Wednesday, November 25, 2009

100th Blog Post Give Away!

UPDATE: Congratulations, Traci, on being the only person to read my 100th blog post and win the handmade bookmark!

Thank You, faithful friends and family for reading my blog!

I've made it to the 100th post!
I've shared a mixture of serious and silly entries and you've been with me all along the way.

Let's celebrate together!

I would like to give away this cross stitched bookmark that I made this week for the winner of my give-away.

I Corinthians reminds us that charity, or love, is the greatest of virtues.

This bookmark is a small token of my love for you.

If you would like to win the book mark, please, leave a comment stating one unusual thing for which you're thankful. (get creative!)

I will randomly choose a name on Saturday night and post the winner.
Please, share the give-away with friends, if you'd like.

Weekend Washington Tour

Recently my husband and I took our two youngest daughters sightseeing in our home town, Washington D.C. We had just finished a unit study on Native Americans in school and thought it might be fun to go downtown and see the National Museum of the American Indian so that's where the tour begins.

The picture doesn't do justice to the sculpture. We enjoyed searching for different animals tucked into this 360 degree piece of art.

The girls learned about cradleboards when they were studying Indian culture.

After spending some time learning about Native Indians, we decided to hit a Washington DC landmark eatery...

Ben's Chili Bowl!

You can learn more about this amazing diner here:

Lunch was the perfect pick-me-up so we drove back downtown to the Library of Congress, just across the street from the Capitol.

Front entrance facing the east side of the Captiol.

One of my cherubs peeking out from behind the others.

The ceiling...

The quotes...

Handwritten music by Gershwin...

The Grandeur!

As you can see, the sun was setting, but we were still up for one more adventure.

We went to check out Eastern Market.

This is a public market housed in a 19th century brick building. It has the feel of an enclosed farmer's market and if you visit on the weekend, the market overflows with vendors and people enjoying a community breakfast together. The market was badly damaged by fire in 2007. Supported by the community it was restored and reopened in June 2009. It's an off-the-beaten-trail landmark of Washington D.C.

We visited on a quiet evening just as they were beginning to close for the day, but we came away with tasty meats and yummy cupcakes. It was the perfect ending to our sightseeing tour!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Dozen - Thanksgiving Style!

1. Are you sticking to traditional Thanksgiving foods this year, or are you being culinarily adventurous?

Tradition rules - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade dinner rolls, deviled eggs, olives, followed by pies - chocolate, apple & pumpkin.

2. Tell me something concrete that you're thankful for. (Something you can literally touch, see, etc., not a concept like "hope.")

Besides my family, I'm thankful for the first crocheted throw that I made and gave to my grandmother. It was returned to me by my mother today and it now lays over a chair in my living room.

3. You knew the flip side was coming: Share about something intangible that you're thankful for.

Memories. Losing my grandmother two weeks ago makes me especially thankful for memories.

4. Share one vivid Thanksgiving memory. It doesn't have to be deep or meaningful, just something that remains etched in your memory.

One Thanksgiving morning I went to take a shower and my usual clear conditioner was empty. Because it was a holiday and we lived 45 minutes from the nearest store, I had to make due with another conditioner that was used by my Dad and brother. All seemed fine, until as we were eating the meal I began to itch. I kept itching to myself quietly until one of my family members looked at me and gasped. I had hives covering my face. Actually, I had hives from head to toe - wherever the conditioner had touched me. It was the first incident that helped us realize that I was allergic to product dyes.

5. What is one thing that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is going to happen this Thanksgiving because it always does, year after year?

My father and husband will eat too much and nap on the living room floor.

6. Do your pets get any left-overs?

Yes, when we had pets our dog got some turkey scraps.

7. Does your family pray before the big meal? If so, do you join hands while seated, stand, repeat a formal prayer or offer a spontaneous prayer? Who does the praying?

We pray before every meal, including Thanksgiving. We stand if it's a big crowd eating in different rooms and sit if everyone can fit into the dining room. It is a spontaneous prayer given by the patriarch, my father.

8. Will you be watching football in the afternoon? If not, what will you be doing?

There will be football games playing in the background, but we'll usually be playing games as well.

9. There are two distinct camps of people on this issue: How do you feel about oysters in the dressing/stuffing?


10. Do you consider yourself informed about the first Thanksgiving?

I'm a homeschool mom...that's a "duh" around here. :)

11. Which variety of pie will you be enjoying?

As mentioned above, I'll be making 3 kinds, but I'll be eating the pumpkin! I've been waiting for months!

