Sunday, May 30, 2010

I created a blog button...

I seriously can't believe I just did this. Gosh, I really miss working in an IT department where the guys would show me how to do things like this. Instead, I just kept working at it until I figured it out on my own.

Voila. A blog button. Complete with HTML code.


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I read a post by Elizabeth about a family of five living on $1200 for the month of June. I thought that sounded like a great challenge, and I wanted to join her in this endeavor. I also told her she needed a blog button, so I started playing around with it.

It was fun!

So here's to my new button making ability. And to my $1200 budget challenge!

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[IMG]http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk192/chrissyrenee79/pink2-1.jpg[/IMG]

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Falsely Accused

Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Matthew 5:11-12

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Have you ever encountered a situation where you were pronounced guilty before a "trial" or without being able to even explain yourself? Let me share with you [an incident] that I had to encounter.

[It] happened to me when I pastored a church in Oregon. When I came to the church I learned that a young woman cleaned the church each week. She did not attend the church, but that was agreeable with the church board.

After I had been there about a year I heard that this young lady had accepted a position at the local lumber mill. I called her to determine what her plans were as far as continuing the job at the church. As I spoke with her on the phone I heard her brother in the background say I had called to fire her! The family became incensed that I had "fired' her by phone instead of meeting her face to face.

Even though I repeatedly explained that we did not want her to quit, but just were interested in her plans—in their minds I was the dirty guy who fired her!

Perhaps most people have encountered a similar situation. The thing that hurts the most is that nothing can be said that will convince our accusers that we are not at fault for what has happened.

That brings us to the implication of today’s Scripture. HOW ARE WE TO REACT WHEN PEOPLE FALSELY ACCUSE US?

In this portion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He says that we are to rejoice! What?! How can we rejoice when we are innocent and are being falsely accused? The answer is simple—because Jesus says that is what we are to do!

The world is anxious to see believers who act differently in the face of adverse situations. To give sincere praise in the face of adversity and unprovoked attack is the most powerful witness we can give.

In Acts, chapters six and seven, we read about a faithful servant of the Lord named Stephen. Not only did he wait on tables to distribute food, but he was full of the Lord’s grace and power to perform mighty works.

In spite of his faithful service he was arrested and accused of blasphemy. Even in the face of severe consequences he proclaimed the pure Word of truth. He was stoned to death, but he never reacted with resentment toward those who were killing him.

What were the last recorded words of Stephen as he was being pounded to death by those wicked stones? "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." That, dear heart, is the kind of testimony this old sin-sick world is waiting to observe!

Blessings dear hearts. Draw near to God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing!

-Pastor Ceci

Friday, May 28, 2010

No Secrets

I'm electing to answer just one of the questions on Mama M's Five Question Friday today.



If you had $100 handed to you in cash without your significant other knowing about it, what would you spend it on?

First of all, I find the wording of this question either interesting or disturbing. I'm guessing some might think I'm weird for saying so, but it implies that I would hide this $100 from my husband. Even as an adult, I have been given money for my birthday (for example) and I have never hidden the amount from Josh. I have always opened the card, looked at the check or cash and said, "Wow, honey, so-and-so sent me [this amount]! Wonder what I should do?" And then we often use it on a night out together.

When asked "Have you ever lied about how much you paid for a purchase to your spouse?" 66% said "of course" in a Redbook Survey.

If you argue with your spouse about money once a week, your marriage is 30% more likely to end in divorce. -National Marriage Project

I honestly don't understand the concept of keeping money issues a secret from my spouse. As Dave Ramsey calls it, it's financial infidelity. I remember once seeing an episode of Oprah (don't throw something at me for watching her) where a woman - who was married to a man making a six digit income - had maxed out tons of credit cards equaling over $100,000 in debt. He just didn't understand why she would do this because he was more than willing to give her basically whatever she wanted.

