Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Carpe Deal'em 2010

As mentioned in the preview here, Mr. McGoo and I have been a part of a Riser family tradition called Carpe Deal'em since 2008. If you haven't heard of it before, definitely take the time to check out my 2010 Preview Post because I link you to the HISTORY OF CARPE DEAL'EM and go into more details as needed.

Having missed last year with the Riser family out of necessity, we were eager to get back in the saddle and Seize the Deal. This is how 2010 Carpe Deal'em went down....

First... the entire family, ladies and gents devour the circulars on Thursday night (Thanksgiving night). Checking out each store's offerings, door busters, and advertised deals. Looking for any deals that cannot be passed up in general or for deals on specific items on our Christmas list for others. We make a list for each store... Kohl's - get this item at this price, this many, and this item at this price; JC Penny's - get this and that and this.... etc. Working to prepare the men for the hunt.

The Circulars- where most deals are found and plotted accordingly

The alarm sounded (thankfully I continued to sleep once Mr. McGoo left the room) at 2:15am and the men departed around 2:40 arriving at their first store location (Kohl's) by 3am out by 3:09am. Each person has their specific job: 1 driver, 1 line holder, and 2 runners... voila. It truly is a fine art to this madness as UFrank learned in his Carpe Defeat'em experience. 

These men have perfected this art. They hit 18 stores in 7.5 hours this year... below are a few photos of the guys once they came back home with their loot and more than ready for a long nap.

Showing off the Loot

The Carpe Deal'em Brotherhood: JR, Steve, Scotty B, and Mr. McGoo (aka McGrubin)

Carpe Deal'em 2010 Slogan: Why? Because the Rent is Too Damn High

What it looks like to go to bed at 12am, waking up at 2:15am, leaving the house by 240am, arriving at the first store at 3am, and visiting 18 stores in 7.5 hours before arriving home.

I was unaware of the origin of the Carpe Deal'em 2010 Slogan - "Why? Because the Rent is Too Damn High!" If you too are unfamiliar... let me explain - this year in the Mayor of New York elections a man ran a campaign and even created his own party called "because the rent is too damn high" - he even sat in on a mayor election debate as seen here and let you know why he was running and why you should elect him. Needless to say, Scotty B couldn't resist when creating the Carpe Deal'em 2010 t-shirts and slogan.

Carpe Deal'em 2010
Me and My Handsome Man

Monday, November 29, 2010

11 Days & Counting

Eleven Days (11) until we board a plane to Chicago, then one to Istanbul, Turkey, and then another to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Eleven short days until we depart for our journey this December to Ethiopia and dive into the people and culture more fervently than we have before.

During our down time in Kentucky over Thanksgiving, I did a mental check list of how much is to be done before we leave. I know it's attainable, but Mr. McGoo and I will have to be diligent and really GET TO IT... starting today!

Here is a short list between the two of us:
  • 7 final exams
  • 2 papers
  • 2 projects
  • clean house
  • pack
  • collect all the supplies/donations
  • 1 immunization
  • prep coworkers/work for sabbatical

I'm super excited and a little anxious at the same time. Working to pray over Philipians 4:6-7,  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." And we are so thankful for the many that are already lifting our preparations and journey up to the Lord. It feels good to be covered in prayers - Let the countdown continue...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful: For Education

Although it can be the source of some of the McGoo household stress, we are so thankful for education and especially for the current opportunities we have in regards to our educational advancement. We are thankful for how the Lord has provided and continues to provide for Mr. McGoo's schooling. So thankful that I'm having an opportunity to go back to school for a second degree and new career pursuit (nursing) in the future. So thankful for God's provision along the way. I'm reminded today that around the world and even in America many people yearn for a chance to go to school... A chance to financially be able to go to school... A chance that their gender or class would not keep them away from schooling... Hoping for a better future and opportunity to be further educated... I'm reminded today how thankful I am for school and the doors it opens. We are blessed.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful: For Friends

The love and support of friends is definitely something to be thankful for this week. With friends to encourage us, support us, challenge us, laugh with us, cry with us, and everything in between, we are rich in spirit beyond belief. You know who you are - and we are so thankful for you today.

