Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Want to Know Wednesday

{1} What is one thing (food or drink) that you MUST have everyday?
Water. I know, it sounds like a pretty basic answer, but I really do like to drink water, so it's a daily thing!

{2} What is your "go to" food when you don't feel well/need comfort?
Gatorade is my sickness thing. Gotta have bottles & bottles of it when I'm sick. Sometimes that's ALL I eat/drink when I'm sick.
But my favorite comfort food is Stouffer's frozen entree Mac & Cheese. Oh my heavens. Bliss.

{3} Is there a dish that you make that people request when they visit your home/a family favorite?
I THINK that I'm a pretty good cook, so most things are pretty yummy. I try to keep the family guessing, they never know what I'm gonna serve them from week to week (unless they read the menu on my fridge door of course!). I can't think of a specific thing they request over & over, though.

{4} What are 3 foods you have TRIED, do not like and will NEVER eat again?
Squid. Blech.

{5} What's one thing that you love to eat that most people would think is weird and/or gross??
I love yogurt. I literally eat it EVERY day. That's mostly to help w/ my tummy issues, but I also just really like it. And it's good for you! BUT I know lots of people who think it's gross.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your dream vacation?
For many, many years I always answered this question with "I'd love to take my family to Disneyworld." I had gone when I was a kid & dreamed of taking my kiddos one day. In 2007, our very sweet & generous friends in CA flew us out there to be a part of their son's Bar Mitzvah so while we were there, we went to Disneyland. And since then, Savannah has been to Disneyworld w/ the HS band. So... I'm not sure what the dream destination is now. Honestly, I love to go just about anywhere with my crew, so I'll take a vacation anywhere!

2. What has been your favorite trip so far in your life?
That's hard to say. I'm very blessed in that I travelled a lot as a kid/teen. Our family took a summer vacation SOMEWHERE every single year as I grew up. And as a teen, I went to a lot of amazing places on mission trips. And then since marriage/kids entered my life about 20 years ago, I've been to a few cool places, but those trips were just awesome because I had my family with me. I've been to a lot of great places over the years. Too many to choose one place!

3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why?
Larry & I would take a few days & stay in a tropical, beautiful place.....then the other days we'd go stay in a mountain cabin. (See? I can't pick where travelling is concerned!)

4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go?
We've planned trips using online reservations/ticket purchases, etc....but not a "deal" per se. No travel agent site sort of things.

5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation?
Relax. Eat the food there (because it's calorie-free when you're on vacation, ya know?!). Sleep. Go swimming (beach or a hotel pool...whatever!). Just hang out.

6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret?
Yes. There were mission trips I didn't go on as a teen.

7. You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
a pillow

8. What’s one of your favorite traveling memories?
Laughter. Lots & lots of laughter on EVERY trip. It's always way up at the top of the list, no matter how many scenic views we see & no matter how many touristy-locations we visit. The joy on each trip is all that matters.

9. All included resort or backpacking? Why?
Duh. I'm a hotel kind of girl, so the all inclusive resort!

10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights?
a little of both

Sunday, September 25, 2011


This morning was baptism Sunday at our church. We had our regular church service, with baptisms thrown into the middle. When the video gets loaded by our worship pastor, I'll share it. Until then, here are the pictures I took this morning of Larry baptizing Savannah & Samuel. Such a sweet day!

Edited on 9/27/11 to add this video!

Bethel Baptism Fall 2011 from Bethel Bible Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Random Thoughts with Liz

*Tomorrow morning, our church will have a baptismal service. It never fails to make me cry watching daddies baptize their children. And tomorrow, I will either cry my eyeballs out or I will be totally distracted. Ya know... running a video camera! Tomorrow morning, Larry will baptize Savannah & Samuel. Both of them have recommitted their lives to Jesus & they will be re-baptized (by their request). We have family coming into town to be there for the occasion. It will be a fabulous morning!

*In a couple of weeks, we will be undertaking something we've been thinking we should do for a while. Samuel will be tested for A.D.D. We have wondered for several years if he might have it and recently it's become a serious problem at school. His grades are dropping and it's only the first six weeks! If we are correct in the diagnosis, hopefully we can get him on medicine & salvage his grades and help him gain some self-confidence. Right now, he's feeling very down on himself & frequently tells me that he thinks he is dumb. I hate to hear that from him because he is NOT a dumb kid---he just lacks the ability to focus for a long period of time. Especially if it's something he's not understanding too well. He's not least not to an extreme that it's problematic for him...but he definitely has an attention problem.

Some of his obvious symptoms:
1. It takes him 2-3 WEEKS of being grounded from everything to get his bedroom cleaned, and even then it's only halfway done. And he can't keep it even semi-clean for more than about 24 hours. He can't clean his room by himself at all. He has no idea what steps to take to get it clean, despite the poster I've made him that hangs on the wall right outside his bedroom door (in the hallway) and the times that I tell him step by step how to do it.

