Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's that time again, folks. It's beginning to look a lot like... fall! Still pretty balmy here in the southern United States, but the weather IS changing and for many folks, today marked the beginning of college football!! Truth be told, I am not a huge football fan. As a matter of fact, as of today... I am SO over it already! This news is not a shock to anyone who knows me, including my husband, who is an SEC grad and a fairly avid football enthusiast. We are just thankful for more than one TV in the house!

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the colors, the weather... EVERYTHING! So many fun memories from childhood: starting back to school, Fall Festivals, Homecoming games... ahh the joy. I still love pumpkins and scarecrows and hot apple cider. Hay rides and bonfires and deciding what to wear for Halloween...I could go on and on. There's just nothin' about autumn that I don't like.

And with the kids back in school I have lots of ideas and projects planned for the house (and lots of decorating for the holidays!). I'm hoping to post some pics as things progress, so stay tuned for that! I'm also looking forward to our rally day for Sunday School that starts around this time of the year. And somewhere in all of that I'm going to TRY to squeeze in some sewing... as those projects are mounting almost daily. :)

So here's to the next few months of wonderful transformations... within us and around us! And on that note, I'll wrap it up with a fond adieu, southern style: HAPPY FALL, Y'ALL!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A "Sign" of Laziness

I have got to get this off my chest. If I have ONE pet peeve, this is it and it almost makes me violent: I abhor people that use handicap placards as an excuse for their laziness. Now I know we aren't supposed to hate people, so let me rephrase that to say I detest their actions. And that's putting it mildly.

Because we are placard holders due to Anna's handicaps, I realize that I am extra sensitive in this area. But I see it ALL the time. Not long ago I engaged in a riveting discussion on Facebook with a gentleman who felt he must bring to my attention that by all appearances, he may not look like he needed the assistance of one of those little scooters available in most of the chain stores, but in fact he did. Listen, I'm fully aware that I'm not the final judge on who should and should not ride on said scooters, or who should or should not be given access to handicap parking placards. I can only tell you from experience how extremely frustrating it is to not be able to find a handicap parking space available for my daughter (who cannot walk unassisted for long distances without the help of a leg brace or a stroller/wheelchair) when there are people I have seen with NO APPARENT HANDICAP AT ALL HOGGING ALL THE SPACES!!!!!

Notice I said "no apparent handicap." Because of Anna, I am aware that everything is not as it appears, as the aforementioned Facebook person argued. I have spent time in the company of people I have met for the first time who did not realize at first that Anna is handicapped. I, myself, have wondered if others might be judging me as I lift my 48 pound 8 year old into a modified stroller and hang our card from the rear-view mirror. After what I've witnessed, especially recently, I will never again feel guilty about using those parking spaces again.

On a recent trip to K-Mart, I was thrilled that I found a handicapped parking space so close to the front. Score! I noticed as I was getting Anna's stroller put together that this car in the space in front of us was having trouble parking. "Poor thing," I thought. Yeah, poor thing indeed when I was SHOCKED to see a female in her twenties, smoking a cigarette, parking her car and putting up her handicapped placard WITH NO SHAME!! I always try to make eye contact with such individuals to see if they might be embarrassed in the least for their actions. This particular woman would not look at me.

On the way out I noticed a lady, who appeared to be in her 40's, with her two daughters and their buggy full of necessities for school. They proceeded to load their truck which also happened to be in a handicapped space. I noticed them because the mom was yelling and making a huge fuss at the girls just as I had seen her do inside the store. From what I saw inside the store, or outside for that matter, NONE OF THEM NEEDED A HANDICAP PARKING SPACE! Apparently their only handicap was their inability to act civilized in a public place.

So as I was breaking down Anna's stroller, I noticed a man and his wife exiting the store. I recognized them because I had seen them earlier inside when I caught the husband "looking" at Anna. I could write a whole post on this subject alone, but at the time, I thought I'd let him get an eye full and take as long as he needed to mentally digest what a handicapped child looks like. Anyway, the couple appeared to be in their 50's and again... I saw them walk all over K-Mart staring at my child, with no difficulty whatsoever. I don't see how having to walk two more yards to the non-handicapped space beside them would have been a problem. But I'll leave that to them and their primary health care physician.

Not long ago I saw a lady in the Wal-Mart parking lot who I am quite familiar with. She is the guardian of a child with cerebral palsy that I know well. This particular day I was alone so I was enjoying the last of a song I liked on the radio and finishing up my coffee before heading in to do some shopping. I saw this lady getting out of her car and I got excited because I thought I was going to get to say hello to the little girl I'm so fond of. After she pulled into the handicapped space and put her card up, she did get a child out, but it was the normally developing brother of the little girl with CP. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. She was one of "us," I thought, taking advantage of the card she carried, just to get closer to the front door. I was stunned.

After expressing such disdain to my relatives, my mother-in-law hit me with a doozie. She told me that a lady from her church who received a placard when she had broken her leg still uses her card to this day... long after her leg is healed... to get a better parking spot at CHURCH! Was I hearing correctly? What is wrong with people? On a different note, this may explain how all these people are getting these placards in the first place.

If you have a broken, leg, foot, etc., I believe you MORE than qualify for a placard. But what about an expiration date that doesn't last 2-3 years like the rest of us? Perhaps there should be more regulation where these placards are concerned... maybe even "temporary" ones in a different color with a closer expiration date. I cannot swallow the fact that there could be doctors giving out prescriptions for these cards on a whim. I certainly hope not.

One final note: I have NEVER used our card without Anna being present. Not even in the torrential rain, when no one was around who would notice. All I have to do is think about the person who can't just jump out of their car and run to the front entrance as I and so many others who posses handicap placards can. Here's hoping that those who use their placards without warrant will always be able to make that run. It's awful not to at least have the choice.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Be Encouraged- Part Two

I guess you already know that it's taken me a little while to get back to the blogging world. What was supposed to take me a day has turned into almost a week since our family has gotten some really upsetting news. Last week my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer (it appears to be in his lungs and lymph nodes). He went yesterday for a biopsy and is going to the doctor today for his prognosis. I have been told it doesn't look promising.

I guess all that stuff about encouragement was not so much meant for you as it was for me. Funny how God works sometimes. Regardless, I'm so pleased to know that he cares enough about me to reach out and give me the things he knows I need, or will need, as the case may be. As promised, here is the article by Walter Albrittton who is a family member of a church friend, as well as a retired minister. It was written for the Opelika-Auburn News on July 19, 2009. I hope you enjoy it and get as much encouragement from it as I did.

The Journey May Be Hard But Encouragement Helps Us Endure

The recent serious illness of my wife caused me to take a fresh look at my priorities. Such wake-up calls are always helpful. Human nature being what it is we all tend to lose focus on what really matters. The jarring prospect of losing someone you love dearly can clear the cobwebs from your brain.

Putting first things first is never easy. But it is possible. And it is necessary if we are to live well. Now and then we must stop the merry-go-round, look in the mirror, and take an honest look at how we are living. Are the choices we are making everyday helping us to make the most of our brief span of life?

Trouble reminds us that the journey of life can be long and hard. None of us is immune from suffering. Our personal problems may be difficult but we quickly discover that others are hurting too. To be human is to suffer.

Life is hard. But it is also a mixture of good and bad. There is pain and there is pleasure. We may be laughing one day and crying the next. As we grow up we learn to accept the bitter with the sweet, the rain with the sunshine. Reasonably mature people find a way to handle this mixture. Otherwise they become cynical, allowing bad stuff to rob them of their joy.

