Friday, August 31, 2007

Celebrate With Me...200 posts!!

Happy 200th Post-Day to me!!


Celebrate with me by leaving a comment. Yeah!

On Vacation

I'm dropping in once again to let you know that Chris, Caleb, and I will be on vacation for the next week. We are leaving town tonight until Monday and then coming back for a "vacation at home." This is a much needed time together as a family before Chris makes a major change in his career. I may or may not come by to visit here at the blog. If I don't see you...Have a WONDERFUL Labor day and week!!

Oswald Says...On Joy

Right now I am using My Utmost For His Highest during my devotional time and many things are hitting me anew. That is why I'm sure you've noticed my little "Oswald Says" series. I am pulling quotes that particularly hit me that day or that week. I really could just copy the whole book here but there is not point in that. ;-) Here's what I read today:

Living a full and overflowing life does not rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed. But the first thing that will hinder this joy is the subtle irritability caused by giving too much thought to our circumstances.
A person who has the right relationship with God lives a life as natural as breathing wherever he goes. The lives that have been the greatest blessing to you are the lives of those people who themselves were unaware of having been a blessing.
My Utmost For His Highest
August 31 Entry

Remember that what I quote here is just parts of the devotionals. Please go and read the entries in their entirety. You will surely be blessed. I know I am.

Our O.C.D. Jack Russell Terrier

My other baby is Eowyn, our Jack Russell Terrier. Three years ago, come February, Chris and I decided we should get a dog. I think Chris was trying to fulfill my maternal instincts with a puppy. That worked for about two months. We wanted to get a smart dog because Chris' parents dog is very smart and quite enjoyable to be around. We knew that Jack Russells are very smart and fairly small which was another requirement. The Lord blessed us by a friend calling me to say she knew of a lady who was GIVING AWAY full blooded Jack Russell Terrier puppies. I made all kinds of phone calls and finally one rainy night we brought our little bundle of joy home.

For those who don't know, here is an explanation for Eowyn's name. First, she is named after a heroine in the 'Lord of the Rings' Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Eowyn is the princess of Rohan which is a society based on or centered around horses. They are true horsemen. The Jack Russell Terrier breed was developed about a hundred years ago by a Parson Jack Russell in England. Parson Russell was an avid hunter with his horses and dogs. He had great fox hounds but they couldn't go into the holes to chase the foxes out. So, he set out to develop a breed that could dig and then chase the foxes out for the fox hounds to catch. That is how the Jack Russell was developed. Since Jack Russells were bred to hunt with horses there is a natural attraction between these dogs and horses even when the two animals have never met. There you have it. We named our doggie Eowyn because she is a Jack Russell (a horse loving breed) and because Eowyn in the books was a princess of a society that loved horses.

We love our baby but she is such an O.C.D. dog. OH MY GAWSH!! She can be beyond annoying. I think her intelligence has made her quite eccentric. Here are some examples:

For her birthday (November 2) I buy her a little toy. The toy is usually a squeaky toy from Walmart. For her first birthday she got a stuffed duck (a.k.a. Duckie) and for her second birthday she got a mouse (a.k.a. Mousers). Eowyn carries her toys around with her all the time. She sleeps with them and DON'T EVEN think about hiding them. She will go crazy and eventually drive you crazy to the point that you give in and give the toy back. Duckie has been completely unstuffed and I think is thrown away or hidden VERY well. Mousers is still going strong.

Let me tell you what an ordeal it is to take this girl out of town. (Which I am experiencing right now). I pack up her kennel with Mousers, leash, collar, food, pillow, etc. usually sometime during the day so I won't have to rush around when Chris gets home. I place the stuff in our staging area. Eowyn will lay by her packed kennel ALL DAY and whimper and whine. Very annoying! Then once we get to our destination I have to take her kennel out, put it in its place, pull everything out, and let Eowyn investigate. She sniffs everything and then runs around wherever we are several times all the while going BACK to her kennel to make sure everything is how she left it...several times.

Now there is a rabbit who comes into our yard in the mornings. Eowyn can't stand that rabbit. (Note: we have one of those wireless invisible fencing systems). I let Eowyn out because she'll bark so much and then I'll have to call her back in because she barks so much and we have to think about the neighbors. Today, I got so annoyed I put her in the utility room until she calmed down. Thankfully the rabbit had moved on by the time I let her out.