Yes, there are independence issues with someone like the woman in that case. I find myself feeling the need for a little financial independence as well since I am a stay-at-home mom who does not work outside the home or earn any income on my own. If this is an issue, I believe open communication about these feelings is so crucial. I once heard someone say that her husband paid her on a bi-weekly basis. Some call it their allowance. I realize that some women might think this is old fashioned or unliberated, but if our family has decided that the best thing for me to do is stay home and put all of my time and energy into our children and our home, I think the concept of Josh putting aside some money just for me is a wonderful way to show his appreciation for me and to give me a since of financial independence that I would otherwise not have.

We have joint accounts, so anything I spend or anything Josh spends is not going to be hidden. Neither of us have credit cards. We are in this together. No secrets.

So if I were to reword the question, I might say, "If you were given $100 to spend however you wanted, how would you spend it?"

And the answer would be...I'd either save it and buy myself some new clothes when I reach my goal weight (I'm feeling more determined lately) or I would use it for a night out with my husband!

No secrets.

***


Smart and Trendy Moms

FollowMeFridays

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

I remember reading this as a college student and thinking it made sense to me. But now I realize that reading it as a 30-year-old woman is far different than reading it as a 19-year-old girl.

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . . Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

***


"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday



















































Josh took Caleb and Sarah for a day of fun in the sun with mini-golf and go-carts! April 10, 2010.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Story of a Friendship

If you're married and have small children, do you have a "couple" friend who you and your spouse visit with from time to time? You know...you take your children to their house one night and hang out, and then maybe the next time they bring their children with them to yours? I hope you do. Those are wonderful friendships to have.

Did your parents do this?

My dad had a childhood friend named Jim who grew up to be one of his groomsmen. Through the years they stayed in touch, and between the years of 1984 and 1992, we lived in Rolla, and so did my dad's friend and his family. Every now and then we would get together; his daughters were my age - one was exactly one year older (we share a birthday!) and the other is a few months younger but the same school year. I remember playing with dolls, playing school, playing house. Whatever little girls can come up with. We don't remember for sure, but we think we may have played on the same softball team during summer youth league; if not, we definitely played against each other.

When our family moved away, I no longer kept in touch with the girls. My dad continued to get his hair cut in Rolla, though, because he loved his barber. On those Thursdays every other month, he would schedule his hair cut on the same day and time as Jim. This is how they got to see each other even though they had busy schedules with work and family.

Jim's name would come up from time to time in conversation, and I would wonder what ever happened to those girls I used to play with. I wondered what they were doing, and I wondered if they would remember me.

Then arrived the magic of facebook.

One day I saw that a girl had posted a comment on a picture of a mutual friend, and since her maiden name was listed, I decided to send her a message. It was something like this:

Hey Erin, I know this is totally random, but I noticed your maiden name is Ramsey. Are you by chance Jim Ramsey's daughter? This is Bill V's daughter. I hope you remember me.

She replied with the sweetest message. She said she did remember me, she was Jim's youngest, and she sent my message to her sister, Maegan, asking if she remembered. What I didn't realize was that I was seeing Maegan every Tuesday and Thursday at Caleb's preschool! She had a daughter who also attended there, but I didn't even realize it.

Of course we added each other on facebook and have been keeping in touch for about two years now. We've joked about this and that, but we've also shared about more serious things like parenting, our faith, and our families.

And on Saturday, Maegan and I were finally able to spend time together in real life.

I wondered what it would be like. Our personalities seemed so similar when we would send each other messages or chat. Even on the phone it seemed like I'd always known her - I guess technically I always have! And our road trip - 3 hours down and 3 hours back - seemed like I was talking to a friend that I had talked to every day since I was 12. We had fun, and it was really nice to connect with not only that little girl that I used to know, but connect with another Christian mother who has the same vision for her children and her family.

Thanks, Maegan, for being a Godly woman that I can turn to. I loved our trip together.

And Erin, I loved seeing you, too. I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon, maybe when you come up to visit!


Talk About it Tuesday

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Movie Monday {Singing With Kids}

I like to sing. The people who know me in real life - specifically if we've gone to church together - understand this about me. It's not that I'd try out for American Idol or anything - besides the fact that I'm too old now - but I do love to lead in worship if given the opportunity.

Or sometimes sing with my children.

