Thursday, January 31, 2008

How do you spell Flower?

I am a spent mommy today. It has been an exhausting week for many reasons ,but the biggest is my daughter and her homework. They are wearing me out.

Okay, we are talking first grade here! What is supposed to take 15 minutes is starting to take 30-40 minutes each afternoon. And not because she doesn't get it. I emailed her teacher yesterday over this and her teacher agreed. She gets new concepts very quickly and just wants to move past them quickly. The problem is that she wants to move past them too quickly and makes mistakes because she rushes through her work. When I look over her work and slow her down she can see her mistakes but then gets so frustrated. Because school has always come so easily to her she has a hard time when she does make a mistake. And this is where the drama comes in.

There is a very good reason why I do not homeschool. If you were at my house this afternoon, you would agree. Today, I had to leave the room for my own "time out" before we could finish spelling the word, flower.

"Mom, how do you spell, flower?"
"Well, let's start by sounding it out."
"F - O - R"
"You know what that spells."
"MOM!!!, I am just so stupid that I can't even spell this word!"
Of course I reassure her of how smart she is and that it is a big word to spell.
"Okay, let's try again."
"F -L - O -R"
"Why don't you go get your little dictionary?"

Okay, so we bought these cute children's dictionaries from a lovely young lady who came knocking on our door this summer just for this purpose. She painted a beautiful picture of us doing homework and my child checking these very colorful and helpful dictionaries. Yes, I am a sucker. Well, that and my husband used to sell these very same books door to door to help pay for college, so we just had to support her. And they really are great books. My daughter did eventually end up using them today and found them to be helpful. But I digress...

Back to the Great Drama of Spelling Flower story

"Mom, I want to play with Anna." (her BFF who happens to live right next door)

"Not until you finish your homework."

"I'm finished. "

"No, not yet."

She is crying now. Sobbing uncontrollably really. "I can't play tomorrow because I have dance class! It will be forever before I can play with her again!"
Okay, like tomorrow is the only day ever for the rest of eternity. I think this to myself, but not dare utter it out loud for fear of even louder wailing.

Through her sobs, she also informs me not to let her teacher know she has cried over her homework because her teacher will tell her not to stress out so much over her homework. Busted. The teacher has told my daughter that we have been discussing her homework issues. My daughter tells me she feels I betrayed her by talking with her teacher. Okay, isn't this my job to discuss with the teacher her school and homework issues?

Oh, the logic of a 7 year old girl. And this is where I had to take a time out and get myself a glass of wine. Don't worry it was after 5:00. Or maybe 4. But it was later in the afternoon and definitely 5:00 somewhere.

Finally, she settles down and gets back to her homework.

"Mom, how do you spell flower?"

Can someone just shoot me now? Again, I did not say this out loud.

Okay, homeschool moms or moms with older kids with nightly homework. How do you keep your cool when your child is frustrated with homework? How do you build them up when they are struggling? Homework tips - please give them to me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

WFMW - The Tale of Two Chickens

Check out more great ideas at Works For Me Wednesday.

I baked a chicken tonight.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

That's not really the big deal. Reeaally? Yeah, really.

Here's the Works for me Wednesday part!

I learned this little tip a couple years ago from a mentor. Mentor being defined as someone who has grown kids and has a couple tricks up her sleeves.

Instead of just baking the one chicken you planned for dinner...get your notepad ready...Bake 2 chickens. Real simple and helps you to simplify later in the week.

Eat one chicken that night with your favorite sides and strip the other chicken of it's meat for a casserole, chicken salad and soups the rest of the week. Genius really. Not my idea, of course.
Saladmaster Customers: Get your 7 quart out. Put 2 chickens instead of 1 in it. Salt and Pepper it. Maybe some Poultry seasoning or your favorite spice. Add some celery, garlic, apples or onions. Or all of that would be good, too.

Turn it to Medium. When it clicks, turn it to low for about 3-5 hours or 15 minutes per pound.

Kindness for Kyra Benefit - This Friday!

I want to post this event again. For those locally, please go to the website to learn how you can attend the benefit and help this family.
If you are not local and would like to donate, you can click here to do that.
Please pray for this little girl.

Wordless Wednesday - Thank you, Mom

It's Wordless Wednesday. Except, I can't ever be completely wordless!

I keep this on my fridge. Sometimes, in the days of cleaning, chauffeuring, cooking and doing homework you just need a reminder that you are appreciated. Yesterday was one of those days.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Women of Hope

Guns and Roses
Wow Factor
El Ni no
3 on the Couch
Forest Fires
What do the above have to do with the other? Our women's retreat, of course!

I returned a couple nights ago from a great weekend with some awesome women. Most of our women's ministry leadership team took 2 days out to do some vision casting and planning for 2008-09. Really, it is even a wonder that I am included in this group of ladies. They are smart and gifted and I constantly am humbled to be a part of this leadership team.

We stayed in a beautiful cabin just outside of Clarksville, VA in Occoneechee State Park. It was very cozy and comfortable cabin with 10 of us. It overlooked a lake and was so peaceful. The hikes and rocking chairs on the front porches were just the ticket to get in touch with God's beautiful creation.

