Monday, December 29, 2008

50 in 52 Wrap-Up

Well, this journey is finished now; I endeavored to read 50 books in 52 weeks (Dec 10, 2007-Dec 14, 2008), what a journey in discipline!

In the end, I finished only 48 books but, I am not disappointed (ok maybe just a little, but it's fleeting).

1. I did not re-read any books that I had already read.
2. I mixed "growth" books with fun books.
3. I didn't count any of the books of the Bible that I read (I was tempted to, especially as the 52nd week came to a close).
4. I have re-set the goal for 2009. --- In 2009, I plan to read 36 books. I think this will be a healthy medium for continuing to read and being realistic about having other priorities (my husband, the boys, a mission trip, a fourth baby & a toddler, learning a foreign language, leading a small group, family vacations, getting in shape after the baby, etc.)

1. None--Aim for Nothing, Achieve Nothing.

For your enjoyment and curiosity, I have listed the books I read here:
1. Fiction- 1st To Die by: James Patterson (12/17/07)
2. Kids/Finance- Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees by: Neale S. Godfrey (12/30/07)
3. Spiritual/Personal Growth- Wonder by: Arthur Gordon (12/30/07)
4. Leadership/Business- The Starfish and the Spider by: Brafman & Beckstrom (1/4/08)
5. Fiction- 2nd Chance by: James Patterson (1/4/08)
6. Fiction- Life of Pi by: Yann Martel (1/12/08)
7. Biography- Tuesdays with Morrie by: Mitch Albom (1/18/08)
8. Spiritual/Personal Growth- Cure for the Common Life by: Max Lucado (1/26/08)
9. Fiction- 3rd Degree by: James Patterson (2/2/08)
10. Self-Help/Life Lessons- The Five People You Meet in Heaven by: Mitch Albom (2/12/08)
11. Self-Help/Personal Growth- The Secret by: Rhonda Byrne (2/13/08)
12. History/Leadership- A Message to Garcia by: Elbert Hubbard (2/16/08)
13. Fiction- 4th of July by: James Patterson (2-23-08)
14. History- Common Sense by: Thomas Paine (3-5-08)
15. Biography- I’m Proud of You by: Tim Madigan (3-8-08)
16. Spiritual- I Became a Christian & all I Got was this Lousy T-Shirt by: Vince Antonucci (3-15-08)
17. Fiction- 5th Horseman by: James Patterson (3-18-08)
18. Fiction- 6th Target by: James Patterson (3-24-08)
19. Marriage- The Love List by: Drs Les & Leslie Parrott (4-10-08)
20. Biography- Eat, Pray, Love by: Elizabeth Gilbert (4-15-08)
21. Fiction- 7th Heaven by: James Patterson (4-22-08)
22. Kids- The Five Love Languages of Children by: Gary Chapman (5-02-08)
23. Leadership- Encouragement Changes Everything by: John Maxwell (5-12-08)
24. Fiction- The Magician’s Nephew by: C.S. Lewis (5-24-08)
25. Historical Fiction/Youth- Heroes Don’t Run by: Harry Mazer (6-14-08)
26. Biography- Condi, The Condoleezza Rice Story by: Antonia Felix (6-18-08)
27. Children’s Lit- The Truth about Bats (Magic School Bus) by: Eva Moore (6-22-08)
28. Spiritual- Looking for God: An Unexpected Journey through tattoos, tofu, & pronouns by: Nancy Ortberg (6-22-08)
29. Fiction/Mystery- The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by: Alexander Smith (6-28-08)
30. Fiction/Mystery- Tears of the Giraffe by: Alexander McCall Smith (6-30-08)
31. Fiction/Mystery- Morality for Beautiful Girls by: Alexander McCall Smith (7-6-08)
32. Fiction/Youth- Out of Order by: Betty Hicks (7-7-08)
33. Self-Help/Life Lessons- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (7-13-08)
34. Fiction- The Kalahari Typing School for Men by: Alexander McCall Smith (7-19-08)
35. Fiction- The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by: C.S. Lewis (7-22-08)
36. Fiction- The Full Cupboard of Life by: Alexander McCall Smith (7-25-08)
37. Fiction/Mystery- S is for Silence by: Sue Grafton (8-11-08)
38. Spiritual- Wild Goose Chase by: Mark Batterson (8-19-08)
39. Spiritual- Mocha with Max by: Max Lucado (9-10-08)
40. Fiction- In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by: Alexander McCall Smith (9-29-08)
41. Christian Fiction- The Shape of Mercy by: Susan Meissner (10-11-08)
42. Fiction- The DaVinci Code by: Dan Brown (11-11-08)
43. Fiction/Mystery- Double Homicide (Bstn/Santa Fe) by: J&F Kellerman (11-17-08)
44. Biography/Self-Help- The Last Lecture by: Randy Pausch (11-26-08)
45. Spiritual- Wide Awake by: Erwin McMannus (12-01-08)
46. Fiction- Blue Shoes and Happiness by: Alexander McCall Smith (12-08-08)
47. Fiction- The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by: Alexander McCall Smith (12-09-08)
48. History/Leadership- 50 Military Leaders that Changed the World by: William Weir (12-14-08)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Whirlwind tour for the holidays

