I'm not really sure how to start this. How does one adequately describe the terrible mess of anothers life caused by destruction? Destruction that left me unscathed, untouched, unharmed? Destruction that I hope I will never see again, yet I know will pass through here once again before our time is up. Destruction that has ruined lives, yet thankfully left mine alone thus far.

Destruction that is tornadoes. And deadly. And scary.

On Saturday, John and I, along with other members of our church, helped clean up some of the aftermath of the tornadoes that touched down here just one short month ago.

To say it was eye opening experience would be an understatement. I have never before witnessed destruction caused by tornadoes, and I kind of liked it that way. Picking up trash, and sticks, and pieces of a broken fence, torn apart shingles, metal scraps, and pictures that preserve memories, seemed only minimal compared to the task that's really at hand.

The task of starting a life over. Adjusting to a family with lost members. Rebuilding a home. Starting over in every sense of the word.

I can't imagine.

But yesterday I had a glimpse into what some families are dealing with. Their lives have been torn to shreds, and I only had a small (very small) hand in helping them clean up and get back on their feet. The images seen on TV just don't compare to witnessing the destruction first hand.

It will be a long road ahead for many. And I only wish there was more I could have done. I only wish the state of Oklahoma could do more to help. A month later and some homes are still sitting there as though the tornado came through just yesterday. And it seems that all I can do, besides pick up the fallen debris, is feel sad for what was lost, and for all the things they now have to face. 

The home below is the home we focused most of our time on. Every time I'd pass this house carrying various things that were lying around, I couldn't help but wonder, why hasn't he come back to claim any of his belongings? Why hasn't he tried to un-bury his Porsche and Harley? Why is his computer still sitting on his desk as though that front room wasn't even touched by the tornado? Why hasn't he come back to get his stuff? Is it all too much to bare? 

And then I was told, just a mere week and a half ago, the lone man who lives in this home just had heart surgery, and coming back to get his stuff, and clean up his land and face the unknown just isn't an option right now. And that's when sweating in 100 degree weather was well worth it.


If only

Anyone who knows me well knows I have a passion for working out. I always feel in my element in a gym, on the track, or in a race. Working out is the closest I'll ever come to being high, it gets me every time.

Running alone clears my head. Running with others gives me a reason to work harder. Running with my parents, that's when I fall in love with running all over again. And running with my hubby, well, that's when it's pay back for making me go camping. I love whooping his butt in a run.

When I find a new workout, I legitimately get way too excited about. I love when I think it sounds intense but totally easy for me (I like to pretend I'm more in shape than I clearly am) only to find out I just got my booty spanked trying to do it. That's when I know it's a good workout. And thus was the case last night. Totally got my booty spanked. And of course, what kind of wife would I be if I didn't drag my hubby's tush along, too, only to whip his into shape as well. I wouldn't be a very good one, I'll tell you that.

So, off to the track we went to get our sweat on.
Workout taken from here. She also has some really good recipes, too.
  • 3 1/2 laps, jog
  • 1/2 lap, sprint
  • 1 lap, jog
  • 15 burpees
  • 15 bench push ups
  • 1 lap, jog
  • 15 walking lunges with back kick & knee lift
  • 15 jump squats
  • 1 lap, jog
  • 30 bench tricep dips
  • 1/2 lap, jog
  • 1/2 lap, sprint
  • 45 squats & jab
  • 45 mountain climbers
  • 1/2 lap, walk
  • 1/2 lap, sprint
  • 30 tricep dips
  • 30 modified push ups
  • 2 laps, jog
  • 1 cool down lap, walk

Go.Do.This.Workout.Now! I was feeling pretty AWESOME (or in the hubs case, terrible) after this workout, so fabulous in fact that this morning I think I beat my own PR in a measly 4 mile run. I probably would have run longer, but work was calling my name. Too bad, because clearly I was still on my runners high from the night before. I love when a workout is so inspiring.

