Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer: Day 61

Sunday July 31

This morning we went to church as usual. This afternoon we took a nap as usual. Tonight I made chicken spaghetti & garlic bread and we enjoyed a yummy meal together.

Nothing real out of the ordinary today, I guess.

But ya know what? Even with all the "ordinary", I was so very honored to be able to bless someone else today, the way God has blessed us lately. It feels so good to be on this side of that! We're not rolling in the dough by any means at all & probably never will, but it's nice to be able to "breathe" a little & offer some help once in a while.

Thank you, Jesus.

For any of you who were wondering---I've decided to keep the blog public. For the time being anyway. Without going into any details, I considered taking the blog private for several reasons. But what ultimately made me decide against it was the idea that someone might google something like "money problems" or "family member adoption" or "disruption of adoption" or "RAD" or "faith" or "crazy woman who blogs a lot" or whatever & find my blog. And maybe it will help them through a hard time. Maybe someone will form a relationship with God because of a blog post. While it's not my goal to post about things just to be found on google one day, it *is* my goal to bring God the glory for every single second, every breath, every moment of my life. And if doing that helps someone else, then that's fabulous!

So, for those of you who emailed me or inboxed me on Facebook or called to tell me "I want to keep reading, send me an invitation!", thank you! Thank you for being here & being a part of my life in the blogosphere. Thank you for praising God with me in the good times, and for lifting my family up in prayers during the hard times. Thank you for being friends & for caring about what's going on in my little corner of the world, even when it's not all that exciting.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer: Day 60

Saturday July 30

The summer is almost over. I'm having a very hard time with that. I thought it just began. Where has the time gone?

I don't think I've eaten nearly enough snow cones or ice cream cones. Not nearly enough popsicles!

I haven't been swimming enough times.

I haven't taken enough pictures of the kids.

I haven't been to the parks around here enough. (Of course, with the 400 degree heat, it's no wonder.)

I haven't read enough books or magazines.

I haven't taken enough naps.

I haven't written my annual summer post about things that I love in life right now.

I haven't taken the time to back up all the pictures & documents on the computer lately.

I realized a few days ago that at the preschool where I teach in the summers, sessions are broken up into 4 week windows. There are 3 summer sessions. We completed week 1 of the 3rd session on Thursday. I won't be there for the final week because I have to go back to work then. Gasp. I only have 2 full weeks of summer left.

That's it. I am going to take a picture of me eating a snowcone while swimming with the kids this week. Then I'm going to go home & take a nap after I finish reading a book. At night, I will work on my "things I love" blog post while I back up the stuff on the computer.

Project finish out the summer with a bang is ON!

As for TODAY, it has been lengthy.
Savannah got home from youth camp this morning at 6:00 am. Last Sunday night, she loaded up on a chartered bus with about 40 other kids from our church & took off toward Buena Vista, Colorado to spend the week at Noah's Ark camp ( They spent the week river rafting, climbing rocks & rappelling, hiking and hanging out with friends. She had a lot of fun, even if most of those activities aren't really her "thing". (She's not the most outdoorsy, athletic kid.) She enjoyed her time away and enjoyed time with friends, though! They got on the bus yesterday morning about 11:30 & headed home. It took until early this morning to get back.

When I picked her up, we went to IHOP for breakfast. I ordered an omelet. When the waitress brought it out, I commented on the size. Folks, this thing was HUGE. Seriously, it was as big around as my forearm, and just as long. ENORMOUS doesn't even describe it. As I sat there eyeballing this monster sized thing, the waitress came back to the table to tell me that my pancakes would be out soon. I audibly gasped. WHAT? This thing comes with pancakes??? I told her to go tell the chef not to bother making them. There was no way I could eat the giant omelet AND pancakes. I ended up needing a to go box for 1/2 of the omelet! ha ha!

We came home & Savannah crawled into bed where she stayed until almost noon. Clearly, she was exhausted! I tried to nap myself, but only made it an hour or so before the phone started ringing & life went on. I think I'll sleep great tonight. (I went to bed late last night & then had to get up pretty early to make it to the church on time to pick her up.)

After she napped, we went shopping. Some sweet soul mailed us an anonymous gift card to Target this week! I was able to get Savannah some tennis shoes, a shirt & a necklace and still have money leftover. I had a lot of fun with my almost 15 yr old. It's so fun to watch her become more of a girl every day. She's getting excited about clothes & accessories & her hair and things like that. She's still not obsessed about it (which I am grateful for!!!) but she's beginning to think about her appearance more than she has in the past & it's fun to play dress up with her. When we left Target, we went down the street to Avenue for me. I found a couple of things to start off the school year. I need a handful of other items to have some decent work clothes, but that will come later. It was fun to shop with Savannah for me, too. She was pulling things off the racks, trying on rings & sunglasses & shoes while I tried on my selections. I never knew that I'd enjoy having a teenager so much. All the horror stories have not come true so far. I pray that they never will!

What a great day!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. Vow renewal ceremonies-yay or nay?
I really don't have an opinion about vow renewal ceremonies. I guess you'd say I'm neutral on this one. If you want to do it, go for it.

2. What sound(s) annoy you the most?
Can I only pick one? Smacking, LOUD talkers, little noises people make between words out of a nervous habit (giggles, tongue clicking, etc).

3. If you had to pick, would you have only all boys, or only all girls for kids?
Oh gosh. There's NO way I could choose.

4. Do you believe in alternative medicine?
Alternative as in hocus pocus weird stuff? Not really. But then again I'm not opposed to it. It's just not on my radar usually.
Alternative as in nutritional health & healing? Yes.
Alternative as in skipping all medical care completely? No.

5. Would you take a family members children and raise them if they needed it?
Been there, done that. (Go back and read this blog from Feb 2006 - Mar 2007)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Going private

I am strongly considering making the blog private. If you would like to continue reading, please email me (rather than leaving a comment here). I need your email address to send you an invitation to the blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer: Day 57

Wednesday July 27

When Samuel was in 2nd grade (2007-08), a little boy moved to town from out of state. The teacher assigned Samuel to be his 'buddy', show him around, introduce him to the other kids, play with him at recess...that sort of thing. Little did we know at the time, but Brady would become one of Samuel's best friends!

Throughout that year, Brady's mom & I became friends. They are such a sweet family! Just like our own, they have 2 girls with a boy sandwiched in the middle. Like our family, their church & faith is very important to them. I think Sam & Brady relished the "only boy" attention they got when they went to either his or our house. They were able to talk about burps & farts & armpits & butts and watch movies together that none of the rest of us wanted to see. Truly, they were a match made in heaven as far as little boy friendships go.

By the end of that first school year, Brady's mom was talking about the possibility of getting a job with the school the following year. Sure enough, shortly before school was out, she found out that she'd be working at one of the district's elementary schools! Brady would have to switch campuses to be where his mom worked. The boys were so sad. We promised not to lose touch. They'd still be in town, just on a different campus.

The sadness of his campus change didn't last long. Unfortunately it was replaced with a different kind of sadness. Brady's mom was diagnosed with cancer that summer. Realizing that she would miss a lot of work that year, she turned down the teaching position & began cancer treatment. At "meet the teacher night", we found out that she had pulled some strings & asked for Brady to be placed in the same classroom with Samuel. She knew Brady might need a good friend that year.