My Movie Monday



These are not exactly examples of videos I'd send in to try out for America's Got Talent, but these have been times when my kids and I have had way too much fun with a simple song. Remember this post where I confessed which commerical was currently my favorite? Well, my kids liked it, too. We had way too much fun with that one.

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Also, there is a song that my kids know, only because it's on one of their favorite movies, that they love singing. Sarah decided to make it her own by emphasizing a part of the lyrics. I'd recommend not having the volume up too loud on this one!

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I hope you've captured something fun this week! Link up if you have!


Friday, May 21, 2010

I'll take Bob. Or Jillian.

Yes, I am somewhat selective of which Five Question Fridays I participate in. But guess what? I'm participating today.



1. Do you have an iPhone and, if so, how do you get apps and what are your favorites? No, I do not have an iPhone, but my husband has an iPod touch, and he downloads apps every now and then. I'm not sure if movies are considered apps, but Josh has downloaded several of the Pixar shorts, and they are so cute and funny. Plus, the kids love them.

2. What is your fondest memory of K-3rd grade? When I started kindergarten, my mom was a little over 8 months pregnant with my sister. If memory serves me correctly, this was my mom's first year at the school she was teaching - the same school she still teaches at today! It was a Friday morning on September 20, 1985 that I remember my mom deciding to stay home instead of going to work. Since I was only 5-years-old, I didn't realize that her staying home probably meant she felt that the baby was on it's way that day. I rode to school with one of my mom's co-workers, and that afternoon as I stood in line to meet her and go home, I saw her come out of the office and say, "Chrissy! You have a baby sister!" I was so excited. Who knew it would take about 12 years and my leaving for college for us to actually decide to like each other! :o)

3. What makes you cringe at the thought of touching. The first thing that pops into my head is when something falls into the kitchen sink and I have to pull it out...like a knife or a spoon. I think I just have a huge fear that the garbage disposal is going to spontaneously turn on all by itself. I know. So dumb. But I really do think that every time.

4. If you could have any celebrity show up at your doorstep, who would it be and why? Easy. Jillian or Bob. I'd prefer Bob. But I'd take Jillian, too. And you know why.

5. What would you say is your best physical feature? I would have to say my eyes. My sister would say my lips - because she says they are like Angelina Jolie's, and I didn't pay to have them done or anything (you're so funny, Sonja). I used to love my legs and am working to get them back to "Barbie" status like they used to be - because I am 5'9 but have the same inseam as my dad who is 6'5 - you could say I'm all legs. You can tell more so when I'm thinner, like in this picture from my senior year in high school.














By the way, this is a great example of an illegal pitch. The back foot is to remain on the ground throughout the entire pitch. Something about flying through the air causes an unfair advantage? :o)


Happy weekend to you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Racing Thoughts

Last night I woke up at around 1:30 am with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. This is not normal for me, I have never had panic attacks or anxiety attacks - especially over something as ridiculous as what was on my mind.

As you may recall, I won two prizes from the Ultimate Blog Party over at 5 Minutes for Mom. Since I already had a large Scentsy burner, I decided that since it was the end of the AWANA year, I would give one away last night to Caleb's Cubbies director after awards night. I also had a small one that I purchased back in December that I never used, so I gave that one to Sarah's Puggles director. They make nice gifts, and I thought they would enjoy them as much as me.

When I handed one to Sarah's Puggles director, I explained to her what it was, and she asked, "Is it a really strong scent?"

"Well, it can be, but you can easily adjust how strong it is by cutting the little squares in half," I responded. I also told her that I had a smoother scent at my house if she wanted to trade. Evidently she has asthma or some sort of breathing condition where strong smells can cause her to have trouble breathing.

And would you believe, that is what was racing through my mind at 1:30 am. I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that I gave something to someone that they might not be able to use. I felt guilty for not knowing that she couldn't have a Scentsy burner.

Then I began to think about the smaller gifts I gave to the "leaders" in Caleb and Sarah's class. (There are "directors" and "leaders" - all of which are important, but I was trying to be pracitcal with the gifts, and so it may have appeared that the directors got something "bigger"). I began wondering if they would think I didn't care as much or if I thought less of them as leaders.