2. He's horribly disorganized & forgetful.
3. He can't stay on track with any job that requires more than a few steps & focus. (cleaning his room is just one example of that)
4. He frequently 'zones out'. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation, you realize that he's not "there" anymore & you have to get his attention & bring him back "in". It can be incredibly frustrating!
5. Earlier this week, he took an end of the six weeks math test at school. It had 20 questions on it. The teacher allowed him extra time to complete it. It took him nearly 2 hours. It was pretty much all review of things he learned last year. He made a 35 on it. The teacher said that most of the time he was taking the test, she noticed that he was sitting & staring into space.

So, it's time. Unfortunately, that means spending a lot of money that we don't have. We are praying that the insurance company will pay more than we're expecting or that God will provide a way to pay for it. Today, an idea struck me! Samuel's been begging us to get rid of his matching captain's beds in his room & get him a single twin or full bed in their place. I listed them today on Craigslist. If they sell, it will cover about 1/2 the cost of the testing, which will help greatly & we can "pay out" the remainder of the bill. So cross your fingers for us!

*Last night, our little small town football team won the first game of the football season! Hooray! It was only by 1 point, but we won! We are a happy little town today!

*It's hard to believe, but September is almost over! I can hardly believe it's about to be October, but I guess it should not come as any surprise that we're still regularly seeing temperatures in the 90s. That's Fall in Texas for ya! I am looking forward to the latter part of October when we get some cooler weather!

*This morning, Larry & I attended a symposium at a local college about kids with anxiety. Since both of our girls struggle with it, we thought we might gain some new information, some new tools for helping them get through panic attacks....that sort of thing. Unfortunately 99% of the info they shared was focused on parents whose child might just be showing symptoms of anxiety problems or maybe for teachers. It really focused on how anxiety disorders are diagnosed & various treatment methods (therapy vs. meds). We really didn't learn anything, but it was nice to have a morning alone, even if it meant being surrounded by strangers in a quiet, dimly lit room for 3 hours. (can you say naptime??? ha ha)

*This past week, my nephew and his wife welcomed a new baby boy. Say hello to my sweet new great-nephew, Cole Christian! Isn't he precious?

What's been going on at your house??

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. Dream job...realistic and completely unrealistic.
Realistic dream job: Preschool teacher (again) or the curriculum director for a preschool.
Completely unrealistic dream job: Realtor or Marriage counselor.

2. Do you pass gas in front of your significant other?
Yes. We've been together for 19 years. If I never did, I would've exploded by now.

3. What's the farthest you've ever traveled from home? How far and where was it?
I can name 3 far away places, but I'm not really sure which one is farthest from home. It's a tie between New York City, Los Angeles and Mexico City.

4. How do you celebrate birthdays for your kids? Family only or friends? ... Alternate for those without kiddos: How did you celebrate birthdays as a kid?
Our kids have learned that birthdays are expensive & our house is small. So that means a couple of things. One: don't expect to get a hundred presents. Never gonna happen. and Two: Don't expect to invite 15 kids over for a slumber party. That's also never gonna happen. If we do a "party" at all, it's away from the house so that there is room for more people and so that someone else can clean it up! ha ha! If we do anything at home, it's for the birthday kid and ONE friend. When they were younger we did family parties.

When I was a kid, I had a slumber party almost every year from the time I was about 8 years old on. When I was a teen, I would often have a co-ed party & then the boys would go home at 10-11pm and the girls would spend the night.

5. Fave thing about fall?
Pumpkin flavored/scented everything! Cool night air....I love to drive with the windows down & listen to the crickets chirp. SO peaceful. The smell of people burning leaves (although I won't smell that this's so dry that most of the state has been under a burn ban for months!). Hot apple cider. Football game weather....and hot chocolate at those games.

I'll stop. I could go on & on!

Friday Phone Dump

It's Friday!! Time to empty all the pictures from your phone to your blog! Link back here when you share your pictures & leave me a comment so I can see your pics. Feel free to use my picture (above--right click & save to your computer) or create your own Friday Phone Dump picture.

One night last week, Sarah went with me to a local church where I do childcare to help. This little guy got attached to her really quick & became her best friend for the night. When she sat down with him in her lap & he cuddled up with her, I had to get a picture. How sweet is this???

On Monday night, I cooked a new (to us) dish. It was a spinach ravioli lasagna. This was right after I pulled it out of the oven.

And this was about 15 minutes later. Think they liked it?

On my way to the grocery store tonight, the sun was blinding...but so pretty!

While I was in Walmart, I saw this. I got a little choked up. I mean come on.... nothing says "Let's welcome the season of celebrating the birth of Jesus" like an inflatable Santa who peeks out of his outhouse.