That year was a hard one for their family, but Brady's mom came through all her treatments with flying colors! By midway through the year, she was done with all her surgeries and treatments and was looking for a job with the school again! (I'm telling you....she's a warrior! I just love her!!!) She got a job at the campus the boys were attending school & was later offered a job for the following Fall! The boys would be in 4th grade, right down the hall from her classroom.

As summer turned to Fall (2009), she hinted to me that there was a chance they might be moving back to the state they had moved here from---to the same town where they had been before. On the upside, they had a house there that had not yet sold and they would be able to move back into it! But the sad part was that it meant moving halfway across the country, away from us! She started school that Fall, but just a few weeks into the year, they packed their home & moved.

We were able to keep in touch via Facebook after their move. We watched their weather patterns (so very different from our East Texas weather) and enjoyed videos of the kids taking part in all their extracurricular activities. Last summer, we were able to get together one day when they came to Texas to see family. It was just for a couple of hours, but it was a treat for the boys. (and the moms!) We talked about doing the same when they planned to visit Texas at Christmas, but the deep snow where they live prevented them from traveling.

As Spring emerged, we decided that we'd get together during their summer trip to Texas (to see their family here). But then things changed. A month or so ago, Brady's mom confided that they were MAYBE going to be moving back to Texas! This summer! And then it happened! Earlier this month, the moving trucks arrived to pack up all their things & bring them back across the South to the great state of Texas. While they won't live in our town this time, they are in the state, just a few hours away! And today, we got to see them!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't tell Samuel that Brady was coming to visit. I wrote it on our weekly menu last weekend when I wrote it out & put it on the door of the fridge & just waited to see how long it would take him to find it. He finally saw it a few days ago. I've been able to use it as a "clean your room!" tool ever since. You know, "if you don't get this mess cleaned up, I'm going to have to call Brady's mom & tell her Brady can't come visit". (Hey, I'm shameless...I'll use whatever I can to get that filthy clutter pit clean!) Today, I didn't even make it to the front door after Samuel announced "They're here!" before he was out in the yard screaming "Brady!!!!!!!!" & hugging his friend. I love these guys!!! Enjoy my little trip down memory lane.

Samuel's birthday sleepover 2008

Spring 2009

Summer 2009

Fall 2009

Summer 2010

I hope there are many more years worth of pictures of these sweet boys together!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer: Day 56

Somehow I mistakenly hit "enter" when I finished typing the title of this blog & it posted! Oops! So...if you got an email with a blank post, my apologies. Let me try this again!

Tuesday July 26

Today was a preschool day. Samuel & Sarah joined me today because Savannah is at youth camp. My class began the final summer session. (There are 3 sessions, each one four weeks long.) While I'm having a lot of fun with the kids this summer, starting this session reminded me that it's almost time to go back to work/school. I have to go back to work for teacher inservice the week of August 15th, which means I'll miss the final week of this session at the preschool. So I only have 3 weeks left! Yikes! How did that happen?? That means summer is nearly over! oh my!

After work today, I made a quick trip to Target for 2 things. For any of you local folks who need a zippered binder for your kids' school supplies, go to Target right now! They are $8 (way cheaper than everyone else) and there were only a handful of them left! They're selling quick! I got milk, too. (I really love Target's milk!) But before I left, I grabbed some CDs to save some stuff on the computer to. We are so bad about not backing up pictures & such....and then every time we have the tiniest glitch, I panic & stress over whether or not we'll lose everything. I have a couple flash drives, but they're not big enough to hold everything. Tomorrow I will start the project of moving things to the CDs.

Quick, cheap, easy recipe I made tonight:
Brown a pound of ground meat. Stir into it a package of onion soup mix, a little water and a can of cream of mushroom soup (or any other cream of... soup you have on hand). Cook some rice or noodles. Put a scoop of rice/noodles on a plate & top w/ the meat mixture. Add a veggie or two & you've got dinner. Yummy!

That's about it for us today. Tomorrow will be a fun one. I'll share about that tomorrow night!

Note: This morning at the crack of dawn, my brother in law, Robert, had a spinal fusion surgery (neck) and carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists/hands. He is doing well tonight, but I'd love it if you'd remember him in your prayers as he recovers. My sister will be taking care of him, and their 5 children who are still at home. (The older 2 are already married & moved out.)

Ten on Tuesday

NOTE: I have NO IDEA why the font is all messed up on this post. I've edited & changed it 2-3x now & it's still showing up weird. Sorry.
1. What color are your toenails painted?
Bright pink. My toenails are the wildest part of my body, usually. They get the BRIGHT crazy colors. :)

2. What color are your fingernails painted?

They are naked. I rarely paint my nails. And I've begun biting again....started again in late May. I know, I know......

3. What is your favorite brand of nail polish?

I don't have a favorite.

4. As the norm, do you DIY your nails or get mani/pedis?

I get a pedi about once a year with my husband for our anniversary. (We both get a pedicure!) Aside from that, I do it myself the rest of the time.

5. Have you ever had a gel mani? Do you recommend it?

I've never had a manicure of any type.

6. What is the last movie you watched on television? (TV, Netflix, Redbox, etc.)

Can't remember. Haven't watched a movie lately, I guess.

7. What is the last movie you watched in the cinema?

Sarah & I went to the theater a few months ago to see Hop.
8. Is there a movie that everyone talks about as if it is a classic but you haven’t seen?
Gone with the Wind, The Sound of Music, lots of others...

9. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?

Grease, Forest Gump, Top Gun, Cocktail, Titanic, there are many!!!

10. Have you ever seen a movie and thought it was better than the book it was based on?

I don't usually do both ---read the book and watch the movie. I hear too many people say that one was better than the other, so rather than have to compare the two, I just do one or the other. Although I must admit that when The Help comes out in theaters, I will see it! I read the book a few months ago.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Faithful God

I was reminded of this song today and it's been on my mind ever since. It's a beautiful worship song about God faithfulness. I've been humming it all afternoon, and grinning ear to ear. I'm still relishing the goodness of God from the things that happened on Saturday. If you didn't read that post, scroll back 1 post & praise Him with us.

I feel it every minute of the day. I am relaxed. I know that life isn't going to be a field of daisies now, but I have not gone to sleep worried about money & woke up praying for God to fix the problems in 48 hours. And it's amazing how refreshing it can be to TAKE BACK WHAT THE DEVIL STOLE FROM ME!

Please join me for this short video. It's a cross between cute & creepy. I'm gonna go with CUTE!

Summer: Day 55

Monday July 25

Yes, I realize that I'm skipping days 51-54, but to be honest, I just don't have it in me tonight to try to remember & re-cap all those days. Rest assured, we all lived through them & it was H-O-T around here.

How hot is it? Well, let's just say that today makes the 30-something-th day over 100 degrees. And the heat index each day is about 400 degrees hotter than that. Yep, it's HOT. We're staying inside most of the time because of it!

