19th for details on The Big Bloggy Move.

Get your move on, ya'll.

And spread the word.

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Isaac (part 13)

My junior year, I used to have friends from BSU over every Thursday night to watch Friends and ER.

Back when ER was still good.

But Isaac and I went to the Navy Ball with his roommate Dude, and Dude's girlfriend Joy. And we had fun.

And JT reacted to that.

He was still my next-door-neighbor and he caused me so many problems that my friends and I started going to Isaac's apartment every Thursday night. And Isaac and I found ourselves spending time together.

We went to the grocery store to buy ice cream and soda for all the people who came over on Thursdays.

He drove with me through LA to find a guitar shop that sold a certain kind of string.

And one day when Dude and Joy mentioned that they were taking a ballroom dance class the next semester, I said that it sounded like so much fun, and I wished that I could take it, too.

And everyone turned and looked at Isaac expectantly.

And I was completely embarassed in front of him for a second time.

But he still said he'd take it with me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A welcome home contest ***Updated***

AND THE WINNER IS...(if you are my husband, stop reading now!)

We have multiple winners!

First, lifeasamama for "All I want for Christmas is my daddy." This is the one that we're putting on base.

Then, I decided to award a second place giftcard (smaller amount)to Emily because I love her handprint idea! We're going to add handprints to our sign.

Finally, for third place, I loved seven's coffee-themed idea, and I'm going to use it on my blog for an announcement when he gets back.

If the three of you could email me your addresses, I'll get these cards out to you within a few days and you should have them before Christmas.

For an honorable mention, I also loved Jean 1's "Santa Baby, hurry down the tarmac to me" but Isaac is getting off a bus and "hurry off the bus to me" just didn't have the same ring!

Thanks for playing!
I need help! And I will reward you for helping me.

Not all of you. Just one of you.

One of you will receive a shiny new $25 Starbucks giftcard for helping me.

It'll help keep you warm as you Christmas shop.

Or you can be lazy and regift it and then there's one less person you have to shop for.

I'm all about helping you get through the Christmas season.

All you have to do is come up with a slogan for our welcome home banner for Isaac.

Because I think "Welcome Home Daddy" might get lost amongst the other 200 welcome home daddy signs.

And my creativity seems to be buried under all the laundry I need to do, or with all the weeds I need to pull, or maybe it's in one of the boxes I need to unpack all before Isaac comes home.


I will announce the winner on Dec. 12th, or if I can't decide, I will post a poll let you vote.

Good luck, ya'll! And thanks for your help.

Isaac (part 12)

When I first met Isaac, I thought he had no personality.

I did think he was cute, though.

Over the next two years I discovered that he did, indeed have a personality, although he was quite shy.

But get some caffeine and sugar into that boy, and he was pretty fun.

My junior year of college I was committed to learning about God and developing my relationship with Him. I was dealing with the fallout of ending my two-year relationship with JT and was determined not to get involved with another guy.

I was in a Bible study about missions, having become interested in possibly being a summer missionary. I was also on a ministry team, which were teams of students who led Bible studies and worked with other students.

And Isaac was in both with me. He had been to an Eastern European country the summer before. And being around him made me realize that he was pretty good guy. He cared less for appearances and more for the truth, which said a lot to me at the time. And his mom had recently moved into the state, and he was working on trying to build a relationship with her, since she had been an alcoholic most of his life, which also said a lot about his character.

And one night at dinner with a friend, I casually mentioned that I thought he was a pretty good guy.

The Navy Ball is in November every year, and Isaac was ROTC in college. He needed a date, and decided he'd ask a friend from BSU.

Out of the girls he knew there, he had been spending the most time with me since we were both in some of the same activities. Plus, I was also friends with one of his roommates and had spent some time at their apartment in my effort to stay far, far away from mine.

So he asked me.

And that night was the first night I was afraid that JT would actually physically hurt me.

But I said yes because, really, I didn't need an excuse to go shopping and buy a new dress and do my make-up and have some fun.

