Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas BREAK!!!!

I'm thankful for Christmas break! Today is the last day of school before Christmas break starts and I KNOW I'm more excited than the children. We'll have more than 2 weeks off before they go back to school again on the 4th and then back to the grind for mom. It was no small task getting them motivated to get ready for school this morning although thoughts of their Christmas parties tended to keep them moving along.

To all you moms of school age children . . . . enjoy the break . . . . the CHRISTMAS break!! Wooohooooo!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I love living in 2010!!! I'm thankful I wasn't born in the 1800's. I love modern conveniences. We have gotten quite a bit of snow in the last week and we have wonderfully paved roads and prompt snow removal in addition to "salt" that melts snow. Back in the day, we would have been snowed in for weeks. I'm glad God chose for me to born during this time period instead of years past!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm Forgetful!!!

Oops. I didn't remember to create a "thankfulness" post yesterday. I hate that. But I'm determined to have 365 things that I'm thankful for by the time next year rolls around so it looks like tonight is a two for one deal.

First, I'm thankful for books! I love to read!!! But I'm kinda a bad reader. I like fiction. And I pretty much want it to be fluffy fiction. I don't want to have to think. But I truly can't imagine not being able to read and the joy missing from the lives of those who are illiterate. I'm thankful for books.

Second, and I can't go into any detail on this one but I'm thankful for something done for my parents, especially my mom, this week. They received a package from Alaska containing Christmas gifts. I'm thankful for that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!

Snow Day!!!!!! Woohooooooo!

I'm thankful for snow days and having my kids home with me today. There are days I'm happy when they walk out the door to go to school. Any mother who wouldn't admit to enjoying a little less activity in the house every now and again is lying!! But, today, I'm happy to have them home and NOT heading out into the cold, and it is VERY cold.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Compassion - Making a Difference

I'm thankful that our guest evangelist for Christmas preached on compassion this morning. Not only do we need compassion for the unsaved, but we need compassion toward the brethren. It was a wonderful message.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well, I didn't manage to put my two thankfulness posts on my blog yesterday so we'll do it right now or I'm certain it won't happen today, either.

Today we went to our local nursing home where my husband preaches once a month. We didn't go last month because we were moving that day so we were all ready to go this month. I have a couple very special residents I'm always very happy to see.

We held the service in a different room this week. While my husband was preaching, I left the room to wheel the twins around the hallways in their stroller. They were tired and I knew keeping them moving would sooth them. As I walked out of the service room, I walked past a relatively small room with a whole lot of laundry in it. In the midst of these mounds of laundry was one woman, folding and hanging all the linens, towels, and clothing of the residents of the home. WOW. And I think I've got it bad with my 7 family members and all our laundry.

I've never thought about whoever takes care of the laundry for that facility. Have you? Who else have you over looked in the places where you go? Do you notice the maintenance man or the person who took the time to spread salt on the icy sidewalk?

Illegal immigration is a big issue in our country right now and you often hear people say that illegal immigrants are the only ones willing to do "those jobs" that Americans aren't willing to do. But today, I saw that isn't always true. There are Americans still willing to do "those jobs", unnoticed and unthanked.

My second "thankful" post goes hand in hand with my first.

I really hate laundry. But I really love my washer and dryer. After having a washer and dryer for only 1.5 of the 15 years I've been gone from my parents' home, I'm so grateful and happy to have my very own washer and dryer. I don't have to feed them quarters and I don't have to lug all my laundry outside my home to get it clean anymore. YEAH WASHERS AND DRYERS!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Double Duty

I had in my head my thankfulness post all day yesterday and just never got a chance to post it so I'll post 2 separate ones today.

As a child, getting mail is a huge thrill. But not so much as an adult! Now days I wish my mail would get lost, never to rear its ugly head again!! But yesterday we got an unexpected blessing.

The school tuition bill came. Paying tuition isn't easy but its important. I'm not cut out for homeschooling and we aren't willing to put our children in the public school system for various reasons so we're grateful to have a good, small, Christian school ministry through our church.

As I was looking through the itemization, at the bottom was an entry of "Tuition Gift $100". Someone anonymously paid $100 on our school.

I'm thankful for our thoughtful, anonymous donor.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I hear my children laugh. I hear music. I hear the words "I love you". I hear sorrow in the voices of those I love. I hear happiness and joy. I hear a train and footsteps. I hear the first words of my babies. I hear whispers in the night from my husband as we lay in bed and talk. I hear a sigh. I hear the rain. I hear sounds of warning. I hear falling leaves and lawn mowers in the Spring.

I hear.

Thank you, Lord, that I can hear all the joys and sorrows of life.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Forgiving God

I am but dirt. My righteousness as filthy rags. There is nothing good in me. Yet, Christ came to earth so that I could become royalty. I'm a joint heir with Jesus. That's pretty special. I do not consider the Christian life to be burdensome, most of the time. (Just being honest.) Most of the time, I consider it a joy and the least I can do for my Savior who suffered so much for me. But I fail so much. I am so weak. My sin is great. I lose control of my tongue. I am rebellious. I have a bad attitude. Sometimes, like the wife of Lot, I look back. I have doubts. I have little faith. I'm frail and unworthy.

Yet God forgives. He keeps loving. He looks at me in pity and continues to wait for me to come back to myself, thus, returning to Him. Why leave? Our church choir sings a song that I used to do as a solo. It fits my life so well.

Your love endured the cross, despising all the shame
That afternoon when midnight fell your suffering cleared my name
And that sin swept hill became the open door to paradise
Because you paid much to high a price.

Your grace inspires my heart to rise above the sin
And all the earthly vanity that seeks to draw me in
I want to tell this dying world of love that truly saved my life
A life that paid so high a price.

You paid much to high a price for me
My sin, your blood the pain
To have my soul just stirred at times yet never truly changed
You deserve a fiery love that won't ignore your sacrifice
Because you paid much too high a price.

The price my Lord paid for my soul was too high especially as I fail Him time and time again.

Yet He forgives again and again and again. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, December 6, 2010

A House . . . A Home

I haven't posted about this particular "thing" for which I'm thankful because I'm deeply emotional about it. Unless you've been in my position I don't think you can completely understand and I doubt I'll be able to make you understand in this post but . . . today I'm thankful for our house.