Last night, Savannah left for camp. More about that when she gets home! That left Sarah, Samuel & I to hang out together today. Since I am trying to stick to a workout schedule during the summer, I went to the YMCA today & impressed myself when I walked longer/faster/higher incline that usual. Go ME! :) I've gotten into a practice of turning the treadmill on at about 2.8 mph. I warm up at that speed for about 5 min & then at crank up the speed to 3.0 mph. About 2 1/2 min later, I turn up the incline to the 1st setting above 'flat as the sidewalk'. After another 5 min, I crank up the speed again. After about 2.5 min, I turn up the incline another 'notch'. I rotate back & forth on upping the speed/incline like that til about the 20 minute mark, then I slow it back down & lower the incline. Somewhere around the 25 min mark today, I realized that I hadn't slowed it down or lowered it yet. I was busy reading a book & lost track of time, I guess. I'll go back & do it again Wednesday.

Aside from my trip to the YMCA, we stayed home pretty much all day doing a few chores, playing some games, watching TV....all the usual stuff for the days we're stuck inside because of the extreme heat.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

From Despair to Hope

I first posted this on July 23, 2011. A few days later, a few people who were mentioned in this post felt uncomfortable with it & asked me to delete it, so I did. But I've felt like there were SO many people who commented, emailed, inboxed me on Facebook or otherwise contacted me (who REALLY needed to hear this story) that I needed to re-post the blog.

I am posting the original entry below, but with some edits that I think would make the persons who were uncomfortable before feel safe & OK with it. I pray that it blesses you.

Fear has never been a part of my world. Sure, I'm afraid of snakes and of falling off a cliff & that sort of thing, but that constant, nagging, anxiety-creating, stomach upsetting emotion of fear just doesn't exist in my life. It's not who I am. People I am around every day will tell you that about me. I'm a pretty even-keel sort of girl. I don't get flustered. I don't get mad very often. I don't stress out & freak over little things. I'm certainly no saint....I have plenty of other things I struggle with..... however fear & anxiety are thankfully not among that list.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

But last night, we spent the evening discussing our financial battle & the fact that there is no way out of this predicament we face every month. Larry called a relative for advice & a listening ear. I emailed my parents to ask for help. When we fell into bed, we were feeling quite hopeless. Despair hung like a cloud over our heads. We layed there & talked about the agony of being in a position like this. Again.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

We said things like "There is no end in sight", "What are we going to do?", "How will we ever get out of this pit?", "I just don't see how we can fix this.", "What are we doing wrong?","If we're doing what God asks us to do with our lives, why is this so hard???".

We went to bed pondering ways to bring the bank balance back up to $0. We discussed pawning furniture or some of Larry's guns. We discussed whether or not there were any things in the budget we could cut. (There aren't.) We talked about getting 2nd & 3rd jobs. I posted on facebook, asking if anyone knew of a local business that needed a Saturday cleaning person. We talked about the fact that Larry already works so many hours every week there is really no time left for him to work an extra job. Larry dozed off, restlessly turning over & over in bed.

If you've ever been there, you know what I'm talking about. Despair. Hopelessness. Depression. Anxiety. Fear.

We've never had much money. We've always struggled & lived paycheck to paycheck. It's not really a 'woe-is-me' sort of thing, it's just life. It's all we have known for many years. We kind of figure this is how people raise 3 kids & live these days. Sure, we know that there are people out there who are more well-off than us & recognize that they don't live paycheck to paycheck, but it seems like most of our friends face financial troubles of one sort or another. We just sort of feel like this is our lot in life.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Since we left the church where Larry worked in '09 it's been very difficult financially. For the first year, we lived off of the love offering taken up for us when we left (in addition to Larry's salary & my income from the preschool, of course). We emptied the savings account completely that first year just trying to make ends meet. Then Larry got a promotion and raise. We hoped we'd finally be okay. But we didn't know that the raise brought with it the responsibility of paying for his own gas expenses. That's all good & fine if you have a spare $500-1000 sitting in your bank account, but we don't. So right off the bat, we began a cycle of becoming overdrawn every month, waiting for the reimbursement check weeks later while we watched the bank balance drop. And drop. And drop. By the time we were reimbursed, the overdraft fees outweighed the the reimbursement check, and then we began the next month in the hole, already eating away at the next month's paycheck before we ever got it. And the cycle began all over again.

I'm sure God knows what He's doing here. Every time we've had the tiniest bit of overflow in the bank account, we start living like we don't NEED Him every minute of the day. We start relying on ourselves & feeling quite comfortable. We quit spending as much time in the Word. We're not on our knees as much. It becomes very easy to trust ourselves & leave God to Sunday mornings or moments when we're praying for friends. So He has to shake us up & keep us relying on Him. And ONLY Him.

But the past year, we've been shaken up pretty badly.

When the money runs out.....
and a negative sign precedes the bank balance....
and you've surpassed the point that the bank will "cover" you...
and you've had to rely on someone else to buy your groceries to feed your family....
and you still have 10 days left in the month and more expenses left before the next paycheck....
desperation begins to set in.

Especially when you know that this month is just like last month and next month will bring more of the same. It kind of feels like an endless race, running on a treadmill but never really going anywhere.

Job 11:18 You will be secure, because there is hope...

I snuggled up to Larry last night before he dozed off & whispered to him "You KNOW we're going to be ok, right?" He nodded in agreement and said, "Somehow, some way."

After he fell asleep, I found myself on my knees in the bathroom at 1am. I've found myself there a lot lately. I didn't know what else to pray but

I trust you, God. I trust you. I don't know how you're going to fix all this, but I know you will. You have before & I know you will again. I trust you. I trust you. I trust you. Please help us. I trust you.

The cries of a desperate heart. The pleading of a heart lost in pain, but holding a hand out, begging God to take hold & lift her up. A heart looking to the sky, praying for His mercy to rain down, not knowing how He would accomplish some great feat, but trusting that He would.

And then today happened.

In a moment of feeling like we had no other choice, we contacted my parents last night & asked for help. They offered to give us the money to bring the bank account back up to $0. We got the check from them this morning & saw a positive balance for the first time in a month. Oh the joy! (mixed with great amounts of humble pie!)

But wait.....there's more!

Someone came to visit this morning. That person took us out to lunch. What a treat!

But wait....there's more!

When we left the restaurant, that special guest handed Larry her car keys & said to take the kids to our house & that we'd be along later. She wanted to take me somewhere in our van. I wasn't sure what she had in mind, but she had me drive to the grocery store & bought us enough produce to fill the fridge and then some! I tried to argue with her, but she insisted.

But wait....there's more!

While we were back at the restaurant, our guest slid an envelope to Larry across the table. After our guest went home, we opened the envelope. It was a check for a LOT of money. We stood there & looked at it & wept. When she had given Larry the envelope earlier, I thought that maybe it had $20 in it. But this amount was far greater than that. We knew immediately what we needed to do with it! Larry drove to the bank & opened a separate bank account ONLY for his gas expenses. We've wanted to do this for a long time but have not had a spare penny to do it with. If he uses this account for his gas expenses only, we can successfully live off of our incomes (in the regular bank account) without dipping into negative numbers every month! Did you hear that? We can survive on our regular incomes without getting overdrawn every month!!


And tonight, for the first time since the Spring of 2009, we have HOPE. We can see a light at the end of the tunnel. We can breathe. We can rest. We can live life without despair & fear of running out of money & not being able to feed our family or pay our bills.

