Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The goal of running the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville was not met without Grace surrounding trials. For instance, I questioned JT3 more than once the night before the race to check his 'alarm clock.' It didn't ring. Luckily, he was prompted out of bed at 4:45. Let's call it Providence.
Then, there was the issue of traffic:
I apologize now to all the runners and innocent by-standers we passed and possibly cut-off on Hwy 24 in our efforts to arrive on time. (Sorry we laughed so hard when God prompted that poor girl to hesitate while looking down at her map. May she be granted extra blessings for the Grace she afforded us...and that spot in line in front of her car.)
Note the rain:
And here are the kajillions of racers that also made it on time:
There goes my MIL. She's smokin' us. Keep in mind. We ran more than half the time. She walked the whole way and finished 5 minutes before me. That woman can walk! (This is her 6th 13.1...)
And here's to the Southern Gentleman toasting us at 8:00AM on his front lawn with his iced champagne:
And THANK YOU to JT3's ever-hospitable aunt and uncle for providing us with comfy food and shelter before and after the run. Here are a few of the absolutely beautiful and memorable scenes we were blessed to share over the weekend at their gorgeous, historical home:
Here's to Family,
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
cuz the camera's too bulky to carry her and the camera and I have my priorities. So, instead, I opted to to upgrade to this sweet little number. Now, I can take cute pictures with a cute (pink) camera and hold that pink cutie in my hands, too.
Oh, and we're gazelle intense in our efforts to snowball our debt. Check out the book to understand what I'm saying. Believe me. It will change your life.
See you after Nashville.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Today, however, I'll tell you a little story about this house:
(This is a photo I took of a photo I taped into my Daily Photo Journal - you'll see the carriage-style garage doors we were installing that I had 'drawn' onto the picture *smile*)
This is the house we dreamed of buying. We would have moved in several weeks ago if this had panned out the way we'd hoped. But, through the whole process, we prayed that God's will would be done. And boy did He shut the door on that one. In retrospect, we can see that God did the only thing He could to keep us from selling the farm (we don't really have a farm), promising our first born, and giving up on our Dave Ramsey financial plan to own that house. It was the greatest house. The kitchen was easily 2/3rds the entire size of this house. I just kept imagining the basketball team from High School Musical playing catch in that kitchen and still having room to not break my grandmother's china tea cup collection.
But, one night, as I ran a few miles to prepare for our up-coming half-marathon (another story later this week), I conversed with the Holy Spirit in my head. And He told me I had to get this house in order before I could move to that house. And I knew in my heart what that meant. There's a lot to 'this house' that He was referring to. One, I wrote about yesterday. Another, led me to this website.
So, I am trying to FLY. And, as I've shown you in previous posts, it's not always easy. In fact, it's easier to sit on my bum at night than to throw in yet another load of laundry. Let alone fold the one that I dried this morning. Are you kidding? Sure. It's easy to be lazy. And it's even easier to fall behind and hear the thoughts of doubt nagging at me in my head. I'll never get it all together. I can't do it. I can't. I...can. Turn those thoughts into the positive. Because this is my house. And this is my job. And this I can do. Maybe not perfectly. But nobody is asking for perfect. They are just asking for socks. And clean underwear. And to be able to see the kitchen counter.
In fact, my husband was gone all last week. And I had teacher appreciation activities for 40 wonderful ladies every day. And a baby shower. And this was my kitchen. All week.
Praise God. For TheFlyLady. And life changing moments. And answered prayer - that God's will would be done. Because that wasn't our house. He already has one in mind for us. Just not yet.