For the last 6 years we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment. It was a nice apartment. When we moved in I was pregnant with our second child, Elijah. It was more room than we NEEDED although it was an adjustment moving from a 4 bedroom farmhouse to a two bedroom apartment. I was devastated when I had to get rid of my grandfather's secretary to move into that apartment. I think I'll always regret that. But anyway . . . .

The apartment was what we needed at the time. Little did I know, we would be there for 6 years. But after having moved 8 times the first 2 years of our marriage, I told Daniel I didn't want to move again until we moved into a house. Then Lydia came. 3 children in one bedroom. It was tight.

After Lydia was born, I had a very tough 18 months. Daniel was on a horrible schedule and I really struggled with depression. Elijah was incredibly difficult. And then Daniel started talking about wanting another child. I refused. I knew I couldn't do another baby, alone 90% of the time in that apartment that seemed to be shrinking as each child continued to grow. During this period we also only had one vehicle. It was very difficult.

Eventually the Lord worked on my heart and I agreed to have another child but there was absolutely NO ROOM for a 5th child in that apartment! We HAD to move and soon. Lo and behold, I got pregnant with the twins. What do you do? We made it work. It still boggles my mind that we made it work. I often prayed that the Lord would make me content with what He had given us, a 2 bedroom apartment and 5 wonderful children and one vehicle. It wasn't easy. Yet, I was tired of the criticism from others. Comments such as "what are you going to do with another baby in THAT apartment?" and "how are you going to do it?" and people reminding me of how small our place was. As if I didn't live there every day with the knowledge of our space constraints in my face all the time.

But aren't we supposed to be content in whatever state we are in? Are we not to be grateful for all things? Even that tiny apartment and one vehicle? God gave us all our children. Its not like we PLANNED on twins or could conceive them by our own design. Neither did we plan on an economic downturn or pay cuts. Life happens.

Then the Lord gave us this house to rent. I'm thankful and I'm grateful. I didn't realize how very much God was answering my prayers to help me be content until we moved out and I didn't NEED to be content in that apartment anymore. The extra living expenses, the increased rent . . . its all worth it. We have some space. We don't have a massive excess of space but there is room for us all now. We have a yard. I have a washer and dryer. Someone commented on my facebook page about loving how I appreciated the small things, like my washer and dryer. Go without them. Its not a small thing. Not with 7 family members in the house. 13.5 years of the last 15 years of my life have been lived without a washer and dryer. Its not a small thing.

So, today, I want to thank the Lord for the beautiful gift of this house. Words just aren't enough.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Pastor

I praise the Lord today for a pastor that preaches the truth in love regardless of the consequences. Not all are so fortunate.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I'm thankful for my husband. We were married 10 years in August. We've been together for almost 14 years. It hasn't always been easy. The last 2 years in particular have been difficult. But I love him. God gave me a good man that I didn't deserve at a time when I would have been okay with no man at all. Its been fun and its been . . . not so fun. But its always been good.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I've played the piano since I was 7. I feel like I've played the piano my whole life. Life before piano lessons is fuzzy. I don't remember my first lesson although I do vaguely remember my first teacher. Seems like I've just always played and music has always been a part of my life. I can't imagine my life without music and being able to play the piano. On the rare occasions when I allow myself to be paranoid, I fear losing my ability to play due to arthritis or some sort of accident and it strikes panic in my heart.

I'm thankful the Lord gave me musical abilities. I'm thankful for the love of music and piano in my heart. It has brought much joy to my life, and by the grace of God, the lives of others every now and again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day . . . . whatever! Day "Next"

Thank you, Lord, for our Christian school that our children attend. They had the day off school today and I'm reminded of how much I love my children, yet, how much I enjoy the quiet when they are at school for a few hours. :)

In all seriousness, I'm grateful we have a school where our children can get a good, Christ centered education free of many of the stresses that come with the public school system. Our teachers are qualified and dedicated. I appreciate their time and efforts to insure my children are academically prepared to enter the world. I know the school is a drain on our church, yet, the Lord provides and we are privileged to have a place where we can feel comfortable leaving them to have their little brains filled with knowledge, knowledge we know is full of God's wisdom and not the wisdom of men.

Thank you, Lord, for my children's school.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 3

Its officially December 1st!!! The year is flying by! Yet, living it day to day seems to go so slowly.

I drove the children to school this morning in snow, our first real snow of the season and it was great. Its fun to see all the different reactions to the snow from all my Facebook friends. But today, I'm thankful to live in a region of the world where we have 4 seasons. I think winter is my favorite! I love the cold. I love the snow. I love bundling up in sweatshirts and warm fuzzy socks under a blanket watching television or reading a good book. I'm happy that we have cold, snowy days when we are putting up our Christmas decorations. I would hate to live in an area where you decorate your palm tree for Christmas! That just wouldn't be right!

Thank you, Lord, for the 4 seasons!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 2

Today I got up to get my children ready for school, loaded up all 5 children and headed out. I dropped Elijah and Abi off then ran errands for a couple of hours. Came home. Going to give a piano lesson at any time then I'm going to load the twins and Lydia back into the van to go pick up Elijah, drive back home, and then do it all again to go pick up Abigail at 3. This is a typical day. Its busy. Its crazy. Its also frustrating at times.

But today I'm thankful for my vehicle.

We've been married for 10 years and for almost half of those years we had only one vehicle. That's hard. It was especially horrid when Abigail started school and I was forced to depend on others to get her back and forth to school every day. But that is a whole other story.

I'm grateful to be able to take my children to school and pick them up every day. I'm grateful that I'm able to lug all the kiddos to the post office or Walmart when needed. I'm grateful to be able to run Abi's lunch to the school if she has accidentally forgotten it in the van or at home. I'm grateful that I'm ABLE to do all these things because of the vehicle the Lord gave to us.

And on those days that the "crazy" and "busy" gets overwhelming, I remember what it was like to sit at home in frustration, unable to do all those "things" for myself and my family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 1 of My Year of Thankfulness

Many people on my facebook page have been posting daily this month a note of thankfulness. It has inspired me to try a challenge . . . a daily journal of thankfulness for 365 continuous days, starting today.

