Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! We are in Lebanon, Missouri, with Monica’s family this weekend. Cali is at home with her friend Rizzo. We are really sad she couldn’t come, but at least she won’t be alone on Christmas. Hope everyone has a great time celebrating with family and friends. It’s taken a few years, but Monica’s family finally laughs at some of my jokes! I married into a great family.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

School's Out for Winter

Between Monica and me, we have taken three finals and turned in a project this week and we are finally finished. That leaves Monica with one more class that she is taking next semester, and me with 4 or 5 more semesters. As usual, I hit that part in the semester where I didn’t want to be in school and I was ready to quit—perhaps you’ve been there! However, I came out ahead and got myself one step closer to the “you’re so close to the degree, so don’t quit now mark.”

Now, I am going to devote my time to the Christmas versus Holiday struggle going on in the world today. I will now provide you with a top ten list of why it doesn’t really matter:

10. The majority of the world does not know what Christmas means anyway.
9. Wal-Mart and Target can make just as much money off “Holiday” items as they do off “Christmas” items.

8. There is no way we’re going to have a day named “Holiday Day”-it just sounds retarded.
7. For that matter, who is going to sing “O Holiday Tree” or “I’m Getting Nuttin' for Holiday.”
6. The people who don’t want it called Christmas do not celebrate it as a religious holiday anyway.

5. On December 26th when everyone wakes up, no one will care anymore.
4. You can’t take the Christ out of Christmas anymore than you can take the Holy out of Holiday (oh, the irony of etymology).
3. The better approach would be to combine it with another holiday like they do on The OC (a teen drama on Fox) and call it Chrismukkah—but then Messianic Jews (Jews for Jesus) would have it too easy.

2. It really wasn’t Jesus birthday anyway, just ask any member of the Church of Christ.
1. We have bigger issues in the US, like the breakup of model marriages of Nick and Jessica, Britney and Kevin, Brad and Jennifer. . .

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cali says Merry Christmas!

This will be Cali’s 1st Christmas with us. Let’s just say that she’s VERY excited to have a tree in the house & all kinds of new Christmas decorations to sniff, lick & bite on.

Here are a couple of pics of us with our new nephew, Kyle James, that were taken over Thanksgiving… whew, the pressure has been taken off of us to procreate with 2 new babies in the family this year!

Ben with Kyle
Monica with Kyle

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

November in Review

We have been quite neglective in our blogging, but life has thrown us some exciting curve balls lately. The most exciting news is that Monica has been offered a new job at a company called RemitDATA. This job will offer us a stable income & a normal M-F/8-5 schedule along with excellent benefits. She will be working as a customer service representative helping clients use a web-based tool that this company has created. The office is based in downtown Memphis & it seems to be a great Christian work environment. She is sad to leave the travel agency, but this opportunity will provide us with financial peace of mind while Ben is in grad school. Thank you to all who helped support our little family by booking travel through Monica this past year.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with both of our families. We spent the weekend before Thanksgiving in Hot Springs, Arkansas with Ben’s family. There were 2 newborns, 2 dogs, 2 hyper nephews, a tour of the Hot Springs bathhouses, card games & last but not least a family Dance Dance Revolution contest! You can imagine the fun that was had by all. On Thanksgiving Day we spent 10 hrs. on the road & 4 hrs. with Monica’s family in Springdale, Arkansas. We ate at Cracker Barrel & had desserts back at grandma’s house. After playing our traditional knock-down, drag ‘em out family game of Nerts, we headed back to Memphis.

Ben turned the big 25 this past Saturday & celebrated by writing a 15-page research paper. He got to blow out many candles with both of our families over Thanksgiving. Saturday night we went to see RENT which we wouldn’t particularly recommend. It was hard to enjoy such an ungodly film & we’re not big ‘musical’ people in general. That’s about all that’s been going on with us - Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2005

New Nephew, Kyle James!!!!

Congratulations to David and Sarah Minor (Ben’s bro-in-law and sister) on the birth of their third boy, Kyle James. He was born around 3:45 this afternoon, November 11. His proud brothers are Weston and Garrett. Kyle weighed in at 8 lbs. and 11 oz, which I am told is pretty big! No pictures yet, but hopefully one soon. This is the second baby this year in the Thompson family. Definitely takes the pressure off us! See “Comments” for a link to some pictures from David’s blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Goodbye, Tyrone

On Tuesday night, October 15, 2005, at around 10:30 PM, Tyrone left this world and went to the place where cats go when they die. A stray dog found his way into Floyd’s backyard and surprised Tyrone and killed him. He is survived by Floyd (our 90 year old neighbor who has had Tyrone for 10+ years) and (his brother from another mother).

On Wednesday, October 16, Floyd flagged Monica over and told her the bad news. With tears in his eyes, he told her the whole story. Five minutes later Monica called me weeping, trying to tell me that Tyrone had died. Several days before Tyrone died we were wondering if he was going to live with us this winter. He even came in the house one last time to say hello.

We are still sad for Floyd . . . Tyrone was his best friend for years, and he would even call when he was away to make sure Tyrone and Repeat were okay. We’re also sad because Tyrone was our favorite cat and Cali is sad because she and Tyrone would touch noses through the backyard fence.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Road Trip to OK

This weekend we ventured on Cali’s longest road trip yet to Oklahoma. While we were there our good friend/professional photographer took some family pics of us - thanks Judson!

