Monday, November 30, 2009

All Done

Give thanks #30

I am thankful that my themed blog entries have come to an end.

It's not that it was difficult to come up with something to be thankful for each day. In fact, I have countless others that come to mind - from silly to serious (like indoor plumbing or the right to vote) - I'm sure I could write about something every day for many days to come.

But it didn't feel like my "readers" were very interested or maybe I just wasn't writing about things that prompted comments. And it's hard to keep blogging when no one responds.

It was good to throw in two "Reader Polls" towards the let me know that there was still life out there.

It also felt like I was forcing myself to write instead of just letting my thoughts flow randomly.

So it was a good idea in theory. And I'm glad I did it just to keep me thinking about what I should be thankful for. But I don't think I'll do anything similar any time soon.

Now...back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reader Poll - Arguments With Spouse

If you've read any parenting books or seen the experts on the Today Show, you know that we're told not to argue with our spouse in front of our children. We are to ask them to go to another room, wait until they are asleep, or perhaps invent some sort of arguing lingo that only we understand. Whatever it takes to keep them from seeing mommy and daddy in an argument.

But if you read any marriage books - and even in our premarital counseling before our wedding - we're asked how we saw our parents resolve conflict because it will be insightful and probably indicate how we will also handle conflict.

This seems contradicting to me. While I agree to an extent that Josh and I shouldn't argue in front of the kiddos, for the most part, I interpret that as meaning knock down drag out fights! I do my best to control my tone with Josh if I'm really upset, and I know he does, too. But how are they to learn how people handle conflict if we don't exhibit some of it in front of them and let them see how we work it out?

I'm a little confused on this one. What are your thoughts?

Higher Education

Give thanks #29

In May of 2002 I graduated from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration - emphasis in Public Relations/Marketing. I am thankful for the years I spent there and the education I received. It was most certainly divine intervention that sent me to SBU, I'll have to elaborate on that some time.

I believe the professors where/are top notch, and I know that the College of Business and Computer Science was among the very best in the nation. I actually read an article not long after I graduated that said SBU was recognized as one of the top universities in the nation for business. I was proud to know I graduated from such a place.

Not only did I feel that I had the knowledge it would take to be in the business world, I know that they prepared me to actually FIND a career. I was prepared for interviews, and I know that one of my strengths is resume writing. I have helped several friends and family members with their resumes, and I enjoy making someone look really good on paper with the facts they give me.

Obviously I am not working outside of the home currently, but I still believe that higher education is important, even if I am home for several more years. I want to be able to tell my children that they should pursue a degree, not just because I say so but because I led by example. I believe the time away from "home" gives a young person time to develop discipline and learn who they are and what they are really good at doing.

So...thank you SBU. And thank you, mom and dad, for encouraging me to expand my academic mind! :o)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Strong Support System

Give thanks #27 & #28

My parents have always been a great support system in my life. They encouraged me to do the very best that I could do whether it was academics, athletics, instrumental or vocal name it.

They were supportive of my relationship with Josh, and even though Josh asked my dad permission to marry me when he was only 19, dad still must have seen something good in him and was thrilled at the idea of having him as his son-in-law. We would later get married when I was 21 and he was 20. Just kids. But knowing that they love Josh and never speak poorly of him has made our marriage stronger than it would be if they did not support us.

I believe we would have not made it through some rough spots if my family spoke unkindly of him. I mean, if I'm not feeling so thrilled to be his wife, all it would take is some prompting from someone close to me to put horrible thoughts in my head: "Yeah, he's not worth it anyway. You might was well just leave. You'd be better off."

I have NO ONE in my life who says that to me. I'm very thankful for that. But more importantly, my mom - and sister for that matter - wouldn't say it about him either. And those two people are very important supporters. My dad enjoys being around Josh, too, and it makes me happy that they have that sort of relationship.

Another set of supportive people are my in-laws. They are wonderful individuals, and I couldn't have hand-picked them any better! :o) I can honestly say that they are another mom and dad to me. If you see Josh's dad's truck in our driveway in the middle of the week, it's because he came over - just randomly - to play with the kids on his day off! He has become great friends with my dad. They've been known to go to Cards games and Rams games together. They also hunt together. He really is like another dad. Josh's mom has a sweet spirit, and even though she tends to be quiet, she's pretty funny when we get her going! She has always been kind to me, she has never questioned my parenting - I seriously can't thank her enough for that - and she has always made me feel like Rebecca (her other daughter-in-law) and I are really like her own girls.

I put my parents and Josh's parents into one thankful entry because we appreciate both "sets" so very much.

You all have been there for us, encouraged us, and loved us unconditionally. You must have taken to heart when Bro. Dean said, "These two shall become one," on our wedding day because I truly feel that the four of you are the greatest support system we could have ever asked for. You know that we are one, and you would never do anything to attempt to compromise that.

Thank you. We love you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I have some catching up to do...

Give thanks...catching up.

#23 Yesterday my new bedding arrived. This was my third pick, but only my second attempt (only the second time I ordered one). I am so thrilled with it. I really love it, it's just perfect and fits my personality and fits what I had in mind!