Over and over these thoughts went through my mind. I think my heart started racing a bit, my mind was thinking quickly, my stomach even started to turn. After allowing myself to be consumed with something so petty for over an hour, I got up, went to our bathroom, and took two Tylenol PM capsules, hoping it would make me feel better and help me sleep.

It did.

I barely remember my alarm going off at 5:40 am to meet Kim for our run. But I do remember hearing rain, so I turned it off, rolled over, and quickly fell back to sleep. Good thing it was raining, Kim, I would have been a doped up running buddy this morning. I didn't even hear Josh get up to get ready for work, and that is not normal for me. I usually at least hear the shower start. He kissed me goodbye and said that all of the kids were awake. I knew I needed to pry myself out of bed.

After reflecting on why I was awake last night, I couldn't understand why I was so upset and so consumed with anxiety over something so small. It doesn't bother me now the way it did at 1:30 am. Why did my thoughts race like that at night?

Has this ever happened to you?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(Somewhat) Wordless Wednesday

The woman, having had a rough day at home with her children, became a little spiteful when the husband asked, "Why can't you water the dog?" So she did. Mommy style.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Torn

I am so torn. I hate that I even have to write about this, but in one way it's getting my thoughts and feelings out, and in another way it's to inform you of something I discovered this past week.

One of my friends sent me a message a few days ago. In short it said, "I feel you should know that Susan G. Komen gives money to Planned Parenthood."

Gasp.

I'm sure you know that Planned Parenthood is the #1 provider of abortions in our country (even the word provider in that sentence sounds wrong to me).

At first I went on the defensive. Big time. I told her that in 2008, when I first decided to do the race, I had heard that SGK gave money to PP. Upon investigation, I was told that the St. Louis affiliate did not give money to PP, but that even the national organization that does give to PP closely monitors the money for women's health, breast screenings, etc. For some reason, that information worked for me, I justified it in my head, and went ahead and supported SGK.

After telling her this, she sent me another message that said, "A friend of mine called the STL affiliate this morning and they confirmed that they do, in fact, give to PP. And even if the money is earmarked for specific screenings, it frees up their other funds for abortions."

I tried to digest this information as best I could. I told myself that it was brave of Marie to tell me this, and I needed to just do some soul searching and figure out where I stood as far as supporting SGK.

Ironically just yesterday, MckMama's facebook page was full of comments as she declared that she would pull the Susan G. Komen ads off of her blog because of their support for Planned Parenthood. The comments ranged from totally supporting her to being totally appalled. The one comment that stood out to me the most, however, had to do with a HUGE list of organizations that also give money to Planned Parenthood. Are you sitting down? Here goes:

Charitable organizations associated with Planned Parenthood:

Audubon Society

Alzheimer's Association

American Association of Retired Persons

American Automobile Association (AAA)

American Cancer Society

American Diabetes Association

Amnesty International

Camp Fire Girls

Council of Churches (including Church World Service, and CROP Hunger Walks)

Doctors Without Borders

Dr. Phil Foundation

Girl Scouts

Glaucoma Research Foundation

Human Rights Watch

Juvenile Diabetes Foundation

Kaiser Permanente

Kiwanis Club

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Lion's Club

March of Dimes

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Education Association

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Outward Bound West

Rotary International

Save the Children

Sierra Club

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA)

And a partial list of companies that contribute to PP:

Adobe (software)

AlphaGraphics

Bank of America

Basics Office Products

BBJ Linen (home products)

Carlson Companies (travel agencies)

CCA Global (Carpet One, Flooring America, Flooring Canada, Flooring One, Lighting One, etc.)

Chevron (fuel/energy; Xpress Lube, Texaco)

CIGNA (insurance)

Comcast (cable television, Internet, etc.)

Country Inns & Suites

Dallas Cowboys

DuPont (chemicals)

eBay (online marketplace; PayPal)

FastSigns (graphics/printing)

Four Seasons Hotels (Regent Hotels)

GlaxoSmithKline (over-the-counter medication, prescription drugs, etc.)

InterContinental Hotels (Candlewood, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Indigo, InterContinental, and Staybridge)

Johnson & Johnson

Lost Arrow (Patagonia, etc.)