Our main purpose for the weekend was to attend Grant & Vanessa’s wedding which was beautiful. Vanessa looked astonishing in one of the prettiest wedding dresses I’ve ever seen. The only thing that didn’t go off smoothly was the Cancun honeymoon which obviously didn’t happen thanks to Hurricane Wilma. Luckily, they had a fabulous travel agent who worked it out:)

It was so good to spend time with family & friends we left back there. We got to see Bubby’s dorm room & see him in action as a real college student. We also got to spend time with Matt & Mandy, Jayna, Austin, Patrick & all of Ben’s family. All in all it was a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pitch Your Tent Guy

If you have not seen the “Pitch Your Tent” guy you really need to click here and follow the link to download it. If you have an Apple and can’t view .wmv, you need to go to this site and download Window’s Media Player. I think you’ll enjoy it. It is a clip of a youth minister, Blake Bergstrom, who had quite the Freudian slip, but is now famous worldwide for it. If you offend really easy, then this is your warning.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Cali the Shark

Some think it is crazy to dress your dog up for St. Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween as they call it today, but we couldn’t resist. We did resist the expensive costumes and such and went to Target and purchased a $5 costume. Here is how it went down:

Ben: Here are some costumes that are only five dollars!
Monica: Oh, those are cute, I wonder if they have any big enough for Cali.

Ben: Most of them are small for ugly little dogs.
Monica: (Picks up a shark costume) This one is a large.
Ben: That should fit. . .
Monica: (Looking at Ben as if she has an idea) You're about her size, why don’t YOU try it on.
Ben: (Wrestling Monica as she tries to put the costume on him) I am not her size, crazy woman.
Monica: Yes you are, and it looks like it will fit.

Ben: I’m leaving.

So, we went home and the costume fit Cali and she loved it. smile Click here to see Cali as a man eating shark.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Going to the Big City, Nashville, TN

I (Ben) am attending the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) World Conference this week in Nashville at the massive Opryland Hotel. Please don’t go the AACC website if you know anything about Web sites, it will make you scream. Anyway, Cali will have to take care of Monica for a few days, while I am away Thursday night through Saturday. Monica gets me back the weekend after this one, because she is going to Minneapolis for a Northwest World Vacations seminar.

This picture is of Cali sitting her whole body in a hole she dug. In fact, her new past time is digging holes. I am not sure how you teach a dog not to dig, so we do the responsible thing and do nothing and hope she grows out of it. When Cali’s friends come over, they dig and play king of the hole. We let them do it so we will be the cool parents, and other peoples’ dogs will like Cali’s house the best because they get to dig with no consequences. I guess we are nothing more than facilitators of bad behavior, or behaviour (for you Canadians that read the blog).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Important Movie—Crash

Important movies are those in which you are entertained not in that satisfying way that Hollywood usually leaves you, but in the way that your values and convictions are challenged. Hotel Rwanda, for example, is an important movie to watch. Schindler’s List is definitely on the list as well. In fact you have a mental list of important movies in your life. Crash is an important movie.

Released just recently in the movie stores, Crash takes you on the roller coaster you weren’t sure you really wanted to go on, but you did anyway because you thought you could take it, and then afterwards you didn’t know what to think about it. It challenges your stereotypes, prejudices, sense of justice, and other parts of you that you didn’t know you had. I’ve never had my heart beat so hard in a movie.

However, I must make a disclaimer: This movie definitely has bad language in it as well as some uncomfortable sexual scenarios. Also, it might make you really mad. Please don’t channel that anger at me, I just think it is an important movie. This is also not a date movie, and you won’t feel uplifted after watching it. In fact, I don’t want to be responsible for anything, so I am not recommending this movie. . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Forgive us, blog readers, for it has been 12 days since our last entry. We’re still here and doing well, but the blog has not been real high on the list since school started. We promise a new blog in the near future to update you on the life and times of Benica. If you need to think of something for the next few days, think on this psychodynamic theory called projective identification—we project onto our spouses (or significant others in our lives) what we don’t like about ourselves and then get mad or disappointed at our spouses (or others) for those things we don’t like about ourselves. Hmmm. . .

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Refugees, Here?

You may have heard there are many refugees from the storm in Memphis (10,000+ actually). The church we attend is hosting meals every night for refugees and it is a humbling experience. We listened as several people expressed how they lost their homes and still haven’t heard from their family members that stayed. This is an intense time of emotional stress and anxiety. Every hotel room in Memphis is booked solid and some families that don’t even know each other are sharing rooms.

Monica and I aren’t even able to fathom what they are going through. We see a lot of branches that were blown down by the storm when it came through Memphis, but these peoples’ houses were blown down and destroyed. Keep praying for all the families here that have no idea if they have anything to go back to.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Comeback Kid

I have to brag on Monica because she is so incredibly smart. Monday we went to Southwest Tennessee Community College to enroll in a math course, but it turns out you have to take a placement test if you are a new student. Well, Monica hasn’t really been in a math class since her junior year in high school, but she decided to take the placement test right away. Unfortunately, she just barely didn’t clep out of all the lower level math classes, but the college has a policy that you can try again for $20.

Monica was not going to settle for barely not passing and she was definitely not going to pay to take some developmental math class, so she got a study guide for the test some Starbucks and studied for hours. You see, the placement test she took is one of those that if you miss certain questions, it dumbs down the test and then from that point on you do easier questions but get less points. So, you can’t make many mistakes, because if you do, you get dumb questions that don’t get you any points.

After we figured out how to do all the problems on the study test Monday night, Monica got up on Tuesday and marched back in to the STCC testing center and whipped the test like it was nothing. She passed the test with flying colors and showed it who was boss. It takes a lot of determination to do that!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Us!!

That’s right . . . It’s been two years of marital bless for us! The picture below is by no means a representation of our present relationship—we were just trying to look cool as Merschon took a picture of us. We are so crazy about each other and in love like you wouldn’t believe. A couple of weekends ago while Monica was in the Caribbean, we were pretty pathetic, but it helped remind us how much we want to be with each other all the time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

3 lbs. 6 oz., 17 inches, and Beautiful

Isn’t she precious beyond words? Congratulations Joel and Rachel!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jamie Elise Thompson!!

Congratulations to Joel (Ben’s bro) and Rachel on the birth of their baby girl, Jamie Elise. She was born today at around 1:30 PM quite unexpectantly. . . her due date was September 26, but she decided to come a month early. The doctors say that Jamie is really healthy, but will have to stay in the hospital for 2-4 weeks as she needs to develop more and be under observation. We are so excited to be an aunt and uncle again. Please pray that the baby develops well and that Rachel recovers from the surgery soon, and that God blesses their lives as new parents. I know they will be great parents.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Oh, That's Where They Are!