Oh yeah. There has to be a P.S. here. Never you mind what the rest of my house looked like last week. My sink was shiny and so were those counters (most of the time!) Just don't get a look at my craft area. Not even today. Baby Steps, People. I'm just learning to FLY. I'm a gosseling. Not the full blown goose yet!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
One thing is this. I have lived a...sort of resentful existence for some time now. Resentment. Wow. That's harsh. And sad. It was towards my husband. He has a life = a job. People respect him. He has risen the corporate ladder, and he has arrived. I have given birth to his children and ... I have not risen. I have fallen. I am the snot-wiper. The poop-cleaner. The bather. The taxi driver. The one on the job 24/7. There are no trips to sunny places. No full nights of sleep. I am woken nightly. By bloody noses or wimpering babies or peed-on-myself toddlers. My job is hard. No pats on the back. No 'good job here's a raise' for me. And I was tired. And I was lonely. And I was sad. Very sad on the inside.
Then I found a book. I went looking for a book that I would write for women like me. Something funny. Something spiritual. Something with a step-by-step guide to pull myself out of the funk and appreciate where I am kind of book. And God sent me this:
Passionate Housewives Desperate for God
It wasn't exactly what I was looking for. It wasn't anything like what I was looking for. It wasn't funny. Well, I don't remember laughing, anyway. But I probably did. What I did for sure, however, was read that book cover to cover. I stayed up late. Knowing I would be woken just minutes after turning out the light. But it was worth it. It was exactly what I needed.
Here's what I learned. This is a path I have chosen. I could certainly choose another path. Where I had a boss who didn't listen. Didn't love me. Didn't care about me. Didn't care if I worked way past everyone else, well into the night. Whether I stayed late to make sure I turned in reports on time. Where I wiped the noses of someone else's kid. Taught other kids to talk while mine sat in someone else's lap at daycare.
Instead, I have chosen a blessed path. A path where I work for my husband. Who listens. Who loves me. Who would lay down his life for me. Where the support I provide him furthers the kingdom of God and our family. The one we are building. Together. The path where I can choose to be "a curse or a blessing" (page 109). To summarize, the authors of this book reminded me that a Godly wife manages her house so her husband can do the job God set before him - providing for the family. "He trusts her judgment. He relies on her skills and doesn't have to bear a double burden." I am to show him respect and honor.
My husband is a good man. He is a hard-worker and a good dad. He is also a sinner. He is not perfect and neither am I. We were meant to grow through this life together. Me doing my job and him doing his.
Thanks for listening. And read the book. I hope you'll see, as I did, that there is more contentment in this life than discontentment. If we choose to appreciate the job we have. And do it as if doing so for God.
Oh. And P.S. It's still a hard job. I just approach it differently. And therein is the Life Change.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The daisies were gorgeous. And behind every photo is a story. I won't go into the one about the daisies (because there's one there, too), but instead, the baby photos on the tray. I requested baby photos from the two grand-moms before the shower. I had a plan for them. Then, as with many of my plans, I changed my mind (a few times) and at the last minute, sped all over town looking for frames that coordinated - with broad white mats. I found 3, perfect for this:
The remainder of the baby pictures went onto trays around the house. And how fun was it listening to stories related to those baby pictures as we all browsed through them! Like the time my hubby threw sand in BIL's eyes (baby with eye patch) or the time BIL 'fell' from the toilet seat and sported a head suture reminiscent of M.A.S.H. 4077 (I still wonder if Hubby was responsible for that one, too).
Another favorite: The Poop Game (THANKS, Kara!) Here's My Big Girl sporting her princess gloves, a silver tray (we haven't returned to the neighbor's after they brought us Easter cupcakes...please don't tell), and, yes, a diaper with ... a mushed up candy bar in it! Guests had to guess what the candy bar was.
If you like that photo, what about this one. Of the paternal grand-mom allowing the maternal grand-mom to smell the 'dirty diaper.' Too Funny!!
Here's my mom enjoying the Occupational Therapy Baby Game (from my days of being a Speech Path at That Pediatric Hospital around here). Inside the onesies stuffed with tissue paper are about 16 useful baby items. Using their fine tactile senses, the guests guessed what those items were. SIL won that one. Think she's ready to have that baby?
And SIL received these notecards:
(SIL's a Chiropractor...Get it? Get it?? Doctor heal thy pregnant-back self. Or something like that.)
