Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Have I mentioned, that I love picnik?! Below are some of the props that were used at the Pumpkin Patch, a pic of my silly girls and a porch at the Frontier Culture Museum. They're all before/after pics, as you will see.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

A woman was asked by a coworker, "What is it like to be a Christian?"

The coworker replied, "It's like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."

Maybe a little cheesy, but the transformation is true and what I chose to be thankful for today.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Airing My Dirty Laundry

For many years I used to just make piles on the floor when I needed to sort my laundry. I sorted it in the laundry room, bedroom, or hallway - wherever there was floor space that would be undisturbed. I used to long for those organized laundry dividers, but every time I actually went to search for something that would suit our family, I couldn't find the right organizer for the right price. Then one day while looking at plastic bins I had a light bulb moment! What if I used these $1.50 kitchen trash cans for my laundry bins (at Walmart several years ago.) I went home and measured the space I wanted to use and they would fit perfectly! Yay! I got the extra benefit that once a trash can is full it equals about one full load of clothes - bonus!

Here's how our laundry is divided up. I could have purchased a can for the sheets, but they really just lay on the floor for part of a day usually. We have to walk around this area a lot so this works best on any given day. As you can see with my Dark Colored/Cold pile I just keep stacking it on top even if the can is full. It truly is "Mount Never Rest" around here.

You can see that I lay my grotty wash clothes over the side of the whites can. Anything that is damp I just lay over the sides so they will air dry before getting washed. Please, excuse the floor; it is an unfinished basement and there is some kind of heavy duty glue on the floor that we can't get up. Not pretty, but functional.

When I started this system, I had two kids who separated their own laundry so I put labels on the cans. I was really high-tech - 3x5 cards, a sharpie and packing tape. They've hung on there for 6 1/2 years so I'm not complaining.

I love how lightweight the trash cans are and how portable each load is. I just pick up the can that I want to put into the washer, tip it over and in it easy!

After I get some wash done, I'll show you what I do after it comes out of the dryer.

What system works well for you in your house? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Radom Dozen # 9

Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee has been doing a weekly random question/answer post. I've just been reading, but thought I'd join in this week.

1. Tell me something about your favorite teacher.

My favorite teacher was Mr. David Brown. He taught numerous business classes in the small college I attended, including Accounting. I truly cared for Mr. Brown, because he cared about me. I was usually a good student, but I really struggled with Accounting. I would go into Mr. Brown's office after hours and seek help with my homework. Often, I just didn't get it. He seemed confounded. I then explained, "Mr. Brown, when I look at the little boxes in the ledger where the numbers go, I worry more about my numbers looking pretty rather than if they are right." He gave me a knowing look and patted my arm and said, "We'll get you through it." Somehow he did!

2. Tell me about one pivotal moment in your life.

I was sitting in Chapel during my Senior year in High School. There was a visiting evangelist at my Christian school that was really ranting on and on about homosexuality. I had attended public school up through my Junior year so much of the Christian School "ways" were new to me. I remember sitting there just getting madder and madder inside. I was ready to jump up and start yelling and arguing with the preacher saying something to the effect, "Just get off it. They have a choice. It's none of our business. Why do you think a bunch of Christian High Schoolers need to hear this message?" Then a still small voice said, "Because it's sin." I was blown away. At that moment I realized that the public school system had brainwashed me with their socialistic viewpoint and that I had not been using the Bible as my source and guide by which to measure what is true. It was quite the eye-opener, to say the least.

3. About favorite colors--a lot of people will ask you what it is, but I want to know why it is. What feeling or memory does it evoke?

I adore pink and red...always have. When I was growing up my bedroom had pink walls, a floral canopy bed and red shag carpeting. I never tired of that crazy color combination!

I guess I like pink because it's so feminine to me. I look very good in pink and I just feel more cheery when I I wear that color. If you know me, cheery is a good thing!

I love red because I look good in that too. Ha! I love deep rich reds and pair it with yellow in my decorating scheme. It's just a warm color that is NOT drab. Red makes me happy too.

4. What's a sure sign that you're getting older?

What's with being all creaky when you've sat down for a couple of hours? I'll get up from my desk or from watching tv and I'm an OLD lady! I just get stiff too quickly. Plus, the gray hair...but let's not go there.

5. Please don't sermonize, but Halloween--is it a yes or no for you?

Yes!! We innocently celebrate in a fun way with our kids.

6. What's your favorite musical?

South Pacific..."Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair..." I just love her spirit!

7. Are you more of a city mouse or country mouse?

Hmmm...I have lived both and love both. I think I'm a suburb mouse. I'm really very content wherever I live.

8. Did you know that it is possible, for a small fee, to name a real star after someone? (It's true! Google it!) If someone were to name a star for you, would you appreciate it for its whimsy and romance, or would you say, "Are you kidding me? For $19.95 we could have gone to the movie and actually bought popcorn."

Well, before seeing the movie, Rocket Man, I would think you were crazy, but I love when the main character talks about the star he named as a kid. It's the only thing that makes me think it might be fun, BUT I would want to be able to SEE my star...none of this "it's out there somewhere."