Squirrels are the same situation. We are getting more as they are gathering nuts for winter and they are no better than the rabbit. Except the squirrels taunt Eowyn from just outside the fence or from their trees. My dog is going to lose it pretty soon.

We also have moles in our yard. That's interesting. I'll see Eowyn running around the yard and all of a sudden her nose hits the dirt. She starts to sniff and then whimper and then she digs. Oh, she digs! Several times I have come across a tunnel shaped hole in the yard. She has never caught one but she digs like her life depends on it. I should've paid attention when I read that Jack Russells are obsessive diggers.

Our number of dog sitters are quite limited because most people don't understand our dog and how to keep her happy AND calm. She either goes to Chris' parents or his sister's house. Unfortunately, both families are leaving town for the holiday and we are "forced" to take Eowyn with us. I am glad we are going to visit dog-friendly family. Whoo!

We love our baby and all her quirks. She definitely makes our home a very interesting place especially now that Caleb is big enough to play with her. I am sure we have plenty more years of fun, annoying, and just down right weird days with Eowyn. God Bless her!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Moving On Up In Bloggy-Land

I just want to let everyone up that I have taken a big step in my blogging. I have registered my very own domain for this blog. Go here for the new web address. Everything else having to do with this blog will remain exactly the same. Thank you for celebrating this big step with me. Yeah!

Do I Support Blasphemy?

This video is truly thought provoking and makes me think about the movies I watch. What do you think? (Thank You to Crystal for finding this video.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Memory Walk

I don't know if any of you have had any experience with the terrible disease of Alzeimer's. Saying it is a terrible disease just doesn't do it justice. It strips the victim of his/her memory and completely diminishes her personality and character. For the loved ones, it has been called a "Living Bereavement" because even though your loved one is still living, you are grieving the loss of the person she is and ultimately, her physical body as well.

My Paternal Grandmother was stricken with Alzeimer's. I was pretty young when she died but I do remember one time when we visited her and I could tell that her eyes looked different. My Grandmother just wasn't there. I can only imagine what my Granddaddy and my Dad were going through.

Because of this experience I want to tell everyone about the Alzeimer's Association Memory Walk. It is the nation's largest charity event to raise money for Alzeimer's research and care. The Memory Walk is held every year in areas all across the country. People of all ages are encouraged to come out and walk to stamp out Alzeimer's as we know it. These people have all felt the pain of seeing a loved one disappear or they know someone who has. They want to see Alzeimer's GONE. Since 1989, $225 million have been raised through the dedicated participants of The Memory Walk.

The time for the Memory Walk is coming up very soon and the need for Team Captains is growing more and more each day. It is the Team Captains who recruit walkers to join their team and motivates them to go out and raise money through sponsors. Now is the perfect time to sign up as a Team Captain because you will have plenty of time to recruit fellow walkers. Go to the Memory Walk website to learn more about Alzeimer's, details of the walk, and how to be a Team Captain. Your time will be very well spent online and out there walking. Thanks!

Yep, It is True!

62%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Dating Site

I Knew my Blogging would eventually take off. ;-)

Freezing Bread Dough

In my journey of bread baking I am always looking for ways to make my baking more efficient. As much as I LOVE baking homemade bread, I don't love how much time it takes. I used to bake two loaves of bread once a week and that required a good 3 hours of mixing, kneading, rising, kneading again, shaping, rising, and baking. Whoo!!

Then, I had the idea of designating one day for a mega-bread-baking day. I baked as much bread as time would allow and I froze it. That worked well but I did miss having freshly baked bread and I also used up an entire day. Don't get me wrong! I LOVED spending an entire day baking. It was very relaxing and therapeutic. I just need to get other things done around here too.

I have discovered something great!! Freezing Bread Dough. I've heard of people doing this and I know you can buy dough at the store but I've never done it myself. I tried it last week and it turned out great!

Here is what I did:

1. I pulled out my favorite bread recipe: Amish White Bread
2. I made the dough as always
3. I kneaded the bread until it was ready for the first rising (per the recipe)
4. However, instead I went ahead and shaped the dough into two loaves
5. I placed the loaves into my two well-greased bread pans
6. Covered the pans and dough with plastic wrap
7. Placed the covered pans into the freezer.
8. I waited until the dough was stiff and wrapped each loaf in plastic wrap.
9. I placed the two loaves into a gallon sized freezer bag and put immediately back into the freezer.
10. The dough is good for 3 months.