Last night and today we have had the pleasure of hanging out with one of these friends and his family. Getting ready for the Auburn/Alabama game this afternoon and enjoying additional yummy Thanksgiving treats.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Carpe Deal'em 2010 Preview

A tradition that has been long standing in the Riser family for years, Mr. McGoo was invited to join the Carpe Deal'em brotherhood in 2008. Completing his first official Carpe Deal'em in 2008, his position as a brother was solidified and set into motion. Unfortunately in 2009, due to the ill health of my grandmother, we skipped Carpe Deal'em in KY and instead did our best to step up to the plate and put together Carpe Deal'em 2009: Kansas City Version. Although successful in finding deals, the trueness of Carpe Deal'em was not fully established as Mr. McGoo had his wife, father in law, and uncle in law as his side-kicks (all newbies to the Black Friday madness) rather than the seasoned pro's of the Riser family.

We are more than excited to jump back into the game for Carpe Deal'em 2010 - and I bet the KC family and my immediate family are happy to have their regularly sleeping patterns for Black Friday back. I look forward to updating you on the loot that is brought home by the brotherhood.

Until then, catch up on the Carpe Deal'ems of past, and if you haven't heard of this before, you DEFINITELY want to check out the history... links below...


Thankful: For Plenty

When there are people WORLDWIDE that are without, I have plenty. I do not worry each morning if I'll eat today or this week. Every meal, I have food available, abundantly. I take it for granted more often than not. Today, I'm reminded that I'm thankful and blessed for plenty.

I encourage you to take a quick moment and give $10-20 of money we probably won't even miss and bless someone that is not so fortunate to have plenty today - or maybe doesn't even have something to eat today - go to one of the following and make a difference today:
  • THE FORSAKEN CHILDREN - give 40 eggs for $10  

  • Bless someone this Thanksgiving and help make your meal and day of thanks giving that much more special!
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    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Bathroom Update

    In 2007, right before our wedding day, my folks and middle sis awesomely blessed Mr. McGoo and I by painting and decorating our bathroom (we only have one). We had already received our bathroom decor from wedding gifts - new shower curtain, rug, toilet seat cover, toothbrush holder, soap dish, etc - and my family went straight to work so that we'd have a newly painted and decorated bathroom to greet us post honeymoon. It was beautiful when we arrived and has had their touch left on it for almost four years.

    A few months ago, however, we found a leak in our pipe that ran from the sink, under the bathroom vanity. Who knows how long it had been that way, but it was long enough to dry rot and break the flooring/bottom of our wood vanity. Thankfully we discovered this a month prior to my birthday and I was blessed with a birthday present that replaced our vanity.

    Due to the busy nature of the McGoo life, it has taken a few months for us to get the old vanity demo'd and the new vanity inserted. But it has happened and with a new look already begun, we took advantage of the timing and did a few additional tasks:

    • fresh paint on the trim - upper and lower
    • fresh paint on the main door and closet door
    • fresh paint on the window
    • plaster repair on the walls and then added a fresh coat of paint where needed
    • hung some floating shelves
    • replaced the toilet seat with new
    • spray painted our towel rack, towel hangers, and knobs to match

    Here is the before:


    Here is the after:

    We ran into a little kink in the floating shelves process. Having an older house and plaster walls creates a non flat surface, therefore the shelves definitely need a little extra anchoring on them in order to hold any weight. Mr. McGoo and his dad (who came in town last night for Thanksgiving - it was GREAT to see him, even if only for a short moment before we head out to Kentucky today after work) are going to complete this part of the task, plus hang the mirror today.

    So additional FINISHED product shots will come at a late date. Happy Day -Bathroom Update Complete -for the most part!

    Thankful: For Many & Much

    On my way to work today, I found myself being thankful and grateful for my daily ease of transportation. I have my own car that I'm able to jump into at any time and get to where I need to be, even if it does not have a hubcap on the front left tire. What a blessing I often take for granted!

    My JOB and the PAYCHECK it regularly provides!
    Especially this year and last (with the unemployment rate increasing regularly), I am extra thankful for my place of employment and the steady paycheck it provides for me and Mr. McGoo. Not only is this place a blessing for it's provision, but it is full of people that love, support, and care about me beyond how much of a rock star I am at my job (of course, they like that I do a good job too)!