Marriott (Courtyard Hotels, Fairfield Inn, Grand Residences, Horizons Hotels, JW Marriott Hotels, Renaissance Hotels & Inns, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites)

Midas (motor vehicle care)

Nationwide (insurance)

Nike (shoes/apparel, etc.)

OSI Restaurant Partners (Outback Steakhouse, etc.)

Paul Ecke Ranch (poinsettias)

Park Inn (hotel)

Park Plaza (hotel)

Pick Up Stix (restaurant)

Radisson (hotel)

Regent (hotel)

Sears (Kmart)

Sonic (drive-in restaurants)

T.G.I. Friday's (restaurant)

Time Warner (Cinemax, HBO, AOL, etc.)

Wachovia (finance)

Walt Disney

Wells Fargo

Whole Foods Market


So here's where I'm torn...even the American Cancer Society gives money to Planned Parenthood. How could we all just stop giving and stop funding an organization like this when we so badly need to learn so much more about cancer? All four of my grandparents had cancer - 3 out of 4 have passed away because of it. One of my aunts is a breast cancer survivor; she is so dear to me and I remember how that effected her and her family. I was beyond proud to walk with her last year at the SGK Race. I was hoping it would be something I could do every year with her. What do I do now that I know SGK gives money to an organization that I feel I can't support?

Can I now not even buy Girl Scout cookies? Should I cancel my AAA card?

Do you participate in Relay for Life? Your money goes to PP, too. Do you participate in the March of Dimes? Your money goes to PP, too.
I could go on and on.

If these companies are really interested in women's health, why can't they support local clinics that are not abortion providing facilities? Do they really have to give money to the #1 provider of abortions?

And what do I do now?


Talk About it Tuesday

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Movie Monday {Milky Mess}

Seriously, a mother can't even go to the bathroom around here. I never know what I might come back to.

My Movie Monday



I could hear loud "clatter" as Gabriel had obviously gotten out a small pot and it's lid from one of the cabinets he now can open. That didn't bother me, I knew he had played with them before, and even though the sound can be annoying, I know he sure loves it. But then the sounds stopped, and I could hear Sarah saying, "Mommy, Gabriel is spilling milk."

At that point I had forgotten that he had a sippy cup, but even if I had remembered, I don't think I would have figured out what he was actually doing.

Because he wasn't actually spilling it.

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After hearing this, I realized she was saying spitting milk!

And I'm not sure which is funnier (not that I thought it was funny at the time) - seeing the joy in his face as he did it, or hearing Sarah make up a song to go along with it!


What have you captured on your phone lately?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

His Best Dream Ever

I was in that state of sleep yesterday morning where I could sort of feel myself on the verge of waking up but also in a state that I could have easily fallen back into a deep sleep if I really tried. But right at that moment my husband decided to roll over, put his arm around me, and udder a few words.

With joy in his voice that I don't normally hear at 6:00 am, I heard him say, "I just had the best dream ever."

To myself I thought, "Well, that's just great. I'm trying to go back to sleep and you want to tell me about your dream."

I just knew it was going to be about me. Some raunchy, not appropriate for Traveling Light type dream. One that was bound to prompt him to tell me that he just dreams about me because he loves me. Or maybe it was going to be a sweet, romantic one. One where we were walking on a beach together or taking our first cruise together. Maybe it was all about some kid-free moments - a nice dinner in Italy - just the two of us. But really, I thought it would be the raunchy one.

With hesitation and with my voice sounding irritated I'm sure, I muttered, "Ok, what was it?"

Like a child on Christmas morning his said, "I was in Super Mario World!"










That's right, folks. My husband's best dream ever was about Super Mario World.