Last night before crawling into bed, a light when off in my head, I discovered what my dream job would be. Just like there are food critics, movie critics, video game critics, and plenty of other critics out there, I want to test/critique workouts.

That's right, I want to be a workout critic. People would send me their workouts, I'd try them out, then deem if the workout was good enough, hard enough to give me a burn, adaptable enough for all levels, and on and on and on the list would go for whether or not a particular workout was "Amy Approved".

Having a workout approved by me would be just as meaningful as a Jillian Michaels workout. It would mean something, and it would be good.

Workout critic by day. Chef/baker/crafter by night.

Aw, to dream...

But really, anyone out there have a workout you want me to try? I'm totally qualified for such a job as this, I've been to fat camp...read: worked at fat camp. That right there should increase my credibility tenfold.


Successful attempt

When I found out my friend wanted an ice cream cake for her birthday, I gladly jumped at the chance to be the one to make it for her instead of allowing Cold Stone or Baskin Robins the honors.

Thankfully, she trusted me enough with this task, even after finding out I've never actually made one before. Mud pie, yes. Ice cream cake, never even attempted. But how hard could it be, right?

I don't think you can really go wrong with cake and ice cream, which is why I decided to throw some brownie into the mix, too. If you can't go wrong with cake and ice cream, you really can't go wrong with cake, brownie, AND ice cream.

Calorie overload and all, this was totally worth busting my butt, or gut, at the gym for. 


The day of fathers

I'm so glad he's the one I get to call dad, and no matter how old I get, I'll always get to be called his baby girl.  Just look at that face. He's pretty much my favorite!!

Happy Father's Day Daddy-o, and to all of the Father's out there of course. But let's get real here, what father actually read's blogs? Mine sure doesn't, so we'll just leave it at that.


It's Friday Friday, gotta get down on Friday

We're not one of those annoying cute and mushy couples, we're probably the total opposite actually, but when I found this tucked away in my lunch this afternoon, it sure feels like we are...

...especially after lasts nights trip to Wal-Mart, and my craving for something sweet. Little did I know that when we got in the car to leave John had a surprise in the bag waiting for me. Some of these! How did I pay for the groceries and not know what we were buying? He's a sneaky one.

Sometimes husbands are the best. Ok, most of the time. All the time might be a stretch. {jokes}

I'm off to go enjoy the weekend with my better half...see, not mushy at all. TGIF!


Productivity and I should be friends

I love to cook. It's one of my favorite things to do, especially when I have the time. In fact, I think I'd go as far as saying I love to cook more than I love to shop, and that's saying something. Because, let me tell you, I love new things!

One of the things I was most looking forward to about being married was having someone to cook for. I rarely cooked when it was just me. Probably the reason he was clueless about this love of mine.

John's biggest surprise when he married me was that I CAN actually cook. In his words, he was "pleasantly surprised" by this discovery. Apparently when you date long distance, your meals together are spent at restaurants more than they are spent in your own kitchen. Maybe that's just dating in general? Either way, I don't blame him for being skeptical about my abilities prior to the big 'I do', even though I reassured him I was fully capable. He had to see/taste to believe.

Now that this love affair has been discovered over these past 11 months, John expects a good dinner on the table every.single.night. Typical guy! Just kidding, it's actually the other way around. I expect it from myself, and it probably goes back to how I was raised. Thankfully, I was raised by a mom who believes in family dinners every.single.night. Even as a working mom, she always had dinner on the table for us. Always! And I loved that.

Planning dinners isn't a hard thing for me. In fact, I LOVE planning dinners every week. Is that weird? With all of my cookbooks, food blogs I read, and the internet in general, I think meal planning is a cinch in this day and age. We have it easy.

Tonight's dinner is one I have been looking forward to for weeks now. It just required a little preparing ahead of time, i.e. the night before, seeing that mornings just aren't my thing.

Want to know what we're having? Well, alright, I'll share this amazing recipe, but only because I like all of you. You can find it here.

