Monday, November 29, 2010

Cozy Teapot Shop

One of my coworkers, Marilyn Meyer, owns an online store called Cozy Teapot Shop. I was looking through her site recently and thought that her items would be a great Christmas gift for all the tea drinkers on your Christmas list! And as a special treat, she's offering all of my readers a 10% discount if you order before December 18th. Her shop is found at Use the code "December" at check out to receive the discount. And as an extra special treat, Marilyn is offering this yummy spiced tea recipe for you as well! Enjoy!

Spiced Tea
Combine 3 cups loose orange pekoe tea, 1/4 c. shredded orange peel, 4 inch stick cinnamon, coarsely crushed, 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger and 2 teaspoons whole cloves, coarsely crushed. Heat, covered, in 300 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Spoon into jar with tight-fitting lid. Seal. Store in cool place at least one week. To prepare tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons mixture for each 6 cups boiling water; let steep 2 to 3 minutes. Makes 3 cups tea mixture.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My kids' thankful lists

Yesterday while we drove to my husband's family's get together, I handed each of the kids a paper to fill out for me. On one side, they were supposed to list a couple things about each of their siblings that they were thankful for. (Gotta reinforce the fact that they really do like each other now & then!) On the other side, they were supposed to list a bunch of random things they're thankful for (not sibling-specific). I wanted to share those lists with you. Some of the things they listed are funny, but some of it is really deep & sweet! I'm proud to be these kids' mama!

Savannah's lists:
On the side where she listed the things she's thankful for about her siblings--
Samuel: He's funny. He lets me play in his room (sometimes). He plays video games with me. He loves God.
On the other side, her list of things she is thankful for---
God, my salvation, the Bible, libraries, my family, my friends, notebooks, pens & pencils, high-speed internet, Mrs. Bolin, babies, Daisy, Jesus, authors, America (life in), education, equality, my home, doctors, the sun, moon, stars, Earth, milk, swimming pools, phones, Adventures in Odyssey, bags, pillows, my robe, books, TV, my bed, forgiveness, the ability to see, hear, taste, touch, feel pain, feel joy, to smell, my hair, my health, chances at publication, Christmas, Mrs. Benae & Mr. Mike, Grandma, Grandpa, cars (fast), airplanes, sunrises, sunsets, tissues, Mountain Dew, orange juice, cups, straws, donuts, honey buns, trees, oxygen, trials, joy & forgiveness, flowers, Totino's thin crust frozen pizzas, food always available.

Samuel's lists:
On the side where he listed the things he's thankful for about his siblings (spelling & grammar left the way he wrote it)--
Savannah: 1 because she is my loving sister 2 cause she love's me 3 U love me
Sarah: because she make's me smile And because you are my friend
On the other side, his list of things he is thankful for---
I'm thankful for my family & friends and that I am a good gun shooter & my sisters.

Sarah's lists:
On the side where she listed the things she's thankful for about her siblings--
Savannah: because this morning when we were playing she laughed at something that I did that was really funny
Samuel: Because sometimes we play games in the car.
On the other side, her list of things she is thankful for---
family, blankie, Daisy, that I'm living, that someone as nice as Ms. Lohmeyer is my teacher at school, God

You know....sometimes I wonder if the kids hear anything at all that we teach them. And then I read things like this & realize that maybe we're doing something right after all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tues Nov 23

Tomorrow, my side of the family is getting together for our Thanksgiving meal. We're going to my mom's house with yummy hot rolls from Texas Roadhouse wrapped in foil. We're taking a big salad as well.

On Thursday, we'll go see Larry's family for Thanksgiving. We'll go to Larry's grandmother's house & enjoy the amazing meal she is cooking. She never lets anyone else contribute no matter how many years I've asked her to let me!

And then on Friday we'll be getting out the Christmas decorations, putting up the tree, decking the halls.....and forgetting all about Thanksgiving for another year.

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas & all the exciting ways we can give of our time, our 'stuff', our money. I love the decorations & the 'magic' of everything related to Christmas. I love buying gifts for my family & looking for ways to help others. But I sure wish there was a whole "season" for Thanksgiving. You know, something like Advent is to Christmas....something wonderful to focus on & celebrate each day leading up to the big day. A countdown paper chain that children would make. A decoration that we would hang on our walls that would make everyone smile in wonder & excitement every time they see it. It's my very favorite holiday because no one has screwed it up yet. There's no holiday figure to focus on. There are no gifts exchanged. There is no rush to shop for it. It's just a simple day of sitting around with family & being thankful. And I love it!!