I have to start my journey by thanking God for his hand of protection and guidance even when I wasn't seeking him or desiring to serve him. There was a time in my life when the last thing I wanted was God. I was engaging in destructive, potentially dangerous behavior. Yet, through all of it, God protected me from myself. I don't know why. I could have had children out of wedlock. I could have been an alcoholic. I could have alienated myself from my entire family and been stranded in a distant state, abandoned by a man, deceived by empty promises. But, none of those things are a part of my life.

God knew he was going to bring a rebellious, self willed Baptist girl from a tiny town in Southern Ohio to a Nazarene college 350 miles from home so that she could get into a good Baptist church and change her life. He loved me when I didn't love or want him and protected me from myself to work a greater purpose in my life.

Today, for this I am thankful.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My "Mommy Moment"

Abigail is 7 and she had her very first piano recital last night. She did very well.

We started piano lessons with Abigail sometime in February. I didn't want to give her lessons but Daniel is insisting I give all the children lessons. He feels it is wasteful to pay somebody else to teach them to play the piano when I'm a very capable pianist. In a way he is right. I just don't want to give my own children lessons!

When we first started, it was very hard for me!!! I've been been playing the piano since I was 7, so to have to THINK about all those basic and try to explain them to a 7 year old was no small task for me!! But once she had the basics, it went better. I'm pleased with how well she seems to have picked it up. I have students who have been taking lessons longer than she who are still struggling with some things she has already nailed down.

She was very excited about the recital. Memaw and Pappy couldn't come this time so Memaw sent us to JCPenney's to buy Abi a new dress to wear. Last Saturday I had her play her song for the residents of the nursing home where we volunteer and she did very well. I wanted her to have SOME experience of having played in front of people before the recital!! How very intimidating to go on the platform in front of all those people (possibly 100?) and play that giant black piano that mommy plays all the time!!

At the recital last night, she trotted right up there, sat down, and played her song from memory with minimal mistakes. She kept saying "I played the 'C' twice". Cracked me up. But it was kinda difficult to leave "teacher" mode and enter "mommy" mode for the recital. Plus, I'm such a perfectionist myself that I wanted to say "it was ALMOST perfect". I bit my tongue and congratulated her. As we were leaving she was already talking about what song she wants to play for her next recital! LOL She has no clue how much better a pianist she is going to be in the next 6 months or a year. She is so happy with her current accomplishment that she can't see past it to realize that by the time the next recital rolls around, she is going to think these beginner songs are silly!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Little Blessing

God has given us a little blessing! Yesterday evening I was taking Abigail shopping for a new dress for her upcoming, first ever, piano recital (thank you, Memaw) and when we walked outside, there was a rabbit sitting in the grass in the yard. I tapped on the window to have Daniel bring Elijah and Lydia upstairs so they could see the rabbit. It was so close and so still!!! All the children were enjoying looking at her and then Daniel told them they could chase her.

Once she moved, I noticed the grass was disturbed so I walked over to look. Initially, I thought Elijah had taken his toy shovel and dug somewhat of a hole but then it occurred to me that the rabbit had been digging that hole. No doubt, "it" is pregnant! I yelled at Daniel to tell the children to leave her alone as I was confident she was burrowing to be able to birth her babies soon! All the children came over to see her "nest" (not sure of the proper word for a rabbit "nest"). Daniel and I then discussed the possibility of her coming back to the hole since it would be surrounded by our human scents.

Upon returning home from our shopping trip, Mommy Rabbit had returned and was digging again. The children had to go upstairs and look at her through the window one more time before bed. I was hoping there would be baby rabbits this morning. I don't know. When I look outside, Mommy Rabbit isn't there but the hole is still there covered with all the grass. So I'm dying to know if she birthed her babies last night but I know better than to go check!!! I'm off to google the birthing habits of untamed rabbits!!!

Thank you, Lord, for our little blessing!!! Please keep the landscapers away for a few days so their mowers don't kill the babies!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Musings - Its Been a While

I've neglected my blog lately. I don't know why. I enjoyed it for a while and for some reason just stopped. So I'm off again.

I'm quite moved by a book I read recently called The Son Of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of the founders and leaders of Hamas. Truly, a phenomenal book and story. I'm currently listening to an interview with him on Interfaith Voices where Yousef is TRYING to tell the interviewer that Islam is NOT a religion of peace. He has given her chapter and verse from the Quran, yet, she won't listen. She keeps arguing with him that no other Muslim she has ever interviewed as ever stated that Islam is a religion of violence.

Religion is not measured by how well its followers adhere to its teachings. Religion is measured on the merits of its holy books. If one claims to be a Christian, yet they don't adhere to the teaching of the Bible, they aren't a Christian no matter how strenuously they CLAIM to be a Christian. We don't measure Christianity by how well one follows the Bible. We measure Christianity by THE BIBLE. Its the same with Islam. Islam is not this watered down religion of "peace" we see in the United States. True Islam is the murdering of the infidel, defined as any person who does not believe in the god of Islam, who is NOT the God of Christianity. There is a key point in this issue of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. My God, the one and only true God, had one begotten Son. The god of Islam never had a son and does not recognize Jesus as God. Thus, the god of Islam and the True God of Christianity are not the same.

I strongly encourage all to read his book and listen to this interview. It is eye opening and the truth about Islam.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Doing IT!!!!! FINALLY!!!!

For years I've threatened to purge out the children's clothes and go down to "X" number of outfits for play and church to streamline the laundry process around here. Well, I'm done threatening and I'm actually doing it!! As I stood in my house looking at an excess of 18 LARGE baskets and totes of laundry, I just had to start somewhere. It was insanity. I'm about half way done and I've donated 6 garbage bags of usable clothing to charity thus far. That doesn't include the clothes that were too stained or worn to pass along that ended up in the garbage can.

I also donated to charity all of my bigger clothes that I can't wear anymore. Well, I could wear them but they are just too big to be any kind of flattering. So I broke down and took them all out of my closet. This serves 2 purposes. First, it makes more room in my closet because I'm not wearing them anyway. Second, it forces me to not go back into those sizes. Mentally, I needed that. So, out they go!!