Good grief, folks. Seriously? Could we make Texas look any MORE redneck?

Oh wait. Maybe we can.

I was waiting in a line of cars & saw this. In case you can't see it clearly, it says "BEX TOY". Ok, really? Maybe her husband's name is Beck or Beckett. Or maybe one of those is their last name & people call her husband by his last name....and she's his "toy", I guess? But, really? Classy.

They were having some sort of cowboy day at school today, so Savannah had me braid her hair & she wore her dad's cowboy hat. She looked pretty cute, so I snapped a picture before school this morning!

One morning this week, I took this pic as I ended my session on the bike at the gym. I went 5.8 miles that morning.

Of course, I spent the entire time staring at this sign on the wall, directly in front of my bike. I had to laugh & posted this picture to Facebook that day with the caption " problem." My usual time limit is 25-30 minutes. I will never be one of those people who spends 90 minutes on the bike or treadmill. Aside from the fact that I'd fall off & die after that long, I'd get bored!!!

I actually got 2 self portraits for you this week to make up for not getting one taken last week. Of course, the first one was taken while trying to entertain a 19 month old last night. ha ha!

This one's a little better.

Have a great week & don't forget to link me to your blog when you share your pictures!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A wee praise report

For several years now, our finances have been in horrible shape. I think all of you know that. No big secrets there. I've been pretty honest about that on this blog. I hope that other people who are struggling financially can read my posts & gain a little hope and can relate & know they're not alone. We barely make enough each month to cover our regular bills so when any little thing happens that requires money, it throws our checkbook for a loop. We've tried to build up a savings account for these sort of things, but inevitably, about the time we build up a little money, something dies, falls apart, crashes, breaks, or gets sick and we have to use our savings for that. I realize that's EXACTLY WHAT IT'S FOR, but before we can build it back up, something else hits. It feels like we just can't get ahead! But we try. And we will keep trying! {Note: Larry & I both have jobs. I actually have about 5 jobs---childcare at several local churches, my regular job during the school year plus a summer job. Larry has a VERY demanding job that requires about a million hours a week. We work hard and take care of the house & kiddos as well. So if you don't know our story, please do not comment on this post about how we should work harder or whatever other mean & nasty things that might be said.}

Back in July, we got a huge amount of help that SHOULD HAVE repaired all the trouble & gotten us into a position to be OK from that point on, assuming nothing else happened that required extra funds. Unfortunately August was an awful month filled with one trial after another. The van battery died, the dog needed a minor eye surgery, Sarah had to go to the doctor, Larry's truck battery died, the exterminator had to come spray the house, the kids needed a few items for school clothes, there were all the expenses that go along with a new school year (joining PTO, buying the class Tshirt for field trips & such, etc....) and on & on & on & on. You get the idea. It really messed up the bank account & whammo....we were just about right back in the same place we started. Very frustrating. When you see no end in sight, it really wears on you.

This morning I told Larry that we needed to skip something we had been planning to do on Friday. It was a disappointment for both of us, but it just makes sense. We need to save the money. He was really bummed & said that our financial situation just seems so hopeless. I reminded him that we can't praise God 23 hours a day for all the blessings of life & then in the 1 hour that we're having a tough time, start cursing Him. We are living a very difficult season of life right now (where our finances are involved anyway--everything else is pretty terrific!) and it can be very hard to keep focused where we should. He understood & agreed, but trusting God to handle all the little details scares him to death. (and to be honest, it scares me a little sometimes, too!)

And here's where the praise report comes in:
After talking to him about all that this morning before work, I started praying while I drove to work. I prayed for provision, for peace, for rest from the worries. I praised God for HIS timing (not mine). I prayed that He would MAKE ME relax until His timing was right for Him to show us how He would care for our needs. I was praying & asking for God to provide additional income when the song Praise You in this Storm came to mind. I began singing it while I drove, alternating between singing & praying.

While those prayers were still on my lips, my cell phone's text alert buzzed. It was the senior pastor's wife from a local church calling to ask if I could do childcare Sunday night. YES! I whispered my thank yous to Jesus & continued my drive to work. Less then 10 min later, moments after I got to work, my phone buzzed again. It was another friend who is the Children's Ministry Director at another local church. She asked if I could do childcare for them Friday night. YES! (Of course, if we had not cancelled the Friday night plans, I would've had to say no....coincidence? NOPE!)

I was already scheduled to do childcare at 2 other churches on 2 other nights this week. I know it won't amount to tons of $$, but it's something! It'll put gas in the van or some food on the table or will help pay a bill! I love how quickly He works sometimes... How fast He answers prayers....How speedy He is to say "here ya go". Of course, I'm still waiting on His timing for the rest of our financial issues, but I trust that He will work all that out. No idea if we'll be able to pull off a positive balance on October 1st (it's not looking promising right now), but I know He will provide everything we need!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Random Thoughts with Liz

This is one of those blog posts where I'm just going to share a bunch of random things. No one particular theme/topic. Are you ready?