    The NATURAL BEAUTY surrounding us!
    Even in Memphis there is a natural beauty all around us that God has so graciously provided. I love the changing of the leaves this time of year and stopped today to be thankful for them. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where we work with the street children ministry - Onesimus through The Forsaken Children, I remember how little grass and greenery I saw throughout our week there this summer. The children at the drop-in center played on cobble stone and concrete, rather than the plush earth. Even when we went over an hour away from the city to reach a "park", the ground was simply dirt. I'm so guilty of taking so many things for granted - today I'm thankful for the natural beauty surrounding me.

    Yes, I'm a dork, if there was ever a doubt. I'm thankful for new books (this one is borrowed and is my read for our Thanksgiving journey). But I love the smell of a new book and thoroughly enjoy reading. It's hard to do much of it these days, minus my school necessities, but when I get a chance - pass the book my way!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Thankful: For Family

    Mom & Pop

    Middle Sis & Bro in Law

    My handsome hubby

    Youngest Sis

    Just to name a few above... but I'm blessed with an amazing extended family, family I've been married into, and even folks that are like family even if they are not related. God has blessed us with such a wonderful support network. There is no lack of love - so blessed!

    Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
    9 Two are better than one,
       because they have a good return for their labor:
    10 If either of them falls down,
       one can help the other up.
    But pity anyone who falls
       and has no one to help them up.
    11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
       But how can one keep warm alone?
    12 Though one may be overpowered,
       two can defend themselves.
    A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Thanksgiving Week

    Thanks to the GREAT suggestion and idea I found on a fellow blogger's post, I am following suite and making a small goal to pull out the camera or camera phone and take some photos of things I'm thankful for each day this week.

    Because the Lord has blessed us beyond measure, I'm sure I'll post more than a couple photos each day, however, I'll do my best to limit it a bit so as to not overwhelm.

    Like my fellow blogger said, "Feel free to copy the idea if you have a blog! Then tell me so I can read all about your blessings, too." Oh, and I totally snagged her first photo of a book she reads her daughter (above). It was too perfect for this post not to.

    And one more thing - this same blogger... she's doing an awesome project that raises funds for numerous families in their adoption journey. Check out her post HERE to see how you can play a small part in this too.

    Buy your Christmas cards from here and help bring an orphan home at the same time - sounds like a win/win to me!

    Here's the goal in the words of "Consider Lilies"
    The idea is to provide a quality, cute card at an affordable price and share half the proceeds among several adopting families! (I'll introduce you to them all soon, but you can cheat and find out about one family today here!) To see all the cards, go here.

    I have no idea what to expect, but I'm praying this gets a few orphans a little bit closer to home....that'd be thrilling:).

    Let's be THANKFUL this week and remember where it all comes from anyway - Psalm 100:4-5 "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

    I'm thankful for running water.
    This is at my folks house - but I too have it at my own!
    Many around the world, and even here in the States are not so lucky!
    I do not want to take even this for granted! So blessed! 

    Something Significant

    Quoting Suzanne today in her post "God of Miracles" - what a call to action for the Lord!

    Are you going to stay in your comfortable little place and make sure that you and every one else around you is happy and comfortable? We have the rest of our lives to be comfortable...in heaven...FOR ETERNITY. I wanna go outta here all wrinkled, tired, and ragged...LOOKIN like I have lived life to the fullest. At this ONE chance...a very SHORT chance (called life on earth)....DO SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT to bring God and God alone glory.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    The Other Woman

    For the past three or so years, I have readily competed with the other woman for my husband's attention during the months of August through February. For three years or more, I have been as patient, understanding, and non jealous as any woman can possibly be. Unlike many women, I understood that the other woman brought Mr. McGoo joy, challenges, entertainment, and maybe even some things I couldn't understand on my own. With this in mind, I would wait as long as I could stand it to not interfere. However, most nights I'd finally say, "honey, can you please give up the other woman for awhile and hangout with your wife?"

    This year has been different, however. The other woman has not come into play at all. I have not once felt as if I was put on the back burner for the other woman, or I couldn't get my husband's attention from the other woman. No, this year, something is different, and my husband is probably a little bit different too. 

    It might have something to do with our time, as we've been busier than we've ever been this year. It could also do a little to the fact that I'm away from the house Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings until 8pm or later due to school. But ultimately, I believe it does mostly with the changes I've seen in my mate since our trip to Ethiopia this summer. Life is a bit more in perspective and what really matters is more in focus. Therefore, the other woman, although still entertaining, a great interest, and a part of our lives, is no longer at the forefront of things to do. It's been a refreshing change for me, maybe even for Mr. McGoo too.