Our fearless leader, prepared most of our food for us. Oh is she blessed with the gift of hospitality! She made wonderful meals for all of us and we were able to share in these meals at one long wooden table. It is the kind of table I wish I had in my own house so everyone could eat Thanksgiving dinner at one table!

She shopped for about a week to make sure we had all of our meals covered. Every detail was covered. Oh, and did I mention she brought the largest bag of m M & M's I have ever seen?

I won't even begin to explain the amount of chocolate and creme puffs consumed on this trip. Let's just say a women's retreat would not be complete without great amounts of chocolate consumed. It is what makes our brain work. It gives us clarity and focus.

That, of course, and coffee because we all know how late a bunch of women can stay up because we just can't seem to stop the madness of our chatter. And don't you just know that we needed that caffeine to get going for another round each morning?

We spent a great deal of our time talking about our upcoming year, but we also spent time laughing, playing games, eating together and antique shopping.

Oh my, did we laugh!

Only my retreat friends will understand the significance of the words above, but isn't that how a retreat is?

On each retreat that I go on, I bring back treasured memories of my roomies. We come back knowing each person just a little bit better. The sweet memories we share start to shape the friendship that will grow.

It is like the wall of formality begins to break down as we share pieces of ourselves while hanging out in our PJ's and fuzzy slippers.

We find out just how deep and sensitive one is, how funny another is and another how smart.

We see one serve the others over and over and another listen without ever even caring if you hear about the details of her own life.

We see one who is able to help others move on from issues of the past and yet another bring to light the brightness of the future.

One who offers herself as a mentor.

Another who shares funny stories and wisdom in the sweetest southern accent I have ever heard.

We understand one's love for chocolate and red wine, and another's passion for tea.

Speaking of the one's love for tea, I need to stop here to show you how one of these lovely ladies prepared a real afternoon tea for us. She really knows her stuff and blessed us by serving us all. What a special treat! She normally would have set this table with one of her very beautiful tea sets, but she did what she could with the cabin dishes and it was just lovely.

Mostly we understand what the strength of 10 women, who believe that God has led them to lead a women's ministry (in a church of about 3000 people), can do. Through God's leading, we found vision. We defined our place in this church and what we want to achieve for the lost women in our community. We laid out a plan of how to encourage friendships and how to grow into women of influence. For we are Women of Hope.

So, I say a big thank you to these ladies for a wonderful weekend. For the fun, the laughter, the prayer and the sweet time to come together as a team.

So, what about you? What is the women's ministry like at your church? I would love to hear a story about a retreat, an event you loved or something that just hits your sweet spot in your women's ministry.

Monday, January 28, 2008


So, I watched HGTV for about 3 hours yesterday. After I got back from my retreat (more on that later this week) I just zoned out most of the day. Hubby still had the kids at church and I watched about an hour until he got home. My brain hurt and I was just tired. 10 women in one cabin + lots of chocolate and chatter = not a lot of sleep.

I did not even take my bags upstairs and they did sit in the kitchen until this morning when I tripped over them while making my coffee.

Then hubby had a neighborhood card game last night, so after I put the kids to bed - I watched 2 more hours of HGTV.

It's all good now that I had that zone time in front of the TV, except that now I want new Quartz countertops in a house from the 1950's in a small town somewhere in Canada. And of course, I would love for Candice Olsen from Divine Design to come in and redo my bedroom with a budget of about 30 grand. Oh wait, am I dreaming... how long was I out for?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Girl Time

Well, this week my oldest child tracked back into school, my youngest was well enough to go back to preschool, I was back to my workout routine (ouch, I hurt) and I am headed out of town on a women's retreat. AHHHHH...

I will be gone for a couple days and do not have a laptop to blog while I am gone. It is on my wish list. I hope catch up on some reading and much needed girl time.

Here are some links I enjoyed this week.

Do Not Stop On the Tracks - God's Work in Progress

The Expelled Movie - Ben Stein

RTFM - funny story from Musings of a Housewife

and since I am hanging out with some good girlfriends on a retreat this weekend, I wanted to pass along Renee Swope's posts about Friends, Friends 2, and Friends need Grace, Grace, Grace.
This is some real conversation about friendship.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Six Things Meme

Oh, fun - I was tagged for a meme by Rain at Rain's Musings. I love to read her blog because she is so creative and reflects much peace. Jump over there and check it out for yourself.

Thank you for thinking of me, my new bloggy friend!

The rules for this meme are: (1) Link to the person that tagged you. (2) Post the rules on your blog. (3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

So, here are 6 things you may have never wanted to know about me.

1. I have a short fuse. I have been working on this not so appealing part of my personality for years. It became especially bad after I had children. Imagine that they could cause any kind of frustration? So, I have to work extra hard to not lose it. Prayer and therapy have helped a lot! When I do lose it now, I always ask for forgiveness from my children and sweet angels that they are - they always give it to me.

2. I love shoes. I know, what woman doesn't? But I will buy shoes that I love and then find an outfit to go with them. I almost never pay full price for a pair of shoes except my very favorite Rainbow flip flops and that is because they never go on sale. Oh, and my feet grew a half size with each child, so I had to buy a lot of new shoes after each one. This was a treat but I was very sad to see some of my favorites have to go.