Maturity does not come easily. It comes gradually, usually the result of a lifelong search. None of us reaches it without help. The help we all need is that strange thing we call encouragement. It is hard to describe but when you receive it, you know that you have been given something more valuable than money.

Oddly, the only people who can offer us encouragement are fellow struglers, friends who step outside their own troubles long enough to come alongside us and cheer us up. So often the people who come to comfort us when we are hurting are themselves in pain. The fact that they do not speak of their own pain makes their comfort all the more wonderful.

Encouragement is like oxygen; we will die without it. People do not die from loneliness; they die from lack of encouragement. Everybody needs somebody who will encourage them to persevere and not give up. But we soon learn that it is foolish to expect encouragement from everyone. Those who become cynical are simply unable to encourage others.

All of us have some people in our lives who are examiners rather than encouragers. Examiners constantly evaluate us. They enjoy pointing out what is wrong with us. Examiners try to convince us we are inadequate and that we will never make it no matter how hard we try.

Encouragers offer us affirmation instead of criticism. They are our cheerleaders. They give us hope that "we can do it." Their praise inspires us to believe in ourselves and to reach for the best that we can be. And it is good news that every person has the potential to be an encourager to some fellow struggler. Each of us can choose to live as an examiner or an encourager.

During recent days of soul-searching many encouragers have come alongside us with hope and comfort. They have laughed with us, hugged us, prayed for us, and made us feel loved. They have generously blessed us with food and flowers. They have put their own pain aside long enough to care for us. And they have made a profound difference. We have been cheered far beyond our deserving. Love does indeed ease one's pain.

Once more Dean and I have been reminded that though the journey home is sometimes long and hard, the loving encouragement of friends helps us endure. And what is true for us is true for others. As strength returns, we must be up and doing the things that matter most. As long as we have breath, we too can make the hard journey of others more bearable by offering the precious gift of encouragement. Doing so will help us to put first things first.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Be Encouraged- Part One

Many of you will remember the story I shared a while back about the nurse at Children's Hospital who gave me a little packet of inspirational poems and such, one of them being "No Excuses," that I posted here a couple of months ago. Well, today I'm going to share with you another little gem she gave to me and I think it's SO fitting because I feel that God is impressing on me to speak about encouragement. Just yesterday, a dear sweet lady from our church e-mailed me an article from a relative of hers on the subject as well. I plan to post his article tomorrow as the second part of "Be Encouraged."

I think so many of us get down and out because we forget to be thankful for all the blessings that's been bestowed upon us. Sure it's easier to focus on the negative because usually that's what is requiring our immediate attention. And let's face it...really bad things happen in life: sickness, unemployment, divorce, and death. It may be that your particular issue is not as severe, but I guess that would depend on what side of the fence you're standing on. Dealing with a wayward child, the loss of a friendship, or this unstable economy can consume us with all that's "wrong" in the world and really get the best of us. Choosing to focus on the positive may seem trite and a little too "Pollyanna" for you at first. I mean, how can you possibly think about something positive when (insert catastrophe here) is consuming you...mind, body, and soul?! Well, it's simple. It's a choice.

When I get really down and out and need a spiritual "kick in the pants," I resort to doing what I do best: I make a list. You may be scoffing, but it really works. Go get a pen and a piece of paper. Right now. I'll wait. :) Okay, now write down EVERY SINGLE THING THAT IS GOOD IN YOUR LIFE. What are you thankful for? Write it down. I'm talking about the little things too. And don't cop out on me with the "I don't have anything" garbage. What about that computer you're looking at? Pretty nice to have, right? And how about that central air that is so wonderful this time of year? What about that one friend who always seems to have time to give you when you really need to talk? And let's not forget Jesus, who gave us the ultimate sacrifice and continues to give to us even when we don't deserve it. The bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from above (emphasis mine). So EVERY thing that is good and right in your life... God has given it to you as a gift. Isn't that just amazing when you think about it?

That's why I think this little poem is so fitting. ALL of us can and should be thankful to God for filling our our cups to overflowing with the wonderful things he has chosen to give us. Now lets choose to be thankful and meditate on these things. It won't make "said catastrophe" go away, but by changing your focus, you can change your attitude... to gratitude.

I'm Drinking From My Saucer

I've never made a fortune
And it's probably too late now
But I don't worry about that much
I'm happy anyhow

And as I go along life's way
I'm reaping better than I sowed
I'm drinking from my saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

Haven't got a lot of riches
And sometimes the going's tough
But I've got loved ones all around me
And that makes me rich enough

I thank God for his blessings
And the mercies He's bestowed
I'm drinking from my saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

I remember times when things went wrong
My faith wore somewhat thin
But all at once the dark clouds broke
And the sun peeped through again

So Lord, help me not to gripe
About the tough roads I have hoed
I'm drinking from my saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

If God gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I'll not ask for other blessings
I'm already blessed enough

And may I never be too busy
To help others bear their load
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If You Fail to Plan...

I've been seeing this little adage around a lot lately. Perhaps someone is trying to tell me something and as usual... I'm hard of hearing. I blame it on all the Big-Hair-Band music I was blaring in my Walkman in the 80's. :)

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Sounds simple enough, right? So what's the problem?! I think I'm just not as disciplined as I need to be. Especially in the summer when everything is just kinda "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" and there is no real schedule for us. And I've TRIED to create one for myself: for cleaning, projects, bible study, but none have really stuck.

Then the other day during one of our trips to Wal-Mart, I stumbled across a great book: "Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be" by Donna Partow. It's a 90 day guide to living the Proverbs 31 life. This was particularly timely as I have been doing a lot of reading about the Proverbs 31 woman on the Internet and have become compelled to try and follow her lead.

I found it quite interesting that the first thing Donna Partow asks you to do is to buy a planner. Ah... a-paper-and-pencil woman after my own heart! Complete with a calendar, to do lists, a menu planner, shopping lists, and a health and fitness tracker... I'd say I'm well on my way! Now I know some of you may think this is a little "type A" for your day to day life, but don't knock it 'til you try it. I haven't used a planner since I owned my own business and sadly, I don't think us housewives (or workingwives for that matter) put as much emphasis and importance on the tasks at home as we do/did our outside work. Home management IS very much a job and one that I've been slacking on if the truth be told. At least compared to the Proverbs 31 woman. If you have never read about her, I urge you to. It's very eye-opening.

So anyway, I'm now armed with my pink planner and I'm carrying it everywhere I go. It's just the first step, I know, but at least I feel like I have a jumping off point and it's amazing to see how much you can accomplish (or not accomplish) when you have your days mapped out right before your eyes. How about you? Does anyone else live by a planner or "home management binder"? I'd love to hear how the rest of you keep it all together, especially during the summer months and vacation times during the school year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Are You Feeling the Love?

I bet the LAST person you thought who would be talking about Michael Jackson would be me, right? Yeah, me too. I mean, I get it... he was a musical genius and forever a legend. But I must confess I was so OVER it and him practically a day after he died. The media, as they so often do, was getting on my nerves with all their non-stop coverage and continual play of EVERY SINGLE VIDEO the man ever made. I guess I was a little angry too that he was stealing Farrah's spotlight after her long fight with cancer. Then I caught some of his memorial service on the web...