12. Do you feel for the turkey?? (This is a humorous throw back question related to the 12th question in another Random Dozen!)

When I was a kid I felt sorry for the turkey. I wanted the President to pardon ALL the turkeys and I was mad at him for only choosing one. Now, C'est la vie!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

37 Days of Kindness

Wish I had thought up this great idea! Lysa TerKeurst posted a challenge about focusing on kindness, the kind Christ asks of us, each day leading up to Christmas.

Don't know about you, but I could use a re-focus right about now. Although I am going through a time of grieving, I'm struggling to find a way to stop thinking of myself. This just may be what I need.

I really want this season to be more quiet, more focused on Christ and a time when I can find quiet in the presence of the Lord. Looking for a little peace, I guess.

I'm determined to let it begin in me.

Care to join us?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Goals, Weeks 4 & 5

They should be called mere suggestions...wispy thoughts...fat chances. :)

Obviously, last week I did NOT keep a food journal or exercise on purpose. I spent almost 40 hours in the car traveling last week and I did not eat excessively. One does not feel like eating when going through the process of a funeral/burial. The last thing I could do was focus on me. right calf muscle was exercised on the gas pedal. Well, I did use the cruise feature a lot so I guess it doesn't count. My back aches like I've exercised, but I think we're back to those 40 hours in the car again.

I am also not keeping a food/exercise journal this week. I didn't stop traveling until Monday night and the past two days have been basically spent in my jammies just recuperating from sadness. I've got to snap out of it for the end of the week/weekend and I'm ready to do that, but again, just not focusing on the extras.

Maybe next might be good to get back to healthy living just in time for Thanksgiving! (and to end the 6 weeks on a high note.)

I said I'd keep you informed of my efforts...putting it out there has revealed a lot, but I'm being gentle with myself. (at least for one more week)

Random Dozen # 12

Linda at 2nd cup of coffee hosts this meme. Each Wednesday we share our answers to a dozen random questions. If you want to join in the fun, click here.

1. If you could master one sport, what would it be?

Ping Pong! You see, my husband has mad-skills at putting spins on his ping pong returns. Just once I'd like to showcase some talent and whip his pants! (all in good fun, of course!) Here's what I'm dreaming of:

2. When you make a major purchase, do you go with your gut instinct, or do you do research to make an informed decision? husband is great at doing the legwork, followed by gut instinct - which researched product seems like the best idea for us.

3. There is an old kids' game that says you can find out what your movie star name would be by using your middle name as your first name and the name of the street you grew up on as your last. What is your movie star name?

Michelle Riverview (she's the host of Mission Organization, btw!)

4. Would you rather give up your favorite music or your favorite food?

Uhhh...neither? Food and music are BIG in our house. It would be slightly easier to give up the music, I think. I could probably find a new favorite musically over giving up BBQ Chicken and Snickers bars.

5. There are two types of banana preferences. One is pristine yellow, almost to the point of being green; the other is spotty and more ripe. Which is your preference?

pristine yellow, almost green...a FRESH banana. so yummy.

6. Your favorite tree is?

I like a lot of trees, but my two faves - a freshly cut pine for our Christmas tree and Weeping Willow. I grew up with a Weeping Willow in our front yard and I could hide out under it when I needed a quiet place to go. It was so beautiful blowing in the wind. Sweet memories.

7. On a scale of 1-10, how tech savvy are you?

Ummm, I had to use the help button to figure out how to add a YouTube video. I did it though. Armed with a good library book, I'm a 5 or 6. Left to my own devices - probably a 2.

8. Has H1N1 touched your family?

Who knows? The little girls had minor flu-like symptoms at the end of October, but nothing traumatic. My oldest daughter's boyfriend at college got really sick around the same time, claiming H1H1, but I don't think he was ever clearly diagnosed with that specific flu...nice drama though.

9. Are you an analytical person, or do you just accept things the way they are without questioning or scrutinizing?

Mostly analytical; I rarely just accept anything, but my emotions cloud my judgment (or that's what my family tells me!)