The picture doesn't really do it justice, it even looks nicer in real life. It has more of a shimmer look, and the blue is a prettier blue.

So I am thankful that I finally found the perfect bedding. It's been several months in the making!


Now to catch up on my 30 Days of Thanks, I'm going to cheat a little. Yesterday my sister gave me my Traveling Light book. I LOVE IT! I would highly suggest that everyone who blogs do this...have their blog turned into a book. THANK YOU, SONJA!

While flipping through it, I noticed several entries where I basically was writing about something I was thankful for. I didn't word it as such, but they were things I had thought of during this month (when I was brainstorming for ideas to write about), so I'm going to link those previous entries to my current entry about being thankful.

Here we go:

#24 I am thankful that Sarah C. let me borrow The Total Money Makeover. It changed us.

#25 I am thankful when God humbles me.

#26 I am thankful for the surgery that corrected Sarah's eye condition.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I pray that you have safe travels and that you eat lots of fun stuff...and that it doesn't show up on the scale! ;o)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reader Poll - Supervising Kids

If you have a secure, fenced-in yard (and by secure I mean that the fence is sturdy and children could not get out on their own through gates or missing slats, etc. - chain link or privacy fence would probably be the most "secure") would you allow your children to play outside somewhat unattended (and by unattended I mean let them play but check on them from time to time to see how their doing)? If you don't have a fence, would you allow them to play this way if you DID have a fence?

This came up in conversation with a friend the other day, so I was wondering what others thought.

And I'm having a "Reader Poll" because a few of my bloggy friends had one and I thought it was a good idea! :o)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm a Mini-Van Fan

Give thanks #22

For those of you who scoff at the idea of having a mini-van, I must tell you...quite simply...that you're missing out. Really, you are. My heart is heavy for those of you who will never get to experience the joys of having a mini-van! ;o) It's really a great thing, especially if you have more than one child. But even if I had just one, I'd still recommend it.

We decided after Sarah was born that we wanted to look for a van. And believe it or not, Josh was the one who first instigated the search. I told him if we could actually find something that we could afford (this was pre Dave Ramsey by the way, but I still wanted to pay it off in a year or less if we had to have payments at all), then we would go ahead and get one. I love the internet for many reasons, but finding a car is so easy on a computer!

Finally, in September of 2006, we found a pre-owned one that we liked - it was the color, make, and model that I preferred, so that made it even better!

Having extra room was great. Being able to go places with my parents or Josh's parents...and not taking two vehicles was nice. favorite part about our van is that if I need to actually WALK AROUND inside, I can! If I need to get up and go sit in the back to help comfort a crying baby, I can do that...while in transit! Yes, this only works if someone else is driving...ha!

So today, I proclaim my thankfulness for our mini-van. It's not brand new (it's a 2000) and it's not top-of-the-line, but I sure love it and plan to take care of it for many years to come!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Messy, Joyful Boy

Give thanks #21

I am thankful for Spray 'N Wash with Resolve Power.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Evidently I look MUCH older than 23...

Tonight Caleb and I made a trip to Wal-Mart to try and find a few clothing items for our upcoming family pictures. I did not get all dolled up for this outing, I merely had my usual Wal-Mart outfit on, complete with Adidas pants, t-shirt with a gray sweatshirt over the top, and tennis shoes.

Oh, and no make-up.

As we approached the check out lines, I saw a tall, nice looking, college-aged guy standing at aisle 8 with no one in his lane. He smiled and said with a very friendly tone, "Ready to check out?!" And I replied, "Sure!"

Now, I must confess, anyone who is that friendly to me in the evening after I've had a day of loud children to tend to should receive a bonus. And I could tell that was just his personality. I'm not always that privileged to encounter such a nice employee at Wal-Mart to be honest.

He said to Caleb, "So, what's it like shopping with your sister." Ah, yes. Trying to be sweet.

Caleb responded, "Oh, my brother's birthday party is tomorrow." I know, completely random, but I don't think he understood what the cashier was asking.

The guy continued with the flattery, "So, how old is your sister (meaning me)? Twenty-three?"

Of course, Caleb chimed in and said, "No, she's three." The guy was confused because he obviously didn't know that Caleb did, in fact, have a sister. It just wasn't me.

I just smiled and said, "He has a little sister. But you just made my night."

"Well, I'm glad I could do that!" He handed me my receipt, and I walked out of Wal-Mart with a smile.

Until I reached the car and replayed this in my head.

When a young guy who is kind-natured says something like that, that means he's trying to flatter a person. And since he used the number twenty-three, he must have thought I LOOKED MUCH OLDER than that or it wouldn't be that much of a compliment.

Oh. My.

I guess I will wear make-up next time. Maybe that will get me 21?


By the's not that I think I look 23...or 24, 25, 26...whatever...but when I'm already getting pretend age flattery comments...I think it's just a weird thing to have to experience already.

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Give thanks #19 & #20

The very first day of my "give thanks" entries started with true friendships. So I realize I've already mentioned what friends mean to me, but I'm going to be a little more specific about something that I'm thankful for.