I still have 9 more baskets to do. That is the project for today. After having spent 5 hours with Abigail on Monday getting my bedroom in shape, the living room and remainder of the laundry is next on the list.

Things will get more streamlined around here if it kills me!!! I have to find a groove for this growing family of mine. God has entrusted them to me so I need to do the best I can to make our home happy for all.

Purge, purge, purge, ladies!!! When is the last time you performed a solid purge at your house?!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Clever Little Inventions

Have you ever thought about the things we use around us all day and that moment where somebody came up with the idea to create it? You know what I mean, that little piece of plastic on the end of your shoelace that makes it easier to lace your shoes or the key ring. Stuff like that. Well I have a new favorite. I saw this the other day in the store and picked one up for the kids.

What kid isn't going to love eat his very own dinosaur sandwich?! Especially since they can eat the head first. Its the little things in life that keep the mundane fun. Do you have a favorite "thing" you can share with me?

Missions Conference is coming up at church. It starts this Sunday. Daniel will be singing an original song for the special that morning and I'm excited about it. He has written a couple other songs but I think this is his best so far. As soon as I get my midi cables from the store where we bought my digital piano, I'm going to arrange it and send it in to Bible Truth Music to see if we can get it published. I would love nothing more than to write and arrange music with him, be a blessing to churches and make some extra money in the process.

I'm also praying about what the Lord would have me do for the missions program out of my piano lesson money. I would like to get some more students but if that doesn't happen I would still like to give out of my piano money, I just don't know how much. I've never kept any students long term so its scary to make a financial commitment when I'm not sure if I'll have an income.

How are you doing with your decisions and goals for the new year? One of my goals was to be in closer fellowship with God and I think I'm accomplishing that. I pray more. I've seen answered prayer. I'm not doing as well in my Bible time but I'm not going to give up!! I must have fellowship and if I can't get it here, I'll get it with Him. You know, that sounds awful. Like God is second best. Hmmmmm, that is convicting. God shouldn't be our last resort when we can't find fellowship on earth. He should be whom we are seeking FIRST.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

So I'm seeking him but my motives are quite convicting. Maybe as I seek him, my motives will become my love and desire for Him, not the absence of fellowship below.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You Asked For It!!!!!

So I'm getting it!!!

Everybody around the country is getting inches and feet and MORE feet of snow and I want me some snow!!! We missed the first couple of storms here in Chicagoland but our snow started last night. I call in "magic snow". Its so fine that you can't see it with a glance out the window. You must look closer and its this very fine mist of snow coming down steadily for hours upon hours. We are supposed to get 8-12 inches. Not so very much in comparison to others around the country but "enough", I guess. Abigail didn't have school today and yet I've still managed to accomplish NOTHING around the house today. Or yesterday. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Shouldn't happen that way. So as I write this, I look around my house, I hear a child pull open the refrigerator door as Curious George squeaks and grunts through the television and I know that I must start on the laundry soon.

I've lost 4 pounds in 3 days!! YEAH!!! It has been 5 months since last I was losing weight and I'm well past needing to have gotten started again. I have another 12 pounds to go to be back at where I was 5 months ago. I'm frustrated for allowing myself to gain any of the weight back. But, it has been good for me. It was so much easier to do everything having lost 61 pounds and I realized how much harder it was on my body to have that excess weight. Then I put 16 pounds of that back on and I could really tell the difference. It was eye opening. It has been impressed upon me in a new way how important it is for me, my family, and my health to get all this weight off. I need to lose another 84 pounds and I know that I can. I think that is the biggest thing in this weight loss journey - the realization that I CAN do it if I try.

But eating anything and everything you want is simply not an option - not for me, at least. I am learning to eat some things in moderation. I took the children to a pizza buffet after Abigail's doctor appointment last night and I loaded up on salad, minored on the dressing, then had a water based soup, one piece of pizza and one bread stick. I was satisfied, didn't feel like I deprived myself of anything, yet, my calorie intake was still very reasonable. I'm doing it. I'm also learning that some foods aren't worth the calories. Chocolate chip cookies - not worth the calories. Full fat Ranch dressing - not worth the calories.

Now about exercising . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Musings

Back on the weight loss wagon again as of this past Saturday. I had done so well. I was down 61 pounds and then I just hit a wall. Previously I was counting calories and exercising some but I got a little obsessive about the calorie counting thing. I had decided to go with a smaller plate and don't get any leftovers but that wasn't working. So I scrapped that and decided to go back to calorie counting. My clothes are getting snug and I feel heavier and I don't want that. My goal is to be at my goal weight by the end of this year so I must get started if I want to realize that.

The best thing about this is that my husband had actually started watching what he was eating before I did. He is letting me track his calories on, too. I had tried to get him to let me do that for him when I was losing weight before but he didn't want to. After lunch yesterday and seeing how many calories are in certain foods, I think his eyes are being opened a bit to how bad the food is that he was consuming. Not that my consumption was much better but it always helps to see exactly what you are putting in your body. This is just one example of comparing foods. 64 ounces of sweet tea has fewer calories than one 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew. So if you like both, which do you choose? Easy decision!!!!

My 2 largest weight loss obstacles are exercise and late evening eating. I can do really well all day long and then once 8 or 9 comes along, I want to eat EVERYTHING. And I think its more of a mental thing than an actual hunger thing. Plus, I just hate exercising. I really do. I have my Wii Fit Plus and my Jillian DVD for the Wii. I have Shred and a Leslie Sansone walking CD so I have no excuses whatsoever. I just hate it. So I'm going to have to get victory in those 2 areas. My metabolism is such that I'm going to HAVE to get in the habit of exercises. Besides, my goal is not to JUST lose weight. I want to healthy. I want to feel good. So exercising is a must if I want to actually get in shape.

I hope everybody has a great Monday and if you have any low calorie meals or snack suggestions, please post them for me!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Thought for Friday

Nothing much to say today.

I just want to mention that I love my laundry fairies.

I have 2 teen girls that take piano lessons from me in exchange for helping me around the house for 30 minutes each. It works out. While one girl is taking her lesson, the other one works and then they swap for the second girl's lesson. Most of the time I have them hang laundry for me. But today I had them matching socks. I HATE matching socks. I'm sure it wasn't fun for them either but they worked hard for a solid hour and I have a huge basket of matched socks sitting in my living room.