I still love that aspect of the Navy Ball, 10 years later.

But the gossip started flying around us.

Did he like me? Was that why he'd asked me? Did I like him? Was it a date? Was it just friends?

The friend to whom I'd mentioned that Isaac was pretty cool, mentioned to one other girl that she thought maybe I liked Isaac. And it got around.

And one night I got a call from Isaac. He wanted to clarify that we were just friends. There was nothing more on his part. And I said that while I did think he was a great guy, I had no interest in dating anyone, so that was fine by me.

And I tried to play it off like I wasn't completely, utterly embarassed.

*Thanks to Leah for asking me about my husband in my Q&A!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

If you give a girl a computer

If you get a wireless internet connection, your husband will want you to make it secure.

When you finally get around to it, it will probably be midnight.

You'll want some hot chocolate to give you strength.

With all your chocolate induced strength, you'll probably visit the Microsoft page.

If you read the Microsoft page at midnight you will get very confused.

You'll want some more hot chocolate to make you feel better.

After you've made more hot chocolate you'll visit many more web pages.

After visiting many more web pages, you'll remember that your new modem has a user's manual.

You'll read the user's manual.

You'll probably want some more hot chocolate to go with it.

The user's manual will direct you to the online settings.

You'll go online to change your settings and accidentally lock yourself out of your own network.

You'll try to change your settings only to realize that they're online, and you have locked yourself out of your network.

You'll probably curse and cry and get some more hot chocolate.

You might try to use someone else's unsecured network.

Then you'll use the reset button on the modem.

You'll probably lock yourself out of your network and have to reset the modem two or three more times.

And chances are, if you make your wireless network secure, you're going to need some hot chocolate so you can blog about it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The End (part 11)

The biggest factor that led to the final break-up with JT was other girls.

But not all those other girls that he broke up with me for, or compared me to.

No, it was the Christian girls that I finally got to know. My sophomore year I asserted some independence (finally!) and stopped going to church in Hollywood, and continued going with some of the girls I had become friends with over the summer.

Really getting to know other Christian girls was instrumental in changing me and helping me to see that there was more to being a Christian than believing that there was a God, or just wanting to go to heaven.

They actually had a relationship with God. They read their Bibles and prayed regularly, and looked for ways to apply what they read to their lives. And they included me in their lives, whether it was going out to dinner or taking a roadtrip to a Christian conference.

And there were some things that they believed the Bible said were wrong. Things that JT had told me weren't wrong.

But I learned. And I read. And I believed.

And in the summer after my sophomore year I was at a conference and I realized.

My relationship with JT was not godly. And I wanted to be a godly person.

And so, for the first time, I broke up with him.

But me breaking up with him wasn't quite the end of things.

I thought it was great that we could remain friends, especially since I had been stupid enough to allow my roommate and her boyfriend to talk me into living next door to him.

We still spent quite a bit of time together, and what I didn't realize was that he just expected us to get back together. He really thought that we were going to get married after we graduated, and just thought of all those other girls as little adventures along the way. He had never noticed that while he had talked about marriage over the years, I hadn't.

And when he finally realized that it wasn't happening, then things got ugly.

His moods swung wildly. There were rages where he would curse and yell and slam doors and I'd be afraid he would actually hurt me. There were times he'd become suicidally depressed and be on his knees sobbing in front of me.

He even asked me to go to couples therapy with him.

Even though we were no longer a couple.

I lost weight because I would avoid my apartment, skipping meals and staying away for as long as I could.

And the thing that made him realize that we were really over wasn't me breaking up with him or kicking him out of my apartment, or any of those inconsequential things.

It was Isaac.

*This is part 11 in a series. Wow, I never meant it to get that long! It was about how I became a Christian. Now it has morphed into how I met my husband. I guess this could be part two of how I met him. Read my first impression of him here.

The realization (part 10)

My freshman year wasn't just the year I started dating JT, got broken up with by him, and then got back together with him.

It was also the year I became a Christian.

I just didn't know it at the time.