    Maybe it means I won't have to call it the other woman anymore, maybe it'll be just what it is from now on - oh by the way, the other woman is fantasy football. 

    And the Living Legends are still bringin' it.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Enjoying This Feeling

    Ahhh, the feeling of having it together and being on top of it all, how I have missed you! I think I almost had forgotten what you felt like, constantly replacing you for the feeling of being overwhelmed and behind with my many to do's. But today I find you again! Today I prepare for the weekend looking at items I can work on to get ahead of the game and prepare well. I look at my unplanned Saturday morning and think, ahhh, I can leisurely give the house a clean and work on some things. I like it!

    Now, I'm not saying I don't have more than a few to do's that need to be done... I'm just no longer playing catch up. I'm on the right track and if I use my time wisely this week, I could be ahead of the game. The possibilities are endless. Shoot maybe I'll even attempt to blog a little...

    yeah, I'm a dork.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    5am Alarm

    The alarm went off at 5am... thankfully because of the time change (fall back) on Sunday early morning, it looked the same as 6am days prior. I forced myself out of bed, ughhhh, woke up Mr. McGoo and began to prepare for our departure at 5:20am. We arrived at the gym a minute or two shy of 5:30am and found our way to the SPIN CLASS.

    One hour later, we stretched and headed home...

    The class went well. There was a guy and girl instructor and the journey consisted of "sprints", going "up" hills, and adding resistance to feel the burn along the way. For our first workout in FOREVER, I think we did very well, but both of us commented on how uncomfortable the seat was, as it takes awhile to get used to the stationary bike seat. Ouch! 

    I wonder what we'll look like this afternoon... Will we be able to walk? I definitely didn't do EVERYTHING the instructors suggested, nor did I add all the resistance that I could have... my hope was to be able to walk later today, so maybe that will help.

    The questions is... will we go back tomorrow am or at least another day this week? My goal would be 3-4 workouts per week. Not sure what that routine will look like, morning or evening, but considering the fluid nature of our schedule sometimes, it'll probably be all over the board. Here's to taking the first step... and to an afternoon stretch calling my name.

    Friday, November 5, 2010


    I've arrived home from class, after a full days work and greet my furbabies. It's 830pm when I arrive home and now we're waiting on their daddy to come home- you see he's been at the soccer field since 5pm or earlier working to prepare the U of M men's team for a HUGE game tonight which completed their season  with a great win against UAB (congrats lads!)! And I sit here, exhausted and worn down from the entire week and find myself split about what I should do...

    On the one hand, I'm exhausted from a full week of work, three nights of class, and everything else in between... so I definitely want to just veg until my handsome hubby arrives and get to bed sooner than later. Me sleepy.

    On the other hand, I know the weekend has plenty of things that need to be accomplished from housework to studying and homework needing to be completed... and my aLisa, uSteve, and Grandpa are in town from Kansas City. I cannot wait to visit with them too! So I know it probably would be worthwhile for me to be productive while I wait for my man tonight.

    I have a feeling the former will win this discussion, especially because it's won for the last hour. We'll see how the weekend goes, I know at the very least I'll get some good time with my family (youngest sis is even going to be in town from Knoxville, so we'll just be missing the middle sis and bro in law). Hopefully in the middle of it all Mr. McGoo and I can complete our needed studies and assignments and still get the other things we want done complete. Might mean an early morning tomorrow, but I think it's more than possible.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Around the Corner...

    Mr. McGoo and I are quickly realizing that our journey to Ethiopia this December is seriously just around the corner. In honor of that realization, I'm posting a counter. We depart on our journey Friday, December 10th.

    We are busy making preparations... working to complete our semesters (pray for us, our finals are the SAME week we depart for Addis Ababa. I have a feeling we will be thankful for the long flight getting there to help calm our hearts and minds for what God has for us), finding out what gear we need to accumulate for the sports ministry stuff we'll be doing, touching up on details about our furbabies and home while we're away, praying that God prepares our hearts for the journey and the ministry opportunities He gives us, and getting excited all along the way!

    It's just around the corner FOR REAL!

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    My Right

    Ummm, first let me take a moment to reflect on the obvious and take a breath at the reality that it's.... NOVEMBER.