Isaiah 40:31 ...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Is it just me or did you just have a Pentacostal moment reading that verse? ::woohoo....time for a victory lap around the church!:::

God moved huge, vast, enormous mountains for us today. And for that, I have been on my face before Him, hot tears streaming down my cheeks much of the afternoon.

Matthew 17:20 For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

My prayer tonight is not one of desperation & fear, but one of thankfulness.

Psalm 69:30 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

I am begging God to never, ever let me forget what it feels like to need help. To NEED Him. To feel hopeless. I am begging Him to never let me grow complacent, to keep me HUNGRY for Him. To force me into situations where I CRAVE Him and can't be satisfied or fulfilled by ANYTHING but Him. To shove me headfirst into places of poverty & hunger & longing. It's in these situations, whether my own or those of a friend or neighbor, that I am drawn to His side and feel like I am clinging most tightly to Him.

Hebrews 10:22 ...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.

Psalm 114:7 Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.

Psalm 139:7-12
7 Where can I go from you?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Our journey is not over. Far from it, actually. Our bank account will not overflow from this point forward. Our account balance will not be grand & amazing. But we will be able to rest a bit. And that will be a very welcome change of pace. A change that I am so very grateful for.

I'm so excited & looking forward to the journey He has ahead for us!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. If your husband had the BIG V and you got pregnant what would your first reaction be? For the dudes, what would your first reaction be if your wife told you she was pregnant after the Big V?
Well, my husband hasn't had that particular surgery, but I've had the girl version, so I can speak from the heart on this. If I were to find out right now that I was pregnant, it would be quite a shock. But after the shock wore off, we'd work out the details & figure out what we'd do. No doubt we'd keep the baby, but it would take a lot of budget juggling & probably lots of tears (shock, surprise, etc).

2. Best memory about this summer so far.
Our quick trip to Dallas.

3. How often do you change your sheets? Your kid’s sheets?
I plead the 5th.

4. Having just gone through TSA, would you rather have a full-body scan or a pat-down?
Can I opt for C: neither? If the scan would only be visible to the authorities who needed to verify that I was not carrying weapons, I'd probably go that route. But if the screen is visible to everyone else, I guess I'd take the pat-down. But prevention is the key, right? Just don't carry anything metal or questionable!!!

5. Since it is fair time...what's your favorite fair (county or state) memory?
You know, I remember going a few times as a kid, but we didn't go every year, so I don't have any particularly big county fair memories.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday July 21, 2011

I'm not a worrier.

I'm really, really not.

It's not like me to lose my positive view on things. It's not like me to feel desperate or freaked out about anything.

But somehow it hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday. And as usual, the source of concern is our bank account. That seems to be the only thing that every really throws me for a loop...if I'm going to be thrown for a loop, anyway.

I figured out a long time ago that I can trust God. No matter what. No matter how difficult a time I'm having. No matter what's going on in life. No matter how many digits follow the negative sign in the bank account. I can trust Him. He takes care of me. Over & over & over. He is faithful. So when crazy things happen (illness, finances, problems with the kids, broken down car, whatever...) I don't sweat it. Usually, I step back & look at the situation, then step back into it & start LOOKING FOR God's hand. Sometimes it takes a while to pick up on what He's doing, but He's ALWAYS there. It bugs Larry to death that I don't stress out about things & am always quoting Scriptures to him and reminding him to be very intentional about seeking God and looking for ways to glorify Him. (Don't get me wrong. I'm married to an amazing man of God, but he will tell you himself that he has chicken-little faith sometimes....always fearful that the sky is falling.)

But for whatever reason, yesterday our financial woes got the best of me. I've mentioned here before how our combined paychecks cover the bills. But then there is nothing at all leftover. Where we run into trouble is Larry's gas. He travels nearly every day at work. It's not at all uncommon for him to put $50 of gas into his truck two or three times a week. Sometimes it's every day! He gets reimbursed for all the gas he has to buy eventually. But he has to rack up a huge bill before he can turn in a reimbursement request. (That's the rule. There is a dollar amount he has to cross before he's allowed to turn in a request.) While he's racking up the gas bill, our bank account balance is dropping. Lower & lower & lower. Into the negative numbers. Every month. It's so frustrating because it's an endless cycle of digging a (negative balance) hole. By the time one of us gets paid or he gets a mileage check, we're really just filling in the hole and trying to get back up to $0.

But God.....
always provides.
always feeds us.
always covers every bill.
always shows up.
always sends help if we reach that point.
always amazes me.

Today when I posted to facebook that I needed some recipes for cheap meals that you could throw together from things I have in the pantry already, I got a ton of suggestions. I was so grateful for all my friends offering ideas. Unfortunately most of them included ingredients that we don't have. Ingredients that I don't have the money to go buy. When the account is already into negative numbers, even buying a can of soup seems irresponsible since it means tacking on an overdraft fee on top of the purchase price. You know, a .50 can of soup doesn't seem like a big deal unless you're paying $28.50 for it!! So I thanked all my friends, took some of their ideas, printed out some recipes and then went to the pantry to dig & try to create some menu ideas for next week.

Then a friend emailed. I haven't seen this friend in 17 years aside from accidentally running into her once about a year ago. We talked for about 5 minutes before we parted ways. She had some recipe ideas, but ultimately she said she had recently been blessed herself & wanted to share some of her abundance. I wanted to say "no, you don't have to do that" but I knew this was God's being given by someone I would've never thought to offer from someone who's "been there, done that". I thought maybe she'd share a loaf of bread and some PB&J, but that wasn't the case. When she arrived with bags & bags of groceries, I was blown away. Seriously, I almost couldn't fit it all into my pantry! My grocery bill for this coming week just dropped from $100 to pretty much $0. And there will be plenty to roll over into next week, too! I'm astounded by God's goodness. And so very grateful to my friend.

I don't know how many more times God is going to have to teach me this lesson --- that I am NOT IN CONTROL --- before I have quit having these breakthrough worry sessions now and then. He's had to beat me over the head with this lesson so many times that you'd think that I would have it down by now.

I am not asking for any hand outs, but if you think of it, please put us on your prayer list. Our checkbook, and my nerves, would appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer: Days 49 & 50

Sorry I didn't post last night. I had a weird flukey virus-looking issue with the computer. I think I caught it quickly though & stopped it before it did any damage. Immediately ran Malware Bytes & the virus scanner. MB caught 2 malicious items & removed them. AVG didn't see anything afterward. Re-ran them both this morning & didn't find anything new, so I'm crossing my fingers that it's really gone! I hate computer stress!

Tuesday I worked at the preschool. It was a crazy day, but a fun one. Tomorrow should be exciting! We're having our "Ugly Bug Contest" where the kids bring in a bug (dead or alive) in a container & we all look at them & vote on whose is the ugliest. The kids think they're just getting to look at bugs & win M&M's. They don't even realize that they're learning! Magnifying glasses come out....observations are made....discussions about the number of legs, which ones have antennae, body segments & more. The joy of teaching preschoolers!

Today was a little rough.