You might remember that I mentioned about 837 posts ago that I was a very literal child and prayed every night because my mommy told me to?

Well, sometime during spring that year I had a realization-

You only ask Jesus to be your Savior one time. You don't need to ask him every night.

And I thought God would probably enjoy it if I prayed something different, that really related to my life, and if I actually talked to Him, and didn't just recite the same words I had prayed over and over for at least 15 years.

I didn't really tell anyone about my realization because I was kind of embarassed that I hadn't really understood prayer for all those years. Plus since JT always wanted to leave the Baptist Student Union (BSU) meetings right after they were done, I wasn't really close to any other Chrstians but him.

But he went home for the summer. And since I lived fairly close to USC, I got to spend some time with people in BSU other than JT. It turned out that they went to church near my parents' house, and I started going with them. I had been going to church with JT during the school year.

We went to church in Hollywood.

Have I mentioned that he may have been a bit concerned with appearances?

And that maybe the appearance of being a good Christian boy was more important than actually being a good Christian boy?

Friday, December 7, 2007


It's A Soup-Tacular!

This is one of my favorite soups to make in winter! The colors make it very pretty which doesn't matter so much to my husband, he just likes the way it tastes.

White Bean Soup with Carrots

2 C dried white beans
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 C vegetable stock
2 large carrots, sliced
1 T fresh sage (1/2 t dried)
1/8 t each salt and pepper

Boil beans 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow to soak for 1 hour or overnight. Drain and Rinse.

In 4qt pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and 2 T stock and sauté until onion is soft but not brown. Add carrots and sage and sauté 2 min more. Add beans and rest of stock and bring to a boil. Simmer partially covered 1 ½ hours or until beans are tender. For a thick soup, transfer 1 ½ C beans and veggies and ½ C liquid to food processor and puree until smooth. Return to soup and stir.

*You could also use chicken stock and add chicken if you want a soup with more protein!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The break-up(s) (part 9)

I don't remember what came first, the break-ups or the helpful comments on my appearance.

But I do know the first break-up was sometime during the spring semester of my freshman year.

It was my first broken heart, but I can't really remember why JT broke up with me. I remember there were lots of assurances that he really did love me.

And I don't remember why or when we got back together, but we did.

It was the start of a pattern. The outside world could never tell if we were broken up or together, and really, I don't think anyone knew how often he broke up with me. Off the top of my head I can remember four times over the course of my freshman and sophomore year. I know one time it was because he was going up north for an away game, and well, there was this other girl going to be there and he just needed to be free for nature to take its course.

Only nature didn't take its course, and we got back together at some point.

When we weren't broken up he liked to talk about getting married after we graduated. And he thought I was totally beautiful. Except, was I gaining the freshman 15? I wouldn't do that, would I? And there's this girl in one of his classes, she got all tanned over the weekend and was wearing a shirt that showed her stomach...maybe I was a little too pale, and I should start tanning? And this other girl in his class, she was really aggressive in the way she flirted with him, and maybe I should be more aggressive.

Yeah, can someone tell me why I didn't run screaming in the opposite direction? Because looking back, I don't know how I put up with it for so long, or why I let it make me insecure.

But I did.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The beginning of change (part 8)

By Christmas my freshman year, JT and I were an O-fficial couple.

I figured he hadn't really cheated on me at Thanksgiving, because we hadn't ever decided that we were an exclusive item or anything.

He bought me a Bible for my Christmas present. And I actually read it sometimes.

And we went to BSU (Baptist Student Union) meetings every week during Spring semester. He always wanted to leave right after, so I didn't get to know the other people there very well, but over time I did meet a lot of them.

I remember one night as we were headed out the door, someone stopped me and said, "Hey, Christy. Have you met Isaac?"

There was a guy leaning against the wall, his hat pulled low over his face.

He didn't really say anything. He kind of smiled a little at me.

I thought, "He's cute. Too bad he has no personality."

And then JT and I walked out the door together.

*Read parts one through seven here.