So, we’ve all heard of the Grand Tetons, but have you heard of the Grand Pitons? I know, it may sound like some metaphor from Song of Solomon, but these are what make St. Lucia famous. Monica took some great pictures of the Pitons, and they are beautiful. Speaking of beautiful, Monica got back yesterday from her business trip. There was much rejoicing and we were both about to go crazy if she was gone any longer. Enjoy these pictures and call Monica if you would like to arrange a trip to see the Grand Pitons!
This could be your room. . .

Thursday, August 11, 2005

St. Lucia and Antigua...Not Bad for a Business Trip

Monica left today for St. Lucia and Antigua (see map). She will be touring Sandal’s properties today, Friday, and Saturday in both of those places. Sunday she will have a full day off to enjoy St. Lucia, and Monday she will come back home to me. I probably could have gone if we really tried and had a whole lot of money, but I need to work on a school project and mess up the house. Anyway, I think she will still manage to have an alright time in paradise without her cabana boy (that’s me!)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

So Much for Being a Rancher

See this article on dead end jobs. Don’t worry, we know travel agent is on the list. Our theory is that the internet will take over travel, but people will increasingly have problems and nobody to talk to, so internet companies will have to hire travel agents to handle the calls (a vicious cycle). Our other theory is that Monica probably won’t even be a travel agent by the time travel agencies are obsolete. My last theory is that computers are eventually going to do everything so that humans become fat and lazy, and then computers are going to take over the world. You may think I’m crazy now, but just you wait…

Friday, July 15, 2005

Tom Petty is Our Hero

Sorry we haven’t blogged lately, but we went to a Tom Petty concert last Saturday night in St. Louis, and we haven’t been the same since. Tom, as we call him, has been touring for 29 years and he is still incredible! The concert was at the UMB Bank Pavilion and it was an outdoor event, and it was packed. We had decent seats and we listened to a truly amazing band rock our world. We met Bobbie and Michael there and had a great time with them. It was just a great experience all the way around.

Let me give you one piece of advice, though. I was under the impression that we could go to the concert and drive back that night. However, we didn’t leave the parking lot until 1 AM and it was a 5 hour drive back! I am, of course, too stubborn and cheap to stay at a hotel for a few hours, so I drove us home. My advice to you is to not be cheap like me and stop somewhere to stay—it won’t be the end of the world. We got home at 6 AM and it was rough. However, we did have some good conversation, some Red Bull, and some cappuccino.

On Tuesday, Mark, Darci, Megan, and Katy stopped and saw us on the way back to Edmond from Nashville. They definitely brightened up our day and gave us some good laughs. It was great to see them and really nice of them to take the time to hang out with us even though they had 8 more hours of driving. I think they were having way too much fun on their road trip! I’m sure if you know any or all of them, you know what I am talking about…

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Expedia Stinks!!

Ok, for those of you that don’t know my (Monica) life as a travel agent is one big comic strip. They haven’t incorporated any HIPPA laws in the travel industry yet so I guess I can share this with you. With that said, here’s your story for the day… I’ve been working with a client on a Disney World package the past couple of days & today when she called me surprisingly she had some ‘travel advice’ for me. She informed me that Expedia was having a great special on Disney tickets & that you could get a 7-day ticket for about the same price as a 4-day ticket. She went on to encourage me to tell all my clients about this great deal so they could get the special.

Now, I realize that the travel industry is confusing & that this probably seems 10x’s funnier to me than to you so I’m going to try to explain. Imagine that you were a McDonald’s employee & a customer walked up & started telling you about this great deal that Burger King was having on hamburgers down the street. Not only that, but that you should start telling all the McDonald’s customers about this GREAT DEAL!

The ironic thing was that I had to explain that Expedia didn’t think up this ‘great deal’, but that Disney ALWAYS has their tickets priced this way since they revamped their packages at the beginning of the year. All my client had to say was, “Oh”. The end.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Camp and No Pictures

Camp was awesome! We had a great time and were blessed with good campers. Monica’s dad was amazing (as he always is) at leading the session and her mom was (as she always is) the ultimate behind the scenes player. Only one semi-major injury happened to a counselor (not Monica or me) who fell and hit his head and had a concussion. I am nursing a nasty ear infection right now, but hopefully it will disappear soon. We have no pictures of camp because we didn’t take any with our camera, and even if we did, we don’t have the camera cord.

After camp we headed to Edmond (my hometown) to hang out with my family. It has been a great trip, but we are about ready to head home and see our puppy and all of our friends. Monica had 55 emails in her work inbox, and she is not excited at all about going back to work. I can’t wait to get back to my outside job of mowing and weed eating the campus of Harding Grad School. Good times.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This is Your Dog on Drugs

This is Cali after I brought her home from her girl surgery.
She kind of looks like a Calvin Klein model.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Working from Home!?!

We recently acquired a nice computer from Monica’s parents so we could hook up to the internet and she could do some work from home. It was either that or get a program that runs Windows on the Mac. We thought free was better than $129. Anyway, we finally got it working and Monica was able to connect to work last night. . . terrible idea! This must be what it feels like for Monica every night I come home with homework. I didn’t want to let her work and it made me so frustrated! I kind of wanted to eat a sock and vomit it back up for attention (thanks for the idea Cali!). However, I let her work while I complained about it. It will be fun to see how it works out!

Thursday, June 2, 2005

The Sock That Cali Ate

If you want cute, look at our family photo on the previous entry…
If you want disgusting, look at this picture of the sock that Cali vomitted at 3 AM this morning. I am linking it because it is disgusting and covered in puke. She had this sock in her tummy for a week and a half after stealing it from the dryer while our housesitter was doing laundry. We thought maybe she ate it, but we didn’t really think she swallowed it whole. Guess what? She not only swallowed it whole, but it came back whole. We are very luck she didn’t choke. Can your dog ingest an entire sock?