I know I've talked about our financial struggles before, so that's no great news to anyone. Today it hit me hard. I'm not usually the worrier of our family, so I'm not sure why it bugged me so much more today than it usually does. I was looking at our checkbook, looking at the bank website, getting my panties in a wad, kicking myself for spending money on things like school clothes & food & if I had a choice on any of that. For about an hour, I had a nice little pity party & panicked. I asked my friends on Facebook (the quickest way for me to get in touch with a ton of people all at once!) to shower me with Scriptures about trusting God. I was so honored to have so many of them send me verses that have helped them over the years. I had tears running down my cheeks pretty quickly. Hello perspective shift! And then I was reminded of something Sheila Walsh spoke about earlier this month when she was in town. It was something like this.... "No matter how difficult, dark & hard a place God asks you to walk, He is walking with you!" It's one of those things I really KNOW, but for some reason today, Satan got the best of me & shoved me off the proverbial deep end. I wallowed in my thoughts of how we're going to make it the last 11 days of this month....and then I got up & brushed off my worries & moved on. Nothing's changed. The numbers in the checkbook register are still the same, but I know that somehow He will work it out. He always does. He's never let us do without and He won't know.

Before & after the pity party, I ran a thousand errands & took Savannah to the doctor. (No worries--she's not sick. It was her anxiety doc appointment.)

Tomorrow is a new day! Time for me to crawl into a bubble bath & pray away some of the day's worries and pray for all my friends. Goodnight.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer: Day 48

Monday July 18

This morning we made the long drive back to the dentist for Savannah to get her teeth cleaned. Last month I made the 40 minute trip to our out of town dentist to get Samuel, Sarah & my teeth cleaned, but I goofed on the time of the appointment & arrived too late. They could only take 2 patients, so I let the kids go back. We had to wait until this month for Savannah's cleaning because she was having her braces removed & they said it would be best to wait until after she had them off to clean her teeth. So today we made the trip again & had her teeth cleaned. I had to skip getting mine done this time because there were no cancellations near her appointment time and it's just too long of a trip to go back & forth over and over. I'll get mine done in December when we ALL go back.

After our trip to the dentist, we stopped at Office Max to pick up a handful of brad/pocket folders for the kids' school supplies. (Sigh....hard to believe it's time to start buying those again!) They are on sale this week. While we were there, we tested out a bunch of the desks & office chairs. The kids repeatedly sat in one chair after another saying "Mom! Try this one. It's soooo comfortable!!!" I found one I'd love to have, but I'll have to wait until I sell my house and my firstborn to buy it. ha ha! Until then, my garage sale wooden dinner table chair will do just fine!

On the way home, I realized it was nearing lunchtime, so I made a stop at the 50 cent coke machine in town. (Note: In Texas, every machine that dispenses soda of any variety is a coke machine!) It's rare to find a coke machine that dispenses only canned soda these days....and it's more rare to find one that still sells them for 50 cents! We know about this one because we used to live in a little rent house next door to the business where it's located. I stopped at the machine & watched my children swarm it like bees to honey. They know, when I pull onto the street where our old house was, that I'm either going to the bank or this coke machine. So when I passed the bank driveway, they all cheered. It's like I was making a stop at Disneyland. I'm so glad that they are still so easily pleased.

After coming home & eating lunch, I texted Larry "YMCA or a nap?". I sort of secretly hoped that he'd say nap, but I never heard back from him. After a few minutes of trying to work up my stamina to go work out, I just decided to go for it. If I layed down to take a nap, I'd certainly enjoy it, but I'd regret not going to the gym later & wish I had done what I knew I should. So before I could change my mind, I threw on my workout clothes & went! I'm so glad I did, too! It's not perfect. I don't work out 5 days a week for an hour each time. And I certainly don't have a gym body (or even anything close!) yet. But I'm trying. And I know every little bit of effort helps.

I came home to shower, check my emails and then hang out with the kids the rest of the day. A few episodes of Good Luck Charlie, Spongebob and Brain Drain later, I'm a well rested woman. Bring it on, Tuesday!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Prayers & Prophecy & Visions, oh my!

Recently, I was praying for a friend, mostly thanking God for putting her into my life. I have always known that prayer is a two way street---talking to God, then listening to Him---but so often I speed through my list of praises and "gimmes" and move on. For some reason, that day I was praying & asked God to give me a specific word or a vision to share with her that would encourage her.

As I sat quietly, a very vivid image came to mind. It was a strange one that made no sense to me. I tried to shake my head & remove that image from my mind, thinking surely I'd come up with that one on my own---it couldn't be anything from God. So I prayed again, asking God to show me something I could tell my friend that would encourage her. Again I got still & quiet, and the same image came to mind. I sat there, pondering whether I was imagining this picture in my mind or if He had really given it to me to share with her. I kind of laughed to myself because the image seemed so silly & absurd.

After finally deciding that maybe He had given it to me for her, I asked Him "Ok, so what exactly am I supposed to tell her about this image? I's not exactly profound or amazing." Immediately, a sentence was on my lips about this image. I felt silly emailing her about this image & sentence "from God".....because surely it would be of no help or encouragement to her. I just knew that I'd probably run off one of my best friends by showing her how crazy I am in sharing this image & sentence with her. As I hit "send" on the message, I winced. How would she respond when she received it? Would she think I had finally fallen off the deep end?

Moments later I received a reply. I closed my eyes as I pressed the button to open the message. I wasn't sure what to expect from her. But she responded extremely positively! In fact, she said she wrote with tears streaming down her cheeks. She said the image I saw & the sentence I felt led to share with her were an answer to prayers she'd been praying that I would've never known about.

As I sat there & pondered what God had just done....feeling a little crazy, then feeling like a tool He'd used.... I remembered a time many, many years ago. I was cooking supper while a worship CD played. The Hillsong version of Hungry was on & all the sudden, a friend came to mind. I whispered a quick "God, bless this friend" sort of prayer for her. As I did, an image came to mind that I later shared with her. She, too, said that she totally "got" what the image meant and asked for prayers for her family in dealing with some things.

Over & over, I recalled various times through the years that the Holy Spirit has prompted me to pray for someone out of the blue. I try to always remember to email or call or send a text or whatever to let them know I'm praying for them. Sometimes they tell me thank you & go on about their business. Other times, though, it's as if God used me to open a dam and a flood pours through them emotionally because I've touched on something that only they & God knew about. It's in those times that I feel so amazed at what God did. (Not ME!)

Today, our youth pastor preached in place of our regular pastor. He talked about fighting for the souls of our friends, family, children, coworkers, etc. Not just praying for them, but finding out specific things they're struggling with and pounding the gates of Heaven on their behalf. When I got home from church, I posted to my facebook page that I'd like to hear prayer requests. I gave my friends the opportunity to send me a private message if they'd rather not post their needs publicly on my wall. And boy did they! What an honor to be able to fight for the souls of my friends! Tonight I'm printing out the list of their needs & taking it to my Father. If you have a need you'd like me to pray for, feel free to leave me a comment or email me.

On the day of that first scenario I mentioned above with the crazy mental image that just seemed to silly, I was reminded of this awesome story that Patsy Clairmont told at a Women of Faith conference I attended several years ago. I adore Patsy and this story is one of my very favorite of hers!

Summer: Day 47

Sunday July 17

Today we went to church like most Sundays. All the usual stuff happened -- I taught in the 4 & 5 yr old room, kids went to their classes, worship service was great. We came home & took a nap. You know, normal stuff.