That's why I've been writing my blog posts this past month. It has been my feable attempt to drag out the Thanksgiving holiday a little very small attempt at creating a new tradition in my life. I hope to continue it next year during the month prior to Thanksgiving.

When this month began, I actually pulled out a sheet of paper & wrote out a list of things I could make a blog post about. I ended up getting side tracked while making the list & didn't finish it, but that list has been laying right here next to my keyboard for this past month. And just like that list, I haven't finished my daily blog posts to celebrate the things I'm grateful for. I've posted quite a few times, but not daily like I'd hoped. Due to illness, busy schedules or exhaustion, I missed some days here & there. But isn't that just like life? Our busy schedules & exhaustion tend to keep us from a lot of things. Since I haven't done such a great job of posting daily, I decided to make up for that by creating a long list of things I am thankful for tonight, all in one post. I will repeat the things I've listed in the previous month & add onto that the rest of the ones from the list I made on paper. And whatever else I think of that I'd like to add! Enjoy. And in the comments, please tell me 1 thing you're thankful for this year!

Tonight I am grateful for....
  • my house
  • my kids' schools
  • Larry killing the snake when we went on a walk
  • Samuel
  • my van
  • hunting & all the meat it provides for my family
  • Bethany
  • my job
  • going to a football game without a headache
  • my bed
  • Godly friendships
  • another year of life
  • my girlfriends
  • Larry
  • Savannah & Sarah (and I feel like a horrible mother than I never got around to posting specifically about them this month.....I promise to fix that very soon!)
  • my parents
  • Kristi
  • food (heaven knows I have plenty!)
  • the Postal Service....because really, I love getting mail!
  • greeting cards....because I love getting and giving them!
  • my computer -- love me some email, blogs & facebook!
  • my Bible
  • my church & all the precious people who are a part of it
  • books
  • my extended family on both sides
  • pictures
  • the smell after a rain storm
  • pretty weather, those days when I can throw a blanket in the yard & lay down to read a book for a while
  • silly family movies & TV shows we can all watch together
  • kids who still love to snuggle with their mama
  • YMCA membership
  • other wives/moms/women who like to blog -- I love reading them!
  • my husband's job & ability to provide for us
  • the health of my entire family --- my mom & I were just discussing today how blessed we are!
  • electricity -- I know this is silly, but really...don't we all hate it when the power is off for a long time?
  • Can I say my amazing friends & family again? Seriously, how did I get so blessed?
  • living in a great neighborhood with sweet neighbors
  • Daisy, our sweet Basset Hound
  • having had the chance to be King's last family before he went to Heaven ... truly we are more blessed than he was, he was SUCH a sweet addition to our family
  • all my "online" friends that I've met over the years through various places & the blogging community --- my family used to think it was crazy when I'd talk about someone I had never met before & how much of an impact they'd had on me. Now they just smile. I've gotten on planes to go meet several of my "online friends"! The internet is a valuable connection for me!
  • safety -- I think we take the safety of living where we are for granted sometimes.
  • Having enough. Of everything we need.

I could continue on all night long, but I think I need to go get in bed. It's nearly midnight & I need to get some sleep. Goodnight and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tues Nov 16

In the early years of our marriage, I learned that one of Larry's love languages is words of affirmation. (His second one is acts of service. Mine are quality time & physical touch if ya really cared to know.) For many years, I made it a point to encourage & uplift him often. It came naturally while we were dating. I think most people tend to relish the praise & flattery on someone they're hoping to marry. And it came naturally for most of the early years we were married. I was still swooning over the new sweet love. But you know... over time, it gets harder to find new things to praise & encourage. I kind of felt like I needed to be creative & come up with new things to point out & cheer about. You know, just telling him how proud I am of him seemed to be old hat by the 10th year of marriage.... telling him that I am always happy to brag about him to my friends seemed well, boring. But recently I discovered that boring & old hat or not, he still needs to hear it. Hearing MY words of praise & adoration means so much more to him than ANYONE else's words. (and conversely, MY words of teasing or disappointment or meanness destroy him quicker than ANYONE else's words do) If I can get creative & find new things to praise, fabulous! But even those same old things that I have told him a hundred times really lift his spirit & make him feel like the coolest guy in the world. (which, by the way, if you didn't already know...he is!) Because words of affirmation is not one of my love languages, it didn't occur to me that this was the case. I was looking at it like giving a birthday gift. You wouldn't give someone the same cool toy for 5 birthdays in a row would you? So why would I tell him the same old things 5x? Wouldn't he get tired of that?