Several of you who read my blog know Sarah H. She is very dear to me, one of my very closest friends. I consider her one of my two BFF's...and I just think that's the cutest title! :o)

Lately it seems that we have both had lots going on. Sometimes it's doctor appointments (for ourselves or our children). Sometimes it's getting our nails filled (correction: HER nails filled)! One day she wanted to go with her son on his field trip. One day I needed to go to the dentist. All of these things mean that our children need someone to watch them. And guess what...we have each other! My kids love her kids, and her kids love my kids, so for them, it's always just an extra person to play with!

I am thankful that we have each other to help out in these situations. We trust each other enough to share our joys and our hurts, but we also trust each other enough to leave our children with each other.

That's #19

The #20 is a little sappy and I'm sure it breaks all the guy rules about this sort of thing, but I'm just going to go out on a limb and write about it anyway. I am thankful for her husband, Joe.

It's not for myself, even though I do think he's a neat guy. I am thankful for his friendship with my husband. Sure, they're goofy together, talk fantasy football together, and have played golf together. In many cases, this is what friendships are to guys - just someone to talk sports and hang out with. But they have a friendship that I'm guessing not all guys have. I mean...think about's easy for us girls to share with each other because that's our tendency. It's more difficult for guys to do that, and that's why I know this is a God thing. He knew that Josh and Joe would experience similar struggles in their lives and they could help each other through these experiences.

And the main reason I'm thankful for Joe is this: I know that if Josh is upset about me, and if he talks to Joe, Joe would not say anything negative about me. And vice versa. They can talk about these things, but they have a clear understanding about the importance of marriage and the importance of giving advice in a positive way. The conversation would never be, "Oh, Chrissy does that? Yeah, what a !@#$ should hear what Sarah does..." Never, never, never...

The four of us have great times together. But we also know LOTS about each other, so whether they like it or not, Joe and Sarah are stuck with us as friends! ;o)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Gabriel!

It's just really hard for me to comprehend that it's been a year already since we took this picture...

You are such a sweet little boy. Your smile makes others smile, not to mention it makes ME smile! Your adventurous personality makes my heart happy, and I am so honored to be your mom.

I pray that God gives me many more years with you and that, with His grace and guidance, I will nurture your spirit so that you will become a man after God's own heart.

I love you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday (with thanks)

Give thanks #18

I am thankful for three healthy pregnancies. I have not taken this for granted. I know it is a blessing that I should always be mindful of.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God's Timing

Give thanks #17

There are times...more often than I'd like to admit...that I question God's timing. Of course, it's always because something didn't happen the way I wanted it to, and so I sit back and think, "Would it have really been so bad to do it my way?"

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD." Isaiah 55:8

I cling to that verse often. It has given me comfort in times when things just didn't make sense to me.

Then there are times when I look back and see VERY CLEARLY why God set my path in a different direction than I wanted it to be. In those times, I cannot thank Him enough. I have even found myself telling Him I'm sorry for asking for my life's direction to be a different way. Those are the times where He gives me a very small glimpse into His greatness. I believe there are many situations that I will never fully understand while here on earth, and He does not have to reveal His reasons to me. But every now and then, I see a broader picture. And it's amazing.

I know there will still be situations in my life when I will not fully grasp why it has to be a certain way. But I am thankful for His faithfulness throughout my short 30 years to always be by my side...

Whether I understand His timing or not.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Give thanks #16

Back in January when I started blogging, I wrote this:

In those quiet times, I often just walk through our home. My arms are folded, and I slowly look at each room. Sometimes it's all picked up: kids clothes and toys are put away, furniture is dusted, dishes are clean, beds are made, floors are vacuumed. Other times, it's not so tidy! Either way, I just find myself feeling so thankful for my home. It's a very modest home, nothing spectacular. It's in a nice neighborhood where I know many of the people around me. I would feel comfortable walking next door and asking for a cup of sugar! I have, in fact, gone next door and asked for jumper cables! :o)

To read the entire entry, click here.

There probably isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how much I love my home and my neighborhood. And like I mentioned in the above writing, it's not because it's so spectacular. It's not in an upscale area. It's not huge, and to be honest, some days I wonder if we'll outgrow it! But it's quaint, and it's perfect for us. I adore my neighbors. It's great to take a walk early in the morning (well, any time of day really) without worrying about traffic. My kids can walk with me or ride bikes, and I know it is safe because the cars driving by are cautious enough to know that families do that...we take walks with kids.

I am quite fond of our back yard. It has given my children hours of fun. With the fence around the back (that my husband and a few others worked on the week we moved in) I know that I can go outside with all three of them and not worry about one of them wondering off! :o) They enjoy the big Willow tree and often have adventures under the low-hanging branches. We play "kickity kick ball" or other games, and it's just a great time.

The day might come when we move away from this place. Maybe it's because we found a bigger home with more room for our growing family...or maybe it will be because God called us elsewhere. Either way, I know that the memories we've created here will never fade. Caleb had his first birthday here. Sarah and Gabriel were brought home from the hospital to this place. So many memories. And I cherish them all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Foundation in His Word

Give thanks #15

When I was about 5-years-old, I attended a Wednesday night children's ministry at the First Assembly of God in Rolla. It was similar to the program we have at our church as far as scripture memorization, and I believe that hiding His word in my such an early age...truly set the path for my entire life.