Today I made one loaf of the yummy bread. Here's how that went.

1. Around 7 am I pulled one frozen solid loaf of bread dough and placed it into the bread pan it fit into (I have one slightly bigger than the other). The bread pan is well greased.
2. I covered the pan and dough with plastic wrap that I sprayed with pan spray...spray side down.
3. I left the dough to thaw and rise at the same time.
4. Once the dough had risen thoroughly I placed the pan into the oven and baked according to the recipe. (Minus the plastic wrap, of course).

I really like this method because I can make one loaf at a time and it is fresh each time. Frozen dough also takes up less space in the freezer. My new goal is to maintain frozen dough in the freezer so that it is already ready for me to pull it out and bake away. Yum!! Can you smell it?

Freezing Bread Dough is what Works For Me!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oswald Says...On The Purpose of Prayer

Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person's life will suffer if he doesn't pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life life of God in us is nourished. Our common areas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

Oswald Chambers
My Utmost For His Highest
August 28 Entry

Still Reading Harry Potter BUT here are some links

1. Headset Vibrator Alarm --I really could've used this in college!

2. Online Etch a Sketch -- Fun!

3. Study: Blue-Eyed People 'Smarter' than Brown-Eyed -- I KNEW it!

4. Woman Has Rare Identical Quadruplets -- Wow!

5. Surfer Rides Alaska's Glacier's Giant Wave -- How crazy do you have to be...?

6. You Have To See This Marriage Proposal To Believe It -- Just Look

Monday, August 27, 2007

Getting Ready at 1 am??

I think I need to stop reading Harry Potter right before bed.

While I was visiting my Dad this past week I would take advantage of the alone time and read a good bit of my Harry Potter book as I laid in bed. It was great. I am paying now for the loss of sleep but it was a good change of pace.

Saturday night started out no differently. I read till about 11 pm and turned off the lights and fell to sleep. At some point I woke up and looked at the clock radio and swore I saw 7:50 am. I freaked because that means Caleb has overslept and his naps will be royally messed up. It didn't occur to me that it was pitch black outside and that I didn't feel rested at all. I jumped out of bed and went into his room. He was fast asleep. That should've been another clue. NOPE! I patted his bottom and spoke to him until he woke up. I pulled him out of bed and walked into my room. We rocked a little bit and then I put him down on the floor to play while I got ready. I made the bed and was about to change Caleb into his day clothes and brush my teeth. I even thought I should take my shower because Caleb was being so quiet. Hmmmm. Caleb sure wasn't playing much and was being really quiet too. Still NO CLUE!

As I was going into the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a shower I looked at the clock (Thank You, Lord!) and saw 1-stinking-AM. I said, "You've GOT to be KIDDING me!" I scooped up Caleb so fast and put him back in his Pack-N-Play. He didn't complain or fuss. He laid down and went straight to sleep. I un-made the bed so fast you probably wouldn't have seen those covers fly. I slept till 7 am (the real one) and got Caleb up for good. He was a lot more focused and willing to play as was I.

I haven't done something like this in years. I was known to take showers at 2 am in college. It was the water hitting my face that woke me up. How I got down from my loft (a pretty good distance), gathered my stuff, took off my clothes, and got into the shower without waking up is beyond me. Thankfully, this is not a regular thing. Just enough to get a good laugh afterwards and that is what Chris is doing since I told him. Thanks, Honey!

We're Back

It is so good to be home!!

Caleb and I had a blast at my Dad's house. It wasn't quite as relaxing as I had hoped. For some reason, Caleb decided it was time to go into TURBO-mode. He got into everything and wandered all over the house. I rarely had a chance to just sit and relax when Caleb was awake. When he was napping I usually ended up napping as well.

It was great catching up with my Dad, though. Caleb was spoiled and loved on like only grandparents can do. We ate some great food and Caleb even got a awesome new outfit for the fall. I used up a gift card to Toys 'R Us and bought Caleb a bag of those Mega Bloks. He is in stacking heaven.

