Tuesday, August 17, 2010

G'night Y'all!

This is my last post as a person who does not officially live in the state of New York. Tomorrow we make a painfully long drive to a new adventure. The Lord has blessed Travis and me so much by landing us in the perfect state to promote Travis's career. I know He will use us in great ways for His will. I am excited to see what He has in store for us in the Big Apple! Watch out, New York, we Engebretsen's will be making our entrance tomorrow (and with both of us having deep roots in theatre, I can say... we KNOW how to make an entrance)! Goodnight and goodbye, Tennessee. We will greatly miss your conservative, Bible-believing people and atmosphere. Might as well say it in honor of Tennessee- g'night y'all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

IN the World, Not OF it

What do you think about commercials these days? If I had to use one word to describe the majority of them, I would use immoral.

Now, the first thing I think of when I think of the word "immoral" is sexual immorality. A LOT of commercials, as you well know, involve sexual immorality. From commercials 100% based on sexuality (for condoms, lubricant, hookup numbers to call to have a more "interesting" night by talking to "hot singles", lingerie ads, enhancement medications, etc.) to commercials with implied sexual themes (for male deodorant/body washes, alcohol, food, clothing, razors, and shaving cream), sexuality infests and poisons even our simplest commercials.

How is this speaking to our youth? It is saying that to attract men, girls need to dress in sexually explicit ways and act in sexual ways. It says, "Sexual=beautiful". It also says to boys that it is okay to treat women like slabs of meat and use them for your visual lusts. It also disillusions young men into thinking that the kind of woman for which they are seeking is and should be the overly revealing, trashy girls portrayed in commercials. It also makes young men think that they can find an abundance of women who actually look like the ones portrayed in Photoshopped commercials. The commercials don't give any regard to personal values held by women, they only pay attention to their looks. Young boys and girls then both believe that looks are all that matter. This isn't just found with women, however. I highlight women because they are usually the ones made into candy shops for the eyes. Men are also exploited sexually in commercials. Commercials many times depict buff, chiseled men for shaving commercials, body wash commercials, and, really, any other commercials that involve men that are successful in some way or another.

Other than sexuality, though, there are may other immoral elements to our commercials in this day and age. Here's one example.

Recently, there has been a commercial for a clothing detergent where a middle-aged woman is approached by her daughter who asks her if she has seen her (the daughter's) shirt. The mom suddenly has a flashback where she is seen wearing her daughter's shirt out partying at a club with her girlfriends and eating something that she spills on the shirt by accident. The mom then replies to her daughter, "It really isn't my style." The mom is then seen tearing through her personal hamper where she eventually finds the shirt, washes it (with the wonderful detergent- that, of course, is better than aaaaany of the other detergents), and is finally seen sitting at the kitchen table. Her daughter walks by with the shirt on, and the mom says, "Oh, you found it." The daughter replies, "Yeah, it must have just been hiding in my closet." wow. That was a completely moral commercial. You know, it is bad enough when the daughter is stealing her mother's clothes to go out and party with friends, but it is horrible when the mother steals her daughter's clothes to go out, sets a terrible example, and then lies about the whole situation! grand.

While I am on the topic of lying, let's discuss those pockets that come in hot and lean forms. The wife always asks her husband, "Hey, have you seen my Lean Pockets?" The husband (in a different part of the house) is seen biting into the missing Lean Pocket where he asks himself, "This is a Lean Pocket?" He then ends the commercial by sheepishly replying, "No dear, I haven't seen your Lean Pocket anywhere..." (The wife usually catches him shortly afterward.) Once again, a lie.

Now, I don't want to seem overly legalistic; I know that these commercials are simply meant to be humorous- no harm intended whatsoever. However, as a Christian, I felt it necessary to ask that although these commercials use lying as a humorous element, what kind of message is being sent to our youth? The message is that lying is okay in certain cases (well, nowadays, it is more like "lying is okay in MOST situations"). I don't know about you, but I don't believe that lying is okay in certain cases... I believe lying is inappropriate in all situations- yes, even white lying. What is the point of white lying? Lying cannot help; it can only hurt. You may disagree, but let me lay down a situation for you to think over. If your friend asks you, "Do these jeans look good on me?" and you know in your heart that they make her look like a sumo wrestling hippo, why tell her that they do look good? All you are going to do is allow her to go out looking horrendous. Sure, being honest may hurt her at first, but the white lie will encourage her to spend money on the horrific jeans of doom and wear them out in public! Which is worse? Plus, if you are a Bible believing Christian like I am, you will know that in the Bible, the Lord does not say that lying is bad... except for white lies which "won't hurt anyone". He simply says that LYING is a sin. period.