I just want to mention that I love my laundry fairies.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Still Can't Believe It!!

I've wanted a digital piano since I was about 14 years old. I remember walking into the studio where I took lessons and my teacher had purchased a digital piano in addition to her grand. I was hooked from that point on.

My desire for a digital piano has been enlarged by owning a computer program that allows you to hook your piano up to the computer and print out music you've played on the piano. Given my recent opportunity to arrange music and submit it to a publishing house, a digital piano was important. The way I have to do arranging now is extremely time consuming. Honestly, I just don't have time to do any arranging and haven't submitted anything to the publishing house. I don't want to miss the opportunity to try to get some of my work published and sold.

So Daniel and I had gone to Veronda's Music last night to order a new Tenor Saxophone case. Mine had been destroyed about 6-9 months ago. While ordering the case, I was perusing (that is code for "drooling") on the digital pianos when I came across one that was marked down by more than half. I mentioned it to Daniel just in passing and as a joke. To make a longer story shorter, he took the money he had planned on using for our 10th anniversary this year and bought me that digital piano. I'm so excited!!!! They are going to deliver my digital piano on Saturday morning and take away my acoustic. And not only am I getting a digital but I'm going to donate my old piano to the nursing home where my husband preaches once a month. We have been going there for more than 10 years and their piano is just horrid. Its nice to have it for the song service and we've been grateful for it all these years but my old piano is in much better condition than their piano. I've been wishing for years that I could get them a newer one.

Thank you Lord for my husband who does the best he can to take care of us and give us the things we need and want. Thank you for my new piano. Thank you for allowing us to give my old piano to the nursing home.

The picture is my piano except the one I'm getting is black.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Do You Do?

Laundry at my house is a nightmare. Now, there are several reasons for this.
#1. We are a household of 7 people, and short of creating our own nudist colony, clothes just must be worn by all.
#2. I really hate doing laundry so I'm not consistent about doing it every day like I should.
#3. We have to pay to do laundry and I don't always have laundry quarters.
#4. Everybody has waaaaaay too many clothes.

So, out of the above reasons, I can only do something about numbers 2 and 4. But before I can fix #2, I have to get caught up. While in the process of catching up, which I do periodically, I want to work on #4. I'm getting rid of clothes.

You know how it works, everybody wears their favorite out fit then its dirty. So they move on to their second choice. Then its dirty. Then they move on to their 3rd, 4th, 5th choices and on down the line until eventually people are wearing clothes they don't really care for because the clothes they really love aren't clean. Sooooooo, I'm going to get rid of the 3rd choice on down and only keep the clothes everybody loves. This will force me to keep up on the laundry and will eliminate the excessive clothing situation. I'm considering 4 church outfits and 10 casual outfits for each child. Do you think this sounds reasonable? How do you do things at your house?

Monday, February 1, 2010

If You Want Some Photos Edited, Restored, Placed Into a Collage . . . . . . . .

Please contact my friend!!!

I had taken some snapshots around Christmas time of my children's great grandparents. I have a friend I met on cafemom who is a professional photographer and I asked her if she would take my snapshots and arrange them into some sort of collage type "thing" so that I could print it out, frame it and give it to the great grandparents as a gift. I think she did an excellent job. As an enhancement to her local professional studio, she has added an e-business division. I highly recommend her. Below is a little bit of what she has to offer. You don't have to live close to her in proximity. Everything can be done via e-mail and I was extremely pleased with the results of my e-consultation and the end result.

Many people love to get behind the camera these days... who doesn't? You can hire a photographer, sure, but it's not always conducive. Well, I wanted to meet the needs of those who want to use their images and spruce them up with a collage or photo template! SERVICE ONLY SYNOPSIS You supply your photo, we discuss your needs and I will photo-process it for you (professional photo-editing of your image) and place into a template of your choice. The other option is SERVICE AND PRINT Here we do the same things I outlined in services only, but with service and print, you can opt to place an order of high quality prints in the sizes of 4x6, 5x7, or 8x10... or you may be interested in front and back prints on beautiful card stock, sized 4x5.5 with envelopes to send to friends and family! Check out my, under the new tab, e-Willow for more details!

Here are the snapshots I sent.

Finished product. I had it printed in an 8X10 and it was even more beautiful than this preview.

Monday Musings

I have so much I want to talk about today!!!

First things first. We sold the car!!! Yipppeeeee!!! I had listed it at $500 in hopes of getting $300 and that is exactly what the guy offered. He showed up in his own tow truck so I'm fairly certain he was in the business of buying cars and fixing them up for resale. Good for him! One less thing I have to worry about!

And . . . . . . . . . we bought a used Honda Accord! For the first time in 2 years, I now have a vehicle. I've never been so grateful for transportation and every time I want to complain about having to do "something" I'll remind myself of what it was like when I COULDN'T go do anything. The car is so much nicer than anything we thought we would be able to get. I'm happy for Daniel that he now has a decent work vehicle and I'm thankful to God for answering our prayers in such a very specific fashion. Maybe some day I'll post how we came to purchase this specific car. Daniel and I are confident that this is the exact car the Lord wanted us to have.

Now, about this Tebow "pro-life" advertisement scheduled to air during the Super Bowl . . . . . it is a sad day in our country when anyone would object to the endorsement of life. It isn't an "anti-abortion" advertisement. It is an advocacy of the preservation of life. We see those types of advertisements all the time in regards to children in other countries. You know the commercials. The ones with the filthy children with swollen bellies and the extra clean, white man holding them and talking to the camera about how they don't have food or an opportunity for education. Then he is begging for money to preserve their LIVES. How about the commercials to preserve the lives of animals? We're inundated with those. There is one out right now with a Willy Nelson song in the background flashing visual images of pitiful dogs with huge brown eyes suffering in abusive situations. Again, you are supposed to send money to preserve the lives of those poor animals. The preservation of life. Yet, we have an organization spending thousands, possibly millions of dollars to get out the message of preserving the lives of those who are unborn and there is outrage! They aren't even asking for your money!!! Outrage. Over preserving life. Seriously.

