Monday, March 30, 2009

Odds & Ends

Last week was normal & busy...this week looks to be the same, except that I'll be traveling to Lynchburg back and forth on Thursday AND Sunday so Rhett can visit with Ashley and her friends for the weekend.

Tara finished her Awana book last night several weeks early. I think she's the first of my children to do that! Now she's thinking about doing the review. Good job, Tara! Woo-hoo, as she would say.

Katie has lost 3 teeth! The top row of her mouth is missing all three...plenty of room to insert straws, not so good for corn on the cob. Thank goodness it's not July.

Mark is starting a new endeavor...maybe I'll save that as a surprise. It has to do with, he's not starting another blog. If you look in "My Favorite Blogs" you'll see he hasn't updated in a year. :( I would really like him to tell you about geocaching sometime, but that's a whole 'nuther story.

We went to see Monsters vs. Aliens on Friday. The girls had been counting down the days and "selling" us their artwork to pay for the tickets to go. Just a little excited. I read ONE (false!) review Friday morning that said it was great and the man selling the tickets to us said he thought it was a "really great movie," but TRUST ME, skip it!! I have never wanted to take a nap so bad in my life. Mark was checking his blackberry in the dark...and we usually enjoy kid's movies. It wasn't worth the price of admission! Wait for it to come out on Redbox and get it for $1, if you must see it.

I am cleaning, organizing and reading away... You'll see "In A Stack by My Bed" that I'm reading First Mothers. It is so interesting! I'm looking forward to telling you about it, but I'm only halfway through it.

Tonight we have a campfire with our Pathfinders from American Heritage Girls. Pathfinders are kindergarteners, plus Katie. Mark is transporting his fire bowl to the church and we're going to sit around it and roast marshmallows and sing campfire songs. Should be fun!

If you think of it, please pray for Ashley to be able to come home for Easter. There is a sensitive matter regarding her ability to come home without grade penalty that weekend that we're trying to get worked out. Hopefully, it will happen!

Well, that pretty much sums up what is going on with us. I'm working on a post about a certain craft...but it is taking me some time to tell the whole story. Thought I'd put the teaser out there to add a little incentive for me to get it done. :)

BTW, blogging is my reward for getting stuff done. So if you don't hear from me for awhile, then I'm either getting a lot done or procrastinating! Ha!

Here's hoping you have a great Monday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What to do?!

Today I'm really overwhelmed by all that I have to get done...(so of course, I blog first! ha!) The schooling, cleaning, laundry/ironing, shopping, exercising, studying for two Bible studies, communicating with extended family, paying the seems like it's all calling at once. Of course, last week's "vacation from life" to conquer my desk is one of the contributing factors, but I am often struggling to find balance.

I started a Bible study on Esther at my church last week. We meet on Wednesday nights and I was amazed at the women's responses to the upcoming study. Everyone who shared was transparent about how difficult it is being a woman and how they were looking forward to gaining some insight by studying Esther in depth. Every woman in the room didn't share the same difficulties, but it was comforting to be reminded that all of us have our challenges. I don't know if Esther will lend itself to any answers about how to find balance in my life (she lived at a day spa, for goodness sake!), but I do know that Esther will point me back to the One that has the answers.

I'm going to bathe the day in prayer and just keep moving. I'm sure the Lord will help me do the necessary things and the rest...I just need to leave in His hands.

PS...I love the irony of my last post saying I Can Do Anything and this one What to do?! I'm just reminded of the verse..."I can do all things through Christ..." (not through ME)

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Can Do Anything!

If you have ever been to my home in the last 20 years and were subjected to my desk, I'm sorry! :) I should have taken a before picture, but I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to post it. Let's just say, it has NEVER looked like this...

My husband is a, for living with my previous desk disasters and two, for pretty much covering our home life for the past 5 days so I could un-bury myself. Thank You, Honey!!!

As we were driving out of the church parking lot yesterday I said, "Wow, that was an awesome sermon...a good sermon and a clean desk...I think I could do anything this week!" HA!

I still have some files to go in the filing cabinet, but my desk is in working order...a miracle! Yay!

So, I'm off to start my week...who knows what I'll conquer next.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Crazies

Two Saturdays ago it looked like this...which was amazing since...

6 days before it had looked like this...

(our biggest snow of the season, btw!)