10. Is your personality more like that of a dog, cat, or Koala?

I'm a cat all the way! I do things on my own terms, like to be with others when I'm interested, could care less if you like me, but can be perfectly charming when I want to be. A few eyes might have been scratched, but I'm in rehab. There's a sweet playful kitten in there too, lest you get the wrong idea. :)

11. Do you keep in touch with friends you made years ago?

I keep in touch with some friends. I'm faithful about connecting with a Christmas card and FB has helped me keep up with friends throughout the rest of the year. I enjoy writing handwritten letters and maintain communication with a few the "old-fashioned" way.

12. You are checking out at a grocery store. In the express lane, there are more people than the regular lanes, but of course, their load is less than those in the regular lanes. Which lane do you choose (assuming you qualify for the express lane) and why?

I inadvertently choose the slowest's a gift.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Wikipedia: Compassion is a human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering. ...the so-called Golden Rule embod(ies) by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you.

Two Sundays ago our pastor preached a sermon on compassion. I was in a mood that day, believing that the worship/sermon didn't really speak to me. That afternoon I joked with my husband that compassion wasn't my "gift" and that I liked my attitude of "buck up and deal with it!"

In the message Pastor explained that the way God grows compassion within you is to give you troubles, based upon the following verses:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

As I was joking with Mark, I said, "So you know, since I'm sure compassion isn't for me that trouble is heading our way!" Within 6 hours my grandmother was dead.

Mark and I haven't spoken about my cavalier attitude, but, as you can imagine, the Lord has.

When we lose a loved-one it is always hard. My grandma and I were very close. I have cried every day since her passing. I will miss her beyond what I can describe to you. I realize that everyone else is busy with life and that we can't expect an out-pouring of love that could cover our grief. There would never be enough. However, I am amazed at who steps up to comfort at a time like this and who doesn't. I've tried to be mentally gracious to those who haven't expressed any heartfelt sympathy, realizing that I was one of those people just days ago.

I write this post today, not to sermonize or make anyone feel guilty, but to capture that moment when I realized how important a card, phone call, dish dropped by, a prayer, or even an electronic message of sympathy means to the one who is grieving. Just to know that someone is thinking about you when you can think of nothing but your loss. That's compassion and I needed to grow in it.

Although I miss my grandmother, I'm thankful for the timely sermon that will stay with me. If I can't take a little time to show compassion to those who are hurting, then how will they truly see God's love in me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prayer for Traveling Mercies

The kids and I head out tomorrow morning at 4am...only 6 hours away. We will drive straight through to Peoria, IL so if you read this, please, stop and say a little prayer for our safety & sanity!

The burial is on Thursday at 1pm. We will have a lot of extended family come in to town so I'm looking forward to seeing relatives I haven't seen in 20 years, but just wish it was under better circumstances.

We're all hanging in there. It will be difficult; she was a well-loved Grandma, but the Lord has given us peace and comfort through it all.

We'll be traveling back home on Saturday and Sunday, then I'll take my daughter back to college on Monday (another 6 hours.) Please, pray for our safety again, if you would.

We're blessed with many sweet friends and I'm thankful for all the support.

See ya' next week!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Goals, Week 3 & Funeral

This week I exercised two times and kept my food log up through Wednesday...part way there, but not all the way. We did a lot of traveling/sight-seeing at the end of the week so I was out of my routine. We spent Thursday afternoon/evening taking Rhett to Ashley's university for a weekend visit. Then the little girls, Mark and I went downtown to the Native American Museum and the Library of Congress on Friday. On Saturday the four of us went to Baltimore to the Maryland Science Center where we spent the afternoon. I'll, hopefully, post about this at a later time. I've got some great pictures I want to share.

Last night around bedtime I received the call that my grandma passed away. It wasn't a surprise, but it wasn't expected either. She was 80 years young! (just drove her car the day before!) I just wanted to let my blog-friends know so you don't wonder why you aren't hearing from me.

I'll write more after we return from our trip to the funeral in the Midwest. Please, pray for our safety and that we will be a comfort to those who need it most.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Dozen # 10

It's Random Dozen time...

1. It's early morning, about 2:00AM, and you're driving home. You come to a red light and sit there. There is no one in sight for miles around. Do you wait it out or run the light?

Such a rule follower...this has happened to me and I totally waited for the light.

2. If you had the chance to re-do the last 24 hours, would you change anything?

Go to bed earlier...maybe.

3. When you reply to someone's comment on your blog, do you reply in your comments or go to her blog and comment? (Or email her)

go to their blog and comment

4. Your favorite Disney movie is:

Mary Poppins, the first movie I saw in theaters with my Daddy.