I probably wouldn't have started watching it if Brooke Shields had not been speaking when I tuned in. I don't know why, but I've always admired her ever since I was a little girl. I listened as she spoke of a dear friend and honored him, choking back her tears, by reading an excerpt of one of my favorite books, "The Little Prince." It hit me then that no matter what we may have been coerced into believing about this most tormented and gifted soul, the bottom line is that there lying for all the world to see was a child of God, taken entirely too soon, surrounded by the grieving left behind who loved him. Then it became really real for me.

There was a mother, whose grief I could not imagine, facing a task that should never had to be made by a parent. There were brothers and sisters, whose pain I can empathize with, watching the life of their own flesh and blood, flash upon a screen for all to see, knowing that he had so much more life to live. There were his children, faced with the hard reality of life way too soon, and having the end of their innocence marked forever by June 25, 2009.

There were many renowned speakers with so many wonderful words to say about a man who lived in controversy until the day he died. My hope is that Michael Jackson knew how these people felt about him, how they respected and supported him, through it all. I also hope that his soul is finally at peace with the Lord, who one speaker reminded the family, IS our Shepherd. Thank God for that.

For all the wonderful music that he gave us that will be eternal, and for all the great things he did as a humanitarian, I applaud him. But the gift that he gave to me in his death was eye-opening. Death is the great equalizer. We are all the same. We are born, we live, and yes, we will all eventually die. We are all given opportunities and talents and wonderful friends and family to share our lives with, no matter how much or how little time we are given. The most important thing we can do is to tell those that we love that we do. Tomorrow is not promised, so tell someone if you're thankful for them, that you're proud of them, or that you ARE really sorry. The bible tells us that love never fails and, truly, it is the only things that lasts and inevitably transcends time. Thanks, M.J., for helping me feel the love. Now let's all pass it on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Ol' Gray Mare... She Ain't What She Used To Be

I'm sending you a personal invitation to my pity party today. Come on and humor me. It'll be fun. For all you 20-somethings, it may be more FUNNY than fun... but just you wait. Your days are numbered sista!!
What exactly is this cruel joke Mother Nature decides to play on us when we hit our thirties? Seriously, somebody should write a book and warn the rest of the world! It probably wouldn't be well received... kinda like when a mother tries to explain (warn) another poor, unsuspecting soul what's in store for her as far as pregnancy and child rearing are concerned. I guess we think that we'll be different or maybe it's because we are so wrapped up in the moment that we can't see farther than the end of our own nose to think life could be any different than it is now. Ah, youth. It really is wasted on the young. :)
I guess everybody expects to get crow's feet at some point. After my first gray hair (at about age 32) is when I noticed the little lines around my eyes starting to grow in prominence. I told myself they were laugh lines, although now I don't think they are so funny. Now my only reservation about getting Lasik eye surgery is that I'm convinced my glasses camouflage any crepiness going on. Yeah, I know...old AND delusional!
But speaking of crepiness... nobody tells you that the look of wrinkled tissue paper will eventually continue all the way down to your chest! You know, the cleavage ain't worth showing if it looks like you need to take an iron to it! I'm beginning to feel like my skin is like a balloon that has been blown up one to many times... all that tautness and firmness of my youth is beginning to fade right before my eyes. Or at least that the way it appears. I can't see a THING without my glasses.
And since the old metabolism starts to drag somewhere in our twenties, a healthy dose of exercise would seem to be a logical resort, right? Well, it would until you realize that moves that seemed so effortless when you were younger (dancing, kickboxing, etc) now are so...difficult. It's like your brain is sending the message but the body is not cooperating... or at the least it feels like it's on delay. And then there is the recuperation from said exercise. What used to take a day now requires a weekend. That goes for a little overindulgence as well. Cough. If you know what I mean.
I remember three years ago when Chuck and I were looking for a house. We came upon a new construction that had a nice deck on the back. It was after hours, so we just decided to peek in the windows and look around. The steps to the deck had not been built, but we just hoisted each other up for a look-see. As we were leaving, Chuck hopped down from the deck, and I followed. I cannot describe the jarring sensation that swept through my entire body. There was no spring. Just the sensation that every joint in my body was going to crack. I let out an "UGGHH!" We exchanged some comments about how we used to jump out of trees and off swing sets and how now we could barely make it off a three foot deck. Laughing at how our bodies had failed us, we got back in our car and vowed to never do that again.
I don't know what bothers me more: the things we can't see about our bodies as we age or the outside appearances that leave no doubt. Like those cute little freckles I used to get every summer. Now they have changed somehow: growing together and not going away at summer's end. You think there would be a more pleasant name for them than age spots, right? I'll make a mental note to work on that. And speaking of working, that's exactly what I need to be doing to these feet of mine. Is anyone else scrubbing and filing their feet before they get a pedicure? It's like a little gremlin takes some old lady's feet and switches them with mine while I sleep, honest to God!! Chuck's feet are smoother than mine and that's an true statement. (I'm sure he'll be proud I shared that!) I can remember my grandmother telling me when I'd go to Florida as a teenager that walking on the beach would make my feet smooth. I didn't understand then. My feet were smooth at one time, honest. There's not enough sand on the beach to take care of these puppies now. Tip your pedicure person well. Especially if they perform the miracles mine does.
I could go on and on, I guess, but I'm kinda making myself sad (I thought pity parties were supposed to make you feel better :/ ). On the bright side, at least I've lived long enough to have all these things happen to me. I've laughed a lot (as the crows feet tell), nursed two babies (as my boobs can tell), I've danced above and below the equator and climbed many mountains (both literally and figuratively). If my body wants to slow down a little, I guess it's earned the right. With age comes many maladies, sure, but there also comes experience and wisdom. And there's no doctor, or procedure, or miracle cream that can make that claim. So rise up all you 30-somethings! (If your knees will let you!) Let's be proud of just how far our bodies have taken us over the years. We don't have to put ourselves out to pasture just yet! ;)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot...NOT!

Thought I'd jazz up the ol' blog! Whaddaya think? I'm not sure if I'll keep it this way, but I like it for now.
I've been on the computer a lot today. This afternoon I've been trying to create a spreadsheet for our bi-weekly budget. I'm just an old "paper and pencil" kind of gal, you know? Chuck says everything will be easier once I get it all set up, but right now, he's not here and I'm tempted to revert back to my trusty green-tinted ledger and multicolored ink pens. It's official: I've become old and set in my ways. Aye!
On a brighter note, something wonderful has come from tracking all our expenses lately (in conjunction with a little experiment I've been conducting). I made a concerted effort a couple of months ago to quit playing with the thermostat (my step-dad would be so proud!). This has not been easy for me since having kids has made my internal temperature fluctuate like a menopausal madwoman. But, alas, for the sake of science (and the all important dollar), I set my thermostat to 72 degrees and that is where it has been for a couple of months now. To help me from spontaneously combusting I have also ran the ceiling fans in the living room and bedrooms pretty much non-stop. NOTE: Just be sure that the fans are turning counter clockwise in the warmer months and clockwise in the colder months (I just read recently that if your ceiling fan is running clockwise, it is actually pushing the warmer air from the ceiling DOWN and warming up the room. Good to know... thank goodness mine was turning the right way!). I've also closed the door to the spare bedroom (but left the vent to the room OPEN) since we hardly ever use that room anyway, and I can't believe what our power bill has been... and all without sacrificing any one's comfort. June's power bill was right at $10 LESS than May's, and July's power bill was almost $9 less than June's. And it's just gotten HOTTER... can you say "Ka-Ching?!" I'm so proud of myself! Though it's not a HUGE dollar amount, over the course of a year, it could really add up! How about you? What's your thermostat set on? Are you cranking it up and down and throwing your hard earned money out the window? I challenge you to do this little experiment with me and see how much money you could be saving.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

To Sweet "P," With Love

We have a tradition in my family and it's one I love. EVERYBODY in our family has a nickname. At least one. I don't know how this started, but I get the biggest kick out of it and I continue this quirky little habit in my own family now and with all my friends.