Now if I could just dream about freeing the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka or visiting the Island of Misfit Toys, I guess we'd be even.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Reader Poll: Privacy Settings

Today I read an article on Yahoo! News via Consumer Reports that discussed the 7 Things to Stop Doing Now on Facebook. You can read the full explanations by clicking on the title, but in short the seven things were:

1. Using a Weak Password

2. Leaving Your Full Birth Date in Your Profile

3. Overlooking Useful Privacy Controls

4. Posting Your Child's Name in a Caption

5. Mentioning That You'll Be Away From Home

6. Letting Search Engines Find You

7. Permitting Youngsters to Use Facebook Unsupervised

When I read over these, for the most part my first reaction was DUH! And specifically #5 - it always makes me cringe when I see my friends talking about going on vacation OR mentioning that their husbands will be gone for a week. I personally think that is just a horrible idea, and evidently Yahoo! and Consumer Reports agree with me. If you read the article, it says you can mention how fun the trip was when you get back, but announcing you will be gone is like putting a no one is home sign on your door.

But here's where the Traveling Light Reader Poll comes in. The #4 thing has to do with children's names. I have never considered this being a big deal, especially on facebook since I control who sees what on that particular site. As for my blog, I have occasionally questioned if I should use my kids' names on here or not, thinking that if I don't give my specific location and do not give my last name, does it really matter?

What do you think? Do you think it's ok to use first names on your blog? What about facebook? And specifically children's names?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Their Favorite Treat

Who says television programing for kids is just a waste and not good for brain cells? There is at least one good thing that can come from it - a fun treat!

I'm pretty sure it was Tasty Time With ZeFronk that led Caleb to ask us to try and create something new. And being the very non-culinary wizard that I am, I figured that learning something new would make me a more well-rounded individual and a fun mom (even if it was just for a moment).

The kids LOVE helping me do this. And they LOVE this treat so much that I will have to keep a refrigerator stocked with yogurt now.

So here it is. Their favorite treat.

First, we have to get out our yogurt.











Then we fill icecube trays with the yogurt. Next we stick tooth picks in the yogurt.












Then we have to wait. This is the hardest part. But when they are finished, they look like this!












And my kids look like this.












I would highly suggest it. It's fun, cost-effective, simple, and healthy. Yay!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Being Obedient

For some reason it finally occurred to me that I have a personality that tends to want to explain to others why I decide to do certain things in life. And by explain I mean over explain. And by over explain I mean I want to convince the other person that my decision is the right one.

When I did this last weekend, trying to explain a decision my husband and I have made for our family, I realized that the person I was talking to thought I was wrong (or crazy). It was evident by her reply and her constantly giving me reasons NOT to do what I know I'm supposed to do that I knew I was not making headway with this conversation. In my mind, I had failed in giving solid reasons for my decision.

Then I genuinely felt the Lord speak to me. "It is not your job to explain to anyone why you do what I've called you to do. You are to be obedient to Me." I also felt this scripture running through my mind over and over: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

That scripture is interesting to me because even when I feel like my thoughts or my ways ARE His ways, I tend to want to explain to others WHY. And the bottom line is...they might not get it. Because His ways are not always explainable to others. They don't have to be.

I'm learning that to do what He asks sometimes causes others to question me. And what I'm also learning is this: those who truly care about me and know that Josh and I seek to follow what the Lord asks of us will not question us. Instead, they will pray for us or encourage us. They will ask how they can help and they seek to be a blessing, not a spiritual deterrent.

Now if I tell you we are going to buy a new BMW...you can question me on that! :o)


Talk About it Tuesday

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Recap

As I began getting my thoughts (and pictures) together for a quick Mother's day recap, I realized that I didn't get a picture of me with my kids yesterday! Bummer. But I did get this shot of the three of them before we had to get ready for church:












This is Gabriel's new smile. It is the expression he gives when I encourage him to, "Say cheese!" It's so funny. And yes, Caleb's pj's are too short for him, but he won't give them up.

I woke up to a little boy who was just too excited to give me the gift he picked out all by himself - or maybe he had some help from my friend, Kim, who is in charge of the AWANA store? Either way, he had been hiding it in his top drawer for about two weeks, asking me almost every day how much longer it was until Mother's day. So I opened my gift, and here it was:












It is so pretty. I actually LOVE it and can't wait to find the perfect picture to place in it!

I also received a pretty card from the kids along with a hand-made one that Caleb created in preschool. So cute.