Supposedly this abortion argument is about the issue of "choice". "Its my body - its my choice." So why is it offensive that one would CHOOSE to preserve the life instead of snuffing it out as if it had no more worth than the kitchen garbage? Its about "choice", isn't it? If one truly supported "choice", an advertisement advocating the preservation of LIFE wouldn't be offensive. Those on the "pro-choice" side would be celebrating the fact that a woman had a choice many years ago to preserve the life of a little one who would eventually entertain millions by his ability to throw a football better than most. The fact that there is so much outrage over a commercial advocating LIFE tells the nation exactly how sinister the agenda is on the "pro-choice" side. It isn't about choice.

And in celebration of life, this is what I saw when I walked into my children's bedroom to wake my oldest for school. They've always been great buddies but I thought this was especially sweet. Evidently Elijah needed some comfort at some point in time during the night. But I loved how they were lying in the same position.

I'm thankful for the children the Lord has entrusted to my care. I feel so lucky that He chose to give to me, my husband and I, these beautiful, wonderful little people. I hardly think that when He chose to give life to my womb, that He intended that I would over ride His judgment and take their lives before they had a chance to begin.

Our nation has thrown away the wonder and sanctity of life. It is sad.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Craigslist Adventure

I'm not one that does a lot of buying and selling online. I've dealt on E-bay a little bit and I've dealt with Craigslist a little bit but not much. All my transactions on E-bay were a good experience. I had a bad experience on but that was partly my fault. And twice now I''ve tried to sell our car on Craigslist.

Selling the car on Craigslist was a feeble grab at getting something more than $50 for it. My husband wanted to call the junk yard and have them come get the car and then we would get $50 from the junk yard. But the car is worth more than $50 even if we just sold the parts. If nothing else, there are 2 tires on the car that have less than 1,800 miles on them with the paperwork to prove it. So I went to the trouble of posting the car on Craigslist as a shot in the dark to see if anybody would simply pay us more than $50 for it.

The first time I listed it, I didn't post a picture and it was right before Christmas. I had 4 or 5 e-mails about the car but several of them wanted me to go to these certain websites and get insurance quotes for them! HUH?! Why would I do that? Plus, there is no way I can get an insurance quote for somebody else. You have to give out personal information for that. I figured it was a scam to try and capture our personal information. Needless to say we didn't sell the car at Christmas.

So I listed the car again this week only I also posted a picture of the vehicle. The body is in decent condition, tires are good, windshield is intact - there are some pluses if somebody wanted to put an engine in it. I've gotten a ton of e-mails this time around but only 2 people have contacted me and provided a phone number for me to contact them. In my opinion, these are the only 2 legitimate contacts we've received. Again, I had somebody wanting me to get an insurance quote and somebody else directed me to some site where she wanted to negotiate the price of the car based on what this site said the car should be worth. Come on, people!! I specifically state that the car doesn't run and would have to be towed from the property. It isn't worth much! What are you willing to pay for a vehicle that needs a new engine? I'm not negotiating. You make an offer. I'll take it if its $50 or more and you'll come get it.

I must say that my experience on Craigslist as a seller has not been the greatest. There are some weird people out there!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Musings

The in-laws are in Texas this week so they allowed us to borrow their car so I took Abigail to school this morning!! It is no small task getting all six of us out of the house by a certain time. But, it is no joke to say that the highlight of my day will be picking her up at 3:00 PM this afternoon. I'm so excited I just about can't stand it!!!! 2 years without a vehicle. *deep sigh* If you've never been in this situation, you just can't know what its been like.

Yesterday was a good day at church, although Lydia didn't get a nap yesterday afternoon and was emotionally out of control all evening. We made it about a minute and a half into the sermon before I had to take her out of the service because she couldn't quit crying. Poor child. I don't know what I'm going to do with her when she hits her teen years!!

Not much to say today. I'm glad Daniel is working. The kids are being pretty good. The twins are being pleasant and the house is a disaster! Typical Monday!

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy For the Hope of Heaven

The wife of my pastor's pastor went to heaven tonight. She had lingered for some time, yet that transition is always difficult for those left behind. I have great sympathy for her family, for my pastor's family, and their church family, yet we all know that she is in a much better place. How could we even consider wanting her to leave heaven and be on earth when as I sit here typing this, she is looking at the face of Jesus and God our Father?

As a child of God, I'm grateful that in times of great sorrow, we have the hope of heaven. This "hope" is not a sitting around and wringing of the hands and dreaming that some day maybe we'll get to go there. This hope is a confident anticipation of an end that we KNOW we'll see somebody. What a glorious thought of those who have gone before sitting in heaven crying "Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord God Almighty!!"

"Walk on, walk on for Jesus
Walk on in his name
Lifting high His blood stained banner
Walk on in his name"

"Never grow old! Never grow old!
In a land where we'll never grow old!
Never grow old! Never grow old!
In a land where we'll never grow old!"

"Beulah land, I'm longing for you
And some day on thee I'll stand
Where my home shall be eternal
Beulah land, sweet Beulah land"

"And I shall see him face to face
And tell the story saved by grace
And I shall see him face to face
and tell the story saved by grace"

"But just think of stepping on shore and finding it heaven
Of touching a hand and finding it God
Of breathing new air and finding it celestial
Of waking up in glory
And finding it home"

I Corithians 15:54-57
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is they victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

My prayers of comfort go out to the church, family, friends and loved ones of Mrs. D. B.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Has It Effected You Yet?

Short of goods being more expensive, the bad economy hadn't really directly effected my family. We live on the bare minimum so we haven't had anything to cut back or give up. But we just found out last night that my husband is going to be taking a significant pay cut starting Feb 1st when the new Wal~Mart contract renews. *Deep Sigh* It is what it is. I'm trying not to fret. One thing I've learned over the years, worrying about anything changes nothing. The sun will rise and set whether I worry myself sick or not. So, I'm going about my day as usual trying not to think about it. Its frustrating because every time you feel like you are getting a chance to get out of the quicksand and hit solid ground, somebody pushes you back in the quicksand.

I'm thankful for an omniscient God who isn't surprised by my husband's pay cut. I'm thankful He can see the future and is working even now for my good and the good of my family.