And then I got a text from our youth pastor.

Someone had called him & offered to pay Savannah's way to youth camp. This is no small gift. When the youth pastor announced all the summer events several months ago, the several hundred dollar youth camp looked fun, but way out of reach for us financially. The camp is in Colorado and includes white water rafting, rapelling & rock climbing, hiking, sleeping in large 15-person tents, devotional time & church services under the stars, tons of amazing food while you're there and more. It looks like a beautiful place with lots of FUN things for the kids to do! But really, we simply don't have several hundred dollars to spare. Savannah never let on that she was disappointed about not going. After all, she's not exactly a real "outdoorsy" sort of girl. But today when we got that text message, she was very excited about such a cool opportunity!

After sorting through nearly 800 pictures that our youth pastor posted on his facebook page last summer of this same camp, she was sold! So we wrote back & said YES. We are now anxiously looking forward to her departure next week! Time to get packing!

And if the person who came forward & offered such a huge gift is reading this, THANK YOU. You have blessed us immensely! Savannah hasn't stopped grinning tonight.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer: Day 45-46

Friday July 15
Samuel went on the trip I referred to in THIS post. He got home about 1am. I'm still thrilled & thankful for whoever made it possible. He had a blast. He iceskated, he drank a MONSTER (which we never allow him to drink at home!), he played whirlyball, he went to a minor league baseball game, he hung out with friends all day.

While he was gone, Savannah babysat twice and Sarah & I went to the grocery store.

Saturday July 16
Since I was up so late last night, we slept late this morning. We went to visit my dad this morning since he had surgery on Tuesday. He's doing great! Still sore, but he's up & around & doing things on his own. Afterward, we had burgers that threatened to kill me. (Remember...IBS sufferer...greasy burgers. Yeah, lovely, huh?) We went to a local sporting goods store to return a backpack we got earlier this week and then to a little discount store to buy a new backpack.

Wild & crazy days over here. ha ha! But I am loving the days we have a slower pace! This summer is very quickly speeding by!

Blog Stats

Over on my friend's blog a couple days ago, she posted about her blog's statistics. Blogspot has a great feature that allows you to check all of these things for free. It got me curious about my own blog info, so I had to look it up & see. Like Courtney, I found some interesting things. For example......

Since I began this blog in February 2006 (originally on another website--it was transferred here in October 2008), I've had 13,923 views. I have no idea if that's only since I moved the blog to this website or if that's including the previous site's views. But none the less, in the past 5 years, nearly 14,000 people have stopped by. Wow. That seems pretty crazy since many days my posts are complete nonsense.

I thought it was neat to see that the top 5 most read posts (in this order) were:
1. Day 30 -- Things I Love
2. The Faith of a Child
3. Money Savings Tips and Ideas Part 1
4. 13 months, 396 days, 9504 hours, 570,240 minutes
5. Do you trust me?

People search for really strange things to get here. I mean really, who searched for "my feet are around the world" to get to my blog??? And while I think "groups children hugs family" and "great bible scripture" are very sweet ways to find me, I don't think I've ever had a post with either of these titles. And while I am a big fan of hers, it's a little surprising to see that someone searched for "Lisa Whelchel" & ended up on my blog. Maybe I've referred to her book Creative Correction more times than I thought I had? And what on earth is "fkk kids"??? I don't even know what that is, but it led someone to this website.

And perhaps the most interesting thing I learned was where all my readers live. I knew that I had people in the USA reading. Obviously, I live here & so does my family. But who knew I had readers in countries across the Atlantic & around the world from me?! Wow. That's pretty humbling.




United Kingdom






If you are reading this from any country other than the United States, please post a comment & tell me where you are from and how you found my blog. I'm just a little bit amazed that 57 of you are reading this in India tonight!

Wherever you are as you read this, thank YOU for reading this blog. And please, stop searching for me with weird words....just bookmark the page so you can find it again, ok? (grin)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. If you knew your best friend's spouse was cheating on her or him, would you tell her (him)?
Yes. And I would hope they'd do the same for me.

2. Soda in a can or a bottle?
Actually, I'd prefer it in a cup with ice. But I'll take a bottle if these are my only choices.

3. What do you wash first, hair or body?
Hair. I have super thick hair, so I wash it first so that the conditioner can sit in my hair while I wash my body. Then I rinse the conditioner & my body all at once.

4. What advice would you give to any new mama?
Trust your instincts.
Seriously---nap when the baby does!
Accept help whenever it's offered.
Relish every moment, it goes by quickly!

5. What is your best hangover remedy?
You'd have to tell me. I've never had a hangover.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer: Day 44

Thursday July 14

Today was long & trying. Due to privacy for my family member, I won't explain in great detail, but one of my family was in the hospital all day long today. Fortunately, we all came home tonight. And we're all okay. But for a fleeting moment today in the ER waiting room, I allowed my mind to "go there". You know....the moments when you question all the "what if" things. What if we lost him/her? What if I have to plan a funeral? How would I go on? Thankfully, those thoughts didn't stick around long because I had to suck it up & smile and be there when the patient was brought in by ambulance.

Tonight I am thankful. Tonight I am praising God for another reminder that I am not in control. Tonight I'm thanking Him for taking care of my family today. For our health, for our home, for rest & peace of mind.

Go hug your family & say a prayer for them tonight. You just never know what tomorrow might bring.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer: Day 43

Today I earned a Mother of the Year award.

My children and I are white. And when I say white, I don't just mean we're caucasian. We're reallyyyyy white.

White like Liquid Paper.

White like rice.

White like cotton balls.

White like snowflakes.

White like polar bears.

I recently posted on Facebook that my "translucent fair" make up was too dark for my face.My sweet children got a LITTLE bit of their daddy's slightly darker skin tone, but still. We are very pale, white folks. Today we went to my sister's house to swim. My sister & I decided to stay indoors & talk while the kids swam. For a couple hours.

I forgot the sunscreen. You know, for the kids who usually wear SPF 600.

Tonight I've applied about a gallon of refrigerated aloe vera to some very lobster-ish shoulders, cheeks, noses, arms.

Oh yes, I'll be stepping on stage to do my acceptance speech shortly.

We Want to Know Wednesday

1} Which activities make you lose track of time?
watching TV or computer time --- either one can be a huge time sucker

{2} Is there such a thing as perfect?
Does this answer your question?

{3} When do you feel most like yourself?
When I'm writing. Don't you feel special? (grin) I can totally be myself here. :::burps & scratches butt:::

{4} Describe your life in a 6 word sentence.
I am so so so blessed.

{5} Share one of your most beloved childhood memories.
I have pretty vivid memories of my oldest sister (Cindy--she's 8 1/2 years older than me) coming in super early on Saturday mornings, carrying me to the living room ON A PILLOW to watch cartoons. And she would come wake me up on Christmas morning, about 4am, to go see what Santa brought, then take me back to bed & put me back to sleep before the rest of the family got up to open the rest of the presents.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer: Days 40-42

Sunday July 10, 2011
We went to church on Sunday as usual, attempted to take a Sunday afternoon nap and then spent a fun evening with our small group. Larry & I co-lead a small group. Unfortunately between Larry's work schedule & the co-leading couple's husband's work schedule, plus a lot of changes that the church is instilling for the small group ministry, we realized it was time for us to step down. Too much on our plates already added to too much on our plates equals too much. Our final meeting will be next month & then our group will disperse and join new groups. I hate to see our connection with these sweet couples end (in this capacity anyway!) but it's the right thing to do.