*We have cool neighbors. I have started typing out about three different stories here & keep deleting them because they are all too lengthy. But trust me when I say, I'm glad we live in this neighborhood. Great people! (Thank you for all the times you've let us borrow an egg, a can of soup, your cinnamon....)

*My sweet 11 yr old boy is only a couple years away from becoming an Eagle Scout! Today he went to a merit badge event to earn his First Aid badge. Larry (the resident Eagle) tells me that if he continues to work at this pace, it should only take him a year or two to reach Eagle. Wow! I'm so proud of him!

*Tonight, said Boy Scout went to take a shower. Shortly after I heard the water begin to run, he came out of the bathroom grinning. He commented about how awesome his socks smelled. He just wanted to let us know. ha ha ha ha!

*I am reading a book right now that doesn't at all fit my usual literary selections. It's a sarcastic, silly book. (See my Friday Phone Dump post for a picture & the title.) It's not at all my normal 'style', but I'm having fun reading it. It cracks me up!

*We're still struggling to make the monthly budget balance. But it's ok. I have determined that this is just the season of life we're in right now. Plenty of other people have scrimped & saved & pinched pennies and barely made it through life. I am doing all I can to clip coupons, use up things in the pantry & freezer, take on little side jobs for extra $$ and basically just avoiding spending anything at all most of the time. I know it's not permanent. We will leave this season of life sooner or later. (hopefully sooner....but if God has a lesson to teach us or hope to grant us while we live this, I'm game.)

*Tonight Kari Jobe did a concert at our old church. Tickets were $20. Tomorrow morning, Natalie Grant will be there. That concert is free. As much as I love both of them, I had to step back & realize a couple of things. 1. We don't have $20 to spare for a concert ticket. I might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat & figure it out budget-wise, but I am doing my very best to keep us on track & a concert is certainly not a 'need'. (Plus I can listen to them both online for free.) 2. Going back to our old church (where Larry was on staff) is still weird for us. We have both been there for one event or another since we left. It's a local mega-ish sort of church & they host a lot of concerts/events. Even so, there are just too many memories there for it to feel anything be awkward & odd. Maybe one day it won't.

*I love to worship. I know this is not new news. I know I've said it here before. But some days, more than others, I just want to spend the whole day singing & praising God. I know it sounds REALLY strange for some people. But honestly, I'd totally dig having a whole day to do nothing at all but listen to various worship CDs & focus solely on Him. To sit & medidate on the Word and pray. There is something about spending time in His presence that just can't be quenched by ANYTHING else.

*My husband rocks. I told him today on Facebook: I ♥ that you are involved with the kids....that you aren't afraid to change a diaper, wipe a snotty nose, mop up puke, change sheets in the middle of the night while I clean up a kid who wet the bed. I love that you help me drive kids to school in the mornings, go to every football game, every Scout event, every band competition, every dance recital & soccer game. I realize how lucky I am to have married you and how blessed our kids are to have you as their daddy. And then on top of all that, I get a hottie who loves Jesus. What more could a girl ask for?

*I am so blessed. A few weeks ago, we decided that it was time for me to take a season off from teaching the preschoolers at church. The thing is, when we re-joined this church in 2009, we promised each other that we'd take some time (specifically, six months) to JUST be part of the church....before we got involved with teaching things, leading things, etc. But I'm so bad at that. I want to do serve, to minister, to by the time the 6 month mark rolled around, I already had a couple months' experience in the 4-5 yr old classroom. I LOVED my time in there, but right now it's time for me to be Larry's wife. To rest, to sit by him in Sunday School, to be able to get to the worship service on time, to hang out with him until he finds his niche. He's had a tough time getting re-integrated into serving roles since he left full-time ministry. AND....about the time we decided that I'd take some time off, offers to do childcare (with mostly preschoolers!) started pouring in. Between working at our church and 2 other local churches (and these are paid childcare jobs!), I get to have my 'fix' of little ones while making a little extra money. I love how God orchestrates these things!!

*Speaking of church things....
Our church has small groups that we've always enjoyed being a part of. Over the course of the past year, Larry & I co-led a group with another couple. Within the first couple of months, we probably should've let the group go because it became clear (to me at least) that it wasn't going to be successful. Larry & the other couple's husband both had very demanding jobs that required lots of time away from home all week, so the last thing they needed to have to focus on was leading a small group on the weekends. And the 'chemistry' just wasn't there with the members. We plugged along for the full year. I think we were trying to prove to ourselves that we weren't we really wanted to be in a small group. But the reality is, the group died. We let it go in July. And now that Fall has rolled around, we're trying to figure out which new group we want to get involved in. There are a couple we're considering. But we're also considering not doing anything at all. We have so many things going on all week long that we've kind of enjoyed the last couple of months where we've had Sunday nights off. Praying for God to guide us exactly where we should be very soon!