Today we're somewhere in the snow, but cold - low 50's - not open-the-windows weather today. I'll just call it the Spring Crazies and try to enjoy it.

Hope you have a good weekend too!

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Desk in the Works

I am posting as a reward to myself after balancing the checkbook...I had lost 50 cents and had to go back to February 14th to find my subtraction error. Urgh! That took me awhile! We were still dealing with illnesses back then so I guess I had my mind on other things besides accurate math.

I used to have my desk/computer area in my bedroom, but the furniture and space were woefully inadequate. So as a birthday present to myself, I traded spots with my children's computer/desk area in the finished basement. We moved their computer and paraphernalia up to my room and my mass of stuff came downstairs to this gorgeous & LARGE cherry desk. (Thank you, again, Lisa, for giving it to us!) I LOVE IT! The kids don't make a paper mess on their desk so now that they are in my room there is no mess when I go to bed (compared to my toppling piles.) I now have two desk file drawers, 4 smaller drawers and an expansive center drawer. Plus, my 4 drawer filing cabinet is right beside this desk down here! Whoo Hoo! I have been filing away and it is getting pretty! Maybe when I'm finished I'll post a picture or two. (that will motivate me!)

I know some of you out there may think I'm crazy, but I LOVE organizing and filing. It makes me VERY happy!! It's so much fun! I just wish it would stay that way, as Ginger mentioned to me recently. It takes maintenance, but if given the time, that's fun too.

You may be wondering why I would put the kid's computer in my bedroom. We are short on space and they are on during the day when there would be no disruption to my peace so we thought we'd give it a try. My son and husband both have computers and desks in that room now so they can play games and talk to each other at the same time in the evenings. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I will admit I have had a hard time going to bed on time this week. Once I get started on the desk organizing, I just don't want to stop. I will have to put an end to that. Anyway, that's what has been occupying all my free time the last few days. Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In A Stack...Report # 2

Been in a reading frenzy of late...hope you don't mind the reports. :)

No One Cares What You Had For Lunch gives the reader 100 ideas for your blog. The author, Margaret Mason, has covered all the blog writing bases by categorizing her ideas by chapters based upon how much time you would need to write about that given entry. Chapter 1 begins with Fifteen Minutes to Fame and Chapter 5 ends with Think Like a Writer. Each idea is given a succinct, often "quippy" title, a short description and wraps up with an example or two. She has ideas for personal blogs, professional blogs and group blogs. Some of the ideas seem to closely resemble each other (how many times does she say to look back at old photos or journal entries!), but she tries to have a unique point-of-view for each idea. Based upon idea # 82 I began a notebook and came up with 42 of my own ideas to blog about so I would say the book was a worthwhile read. If you need inspiration for posts this is a fun place to start.

What a treat it was to read Agatha Christie's Miss Marple The Complete Short Stories! I am a big fan of Agatha Christie and have probably read a majority of her books. I picked this book up at the library for reading before bedtime. You see, I have a problem...If I am reading a book I haven't read before and it's compelling (many are) I have a tendency to stay up very late (ahem...3am) to finish the book. This does not work well in my life. So...I have had to restrict my "before bed" reading to books that encapsulate subjects or short stories a chapter at a time. Then I can put the book down and sleep at a normal bedtime. (My husband is saying, "yeah, right!") I digress - back to the review:

Miss Marple is one of my favorite characters - someone I wish I knew in person. She mixes an elderly female innocence with a sharp wit that just makes me smile. I can never solve the crime, but when she reveals the solution I am often amazed at how simple and obvious the mystery was. As the Chicago Sun-Times quotes on the face of the book Miss Marple is "one of the greatest female sleuths of all time!" This book was a relaxing read that I could pick up and put down at my leisure. If you only have time for short stories, and enjoy mysteries, I highly recommend this book.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday!

I got a new little gadget for my birthday- a Zune! It's an MP3 player - little cheaper than an Ipod. I am learning some of the ins and outs about loading and storing music on my computer & Zune and I think it will be a lot of fun. I'm hopeful that I will be more willing to go for a walk now that I don't have to carry a portable CD player when I go (if I want music, that is.) I also look forward to using it while I'm working at my desk or at the church library.