How does a nickname start anyway? I like to think of a nickname as a term of endearment. Maybe your sweet little one has done something incredibly cute, or they may remind you of something or someone. Maybe it's just plain laziness and you don't feel like exerting the effort to say someone's full name. Us southerners do this a lot, not just with proper names. How do you think "y'all" came to be?

But I digress. I love nicknames. I love giving them too. If you are dear to me, you probably have one from me. You know who you are. And You probably have more than one: CharlieG, Sugarplum, Punkin'Pie, SquishyBottom, BigMama, Poppy, MoMo, Corky, Hooker, Big'Un, Griff, TayTay, Lo Boat, Jay, The Trebi, Mim, ChiChi, Mamasita, Ash, I could go on... but I'm afraid half of you have quit reading already.

I go by a few nicknames myself these days and have acquired many over the years. I won't bore you with their meanings: Ling Long Lootitie-Hootie ( or Ling... the nickname for my nickname), Lillie-Willie, Linz, LB, Pig, Daisy, SoCo, Hootch, Grand Master, Prezbo, and yes, I'll answer to each and everyone of them.

The latest recipient of a nickname in our family would be that of my precious little niece that was born on my birthday! Her nickname is EXTRA special because I gave it to her and it looks like it's gonna stick. Her name is Peyton Elaine, but she's known to the rest of us as Sweet "P." Pretty self explanatory, but fitting none-the-less. What about the rest of you? Do you do the nickname thing? And more importantly, are you brave enough to tell what yours is?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Happy Anniversary, Baby... I Got You On My Mind"

I'm LOVING the lyrics to this song. It's like he wrote it just for us. Happy Anniversary, Charlie G! It's been the BEST nine years!!! Love you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

Wouldn't life be a lot easier if we could keep the frankness and honesty of our youth? The old saying, "out of the mouths of babes" comes to mind, and as a mother of a four year old, I've had the (dis)pleasure of seeing just how honest kids can be. Only recently has my little one discovered that there is an alternative to telling the truth. But that's another post altogether...

I have to admit that sometimes it can be funny. Like when JR asked me why I had a big tummy and why the girls on the cover of my workout video didn't. Or the time when she asked my mom if she had drawn on her legs (referring to my mom's varicose veins). Other times can be a little more frustrating: like when she exclaims at the top of her lungs that the food she's eating tastes DISGUSTING and the person who prepared it is (unfortunately) well within ear-shot.

But just imagine the freedom that telling the truth or saying exactly how you feel could bring... if only the person bearing the brunt of it would give you the same consideration that we give children when they do it. No more "political correctness." No more tip-toeing around delicate egos. No fear of what the consequences will be to any question you might be asked. No more racking you brain on how to let someone down "easy." Calling things as you see it. A true "it is what it is" mentality, so to speak. Doesn't that sound refreshing?

I think it would reiterate the fact that none of us are perfect. So why are we trying so hard to be? I think fat people know they're fat. Awkward people know they're awkward and despite what American Idol has taught us, people who can't sing have GOT to know that they can't. Stupid people, on the other hand, need to be reminded that they're stupid. Come on, they're STUPID! If this paragraph is making you angry, or at the very least uncomfortable, then maybe this kind of freedom is not for you. Let me clarify... I think there is a difference in telling the truth and just being mean. Wait, I might not be on board after all. I don't know about you, but I can't sleep at night if I know I've hurt someone. And then there's that "do unto others" commandment. Maybe I don't like the truth. Jack Nicholson said we couldn't handle it. Maybe he was right.

There are times when I think people are just asking for it. The truth, that is. Maybe you've been there too. Allow me to set the scene: It's dinner time and all of us (including the in-laws) proceed to a favorite sit-down restaurant to eat a bite. Our hostess approaches us and to say she was a little "goth" would be an understatement. Pretty girl, mind you. Just some conformity issues, I'm assuming. Anyway, I look at Jamie Ruth and she is staring like an animal caught in the headlights of an oncoming Mack truck... mouth gaping and all. I'm hoping... no, more like PRAYING that she doesn't state the obvious. I must have found favor with the Almighty that day because much to my surprise, my little one remained as quiet as a mouse. When we got to our table she whispered to me, "Did you see that lady?" To which I replied, "Yes, I did." Nothing else being said, I figure she just wanted some confirmation that we had not stepped into a Halloween party by mistake.

It made me think... what would be the harm if she did state the obvious in front of this slightly rebellious, yet obviously hardworking young lady? Seriously, if someone is purposely going to that much trouble to be so "different" from the status quo, aren't they in fact wanting you to take notice? Verbal acknowledgement might just be icing on the proverbial cake. Heck, I may have diverted a compliment towards her without even realizing it! My apologies, Miss I-want-to-be-Marilyn-Manson's-girlfriend. Wherever you are.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Calgon... Take Me Away!!

After a most hysterical e-mail from my sister to "get to blogging" I thought I'd peck out a few lines to those of you who actually are looking forward to me writing something (I'm flattered... I really am!) and let you know where I've been.

Well, first there was Anna's birthday festivities at the house and all the planning to go with it. Then it was all the end of the year stuff with the girls and their schools. Then all of us went to Gulf Shores with Chuck's parents...the packing... the unpacking. Then I had to high-tail it in to 1st gear upon my return from the beach to get ready for Bible School. I'm the director again this year and to say I like to take the decorating to the extreme would be an understatement. Hey, it's for the kids, right? And that's where I am now. One day left of Bible School and then the commencement tomorrow night. I need to be making certificates for the kids right now, but alas, here I am... blogging at my sister request (oh yeah, and checking in with Facebook! LOL! Priorities!)

Notice that there is no picture attached to this post. No time. I wanted to find one with a woman in the tub relaxing: what I wish I was doing. But right now a picture of a woman drowning would be a more accurate description. Forget the Calgon...throw me a lifesaver! Mmmm... lifesavers. Okay, now I need a sugar fix. Looks like those certificates will have to wait...
Stay tuned faithful readers (er, Courtney) there's more to come!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Jewelry Organization

I'm a sucker for organization stuff. I have spent a lot of money over the years buying gadgets and gizmos to help with this obsession I have with organization. This tip I found while watching HGTV and what I love most about it, is that it's SO CHEAP!!

The best thing I've found to store my earrings in: ice cube trays!! That's right! Go ahead and get you a few (only about $1.00 a piece... some times I've seen a 2 pack for a dollar!) and put a pair in each compartment. Viola! Instant (and inexpensive) organization. One tray holds about 16 pair of earrings. You could probably use it in the "junk drawer" or sewing cabinet for buttons, safety pins, push pins...the options are endless. Head over to for more awesome tips from the blog world!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday: Things To Do In Car-Line While Waiting On the Kiddos

Thought I'd join in "Top Ten Tuesday" hosted by These are really fun. Go on over and check 'em out. I laughed out loud!

Top Ten Things To Do In Car-Line While Waiting On the Kiddos

1. Pick up the miscellaneous garbage that accumulates on a daily basis. I always keep an extra Wal-Mart bag or two in the van just for this purpose.