*Last night, both of my girls braided their hair all over their head just to be silly. They slept with it like that & were in awe of the waves they found this morning when they took the braids down. Savannah's hair looked crimped, like we did our hair in the 80s. Or was it the early 90s? Fun memories!

*Last night I listened to the Matt Maher "Alive Again" CD on my way to the grocery store. This song has been playing in my head all day. I love it. So catchy.

*It's late. Time for this blogger to go to bed. Goodnight.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. If you had a weekly newspaper column, what would you name it?
I think I'll just stick with Liz's World. And who needs a newspaper column when you have a blog?

2. Who is your mentor/inspiration?
So many people.
Single parents. Much older people who go back to college to finish a degree. (I still remember the cute elderly lady who rode the commuter bus with me at Stephen F. Austin State University in 1994. I loved that she was 75+ and going to college classes!) Daddies who work 2-3 jobs so their wife can stay home when their kids are little. Mommies who work full time, take care of babies and still pull off having a clean house & a put together wardrobe every time you see them. Amazing women like Beth Moore, Angie Smith, Priscilla Shirer......there are so many!

3. What is your wake up beverage of choice?
I only drink milk in the mornings. Occasionally I have orange juice, but most mornings it's milk.

4. Would you wear your mom's clothes?
If we were the same size, I wouldn't mind wearing some of them. It would be fun to have a mom, sister, girlfriend whose closet you could 'shop' from now & then.

5. When you were a kid, did you put posters on your wall? If so, what were they of?
Oh yes! Kirk Cameron, Ralph Macchio, Scott Baio, Sean & Mackenzie Astin, both of the Coreys (Haim and Feldman), Jordan from NKOTB, the list goes on & on.......

Friday Phone Dump

It's that time of the week again! Every Friday, I 'dump out' all the pictures in my cell phone onto my blog. Follow me through my week with pictures. I'd love for you to join in over on your blog. Feel free to use my picture above (right click & save to your computer) or create your own. If you do a Friday Phone Dump post on your blog, link back here & comment so I can come over and see your pictures, too!

A few days ago, on my way home from delivering the kids to their schools, I looked up & saw this amazing sunrise. I love it when the sun is hidden partially behind clouds & you see all the individual sunbeams shining out around it. Beautiful!

And then tonight, on my way to the grocery store, I just happened to catch another glorious view of the sun. But this time, it was setting & the clouds looked so cool! I had to snap a pic!

Of course, it may have impressed me more because I was listening to this CD & having some worship time in the van on the way to the store. Being in that worshipful mode tends to make me recognize the hand of God in everything around me a little more than usual.

All of my kids have written a letter to the President at one time or another about whatever issue was on their mind. Sarah wrote to President Obama a month or two ago & has been anxiously awaiting a response! When I got the mail today and found a package to her from the White House, I knew she'd be ecstatic! I took it with me when I picked her up from school, to surprise her as soon as she got into the car. She was so happy!!

And umm... this particular reaction might or might not have been posed since mom wasn't ready with her camera when she FIRST got the package in her hands. Note the envelope is turned around backward LOL!

This book I'm reading is hilarious. It's got the longest title in the world and I'm only a couple of chapters into it, but it's a hoot! It's by Jen Lancaster, and judging by the titles listed on her Amazon page, all of her books bear a bit of an edgy, sarcastic, cynical fun. They're probably not ALL something I'd want to read, but this one is a lot of fun so far. It's called Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big Or, Why Pie is Not the Answer. I wouldn't typically pick out a book with a cuss word in the title, but it cracked me up when I bought it at a garage sale weeks ago.

If you can't see this one clearly, click on it to make it bigger. This little letter to the makers of Ben & Jerry's icecream was in the intro to the book. See why I'm enjoying it?

Please tell me I'm not the only one with a virtual shoe store next to their front door. We are barefoot people over here, going without shoes probably 99% of the time, but no one ever said to kick them off at the door and leave them there forever! (Of course, one of those pairs of shoes might possibly be mine.)

I am so ready for Fall to come to Texas. We're still routinely seeing these temps in the afternoons. It was 92 when I came home from the grocery store tonight at 9:30pm! It's mid September. Isn't it time for cooler weather yet?

In the event of a fire, this might just be one of my items that I grab on the way out of the house. You know, after I grab the kids, the CPU to the computer, my wedding album & purse. Ya know...priorities & all. This couponing mama may not save 80% of her bill or anything crazy cool like that, but I take a handful of coupons with me EVERY time I go to the store. Gotta save everywhere you can these days!!