It's delicious. Like out of this world delicious. And a total chick meal might I add. My sister and I discovered it a few years ago, and it's quickly become one of my favorite meals. It's pretty healthy, too, which is a major perk if you ask me. And surprisingly enough, John doesn't mind it either. Score and score.

Productivity and I really should be friends, that's all I really wanted to say. Oh, and go make those cabbage rolls asap, you won't regret it!



Just another Monday night at the Lovell home.
Or, as our dear bachelorette Ashley would say, a perFACT night.


Musings for a Monday

Good weekends make for rough Monday's
We really mastered the art of staying busy, yet equally lounging around this weekend.
To the point that by the time we finally sat down to rest on Saturday, we couldn't even remember everything we did before hand.
That's how into our lounging we were.
And it was heaven. 

I felt like I went shopping in my own closet this weekend.
It's amazing how a little organization can make one feel like she (she being me) has a whole new wardrobe.
I could probably go the entire year without wearing the same thing. 
But I won't, because I forgot the things I had for a reason.

At what point is it ok to throw out old clothes?
If I said I found stuff I've had since the beginning of high school, does that mean it's time to go?
I think so.

But then I think of all the things I could turn my old clothes into.
So, I hold on a little longer filling my ever so tiny closet a little fuller.
Thank goodness I married a man whose entire wardorbe consists of a few t-shirts, some shorts/pants, and scrubs.

Note to self: The next house I live in will be built in this decade, not one from the 20's or 30's . They didn't understand the need for closet space back then.

However, I will note, that two years in a row, living in two different houses, both with NO closet space, hasn't slowed down the expanding wardrobe.
Clearly no closet space doesn't deter me. 

I try to apply the saying, "make do, or do without" to most things in life (kind of), but no matter how hard I try to apply that to the clothing department, it just doesn't work. Unless going without clothes is an option, which I'm afraid it isn't. Too bad though, perhaps I'd enjoy this 100 degree humid heat a little more.


Did you know?

Rumor has it that Oklahoma has more shoreline than any of the other 48 contiguous states. I've even heard it said that Oklahoma has more shoreline than the east coast and gulf coast combined. Almost to crazy to believe, I know. But people say it's true, so if it is, there's something you can add to your database of pointless facts.

True or not, Oklahoma does have more man-made lakes than any other state. Which means, in a matter of 30 minutes or less, we can visit 5 or 6 different lakes.

So, visit the lakes we do on our Sunday night strolls. 


No Girls Allowed

This past weekend John and some of his buddies had the grandiose idea of having a night of R&R away from their wives. Camping and fishing were on their agenda, and we weren't invited to tag along. At least not seriously invited anyway. So, while the boys went out to play, my friend Rachelle and I decided to get together and have a little fun of our own.

Fun that involved making homemade jam. Catching up on the Bachelorette. Eating boston creme pie. And a little ear candling action. Which, by the way, I'm now a firm believer in.

Growing up my mom always had homemade jam in our freezer. Looking back, I feel like I was spoiled by that, considering store bought just doesn't do justice. I kind of despise store bought actually. I'm a homemade jam kind of girl, and now knowing how simple it is to make, I will never buy store bought again. Never! My future children will thank me for that.

Side note: John also thinks I should never buy tortilla chips or salsa again, apparently he thinks mine is better than any we can get from the store. He sure knows how to make a girl feel good about her cooking.

We tried the jam out on some homemade rolls tonight with dinner. Pure deliciousness, just like I remembered!

I'm feeling very domestic these days. If only I could stay at home and bake and cook all day long, life would truly be near perfect. 

I told John when we open our own dental practice in the very very very very very very very distant future, instead of having a cute little boutique/gift shop/pharmacist attached, I'd like to have my very own bakery. The business approach of it all would be genius in my humble opinion. Now you all know my little secret for how we're going to have a very successful dental practice some day way way way way way way way down the road.