Oh! More favorites! See, my disorganized mind became a little sidetracked there. Although it makes perfect sense to follow 'games' with 'prizes,' but then, how does one transition back to this:
Ain't he the cutest little thing?? That diaper cake is made with cotton diapers from this local business. I like how SIL put it. She is 'eco-friendly.' I call her Mother Earth. Hopefully that's not offensive. Remember? Free range chickens. God love 'er. Hey - I actually love this cotton diaper idea. I think Mint Master said we could line all the world's dirty diapers up and round the earth 9 times at the equator?? Now, that's just gross. Even I, Anti-Green, can agree with that! But, I'm not changin' now. I will support those who do, however. Like Mother Earth. She is a good egg. I made her a cotton diaper diaper cake. That has to count for something. (at least 35,668.845 miles of diapers - that's about half the number of times those dirty diapers make it around the world. I figure my four kids account for about that many.)
More favorites: (Or maybe now it's 'cute I ideas I thought about and thought about and thought about and then sent Mint Master out to buy at the absolute last minute that Michael's was open but who's telling' section:)
That duck was made by hand, People. When Baby M+S arrives, I plan to take her picture (we don't know it's a her for sure, but I know for sure) and replace Duckie with Baby's photo. I think it makes a neat keepsake that a little girl would pour over and grow up to cherish. 'The celebratory wishes Mom's friends and family showered upon her when I was being born.' I know My Girlie-Girl would love something like that. What girl wouldn't?
And remember these?
They went with these cookie boxes:
Have you ever tried to bake 4 batches of cookies and 2 batches of cupcakes in the 3 hours your twins were at Kindergarten? Me either. Successfully, anyway.
And because I coordinate just this well, the table settings were tied up with ribbons and bows that matched the diaper cake that matched the cookie boxes that matched the water bottles that matched the...:
Don't you just love that Southern Living silverware caddy??
The sweet daisy cupcakes:
And the sweet Baby Mama.
P.S. Stay tuned this week for News from the Nashville Marathon!
It is done.
Four consecutive weeks of travel for my husband.
One week-long stamp camp for 40 (awesome) teachers and staff at our school.
The Baby Shower.
It is finished.
I will post pictures later tonite.
Home to Roost. At least 'til Friday when we head to Nashville to run 13.1 miles. But that's another story for another day.
See you later tonite.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The question was:
What Watt Christian are you? 40 Watt? 60 Watt? 100 Watt? The comparison was made to our lives as Christians. Do we attend church on Holidays? (We know which ones!) = 40 Watts. Or maybe Holidays and Sundays - even every Sunday = 70 Watts. Or, do you truly live a God-centered, 100 Watt life?
Four years after we started attending our church, we welcomed twins into the world. WOW! What a miracle. What an amazing blessing God had given us! And then, four days later, we discovered that our baby girl was born with a life threatening heart condition. It required surgery. It required pain and suffering - honestly, for us and the baby. We chose to follow God. He promised in the Bible that life would bring us trials and trouble. But He brings us life.
God doesn't bring us the trials and the trouble. Some people may be inclined to jump on the lie-wagon that God makes the bad stuff happen. I believe He may allow it to happen. And if we choose to follow Him through it, He can make good come from it.
If you've ever seen this video, then you've seen one of my favorite videos of all time. It's about 12 minutes long, and it's one of those life-changing experiences that overwhelms your heart. If we would do absolutely anything for our kids, then consider what Our Father would do for us, His kids.
Six and a-half years later, our baby is growing up. And tonite after light's out, she called me back into her bedroom. I assumed it was for one last hug. A cup of water. Any excuse not to sleep. Instead, I found her crying softly on her pillow. She looked up and asked, "Why do we have to die? Why can't Heaven be on Earth?"
She has survived six open heart surgeries. She even has a little brother who has survived one. She plans to take him to Heart Camp with her next year, and they can't wait.
It's been raining here. A nonstop kind of rain. It reminds me of this song. (And believe me, you want to see the end of it. If you've ever experienced the rain. Like this family. And this one.)
God Bless you. On this Saturday. Because God's there every day. Are you?