Poor Sarah. Nothing like a little gravel rash on your leg after recess. She came home with about 3 gallons of Neosporin slathered all over her leg.

I eat lots of yogurt!! There are 8 Yoplaits & 3 Activias in there this week. Yum!!

We're all just tiny bit OCD over here. least 3 out of 5 of us are. My girls 'get' me. This was Sarah's way of eating Reese's Pieces. Gotta line them up & divide 'em up by color first. Duh!

This is the best I could do for a self-portrait this week. Perhaps since you're not LISTENING to me, but READING my words, I should've taken a pic of my fingers. Ha ha! Oh well. Imagine this mouth saying "thank you for reading my blog!"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper

A couple of years ago, I attended a Women of Faith event in Houston, TX and was introduced to Lisa Harper for the first time. (Well, not literally introduced. But wouldn't that be cool??!!) I had been to other WOF events in the past, but Lisa was a new speaker for me in 2009. I loved every moment of her talks on stage, so I knew I'd enjoy this book! While our lives are very different, our hearts & minds are very similar. Lisa is one of those women that I think would be a fun party guest for my girlfriends slumber party. (You know...the same one where I'll invite Angie Smith & Beth Moore & Patsy Clairmont, Priscilla Shirer & Jennifer Rothschild to come hang out. If you don't know who those ladies are, look them up. They are all AWESOME authors & speakers.) So anyway, I have this book......

I began reading it a couple of weeks ago & have read it in bits & pieces. I've read it in bed at night before I doze off. I've read it while I'm at work, doing lunch duty for the teacher down the hall. I've read it on the treadmill when I'm working out. Anytime I can quietly get a chapter or two in is great! And you know what? I love this book!

Stumbling Into Grace has the subtitle "Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman". I love that! What woman among us wouldn't claim to feel like a spiritually clumsy person now & then? Lisa weaves her personal stories of silliness or embarrassing moments throughout the book, always drawing the reader back to God's truth in Scripture. She eloquently takes stories from the Bible & adds a creative touch here & there to make them more understandable & applicable to our lives today, while never distracting from the original meaning, characters and motive. Ms. Harper's writing is so funny & fresh! You can't help but laugh...or cry... or laugh until you cry! The book is sort of like reading the author's diary, seeing into her private life & her heart and then seeing how God reels her back to Him over & over and points out truth to bring Him glory with her life. Even when life doesn't look like she'd like it to!

Each chapter ends with some questions that could be used in a small group setting, or just for further study with an individual reader. I thoroughly enjoyed this book & strongly recommend it for Christian women. It's a light, easy read with a lot of meat.

P.S. I think the cover of this book should get a prize for one of the cutest covers ever!

Note: This review was written for Booksneeze, a blogger book review program for Thomas Nelson publishers. I received a copy of this book for free in return for my honest review. To find out more about Booksneeze, click the button in the righthand column, or visit

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Want to Know Wednesday

{1} What are 3 must haves for a long road trip?
I always make each of my family members a gallon sized ziploc bag of snacks of various kinds. Fruit, grains, salty, sweet... And we must have things to keep the kids busy! Books, CDs to listen to, etc.

{2} What was the destination of your most recent road trip?
Larry & I made a quick road trip a couple weekends ago. But we were there & back in one day, so does that really count as a road trip?

{3} What do you miss most about home when on a trip?
My bed

{4} What is the furthest you have traveled on a road trip?
When I was a kid, we always drove everywhere we went -- no flying unless you had to cross an ocean & had no choice! I know we went to Orlando, FL and to Washington DC....but I'm not positive which one of those is further mileage-wise. And in '07, we drove home from Los Angeles. That one might've been further than either of the other two trips. It took us 3 solid days of driving 10-12 hours/day to get home from CA.

{5} Will you "stop for the largest ball of twine, etc" or are you a "hurry and get there" road tripper?
I love to stop on the way TO our destination. But on the way home, we all get antsy for HOME & just want to drive on through until we see Texas soil!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I didn't forget 9/11.

On Sunday, I remembered where I was on the morning of 9/11 like so many of you did. Our pastor's sermon began with remembering the day, telling us where he was when he heard the news. We talked about it with our kids like we always do. We watched videos on youtube about the planes crashing into the Pentagon & World Trade Center towers. I paused to think about the awesome stories of heroism in the biography I read a few years ago "Let's Roll!" by Lisa Beamer, whose husband was on the ill fated Flight 93 that crashed into an open field.

But something struck me part way through the day.