These are the two main elements that I am going to expound upon, but they are by NO means the only immoral, sinful elements to commercials. Another one that is notable is vanity- lotions, creams, clothing, hair care, makeup, exercise programs and equipment, etc., etc., etc.! Vanity is prevalent in an undeniably immense amount of commercials. One of the worst thing about vanity is that it is something that even seeps into commercials specifically targeting our very young children. I cannot even tell you how many kid commercials I have seen where many beautiful and skinny, racially diverse boys and girls are shown dancing around, hanging with friends, or playing games or sports while other children stare at them, oohing and ahhing at their incredible fashion senses. The other children look at them with jealousy and amazement; it is so clear that they want to be like the beautiful, interestingly dressed children. Those kids are the popular ones, after all. Other commercials show little girls doing glittery, colorful things to their hair, face, or nails in order to look like beautiful movie stars. They aren't beautiful until they do something. Another element included in commercials is disrespect toward peers or parents with no real repercussion. Many commercials include payback as a laugh-inducing theme.

These are just a few of the immoral elements one can plainly see in commercials currently being shown. Furthermore, I will add that these elements can also be found in most if not all other advertising mediums. Well, I am done with my rant; I know many people may disagree or think I am being too strict. However, I won't back down from my convictions; as a Christian, I cannot back down. The Bible is too clear. The sad part about all of this is that MY children have to be raised in a more corrupt world than the one in which I was raised (which was already pretty corrupt in all honesty!). There are so few places in which children can be safe spiritually and morally. The beautiful part of this is that our children will be raised in a Christian household that encourages Godly values despite immorality that can be found anywhere and everywhere. We cannot censor our future children's lives; we cannot hide our children under a rock. How tempting it is to overprotect... The good news is that we are in the world, not of it. God is always in control... no matter what is being shown on T.V. God is the one inside of each of us that helps us decide to turn the T.V. off, flip to another channel, or simply force ourselves to not absorb what has been seen or heard. That is the hope I can hold on to when I think of what my future children will be exposed to during their young lives. I am not in control. The only thing I can do is share the gospel with my kids someday so that they will have the Holy Spirit to guide them in purity and morality. Either way, it makes one worry... ya know?

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19 (KJV)

Agree or disagree? I would like to know your opinion and support for your opinion. Just want to say hi? Well, you can do that, too. Haha! Pip pip cheerio!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Scary. The Interesting. The Gross.

The Scary.

While in Navy Pier in Chicago, Dad, Mom, Travis, and I walked past a churro stand where I saw a black man (yes... not African American- I find that term more offensive because I don't know where he was originally born... I cannot assume Africa) tense up, grunt loudly, and fall to the pavement. He then proceeded to convulse while his family/friends surrounded him. Travis said that he saw blood coming out of his ear... but we don't know if that could have come from his mouth or head and just poured in a way that made it look like it was from his ear. I know, this is a gorier post than, well, all of my other posts... actually... it isn't only gorier... it is the ONLY gory post I've written! But I felt... I realize I began that with a conjunction, and I really don't give a flying Fig Newton... but I felt that it was scary and unforgettable enough to share. Well, to ease your mind, I will finish the story. Immediately I pulled out my cellphone and dialed 911 (as did others around). It felt like forever until someone showed up, and in my opinion, they took WAY too long- he could have died if the issue had been more severe. By the time the paramedics showed up, he was sitting up. They wheeled him away on a sort of sitting stretcher (basically he wasn't lying down) as I yelled, "We'll pray for you!" What was weird was that the family didn't go with him; they were still at the churro stand. My parents questioned this fact, and I simply replied, "They are getting their churros." I know... I am a horrible person.

The Interesting.