2. Grab a rag and the Armor-All on the way out the door and clean the dashboard while listening to what YOU want to listen to on the radio.

3. Open and sort the mail.

4. Update your to-do list.

5. Catch up on your reading. Smutty novel or Sunday School lesson... your choice!

6. Read to your pre-schooler. A trip to the library beforehand is helpful or keep a few books stashed in the little pocket behind the seat.

7. Balance your checkbook. Buy a small calculator to keep in your purse for times such as this. Also comes in handy when you're at Wal-Mart trying to decide if the coupon you want to use will be worth the savings or if you should just buy your old stand-by. Yes, I have done this many times. You'll be glad your checkbook is balanced then too. :)

8. Return phone calls or make one to someone you haven't talked to in a while.

9. Pray.

10. This is probably my favorite: Put on your sunglasses and close your eyes for a quick nap. Just be sure to set the alarm on your cell phone! LOL!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: Teachers Who Care

Hello all! Yes, it's been a while since I've created a new post. My kids CANNOT get well. It's Anna this time and she has been sick and running a fever since Sunday night. The pediatrician says it's not the flu, it's not strep throat, and it's not an ear infection. We'll be heading back tomorrow and I'm going to insist that they test her again. Sometimes Mom has to do what Mom has to do. Know what I mean?

Today's post is more about WHO I love than WHAT I love and I hope you can relate. Anna has always been blessed with extraordinary teachers (Special Ed and otherwise) as well as aides and nurses at school ...and this year is no exception. I just got off the phone with her teacher, Candi McCullars who religiously calls and checks in on us when we're not there. Before we hung up she told me that she wasn't sure how "professional" her comment would be, but she wanted me to know that she would be praying for us. Praise God, I couldn't be happier! As I explained to her, it's sad that we live in a society where you have to preface a comment like that with a disclaimer. She agreed wholeheartedly.

I'm just so glad that in the little things and in the big things, God is showing us that he's taking care of us. Thank God there are still teachers out there who pray for their students. Thank God that there are women and men who have a love for special children and devote their lives to them and their education, their well-being, their safety, and apparently their spiritual condition as well. I swear if she didn't have a family of her own, I'd take her home to live with US!! Thanks Mrs. McCullars and all the Christian educators everywhere. You are worth more than gold!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Cloth Napkins

Hey y'all! Today I have a special "Earth Day" WFMW post. I've been doing this for a while as a little experiment and I have been shocked with the results: For the last 6 months or so we have been using cloth napkins as opposed to paper towels...and I'm hooked!

I've always liked the idea of cloth napkins but just figured that it was just too fancy or too much trouble for everyday use. I stand corrected! I received some cloth napkins when I got married and they had NEVER been used. This coupled with the fact that we were going through paper towels like wildfire, I decided "What the heck. Let's be fancy!"

What's so awesome is that they are SO much better than paper towels at the dinner table, especially with the kids: one definitely gets the job done! And there's not even any more washing than usual: just throw them in with your towels. When I'm out shopping, I cruise by the kitchen section and when they're on sale, I pick up a few. I've also read other people's blogs where they have made some out of marked down fabric from the fabric store... even cheaper! I have quite a few now that I've inherited from Chuck's grandmother and I don't even mind that some are stained. I just use those for "everyday" and reminisce about the wonderful meals that she made for us with love.

And last, but certainly not least: a pack of paper towels for us now last FOREVER! Seriously. I bought a pack about a month ago and there are still rolls left. I'm sure that's making Mother Earth a little happier and it's not hurting the pocketbook either. Every little bit saved in this economy makes a difference. Do any of you use cloth napkins? If you haven't in the past, I encourage you to do so today. Don't wait for a special occasion. Today is a gift... that's why we call it "the present!" For more ideas, go to

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This Post Paid For By The Stimulus Package

I've just realized I'm a hypocrite. Shocking, isn't it? Allow me to rant, if I may.

To use a southern term, I have been "torn up" about the economy and how our government has been trying to rectify all the bad decisions made by the banks, auto industry, etc. "Bail-out" has become a four-letter-word these days and I've been the leader of the pack on expressing my displeasure with it all. First of all, why is it the government's responsibility to pick up the slack here? Secondly, shouldn't businesses take responsibility for their bad decisions and "go under?" I mean, call me crazy, but it seems like if we make our proverbial bed, we should also lie in it. To put it another way, if we were to fall and skin our knee, don't you think that the next time we'll make doubly sure to take precautions not to do the same things that led us to fall in the first place? Toddlers teach us that, people. But alas, I'm not a business guru. What do I know?

Well, apparently not much. It has occurred to me that like so many others, when the paycheck doesn't seem to reach as far as it should, I turn to Visa and Discover for my own personal "bail-out." It has become a safety net of sorts and despite "legitimate" reasons of doing so: medicine and medical supplies for Anna, there have been just as many non-essential items to make it to my monthly statement as well. If I took a dose of my own medicine, I should just let the cards fall where they may and "let the rough end drag" as my mother would say when I failed to budget the finances accordingly. So why do we do it? Because we have never had to "do without" the way previous generations have.

Consider my grandparents: often referred to as "the greatest generation." Not only did they live through the Great Depression and fight for freedom in the second World War, their ideals on money and debt management alone put them in that category in my book. Neither of my grandparents have a credit card. I have so many that I'm not even sure how many I actually have. They live in a modest 2 bedroom/ 1 bath house that only recently got central air within the last decade... and we're in the SOUTH people! The furniture in their "formal living room" has been with them for as long as I can remember and I'm 36. Their cars: paid for. Their house: paid for. The greatest generation indeed.

It seems like such a simple concept: "Act your wage!" Dave Ramsey shouts this mantra from the rooftops. Alas, no one seems to be listening. I guess we don't want to admit to ourselves or the people in our life that we are trying to impress that we can't afford the life that "they" (whoever "they" are) think we should. What we don't realize is we are all in the same boat... that is apparently SINKING in debt. Sounds kind of silly doesn't it? Going broke trying to impress the broke.

Well anyway, I've got my listening ears on now. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired over the finances (another one coined from Dave). And honestly, we can't expect to clean up our neighborhoods, our state, or even our country until we decide to do something about the trash that's cluttering our own front walk. When I pay these credit cards off... I'm done. But first, I have to quit using them and that's going to take some foresight... at least a little more than I've had previously. My grandmother has told me since I was a little girl "Save your pennies for a rainy day" and I'd say that's as good a place as any to start. Ironically, Dave Ramsey also recommends to start an emergency fund right after you cut those cards up. I won't be cutting them up, but they are going into HIDING!! So who's with me? Let's rally together and say "NO WAY" to any more bail-outs, on the home front or elsewhere. We can do it. Maybe there is just enough blood from the "greatest generation" running through our veins to do it. I hope so. For more information on becoming debt free visit

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Eye Make-Up Remover

My dear friend Jamie gave me this idea a while back and now I'm hooked 'cuz it works like a charm. Instead of buying expensive eye make-up remover... just use baby bath or baby shampoo. It's gentle on the skin, won't burn your eyes, and if you're like me, you have a TON of those little travel size bottles in your cabinet that you've collected and haven't used yet. Ironically I bought a generic "oatmeal" wash that kind of burned my eyes once...and it was "supposed" to be tear free. Not so much. My favorite is Johnson & Johnson, but I've used many others with great results. My friend Jamie washes her entire face with it, but I've found I need a more emollient soap for the all over cleansing. Hope this tip might work for you as well! For more ideas, head to!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It Doesn't Matter If You Win Or Lose...Or Does It?