I got home yesterday afternoon exhausted and thinking I was coming down with a cold. Thankfully, I think the stuffy nose was only because I was so tired. I drove straight to Chris' parents house as I came into town and the family reunited there. We were fed dinner and enjoyed each other's company. Afterwards, Chris and I went home and collapsed. I took a shower while Caleb showed off his new blocks to Chris. By the time I got out, Chris already had Caleb changed and in his pajamas. I have a great husband! We put Caleb down and he struggled to go to sleep. Poor guy! He always has a hard time transitioning from bed to bed. Chris and I watched some TV, read in bed, and were O.U.T. by 9 pm. I slept like a little baby. There is nothing like your own bed with your hubby in it.


This week I am getting ready for our vacation next week. We are going to visit my sister over Labor Day Weekend and then we are going to have a "Vacation-At-Home" and hopefully go camping the following weekend. More about this later.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt


Daffodils are by far my FAVORITE flower and they make me very happy. Doesn't this flower look so happy?!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jesus is Waiting

A struggle that I have always had in my spiritual life is maintaining a consistent devotional time. I will go through a season when I do very well and it is quite easy to keep that appointment with Jesus. And then things get busy and it gets extremely hard. The motivation is small because I feel like I have so much to do with Caleb, around the house, on eBay, etc. I know my reasoning is terrible and yet I still let it take control. I am sure that most people can testify to times like this. We are very human and the last thing the Enemy wants is for us to have a vibrant relationship with our Savior.

Let me tell you what works for me. A few months ago I was talking to a mentor of mine. She is a spiritual mother to me and a mentor when it comes to being a mom. She has been through the trenches and has come out with the most beautiful relationship with Jesus I've ever known. Anyway, Caleb was really small and I was explaining to her about how hard it was for me to prioritize a devotional time when the laundry is overflowing, the dishes are stinky, and the baby needs to be fed and changed. It is a struggle to just sit and be quiet before the Lord when there is so much to do.

Here is what she said. Imagine Jesus is sitting on your couch and he is waiting for you. He isn't saying anything. He just looks at you and waits. You keep saying, "One moment, Jesus, let me finish these dishes or the laundry." And he keeps waiting. He is patient but you know he yearns to spend time with you. After all he is sitting on YOUR couch.

Once you imagine that, it really is hard to put off being with Him. At first, I would purposefully think about Jesus sitting there like it was a discipline. I would stop and spend time with Him. After a few months now and I am being "too busy for Him" an image of Him just pops into my head. Sometimes it almost feels like I can actually see Him sitting there...waiting.

This is not supposed to be a way to make you feel guilty. Don't we already have enough of that anyway? I just know that this really works for me. I don't ever feel guilty. I just feel Loved and Desired by the Creator of the Universe and my Savior. I think that can make anyone stop and just listen.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Leaving Soon with the Boy

I just wanted to pop in for a minute and let everyone know that I will be leaving town to see my Dad on Wednesday and I'll be gone till Sunday. In the meantime I'm having to squish a week's worth of chores and computer work into 2.5 days. I want to leave the house as streamlined as possible for Chris while he is baching it. So, I may not be posting very much this week. I will have access to a computer while I'm gone but I will also be relaxing and blogging won't be the highest priority. I am really looking forward to this trip because I always feel so relaxed and loved when I go to my Dad's house and Caleb will be spoiled rotten. I am sure everyone understands. See you next week!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Would It Be Child Abuse... put Caleb in a padded room? (Ha ha! That isn't a great title for a "family" blog is it?)

Anyway, today has been a bad one for Caleb. I think I've spent most of the day picking him from the most recent tumble, fall, bump, or scratch. He has bumped his mouth and made his gums bleed and when he was reeling from that he fell over on the kitchen floor and bumped his head on the linoleum. Then I pinched him, accidentally, while strapping him into his carseat. There have been way too many incidents today to make an account of everyone. I've even heard him make a very frustrated sound as if to say, "This has been a NO GOOD day!"

I know, Buddy. Mommy would put you in a padded room if she could. At least it wouldn't hurt. ;-)

Now I have to go deal with my O.C.D Jack Russell Terrier who can't deal with the fact that our neighbors are remodeling their house and making bumps and other sounds throughout the day. On top of that she sees my bags on the floor for a retreat I'm going on and is probably convinced that she is going somewhere, her world will be turned upside down and she won't be able to protect her precious stuffed mouse. My dog is a whole other post.

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt


I was fascinated by the prevalence of nuns and monks in Poland. I know there are plenty of nuns and monks in the U.S. of A. but they don't seem to wear the same garb. In Poland they where the traditional habits and robes. Very cool!