3. I was born in England. I don't remember it because we moved back to the states when I was 6 months old, but the old photos are fun to look at. I was christened as a baby in an ancient church with a thatched roof. I am not really sure what a thatched roof is but it kind of reminds me of a hut. We had a neighbor who was older and very good to my mom. His name was Mr. LaGrey and he was my mom's best friend because my dad was gone a lot. My mom exchanged letters from him for years.

4. My husband's parents introduced us on Valentines Day almost 15 years ago. He was out to dinner with them and I was their waitress. I waited on his parents all the time. I like to say I was hand picked by my sweet mother in law.

5. I am a great multi-tasker and I never keep a list. Well, I think I am a great multi-tasker and don't need to keep a list. Sometimes, I forget little things, but pretty much I get done what I need to get done. I recently took a personality profile which told me that this is completely normal for my personality type - ESFP. That is Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. Apparently, most ESFP's do not keep lists and we can get highly emotional. See # 1.

6. I did not like creative writing in school. I loved literature and reading but did not like to write. I think I enjoy it now because it clears my head.

If you desire to know even more unimportant facts about me I wrote some in this post a couple months ago. I give some more stimulating input on my personality disorder, I mean profile there.

Okay, so I am going to tag these ladies.

Because she reads my mind most days and makes me laugh, Musings of a Housewife. Amy at God's Work in Progress because she has a lot of good things to say and I want to know some fun facts about her. My friend at Ethiopia coming to Raleigh because I want to read about something other than football. :) I have enjoyed reading about her adoption process. It is very cool. Chrissy at Tales from the Carpool Lane because she is one of the first people to read my blog outside of my friends and family and leave me comments. Tina at Stones of Remembrance because she is a Go Fish fan like me! My friend Dawn at In His Image who just started blogging recently. And you! Please join in.

Leave a comment and let me know you did it, so I can read all about the IMPORTANT things about you! Because I really think every single thing about each of us is important. Thanks for playing!

Wordless Wednesday - Tiny Dancer

4 years of Ballet is starting to show. Strong arms, strong legs, sweet girl. She really enjoys it so much and I enjoy watching her.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kidney for Kelli

I was over reading BooMama's blog and this was on there today.

I want to post a link to this story because it really touched my heart. Kidney transplants are truly medical miracles to me.

Last year a good friend of ours, husband and father of 3, gave one of his kidneys to a man in our church that he hardly knew. The surgery was a success and one of the most incredible examples of selflessness I have ever witnessed.

I have 2 friends that are kidney transplant recipients. They are living full lives right now and I pray that Kelli receives this gift soon.

Shades of Chocolate

My husband has been on a sugar free diet for about 2 weeks. He lost 5 pounds. Yay, hubby!

Remember that 90 day Health and Wealth Challenge? I guess he feels like he should be a setting a good example of the diet. By the way, have you had to live with someone who is withdrawing from sugar? Fun times.

It is such a good thing I don't hang around the office much. Since, in 2 days, I have almost consumed this entire bag of lusciousness, I don't think I would be a good poster child for laying off the sugar.

This really is my favorite time of the year. Everywhere I go I see shades of red, pink and brown. Dark chocolaty brown. Milk chocolaty brown. All favorite colors of mine. Today a friend told me a story of a little girl that says that she thinks that when we get to heaven we will probably get to choose what color we want to be. That is so sweet, isn't it? Anyway, I want to be red, pink and milk chocolaty brown.
Just like a box of Valentine's Day chocolates.

This is my 100th post! Celebrate with me by leaving comment. It would really make me feel happy. Kind of like I just ate one of these yummy chocolate kisses.
Apparently, this is not my 100th post, but actually only my 92nd. Weird. Blogger has listed that this is my 100th post, but when I count them up in my sidebar I only have 92. It doesn't take much to confuse the heck out of me, but I am confused. Anyone out there that can enlighten me?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cory in the House

This afternoon over lunch my 7 year old daughter was reviewing the presidents that are on her placemat with her 3 year old brother. She is a born teacher to be sure.

Daughter, "This is Abe Lincoln and he was shot. George Washington was our first president. Here is our president now, George W. Bush and here is his dad, George Bush."

Son, "Where is Cory?"

Daughter, " I hate to tell you this, but Cory really does not live in the White House."

Son, "Mom!"

I had to break the news that Cory does not, in fact, live in the House. This was a true "mother of the year" moment when I faced that my son's reality of the presidency is based on a popular Disney channel television show. Note to self: less Disney Channel, more C-SPAN for my 3 year old. *revised

And the winners are...


Congratulations to the ladies that won the P31 Woman magazine contest! The articles really are fantastic. I really don't know how the P31 gals could have picked among all the wonderful stories these women shared. I am sure it was difficult. If you have a minute jump on over to Lysa's blog and check them all out. Great contest and opportunity.

There is also some super advice on Glynnis Whitwer's blog , editor or P31 Woman magazine, regarding some tips on how to get an article ready for publishing. This will help me and many others be ready for the next time if there is one. I hope there is a next time!

Also, there is super, fabulous, awesome news about Big Mama, Boo Mama, and Rocks in My Dryer and the She Speaks conference.

These ladies will all be at the She Speaks conference in June to teach a blogging track! Can I just tell you I about fell out of my chair at the chance to see these ladies and hear what they have to say about blogging. They really are the best of the best among women bloggers and I read their blogs almost every day. They are entertaining and smart. The conference is 3 HOURS from my house. 3 Hours. In the same town that my in laws live so, I even have a FREE place to stay. To say I was ready to book my reservation to this conference is an understatement. It would have been done already if registration was actually open.