Today we (Mom, Dad, Travis, and I) went blueberry picking- hooray! As we were pluckety pluck plucking delicious berries of blueness, I discovered something very... interesting (imagine that)! A bigbutt, hugetastically immense hornet's nest! It was crazy! It was nearly the size of a head- no joke! Next to it was a can of wasp killer, so clearly the nest had been sprayed and, hopefully, killed. We called the parents over to see it because it was incredible. That is when Mom and I moved on to more blueberry picking. We then heard, "There are larvae inside this thing!" Yes, my father did what any mature, intelligent adult would do... he ripped the nest open. Mom and I had to see, so we trotted over to the nest to find Travis and Dad hovering over an open nest with LIVING, moving, disgustingly plump and juicy larvae wriggling around inside. Yum. Dad then picked up the can and sprayed the inside of the nest, including the larva- don't worry, they were probably on their way to hornet heaven anyway considering the nest was already sprayed. Anyway, it was a very interesting event.

The Gross.

Speaking of larvae... our blueberries ended up being their personal condos. Oh yes, as mom and I were separating the "mushy" blueberries from the firm, better berries, when I mushed the guts out of one of the duds revealing Larry the Larva: a joyous little larva enjoying the mushy inside of the blueberry, content as could be. Bye Larry. I then proceeded to mush some of the other duds revealing Larry's buddies (I think Linda was his wife or something because she was sobbing rather profusely over his demise). We discovered that the larvae nested in the mushy, older blueberries, so we were careful to throw those berries (or berries even semi-close to being mushy) out. I still don't know if I am going to be comfortable eating ANY of the blueberries (no matter how firm!). However, we froze the "good" blueberries, which will kill anything that might potentially be... living in our blueberries. But the main conclusion we all came to was that even if we did happen to consume one of those... erm... luscious... larvae, we probably consumed a ton of those little buggers last year when we picked blueberries (especially since we didn't go through them picking out mushy ones). A frightening, but true thought. Therefore, it shouldn't be a big deal, right? Wellllll now... ya see... this is one of those situations where it is better to be in "ignorant bliss" because now I don't know if I will ever... E V E R... consume another blueberry. Now that I have seen the... *gulp*... wriggling...!!!! N.a.a.a.a.s.t.y. times 20! Well, to make a long story short, we tossed out most of the second batch because it was taking up our entire lives to examine each, tiny blueberry. We finally gave up and tossed 'em.

So now you understand why I named each of these mini-stories the way I named them. I hope you enjoyed reading them (except for the first one... if you enjoyed reading that, then no offense, but you are kind of morbid). If you have any similar stories to share, please do so! If you have a comment to share, you know I would love to read it/respond to it. If you want to give quick feedback, simply press "Like" or "Dislike". It's that simple! Feedback or no feedback, I hope you enjoyed the post! :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010



I finished my resume.

I applied for some jobs.

I succeeded at my diet today.

thank you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

And the Number One Reason to Visit Illinois is... (drumroll please)

If you wouldn't love Illinois for any other reason, I can guarantee you would absolutely fall head over heels for its food. That's right. Its FOOD! I was going to go through our vacation meal-by-meal, but I think the better choice would be highlighting the notable restaurants and meals (notice that there are 13 items to note... count them... 13... in 6 days- and that is just the NOTABLE ones!!!):

I. Mexican restaurant: (Numero uno) With Grandma QQ (Indiana)

II. Giordano's

III. Giordano's: AGAIN that night at the rehearsal dinner- ughhhh... so... much... deep dish pizza...

IV. Omega: For breakfast

V. Mexican food: At the wedding

VI. Panera Bread: I know it isn't local to Illinois, but I just love it too much to leave it out

VII. Harry Caray's Tavern: Hamburger restaurant at Navy Pier

VIII. Haagen-Dazs: (Navy Pier) Can we say, "yesssss"?

IX. Mexican Restaurant: (Numero dos)

X. Portillo's: Where I found the beloved chili cheese dog that did me in

XI. Baker's Square: Breakfast the day we left

XII. Five Guys: This ended our trip with a bang... probably in more ways than one (this was not in Illinois, but it was still worthy of the list)

XIII. Starbucks: Obviously this isn't a local Illinois place... but of course, if you know me at all, you will know it is one of my most favorite places EVER! That is why I am finishing this list with a bang! :)

mmm, mmm, MMM! Deeee-licious! If you visit Illinois sometime, make sure you don't miss these delicious restaurants that are sure to tantalize your taste buds like they did mine! If you have been to any of these places, feel free to share your experiences. If you have another recommendation or two, please share them with me. I would love to know where to go to eat during my next visit to Illinois (hopefully that will be sooner than later- although my jeans are begging for NEVER. AGAIN.!!!!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quick Snapshot: Illinois

So, unlike New York, I am going to make the "virtual trip" to Illinois brief. There is a LOT to cover, so you should be thankful! I will LIST (bet you saw that coming) the main events:

1. Saw Grandma Quack Quack

We had a fantabulous time with her, ate at a delicious Mexican restaurant, updated her on all of our life's events, and listened to her update us on her life's events!