**Click here (barf_sock.jpg) to see the picture at your own risk. If you have weak constitutions or just don’t want to look at something covered in vomit, then don’t click anywhere near here**

Meet the Thompsons

From left to right: Ben, Cali, and Monica

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Now For Some Good News

The good news is that we almost have a handle on the money thing. The fraudulent charges are sitting in money purgatory and we are not sure where they are going to go yet! But, I feel optimistic about the whole thing. Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for this situation, we know it helped.

In other good news, I had my last day of work yesterday and my paychecks run about a month behind, so I will get paid through the month. So, I will be a bum with a little cash flow coming in. Also, Monica posted another great month at work. I cannot tell you how hard she works for every dollar she makes! With this and some other help someone very special blessed us with, we feel like we can actually get some things in order.

Cali is doing great! We made it through the worst of the puppy teething stage, I hope. She actually will just walk up to us and put her head in our laps to get our attention instead of taking a chunk out of our legs. If we could just get her to sleep past 6 AM! Our house sitter last weekend found that out the hard way (she also lost a sock that we think Cali ate). Our precious Cali also ate a dead bird the other day—is that bad? Anyway, we have some family pictures to post *relatively* soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

ID Theft Hits Home

Please pray for us as we have just found out somebody is accessing our bank account somehow to buy clothes at a mall in Ohio and we now have no money. Somehow they are using our card even though we have both our cards in our pockets. My biggest fear is that they have more than just our bank information and somehow open a credit account. Fortunately, we did not have a big sum of money in our account, but now we have negative money.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'd wear the pink slip with that dress...

Yes, it happened today...I got canned, given the pink slip, terminated, fired, let go, downsized... I thought I was safe in my low level receptionist job, but apparently I was not. At least my boss told me it was a "business decision"? and had nothing to do with my work. That made me feel tons better and made it all okay, especially as I sat down in front of the new expensive paper shredder they bought after they decided I was too costly—is it the reason for my demise? Replaced by a paper shredder?!? (Hmm...Office Space moment comes to mind).

Who needs the money to eat and pay their bills anyway? True, I only brought in $300 a month during school and was only depending on $600 a month this summer, but that is major (as in a mortgage payment) considering our situation. However, before I complain I need to remember those who lose jobs that are the primary source of income for their whole family. Our situation in no way compares to that, and I will probably find a better job (I have skills!) at a better place (Chippendales) that can manage their resources better. Nevertheless, it is no fun to get the boot. I was too good for the job anyway. By the way, you can't fire me...I QUIT!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Life As Monica Knows It

We can’t express to you how true this cartoon is, but we can tell you that this happens to Monica at least 5 times a week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I have double-blogged today. This first one is more practical, while the second one is to show you that I am reading a book for fun.

While I was writing the book blog, Monica and I engaged in a battle over money. However, that was nothing new because the last 15 times or so we have heard the word money, we have started fighting. I just think it is so funny that we can’t communicate about money without getting upset. I used to think that not having much money (and I am going by the American idea of “not much money”) caused the fights, but I have determined that even people with a lot of money have disagreements. To cap it all off, I think money has taken us farther away from depending on God than almost anything else besides our own lack of faith.

Money is not going to get the best of us, though, because we are on a mission to budget. I guarantee you we will fight extensively during the budgeting process, but I think we are finally determined enough to do it. And, quite possibly, we might actually learn to depend on God more, but I’m not making any promises.

Book I am Reading

I see on several blogs a section for books people are reading. I hardly ever get to read books for fun, and I would never take on the task on reading more than one book at a time. So I am reading the book, The Moral Vision of the New Testament by Richard B. Hays. I am afraid, though, that it will get put on the backburner soon because I have four books to read for a class in June. Perhaps I will tell you more about the book later. Let’s just say, I think he’s got it right (except he’s not c of C LOL—couldn’t help myself) . Of course, I am so enamored with the apocalyptic world view that I am a little biased. I just like being part of the already/not yet of Paul’s eschatology, living in the community of believers who exist to be God’s righteousness to the world, being guided by the Holy Spirit, and waiting for the parousia. Ha! That almost made me sound smart.

Friday, May 6, 2005

School's Out For Summer

You heard it right, my first year of school is finished. I stayed up until 5 last night and got up at 6 and studied until 8 and took my last test. We’re hoping I don’t get a C in the class. It doesn’t matter, though, because it is summer.

What does summer mean? It means sleepovers for Cali and her friends. We are dog sitting for a friend until Monday. Her dog is named Pablo, and he likes to play with Cali, although Cali has only child syndrome and doesn’t know when to stop playing. Sometimes a good growl and a snap puts Cali back in her place. They are inseparable and like to lick each other and steal the other one’s toy.

I am ready for a nice summer of only one class to take. Monica and I are going to church camp in June and then to a Tom Petty concert in July. Those are our only travel plans! We are looking forward to homegroup on Sunday nights without me having to worry about school stuff. I might even be teaching some Bible classes at church this summer.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Speling Test

Take this quiz. I won’t tell you my score…let’s just say I’m perfect!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

You May Call Me Mr. Editor

Life is one big paradox sometimes. One of the paradoxes is how we tell people to read our blog, but we don’t maintain it regularly. Thank you for checking back with us, even if we disappoint. I wish I could tell you about how much has been happening. Really it is just two words—Graduate School. For Monica it is three words—Stupid Graduate School. This is “dead” weak right now and finals are next week. I turned in three papers last week and just have finals to look forward to (I would never end a sentence with a preposition in a term paper). If I make one A and two Bs, I only have to take one summer class. If I make three Bs and no As, I take two summer classes. Let’s pray for an A.

Second paradox—I turned a term paper in two days late and the next day I found out I had been elected Newsletter Editor. I think that is funny for some reason. Maybe I will actually meet my own deadlines, or at least I get to set them. I also get 20% more scholarship for the position. I consider this scholarship an inflation leveler. Tuition is guaranteed to go up at least 10%, so this helps level it off.