Monday July 11, 2011
It was a delightful day! I went back to the gym after a 6 week hiatus. I only did 30 minutes on the treadmill, but I kept a good speed & incline the whole time. I was pretty proud of myself for getting back on track & not just sitting at home the rest of the summer!

After showering & getting ready, the kids and I ran some errands and got the girls' hair cut. Although Sarah took off a good bit of length (about 6" off....but it was waist-length, so she still has plenty!), I'm not sure I am happy with Savannah's. We may have to go back again before school starts & have them cut some more. She's got very thin, fine hair. We got it layered a year or so ago and have kept that cut ever since, but today I stood in the kitchen looking at it & it still looks basically exactly the same as it did when we went in yesterday. She may have to lose some more length to get all the 'dead stuff' off.

Tuesday July 12, 2011
Today, my dad had neck surgery. I should've remembered to post about this yesterday so I could request some prayers for him! (Sorry dad!) This is his 5th spinal surgery by the same doc at the same hospital. He hasn't had the same surgery over & over. This time it was a fusion in his neck. The kids & I will be going up to see him in the morning. I'm praying that his recovery goes well!

Ten on Tuesday

I find some of the most fun blog memes over on my friend RACHEL's blog. This is one of them.

1. When you are on a plane and the kid behind you is kicking your seat, what do you do?

Luckily, I've never had to deal with that, so I'm not 100% sure how I'd handle it. I am so anti-confrontational, though, that I'd probably just put up with it, even after it got annoying, for the sake of keeping from having to make a fuss over it.

2. What food that you KNOW is bad for you and you shouldn’t have, but you love/eat it anyway?
Really? I can only name one? I have a whole list.
*Stouffer's frozen mac & cheese
*Ben & Jerry's icecream
*Pizza (I realize it can be made healthfully & I do like veggie pizza....but that's not the only kind I love!)
*Fried chicken
*Bologna & hot dogs (I know....probably the worst things on this whole list with all the preservatives & nitrates & lack of real meat in them!!!)
*Dr. Pepper

Note: Due to my fun tummy issues with IBS, I can't have a lot of dairy all at one time....and fried stuff does a number on me....and sodas make me, well, you don't want to know....and greasy foods give me trouble. So I guess you can see how much of these foods I can really ENJOY. ha ha! They all haunt me!!

3. What is your favorite book of all time?
The one that most readily comes to mind is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. But I have a lot of others that would qualify as 'favorites' for other reasons as well.

4. If I came to visit you in your town, where would we eat?
We have lots of awesome Mexican places, so I'd probably take you to one of those.

5. You have 500 dollars and 40 minutes to spend it at any store you want. Where do you go?
Lane Bryant ---shopping spree for me! (And ok, gotta be honest here. Once in a while, I read on my friends' blogs how they 'name-drop' a brand name or a store name & they've gotten emails from the company offering them gifts for mentioning them on their blog. I would totally love LB even more if they were to do something like that here. Anybody got some connections to the folks at Lane Bryant? Hook a friend up!)

6. What blog do you read every day/the most often?
I scroll through the blogroll on the right side of this page every night to see who's posted something. And I check all the new posts. (Don't worry. I've never ever ever had a night when they've ALL posted something at one time!)

7. What’s the longest you’ve ever been stuck at an airport?
That would be in 1991. I was on a mission trip to New York City. We had spent about a week and a half there doing VBS at a church in Harlem & site seeing. It was a great trip. All teenaged girls with 3 adult leaders. So much fun! But when we got ready to come home...mercy, that was interesting. I can't remember all the details about what happened, but I know we sat on the runway in NYC for a long time. By the time we landed to switch planes in Cleveland, our flight should've already landed in Dallas and all our families were THERE waiting for us. Several of us were able to call people who could get in touch with them in Dallas and let them know our flight was delayed. By the time we got home, we were hours & hours & hours later than we should've been. All I remember is that Delta had to buy our entire group new tickets for a flight home on American Airlines because they had messed up so bad. And we barely made that flight...running through the airport, dragging suitcases & praying aloud as we ran. We were quite a sight, I'm sure!

8. What’s your daily makeup/face/cleansing routine?
Morning: astringent, then moisturizer before make up
Night (hanging head....if I remember....sleep in makeup lots of nights!): creamy cleanser, then astringent, then Oil of Olay for nighttime moisturizer

9. Where is your farthest away friend?
My daughter's pen pal lives in Singapore & I'm friends with her mom on Facebook.

10. Where is your favorite place to go hiking (or to enjoy nature)?
It's all good...I can enjoy the mountains or beach or wherever as long as it's peaceful & quiet.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Book Review: A Place Called Blessing by John Trent

Wow. This book is seriously one of the best books I've ever read. Such an amazing story of love, grace, restoration and mercy. Very powerful story!

Without giving too much away, here is a quick synopsis. The main character, Josh, is from a home torn apart by alcohol & drug abuse. When his parents die in a car wreck, he & his brothers go into foster homes. Initially split up into different homes, they survive but miss each other terribly. They are eventually reunited at a foster home that seems to be ideal for all of them. And then a tragedy changes all that. They are moved to a children's home where they live in different cottages on the same property. When Josh's two brothers are adopted together & he is left behind, he spends the rest of his childhood believing lies about his past, lies about his future....and becomes an angry, ugly, sometimes violent person because of it. Josh ages out of the system at 18 & begins life on his own, moving from one shelter to another, sleeping in laundrymat bathrooms and alleys while he tries to make ends meet working part time at McDonald's and Home Depot. Josh's life continues in disorder & pain until he finds a place to stay with a coworker and his mother. His rented room in their house becomes "home". For the first time in his life, he has a family who loves and cherishes him. They extend grace & mercy to him in ways he doesn't even recognize until the book's end, when a twist in the plotline will shock you and bring you to your knees.

While the story itself is fiction, the author admits that it's based on several experiences from his own life. The story is beautiful & restores your hope in humanity and family and relationships in general.

I highly recommend this book!

I received this book from Booksneese. You can learn more about it by clicking the button in the right sidebar of this website.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer: Day 39

Saturday July 9, 2011

I didn't accomplish much today. Since summer began, I've had something to do almost every single day. A place to be, an errand to run, chores that needed doing here at the house, work...something! Today I didn't have any of those things. (Well, I probably could've done chores, but I took the day off.)

Last night I learned a valuable lesson. If you drink a Dr. Pepper at 9:15pm, it will keep you awake until 3:15am. Apparently six hours is the lifespan of caffeine in my body. Sigh. I really do KNOW this, but once in a while I give it a 'test run' & find out all over again that my system is sensitive to caffeine still. I guess somewhere in the back of my brain I think I'll "outgrow" the sensitivity. ha ha!

So after being up til 3am last night, I slept until about 8:30 this morning. And I only woke up then because my phone was buzzing. I hit the button to send it to voice mail, but they didn't leave a message. And the caller ID said "RESTRICTED". Grrrrrrrrrr! I was able to doze off again, though. But not for long -- Larry got up to take Samuel to do a swimming merit badge for Scouts and of course I can't sleep if anyone else is up & around in the house. So that was that. I was up by 9:00 for the day. I guess six hours of sleep will have to do. I can function on that, but I'd like to get more if I can.