Keeping my eyes focused on Him in 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Grumpy Gus

Yep, its me. I'm the Grumpy Gus. I don't know why but this week has been an emotional "down" for me. Always happens when I try to read my Bible faithfully. *Deep Sigh*

I need a reason to read my Bible. Pitiful, I know. But I came up with this idea to have a competition with Abigail to see who could read their Bible every day. Not much of a competition, really. There is no prize if you win. There is no punishment if you lose. But Abi thinks its great that we're "competing" and she says she is going to "beat" me. So I've read my Bible every day this week. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

We also received our W-2 this week so I filed immediately. We are getting back a great return, and will hopefully be able to do all the things we NEED to do with and hopefully some things we WANT to do with it. AND, we should have the money a week from Friday. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

Along the same lines of the income tax refund, Daniel had run across a Kia that was still under manufacturer's warranty at a small dealership by his work place. Daniel really wanted this car. He had decided that we would purchase a second vehicle out of this year's refund and he was praying that if this was the vehicle the Lord wanted us to have, it would still be there once our refund was deposited. Well, the car sold. So, we took that as a "no" from God. Daniel walks in the door a few days ago and tells me that there was a little Honda there in it's place. Back when Daniel originally told me we were going to buy a car with our refund, I had said to him that I hoped we would be able to find him a Honda or Toyota but knew we wouldn't be able to find one in our price range. Well, guess what? This Honda is in our price range. Now, its the high end of what we wanted to spend, but its there. So, we are going to have a CarFax report run, have it checked out by a mechanic and if all looks well, we're going to buy a Honda with our refund. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

I WILL HAVE A VEHICLE. Its been over 2 years since we've had 2 vehicles. I can't describe how difficult it has been, especially with trying to get Abigail back and forth to school every day, doctor's appointments for the pregnancy and the twins, etc. Its really been awful. So, we're getting a second vehicle. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

Nothing to be grumpy about. So why am I grumpy?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Musings

After a fairly relaxing weekend, I'm ready to tackle this week anew.

I had planned last night to set my alarm 45 minutes early. I was going to work out for 20 minutes (gotta love Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred), shower, then read my Bible. Instead, I ended up getting out of bed 15 minutes later than usual! Oh, best laid plans!!! LOL So today I will find time to do all three of those things.

Today start the new beginning of my weight loss efforts. I had dropped 60 pounds during the twins' pregnancy and the couple months after their birth but I haven't done anything with it in the last couple of months. I need to get going again. Between the Wii Fit Plus, Shred and the Jillian DVD for my Wii, I truly have no excuses. I just need to do it.

I will also be going through my DVR recording settings and deleting some of my shows that I have programmed to record. In my efforts to focus on fellowshipping with God I have had to relinquish my hold on some of the programs so that I can properly embrace him. Until last night, I didn't really see those programs as me trying to serve two masters, which the Bible says is impossible. But if I'm loving something wicked, it prevents me from properly loving (or fellowshipping with) God. So, goodbye Gordon Ramsey and all my dancing shows. There is just too much foul language and too many scantily clad women in those programs. They do not help me in my efforts to have better fellowship with my heavenly Father.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Let me know if there is something in your life that is hindering your fellowship with God so I can find some fellowship in knowing I'm not the only one!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Slice Of Quiet

The house was quiet this morning.

This is notable because it almost never happens. We ALWAYS have something going, be it the television, radio, or clamoring children. With 5 children someone is ALWAYS clamoring for something. But Abigail didn't have school this morning and for the entire past week the children have had very late nights getting to bed. So we informed the children last night that nobody was allowed to get out of bed before mommy was out of bed.

The twins woke around 6:00 AM for their first feeding and I put them back to bed straight away. I read for about 30 minutes and then went back to bed myself. The phone rang approximately 30 minutes later and than again 30 minutes after that. I knew getting to have a lazy morning in bed was going to be out of the question so I got my book and came out into the living room to read before the munchkins got up. I had about 15 minutes of complete silence. I didn't turn on the television to watch something off the DVR. I didn't turn on any online radio stations. It was quiet. I enjoyed it. It was nice. I need to do it again sometime.

Do you ever turn off your noise? Do you ever have time to be with yourself and just think - think about good things, holy things, godly things? I rarely do this. I can't remember the last time I did this. Even if I sneak into my bedroom to have some quiet time, you have the filtered noise of the house coming through the cracks. So in my thoughts during and about my quiet time, it occurs to me that there is no way for me to commune with or hear God if I never have quiet time to try and listen for him. It is no wonder God had to command us to be still.

Psalm 49:10 Be still, and know that I am God:

Do you find time every day to be still in silence? Do you find time once a week? Once a month? Let me know if you have a quiet time where you sit and reflect on God and His goodness.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Zoo Trip

Here are some pictures from our Zoo trip on Tuesday. Some of are the family, some are of the animals and some are of some relatives we found in the Gorilla house! (Just kidding!)

This first little guy is a sea otter. He was in his own tank and kept circling around up close to us at his window.

Daniel and I in front of the Gorilla house. You can see Elijah making snow angels in the background. It is so rare to have pictures of both of us but my sister-in-law came along so I wasn't behind the camera the whole time.

Elijah, Abi, Lydia, Myself, and Daniel from left to right. All we needed was the twins and we would have had our second family picture within just a few weeks of each other! But the girls were asleep so we allowed them their beauty rest.

All the kids monkeying around.

I fell in love with this black and white of Sofie.

Daniel, Abi and Elijah standing beneath the water wall in The Living Coast. Its a clear piece of Plexiglas onto which a bunch of water falls about every 30 seconds or so. It is so loud and you feel like you are going to get soaked but, of course, you don't get wet. Abi was scared but Daniel made her stand there. She liked it once she figured out she was gonna stay dry.

This is Aunt Bekah, Abi and Lydia in the Giraffe house. You can barely see Elijah in the background but he was too busy exploring to pose for a picture.

This is one of my favorite pictures. Because we knew we weren't going to be able to stay at the zoo all day because of time constraints and cold weather, we didn't take the wagon with us so Lydia had to walk the whole time. (No big deal. She can walk.) She kept asking for everybody to hold her and Daniel repeatedly told her she had to walk. The next time I look around, there she is on Daddy's shoulders. So much for walking!!!