Then I looked at the dates and realized that it is the same dates as my little brother's wedding. He just told me the date last night. My kids are in the wedding. It is a very happy event for our family, obviously. So, what do you think the chances are of him rescheduling his entire wedding so I can learn to be a better speaker, writer and blogger.
Yeah, I think I will not even ask. big sigh

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Water Bottles and the Central African Republic

When will I learn? I promised a post on water bottles and Africa 6 days ago.
I know you have been on the edge of your seat waiting.

Alas, I have a preschooler in my home. You never ever promise anything to be completed by the end of the week, much less the next day with a preschooler in the home AND your older child home on track out. One got sick. The other is bored. The combination is not conducive to hanging out on your blog. So, sorry about breaking that promise, but here was what I was thinking about. Water, bottled water to be specific and the Central African Republic. What do they have to do with one another? Read on...

My friend sent me this email the other day about the consumption of bottled water in our country. You can read that entire article here if you so desire.

Tap vs. Bottled Water is the title and it encourages a very good discussion regarding the use of bottled water versus drinking water straight from your tap. Bottled water can be good for us, yes. Convenient, definitely. Good for our environment, not so much. 60 million water bottles hit our landfills daily and can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. And the resources used to create the bottles, well, just read the article.

So, just to clarify my opinion because I know you have been dyyying to know. I love bottled water. I love this Smart water, so much! Really, it tastes better and makes me feel more energetic. No kidding. Plus, I think it makes me look really cool at the gym.

I used to have this Le Bleu water delivered to my home every week and love it. It also tastes so much better and I found myself drinking a lot more water when I had it in my home. But, I stopped having it delivered because I budgeted the money somewhere else. Like food and clothing for my new kid. I do still buy some to have on hand for convenience sake.

Both of these waters are filtered, distilled - not Spring. For some reason, I do not like the taste of Spring water. It is like it has something in it.

I recently purchased one of these nifty little Nalgene bottles, a water filter and now fill it it up as much as possible with tap water. My kids have one too. They also look pretty cool at the gym. Not my kids - the bottles. More people are using them if you are really worried about what others think. They come in all kinds of cool colors and styles. Even PINK! Let's not even get started on the discussion that could ensue about the plastics and chemicals used to make them. It makes my head hurt.

Are you ready for a little paradigm shift here?

What do you think these folks in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) think about bottled water? What do you think they think about having water at all?

This is according to ICDI, an organization helping the people of C. A.R.:

"In the Central African Republic only 10% to 15% of the population has pure drinking water available to them (according to Government Forestry and Water Department). Unsafe drinking water is one of the world’s number one killers, taking more than 25,000 people per day (LWI). According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water and over 2.2 billion people are without basic sanitation (LWI)."

My church has a team in the Central African Republic right now. They are on a mission trip to help drill wells there so these people can have what we take for granted every single day... clean water. Their lives will improve dramatically just by having clean water. Read more about it here and follow my pastor, worship leader, an elder and some other men from our church as they journal their experiences. There are already some powerful pictures of a well being drilled, water coming from that well and the reactions of the people.

We are getting a live feed at church today. I can't wait!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A new mommy, please

My daughter is tracked out right now. For those of you that have no idea what that means, please allow me to give you a little glimpse into my world right now.

We attend year round school. It became mandatory in our county last year because of the tremendous amount of growth here and overcrowding in our schools. We like our school so we are giving it a shot and mostly we love it.

Kids are "tracked in" for 9 weeks and then they "track out" for 3 weeks. Tack this onto our Christmas holiday and it is almost 5 weeks at home. When you have children used to being in school, this can be challenging to keep them busy when they are tracked out.

We had Christmas which is exciting. We went to Disney which was super exciting. And then we came home and had to get back to life. That is the thing. School is out but everything else is in full swing.

So, my 7 year old gets bored. She can't have enough play dates and when those end she is left to play with her annoying 3 year old brother. She really does try to play with him and does a pretty good job. She expressed to me that she is quickly becoming frustrated with him, though and is praying that God would help her control her frustrations with him.

However, I guess she just started praying for that because the frustration has led to fighting which has led to time outs in their rooms.

On the way to his room yesterday, my 3 year old son informed us all very loudly that he was mad at his sister and wants a brother instead.

Today, as I sent him to his room for pulling her hair, he informed me that he would like a new mommy because I am mean.

So, I asked him what color hair this mommy should have.

He responded, "White hair." Which is what he says for blond. I have dark hair.

What color eyes, I asked him? "Blue." I have hazel.

Big or skinny? "Skinny" and "she should be a nice mommy!"
So, by the way the conversation is going, I would have to guess that my 3 year old does not think I am skinny. We have already established that I am mean.

Okay, then I will go to the Mommy catalog and see if we can get you a new one.

I thought is was humorous to say the least, but was relieved when he calmed down and told me that "I want to keep you when you are a nice mommy."

Thanks, guy. Sorry, but you are actually stuck with me and sometimes, I just have to be what you consider mean. It's not fair, but it is my job.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snow Flake

I am posting this link, because it really does not get much cuter than this.