After they left, Sarah & I curled up on the couch & recliner in the living room and watched the Justin Bieber movie "Never Say Never". It's basically a documentary of his last tour. (Or is it his only tour? I really don't know.) I will admit that I only watched it because my daughter wanted me to....but it turned out good. I really didn't know Justin's "story". He's really living somewhat of a 'rags to riches' sort of life -- very interesting. While I may have not watched & immediately caught Bieber Fever, I do have a better grasp on why the girls all love him now. He's a clean cut, sweet kid with teeny-bopper music. I couldn't help but remember my own fascination with Garth Brooks when I was that age.

After watching the movie, I should've gotten up & got busy on some chores, but I didn't. We had lunch (it was nearly 1pm by then) and hung out. I read quite a few chapters from an awesome book I'm reading this afternoon. It's one I got from Book Sneeze (see button in my sidebar) a few weeks ago. I just got started on it a couple days ago &'s really good! I'll be blogging my review soon. I suspect it won't take but another day or two for me to finish this one! If you want to go take a peek at what Amazon has to say about it, click HERE.

Tonight I'm hitting the bed a bit early to make up for last night. Sleep well, friends!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. Do you think cursive writing is overrated? (Schools in Indiana have now voted to take teaching cursive writing out of their curriculum.)
Honestly, I have never given this 5 seconds of thought, so I don't know how I feel about cursive handwriting.

2. Do you still use a pocket calendar or notepad or do you keep your info on your smart phone?
I don't have a smart phone. Actually, I'd probably be classified as "low tech". We don't own a DVR/Tivo thing. We don't have smart phones. We still have a landline phone at home. And one of them is corded. We don't have built-in GPS systems in our cars (or phones). We don't have a Netflix account either.

I's like we're dinosaurs, huh? ha ha!

Seriously, I like to keep paper records of things. I like paperwork & details. I do have a cell phone but it's only for making phone calls, sending/receiving texts (which I type on a keypad the size of 2 postage stamps---the only kind w/ the letters on the numbers so if I want to make a B, I have to press the 2 button twice) and taking blurry pictures that aren't useful to anyone.

And we're just fine with all that. To get any of those things we don't have above, it costs money. And well...we're still looking for the money tree.

3. What 3 things would you save if your house was burning down? (family & pets are already safe)
Seriously? I'd grab the computer. Lots of pictures & files that I'd like to save if possible. (By the way, anybody got a few spare thumb drives I could have? I really need to back up things again!!!)

4. Country Mouse or City Mouse, err Person?
Grew up in the country & loved it. Got married & moved into town & love that too. But I don't think you'd classify our little town as the big city. From one city limit sign to the other, it takes about 2.5 minutes to drive. Or if you really felt ambitious you could walk it. We have less than 10,000 people here. No hospitals or big stores. A few restaurants and there is talk that they might be building a hotel. But that's it. And I like it. If you threw me into a more metropolitan city, I'd die from daily panic attacks. No thank you, no sirree! Give me a little town anyday!

5. If you could pick ANY reality show to go on, which would you pick?
I'd love to be in the market for a new house & have the chance to go on House Hunters. But I want Sandra Rinamato to be my realtor (she's on a different HGTV show that we wouldn't qualify for).

Of course, Larry jokes that Michelle Duggar is my hero. I don't know that I'd qualify her as that and I'm pretty sure she'd blush & shy away from that title... but I DO think she is pretty amazing. I love her calm, quiet, patient nature with all her kids. I could certainly take some lessons in that regard. I feel like I've grown leaps & bounds in that manner since my kids have gotten a little older, but I still have a ways to go. While I don't completely agree with all the things their family does in raising their kids, I can't really name any parent who I totally & completely agree with 100%. But she's pretty awesome, so maybe I'd go on their show, too!

Summer: Day 38

Friday July 8

This morning our precious puppy dog, the 5 1/2 year old Basset Hound, went to the doggy day spa. Or at least that's what we like to call it.

You see our angel dog who is a pure delight 24/7 has a little Jekyl/Hyde thing that happens when she is bathed, when she gets a shot...or pretty much any time you try to hold her still to do anything to her. The calm, even tempered, loving, cuddly & gentle dog starts twisting her head trying to get loose from her collar, squirming a little at first, then violently thrashing. And if you don't "notice" the violent spasms of her body trying anxiously to escape your grasp, the howling, barking, growling and nipping at your hands..... well, you'll probably notice that. We tried to bathe her ourselves the first time and quickly decided to let the professionals handle from then on!

On her first trip to our vet's office for a bath & nail trim, they discovered our angel's other personality as well. Upon arriving to pick her up from her day at the "spa", they suggested that maybe next time we ought to consider allowing them to sedate her. So ever since, we have. We joke that she gets to go in, take a nap, and wake up with a mani/pedi, clean fur and a hangover. The last time we did this was back in February during one of our snow days. When we brought her home that evening, we had her inside with us and she was SO FUNNY to watch. Our sweet dog was obviously very DRUNK from the leftover anesthesia in her system. It was hilarious to watch her behavior. This time, however, she was able to go out to her cozy dog house and sleep off the drugs. So glad to have a clean doggie with short nails tonight! Oh, how she needed it!

After we dropped off Daisy at the vet's office, the kids & I went grocery shopping. We were able to return home, eat lunch & hang out for a little while before we picked Daisy up from the vet's office. She was happy to come home! She is always ready to run for the hills when they hand me the leash in the office lobby. She runs to the door, presses her nose to it & stands on "point" refusing to move til I open the door. ha ha!

And then there was tonight. I've been anticipating this event for several months!

If you've ever been to a Women of Faith conference, you know Sheila Walsh. Sheila is a beautiful woman (inside & out) who loves Jesus and speaks so eloquently about all He's done in her life. (in her most charming & cute little Scottish accent!) Several months ago, a local friend who works for a church in town posted on Facebook that he was going to bring a "big name women's speaker" to town for a one night event at his church. About 2 entries later on his Facebook wall, it says "(man's name) is now friends with Sheila Walsh". It took about 2 seconds for me to put 2 & 2 together & send him a message asking if it was Sheila who was he was planning to have come! And if so, what did I need to do to get a front row seat!! I was "IN" immediately! So ever since that day, I've been excited....and tonight from my FRONT ROW seat, literally front & center, maybe 10 ft from Sheila.....I got to hear her speak. I was not disappointed. She has such a knack for laying out the word of God, making you laugh & cry within 2 minutes of each other, and drawing you in. Amazing! Such a great night. And I'm excited now because she's coming back to town in a few months to do an all-day conference!! Yahoo!

See? Told you I was CLOSE!

And it was even better because I was sitting next to one of my best friends! Love ya Tara! (oh, and don't mind was 110 degrees outside & there were about 1 million women in the church auditorium, so it took a few minutes for the a/c & my naturally high body temperature to even out....thus the sweaty bangs attached to my forehead. Nice, huh?)

Time for me to catch up on my blog reading & hit the sack. God bless!