I am thankful for the foundation in God's Word that this children's ministry provided and thankful that my mom saw the importance of working with me on my verses.

The first picture I was a "Daisy" and received the Daisy of the Year Award. The second picture I was a "Prim".

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Children (currently) Get Along (for the most part)

Give thanks #14

Before I had children, I'm not sure if I gave much thought as to how close together we should have them. I'm pretty sure I knew I wanted them closer than the distance between me and my sister (six years), but other than that, I wasn't really into trying to "plan" it a certain way.

I'm glad God figured it out for me.

That's not to say that having children ages 5, 3, and almost 1 doesn't drive me crazy sometimes, but for the most part I can see the benefits - huge benefits - to having them close together.

I love seeing Caleb and Sarah play together. It's really sweet. Yes, there are times when Caleb irritates her. And there are times when Sarah takes something from Caleb. But...generally speaking...they really love each other and love playing together. They even annoy me together. They'll start saying lines from a movie together, OVER AND OVER, and I'll tell them to stop. They'll giggle and start saying it quietly to each other.

Yesterday I sent them outside, and instead of playing in the yard, they played on the deck. Caleb had his Batman Cave, Sarah had a doll house.

Sarah took her My Little Pony over to his cave, Caleb took his "bad guys" to her doll house. It was so funny. He even had her Barbie's on top of the Batman cave once (as shown above). They did this for over an hour. And I was able to clean the kitchen while they did this (and Gabriel napped). It was so nice. Yes, I had the deck door open the entire time so I could hear and see them!

And even though Gabriel is still pretty small, they often try to include him in what they're doing.

I used to wonder if this would last. Maybe when they get older they won't be so close? I'm starting to realize how much of a bond they are developing right now, and I just can't imagine that bond being broken. I believe they will always look after each other. I think they will be great friends growing up. Sure, they might irritate each other from time to time...but I'm confident that the time they are spending together now is forming a foundation of closeness that will not be broken.

I am thankful for having my children close together. And I am thankful that they are developing the bond that will carry them throughout their lives.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mac & Cheese

Give thanks #13

I am (far too often) thankful for this...

Because if the day seems too hectic or if I didn't plan ahead for dinner (I know, what a travesty) I know that at least my kids will be happy and fed with their favorite "pasta option" - ok, I know it's a stretch, but I always just consider it a pasta dinner/lunch. Works for me! ;o)

And what do Josh and I eat when the kids get their Mac & Cheese? For me, it's NOT Mac & Cheese. I actually hate the stuff. We just find whatever is in the fridge or freezer. It's a free for all. I really try to limit this to once a week. I'd say that's about right.

Sadly, the kids probably look forward to their Mac & Cheese dinner more than any other. Even Gabriel ate an entire bowl of it.

Yum (for them).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Me" Time

Give thanks #12

I realized something last night...something I already knew but something that was magnified after a rough couple days.

I really need some "me" time each evening. Josh completely understands this. In fact, I was really having a difficult day yesterday - a day full of Gabriel crying and wanting to be held every second, which just happened to follow a night of no sleep for me because he wanted me to hold him all night. Those days push me to the limit. I have little patience with Caleb and Sarah, and I also become so irritated with Gabriel being glued to my hip that I want to just go to my room and lock the door.

This is not an option, however.

So when Josh got home, he said, "Why don't you go grocery shopping by yourself. Take as long as you need." Grocery shopping alone is like a mini vacation to be honest.

And, by the way, I'm sorry if I ever sound like I'm not grateful to stay home with my kiddos. I don't mean to. It's probably like someone complaining about their job when they should be thankful that they have a job. I'm just hoping other moms understand.

I left. I shopped. I got what we needed for two weeks of meals. I purchased the movie UP. Complete impulse buy, but it was worth it.

When I walked into the house, I immediately picked up Gabriel and he giggled at me. So I smiled at him. Josh helped bring in all the groceries, and I played with my little guy in his room for a while. We both seemed to have enjoyed the little break, and Josh said, "You look like a different person right now."

I was.

I am thankful for "me" time each evening. Sometime it's grocery shopping. Sometimes it's a walk around the neighborhood. Whatever it is, I just need to have some quiet away from what is sometimes a stressful day of being a domestic engineer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

Give thanks #11

I genuinely appreciate the men and women who serve in our military. I am thankful for their sacrifice and what they do to defend our freedom.

Happy Veteran's Day to those brave soldiers - past and present - who have put themselves in harm's way to protect others.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Blog

Give thanks #10

When I started blogging, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know if I'd have something written every day, or if this would just be a whim that would fizzle out.

What has happened has been great. I have found that my blog is just like a journal for me, and it's been a way to connect to other friends, family, moms, etc. in a way that I didn't expect! At times it's been a way to put into words my feelings about being a stay-at-home mom. It's been a way to share about my struggles with food/weight. I have shared the wonderful insights that God has revealed to me and how He's working in my life each day.