This question comes from Paula at His Ways Are Not Our Ways.
9. What's the craziest thing you've ever been doing and texted during it? I only thought of this b/c I was about to try to text during my walking video but I didn't.

Church or, I hate admitting that. (texting so my family can find where we're sitting in church OR at a stoplight...not while actually driving...well, maybe once.)

10. "It's not a party unless _______."

There's good food. I'm from a Southern family, remember.

11. When you're stuck in traffic or a waiting room, what do you do to pass the time? PS: There are no magazines available.

I plan posts, schedules, curriculum, errands, to do lists. I love planning.

12. If you weren't yourself, would you be friends with you?

NO WAY! I wouldn't put up with me. Ha!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

Would've been cuter without the signs, but the girls are adorable.

Most of the family coming down the big slide...Grandpa, where are you?

Ahh, hanging out with the kettle corn!

Katie & Grandma have a hay fight on the hay ride.

Can't leave without our honey sticks!

Goals, Week 1

On Wednesday I wrote this about being accountable to keep a food journal and exercise three times a week. Although my readership might be virtually non-existent (smile), it still gave me the impetus to make sure I accomplished my goals this week. I did keep a food journal (& it was ugly!) and I did exercise 3 times this week, working out on Monday and then procrastinating until the last two days to get the rest in. I did it, but just barely! It's good for me to admit it so that I will make wiser choices this coming week. If you think of me and my goals, please say a little prayer. Thanks!

PS. As I write this, my two little girls are taking a break from school, playing Barbies. One of them is Jesus and they are asking Him to rescue them and lift them up (I think up to the third floor of the Barbie house.) Interesting...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beneath My Heart

I just happened upon a blog that I've now added to my favorites/follow list. It's Beneath My Heart. See here for a giveaway that she is hosting through today.

I was reading Beth Moore's blog and came upon a comment made by Traci from Beneath My Heart. She seems like a sweet sister-in-Christ and I'm looking forward to getting to know her better through her blog.

Spooky Picnik

Remember my "picnik'd" pictures? On May 22 I shared my spooky church, broken butterfly and little girl's bums. Now Ashley has come up with this:

If you didn't go play with the photo editor the first time, go play now.

It's so much fun!

**When you make something, let me know. Maybe we'll have a picnik photo gallery post!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Moment by Moment

I went to see the doctor on Monday and he said I made his morning with the good report on my health. My blood pressure has been in the normal range for a few weeks now so the meds are working. Praise the Lord! With my doctor's support I am modifying my diet and being accountable for my exercise with the intent of getting off all meds in the future. I've set a six week goal of keeping a food journal and exercising a minimum of three times a week. So now that I've told you, I'll let you know each week if I've kept my goals. They are "baby steps" on the road to healthy living, but still a challenge for me.

In the wee hours of the morning recently, Katie came to my bedside to tell me about her nightmare. It was just enough to fully wake me up. I then laid in bed for an hour stressing about the responsibilities that need to be covered this week. Ever been there? It can often be overwhelming. As you know, I believe the Lord has given me this heavy load to help me grow in grace and to know Him more, but that didn't stop the adrenaline from pumping and the mind from spinning. The Father, again, gently reminded me that I was right - I couldn't successfully accomplish His will in my life this week - only HE could. I just took a deep breath and prayed, "Yes, Lord. Thank you for reminding me." I then got up and spent time in the Word and in prayer.

I then made my "to do" list - which was too long to actually accomplish and then prioritized what had to be done. By the end of the day I did all I had to do, plus, a few more things. Was I super-woman? Could I awe any other woman with my prowess of multi-tasking? NO WAY! Did I please the Lord? I think so, because we walked through the day together. I tried to share HIS love with everyone I encountered. I'd rather be that woman any day than the raging control freak who looks good only from the outside. We know the right answer - that our goal should be to glorify God. What He thinks of us has eternal consequences. This life is a vapor so why should I be trying to strive for what the world says is successful? Chasing after a vapor? No thanks. Chasing after God? That sounds good.

Are you searching for that quiet walk with God amidst the busyness of life? Do you long for peace, guidance, and the ability to be quiet enough to hear His still small voice? There are so many women who want to find God in the middle of actually living...the laundry, meals, schooling, work, volunteering,'s all so busy. Here's a post that I hope will encourage you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blog Make-Over

Do you all like my blog make-overs? I love the autumn and thought it might be fun to change the blog background for the season. Just wait until Christmas...there are some cute ones out there! I also love my black & white design on my cooking blog - chic, I say!

I know some of my readers have their own blogs so I thought I'd share some of the great places you can get free backgrounds for your blog. Did you really want to dig through 17, 400,000 sites yourself?! Happy Decorating!

I'll start with the site that I chose a background from:

One that has cute, scrap-booking type pages:

Quirky little birdie:

Arts & Crafty looking, plus a few photo backgrounds:

Fun photo backgrounds:

I don't know, just unique:

Come to the dark side:

Lotsa Choices:

There's some unique backgrounds here: (keep scrolling down!)