My four year old is a game loving machine. Board games, card games, you name it. Because of her interest, along with those sappy commercials encouraging us, I've considered having a "family game night" once a week or so as something the whole family could do together. My only reservation? My sweet little red-headed baby is the sorest loser I have ever seen (second only to her father, that is!).

I have to admit that Chuck and I are partly to blame, because in the past, we have chosen to let her win. Save your e-mails. We've all done it as parents. There is nothing sweeter than watching the face of your precious angel light up when she's won a game. Such confidence! Such accomplishment! It's a priceless picture. Fast forward with me to this past January. We are at a birthday party for my friend's little boy. They start to play a "Thomas the Train" version of pin the tail on the donkey (put the caboose at the end of the train... cute, right?). Yeah, cute until my sweetie pie is crushed because her caboose is not the closest. Then came the tears. She wasn't throwing a malicious fit, mind you... she was just a heartbroken and disappointed child who wanted to be the very best.

Fast forward again to a couple weeks ago. Jamie Ruth and I are playing some games (more like having a "game marathon"... first the "memory match" game, then "slap jack," then "go fish," then EVERY SINGLE BOARD GAME WE OWN. No, I'm SO not kidding.). Figuring she was mature enough to "play fairly" as I call it, I was in no way trying to sway the outcome in her favor. Believe it or not, she actually won all the games with the exception of the last one: Candy Land. You would have thought that someone had just told her that Santa died with all that blubbering going on! Yes, I gave her the talk about "it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's just fun playing the game." Yes, I tried to explain that of all the games we played, she had won many and only lost one. Yes, I tried to teach her empathy and told her that it's good to be happy for someone when they win and to offer them a hearty "congratulations." All to no avail.

I began to think that this is exactly what is wrong with society today. Parents are so concerned with keeping their child's delicate ego intact that we are raising self-absorbed ego-maniacs who cannot deal with the least little bit of rejection. What good is it when no one has to prove themselves these days to make a sports team or when all the children is a contest receive a prize or trophy? It's as if we are telling our kids that there isn't a standard to strive for so... who cares! And boy could I go in a hundred different directions on that note. (Disclaimer: I'm not referring to small children here. All little kids need to be included and learn the ropes of sports and such. I think y'all know what I'm talking about.)

I remember the first time I tried out for cheerleading. I was in the 6th grade, and until then, I had only been on "pee-wee" teams where all who sign up participate. Was I devastated when I wasn't chosen? Yes, I was. But because of that disappointment, I worked hard and perfected my form and went on to make the cheerleading team in Jr. High, high school, and even college. And it may sound cliche', but experiencing defeat makes the victory, when it does come, even sweeter. Let's face it. Life can be tough. If we shield our children to a fault, we are only going to make it more difficult for them later. Will they ALWAYS get the job, promotion, or guy or girl they want? No. I guess it's never too early to learn the valuable lesson that the winner may not always be us, but in defeat we can learn and grow and eventually succeed if we play our cards right. Pun definitely intended!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No Excuses!

I love reading about people in the bible who remind me so much of myself. I have to admit that it tickles me when Jesus, so frustrated with his disciples, asks them, "How long am I going to have to put up with you people (my paraphrase)?" Even though they saw everything Jesus did first-hand, they were still "thick" when it came to grasping what they were supposed to. I love it that Thomas was a doubter and that Peter was a hot-head. My heart goes out to Job, who I feel shares in my pain of suffering. I've also learned to forgive myself by reading about David and his return to God after a wayward period.

For many years I felt that I was unqualified to be an instrument for God's work. I felt sure that I did not have the qualities needed to get the job done, and more importantly, that my inadequacies would be too much of a detriment to anyone I might be trying to help. The good news is that no matter where we are in our walk, we can always be of use. I have heard it said that God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. The following was posted in the Lab at Children's Hospital. I saw it and commented on it to the nurse taking Anna's blood. She gave me a copy of it along with some other little poems of inspiration. God uses each of us, wherever we are, to share the love of God and to encourage others... just like that nurse did with me and I am doing with you now:

The next time you feel like God can't use you, remember the following people:

NOAH was a drunk...

ABRAHAM was too old...

ISAAC was a daydreamer...

JACOB was a liar...

LEAH was ugly...

JOSEPH was abused...

MOSES couldn't talk...

GIDEON was afraid...

SAMPSON had long hair and was a womanizer...

RAHAB was a prostitute...

JEREMIAH and TIMOTHY were too young...

DAVID had an affair and was a murderer...

ELIJAH was suicidal...

ISAIAH preached naked...

JONAH ran from God...

NAOMI was a widow...

JOB went bankrupt...

JOHN the baptist ate bugs...

PETER denied Christ...

The DISCIPLES fell asleep while praying...

MARTHA worried about everything...

MARY MAGDALENE was demon possessed...

The SAMARITAN WOMAN was divorced.. more than once...

ZACCHEUS was too small...

PAUL was too religious...

TIMOTHY had an ulcer...



In God we trust!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frugal Fridays: The Yard Sale

This Frugal Friday tip may be a "no-brainer" for some of you. Even so, I think it stands to be repeated because I'm always amazed at how much money I make when I have one: The Yard Sale (or Garage Sale, if you prefer).
Last weekend I dropped the kids off at the in-laws and proceeded begrudgingly to take my cast-offs out to the garage. My neighbor across the street wanted to have one... and we usually try to have at least one a year together to share in the sign making and such... but I just wasn't in the mood. Boy am I glad I did!
Figuring I had already pared down to the basics from my last yard sale, and after making a donation from my garage to a local charity only 2 weeks earlier, my expectations were low. My local die-hard yard sale patrons did not disappoint, however! I made a whopping $302 profit and was only open from 6:30 a.m. until around 11:00 a.m. And the most expensive thing I sold was my husband's old golf clubs for $35 (with his permission of course!:) ). I've used this money to start an "emergency fund" for us to help us get out of the habit of using those evil credit cards. What could be more frugal than that? Maybe this will inspire you to get out those ill-fitting clothes from your closet, those dusty knick-knacks you can't stand anymore, and those kid's toys that seem to multiply on their own while we sleep, and turn them in to some cold hard cash you could use! Stay tuned for more details on how to have a successful yard sale.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: Schick Quattro Razors

My dear husband has given me lots of advice over the years. Silly as it sounds, one of the smartest things he's told me was to not skimp when it comes to razors. RAZORS? Oh, he's said lots of smart and profound things, but this week, as I continued to hack up my legs with a sub-par grooming device... his advice on razors was ringing in my ears.