So part of this give thanks entry is about blogging. I'm thankful for this outlet, and I'm thankful that others share in the same way. It keeps me sane. Really, I think it does.

The other part of this entry is about what my sister gave me for my birthday. I am so very excited! She hijacked my blog so-to-speak and was able to turn it into a 274 page hardback book using - how fun! It will incorporate all of my blog entries, from the first one through November 4th (my birthday). It will have all of the pictures I've posted with each entry. I can't wait to see it! And I think I'd like to do this each year either around my birthday or around Christmas. How interesting it will be many years from now to read about my life as a young mom and wife. Perhaps my children will be thankful for the book form of my blog as well.

So thank you to my friends who blogged before me and inspired me to start one. And THANK YOU SONJA for the amazing birthday present. I just can't wait til it arrives!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rejoicing With a Fellow Believer (who, by the way, I don't even know)

Give thanks #9.5 (I have an extra one today!)

It's amazing to me how we can become so emotionally connected to someone we don't even know...just by reading their story and keeping up with their lives via a blog. Maybe that sounds weird to some. Maybe, in some way, it's no different than those who are obsessed with "entertainment" news.

I think it's different.

Since January or so (when I officially began blogging) I've been reading a blog originally entitled My Charming Kids. She now goes by MckMama (well, she always has, but now her blog is called that, too)! Many of my fellow blog friends read it as well.

Her son's story is quite amazing. Their faith is amazing. Her writing style is something I absolutely love, and there's just something about her that makes me feel like I know her personally. But in reality, I don't.

And still...I found myself praying daily for her little boy. Back in July, when Josh and I were in Michigan, I couldn't stop thinking about Stellan. He had quite a scare back then, and I kept going to my computer thinking, "Please, Lord, let him make it through this."

He did make it through.

Today brought more anxiety for the one known as MckMama. Today Stellan had a heart ablation. It was something the family had been preparing for. They knew it was risky, and I just can't imagine what that mother must have gone through. Really. I found myself in tears as I read:

"This morning, Stellan flat lined on the table in front of me, lost his blood pressure nearly completely and needed to be shocked back to life."

Can you even imagine?

But just a few hours ago, she posted this, and I REJOICED WITH HER! I really did. I found myself in tears. I was so thankful that her little boy made it through the procedure with flying colors.

And I even told Caleb about this today. He was standing beside me at the computer when I was reading her blog earlier, and I told him we needed to pray for a little boy who would be having heart surgery. "I should draw him a picture," he responded. Caleb always draws pictures for people in our family who are sick or having surgery. So I encouraged him to do so.

Later, he decided that others should see his picture and pray for Stellan, so Josh helped him put it outside (he taped it to the wooden stick himself).

It made me emotional to see him do this. Just knowing that he was also praying for someone he didn't know and cared enough to put his picture outside for others to join us in praying.


"So that's that. Stellan, who nearly died on us this morning, is SVT free tonight. To God be the glory, great things He hath done!"

And I am thankful.

The Fruit of the Spirit (Minus One)

My sweet friend and neighbor, Kim, walked over to my fence yesterday while I was outside watching my kids play, and we struck up a conversation. I always enjoy talking with her. We discussed Weight Watchers a little bit, and I could really feel myself getting excited about the idea of having someone to go to meetings with. Maybe...just maybe this is what I need to get back on track?

As I was praying last night, I began to ask God, "Will I really stick to this? Should I invest money into something if I'm just going to continue my poor eating habits? Why can't I keep from eating that stupid stuff?" Yes, I really do talk to God like this.

Amazingly, a scripture came to mind. I really can't believe it. These words have been repeating over and over in my head ever since I asked Him, "Why can't I keep from eating that stupid stuff?"

"...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. " Galatians 5:22&23


Have I somehow conveniently left off one of the "Fruits of the Spirit" in my life? How could I have overlooked this? I can't believe I've been lacking such an important part of this scripture.

Really, I've heard that passage dozens of times. Haven't you? I've read devotions on it, heard sermons on it, and listened to Christian radio segments on it. Wow. I've heard people talk about the difficulties of having joy or patience. Or the difficulties of having gentleness in certain circumstances.

I've never thought about self-control.

For some, the concept of self-control might be evident in their shopping habits. Maybe they buy too many pairs of shoes. Maybe self-control is difficult in the words someone uses; they can't tame their tongue.

For me, it's food.

So I will pray that this fruit of the spirit will be evident in my life. I pray that this revelation will be a testimony for me, and that in the months to follow, I will be able to share how self-control, through God's grace and strength, has allowed me to gain a foothold on something that has been so difficult for me.

First WW meeting is tomorrow.

Beautiful November

Give thanks #9

I know it's probably corny and lame to talk about the weather, but I have to tell you...these first nine days of November have been the most beautiful autumn days I've probably ever seen. It allowed for me to get out of a mopey slump (after all the RAIN, RAIN, RAIN in October) and I was able to have a gorgeous day to celebrate turning 30. The Tuesday that Josh planned for me was so sunny. The Wednesday of my actual birthday was gorgeous, too. And this past Saturday, I had some family members (and a close friend) come to my house to celebrate, too, and it was just perfect. It allowed for some nice pictures...