Missionary Travel

A couple days ago I was talking about about how I get an "itch" to get out of town. I need to go somewhere to clear the system and refocus. My opportunity is coming very soon and boy, I am happy about that. But, the kicker about this type of need to get out of town is all about me and my needs or the needs of my family.

What about traveling with the needs of other people as my complete focus? I am talking about going on a mission trip for a short time or even an extended time. I know that I am called to go on some sort of mission step outside myself and go spread God's love to others. The idea is so exciting!! Unfortunately, I wouldn't even know where to start when planning my trip. How do you travel to third world countries? What all needs to be done before you leave home? And what about once you get there?

I was so happy to find Golden Rule Travel. They are a travel agency that specializes in missionary travel. It sure feels good knowing that I would be traveling through people who support what I am doing for the Lord and they actually want to support my work. They have a staff of former missionaries and other Believers who support missionaries. Individuals or groups can take advantage of their services. For example, they will work hard to find the lowest possible airfare because they know that missionaries don't have much money. They are also always available (24/7) for your questions.

Going on a mission trip is such a special and intense time. There is so much going on emotionally and spiritually and the last thing you should worry about is your travel specifics. I am thankful that people like Golden Rule Travel are willing to step up and help missionaries and their special needs.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Men and the Church Nursery

Chris, Caleb, and I wen to the Wednesday Night Praise Service last night. It was the Kick-Off for all the Wednesday night programs for the 2007-08 year. Caleb will be in Kids Town (the nursery) playing, eating snacks, and hearing Bible Stories. Chris and I will be up to our eyebrows in the verse-by-verse study of Romans they are doing for the adults. I love those studies, but my brain sure is fried aftewards. I'm sure I'll write more about that later. But, I digress.

While Chris and I were waiting to drop off Caleb there was a lady ahead of us and she seemed rather distraught about something. What is there to be distraught about on a Wednesday night in Kids Town. It is such a happy place. Well, it turns out her children were in the two year olds room and there was only a man taking care of them at that moment. Her children are potty trained and she does NOT want a lone man taking them to go potty. There must be a woman in there. The issue was settled quickly because, mainly, there has to be two adults in a room anyway. This experience left me thinking.

One thing I like about Kids Town is that there are men so willing to volunteer and take care of our littlest children. So many men are more than willing to teach the Middle School or High Schoolers. They are cool. But, to change diapers and take kids potty is not first in the minds of many men. BUT, we have a small group of Godly men who see their opportunities to train up our little ones to love the Lord. They are all Daddies and the less than desirable part of the job are just that...part of the job. They do it happily and just love on our children. I LOVE IT!

I was so sad to hear this mother's concerns. I am not criticizing the mother at all. Her insecurities were real and I don't doubt them. I just think that it is SO SAD that there is even reason for a mother to be insecure with leaving her children with a man at church. Shouldn't the church be one of the few places where we feel safe with our children? Where has our world gone??

I am very happy that my church has rules in place (two caregivers at all times, etc.) to prevent any appearance of evil. I am very confident leaving my child there and I can rest and enjoy my time at church. I just pray more people can enjoy those benefits as well.

A Future in Waste Management?

Caleb has developed a fascination with the trash can. I think it is because Chris and I have been calling it Caleb's treasure chest. Caleb used to pick up little pieces of trash off floor and hand them to us and we'd say, "Thank You Caleb! Let's go put this is your treasure chest." He always seemed okay with that when we took his little treasure away. I kept thinking that I was Mom of the Year because my one year old would pick up after me. Unfortunately, he would make other people feel back because he could always find trash on the even most well vacuumed carpet. I know he's made people question their housekeeping abilities. He's done that to me.

Anyway, I think our "treasure chest" tactic is backfiring on us. Now Caleb wants to put anything in the trash can especially now that he's figured out how to open it. I have caught him "throwing away" canning jars, tupperware, a dishwasher basket, his favorite book, AND his favorite ball. It is clear that he doesn't know that things that go into the trash can never come back. I never thought I would have to check the trash can several times a day to make sure nothing important gets thrown away for good.

I can appreciate Caleb's fascination with throwing things away. I want to encourage that but now I need to help him distinguish what things need to be thrown away.

Dirty Paper Towel...Yes!

Mommy's Library Book...No!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Little Linky Slow

So, I've been the one caught up in the 7th Harry Potter book this time. That's why my Linky Reading Lists are a little slow lately. Be patient with me as I approach the end of an era. I'll miss you, Harry!