On to more important things. Next post will be Cali’s graduation from puppy school. I’ll just say this, she was the only dog to pee DURING her final exercise! Needless to say, she lost some points for that, but I’m sure it was worth it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Starbuck's Day

Today was the perfect rainy day. Joel & Rachel were able to make a last minute visit to Memphis on their vacation time & it was so nice having them here! They were able to go to our home group last night and meet a lot of our friends. Today after Ben got out of class we took them out for the traditional BBQ meal we take everyone who comes to visit us to @ the Three Little Pigs.

After they headed back to Oklahoma we stopped by Starbuck’s & headed over to the University of Memphis. The U of M library has become Ben’s new love - apparently there were a ton of more resources there for his counseling papers than @ the Harding library. This comes as a shock because the Harding library was one of the biggest selling points for Ben wanting to come here - but the resources are primarily focused on the M. Div. program, not on the counseling program. We were also able to get a personalized library tour & help from our friend John - thanks John, you’re a lifesaver! We thought we’d end our day with some Italian food & a movie night with some wonderful friends.

Mommy’s home!

2 Puppies in a Kennel

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Blahg, blahg, blahg

We were watching The Office last night after Scrubs and the boss said he had a big surprise, but then he couldn’t come up with one, and everybody left disappointed. Please don’t feel like that about this blog. There’s something about Spring that bites you in the rear and reminds you that you’d better get working, hence Spring cleaning comes in the Spring. What is it about the Winter that makes us so lazy that we have to have a Spring cleaning? Cali even felt the need to drag all of her toys and towels outside to air them out (unfortunately, it rained 4 inches in our yard last night and half an inch everywhere else). Anyway, if we are not blogging, it is all because of Spring, and she is reminding us that we’ve got a lot to do.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Where Have All The Pictures Gone?

Some of you might be wondering why we haven’t posted any pictures lately. Yes, we believe a blog must have pictures in order to be interesting. We owe you an explanation for why our blog has been pictureless and unimpressive. Basically it is this: we don’t have internet at home. It hurts just to write that, but it is the ugly truth. Why does this matter? Monica is the only one who posts pictures (partly because they have to be perfect) and she always does that at home. Now, we’re stuck with going out to connect to the internet, and nobody likes to do that. So, we’re lazy and internetless—how will we ever survive?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Disaster Area

Apparently, our dog cannot not come in the house without tracking in large amounts of mud. The way our backyard is set up is that when it rains, it floods, and water hangs out for a week or so. Also, in order for Cali to go into the backyard, she has to go through mud, which she does not wipe off her paws before coming back in. Any solutions to our yard problems? Surely we have some engineer type that reads this blog. I’ll try to make Monica put pictures up soon.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

Happy Good Friday. Being from the Churches of Christ I have no idea what makes this Good Friday, but like most holidays, it probably used to have something to do with Jesus, and then just turned into a day of fun. I think Sunday is something they call Easter, which is also a lot of fun. I am just being silly. I sincerely hope that at church on Sunday we, as Christians, can search for those in the pews that seem to be looking for something. Easter is a day that I believe people go to church just hoping that this year will be different and they will be touched by Christ. We have one hour of one day to show people that we believe in a resurrected Savior who has completely transformed our lives for the better. What a big responsibilty!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I Can't Complain Too Much

We had 50 minutes left on our cell phone for Monday through Thursday of this week. That’s manageable, right? Ten minutes or so a day if we are not near our regular phone. Monday MORNING I call Monica from a phone at school to our house phone so as not to use any cell minutes. Monica answers and says, “I just used the cell phone for 45 minutes to talk to my mom. I didn’t think I was on that long…blah blah blah.” We went from 50 minutes for 4 days to 5 minutes for 4 days. I have tried for a year now to convince Monica that it is okay to tell someone to call you back on the home phone line, especially when you are both on cell phones. This represents another difference between us, but somehow we have managed to keep our marriage intact.

Lest you think I am picking on my wife and her "problem,"? you need to click on the picture two blogs ago that shows our broken window. Yes, I definitely threw a tennis ball through our back window while trying to make a running throw from imaginary third base to imaginary first base for the final out of the Imaginary World Series my imaginary team was about to win in the backyard. Unfortunately, imaginary first base was not the window and we lost the game—but there will be a game seven as soon as I fix the window. So, Monica’s mistake at most could cost us 40 cents or so, while my mistake will cost around 20 dollars. Winning the Imaginary World Series in game seven with the same throw: Priceless.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Congratulations Grant & Vanessa!!

Yep, that’s right… Mr. Grant Morgan is going to tie the knot. I seem to remember having a conversation with Grant about a year ago telling him that he would find the perfect girl & be married before he knew it. Sure enough he found her & they couldn’t make a cuter couple. Grant has been one of my best friends since college & I am so happy for him and Vanessa.

I honestly can’t believe you found a girl that will put up with you Grant wink. They don’t have a date set yet, but my advice is to get married ASAP. When you finally find the one that you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with - why wait? Ben & I thoroughly enjoyed our 5-month engagement that we weren’t even together for most of the time. Ben was in Dallas doing an internship the whole summer & I was in Australia for a month on a mission trip. Hey, if we can throw a wedding together in that short amount of time then anyone can. Congratulations you love birds!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Revenge of the Needles

After 8 days of Monica’s stomach hurting, we thought we should go to the doctor. We found a clinic that accepted our insurance and scheduled an appointment. Last night Monica ask me if they would have to do any blood work and I told her I didn’t think so—boy was I wrong! We went through the examination and Dr. Wallace said it sounded like esophogeal gastritis (or something close to that), but wanted to rule out a few other things through some blood work. The second he said blood work, Monica started to shake and was short of breath. We explained to the Doc that she needed to lie down and have me by her side when she gave a blood sample. I don’t think he understood how much of a needle phobic Monica is. As we waited for our turn in the lab waiting room, we thought about just leaving, but I made us stay.