The new little polar bear, Flocke which means snow flake.
Meet her here and be sure to check out the videos of her. I promise it will make you smile!

Well, I did it

You can see that I posted a submission for the P31 magazine contest. It really is not that I think this writing is so amazing or that it even has a shot of winning. There are over 100 entries so far and some really awesome posts in the contest. You should really take a few to jump over to Lysa's blog, check out the comments and some of these ladies stories.

But it was written from my heart and I guess, I thought to myself, "Why not?"

For most of my life I have been a follower. I have followed the crowd to many crazy and sometimes dark places. I followed my husband in a huge move to a large and strange city before we were married and called this brave. The truth of the matter is that I was in love and wanted to be close to him. I have said before I would move to the South Pole to be with him.

The best person I followed was a Christian, though. Someone who opened the door to the beautiful opportunity to know Jesus Christ. My life has not been the same since. I am a follower of a patient, loving and grace-giving God. Because of this, I suddenly have these spiritual gifts. One of them is leadership. Who me? Yes, me. Isn't it amazing what God can do with a person like me?

Having this gift of leadership is not always all it's cracked up to be. It requires fearlessness sometimes. It requires stepping out in faith all the time. It requires doing things that are out of your comfort zone.

Like submitting articles for possible rejection.

For me this was about being obedient to God. Who knows what he wants me to learn from the experience. Maybe I need to open myself up to some constructive criticism in my writing. Who really knows, but him? I never thought I would even entertain the thought of writing a blog. But here I am. Where will He take me next? I don't know, but as long as he is with me, let's go!

Seek With All Your Heart!

****Originally Posted September 2007****
Revised and posted for P31 Woman magazine contest.

I have a favorite song that we sing at church. "You are Good! All the time, you are good." It is the kind of song that when our worship team sings it, I want to raise my hands to God to worship Him. I am not normally a "hand-raising" kind of worshiper. I prefer to fold my hands in prayer and close my eyes most of the time. I guess I am more quiet in that way and that's really the only way.

Anyway, that's how I feel coming off the weekend we had, like raising my hands to God to thank Him for being good. All the time. The blessings that are in my life seem to be like a fountain that just keeps spitting out cool clean water. My husband was baptized this past weekend. He shared his story of why he made the decision to be baptized, again as an adult, that brought me and many others to tears. I guess it was that he spoke from his heart and shared that how he surrendered his life to God. For so long he has sought peace in his life. I think he finally realized that the peace was there all the time and all he had to do was believe and have faith. I have to say that there is not much in life that could make me love my husband more than to see him publicly share his love for Jesus. I just wanted to run up on stage and wrap myself around him. To see a grown man surrender and let go of the control that he has tried to maintain over his life is just a beautiful thing. This brings me to one of my favorite verses and a little history.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) - "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plants to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future."

For a long time I read that verse without reading the rest of the passage. I framed the verse. I said it was my life verse. It was the only verse in the bible that I actually quoted word for word. That verse was something I hung onto so that I could...well... hang on! I so wanted to live out the promise of the future God had planned for me and He was telling me with this verse to hang on to that hope.

At the time in my life where I just begun to actively seek God, many things in my life were in turmoil. My husband was suffering through a major trial in his life and I was dealing with much anger and frustration in my life that had not yet been determined from where it was coming. My marriage was suffering, of course, and honestly, I just kept looking for something to make it all better. I would look at other families lives, their homes and even other cities, just seeking a better place for us to live. I thought it was all because of our very busy business and the things we had accumulated in our life that were holding us back from living a more peaceful life. My husband worked so hard so we could have all this stuff thinking it would make us happy. I guess we fell into that trap like so many other young couples. The stuff was clearly not making us happy, though.

I would often tell my husband that we should sell it all and move to a place in the middle of the country somewhere. Maybe buy a farm or a little double wide with a big garden behind it. Our kids could run around the land without worry and we could sell vegetables by the side of the road. Not that there is anything wrong with this. I still wonder if this simpler way of life would not just be a welcome respite in this busy world we live in. BUT, that was not what I was seeking. It was not what my husband was seeking.

A good friend of mine, who's had a great deal of influence in my Christian walk, would often share with me the rest of the passage where my favorite verse is and specifically Jeremiah 29:13(NIV), "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Ah ha. It took me some years to figure this part out. And my husband too. I think in his story this past weekend, this is what he was saying. We were seeking peace in all the wrong places. Hey, isn't there a country song about that?

Anyway, the funniest thing has happened in our life. It is busier. So much busier, than it was those years ago I was talking about earlier. Our business has grown, we have an additional kid and they are busy, we have family close by now, we have many more friends and we have a great church that we are actively involved in. Our life is full by many standards. But we don't want to move anymore. We don't seek a more peaceful life by running away from it all. I don't look to other families and want what they have.

I want MY family.

MY friends.

MY house.

MY LIFE! The one God gave me and wants me to live and enjoy.

I want to be who He wants me and my family to be right now. HERE and NOW. TODAY.

The difference between now and then is that I think we seek God first and the peace only He can bring. Our full life is full of God and His blessings. They are everywhere.

So today, as the Fall weather starts to blow in and the sun shines in the bluest Carolina sky I have ever seen, I feel peace. I feel joy. I feel God affirming our life and where we are going. It is a hand raising, full out day to worship my God. He is good! All the time, he is good!