I am, by no means, diminishing the power & importance of September 11, 2001. I will never forget the horror of that day. But it hit me like a ton of bricks that so many of us have our own 9/11s in life. We measure life that way, creating a roadmap of our life based on what happened before or after our 9/11. Those milestone dates will never be erased from our memory. Without thinking at all, I bet you can tell me exactly where you were when you got the news about 9/11. You can tell me how old your kids were. You can tell me what you did the rest of the day. And maybe even the day after. You can remember vividly who told you what was happening or whom you were with when you found out. And most of all, you can remember the terror that filled your heart. The questions that spewed from your mind. The fears that we all felt.

Maybe your 9/11 was the day you found out you had cancer. Or the day your child died. Or the moment that your spouse came to you & said that he/she wanted a divorce. Your 9/11 might be when the doctor walked in & told you that your dad was dead or that your friend would never walk again after the accident. Maybe it was the day that you lay in a hospital bed & handed your child over to his adoptive parents. It is different for all of us.

Life is like that. Horrible, awful things happen. We think we are safe, protected, secure....and then something slams into our life that reminds us we are just humans and that we're as fragile & weak as the rest of the world.

Today might be someone else's 9/11. Keep that in mind when you face the world today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thank you God, for girlfriends.

Yesterday, while reading in this book

I found this little tidbit.

I sat in the classroom where I was watching students during another teacher's lunchbreak biting my lip, trying to keep the tears from trickling down my cheeks. Not because this tiny little bit made me sad, but because I recognized them. I recognized my closest friends in the sentiment.

The part that 'defines' true community (friendship): a wee tribe of people who will cheer for us, not necessarily because we're good, but because they claim us as theirs.

I can't tell you how many of my closest girlfriends know my dirt. The nitty gritty. The ugly. The messy stuff. The dark stuff that I don't advertise to the world. And they love me. They cheer for me when I get things right. They pat me on the back & tell me that they know I hate that I've messed up again when I fall down. They put their arms under mine & help me up, they dust me off & they pray for me. They point me in the right direction. They give me Scriptures to chew on. They care & they love me. Not because I'm all good & perfect, but because they call me their friend. And when there is honesty in a friendship, especially good girlfriendships.... don't let it go.

Thanking God tonight for putting so many girlfriends in my life.

Bethany L, Tara S, Kristi P, all my girlfriends at CC, Kathy F & Amber B come to mind most readily, but there have been (& continue to be) so many others who knew me intimately in various seasons of life and made me who I am today. Thank you for loving me, ladies.

I know I've shared it before but over & over I've watched this video with a Kleenex in hand. I suggest you do the same. I dedicate it to you, ladies.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. What ringtone do you have on your cell phone?
I don't have a smart phone, so my ring tones aren't the "cool" ones like so many other people have. And to be honest, I have my phone on vibrate pretty much 100% of the time, so I couldn't even tell you what ring tone it's set to when it's off vibrate!

2. What is your favorite memory from this summer?
My time at the preschool. Loved going back for the summer!

3. Paper books or ebooks?

4. If you could have one home upgrade what would it be and why?
I'd have my kitchen re-configured or added on to. Right now we have a really tiny kitchen. We have our dining table shoved in there, but there isn't enough room for us to put all the chairs around it (one side is pushed up against a wall to make it fit at all). So since it can't really be used for dining, it instead becomes my desk/work area/catch all space. It basically has no functional use and that bothers me. I was raised in a family where you sat down together for mealtimes. And there is no place for that in my house. I would love to either have a bigger kitchen or a dedicated dining room so that we could eat together.

5. When was your first serious boyfriend/girlfriend?
Hmm...I guess at different stages in my 'dating' years, I considered various boyfriends to be 'serious'. Of course I look back now & realize how very NOT serious most of those boyfriends were. But I guess the first time I was ACTUALLY 'serious' about someone was in 9th grade when I was dating CV. (I'll just stick to initials here.) CV was my only other long-term boyfriend outside of Larry. I dated other guys, but CV & Larry were the only ones that made it into that coveted teen relationship status of "long-term". (which just means we dated for more than 1 year)

Friday Phone Dump

It's that time of the week again! If you'd like to join me on your blog with a Friday phone dump, feel free to use my image above, or create your own! ( is a great site to create fun pictures with!) If you share your phone pictures on your blog, make sure to link back here and comment & let me know so I can take a peek at your week!

And without further adieu, here's my week in pictures!

Last Saturday, between chores, I cleaned out all our family's games. Some got to stay, others were culled out. Savannah & I played a quick game of Connect Four before it got put back into the box & determined to be a "keeper".

Sarah is a such a shoe lover. She's going to make some man really poor one day spending their monthly income on shoes. ha ha! One day last week, Larry's boots were in the living room & he asked her to go put them in his closet for him. Instead of carrying them, she wore them.