2. Rehearsal/Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal was great and fun to a
ttend (talk about deja vu- 7 months ago WE went through that); the rehearsal dinner was delicious- Chicago deep dish pizza, salad, m&m's, Hershey's Kisses, and Reese's Pieces, etc. Top all of that food off with fun-filled conversation, reconnecting with old friends, and the night was perfect!

3. Visited Old Places in Naperville/ Took Care of My Macbook

Downtown Naperville was beautiful and bustling with people! It was an adorable little area of town with cute, local shops, but it was full of modern shops as well- Apple, Starbucks, etc. They even had a Benefit Cosmetics free standing store! I was psyched! The inside was adorable. Recently we ran a hard drive scan and found out that my hard drive was in the process of failing, so since downtown had an Apple store, we decided to take mine in on an emergency basis to be fixed while visiting Illinois. Thanks to running into an old friend who happened to be an administrator at the Apple store (score!!!), my laptop did, indeed get its surgical procedure accomplished by the following day!

4. River Walk

During our visit to downtown Naperville, we walked leisurely along the river walk, watching the no-so-intelligent ducks swim against the current… thim thar' is smurt duckies.

5. Wedding

The wedding was gorgeous as was the bride. Alyssa and Andrew (bride and groom… you can figure out which was which) were both glowing with love and excitement. The reception was also lovely; Travis and I danced to a few songs and had an overall good time!

6. Visited Downtown Chicago

This was fabulicious! We took an upper deck bus tour where we learned an incredible amount of information from our personal Wikipedia tour guide. He was extremely knowledgeable about the city of Chicago- it was truly amazing. I am surprised his brain has not exploded yet. That… would be a messy bus tour.

7. Visited with/Had Dinner with the Marquez and Baker Families

After touring Chicago, we hung out with Karen, Dean, Karen's friend Ann, Dean and Karen's son- Jake, and his girlfriend- Frankie. We received a tour of their lovely home and then headed out to dinner once Aubrie and Matt Baker (Dean and Karen's daughter and son-in-law) came to the house. The dinner was Mexicantastical! I had tamales and Trav had a quesadilla- yummy yum yum! After royally stuffing ourselves with the most gas-producing food known to the human race, we headed back to the hotel to pass out… oh… not from the gas… just 'cause we were tired.

8. Saw the Bakers' Home

The next day, we woke up later than normal, went to Starbucks, and then headed for Geneva which was a bust to say the least. The place was more dead than a morgue run by Casper and his pals. However, we did find an adorable little baby shop where we saw some cute cribs… needless to say, before long, I had to escape!!! We then had a yummy lunch at Portillo's where I got a chili cheese dog like my dad had suggested… which started barkin' later if ya know what I mean… but oh well, live and learn. I'm pretty sure the lining of my stomach is nonexistent now. After eating, we headed to Aubrie and Matt's place (if you forgot who they are, see above). It was a beautiful townhouse that was wonderfully decorated! Aubrie clearly has her mom's sense of decorating style. Simply beautiful!

9. Had Dinner with/Visited with the Petersons

After that lovely visit, we went to meet with some old friends, the Petersons. The friend that was an administrator at the Apple store was Nicole, the eldest daughter of the Peterson family. She couldn't make it to dinner that night (she is married and working after all!), but we did get to see the parents, Eric, and Robyn- the girl who was my friend when I was a fetus. Robyn and I discovered that we were clones- both obsessed with the Beatles, both obsessed with Starbucks, both obsessed with sweets and chocolate, and the list goes on… I began to wish that we had lived in Illinois when I was older!!! That way we could have been friends when we actually could remember being friends! Oh well, I guess that would have been bad considering I met the love of my life in Florida!!! Anywho, we had an amazing dinner and visit with them (notice every event seems to center around food… just thought I'd point that out), but then it was time to head back to the hotel because Sharon Peterson (the mom) started feeling ill. :( We bid them farewell and then took our leave.