Seek With All Your Heart has never been published and only posted on my blog. I give permission to P31 Ministries to it. Word count is 1021

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Linked Up!

The Bible Isn't Enough - Leading Smart
Very thought provoking post!

Wherein My Comfort Zone gets completely blown to Smithereens -
Rocks In My Dryer
I sponsor a Compassion Child and was thrilled to read this! You should read this!

I'll Take away your chewing privileges, Mister
This Ain't New York
This is funny! My good friend also just had a beaver in her back yard. Not so funny when it's in your back yard!

To Be Known is To Be Loved - Renee Swope
This is just good stuff here.

Thinking of writing a book?
Check this out from Lysa TerKeurst

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ever wanted to be published?

Well, now is your chance to give it a shot.

Head on over to Lysa Terkeurst's blog and check out this opportunity to publish an article for P31 Woman magazine.

I have been reading so many blogs and I know that many of you are very talented writers. You could definitely do this!

Up with the Sun

"Mom, Dad - get up and come see this! You have to see it! " It is about 7 am.

Us groaning from our cozy bed, "Whaaatttt is it?!?"

"It's the sunrise! It's amazing!"

Our house faces the sun rising each morning. Actually, we have this little catwalk in our house and you can stand there and look directly out a window on the second floor and across the horizon at the sun rising. Most mornings we are just too busy to notice this incredible blessing. She is tracked out of school right now, though and our mornings a little less hectic for now.

So, I got up with my sweet 7 year old daughter. I sat on the floor of the catwalk, wrapped her Hannah Montana blanket around us and watched the rest of that beautiful sunrise this morning. Shades of yellow and orange blending into the bright blue sky.

Sitting next to my daughter who is just so ALIVE, I could feel her warmth and smell her hair. It always smells like strawberries from her shampoo. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of Jesus sitting right there with us. His presence was undeniable.

I thanked God for that sunrise and for all the beauty of this morning. For my precious child that notices that sunrise and wanted to share it with someone. I thanked Him for how alive she is and asked Him to help me be more like her. Alive. Noticing the simple beauty around me.
To recognize His presence in these undeniable ways.

I thanked him for this house that we often think we don't love or want to change, that it has a special window just for viewing one of His greatest creations.

I thanked him for the gift of my child. Without her, I may not notice so many of these creations.

Psalm 90:14
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Smurfs

Happy 5oth Smurfs!
Today is actually Smurf Day which I did not know existed until I read
this today.
Who was your favorite Smurf? Me first! Smurfette, of course.

Wish List Meme

This was fun. I was invited on one of my favorite blogs to play along in this meme, so here goes.
I promised a stimulating conversation on water and wells in Africa, but that will have to wait a bit because this was fun and I have a sick little one at home today keeping me busy!

I am supposed to post 2 wish lists. One for stuff I really want and one for more spiritual stuff.

Five of each and then tag five other blogs by leaving them a comment and then invite you to play along.

So here goes...and believe me - these are big WISHES because I don't see any of this coming my way anytime soon. Which is fine. I really have all I need, but a girl can wish, can't she?

1. I REALLY want to renovate our kitchen and add a sun room to our kitchen so we have more space to entertain. We have a huge backyard, a tiny kitchen and eating area and we are always entertaining. I would love to knock out some walls, add a beautiful sun room, a brand new kitchen, hardwoods throughout my entire downstairs. And then have a big party!
That's a biggie I know, but I really want this and we have started to consider it. Which is BIG! I will take considering over NO any day.

2. I had this yummy coffee at my friends house yesterday. Oh- my - gosh!
It was yummy. And I was up until 2 am this morning with a fantastic espresso buzz. Well, that part was not too good, but as long as you drink it at a reasonable hour then I would think this would be a cool thing to have!!!

3. I want these. Not because it is cold where I live, but because they are just cuuute! And yes, I did see them on Oprah's Favorite Things show and asked for them for Christmas. No, I did not get them or I would not be telling you how I want them now. I doubt I would ever spend the money on these. Maybe TJ MAXX will get some that were an off color or something.

4. Speaking of Oprah's Favorite things. I also saw this and want one in pink. I heart these. I like it because it seems durable and cool.

5. The perfect hairstyle. I am never happy with my hair. The cut. The color. The texture. I want someone to tell me what the perfect style for me is and just do it for under my entire grocery budget!!!

Okay, so that is the shallow stuff part. Here's the important stuff

1. Clean water for every person in the world. I do believe this can be reality.

2. More time with God every day. This too can be a reality.

3. More of God, less of me in everything I do. Oh, lots of work here.

4. To love my friends and family without judgement and unconditionally - all the time.
Okay, most of the time.

5. A true understanding and application of God's word in my life. In the works!

Okay, so I tag these lovely ladies who have left comments for me recently.

1. Tales From the Carpool Lane
2. Rain
3. This Ain't New York
4. Miscellany Mom
5. Twinkle...

And you, please play along and leave me a comment that you did!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Less is More

Okay, more on environmental stuff. I know, I know. I am on a little new year's kick, though.