In the meantime:

1) NYC Health Officials Move to Get Babies Off Bottle : I'm all about encouraging women to breastfeed as the default in the hospitals. Breastfeeding needs to stop being the exception. Instead of having the "I'm a Breastfed baby" sign in the bassinet in the hospital, how about it being "I'm a bottle fed baby."

2) Great, Great Grandmother, 94, Earn's Masters Degree: It is never too late to get an education.

3) Baptist School Offers Homemaking Courses : I know I could've used some homemaking courses before I got married.

4) Our Quiverfull: Sorry For The Silence: The Insurance company is trying to use this mother's blog as evidence against offering coverage for their sick son. Geez!

5) Voices Unabridged: India's Invisible Women: (Slideshow)My heart goes out to these women.

6) Is it a a bird? Is it a Plane? No, it's a baby... : Some people are just crazy about names.

Learning About Stocks

As a Stay-At-Home Mom I am so blessed to have an incredibly hard working husband who allows me to stay home and even supports my convictions. Not only do I work hard maintaining our household and taking care of our little boy, I also work hard to generate an income from home. I mainly accomplish this through my blog and through eBay.

While Chris works hard outside the home to support all of us he has a dream to be able to come home too and either work from home or even retire. The way that he is pursuing this dream is through his studies of the stock market and options trading. He spends a little time each night "paper trading" or pretend trading so that he will be ready when he makes the jump for real.

I want to support Chris as much as I can in his ventures and I know that one way I can do this is through educating myself about the stock market so that I can support him in his trading decisions. I know it would make his heart go pitter-pat if I could have a stock market conversation with him. One way I can educate myself is through the blog by Wizetrade . The company that puts out the Wizetrade software has just started an informative blog to educate us and to keep us abreast on all stock trading news. They also provide videos. I especially like the post about making a Trading Plan. I know how we have to protect ourselves from our emotions when dealing with the market. I feel good about this blog because of posts like that and I am sure there are some more great posts to come.

Check them out if you want to learn more about the stock market like I do. Come on SAHM's! Let's jump on the bandwagon!

This post sponsored by

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Little Helper

Today I was I hanging some clothes up on our drying racks in the guest room. (Yeah, our guest room is a laundry staging area when we don't have guests but everything is easily collapsed and put away.) Caleb was in the room with me playing. I dropped one of his socks and I just let him carry it around with him. I turned around and saw that Caleb was trying to hang his little sock on one of the lower rungs of the drying racks. Needless to say I praised him and praised him and told him how happy Mommy was that he was helping.

It just goes to show how observant little children are and how much they want to copy us. This little experience also reinforces how much I want Caleb to mimic good behaviors and that means that I always have to be on alert that my all behavior is worthy of copying.

I LOVE My Little Helper!!! Thanks, Caleb!

I Dream of Our Family Vacations...

I have discovered a pattern in my life lately. I have noticed that about every six to eight weeks or so I get this itch that I call the “get out of town itch.” I just can't stay in one place for more than two months. Once I go away for a weekend, usually the case, I feel so much better and ready to tackle my To-Do list at home because I have had the opportunity to relax and refocus. As a matter of fact we are going out of town for a little refresher in a couple of weekends. I am quite ready for that little trip.

Now that Chris and I have a son we are starting to understand the importance of taking a family vacation at least once a year. We'll have long weekends sometimes, but I mean a true family vacation that is at least a week long and at a fun destination. Chris has already promised that starting in Summer '08 we'll start making those family vacations a priority.

With that in mind I have been pondering what we should do and where we should go. I LOVE the mountains and I know that Chris does too. We even went to the mountains on our honeymoon.

I have found a great company with a convenient website that I think will be great in our planning of our family vacation in the mountains. It is Hotel Reservations. I found this website to be really easy to use and very informative. For example, I can put in that I am looking for a vacation rental site near Asheville and I want to go June 7-11, 2008 and the site will give me a list of locations for me to pick from and they are listed based on distance from Asheville and price. That is just what I want to know. You can also book hotels, cars, flights, and whole vacation packages all over the world. The convenience of this site is wonderful but so is the fact that you can save up to 70% in your reservation. Being that we are on such a tight budget I am grateful for any savings we are offered.