In a word, no. My precious husband is one of the most amazing people I know. And I need to remember to tell him that more often.

Larry grew up in a very different environment than I did. His family was not as close-knit and faith was not as important as it was in my family. We have different backgrounds where those things are concerned, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God brought him to my hometown to work during college for the express purpose of meeting ME. Larry had several other choices of colleges to attend, but due to a fouled up band scholarship, he came here! And because he worked at a little pizza place in his hometown, he transferred to the one I was working at when he came to town. I know it's not exactly the most romantic, serendipitous story you've ever read, but I know that God put us both in the same place at the same time. I know that meeting & falling in love with my husband was not good luck or fate or karma or whatever other cosmos-universe-fortune sort of title you want to call it. It was the hand of God. And I will be eternally grateful to God for it.

Larry & I spent nearly 2 years dating before we got married. We spent plenty of time steaming up the windows of his little red Geo Metro during that time (wink!) but do you know what my favorite memories of our dates are? All the HOURS we spent talking. We loved to just be around each other & talk. We talked about EVERYthing you can possibly imagine. He was absolutely honest with me about every detail of his life & history. There were stories & details that shocked me a little....things that I'd never seen or heard a guy talk about before. He was completely gut level honest with me about his faith, his dreams, his hopes for the future. And that's why I fell in love with him. I wanted to be a part of those dreams, those hopes, that future.

Sure, he was hot & all too. I didn't JUST like talking to him. I went through lots of tubes of Chapstick while we were dating. (big grin) When we met, he looked like Garth Brooks. (Don't laugh. It was the early 90s & I was a total Garth fan at the time!) He had the tight Wranglers & the cowboy shirts & the hat. But the glimmer in his eyes that I saw when we were together -- that glow that says "I'm in love and you make my world complete" -- was more attractive to me that any other physical feature! And once in a while, 18 years later, I still get a glimpse of that sweet look. And it still makes the my stomach flip-flop when I see it. Oh yes...Larry still rocks my world.

Over the years, Larry has had numerous jobs, but there's one thing in common with all of them. Every one of them had the goal of helping other people. When we met, he was in school, but on the weekends he was a volunteer fireman & an EMT. While in school, he got his paramedic certification and his TX peace officer's license. He worked full time as a medic & did reserve hours with a local law enforcement agency in the first year or so that we were married. Somewhere along the way, he decided to switch that around became a full time cop and part-time paramedic. Over the course of time, he moved up the law enforcement ladder & ended up as an investigator for the county probation department, chasing down the felony probation "clients" who absconded (took off, left town, became fugitives). Throughout the last 5 or so years of that, he went back to school to finish something he felt called to years before--his seminary degree. He felt called to ministry, but wasn't sure how that would all work out. When he graduated seminary, he was hired at a local church & served as a pastor there for 4 1/2 years. At the end of that season of our lives, God called us to step down & move Larry back into his previous "mission field"--law enforcement. I can't really get very detailed on this blog about the job he holds now, but without giving details I can tell you that it is VERY important to the lives of the families in our area. He is protecting & serving the community again & recently re-gained his state peace officer's license so if you mess with me or our kids, be careful....Larry might be packing. :)

I am so far beyond proud of who he is & what he does & all he stands for. I am honored to stand beside him in life as his wife. I love that he can be a total "man's man" but then 2 hours later he can be the most tender & gentle teacher, sharing God's word & leading people to Christ. I love that he can sharpen a knife & hunt for food for our family and then turn around and cry on my shoulder because he's been broken by something he's dealt with at work. I love that he can be a greasy, sweaty, stinky mess with dirt caked on his face and then just hours later he will snuggle one of our kids in his lap while they're sick. Yes ladies, he really is the complete package.

And because of that, I want to be the very best wife I can be for him. I want to make him smile when he sees me. I want to see that eyebrow wiggle & grin he does when he likes what I'm wearing. I want to hear the cheesy lines he feeds me. I want to hear him talking about me (in a complimentary way!) when he doesn't know I'm around. I love hearing people say that he told a story about me or the kids from the pulpit or while teaching a Sunday School class when I was not there. I want to make him proud. I want him to be excited about coming home in the evenings. I want him to look forward to date nights with me. I want him to know that his deepest & most intimate secrets are safely locked inside my heart where no one will ever find them. I want him to feel absolutely no reason to look elsewhere for fulfillment and acceptance and love.