Friday, April 11, 2008
So, here she is, as wicked cool as a RawkStar baby:
Oh yeah. That's right. She RAWKS! (I'm still looking for that North Window, Scott Kelby. Meaning: I know her face is in shadows. IMNAmeteur) Oh, and I haven't read the book yet. I've been busy doing other things.
And here's the website that Rawks, too! I'm gettin' me one in every color. Or not. But a girl can dream. Oh, and if you're super lucky like I am, this month they accidentally send you the matching bangle bracelet for FREE! Well, I thought it was accidental luck. Until I read the website again and saw that it's an April special. How lucky am I???
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Aaaah, those cream cheese mints. A taste. Of my youth. Oh, how I love thee, let me count the ways!
For every important party my mom has ever been a part of in my life, she has made me these divine symbols of her love. Truly, they melt, calorie by calorie, into your mouth. With just the hint of mint, a creamy-sugary-heavenly taste sensation. I kid you not.
My sister-in-law is allergic to dairy products. It's truly a shame. Because if she weren't, she'd be able to partake in these lovely delicacies with me at her upcoming baby shower...wait a minute. Maybe dairy allergies are a blessing. How, you might ask? A blessing to me, that is, that I can eat these yummy treats all by myself (other shower guests, consider yourselves forewarned.)!
So, in case you are ever in need of a sweet little tasty bite of Heaven at your next function, here's the recipe, straight out of Betty Crocker's Bible. I mean Cookbook:
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
Few drops food coloring
Stir together softened cream cheese and peppermint extract. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring til smooth. "(Knead in the last of the powdered sugar with your hands)"
Here's what that looks like:
Oh, yeah. We're keeping it real. I'm pretty sure she washed before this picture was taken. At least right before, anyway.
Add food coloring. Knead to evenly distribute food coloring.
Form cream cheese into 3/4 inch balls (depends on the size of your mold), roll in sugar. That looks like this:
Um, I'm pretty sure about his hands...
Sprinkle candy molds lightly with sugar and press 3/4 to 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture into mold for each mint. Remove from molds.
Cover mints with paper towels. Let dry overnight. Store tightly covered in the fridge. Makes 48-60 mints.
Look at those mints. They're like little soldiers. All lined up for duty in my mouth. I bet if you covered them in chocolate, they'd taste like a Junior Mint. Only Better. Too bad my SIL's allergic to chocolate, too. Bless her heart.
Take a look at this Heavenly Delicacy that might rival my minty treats. Or not! ( http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2007/12/red-velvet-cake-balls.html )
Anyway, bears repeating that pic one last time. Just for the taste buds among us.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
This one is my pride and joy - combining Wild About You with my all-time favorite set, All in the Family. The vines are, I think from Monkey Business?? I have a fabulous frame for it from Hobby Lobby that has a shadow-box look to it, so none of those awesome layers get smooshed! Yay!
And hey, guys, let's keep it real, here. The above stamp images are copyright Stampin' Up!
the words under his name are a quote from the original birth announcement that read:
The child must know that he is a miracle,
that since the beginning of the world there has not been
and until the end of the world there will not be,
another child like him.
or a workspace that looks like this:And yes, I am at least slightly embarrassed to put these out there, but hey - I'm keepin' it real, plus, I'm trying to FLY, and it's a process I'm telling you - I'm constantly under construction.
My SIL doesn't partake in the land of excess, as I tend to do. She is planning to use cloth diapers. She eats eggs from free range chickens (and knows what that means). And I'm learning that I can learn a lot from her. As she begins the path of motherhood, I hope we can become better friends. And, in the end, learn from each other. Because I have discovered that this thing called Motherhood. This beast, this blessing, this path...it's not meant to be traveled alone. Shucks; that's why I have the internet.
P.S. If you came here looking for the cutie-patootie footage of Baby S crawling for the first time, that requires a computer literate person to upload onto Blogger, and, as we all know, I am computer illiterate.
God Bles end Gud Nite.
(illiterate, I tell you)