Jennifer, me, Sonja, and Kelly - the "granddaughters" on my dad's side.

I know that these pretty, sunny days are not a constant here in Missouri. By Saturday (I think...according to we will see rain again. But two weeks of sun has been enough to recharge me. I think I can handle a few days of rain. I'd even like to see some snow! ;o)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Husband's Work Ethic

Give thanks #8

"If anyone does not provide for...his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 1 Timothy 5:8

I am thankful for Josh's work ethic. And really, I guess I should thank his father for teaching him this trait, not in words but through example. (Not that his mom wasn't a hard worker, but I think boys often develop this trait through their father's example.)

He provides for our family. He is willing to take on "extra duties" at school to help out even more. He wants to work an extra job this summer to wipe out our debt faster, and I'm guessing he'd do that every summer to start saving for our children's education.

I know for sure that if, for any reason, he lost his current job, he would IMMEDIATELY start looking for another one, even if it was less than desirable work.

He has also told me that he appreciates my willingness to find work if I needed to. I've talked about working an evening shift, and I think if he wasn't coaching basketball, I would have started this a long time ago.

We have both been taught the value of work.

And...he finds the perfect balance between work and family. Even though he's willing to work hard, he also knows when to draw the line.

I know I am not the only woman who feels this way about her husband. If you find yourself thinking, "My husband is just the same!" then I encourage you to tell him. Often. I really try to thank Josh as often as I can for this trait. Because not every man is this way.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Spill Proof Sippy Cups

Give thanks #7

Really...who invented these?

They deserve a medal of honor.

My mom still has one of my sippy cups from when I was a toddler, but it is not spill proof. How on earth did moms of yesteryear survive without the spill proof kind?'s ok. I don't want to know. I'm glad some BRILLIANT person decided to create a way for me to fill up a cup of milk and know that it will not end up all over the floor.

Genius I tell you. Pure genius.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our Two-Car Garage

Give thanks #6

When it's cold and the wind is blowing hard, or when the rain is pouring down, I am very (very, very, very) glad that we have a garage. It was not so bad running out to a car and getting in quickly when the weather was less than great pre-children, but now that we have three kiddos, it is really nice to be able to load them into the van without the rain pounding on my back. Well, at least on one side of the trip anyway. Once we arrive at the desired location, it's a different story. But at least half the battle is less stressful!

I also am fond of my garage when the weather gets colder and frost begins to form on windshields. We do not have to warm up our vehicles ahead of time. They are just ready.

We were married for four years before we finally bought our first house and it had a two-car garage. While I wish I had a basement, the two-car garage was on the top of my list. Next time, we'll have a basement and a fire place! ;o) But I do remember not having a garage. And now I find myself thankful on many occasions that I have one now.

Lord, I am reminded that it's ok to thank you for the little things in life. You deserve thanks for all things!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Student Loan Forgiveness

A few weeks ago, something big happened for me and Josh, and I actually can't believe I didn't write about it the day it happened. But it is fitting to include it in my 30 Days of Thanks, so I'll just mention it now!

Right after Josh graduated from SBU, we knew that it would be a possibility for (a portion of) his student loans to be forgiven if he taught in a school district that met the guidelines set by DESE: teach in a teacher shortage area (content area like math, science, special education, etc) and in a school that serves low-income families. He did not set out to find a school district that fit this, but I was working in Rolla at the time, and we were so excited to learn that there would be a math opening in St. James. This would mean we could live close and neither one of us would be driving far to work.

After he had been teaching a few years, I asked him if he had looked up the loan forgiveness information so we would know exactly what to do when the time came. He did. He had to wait exactly until the last day (last hour, last second, you get the picture) of his fifth year of teaching. So he filled out all the paperwork and faxed it off on the day after his last day of school this past spring.

And then we waited.

We hoped for the best. Of course we hoped that the maximum amount would be forgiven, but anything would be nice. Sixty days went by...we heard nothing. Ninety days went by...and Josh finally called AES to see if they had any information. After a few rounds of phone tag (with someone who was basically impossible to get a hold of) he heard the words that we were so hoping to hear: "You were granted the maximum amount. $17,500 will be taken off of your balance."


I did a happy dance. I squealed with joy! What a HUGE financial blessing for us. After working so hard to pay down debt and knowing that our student loan was the last leg of our journey, we just knew that we could knock out the remaining balance - about $12,000 - by June. Then we will be debt free except for our mortgage. I can't wait to see what that feels like.

Thank you, Lord, for this amazing financial blessing. We know that You worked it out so that we would be right where we were supposed to be so this would happen. We pray that we continue to honor you with our finances.

This Generation of Women

Give thanks #4

Being a woman born in this generation is a huge blessing. I could go on about the right to vote, the right to own land/property, women in the work force and making the same amount of money as men, or the ability to have a career that in ages past would have only be done by a man. I've read stats that say more than 55% of those who graduate from a university are now women.

All of these things are amazing.


What I really had in mind for today is something less spectacular when compared to the above. Because really, what I am thankful for is...

Are you sitting down?

Modern feminine products.