From Redbook Magazine this month:

Major detergent brands are getting more environmentally conscious. According to Procter & Gamble, it's new concentrated detergents and smaller packaging will result in:

  • 35% less water used
  • Up to 43 % less plastic used (which is equivalent to about 2 billion plastic shopping bags per year)
  • A total packaging reduction equivalent to the municipal solid waste of 40,000 people per year
  • Greenhouse-gas reduction equal to the annual emissions of 40,000 cars

Wow!!!! That is amazing and all because your big bottle of laundry detergent will go to that smaller bottle you are starting to see on the shelves. And the good news is it will actually be better than those old detergents. Tide is actually being formulated with more enzymes and cleaning ingredients, so it is a superior detergent to the old Tide! Those bigger bottles are supposed to be phased out by late Spring, by the way.

Check out a great article in January 2008, Redbook about laundry or click here to read it online. Great information about "green" detergents, fabric softener, laundry boosters, cleaning enzymes and how to treat all kinds of stains.

Can I just tell you that I LOATHE doing the laundry. So, somehow knowing all this stuff and being more green about it all makes it feel like a more important contribution to the world. Although, I guess it really is an important contribution that all of my family leaves the house wearing clean underwear.

Tomorrow, see my post on water, water bottles and wells in Africa. It'll make you think!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What's a record player?

Conversation with my 7 year old at bedtime.

"Mommy, what was your room like when you were a kid?"

"Oh, I had a canopy bed, a dresser with a big mirror, night stand, lots of Barbies and dolls and a record player with some records."

"Mommy, what's a record player? "


I feel so old.

Of course, she doesn't know what a record player is!

When is the last time you have actually seen one?

And how do you explain that arm that goes on the record with that little needle that actually make the record play?

Oh, I just wonder about the day that her child asks her what a CD is!!!! It will come sooner than she thinks, believe me. I can still remember the day when I played my 45 of Kool and the Gang's Celebration on that record player over and over again.
Here is a little revisit! I hate to even admit that this was one of my favorite songs!
Or what about this one? How does that mark my age? It was released in 1980!
And of course, who could forget this one on SOLID GOLD to boot!?! 1983 people!
Really does Dancing with the Stars have anything on those Solid Gold Dancers?
Last but not least - my absolute fave!
Okay, glad we could go on this little trip back in time together. Thanks for coming along!
I heart the 80's.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

90 Day Health and Wealth Challenge

I have to give a little shameless plug for our business here. My husband works so hard and has for the last 15 years building it up. So, I really want to brag on it a little!

Especially for the new year we are working with a personal trainer and nutritionist to help our customers get healthier! We have new recipes and several cooking schools to show them how to cook healthier in their Saladmaster. It is a very exciting challenge to get a jumpstart on the new year. Read all about it HERE.

We are very lucky to have some talented and motivated people working hard on this project and we also thank them. It has been a true blessing to have them working with us. You know who you are!

And there is also a way folks can make some extra income, win trips and earn more Saladmaster if they want. Read more about that HERE.

I have Live Right in my sidebar which is the name of our business. We are authorized dealers of Saladmaster cookware which is by far the finest cookware you can buy. Plus, it helps you cook healthier, save precious vitamins and minerals in your food and save money on your grocery bill! So, read more about it if you get a chance.

There are Saladmaster dealers all over the world so if you think you would like to learn more about it and don't live locally, click on the main Saladmaster Inc. site and find an AUTHORIZED dealer near you. If you live locally, please click on the Live Right website to schedule your night out of the kitchen! If you are already a customer - THANK YOU and please sign up to attend a cooking class and check out the new recipes.

Okay, that's my plug. Thanks for reading!

Her birthday, His kidneys

Last night, I went to a little surprise birthday dinner for my friend. Her husband arranged it. That is nice in itself. Some husbands have a hard enough time remembering birthdays much less planning the details of a surprise party. This was unique though. This husband has been planning it for her for about 2 weeks.

And on Tuesday of this week - 4 days before her birthday, he had 2 kidneys removed.

One of them had some cancer on it.

Oh, I guess I should let you in on that he does have another healthy kidney as he is a kidney transplant recipient going on about 10 or so years now (I think - don't quote me on that). The 2 that were removed were not healthy.

This is a great couple. They are heavily involved in our church, the homeless ministry in our community, with the YMCA and have many wonderful friends and family. This is just one act of the kind of things they do. They think about others. Even when one of them is facing a major surgery he thought about her. He thought about how tired she would be after being at the hospital by him for days on end. He wanted her day to be special. And I believe it was a special treat for her. She said so anyway.

This is the thing. He has been in a huge amount of pain. They say more than his actual kidney transplant. He is recovering well but could use some more prayers. He should be home soon and friends have them covered in meals and help. But prayers - always good to have more of those. Thanks y'all.

My blog is in transition

I just wanted to let you know that I will be in transition this month. I will be changing my blog name to Dandelion Dayz and even have a new fancy header being worked on! I am really excited to debut that soon. I have a domain now so you may be redirected if you come on to my site through small inspirations. More to come later, but just wanted to keep you in the know!
Thanks so much for reading and your comments.

What do dandelions remind you of? Leave a comment about dandelions - good or bad. Thanks!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kindness for Kyra

This little girl goes to my church. She is 6 years old. For those that are local there is a benefit you can read all about. For those that are not local, will you please say a prayer for her? Or maybe visit her website and leave an encouraging comment. I know her family would greatly appreciate it!