5. Do you recycle?

Do you really need to know? No and I feel the shame, thanks.

6. Games of strategy or games of chance?

If I have to choose - games of chance, but I prefer memory games above all.

7. Do you have any recurring dreams?

Not now, as an adult. As a child I dreamt my family was being tortured in a "Dr. Suess" machine while I was being restrained and made to watch. They came out like little toothpicks. Wouldn't Freud have had fun with that one!

8. What did you learn from your first real job?

How to flirt with the delivery boys...oh, you might have meant something a little more honorable. Um, how to handle a large switchboard, and to be nice to nasty people.

9. Do you buy or borrow most books?

I'm a library frequent-borrower.

10. What fashion trend of the past did you say you'd never wear again but did?

Plaid pants

11. When do you start Christmas shopping?

In a good year, right about now. When I procrastinate - a week before Christmas.

12. Have you ever been so happy that you literally jumped up and down for a few seconds? If so, what was the occasion?

When my husband got tickets for my three girls and I to go see the Jonas Brothers in concert, three hours before the concert began! Here's a pic of their faces when the Jo Bro's came out.

Airing My Clean Laundry

Part 2...

A few days ago, I shared how I organize my dirty laundry here.

Where does it go after it comes out of the dryer?

Well, when I hear the dryer beep I head downstairs (or fluff the load because I didn't hear it, ignored it, etc.), throw the load in a basket and sit on the second to the last step of my stairwell, right in front of this narrow cupboard. (I'm taking the picture while sitting on one of the steps.)

Here I fold the clothes and stack everyone's pile in one of the spots on this mini-bookshelf.

Now the best part...everyone is trained to come get their own laundry and put it away! Really! They are also trained (except hubby) to put their dirty clothes in the basket in the hall upstairs and someone carries it down when it's full. (best case scenario...we all have those, right?)

I put the clean sheets and towels in a basket stored in my laundry room and when it's full I take it upstairs and put it all away in the linen closet. This then becomes the new dirty clothes basket upstairs. It's just a continual rotation of baskets.

The cupboard looks rough, I know, and someday I'll figure out how to refinish furniture and get it done, but until then, it's still very functional. Someday it will be as pretty as my clean laundry.

Got any organizing tips to share? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Faith Challenge

One more post today...

I read this post by Angie Smith. It's such a thought-provoking post on faith - simple, and yet such a good reminder.

There is one line in the post that will probably stick with me for a while,

"It has nothing to do with the stirring, and everything to do with the stirrer."

So good! Thanks, Angie, for sharing your heart with us!

Thanksgiving Give-Away!

Just found out about this amazing giveaway at Melissa's Heart and Home. Click here to check out the beautiful gifts she is giving away for her 1 year blog anniversary.

Goals, Week 2

Goals, what goals? Oh, right...I was working on goals.

Last Monday morning I awoke with a full-blown head cold. (Thank you, my children.) I was completely miserable. Because I'm on new medication, I had to call the doctor to find out if there was anything I could take that would not raise my blood pressure. The answer...all the good stuff is bad for me. They gave me a couple of options and my hubby picked it up for me.

I didn't start feeling better until Friday, but have still been taking medication, even today, trying to abate the symptoms. There were a few other things added to the week that aren't appropriate to share with the world, but it made the week nearly impossible to keep my goals. So...NO, I did not keep a food journal (wasn't really eating much) and didn't exercise a wink - except to exercise my right to catch a few winks.

Katie ended up getting the flu and missed trick-or-treating, church and Awanas. Poor girl. It has been "general hospital" around here this past week.

However, yesterday began a new month and I made some goals for November. I've got my food journal ready to go for today and enough energy to get back to exercising. Hopefully, I can get back in the swing of things and have a great report next week!

Thanks for putting up with the whining. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Angie's Favorites Playlist

This is what you'll find on my Favorites Playlist on my IPod:

Bubbly by Colbie Caillat
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
Lucky by Jason Mraz
Viva La Vida by Cold Play
The Prayer by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli
While I’m Waiting by John Waller
Mighty to Save by Laura Story
What Would Life Be Like by Big Daddy Weave
Washed By The Water by Needtobreathe
The Motions by Matthew West
Alabaster Box by CeCe Winans
Shine On by Needtobreathe
Much of You by Will Pavone
I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin
God With Us by Mercy Me

What are YOU listening to?