That's right. I said it. I'm thankful for tampons.

I mean, come on...can you imagine what it must have been like before the invention of the current maxi pad or the tampon?

I know, I should have warned my two male readers. Sorry. I'll do better at warning you next time.

And usually this is where I write a brief thank you message to God. I think He's rolling His eyes at me right now, so I better not write one this time.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Birthday Surprise

Give thanks #3

On Tuesday morning, Josh handed me an light blue colored envelope with my name on it. He would be gone on Wednesday - my actual birthday - so I figured he just wanted to be able to give me my card ahead of time so he could see me read it and I could tell him thank you. The adventure that began with that card was something I could have never imagined, and it was by far the best birthday gift/surprise that anyone has ever pulled off for me!

Inside the card was a small piece of paper...with a short poem written:

To make this day special
I'll send you on a quest
To make you feel special
Because you are the best

Be careful of time
And don't forget the clues
Or you won't know
Just what to do

To start: drop off Caleb at preschool and leave the car seats and kids with Sarah H and pick up your next card.

Wow, I suddenly felt a huge smile come across my face. The fact of the matter is, Josh isn't exactly the best at planning ahead or keeping a secret when it comes to gifts/surprises! I don't know, maybe it's a guy thing?! :o) But I could already tell that he had something big up his sleeve with this one!

I did what the card said. I got the kids all dressed and ready, and we headed to Caleb's preschool. I dropped him off, gave him a hug, and then proceeded to drive to Sarah H's house to leave Sarah and Gabriel with her. What a sweet friend. I stood in her kitchen and asked if she had another card for me? She smiled and said, "Of course!" I read the next clue.

A common symbol for marriage
Means more than people know
A good place to start as any
Because to me, it's not just for show

This symbol started our marriage and could use a good cleaning. Find a place to make it sparkle and get a gift. Be there by 10:00 am. Don't forget your next clue.

I thanked Sarah and left for Rolla. Again, I just couldn't stop smiling. I knew where to go. We had just gone through some local "birthday freebies" that I received in the mail, and I knew that Kent Jewlry was the place to be. When I walked into the store and told them that I was Chrissy, the girl just smiled and said, "Right this way," and before I handed her my ring, she handed me another card! After I gave her my ring, I stood at the front desk and read my next clue.

They made your ring shine
Now it's your turn
Your smile is often beaming
And sends me the extra mile

"Make this birthday truly special
By starting with a beautiful new smile"
A checkup, a cleaning, and stuff to make it white
After today, you will be just right!

You received a slip of paper for a special gift so bright, just go there and get a checkup and your smile will be white. Be there by 11:00 am SHARP. Don't forget your next clue.

Oh, I was so excited. The girls at the jewelry store asked me where I was going next, and I said, "If I tell you, it will sound weird! But I have a dentist appointment, and I've been wanting to have my teeth whitened for so long!" The girls agreed that it sounded like a great idea.

I left the store with a sparkling ring and a hop in my step. I just wanted to drive back to St. James and give Josh a big hug, but I had to stay on track. The clues said to be there right on time after all! :o)

So I drove across town to Forum Dental, smiling the entire time. I pulled up, got out of my van, and energetically entered the dentist office in a way I'm sure most people do not approach the front desk! I saw two girls standing there and said, "Hi, I'm Chrissy...I have an appointment at 11:00." Both girls smiled really big (this is a pattern with this adventure) and a girl with dark hair named Melissa said, "Yes, everything has been taken care of (forms, insurance, etc) and I have a card for you." I took the card from her and had a seat in the waiting area. I wondered where I'd go next...

Tara is not just a place in Gone with the Wind
Days go by where you do not feel

Today that will change
It will take a little while
So no need to rush
You'll always be my sweetie
You'll always be my crush

Find a place that is relaxing...the name is in the clue. You're appointment is at 1:00 pm but get there a little early to enjoy lunch before you start.

No. Way. Oh. My.

I'm not sure the day could get any better.

But...I must admit, I had a set-back in my day. While this was bad news, I am SO GLAD Josh made me finally go to the dentist after...ahem...10 years. (Remember my "judging blog"? Yeah, go ahead. It's ok. Bad, Chrissy.) No, I did not have any cavities, but because I've had three children (and that can take it's toll on a woman) I had some minimal bone loss. The dentist said it was caught early, no big worries. He also said it's time to have my wisdom teeth cut out.


And while this news would normally be dreadful, I'm just glad that I finally got in to the dentist. I did not get my impressions for my whitening trays. I will have to have those fitted in 4-6 weeks after I have my "extensive" cleaning next week ( know...10 years of not seeing a dentist is not a good thing).


While most people might hang their head after such news, I briskly walked out of the building knowing that my day was not done.

I drove to Tara Day Spa. When I approached the front desk, I told them my name. The massage therapist smiled and said, "We have lunch set up for you back here...let me show you." Really? That's not something they do. How'd he pull this off? She took me to a room where my favorite sandwich from Panera was sitting, complete with a brownie and a Pepsi! Later I asked one of the girls if she knew who brought it in for me, and she said she thought it was my dad. It was actually Josh's dad!