Y'all know that I love a deal! I take great pride in my bargain hunting skills, but some things, as my husband states, are worth coughing up the extra cash for. Case in point: I have sensitive skin. I haven't always... but the older I get, the more sensitive my skin gets. Within the last couple of years I've had to change lotion, soap, and now razors. Not that I was using the cheapest ones out there, mind you, but I just had a hard time coming off my pocketbook for RAZORS. With warm weather on it's way here to the sunny south, I've been doing a little more personal grooming and the razor burn was out of control. That's why I'm LOVING the Schick Quattro Razor for women. Oh yeah, I bought the fancy one with the refillable cartridges. And you know what? NO razor burn and NO stubble. Perhaps I'll have to skimp somewhere else in the budget... cuz these razors are keepers! Head on over to to see what else YOU may fall in love with!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The List

I'm always curious about other people's schedules. I've spent A LOT of time surfing blogs to see how other wives and moms spend their day and how they can make it all "fit in" to the 24 hours we're all given each day. Let me be the first to admit that I fall WAY short on the scheduling front. Don't get me wrong... I'm a list maker from way back. I get such a rush and sense of accomplishment from crossing something off my endless list of things to do. Keeping a tight schedule is another thing. I long to have days that follow a particular regime, but then life happens: kids get sick, I get sick, Spring Break comes along... you name it and then the well intentioned schedule falls to the way side. Lately I've decided to take my mothering and wifely duties up a notch (we ALL could, right?). The only way I can see to get to it all is by once again putting pen to paper and making myself a schedule. And here it is:

First, let me address a cleaning schedule. I would rather clean all in one day and have the whole house all clean at once. But, after several attempts to do this, I've relented to a "clean one room a day" plan.

Monday- Guest Bath

Tuesday- Master Bath

Wednesday- Master Bedroom

Thursday- Other Bedrooms

Friday- Living Area (sweep/ mop/ vacuum)

As for the details: Cleaning the bathrooms, I'd say, is pretty self-explanatory. All the usual plus sweeping and mopping. The Master Bedroom gets a full day because it somehow seems to end up as the "drop-off zone" for everything that doesn't yet have a home. The computer and computer desk also reside here. Cleaning this room entails picking up, changing sheets, dusting and vacuuming. Ditto for the other two bedrooms. The Living Area includes the living room and dining area which are open to each other. Cleaning these rooms entails picking up, dusting, vacuuming area rug, sweeping and mopping the hardwood floors, wiping down the table and chairs. You may have noticed that I left out a very important room: The Kitchen. That's because I'll be cleaning it daily: washing dishes, wiping counter tops and appliances and sweeping. Mopping will be as necessary... or at least with the rest of the hardwood floors on Friday. :)

Now for the daily chores:

This is where I think my list will come in handy the most. Right now I've written it on a jr. legal pad to check off each task (some of which might seem silly to actually include, but hey, why not?). I'm thinking of putting it behind a sheet protector so I can use a dry erase marker to cross things off and I won't have to make new lists all the time. The list might seem a little long, but it's what I do. Here it goes:

* Wake up

* Get Anna dressed

* Anna's medicines/ fed

* Anna to school

* Breakfast

* Laundry

* Jamie Ruth to school

* Clean kitchen

* Room of the day

* Choose from the "others" list

* Get JR from school

* Lunch

* Rest

* Get Anna from school

* Laundry

* Supper prep

* Supper

* Family time

* Get ready for tomorrow

- bath for girls

- pick out clothes for tomorrow

- get book bags ready for tomorrow

* Get ready for bed

* Bible/ reading/ computer

I put Laundry on the list twice because I need to do 2 loads a day to keep caught up. I'm hoping to fold and put away as I do it too. We'll see how THAT turns out. :) I also made a list of "other" things to do while the kids are at school according to what needs to be done. Each day I'll choose at least one:

* menu plan

* clean out the van

* pay bills

* grocery shopping

* errands

* ironing

Well, I'm hoping that this will help me out and get my house in order as well as provide some sense of order to our wild and woolly days. How about the rest of you? Do you work off of a schedule? Do you need to start? Let me know. I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"You Tell on Yourself"

I've been doing a little introspection lately and I love how God gives me a good word when I'm seeking answers from him.I found this little poem while reading "A Woman's High Calling" by Elizabeth George. Does it speak to you like it did to me?

You Tell on Yourself
You tell on yourself by the friends you seek,
By the very manner in which you speak,
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of a dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which your burdens bear,
By the kind of things at which you laugh,
By the records you play on the phonograph,
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things in which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from the well-filled shelf:
In these ways and more, you tell on yourself.

Elizabeth George even admits that this poem may be dated (seriously, a phonograph?), but all of us probably have watched a favorite TV show and thought, "Is this appropriate?" If you have to ask... it probably isn't.

Most of you know already how I feel about how our daughters should dress. How long has it been since you've taken stock of what you are wearing? Sure, it may not be revealing (or maybe it is!) but is it appropriate? Listen up all you SAHMs! Finding it hard to get out of those ratty sweats and stained t-shirts? I have struggled with this for years. I hate to put "good" clothes on when I'm just going to be cleaning the house and getting dirty myself. But then I got to thinking... my poor husband and kids have to look at me like this ALL THE TIME. And what a ridiculously hot mess it can be depending on the day. Then it occurred to me: I need to have some "work" clothes that I can put on and do my "work" in besides the worst of the worst in my closet. So now I'm setting a few clothes aside to do just that. And since I LOVE LOVE LOVE aprons, I'm going to put them to use every day to help keep the clothes I've chosen from getting ruined.

And then there's how I speak... YOWZA!! Chuck and I really don't fight. But the arguments that we do have most of the time have to do with not what I say but how I say them. I'll be the first to admit to it too. I use the excuse that I'm tired or hormonal (both legitimate!) but it really is just an excuse. I'm asking God for help on this one.

Lastly, I'm the person who takes care of the finances in our household. Chuck brings it in... and I see that it gets to where it needs to go. Since having to "retire" from my job to stay home with the kids I have wished that I could do something that could bring in extra cash. I have felt that I wasn't really a contributor to our finances since I wasn't bringing in any of the money anymore. (I have to take a minute and say this thinking was ALL ME. My sweet husband has from the beginning of our marriage wanted me to be a SAHM. I'm a daughter of that bra-burning generation that urged it's female offspring to get out there and do your equal part. Some things run deep.) All that being said I have realized only recently that MY equal part of managing the money IS just as important as his is by bringing it in. And sadly... I might not have been doing such a bang-up job.

The winds of change are here, dear friends, and I'm on a mission from God! Literally. In these tough economic times I have made a vow to do my equal and very important job as manager of the home and make SURE that especially in the area of finances that I treat that responsibility like it is...a job. This is very helpful for me because never did I work harder than when I owned my own business and worked for myself. And frankly, working for you family IS working for yourself, and more importantly, for God. Who would like a performance review from the Almighty? Scary, right?

And for the rest, I feel nothing is more important than becoming the type of woman God wants me to be, so I'll be tackling those other areas as well. Apparently I'm telling on myself all over the place and I'm not exactly thrilled with what I'm hearing! I've heard admitting a problem is the first step in overcoming it. Looks to me like this might be a marathon! Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Special Mother

My sweet husband e-mailed this to me a while back. While going through my stack of papers and coupons I've printed from the Internet, I found it and wanted to share it. Pass it along to a mom you know with a special child... it's a treasure.