I don't really know when our inaugural family vacation is going to be but I am already really looking forward to it. Our little family needs some time away to relax and just have fun together. Until that time comes I'll be pondering what I want to do and researching the best deals.

In Other Words

“Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name…”

I really love the song these lyrics come from. I have a CD that has this song and I listen to it often. We also sing this at church on a fairly regular basis. We even sang it Saturday night during the 6:45 pm service. (FYI...I LOVE going to church on Saturday nights. It really opens up Sunday to be a relaxing Sabbath).

There have been times when I am "walking through the wilderness" that God makes it so that I hear this song on my CD, on the radio, and at church all during those times. He knows that I need to hear these words and to remind me that no matter what I am to Praise His Name. No matter my situation, God is still the same. I may be having a hard time or an incredibly easy, fun time but the Lord never moves or alters and I can praise Him for being my Rock and Salvation.

One thing that God is really teaching me lately is how to be content no matter my situation. That is a huge part of the Crown Financial Ministries Bible Study and even though Chris and I are done with our study, God is still teaching me about contentment. Ever since we took that study we have really tightened up our budget and that has been a struggle for me. It is a blessing that I am learning to be a better steward of God's money but it is definitely a struggle. Chris is constantly saying to me
"for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13) Sometimes Chris even makes me quote it with him. Whenever he does that I am reminded that life is great.

As this time of my life God is teaching me so much. I am learning to be content no matter my circumstances and I am learning that I can be content because God is always the same and that I can say "Blessed Be Your Name" wherever I am. The Lord is my strength, my source of contentment, and I can Praise Him.

Be sure to visit other ladies' take on these lyrics over at Sting My Heart.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Am Whipped...

...and it is only Monday!

The past week and especially this past weekend has really sent us realing. To begin let me tell you the incredibly AWESOME news. Caleb is going to have a cousin!! Yeah!! Chris' "not so little" sister announced this weekend that she and her hubby are pregnant. Wheee! I am beyond excited. My sister has two boys but I was much younger when they were born. The youngest is already nine years old. (Geez..I feel old now). So, this is the closest to having a sister who is pregnant and I can really experience it with her and it amazes me that I'm actually the one who has "been there and done that." I am the "oh so wise" more experienced sister now. Chris' sister already said she will be calling with tons of questions. I feel honored and blessed by this. My head is spinning with ideas, suggestions, and just excitement. The next nine months are going to be a blast.

The weekend was also very busy running errands and such. On Saturday we hung out with friends and that was a great break. I had to leave early, though, to pick up my food from Angel Food Ministries and that was a nightmare. It wasn't the disributor's fault. There was a hiccup somewhere in the shipment process and when I arrived, ready to get my food, they were still unloading the food. It was in no way organized. So, I had to stand with everyone else in a hot house with chaos all around us. But, I got our food and it turned out okay.

I met Chris at our friend's house and we headed to church. I didn't have to serve that night. I had it all planned out. I was going to sit in the coffee area and work on my crocheting and just enjoy myself. Well, due to a ministry expo type thing they had moved all the comfy furniture out of the coffee area. I had nowhere to go except for back to the bookstore where I usually serve. I hung out with those ladies until one of the nursery workers walked in with Caleb who was quite red and whimpering. She said they had been paging me for the past 15 minutes in the worship service. I obviously wasn't in the service and she knew that. So, I took Caleb and it took a long time to calm him down. This was also the night that Chris and I figured we didn't need to bring the stroller into the church. I carried Caleb or let him walk beside me the entire first service until Chris finished with his small group. Chris showed up and I wanted to go home, but Chris insisted that we put Caleb back in the nursery and attempt the second service. Caleb was much happier and actually got through the entire service and came home...whipped.

Sunday, Chris had an important meeting with a friend and I took Caleb to the in-laws house. We hung out and had a blast. Chris arrived and we left Caleb there so we could attend a luncheon with some the Financial Ministry of the church. That was good too. We picked up Caleb after that and then went to Chris' sister's house for dinner. (Note: Caleb and I left home at 10:30 am and didn't get home till 7 pm). I figured once Caleb was down for bed Chris and I would have a movie date or something like that. Well, he spent it on the phone seeking wisdom on some stuff. We went to bed and here I am...whipped.