So tonight, I'm grateful for the most amazing man in my world.

Father, thank you for the most precious gift in my life, my sweet husband Larry.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thurs Nov 11

Today I'm grateful for my girlfriends.

I posted this video on Facebook tonight. For about the 50th time. I love it. I've watched it probably a hundred times over the past few years. And I cry every time. She's so dead-on with her words. While I may not completely "fit" every scenario she talks about, it moves me none the less.

For all my amazing girlfriends who have walked with me through sicknesses, births, deaths, the loss of my 'other 2 kids', moves & other troubles galore.......this is for you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tues Nov 9

Today I turned 35. The number really doesn't bother me. After all, I'm still younger than my husband & both of my sisters. ha ha! Seriously, the number isn't a big deal to me. It's just a number. I've always thought I was one of those people that older people look at & say "she's such an old soul." I've always hung out with older people. I've always befriended those who are a few years older. I can only think of a couple boys I dated that were younger than me...and those were some really immature relationships...even for junior high! Seriously though, 35 doesn't bother me. I just kind of feel like I'm catching up to the age that all my friends are. I love who I am and where I am in life.

I am sooooooooooooo richly blessed. I have an amazing husband & 3 wonderful kids. I'm close to my parents & my sisters and I get the joy of being part of a sweet 2nd family (my in-laws). I have a home that fits our family, a cozy bed to sleep in every night, enough food to fill our bellies (and then some!), books to read, a computer to blog on every night. Compared with the majority of the world, I am hugely, gloriously wealthy. I am extremely blessed. And if you're my friend on Facebook, you saw that today I was showered with over TWO HUNDRED birthday wishes. I was stunned when I woke up at 6:30 this morning & already had 20 sweet "happy birthday" wall posts. By tonight I was shaking my head & thinking "wow!" every time I logged onto FB again. (and really, when you keep getting fun wall posts like that, you log back on a hundred times to see how many more people love you....what an ego boost!)

But you know what? I wonder if I've left a Godly legacy on all of those 200+ people. I mean, I try to live in a way that would please God. I try to practice what I preach, walk the walk, talk the talk. I really feel like my faith is a very essential part of who I am and I think it spills over into every piece of my life. But does it point to Him enough? Do all of those 200 people know how much I love Jesus? Do they know that when I hear worship music, I instinctively throw my hands up & close my eyes & focus on Him? Do they know how much I love worship? Do they know I dance & jump and twirl and cry when I worship in private at home? Do they know that I read my Bible every morning? Do they see my tears fall when I watch a baptism service?

Or do they see me on the days when I was busy & didn't get to my Bible reading time? Do they see me when I'm driving down the road & hesitate to raise my hands in the car because I'm afraid of what the person in the car beside me will think? Do they see me on the way to church Sunday morning when my kids are fussing in the backseat & I'm rolling my eyes & yelling at them? Do they have a clue that I know Jesus? Do they see me laugh at off color jokes? Do they hear not-so-nice talk come from my lips? What do they see in me? Is it HIM? Or is it all ME?

I hear this song all the time (mostly because I own the CD) and I love it. Tonight, as I reflect on a super day of birthday blessings, I am choosing to reflect on the words to this song as well...and I'm wondering about my legacy. Have you thought about yours?

In case you can't see the video, the lyrics go like this:

(Legacy by Nichole Nordeman)

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all the who's whos and so-n-sos that used to be the best
At such 'n' such ... it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

Chorus: I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy


Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one...


Tonight I'm grateful for another birthday...which leads to another year to show Him off! Father, help me step out of the spotlight now & then & redirect the glow on Your Face!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sun Nov 7

Today I'm thankful for Godly friendships.

Today I talked to a friend whose marriage was in trouble, but God has broken through and changed everything & healing is on the horizon.

Today I talked to a friend who is watching her parent slip away. She's planning a funeral and mourning.

Today I talked to a friend whose family stayed home from church to spend some family time together. Her 2 year old led them in worship this morning.

Today I stood alongside about 100 other believers in a worship service that was led by the Spirit of God.

Today I taught 20 four year olds about how God meets all our needs (Phil. 4:19). And tonight I'm reminded that He really does.

Tonight I'm grateful for those transparent friends....for the openness & honesty I feel with them...for the way our walls can come down & we can be real with each other....for the way we can be open to express the needs & desires of our hearts....for the way our hearts are meshed together by a love of Christ.