Colorado, Arizona, and back again...

It was not my a matter of fact it is an unspoken rule not to travel after the 15th of December up through the New Year. 

But there I was heading to Fort Collins, Colorado to visit one of my mentors and his friends at Timberline. I had a wonderful time. When I arrived on Saturday morning it was in the 50's and the time I woke up on Sunday morning it was in the teens, dropping, and 6 inches of 
snow had arrived. Now I know why they ski so much in Colorado. 

To make the trip a little crazy I left the Denver Airport (after being delayed 4 hours) around 12:30am and arrived in Arizona at 3am. I never really went to sleep because I had to be out on the golf course for a 10am tee time. The sun came up and my body was not to happy to never have enough darkness to really get quality sleep. 

I hit the ball around a beautiful course, Starr Pass, in Tucson, AZ. This is a new and incredible resort in Arizona that is 20 minutes from the airport. As part of my day to day responsibilities at ATS, I stayed the rest 
of the week to attend meetings at the Intelligence Warfighter Summit

Thursday morning caught the plane to Phoenix and started my journey home to DC. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Billy...How the story began

I think history helps us understand how people will react, what has made them who they are today, and how things could potentially unfold. 

As part of an ongoing effort with Thomas Nelson Publishing, I am in the middle of another book review. Just wrapped up "Billy" by William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham. This fall in 2009 the movie will release...check out Billy: THE EARLY YEARS for the scoop!

I have read Preacher to the Presidents and other similar biographies that look at the impact and influence this man had on America's leaders but this is the first book that really looks at what and who had an influence on him. 

The book reveals relationships, trials, and struggles that I think we all face at different points in our life. What I found the most interesting is the roles that both Ruth Graham and Charles Templeton had on Billy Graham's journey. I also enjoyed reading more about his life in the market place as an employee and salesman prior to full time ministry. 

Great won't be disappointed. 


Sunday, December 7, 2008

ATS Christmas Party

While we did not grow in numbers there is a lot of excitement for us in DC. By the time 2009 rolls around ATS in DC will be in the process of hiring or may have already brought on board, 2 new employees and our work in the DC area is growing beyond that in 2009. Over all the company has had another solid year of growth throughout the country and everyone here sees what it takes to not just maintain but grow. 

I think a second reason for excitement is relationships. Sharon and I work very hard to get to know the employees of the company and this is one of those special points in the year where we feel particularly close to the team. It gets harder as the company grows but we like to get gifts that are specific and meaningful to those who get them. I won't tell you what they were but I am sure they all agree we were on target again this year. 