Finally, we were called and we were taken to a room where Monica was told to sit on the table. She sits down and instantly bursts into tears. She looked at me and her eyes were bloodshot like a crack addict and she could hardly breath! The nurse wasn’t too comforting, but she let Monica have some cry time. After about 10 minutes of calming Monica down, the nurse was able to stick Monica with a little needle (the size they use on 4-year-olds). Monica said her whole body went numb and she could hardly breath. It took about 15 minutes after the needle was taken out before she felt good enough to leave. The nurse asked Monica how she was going to have a baby someday if she can’t stand any needles. The solution is simple…we are just not going to ever have kids! (Not really)

Monica is not a wimp by any means, but it amazing how much this phobia affects her physiologically! One of these days we’ll have to work on changing it because it is important for her health and life that she gets over it, but until then, needles will poke fear in Monica’s mind.

Friday, March 4, 2005

24 Pounds and a Thousand Dogs Later

The other day I was at the vet and a lady came over to pet Cali. She asked where I got her and I said I got her from a breeder. Not happy with my answer, the lady said, “There are 24 pounds and 1000 dogs you could…” and I interrupted and said, “Thanks, I’ve been given that guilt trip before.” What a stupid thing for me to say, even though I am not sure if she heard me or understood me. We talked a few weeks ago in our home group about working on the way to speak to others, so that our speech blesses other people. I felt pretty bad about failing that little test at the vet, but it reminded me to be more careful. Speaking of Cali, she has doubled in weight since we first got her 6 weeks ago!

Also, puppy classes start tomorrow at 9AM. The classes go for the next 8 Saturdays. I sure hope none of them pound dogs are in our class. Please know that I am joking. Cali will get to play with other dogs for the first 20 minutes, and then we will learn some obedience type things, which we (humans included) need to learn. We are excited that Cali will get to socialize with other pups, but we are not ready to let her date yet.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Did Somebody Get in Trouble?

And I Said "Hey, What's Goin' On?"?

What a dead blog we have had lately! We haven’t even hit you with dazzling pictures or exciting stories. I thought perhaps a quick top 10 list of what we are doing right now might make some good filler until we have time to hit you with a real story about the exciting and sometimes dangerous lives of Ben and Monica. Here’s what we have been doing lately:

10. Building great friendships while trying to keep up with our old ones
9. Chasing Cali after she takes a pair of undies captive through the house, out the doggie door, and into the yard
8. Figuring out how to live on 25% less income than expected, without eating Ramen Noodles or considering popcorn a meal
7. Applying for the best looking credit cards—The American Express Blue Card is the current leader (it’s see through!), followed by the Citibank Diamond Rewards Card (shiny and sleek)
6. Having a blast with our home group and benefiting from it immensely

5. Looking for a good excuse to why we keep missing Wednesday night Bible class
4. Finding the Wal-Mart close to us that we were warned not to go to (which we found and didn’t even attempt to go in)
3. Keeping up with our weekly TV shows, falling shamelessly for every plot twist
2. Fighting the urge to travel, which is what we believe is our calling
1. Realizing how perfect we are for each other and making the best of the incredible blessings God has given us

These are the 10 things we are doing. We are particularly fond of #1 because our marriage is a lot of fun about 96% of the time. The other 4% consists of those times when we are deciding what to eat, trying to clean together, being stubborn, and fighting with each other over the most insignificant things we can find at the moment. We even have some “fun” in those times too! The crazier all the peripheral things get, the more we need to love each other, and we are, and it is really crazy right now. If you didn’t put all that together, I am saying that we are really in love right now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ben Skips Class

Can you believe it? It was the first time I’ve skipped class since my sophomore year in college. Yes, all who know me might be royally shocked, but I had to do it. I finally found a situation where I could justify it enough to not feel guilty. I came to the point where I realized that I had way more important things to do and the last 3 times I have been in this particular class, I have fallen asleep.

Sure, we all fall asleep in class, but I have been falling asleep in class and sleeping through the majority of classtime. So, what it comes down to is the fact that I could have gone to class, slept the whole time, and wasted 3 hours of my time. But instead, I stayed awake for those three hours doing stuff I really needed to. Hmm, now that I have skipped, shall I keep skipping so that my productivity shall increase?

Monday, February 14, 2005

V-Day #2 as a Married Couple

There’s nothing like a secretly planned Valentine’s Day dinner to start a good argument. Wait a second… isn’t V-day supposed to be all about love & being nice - not to mention getting presents that should include chocolate & flowers?

We like to keep things more interesting so here’s my version of what happened Saturday night… I was supposed to get off work at 5:00 sharp, Ben calls me at the office at 5:30 & tells me that we have 6:00 reservations, I ask him to bring me some jeans & he says I should probably just wear what I have on, he picks me up from work & we drive to a house nearby where several couples from our church are waiting for a special surprise V-day dinner that our husbands decided to put together for us, we walk into the house where all the other girls are wearing formals/very nice dresses, my feelings get hurt because I’m not dressed nice enough & didn’t get a chance to get all pretty so Ben suggests we drive home so I can change (which he really didn’t mean), I agree & we get lost on the way home & decide that we aren’t going back, we get home & I change my mind & decide that we should go back, Ben sulks the whole way because he tried to do something nice for me & I had really hurt his feelings as we proceed to get lost again, we finally arrive & have a wonderful time with our friends - whew!

We had a special homegroup last night focused on our marriages and the things we love about our spouces. It was very touching hearing everyone’s stories & goals for making their relationships better. Ben was proud that I was the only girl who didn’t cry. Today we took Cali to Shelby Farms. She had a blast & met a lot of new friends. We’ll be finishing our evening with our traditional Valentine’s Day dinner (toasted ravioli) & the movie The Notebook.