Last night Rhett and I waited at the church while the girls were in Awanas and we both had our music on while I was reading and he was drawing. We had two hours to ourselves and after one hour I couldn't handle having the headphones on my ears anymore. I felt fatigued. I had the player on a low volume setting in case Rhett said something, but I was surprised with the noise difference when I took the headphones off. It was just a new interesting experience. I'm sure trying to listen to music and reading aided in the fatigue. I commented to Mark about how often and how long the kids nowadays listen to their music. What is it doing to their brains and ears? Now I'm starting to sound old, huh?! Oh, well, that's what birthdays are for...

Friday, March 13, 2009

In A Stack...Report

On the sidebar of my blog I keep a running track of the books I am reading. This is strictly for motivation to actually finish reading some of the books I pick up. I've decided I would write about my selections and share the good or maybe not-so-good reviews with you all.

Blogging in a Snap by Julie C. Meloni is the first blogging book I read. This book is clear, concise and easy to navigate. I went from knowing nothing about weblogs to feeling very comfortable creating and maintaining two blogs by myself in a matter of a couple of days. This book specifically addresses blogs on Blogger and was published in 2006. There have been a few modifications to Blogger since its publication, but those changes make Blogger even easier to use. This book walks you through "blog world" every step of the way with screen illustrations. I've created links, uploaded pictures, customized my template and even tweaked the html. If you want to begin a blog using Blogger, this is a must-see book!

Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber caught my eye in the new books section of the library. The cover illustration looked inviting. I'm not usually into light fiction or NY Times best-selling authors in general, but I thought I'd give the book a try.

The main character of Twenty Wishes is Anne Marie, a widow who owns a Seattle bookstore. Anne Marie invites fellow widows to the bookstore after closing on Valentine's Day to celebrate. "They each begin a list of twenty wishes, things they always wanted to do but never did." Each widow embarks on fulfilling some of their wishes on their lists, but, of course, unexpected things begin to happen. The main themes in the book are friendship, romance, compassion for those less fortunate and trying new things.

This is not a Christian book, although one character prays at mealtimes and bedtime and regularly attends church. There is romance, but I did not find it distasteful and I do not recall any objectionable language. In my opinion, the main story line of Ann Marie's relationships with the "daughters" in her life makes this book an enjoyable light read. The book would make an endearing Lifetime channel movie. If for no other reason, this book is fun because it may inspire you to make your own list of twenty wishes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Devotional Thought - Romans

Today in my personal devotions I was studying Romans 1:18-3:20 and a couple of verses struck me. Romans 1:21-22 tells us that man is aware of God and instead of glorifying and thanking Him we work so hard at finding our own meaning and purpose. Our thoughts become futile and we are fools. Then a little farther into the passage Paul talks about idol worship. We often value what the world values - house, money, success, esteem so much more than valuing God's righteousness revealed in our lives.

I wonder if I struggle with sin so greatly because my values are misplaced? I know I should have a healthy diet and exercise (take care of my temple), but is my end goal to glorify God or to glorify self? I've used the reasoning that I want to have a good testimony, but what I'm really saying is "I want people to think I have it all together." I don't. None of us do. That lie doesn't help me stay faithful to the command of honoring God with my body. If, above all else, I want God's righteousness revealed in me, would I have greater success in my obedience? Where is my heart focused?

So many times we know where God is asking for our obedience, but we excuse, justify or sometimes make it about ourselves. We often work so hard to do the work that only HE can do in us. My son and I have often talked about our lack of self-discipline in some areas of our lives, but we must remember, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. If you didn't have self-control to start with you can't manufacture it yourself. Only God can grow the fruits of His Spirit in our lives. Seek after His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you... (Matthew 6:33).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

That's What Stuffed Animals Are Good For

Recently I went into my girls' bedroom and they were both under a pile of stuffed animals, pillows and one Disney Princess Foam couch. There was lots of giggling! I asked what they were doing and they said, "We're playing dead and buried!" That made me giggle too. I said, "Have you been watching Westerns? Are the animals, pillows and couch rocks?" They said, "YES!" Inventive and a little creepy...that's my girls! :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What's inside?

Have you ever wondered what those cards that make sounds/play music look like on the inside? We took a peek! Now my boys are contemplating how to rig a pinewood derby car with it. Ha!

Redo Success!

They did their job! (& they smell gorgeous too!)

Thanks again, honey!