Don't yell at me for posting a picture of a snake but I thought this was beautiful. This snake can be found in the Australasia house.

We had such a great time. The temperature was a little chilly but there was no wind which is rare in the Chicago area. We went to most of the indoor houses which is fun because you get to see all the animals up close. Walking from house to house, we would be outside just long enough to start getting chilled and then be able to warm up inside again. We got to see a Mommy Gibbon and her new baby and one of the baby gorillas played with Daniel by mimicking him when he would clap his hands. I was able to watch several trainers feeding and working with the seals at Pinniped Point. And we saw a snake eat a cricket at The Swamp. It was a great day.

For anybody planning to visit the Chicago area or anybody living close by, the zoo is a great family day but if you have a fairly large family, you should purchase a zoo membership. For $108 you get free parking and admission for an entire year plus all kinds of other guest passes, dolphin show passes, discounts and perks. For our family of seven, it pays for itself in one trip and we can go year round for a great "free" family day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Need To Be Accepted

I was going to talk about our fantastic trip to the zoo yesterday but I wanted to post pictures and my camera is in the van at Daniel's work so we get my deep thoughts for the day. (Trust me. My well is shallow so feel free to read on!!)

Why do we feel the need to be accepted by others? In light of yesterday's post about fellowship and having read a blog post about a woman intimidated to meet new people lest she fail to meet their expectations, I've been examining my own need to "fit in" SOMEWHERE. I'm a mother of 5. I'm shaping human beings. I am an integral part of a relatively large music ministry where my opinion and standards impact the spirit of our church. I'm a wife. I'm a grown daughter. Why do I still desire the acceptance of others? God trusted me enough to hand me 5 precious little people to help mold and shape for His will yet I desire to please sinful man here on earth. Its a bit baffling, isn't it?

On the outside, I do and DON'T do all the right things. Yet what does my inside look like when my heavenly Father looks down? Praise the Lord, my sin nature is covered by the blood of Christ. Yet, my day to day sin tarnishes my soul making my window to heaven cloudy, confusing my judgement and my relationship with my Father. As my focus this year is to find my contentment in heavenly fellowship, I'm reminded that my only need of acceptance is to be find in the acceptance of God. Earthly acceptance is temporal and ever changing. But my acceptance by God will give me true contentment and happiness on earth as I strive to please Him and not man.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Family Day

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that today is a slow day at my husband's work and he is going to be home all day. The good news is that we are going to take advantage of our zoo membership we got for Christmas and head up to the zoo today!! Woohooooooooo! Abigail is going to take a personal day off school and we're going to run from house to house and see all the animals! This time of year is fantastic at Brookfield Zoo because all the warm weather animals like the African elephants and hippos and such are indoors so you are literally standing a matter of a few feet away from these gargantuan, fantastic, fabulous, exotic creations of God. So we'll bundle up and rush from indoor house to indoor house and enjoy a day with the family. The children are very excited and the twins have never been there although they will probably sleep in their carriers most of the day.

We used to get an annual zoo membership for Christmas from the in-laws but decided not to get one last year since I was expecting the twins and didn't anticipate waddling around the zoo much. And after being so anemic and unable to function like a normal human being while gestating, that was a good call on our part!!! So we haven't had a visit to the zoo in almost 2 years!!! (Maybe a year and a half?) I'm not sure who is more excited, Mom and Dad or the kids!!

Have a fantastic Tuesday everyone!!! (I took this picture several years ago during our first year of membership.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Filling the Fellowship Hole

A few years ago the Lord saw fit to move 2 of my closest friends many miles away. I have sorely missed their fellowship. And as of today, the Lord has NOT seen fit to fill in that fellowship gap in my life and heart. Maybe He is trying to tell me something? Maybe He is trying to bring to my attention that my purpose on this earth is not to fellowship with mankind but to fellowship with Him. Maybe He is trying to show me that I can find my fellowship by looking up instead of to my right and left. As my Bible lays uncracked, my heart longs for fellowship. I want to "do" things. I want to go places. I want friends. I want a life outside my 4 walls and 5 children. While I love my family, I miss being able to visit with an earthly friend.

I've given much thought to this issue of New Year's Resolutions. I'm not big on making them. I don't ever stick with them and when I fail, I beat myself up for failing. Not a fun course. So I don't typically make them. But the focus of one particular blog I follow has been this issue of fresh beginnings so I've been examining what sort of resolve I would like to make this year. I've considered resolving to lose weight but I've been working on that anyway. I've considered resolving to read my Bible from cover to cover. I've considered resolving to get meticulously organized in my home but given our space constraints and lifestyle I know that isn't practical.

So I'm resolving to fill my hole of earthly fellowship with heavenly fellowship. Maybe if I can find contentment in Him, the rest will fade away and not matter so much.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our Christmas Vacation

What a mundane title!!! But our Christmas vacation was far from mundane this year. God allowed Daniel to have off a whole 10 days but only taking 4 days vacation from work. WHAT A BLESSING!!! If we have had 10 days in a row together in the 9 years we've been married, I don't remember it. These days were well deserved for all of us!!!

We drove to Ohio on Christmas Eve, arriving at Mom and Dad's just before midnight, Eastern Time. Despite being exhausted, we stayed up until the children were asleep, set out all their gifts from Dad and Mom and Memaw and Pappy and then filled their stockings with their gifts from "Santa". Only then were all the adults able to go to bed.

Christmas morning was great. The children were excited and I think all the adults were, too. Everyone enjoyed their gifts but I was shocked to receive our "family" gift from Mom and Dad, a Wii and a Wii Fit Plus along with the Jillian Michaels 2010 DVD. For someone with no yard and a teeny tiny living space, this couldn't have been a better gift. (Already the television has been turned off more and we've been playing together as a family.)

Over the days we were in Ohio we visited the Mennonite man that God has used to bless my parents in the process of building their new home.

Mom and I went to a massive thrift store where we found some great deals including a wool coat for me for $8. We visited an Amish community in Southern Ohio. We went to church. We just did "stuff". Nothing important. Nothing wildly exciting. It was just nice. It was a break. It was restful. I'm so greatful that God allowed us this time to decompress and refocus.