While I was there I had an aroma bath, massage, manicure, pedicure, and a facial. I have never ever had all of those at once, and I've actually never had a facial!

My last card said...

Unfortunately your day is over
Time to come home to your family
I hope you had lots of fun

This is a special day
No reason to be sad
Your family loves you
So that is a lot of reasons to be glad!

The reference to being sad, of course, is because I hadn't wanted to turn 30! ;o) But I must say, the day that Josh put together for me was simply the best. It was so thoughtful, and so me.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a husband who knows how to make me feel special.

And to those who played a part in the day (even the ones at each location...I wish I could tell them thank you) thanks so much. It meant the world to me. Oh, and even my mom played a part...she watched the kids last Friday so Josh could drive all over Rolla and get the cards to each location.

It was a great day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday (with thanks)

November 4, 1979.

Give thanks #2

(I know this day is supposed to be "wordless" so just consider this a long caption!)

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5

I am thankful that God created me and knew me before I even took my first breath. What an amazing thought. He made me to be just as I am. He knows my every thought, my every step, my everything. And He loves me and cares for me enough to send His only son to die for my sins. Jesus came to pay a debt He didn't owe, because I owed a debt I couldn't pay.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me. For sending your son for me. For healing my broken heart when no one else can, giving me strength when I feel weak, rejoicing with me in times of gladness. You are the Creator of all things, and yet, you know me and every detail about me. I am humbled.

30 Days of Thanks

I saw this idea on a few other blogs, and I thought it would be a great way to redirect my thinking (boo hoo I'm 30) ;o) and realize that I have so much to be thankful for. So, during the month of November, I will give thanks. I will link each post back to this one, just in case someone stumbles upon my blog and sees "Give thanks #13" (or whatever number it happens to be) and wonders where that came from! :o)


I am a couple days behind, so I'll add in an additional thankful item within two other posts in the month. Some will be deep, meaningful things like maybe a relationship. But I must warn you...some might seem silly! I mean...aren't most people thankful for a remote control?

Give thanks #1

I am thankful for close friendships. I believe people can go throughout life and never find a TRUE friend. One who loves you for the real you. I can be quirky, moody, ornery, and snippy sometimes, but deep down, I am a caring and compassionate person. The people who know me best know that I love the Lord and seek to further His kingdom, and with certain people in my life, I am a stronger person and can do just that.

I don't want to make a "list" of the people I am most thankful for because I'm sure they know who they are. Maybe I'll email them just to be sure! :o) But I thank God for the people in my life who make me a better Christian mom and wife. Those who life me up in prayer. Those who have seen me cry (or heard me cry over the phone)! Those who know things about my life that I'd rather keep private, and who honor that request to do so.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me some of the most wonderful friends. I cannot imagine my life without them. When I wonder why my life has lead me to this exact place, I can know for sure that it is because I was supposed to meet these people. And I am blessed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I am one of THOSE moms...

As hard as I've worked to be a non-competitive who doesn't compare her children to others and rejoices in their own accomplishments (not rejoicing because they "did better" than someone else) I found myself becoming someone else the other day. I'm not sure where she came from.

One Sunday afternoon, I had just finished with hand bell practice, and Debbie (the hand bell director...and...also Caleb's Sunday school teacher) reminded me that there will be a Christmas program for the children this year, ages 4 through 6th grade. I told her I thought that was great, and I was so excited that she and Kristen would be working with the kids on this! All I knew was that it would be a traditional program, full of wise men, shepherds, and angels.

Then she mentioned that there would also be speaking parts, and the kids would be "trying out" for them.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I immediately asked her what kind of lines and if I could work with Caleb on it. I proceeded to tell her that he already had acting experience because he played the role of Jesus as a 4-month-old!

Furthermore, I told her that he was the only boy to complete his AWANA Cubbies book last year, which obviously means he is good at memorizing.

She just smiled at me and said, "You know, he'll be the youngest one. The older kids will probably be doing the speaking parts!"

I nodded. "Sure, maybe next year," I added.

But secretly, I hope he gets a speaking part. Of course, I'll be ok with it if he doesn't. Yet...somewhere inside me is the mom who just knows her son would be the best little wise man!


A Brief Letter

Dear Youth:

Thank you for many wonderful years. Tomorrow is the last day I will be in my 20's, and I know that marks the end of my time with you. You have given me some of the best memories, and I hope that everything I did with my time with you has made you proud.

I'm told this is just the beginning of my life. But the truth is, I know I'll miss you. I'd like to write more. You're worth it after all. I just can't bring myself to say what is on my heart. Tears are already forming.



Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Trick or Treaters

I hope that everyone had a fun evening of harvest activities last night! We sure did. Here is a picture of my sweet little costume-crazed kiddos. I just loved the Ninja Turtle/Princess/Scarecrow combination...

And you know I like to compare photos of my children, so here you go:

Below is Caleb...he is a little "older" than Gabriel in this picture since their birthdays are three months apart, but I think they look similar. Of course, Caleb has the lighter skin tone and red hair, and Gabriel has darker features. Nonetheless...they are cute scarecrows! :o)

Happy November!!

For more pictures, click here.