V-day card from Cali
Ben & Cali @ the lake
Monica & Cali @ the lake

Cali with geese

Friday, February 11, 2005

Beale Street & Earthquakes

Matt and Jayna came and stayed with us Wednesday night and Thursday night while on a recruiting trip for OC. We had a really great visit with them and a whole lot of laughs. Cali tried to eat them and woke Matt up early both mornings (sorry Matt). We can’t tell you how great it was to be with friends from our old stomping ground—especially these two crazy people.

Thursday night we went to Beale Street, ate at Alfred’s, and went to B.B. King’s joint to listen to some music. When we walked in, they were playing “Pick Up the Pieces” and I knew we were in the right place! There is always the chance at BB King’s that the man himself will show up to play, but he didn’t last night. This was the first time we had really been out on the town, and we loved it!

Thursday morning at 8:10 we experienced an earthquake! It was only a 4.2 on the Richter scale, so no damage was done. We are sitting on the New Madrid Fault, which is capable of producing a huge earthquake any day now. I guess we will just have to live like there is no tomorrow! No problem!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Parable of the Lost Ring

It almost seemed as though things were going too well for us, which is why I (Ben) must have subconsciously “lost” my wedding ring down the sink drain! The ring is definitely not in the trap under the sink, but I did manage to break the piping off the sink in the process. So now we are up to no ring and a broken sink; however, Monica assured me that the sink would be fixed today!

The worst part is the respect I lost from my wife because of the way I handled the ordeal. The ring I lost and the sink I broke were not worth what I lost with Monica. Wow, those two sentences make me kind of uncomfortable. I can get a new ring and new piping, but I can’t get back last night when I lost a lot of respect (which I deserved to lose) from my wife. I have a feeling others can relate to this experience. Since I am preaching instead of blogging, I feel like I should issue a challenge. Here it is: Next time something bad happens, react in such a way that those around you don’t think you’ve given up on trying to be a Christian. And especially for husbands—you’re wife looks to you as a spiritual leader and the way you act directly effects her faith and security in the Lord. Wives, remind your husbands that you look to them as a spiritual leader in the house so they know that they are responsible for showing Christ in their actions. If anyone would like to come forward, the song of invitation will be number…

And you thought the story was over!! I thought I could not be humiliated any more, but I was. I found the ring four hours after writing the preceding parable. It was wrapped in the dish rag I was using that somehow got placed across the room and on the dryer and I found it by accident. All my fuss for nothing, except a broken sink, which I have been reminded three times will be fixed today, but I have more important repairs to do that I have already started on.

Monday, February 7, 2005

We Have Friends... See!

We wanted to prove to our friends back in Edmond that we do have friends here… or at least people who would pose with us at the bowling alley. Tonight we had the pleasure of hanging out with two of our favorite people - Mr. Millionaire & Pink Lady (otherwise known as Craig & Merschon to those who don’t know their bowling nicknames). Our bowling nicknames ended up being ‘Preacher Boy’ & ‘Agent 39’ in case you’re dying of curiosity.

We’ve said it before & we’ll say it again - having friends no matter where you are in this world makes all the difference! It doesn’t get much better than three 99-cent games of bowling, lots of laughs & finishing up the night with a few coffees & some great conversation at Starbucks. What we would do without such great friends like Craig & Merschon - not to mention all the other wonderful people in our class at church (you know who you are) we don’t know.

It helps put our lives in perspective & it’s so amazing to see the power of prayer & the effect it’s had on our homegroup (go purple group!). With all of that said we’d just like to say thank you to everyone in Memphis who has helped make us really start to feel at home.

Friday, February 4, 2005

The Revealing...

Here are the long-awaited pics of our new silverberry bedroom! I told Ben we shouldn’t blog about it until we had put the room back together & had some pictures to put up - but he got blog happy:)

Silverberry 1
Silverberry 2
Silverberry 3

Silverberry 4

Tonight we went to Chili’s for dinner & when we got home we had quite a surprise waiting for us… the front door was wide open!! My heart jumped out of my chest while Ben just got this look on his face like, “What a surprise this happened to us in Memphis.” He always expects the worst so not much can surprise him. I started walking back toward the car ready to call 911 & Ben just walked right in yelling, “Hello?” I reluctantly came in & rescued Cali from the kitchen while Ben checked all the rooms & closets.

Apparently, the door wasn’t pulled shut all the way somehow & then when the wrought iron door shut it blew the main door open. Not a fun thing to come home to. So, Ben is grounded from shutting the door for awhile & we're crossing our fingers that we don't have someone living in our attic (the only place we didn't check).

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Could I Interest You in Some Silverberry?

We’re at it again, but this time in the bedroom… we decided to paint! After painting my office and seeing what $20 worth of paint can do to a room, we just had to take on another project. For some reason I (Ben) have always wanted a purple room. I think it stems back to the fact that I love the purple ceiling at Abuelo’s. Anyway, we went to Home Depot and found the color “Silverberry,” and thought about for a month before we painted this Monday night. We’ll post pictures real soon so you can get an idea of the color.

Here’s how painting works at our house: We go to the paint store after I have been dragging my feet about it and we get all of the stuff. Next, we go home and we both start painting away for a good 30 minutes to an hour. Monica uses the roller and I do the intricate stuff. After that, Monica decides we need to take a break and we get something to eat and she starts watching TV. Now, I want you to notice the change in person—I and I alone paint the rest of the room while my beautiful wife just watches and tells me how she should be helping me. Fortunately, this room only took from about 7 PM-12:30 AM.

Here is what I want you to get from our experience: change something about where you live. We always feel refreshed when we change something we’ve gotten used to and for some reason we get more energy. We are now excited about walking into our painted rooms. Something about making the old new again—seems like something that might be in the Bible (with a slightly different context, of course). Wow, I made it through the whole blog without mentioning Cali!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Daddy's Little Girl

I was afraid this would happen. The past few weeks Ben has been falling in love with another girl. Sure, she gives the most adorable heartbreaking looks & sure, she will play fetch with him all day long. However, she does smell bad, goes to the bathroom in front of him & isn’t much for conversation. Cali & I have both been begging & whining (literally on her part) for Ben’s attention since she arrived.