One of my very favorite blog authors wrote this book. I pre-ordered it months ago when she first announced that she had written another book. I was so tickled to see it show up in the mail this week! I'm looking forward to reading it!

Today, for the first time in years, I wore a belt. I realize that's not a major thing to most people, but for us big girls who cover our waistline (or lack thereof) with untucked, flowy shirts 100% of the time, it IS a big deal. Probably 99% of the time I have absolutely no need for a belt, because after all, I don't exactly have pants that are falling off my skinny hips. But these capris I was wearing today were sliding down over & over! I sincerely doubt it is the 10 lbs I've lost since January. I know I'm still FARRRRRRRRR from being a "twig", but it gave this plus size girl a little lift to be in need of a belt! I had to lift my shirt up & pull it back so you could see the belt & the fact that I do, indeed, have a waist. You'll have to pardon the fact that it was a silly self-portrait sort of thing in the bathroom mirror.....but look! I'm wearing a belt!!! (if you wear a size 12 or smaller, you don't even have to comment on this ha ha)

Tonight, I had to make a quick run to the store for some breakfast items for the kids. I find it funny that my 10, 11 & 15 year olds all still find the lobster tank in the meat market amusing. Of course, I think they're kind of cool to watch, too, so maybe it's not so odd that they all still enjoy it! :)

That's it for this week. silly/serious/funny/etc self portrait. I'll do better next week!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Last Thursday (9/1), the school nurse called me just before lunchtime to tell me that Samuel was in the office with 100.4 fever. He also had a stomachache & headache. Because the school rules state that any temperature over 100 must go home, I needed to come pick him up ASAP. And due to the "24 hour rule", which states he must be fever-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, he could not return to school on Friday.

I rushed over to pick him up, a little frazzled that he was coming down with something. I bought him some Gatorade & made him lay on the couch & watch TV all day. He tried to get up & do things several times, but I kept reprimanding him to lay back down & rest! He kept asking if he could go back to school on Friday (he really wanted to), but I told him no. He was really bummed that he would miss a test in math class and a quiz in science. (At this point I checked his head again....surely the fever was UP if he was worried about math tests & science quizzes. ha ha)

On Friday, I stayed home with him. Larry had a major case at work to deal with. I was fine with that since I enjoy having some snuggle time with my kiddos when they're sick. I took the girls to school that morning & let Sam sleep a little. He didn't wake up until 9:00am (super late for him!!), but once he was up, he was like a new man. Full of energy, big appetite, raring to go! (And no fever!) Rather than sit around all day, we went to the grocery store & the post office. He had a cheeseburger for lunch & felt great all day! I assumed that his short lapse of fever on Thursday was just a fluke thing & didn't worry too much about it.

Saturday was a normal day. He was totally fine. We found out late Saturday that Larry & I would have to make a quick day trip out of town on Sunday, so the kids went to Grandma's for the night. While there, they went to church with them, hung out, played know, all the good stuff you get to do at Grandma's house. And then on Monday, everyone was off of work & school so we just hung out at home & relaxed.

When Tuesday rolled around, it was time for everyone to get back to school!

About 11:30, the secretary at my school came to my room & let me know that the school nurse had just called. Samuel had fever. AGAIN. What?????????????? After 4 days of being perfectly FINE, he had fever again????
I clocked out & went to pick him up. I work 4-5 minutes from his school and we live about another 2 minutes away. Shortly after we got home, I pulled out our thermometer & re-checked his temp. No fever. In fact, it was like 97.6....BELOW normal. I called the school & asked if there was a chance that their thermometer was broken. (It wasn't.) Off & on all day, he had a minor headache. And he did doze off once working on homework. But aside from that, he never had any more fever or any other symptoms. He was bouncing off the walls by that afternoon. I felt ridiculous keeping him home ANOTHER day (to honor the 24 hour rule) but I'm a rule follower.

Since I had been off work for a couple days taking care of him, he spent Wednesday with my mom & dad. They took him to help deliver Meals on Wheels. He went to the store with my dad & bought deer corn to fill the feeders. He walked down to my parents' pond and back with my dad. He watched a movie & ate a yummy Grandma-cooked lunch. Yeah, I know. Sounds miserable doesn't it? ha ha!

This morning came & it was time for him to go back to school. And to be sure he didn't come down with a mysterious fever again, I loaded him up with Ibuprofen. I's against the rules to use medicine to keep him fever-free before going back to school, but by golly.....he's FINE.

I talked to Samuel at length & was satisfied that he was being honest with the nurse & with me. He didn't have any emotional/psychological problem or fear of a bully (or anything else) at school to make him go to the office & complain of a physical problem to get out of school.
I did call the pediatrician's office. They did not see any need for Samuel to come in & be examined after talking to me on the phone. They 'diagnosed' a fever virus over the phone and said we'd just have to wait it out.