Kindness for Kyra
A Benefit Event

Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to write to you on behalf of the Coordination Committee, established to plan and host a benefit in honor of a 6 year old girl named Kyra Powell. Kyra is a vibrant and amazingly strong little girl who is being treated for cancer, Early B Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. Unfortunately, this is Kyra’s second time battling this disease. She was first diagnosed at the tender age of 18 months. Kyra has just finished her last round of chemotherapy.

The proceeds will assist the Powell family immensely, as Kyra will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant in February 2008 at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

The Benefit is scheduled for:
Friday, February 1, 2008
4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Macedonia Baptist Church
7100 Holly Springs Road
Raleigh, North Carolina

We have established a website to advertise the various contributors and donated items. Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase on-line at The raffle ticket winners will be announced at the benefit on February 1st. Winners do not need to be present.

Kyra lives with her family, Mom, Dad and three siblings in Apex, North Carolina. Kyra loves school, art and loves to read. She makes her own books and just learned to ride her bike without training wheels. She loves soccer and playing t-ball in the backyard with her Dad, she has an awesome swing, stance and arm and can’t wait to play t-ball! To learn more about Kyra, her diagnosis, treatments and progress, please visit her Caring Bridge website at:

With your help, we can help Kyra to enjoy some special kindness and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

If you would like tickets please contact, Sarah Giuliano at 919 303-4315 or Raffle tickets are $5 and dinner tickets are $7. Dinner will be baked spaghetti, green beans, bread from Panera and dessert. You may buy as many raffle tickets as you like.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Useful Information - Really it is

I have a few friends that wear the crown of Recycle Queen around here. They really amaze me with the lengths that they go to recycle things I would never even think about. It is so great to have them around and make me think, " Hmmm, can this be recycled?" One of my friends saves her recyclables when she is traveling and travels home with them so she can be sure they are recycled. See what I mean? They really think outside the box! That would never even occur to me.

Don't get me wrong - I recycle. Members of my family make fun of me because, yes, I have gone through their trash to take recycling out, clean it and place it in the bin where God and the sanitary department intended it to be.

I think that recycling is a good thing to be sure and my bin is more full than my trash can on trash day. I know you are impressed now. Really, I am actually shocked that more towns do not make it easier. It is a tragedy to say the least. Luckily, our town does. I guess it is the advantage to living in a town where the landfill is less than 10 miles away. Yes, it is and don't even get me started on that.

So, I get this email from my friend today where you can now actually mail some of your recycling! More specifically, the Styrofoam packaging that comes in a package when you order something like furniture or buy something like a radio. You know, that hard Styrofoam stuff that keeps whatever is in the box from shifting and getting damaged. It's really important stuff and it comes in most packages and is definitely not good for the landfills. I always wonder what to do with it!

One side note here: I just have to wonder and really, I am just wondering because maybe it makes total sense to do this and someone will explain it to me. Please do. :)

But, does it make sense to package these packaging materials in a box (recycled, of course), tape it up, drive it to the post office and then have the post office use gasoline to send this stuff to where ever it goes? Things that make me go hmmm. Is it a waste of other resources or is it really a good idea to save this stuff and send it away? This website says yes!

Anyway, here is the address in case you want to send your Styrofoam packaging and some tips from one of my friends.

The Website is :


Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers
128 Cronson Boulevard
Suite 201
Crofton, MD 21114

*Popcorn Styrofoam and be recycled at some UPS stores.

*Another interesting note...did you see that China banned use of all plastic bags at stores and they charge for use of paper bags. Wonder when we will see that?? Wonder, I do. Oh, I will be in such trouble as I am always either forgetting my canvas bags or I buy too much and do not have enough of them for my groceries.

Please leave any of your best recycling tips! Not only will I use them, but then I can sound really smart when I tell the Recycle Queens these new ideas!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Backwards Edition

Okay, hop over to Rocks In My Dryer to read all kinds of cool comments about everything you never knew you wanted to know. I found the suggestions on blog traffic and blog income to be extremely helpful.

My question is this. After the holidays, so many people seem to be in a little funk. The excitement of Christmas is over, the diets are starting and expectations of the new year are high. I find people to be a little blue including myself. While I try to focus on the blessings in my life, I also find myself still feeling this little funk. What kinds of things do you do to chase away the Winter/After Holiday blahs?

Wordless Wendesday - Disney Memories

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to Reality!

Well, my break was to Disneyworld with my family and we just got back tonight. I don't know why I didn't say that is where I was going, call it weird paranoia that I didn't want to announce that I was leaving my house empty for a week all over the internet and I don't have a laptop, so I just said I was going on a little break. Anyway we are back and we had SO much fun! This is despite the record cold temperatures in Orlando. Yes, we all have new Mickey hats - ours are the stocking caps with Mickey on them and they were priced at an oh, so low price at that. So, about $100 later with our new Mickey hats and gloves, layers of every piece of clothing we had - we braved the chilly temps of Florida and headed to the parks. Luckily, it warmed up and we had a blast. I took 400 pictures with my new little camera. I will not be posting all of those tonight! Lots to share and I will do some of that later this week. Omigosh - I am pooped! Happy New Year everyone!

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