    Are we seriously two months away from greeting in a new year?! Where has 2010 gone? But it's not over... so I'm not ready to recap or wish away the two months in front of us. Some big things are happening in November and December, and the McGoo's better have our game faces on and ready to tackle what's ahead.

    Starting this blog post will be, I believe the 5th start to a blog since I've last posted... and obviously I've never finished or completed any of those, so I'm hoping today will be the day. 

    So today, my hubby and I exercised our RIGHT and privilege to VOTE. As I heard people around my office, on the radio, all over Facebook begin to discuss if they were going to vote or not, I couldn't help but begin to think about how privileged we are that we have the RIGHT TO VOTE. There are many nations and people throughout the world that are still without the right today. In the same way, were many that fought for my right to vote, so I was honored to be able to exercise that right today. I hope you all did the same.

    And with that thought... today I was also reminded how blessed I am (we are) to have the freedom to exercise and practice our faith. I have no fear or uncertainty about praying in public, going to church, and/or talking about my love for Jesus Christ. Even now, as I write this, I do not fear something bad happening to me, or fear of the government finding out that I'm a Christian and throwing me in jail. I am (we are) BLESSED for our religious freedom. 

    However, many nations are not in the same position as we are, and for that I want to work better at not taking the way we are blessed within the United States for granted... and make a point to pray for the persecuted church.

    Sunday, November 14th marks the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Is your church participating?

    In an effort to raise awareness and pray more fervently for the persecuted church across the world, my church is putting together display boards for some of the Top 50 persecuted nations. I am helping to raise awareness about The Persecuted Church of Somalia, which is ranked 4th on the World Wide List of persecuted nations. Christians throughout Somalia are being persecuted for their faith and only with the power of prayer can a difference be made.

    Here is the display board I put together to display at church and raise awareness... I felt like I was back in middle school or high school when I was putting it together.

    And here are the two stories of persecution in Somalia I shared on the left side of my display board (www.persecution.com):

    Somalia: Somali Christian Killed

    On May 4, members of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab killed an underground church leader in Xarardheere, Mudug region, Somalia, according to Compass Direct News.

    The extremists, who were battling a rival rebel group for control of the area, were searching house to house for enemy fighters when they arrived at the home of 57-year-old Yusuf Ali Nur, a school teacher and underground church leader. They suspected that Yusuf was a Christian, so they shot him multiple times
    at close range, killing him. Yusuf is survived by his wife and three children, ages 7, 9 and 11.

    Al-Shabaab, which is linked with al-Qaeda, has reportedly vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity. In recent months, several Somali Christians have been killed by the group in execution-style murders, including one murder as recently as late March.

    The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to pray that Yusuf’s loved ones will trust in God’s unfailing love. Pray that Yusuf’s legacy will embolden other believers to walk a path of steadfast faith, even amid great adversity. Pray that God will encourage and strengthen members of the Somali church.

    Posted: May 20, 2010

    Somalia: Convert Abused by Family

    A 17-year-old girl in the Gedo Region of Somalia was severely beaten by her family recently after they discovered she had converted to Christianity, according to Compass Direct News. Nurta Mohamed Farah, 17, was later taken to a doctor, who prescribed medication for a “mental illness.” When she refused to abandon her Christian faith, her family forced her to take the medication.

    Nurta’s family has read Islamic scripture to her twice a week since May 10, when they learned of her conversion. Somalis traditionally believe that the Quran cures the sick — especially the mentally ill.

    Nurta has been shackled to a tree during the day and held in a small, dark room at night, according to Compass. “There is little the community can do about her condition, which is very bad,” a Christian source told Compass. “I have advised our community leader to keep monitoring her condition but not to meddle for their own safety. … We need prayers and human advocacy for such inhuman acts, and for freedom of religion for the Somali people.”

    The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to pray that Nurta will be encouraged and emboldened as she suffers for her faith. Pray that her steadfast commitment to Christ will soften the hearts of her parents so that they, too, will come to know him. Pray that God will grant wisdom and guidance to the Christian community in Somalia as they share the gospel with their neighbors.

    Posted: June 24, 2010

    So PRAY for the Persecuted Church of Somalia today, and be THANKFUL for YOUR RIGHT to vote and YOUR RIGHT to pursue your faith without hindrance or fear of attack. I know I am.