Ben always jokes that he could be permanently attached to me 24/7 & it still wouldn’t be enough. It’s true. I guess I’ll just have to learn to catch a frisbee with my teeth & will have to start working on my pouting face (Cali has got me beat so far on that one as you can tell by the picture). A dog may be man’s best friend, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always be Ben’s #1 girl.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I Love Baths

Bath time is definitely not the most enjoyable experience for Cali, but she smelled so bad we had no choice. I had to get in the bathtub with her with Monica as my back up. We also realized that Cali looks about half her size when she is wet. We thought it was really cute that she looked so angry. However, she got us back by “accidentally” falling off our back stairs into the mud—she knew what she was doing.

We’re doing great, by the way. The home group we are involved in is blessing our lives more than we can convey to you. You can handle a lot more when you have friends. We’ve also resorted to a lot of movie watching lately. I usually fall asleep when we watch them at night and then finish watching them in the morning when I get up early with Cali. Monica hates that I do that, but I’m just too old to stay up until 11. On a side note, between having a puppy and watching Supernanny, our desire to not have children for a long time has been reinforced.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Friday, January 21, 2005

Where'd the Time Go!

We are finally achieving status as a normal American family. What I mean by normal is that we have crammed our lives with so much stuff, we can hardly find time for anything else. Monica is in the busy season at her work and I can’t remember the last time she got off work at her normal time. I am balancing 9 hours of class, 20 hours/week at my Graduate Assistantship, and 10 1/2 hours/ week at my part-time job. Cali is always busy chewing up plants and licking electrical sockets.

It stinks to be normal, except for Cali—she loves it. She already plays fetch and loves running through piles of leaves. We (and I mean I) only have to get up and take her pee two times a night now. The other day Cali was in the kitchen and I went to take a shower. When I got out of the shower, she was nowhere to be found and I freaked out. Turns out I didn’t close the back screen door all the way and she had gone through the doggy door and pushed the aluminum screen door open so she could be in the backyard. I am afraid we got one of those smart dogs. We’ll put more pictures up soon, but I don’t know to put them on here.

We’ll try to better bloggers, but now you know our excuses. Please come visit us in Memphis! We’d love to see you and Cali would really love to see you. We probably won’t make it to Edmond or Springfield in a while. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Disturbing Movie of the Year

There are just those movies that disturb you. When I was 9 I saw Nightmare on Elm Street and I slept facing my closet door until I moved to college. About the same age, I saw Jaws and to this day cannot swim in the deep end of a pool alone without panicking. It is amazing the power of movies to change your behavior. Well, I have a feeling I have seen another one of those… Open Water. I will not spoil the movie for you, but we watched it on Monday and we can’t get it out of our minds. Basically, two scuba divers are accidentally left in the ocean and struggle to survive, and of course, there are sharks. The rest of the movie is an intense psychodrama, and that’s all I’m gonna tell you. Monica and I are still recovering.

On the lighter side of things, the funniest movie we have seen this year is Napoleon Dynamite. We both watched it when we were sick and didn’t think it was funny at all, but a few days after we watched it, we couldn’t stop laughing about it. Then, we saw it with our church class at Craig and Merschon’s house and almost died laughing.

By the way, we have a pretty big surprise coming up for our loyal blog readers. We have been excited about it for some time, but have been hesitant to talk about it. Make sure you check back on Saturday or Sunday for the big news!

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Back to Normal

Well, the holidays are over and it is definitely back to the grind. I start school Monday and Monica’s work is starting to get busy. The good news is that she is not on commission yet, so we will still have a steady income for at least 22 more days, and if things do get bad, we are going to explore the world of credit cards (sorry Dave Ramsey). We are not too worried, however, because God continues to sustain us.

I bought all my books but one online (,, and and have tallied up the numbers. I’ve saved $107 so far! I am excited about that. At the grad school you can’t sell your books back , so there is really no need to buy a new one and they don’t sell used ones. The other nice thing about used books that have writing in them is that they look like you’ve already read them. This comes in handy in class when you open up your book and there is highlighting—everyone just assumes you read it. The bad thing is that when reading the book for the first time, it is hard to read anything but the highlighted part.

Man, what a boring topic! I have exposed my nerdiness. I have dropped down to the level of talking about used books. At this point I will have to promise you a more exciting blog in the near future. I will say one thing—God is revealing to us why he wants us in Memphis and it is awesome. We are growing in ways that we would have never grown had we stayed in Edmond. It is amazing to see how God is using us in this place. Our jobs, friends, church, home group, and school have all blessed us greatly. Our marriage, finances, security, faith, and patience have all been challenged, but God is using those challenges to strengthen us. It is crazy to think how much we were depressed and hated it here for several months and just wanted to move back to Oklahoma. Now, we are accepting where we are and making the best of everything. Scary how it all works out, isn’t it?

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Celebrating the New Year in Style

We continued our tradition of celebrating the New Year in Chicago. This year was great, just like all the other years. We started out by driving downtown to the outdoor skating rink (Monica on skates, Ben on skates, Couple skating - awww). We went with Mark and Darci, David and Sarah, and met up with Preston and Sarah Ackerman. The ice-skating was really crowded for a while, but we can’t complain. Also, the temperature never went below freezing all night, which makes a huge difference when you are in the Windy City. It was so nice to walk around Chicago without being frozen solid.

After an hour of ice-skating we decided to go to the movie theater because the wait at most restaurants was an hour and a half to two hours. We ended up seeing Ocean’s Twelve and then went to The Cheesecake Factory in the John Hancock building for a wonderful dinner (The Cheesecake Factory, Noise-maker blowing contest). We actually ended up staying in the restaurant to ring in the New Year because we enjoyed being around each other so much and it was a long walk to the Navy Pier to watch the fireworks.

What will the New Year bring? We hope a lot opportunities to grow spiritually as a couple and for ways to practice our faith. Okay, we also hope for financial growth and academic prosperity, but those things will mean nothing if we don’t put God first. Happy New Year!