The final reason for excitement was the food. We reserved a table at Tysons Tower Club  which required Dave to pick a suit coat or tie. Either way, it was the first time I
 would see him in either we had to capture the moment! Five courses, incredible appetizers, filets, bananas foster, the food kept coming and we stuffed ourselves all the way to the end. We laughed and had a 
blast during our 3 hours together. You know you have connected and are having fun when you can spend 3 hours with fellow employees and not talk about work the whole time. was a great way to kick off the holidays!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sybella's Birthday Party- Part 2

I wanted to share this special video-short from Sybella's party too but it seemed like too much to add in with all the other pictures. So, here it is:

***If you are viewing this note thru Facebook, you can view the video on our blog at:

Sybella's Birthday Party

We had an Awesome morning with friends over at our house for Sybella's Second Birthday. Thanks to Mia, Macy, Liam, and Kylee for celebrating with us (and all their parents too)!

Here are some of our favorite shots of: the kids, using the table favors, balloons, blowing out the candles, and the gifts. Sybella enjoyed the whole morning and can now answer "2" when asked her age.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nat'l Christmas Tree Lighting

Our Family attended The National Christmas Tree Lighting last night. The tree sits in front of the White House on The Ellipse. Here are some pictures that I snapped including: The White House, Kids in front of the tree, Sybella & Granda, the boys, boys watching the entertainment, President Bush about to light the Tree, and 2 shots of the lit Tree.
Also, Thanks to Dave & Kate Schmidgall for attending with us; we had a blast hanging out!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baby Names

Monday, Dec 8th, we have an ultrasound scheduled. This ultrasound is an anatomical scan to evaluate that the baby is growing properly and that there are no visible health issues. Also, as long as this baby cooperates, we plan to find out the sex of the baby. I don't really know why, but I am more excited and impatient to find out the gender with this baby than I remember being with any of the others; with Colin, we waited until he was born to find out whether he was a boy or girl!

We have named each of the other kids before they were born and haven't ever really struggled with names. We have always had a boy and girl name picked out far ahead of time. For instance, Colin would have been Hannah if he was a girl, Connor would have been Kelsey if he was a girl, Sybella would have been **** if she was a boy (not telling because that is the boy name we are planning on using).

We have always told other people the names as soon as we decided on them but often that implies that we are asking for input, which if you know David and I, once we have decided on the name, we are not asking for input. :)

We have also had "guidelines" for naming each of the kids, which again if you know David and I, is no surprise. With the boys, their names had to be of Irish origin, not super-common, and not easily turned into nicknames. With the third child, 6 years had elapsed, and we had changed some in our perspectives, we wanted the name to be complimentary to the others but didn't have such firm guidelines. We discovered Sybella's name in a movie! There is a Princess of Jerusalem (from the time of the Crusades) who's name was Sibylla, also commonly spelled Sybilla. We loved this name immediately. After a couple of days though, we decided to go with Sybella (another derivation of the name Sybil) so that IF we wanted to call her Bella, we could- violating our previous nickname guideline. Funny enough, besides the boys calling her "Baby Bella" when she was tiny, we rarely call her Bella, she is simply Sybella.

With this baby, we haven't shared the names yet, because we haven't decided on names yet. We have a boy and girl first name picked out; we have a middle name for a girl but are grappling a bit with the middle name for a boy.... So, that begs the question, what to do? Some of the options we have considered:

a. wait until we know if it's a boy to worry about it

b. open it up to a poll of our friends and family (actually ask for input)

c. pray that it's a girl and forget about boy names all together

d. change our "secret" criteria for naming this baby in order to find the name that fits

e. wait until we see the baby to figure out the middle name

f. change the first name that we have picked so that "pairing" it with a middle name that fits our guidelines is easier

Fortunately, David and I agree and have similar tastes for names, so at least the process is not complicated by disagreements (except maybe how important it is to have this resolved by Monday).

Any comments or thoughts???

Is it a bit crazy that so much thought and emotion can go into a child's name? I know that they will have it forever, unless of course, they start using a new name, embrace a nickname, their friends rename them, or they legally change their name as an adult because they hate it!