On top of all this we are looking at some potentially big changes for our little family. I don't feel comfortable explaining it all right now. Just pray that God gives us all wisdom on what to do and when to do it. So, our heads are spinning at a speed that heads shouldn't be allowed to spin. I will be going to my Dad's house next week and I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!! I need a change of pace.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt


I couldn't resist. I have three (or more) photos for this week. But, they are all things "in a row." The common theme is that they were all taken during our trip to Poland.

This picture was taken in the little grocery store just down the road from where we stayed. Most people in Poland grow their own vegetables. So, the grocery store had a very small produce section but there was an entire aisle dedicated to seeds.

Same store, but in the bread aisle. All that bread was baked fresh for that day. Oh, how I loved being able to walk down the road and buy fresh bread. I think eating all that lovely bread is what made me really pick up my bread baking and make an effort to get better at it. I have a very happy family for it too.

Finally, I took this picture of these traditional musicians just outside the city gate to Krakow. They played well. I loved listening to all the different musicians that were performing on the streets.

Okay, one more picture. Speaking of street musicians. I just had to post this picture. I saw these "not so traditional musicians" at the same spot at the city gate of Krakow, POLAND that same day, but in the evening. They are standing in a row, right?

Oswald Says...

"Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God's will--even if it means you will suffer--is something very different. No, normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God's will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. And no saint should ever dare to interfere with the lesson of suffering being taught in another saint's life."

--Oswald Chamber
My Utmost For His Highest

The Two Best Things I've Done...

...Since becoming a Mommy.

Everyone knows that it is very hard transitioning from no children to parenthood. I was no different. The first two weeks or so were a blur and fairly easy because I had help at my house around the clock. I say it was easy because of the help I had. Once they left, the true difficulties settled in. I became lonely and unmotivated. I had the basic childcare down pretty well but the "Me" was falling by the wayside.

Caleb is almost 13 months now and I've learned a few things since his birth. I am in now way an expert on this parenting thing and I have TONS to learn. But, here are the two things I've done this past year that I have helped me beyond measure.

I joined MOPS at my church. I called and made a reservation at MOPPETS as soon as I saw an advertisement for the new year on a powerpoint slide before the service. I was at the first meeting with bells on my toes. I was actually surrounded by people, let alone other moms, for the first time since Caleb was born. I am a very shy person initially so the first few meetings were spent being quiet and listening to other moms talk. Finally, I came out of my shell and started to participate. I was hooked. I never missed a single meeting the entire year. Even when Caleb had a runny nose or a cough (nothing too serious) I would take him to the meeting with me because I would not miss my MOPS meeting. I dreaded the summer because MOPS follows the school calender and doesn't meeting during the summer. Before we broke for the summer I was asked to be on the steering team as the Prayer/Care Coordinator. Wow! Me?! We are gearing up for another year now and I will be serving other moms who were just like me just last year. But, I know that not only will I be serving them I will also be fed and loved on too. The good thing is I can stay in MOPS until all my kids are older than 5. I better keep the kids coming. ;-)

I joined the YMCA. I confess that joining the YMCA is very new...actually, just this month. But, I know it was an exceptional decision. Chris and I have been working out at home for months now and we were content with that. Then our county built a brand new YMCA and it is BEAUTIFUL. We knew that the usual cost of membership would not fit into our budget. So, I swallowed my pride and applied for a scholarship. Our application was approved and we got 75% off the joiner's fee and a good bit taken off the monthly fee. We were in business. I've been going like crazy. I can drop Caleb off in Childwatch and I can work out in peace. I can watch the TVs or read a book. Whatever I want to do. Not only am I getting great exercise, but I also have another thing to look forward to during the day and some Mommy Time. I am completely hooked and can't wait to see what all this exercise does for me. I know it is already making my mind feel better.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Did You Know...

...I was once a computer game geek?

While I was in college one of my major stress relievers was to play computer games. I have never considered myself to be a “gamer” but I do know how much good an hour of computer play can do for an overworked brain. One of the games I used to play a lot with Chris and his roommates was Starcraft: Brood War. I always played the Terrans or the Marines and Chris always played the Protoss. It was tons of fun and it was cheap. We had many-a-date playing over the network in his apartment. I am excited to hear that there is a new Starcraft coming out very soon. Boy, that brings back memories!! I was looking at their website, CreepColony, and it looks just as fun if not more. Now, that I am a Mommy I really don't have much time to play computer games like I would like but I am still happy to hear about starcraft 2. I am sure it will fabulous!

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