Thank you Father, for amazing Godly friends. May you meet all their needs tonight.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sat Nov 6

Today I am grateful for my bed. For many years, I told Larry that I'd like to have a sleigh bed. I've always thought they were pretty. And several years ago when a relative died, we inherited a beautiful dark cherry sleigh bed! I was so excited to move this pretty bed into my bedroom! I know it's a silly, material thing. But I love my bed!

Shortly after we got it, I took this picture.

This is our current bedding set.
Of course, this is how it often looks....covered in piles of folded laundry. It serves as both a bed & my laundry folding table. We like to have multi-function furniture. ha ha!

But most often, it's where I go to read a book, take a nap, snuggle my sweetie or just hang out & talk to one of my family members. I love my bed!

Wed-Fri Nov 3-5

I'm sorry that I've missed the last few days. I've had killer headaches every night this week. I don't know why, though. I haven't been sick or had any particular reason to be stressed. Every night this week, I've taken a handful of pain medication & collapsed into bed begging the headache to GO! I hate feeling like that. It's agonizing!

And so, because it's already after midnight, I'm going to make this short & sweet. Tonight, I am grateful that I was able to go to the football game & enjoy it...without a headache!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tues Nov 2

Today I am thankful for my job. I'm so lucky that I've had nothing but great jobs for many, many years now. Let me back up a little.

In the early 90s, I got my first "official" job. You know, the first one that was not a babysitting job or one where I worked for family & friends and was paid in cash. I worked for Mazzio's Pizza. (this one isn't the same one I worked for, but it looks a lot like it!)

I was only there for a few months when I met Larry.

He moved to town to go to college. He had been working for Mazzio's in his hometown so he transferred to 'my' Mazzio's. Oh was love by the pizza oven. When we got married 2 years later, I transferred to the Mazzio's near our new home. I only worked there for 4 months because we moved again.

At that point, I quit college to work a few semesters & save up some money. I went to work for Albertson's grocery company. I started off as a Cashier but quickly moved into the office where I became one of the store's bookkeepers.

In December of 1995, I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. I worked at Albertsons until about 2 weeks before my due date. When I quit working, I had already made up my mind that I wouldn't be returning. I became a full time stay at home mom in August of 1996.

I stayed at home with my kiddos for almost 1 full decade before I went back to work part time as a Mother's Day Out teacher.

I worked at a local church day care & stayed there til the day care shut down a few years later. When they did, I moved to a private preschool.

In August, I was offered a new job in the local school district. And while I had no plans to leave preschool, the job offer was a good one I needed to consider & I took it! I don't think I will post any pictures or info about my new job, but suffice it to say, it's quite different working with teens vs. the little ones I'm used to working with these last 5 years!

To say I am blessed is an understatement. I have cooshy work hours. I am available to take my kids to school & there to pick them up. I am home with them during the hours they are home. And my past three jobs have worked this way. Seriously folks, I am blessed.

In a world where so many people are searching for jobs, where the economy is the way it is, where people are going without food and shelter because their company downsized, I can only point to the Lord above & give Him credit for my incredible luxury of having a job I like with benefits like these!

And so, tonight, I am thankful for my job.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mon Nov 1

Today I am grateful for my best friend, Bethany.

You might remember my post about visiting Bethany in Missouri back in August 2008. If not, you can read about that here. A quick background to my friendship with Bethers. We met online in the late 90s when we were both trying to conceive our 2nd children. We met through a Christian moms group and just clicked. When that group split up, we didn't. We talk daily via email or text messages. We talk on the phone weekly or more. Truly, it's like she & I have a DNA link or something. We always laugh about the strange commonalities we discover from time to time. Bethany is one of my very favorite people in the whole world. I love her to death. Even though we've only spent that 1 weekend face to face, distance doesn't take away from our friendship. When I think of best friends, she's at the top of my list. We may not have a lifetime of memories together, but we know each other's heart & souls and that's all that matters now. Bethany ALWAYS makes me laugh & can read my mind & finish my sentences usually. We make fun of each other's spelling & grammatical mistakes on Facebook (because we're both spelling & grammar nerds) and listen to each other's PMS stories. We laugh at the same jokes and care about the same issues. Although our lives are different & our homes are 1200 miles apart, it feels like we've always known each other.

I love my sweet girlfriend. Now if I can only figure out a way to get her to move to Texas. Hmm....