Then I opened an envelope from Josh, and inside was a printed sheet from the computer that showed what would be arriving for me soon:












I've only wanted this for about five years - ever since we moved into our current house. It will make the perfect accent to our front porch. I can't wait!

One of my favorite gifts this year was something Caleb made in his Sunday school class. I scanned it, and it really doesn't give it justice. It's so sweet. Definitely a keeper.















As I went to see how he was doing between Sunday school and church, I noticed all of these sitting on the table, waiting to be picked up by moms. From a distance, I knew exactly which one belonged to Caleb. Part of it was the size of his foot! But part of it was also the little drawing underneath the word "Mommy" - the other children wrote their names in that spot, but evidently Caleb asked if he could draw a picture of himself and his mommy instead. I knew it was his.

It was a really nice day. We went to my parents' house after church, and I enjoyed seeing my mom, dad, sister and her sweet boyfriend.

I hope you had a nice day, too!

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Being a Mom

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3
















Being a mom...it changes your life.

We were sitting at lunch when my friend casually mentioned that she and her husband were thinking of starting a family.

"We're taking a survey," she said, half-jokingly. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I said, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she said, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations..."

But that is not what I meant at all. I looked at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I wanted her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I wanted to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I considered warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching her own child die.

I looked at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and thought that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation. I felt I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for child-care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is alright.

I wanted my friend to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive friend, I wanted to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years - not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I wanted her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My friend's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my friend could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future.

I wanted to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing her child learn to ride a bike. I wanted to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or a cat for the first time. I wanted her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.

My friend's quizzical look made me realize that tears had formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally said. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my friend's hand, and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful calling. This blessed gift from God--that of being a Mother.

Dale Hanson Bourke from Everyday Miracles and Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Looking Up

If there were ever an earthly reason to live a life of integrity, this is it.




















This is my entry for Paper Mama's Photo Challenge: Orange.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Sibling Memory

I wasn't going to participate in 5QF with Mama M. this time, but someone asked me what my worst memory of my sibling was, so I guess I'll partially participate and answer that one question.

1. What is your worst memory of your sibling(s)?

If you've been reading very long or know me personally, you know that my dad was a band director and my mom was a color guard instructor. They were always a team, so my sister and I seemed to live in the band room and on the football field. We were at all the camps, all the sectionals, all the competitions. It was our life, and I think she'd agree, it was something we loved even as kids. It must have been in our blood; we could both spin flags and rifles as children.

The summer of my 8th grade year, my mom wanted me to spin with the high school girls during the fair parade. The formation they wanted to make on the street with the numbers they had was such that they needed one more girl, and since I had been doing the routine since 3rd grade (our street parade routine was always the same), the girls agreed that I was "good enough" to do this with them.

We were all down on the track, making our formation as the band set their intervals just right before dad would blow the whistle for us to be at attention. My little sister was up in the stands, being a good little girl and being quiet, just watching like she always did (she would have been about 7 I guess), when all of a sudden we all heard her say, "Mom!"

This was a big deal. The band director's daughters NEVER bothered their parents during practice.

I remember looking up and wondering what in the world Sonja could have been thinking and why she was bothering mom. Then my mind starting thinking that something had to be wrong because both of us knew better. As I looked over at mom and saw her climb up the steps to the stands where Sonja was sitting, I saw her get to my little sister and then yell, "Bill!"

The band director's wife NEVER referred to him by his first name around students. Never. At that point, all the students knew something wasn't right, too.

The rest of the details are a bit blurry, but I know that someone carried Sonja away from the stands and into my parents' car. Was it dad? I guess it would have been?

She had severely cut her knee "down to the bone" on the edge of the bleachers in the stands. Mom took her to the local physician where she received several stitches. It was so very painful for my little sister, and perhaps this is where her fear of needles began? The scar is still easy to see, a reminder of that moment for her.

But I remember feeling helpless. I know she thinks that I just considered her my bratty little sister, and maybe I did for the most part. In that moment, however, she was my sister who was hurt and who needed help.

It is my worst memory of my sibling.

Obviously she was fine and she healed. She's all grown up now, beautiful as can be. And I love her very much.