The Special Mother

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressure, and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments of propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take note in a giant ledger. "Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew." "Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia." "Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity." Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a handicapped child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy." "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel." "But does she have patience?" asked the angel. "I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of it's own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. this one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?" God nods. "If she can't separate herself from her child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, Here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see... ignorance, cruelty, prejudice... and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side." "And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Things I love Thursday: Zim's Crack Creme

After a short blogging hiatus, I'm back with another "Things I Love Thursday" post. I'm a little OCD about hand washing, among other things, and winter time wreaks havoc on my hands anyway. To combat super dry hands (and cracked fingers... I know, OUCH!) my mom told me about Zim's Crack Creme Liquid Skin Care. It's an herbal formula that you can spray on your hands, feet, and elbows to soften and heal dry, cracked, thickened skin. And it is miraculous! It's non-greasy and it absorbs quickly and you can apply as often as needed. There is also a "daytime" formula which is actually more like a cream or hand lotion and, of course, I have both! Where can you find such a wonder? I used to be able to find them both at Wal-Mart, but am having a hard time as of late. I've also seen them at CVS and Walgreens and I've also ordered them both from It also works great on your heels if you need to buy some time between pedicures! This stuff is one of my all time favorite products! Try it... you won't be disappointed. It's a silly name, sure, but it delivers super serious results! Don't forget to check out for other products to fall in love with!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Frugal Friday... The Library

I'm always looking for ways to save money, especially where the kids are concerned. Both of my girls love books and we get quite a few at Christmas and on their birthdays. But seriously, how many times do I have to read "Monkeying Around With Chimp and Zee" before I go...well, bananas?
Our town's library is so charming. The upstairs houses the children's books and underneath the dormers are little nooks with murals painted on the walls complete with pillows for settling in with a good read. We haven't been to the library in quite awhile, however. I believe the last time I took Jamie Ruth, we left with her in tears not fully understanding the concept that the books are only borrowed, if only to be brought back to be checked out AGAIN. But now we are a mature 4 and three-quarters, and going to the library was her idea this time. And well, being a Lit major in college, I find the smell of old books intoxicating... so off we went.
Upon arriving, we took a stack of books to each of the three nooks and I read to her for the better part of two hours...amazed at how the time flew. She then picked out seven books to bring home (that I had to carry to the van) and then replied, "And you know what, Mom? THIS time, I'm not even going to cry when we bring them back." I tried not to laugh realizing how much she's grown and how moments like this are priceless. In every sense of the word! Check out for more ideas for frugal living .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Things I Love Thursday... Yoplait Light

Okay, I've been on a diet off and on ( more on than off :) ) since the beginning of the year. "The South Beach Diet" is pretty much my "go-to" diet when I want to drop a few pounds because the food is delicious, I don't feel deprived, and basically... it works. After two months of healthy eating, when I do want to indulge, afterwards I feel kind of yucky. So what's a girl to do when she needs a little something sweet?!? I am LOVING Yoplait Light, a delicious, low-calorie, fat free yogurt. Some of my favorites are their Key Lime Pie, Apple Turnover, Boston Cream Pie, Banana Cream Pie... I could go on and on. The thing is, this yogurt tastes like a dessert instead of yogurt and at 100 calories a serving, I can have a snack or a satisfying dessert with zero guilt. Head on over to to check out what other bloggers are loving today!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For Pensive Moments

I found this list in an old cook book the other day that once belonged to Chuck's grandmother. While menu planning, I figured out dinner for the week, gained some valuable insight, and chuckled out loud more than once. Thought I'd share it with you...

For Pensive Moments

A word of advice... do not give it.
Love thy enemies... it will drive them nuts.
To share with a friend is to see twice the beauty.
The recipe that is not shared with others will soon be forgotten, but when it is shared, it will be enjoyed by future generations.
There is nothing wrong with the younger generations that twenty years will not cure.
The flower that follows the sun, does so even on cloudy days.
A loose tongue often gets into a tight place.
One mother can care for five children, but five children cannot care for one mother.
A neighbor asked a small boy if his family said prayers before the meals. "No," he replied, "We don't have to. My mother is a good cook."
People who expect the worst usually find it.
Even a mosquito does not get a slap on the back until he starts working.
Always do right... this will gratify some and astonish the rest.
Happiness is like potato salad... when you share it with others, it's a picnic.
Remember when health foods were whatever your mother said to eat... or else?
Be careful how you live... you may be the only bible some people ever read.
I can keep a secret, but those I tell it to never can.
Delicious food that melts in your mouth also sticks to your hips.
The most difficult meal for the average housewife is to get dinner out.
Even worse than a storm or a riot is a bunch of kids who are suddenly quiet.
One should never question his wife's judgement... after all, she married him.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.
It takes a clever man to know how to agree with his wife in such a way that she will change her mind.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday

Okay, last week I didn't accomplish as much as I had set out to do in the kitchen... big shocker. Anna started having seizures and then, well, everything else gets put on hold until they pass. No worries, though. I'm up for the challenge today!

After watching the latest episode of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" that I had recorded on DVR, I decided to take a cue from Kate and today I will be cleaning out the refrigerator. Just the fridge part, not the freezer... let's not get CRAZY! It shouldn't be that bad considering the fridge itself is only a couple of months old... but boy can it get gross in a hurry! So I'm off to take everything out and clean the shelves before I head to the store tomorrow for groceries. When is the last time any of you have done this? I didn't do it nearly enough with my old fridge... but this one has glass shelves. Maybe I should have considered that before buying! LOL!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Friday: Dinner and a Movie

We had the most fabulous Friday night... all by accident, really. After a hectic week of Anna having seizures, I let Jamie Ruth invite a friend over after school. They had great fun playing dress-up, and when it came time for the little girl to leave, my red-headed baby was heartbroken. Trying to divert her attention, I suggested that I dress up WITH her and we could finish having the tea party that the two girls had started hours ago. Surprisingly enough, she took to the idea immediately, and wished her friend well as she left. Feeling victorious at diverting a meltdown, I also suggested that after Dad came home, and after we ate dinner, we would pop some popcorn, she could pick out any movie that she wanted to watch, and we would have our own "Family Movie Night."

I can't tell you how excited she got as we went to my closet to find a "princess dress" for me to wear. I first tried on the bridesmaid dress from my sister's wedding this past summer. UGGH! Too snug! (Mental note: Make sure I really push it next week doing "The Firm.") The next and only option left: my witch's costume from Halloween. "How about this one?" I asked. "Oh that one's BEAUTIFUL!" (If by beautiful you mean long, black, with jagged-cut sleeves and hem...okay. At least it fit!) I decided to accessorize with a fancy black hat, a string of pearls, and some red and while high heeled shoes (don't ask... an impulse buy last summer!). I felt this complemented her attire of a ballerina tutu, pink belt, white straw hat and blue dress-up shoes immensely. So off we go to spread our quilt out in the living room floor and have some tea until Dad arrives.

When Dad walked in (with Chinese food in hand...yeah, I know how good I have it!), he exclaimed, "Well, HELLO ladies!" I told him that we were dressing up for tea (now dinner) and he might want to go put on a tie. "Really?" he asked. "REALLY," I said. So being the good sport he is, he relented and even let our little ballerina pick out his tie (which he wore over his t-shirt!). I finished his ensemble off with an old hat that belonged to his grand-dad. I'm kicking myself all over the place for not getting a picture of all of us in this garb. Words just don't do it justice. Trust me.

Well, we finished our dinner and popped our corn and settled in to watch the Veggie Tales' "The Christmas Star." It was then that Anna decided (wearing her own tutu) that she was heading to the bedroom. No "Christmas Star" for her! Chuck followed her and Jamie Ruth and I proceeded to camp out in the floor and watch the movie I'd promised. After a while she turned to me and said, "MOM? Thank you for doing this for me. This is making me REALLY happy." Well, I guess you know that my heart turned to butter and I gave her a kiss and told her I loved her. Now if that's not a Hallmark moment, I don't know what is!! Looks like Friday "Dinner and a Movie" might have to become a regular occurrence around here, complete with ties, hats, and dress-up shoes. I hope she cherishes that memory for a long time. I know I will. :)