I stumbled upon this one: (check out the textures! & I like their slogan)

Just like this one: (they may be my next site to borrow from)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scents and Scents-ability

This is the first scent I can ever remember wearing...does it look familiar to anyone? It's Avon's Honeysuckle Roll On. If they came out with it again today, I'd buy me a case of it! Loved it!!

I then graduated to Love's Baby Soft! What girl of the 80's didn't wear this perfume? I even bought it for my oldest daughter when she was that powdery scent.

In high school I moved on to Ciara - a strong musky/vanilla perfume. I wanted to make a statement/be memorable, but it sometimes gave me a headache.

I then went through a Wind Song phase. When Walmart began carrying those faux perfume aerosol sprays I could smell good cheaply - always a plus in college.

During my sophomore year in college, one of my roommates, Kirsten, and I got very sick. We both came down with mono and pneumonia and we felt like we were gonna die. Seriously, it was traumatic. I remember using all our energy to walk down the hallway to the pay phone so we could call our mommies. I sobbed on the phone one day telling my mom that I doubted my salvation 'cause I was sure God wouldn't let one of his children suffer as much as I was suffering. Kirsten was so sick that while she slept she had me stand on a chair next to her top bunk and shake her every time she stopped breathing to wake her up. I just laid my head down by her and probably drifted in and out of sleep too.

One day a package arrived from Kirsten's mom. Enclosed was an adult sized pair of footie pajamas drenched in her mother's favorite perfume. It smelled heavenly! Kirsten's mommy was thousands of miles away, but this was her way of taking care of her daughter. It actually did wonders for both of us. The perfume...Blue Grass by Elizabeth Arden.

Soon after the two of us recovered, I went out and purchased my own bottle of Blue Grass and I've worn it ever since. I can only find it at one specialty perfume store in the DC area, but somehow that makes it even more special.

I've tried a few other perfumes and every once in a while I'll wear Anais Anais or Jessica McClintock, but Blue Grass will always be my favorite. It's my signature scent.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Annual Vacation

We recently returned home from our annual vacation - a week spent each fall at an off-season ski-resort in the mountains. This was our 5th year vacationing with my parents and we all marveled at how quickly we let the stresses of life melt away. The relaxation was almost instantaneous after that first step into the familiar villa.

An annual vacation to the same destination takes away the guesswork of what to bring or what to expect. We've already tried many activities over the past five years - craft classes, tennis, mini-golf, shopping, swimming, dance classes, yoga, scuba-diving, eating out, historical tours, hiking, wine tastings, massage, billiards, ping pong, playing at playgrounds, Bingo, basketball, magic shows and poetry readings. There's always something new we add each year to our activities, but it's the conversations around the table, the games, the cozy fires & movie watching and the feeding of the deer from our deck that cement the relaxation in body and mind. It's good food, good company and good times...and only 358 days until we get to do it again.

(daily swim lessons at the pool)

(playing with Grandpa at the Frontier Culture Museum)

(relaxation is in the air!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Father Tim's favorite quotes & mine too!

I love the Mitford series by Jan Karon. Her characters come to life and she makes me want to live a slower paced life in the mountains of North Carolina. If you have not read any of her books, please, go to the library asap and pick up At Home in Mitford, her first book in the series. You'll be glad you did.

After reading through the series, I wondered if I would enjoy the two books of Father Tim's quotes. The first of the two, Patches of Godlight, is so good...a collection of thoughtful quotes is always inspiring. For years I have kept my own small quote book, but after reading through some of Father Tim's quotes I may have to purchase a larger journal to hold all the ones I want to add to my own. Here are a few of my favorite:

We - or at least I - shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest. At best, our faith and reason will tell us that He is adorable, but we shall not have found Him so, not have "tasted and seen." Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are "patches of godlight" in the woods of experience."
-C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

If you read history you will find that Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves, who set out on foot to convert the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth "thrown in." Aim at earth and you will get neither. - C. S. Lewis

None can love freedom heartily but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license.
- Milton

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
- Leonard Cohen

The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed.
-Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest"

The Bible without the Holy Spirit is a sundial by moonlight.
-Dwight L. Moody, 1937-1899

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.
- Helen Keller

Let the Stable Still Astonish

Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: "Yes, Let the God of all the heavens and earth
Be born here, in this place"?
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
of our hearts
and says, "Yes,
let the God of Heaven and Earth be born here -
in this place."
-Leslie Leyland Fields

Keep a clear eye toward life's end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God's creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received...but only have you have given; a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.
-Francis of Assisi "Letters to Rulers of People"

Never has the world had a greater need for love than in our day. People are hungry for love. We don't have time to stop and smile at each other. We are all in such a hurry! Pray. Ask for the necessary grace. Pray to be able to understand how much Jesus loved us, that you can love others. - Mother Teresa

Cultivate my heart, Lord, so I may catch every word that falls from heaven - every syllable of encouragement, every sentence of rebuke, every paragraph of instruction, every page of warning. Help me to catch these words as the soft, fertile soil catches seeds. - Ken Gire

Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it, piece by piece - by thought, choice, courage and determination. - H. Jackson Browne

There are three stages in the work of God: impossible, difficult, done. - James Hudson Taylor, English Missionary