10. Bye Bye, Illinois!

Finally, yesterday, it was time to head 'em up and move 'em out! We met Aubrie and Karen for some breakfast at Baker's Square restaurant (once again, food.), and then we said farewell to Illinois in all its splendor. We had a long drive ahead full of Enchanted, Everybody Loves Raymond, Phase 10, and sleeping! We got home last night and crashed out… traveling was exhausting, but sure was fun!

There was a quick rundown of our trip to Illinois. Hope you enjoyed it! Perhaps you will visit soon and get to experience the wonderful city of Chicago and the overall great state of Illinois. If not… sorry for rubbing this amazing trip in your face. Later!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shimmying on Up to Chicago

-This is a post that I wrote on Thursday as we were on the road; I just failed at posting it until now. Go me.-

Thursday, July 29, 2010: And we’re off to Chicago today! Well, technically, today we are headed to Indiana where we will meet up with my beloved Grandma QQ. QQ stands for “Quack Quack”. No, she isn’t
“quacky”, she just has always loved ducks! Therefore, my sister and I used to call her that when we were younger. The name stuck… as any name as cool as that would. But I digress… the point is we are headed to see Grandma QQ. We will see her for awhile tonight, and then we will spend the night at a hotel. That will be wonderfully restful sleep considering Travis and I got to bed past 1:00 am and then had to wake up at 5:00 am this morning! We did, however, get some rest in the car. We also watched two movies: Ice Age (an oldie but a goodie) and Spirited Away (yes, Japanese Anime- don’t judge us; it isn’t like we watch Japanese anime on a regular basis). I also did some crocheting, and Travis did some reading. Trips such as the one today are always so easy because we don’t have to drive! It isn’t that we wouldn’t; it is just that Dad never asks us to drive.

In other news, I was relatively decent on my diet today- finally. It is so difficult to stick to a diet when you are traveling and when you are not “home”. Don’t get me wrong, home is where the heart is, and I love being with my parents, but it is easier to stick to a diet when I am the one deciding on and making the meals for Travis and me. Travis is an adaptable man- I am grateful for that. If I am eating a healthy meal, he is fine eating that as well… on the other hand, if I eat a fattier meal, he will eat that, too. Therefore, when we get settled in New York and buy stuff with which the two of us can be content.

While I am thinking about it, this would be a great time to plan some cheap foods that we can live off of while we are living in New York on a budget:

1. Rice
2. Pasta
3. Canned goods
4. Bread for sandwiches
5. Cheap sandwich meat
6. Chicken

7. Beef

8. Soup

9. Beans (this will have to be just for
my meals because Travis hates beans!)
10. Potatoes
There are so many different meals you can make that include these things.

Unfortunately, many of the items mentioned are starchy items (rice, pasta, and potatoes, duh!). Therefore, I will really need to focus on portion control and exercise if I plan on staying fit on a budget. I think they price should be directly proportional to calories! :D The higher the calories, the higher the price. Then we would be more encouraged to eat fresh fruit and veggies rather than Little Debbie’s pastries. Oh well! That is just my humble opinion! I guess the problem with that would be that you “get less for your money” in a sense that if you are in poverty, you need more calories to live. So for less money, you get more calories, but on the flip side, the caloric benefits are cancelled out by the unhealthy nature of the foods. What’s your take?

Anyway, I am done rambling about food… on to the topic at hand. Travel. I am excited to be seeing my Grandma QQ tonight. I haven’t seen her in far too long. You see, she had to have surgery around the time of my wedding, so I really want to see her. Especially since we are moving to New York soon. It will be nice to see her before we go. Then, on Friday, we will be attending Alyssa’s rehearsal dinner! I am jazzed about that! It will be so nice to reconnect with her and her family and to finally meet her beau! :) Saturday is the wedding, of course, and then Sunday and Monday we will hang around Naperville. Tuesday we will head back to Tennessee, and then… 2 weeks! :D

Well, all I can say is that this summer has been full of travel and continues to be so, but I haven’t and won’t regret traveling this much during my last summer as a “kid”- A.K.A. my last summer without working! I have enjoyed the travel, and though it isn’t what I would consider a “lazy, relaxing summer”, I didn’t want it to be that way. I wanted my last kid-like summer to be packed full of fun… and it has been! :) Well, that is all for now. Byeeee!