I'm glad she was ok :o)
















Chrissy and Sonja, senior night, October 2003, standing on the same track mentioned in the story.

Selecting Just One Picture

I'm using this picture for Paper Mama's Photo Challenge: Water.

The other day I saw a status update on the facebook fan page of our church. It said this:

I have favor to ask. I am looking for pictures of men in the church doing fatherly/grandfatherly things. I really only want the best of the best pics. It could be anything from holding a baby to hunting. These can be old men with middle aged kids young men with babies, or anywhere in between. Please send the pics to my email address. Please don't send 20 pics...just 1 or 2 that you deem as great. Thanks!


Really? I could only send one or two? That hardly seemed fair. I mean, I have so many great pictures of Josh with the kids. What about the one where he's standing by Caleb for the kids version of the Tour of Missouri? Or what about our picnic at Maramec Springs? Or the cute ones at the zoo?

I don't know. It was hard. But I sent him this one from the summer of 2008:











Because the joy in their faces was just priceless.

Sarah was only about 23 months old here, and Caleb was a month shy of turning 4-years-old. I remember that summer and NOT getting in the pool because I was pregnant with Gabriel. I also remember Caleb wearing a life jacket because we wanted him to practice wearing it for a future canoe trip (it's amazing how a picture can bring back so many memories).

I hope the sweet guy who asked for the pictures liked it. I hope he receives lots of great pictures. There are tons of great "fatherly" pictures on my computer, that's for sure!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

If you saw my last post (that I deleted) my husband said I'm not allowed to do that.

Onward Traveling Light.


Attn: BlogHer - accept me soon, please.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Husband

My husband is hot.
















There's just no way around it.












You could try to argue against it.

















I just don't see what grounds you'd have to stand on.












He is just a great guy. Hot, too.
















:o)



Talk About it Tuesday

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Movie Monday {Caleb & The Grinch}

I realize that today is May 3rd, but I think everyone needs a little Christmas today, right? Today's My Movie Monday is from the archives on my computer (or...actually...it was still on my phone and I just loaded it today via bluetooth).

My Movie Monday



You like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I know you do. So here is Caleb's version - with a few background vocals from his sister - and by few I mean whenever she can figure out which line he is singing!

video

I have shown this to a handful of people, and even Josh didn't understand why I busted out laughing. Maybe you can understand? The expression on his face drastically shifted when he changed verses, and it was just so incredibly funny to me. Not to mention it seems that he has some sort of accent when he's doing this!

Oh...and the burp at the end is classic Caleb.

Hope this brought a smile to your face. It makes me laugh every time I see it!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Preschool Graduation

Even though I've only been a mother for (almost) six years, I already can see that having children gives a person a visual way to document years. I'm not sure I've ever felt time go by as quickly as I have since 2004 - when my first child was born. I see time in a different way. I can see a matter of months or years just by looking through a few pictures.

Like this one of Caleb, his first day of preschool in the fall of 2008.
















And then last Thursday, I took this one because it was his last day of preschool, April 29, 2010.
















Maybe it's because I'm his mom that I can see such a drastic difference in these two pictures, and it's almost enough to make me cry just seeing the change in him since his first day of preschool. He looks so different to me. In that first picture, I thought he looked like a "big boy" - now I look at him and compare the pictures, and I think he looks like such a little boy in the first one. I wish I could remind myself that he is still just a little boy. He's five...not twelve. And he'll be twelve soon enough.

This evening he had his preschool graduation. His buddy to walk in the door was Hunter, Ashley's son! They were cute, and I so wish this picture wasn't blurry. Darn camera settings (that I can't figure out).












And here is a sweet smile up on stage.













I love these moments. I'm doing my best to cherish them. The preschool director said something tonight that I will never forget. "Your children are on loan to you. They are from the Lord, and they belong to Him." You are so right, Miss Diane. Thank you for reminding me that I need to stay true to a scripture in 1 Samuel...a scripture I used on Caleb's dedication announcements back when he was just a baby:

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." 1 Samuel 1:27, 28

Thank you, Solid Rock Christian Church, for having such a Christ-centered focus in your preschool. I'm looking forward to sending my next two kiddos as well!

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