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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Nothing is Too Small...

NOTHING you do is so small that God cannot use it.

I'm always so surprised that God chooses to use things that I say or do that seem random and not all that well thought-out.  But God is GOD.  He can elevate the simplest thoughts to be exactly the words that someone needs to hear.  He can use our words... and apparently pictures to impact others.  Afterall, everyone has their own learning-style (as we like to say around here), and different things speak to different people.

If you want to know what I mean, go HERE.

What a mighty God I serve!
I need to remember not to underestimate how he can use me.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Just Checking In...

Our kids are great about checking in with us when they're away from home...  So, when they aren't home by the time we were expecting them, I usually send a short text asking if they're ok.  Today, I ran a few errands on my way home from work, and I got a text from our son saying, "You okay?"

#happyparentingmoment
#thoughtfulson
#justcheckingin


Just a reminder that you can always find me on Instagram --> 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer So Far

Hope you're having a great summer, so far.  Last week, our girl worked at a Summer XP club (half-days) with other teens from our church, so I had a busy week of getting her there & back each day.  Let me tell you... that made the week FLY by!

This week, she is on a high school church youth group discipleship trip to Estes Park, Colorado.  I don't mind telling you that I'm a little jealous.  The pictures that everyone is sharing are incredible.  I'm so excited for the relationships that they will be building, first and foremost with the LORD!


Back here at home, things are moving a little slower, and I'm trying to catch up, and get some things in order. Nothing major -- just stuff that get overlooked, and piles up or gets backlogged!

I recently read (and have heard before) that though this is the most photographed generation, people don't print photos as much as they used to.  Kind of makes me want to go on tour to promote Project Life - LOL. Speaking of which... I am caught up on my scrapbooks through Memorial Day weekend of this year.  So, one of the things that I need to work on is PRINTING photos that bring me up to date, and getting them in the scrapbook.

The other day, I purchased the Project Life "Fine & Dandy" core kit.  On the way home, I happened to think that there was some kind of contest related to this kit.  Later, I looked through the kit to see if I could find any indication, and was happy to see a golden ticket smiling up at me.  It entitles me to a limited edition value kit. What a nice surprise!


As I write this, it's raining.  Again.  Did I mention that it rained the entire week of the first Summer XP?  They worked around it, but still.  At this point, I'm getting kind of anxious for vacation.  I'd like to experience rain in another state, at the very least.  Ha!  How's that for positive thinking?  Seriously though, we always say that even if the weather doesn't cooperate for vacation, we are just happy to have a change of scenery and be in a place that we love.  Storms are always more interesting at the beach anyway!

Well, that's all for now.  Back to work!
Hope it's sunny wherever you are.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Expectations

I am not a high-maintenance, demanding kind of girl.  Ask my hubby, and he may disagree with you on any given day -- but for the most part, I think he knows he's spoiled.

Years ago, while still working full-time in an office setting, I witnessed a co-worker putting in a call to her spouse to ask where her birthday flowers were.  I was young, and unmarried at the time, but still... my thought was, if he's doing it because she TOLD him to, then... what's the point?  Shouldn't it come from his heart... his intentions?  I vowed right then not to be "that" wife when my time came.


Fast forward to now.  On Saturday, my hubby and I spent the day pulling weeds in our garden.  Sitting back to appreciate our work, we decided that rather than spend money on gifts for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and our June birthdays, we would put the cash towards... are you ready?

MULCH.

You heard me.


I am fully aware that sometimes I can be so practical (and okay, CHEAP), that I suck the fun right out of things.  We're not big on FUSS around here.

But MULCH?  Well, we're hoping that it will be the gift that keeps on giving.  Meaning:  we won't have to weed again soon -- or at least, as often.  (Stay with me here.)  This will give us more time to sit back and enjoy our yard.


And actually, there is much to enjoy.  Our garden is filled with beautiful flowers.  I've been posting pictures on Instagram of the flowers we enjoy.  But, what you can't see on Instagram is the weeds.  Because... you know... I am crafty in how I take my pictures.  *wink*  Because of my craftiness, an Instagram-following friend thought I had a wonderful garden.  It kind of made me sad to tell her that was really not the case... anymore -- that we'd gotten a little lazy in our weeding.

I became inspired.  Time to whip the garden back into shape (the way my friend may envision it) so that it really DOES look wonderful... for the big picture!  *wink*  MULCH, my friends, is a part of that plan.

Sometimes changing your expectations about something (in my case, gift-giving & receiving) can open up all new possibilities.

Have you adjusted any of your summer-time expectations recently?  It might make all of the difference in how you enjoy your summer-time experience.

Last year, I adjusted my expectations about what it meant to eat outdoors most summer evenings -- and about what things needed to "look like" in order to pull that off.   You can read about it HERE.

Summer will be here officially in a matter of days.  In the meantime, I'm pretending!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Not Monday, TUESday!

Three-day weekends sort of mess with my head.  By the time Tuesday rolls around, I don't even know what day it is anymore.  But... we managed to get everyone out the door this morning with the right day's schedule in mind.  I reminded our daughter that she only has go go through this morning process 6 more days!!!


We enjoyed a wonderful, traditional weekend with all of my immediate family, and extended out-of-town family-friends as well.  Cornhole and Hillbilly Golf are always set up, but most of all, we sit on the deck at my parents home talking and munching.  Beside all of the munching... great meals, too!


We look forward to, and treasure the time together.  This year, the weather was wonderful -- even though rain was in the forecast.  We managed to get away with just wind and lots of falling seeds-and-such from the trees.


Back at our house, the Poppies opened -- sort of a Memorial Day weekend tradition, as well.  Hope you had a wonderful weekend with the ones you love.  Enjoy this shortened week!



Friday, May 22, 2015

Hello. It's Me.

It's funny how things that you thought were never-ending suddenly just run out of steam and... end.  For me, that's been my blog.  For me, that's been time spent reading blogs.  Life just has a way of re-prioritizing itself sometimes.  This past school year, I got so busy with other things in life.  Blogging just felt like a way of "keeping up with the Joneses," so to speak.  I didn't have time for the latest home decor.  I didn't have money for hanging out needlessly at Target.  I didn't care to read "sales pitches" in my blogroll.  Nothing wrong with any of those things.  I've subscribed to all of them at one time or another.  I just haven't had time lately.  The blogging world sort of came to a screeching halt for me.


Today, I was hanging out HERE, and trying to see my blog with fresh eyes.  I removed a few things, and consolidated some others, and well... we'll see what happens next.  I want to stay true to myself, and not get carried away trying things that I know darn well will never work for me and my blog.

I do love writing.  I do love sharing pictures.  I think it's time to just get back to basics.


After school's out today, there are only eight more days left for our girl.  Then, our summer gets turned upside down as she has a part-time job helping out with a summer Bible Club called "Summer XP."  I will be the chauffeur (gladly), and I have a feeling that we will be in the car a lot.

We have some plans for other fun stuff, though - so, it's all good.

Come along for the ride, as I "go with the flow" this summer.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Life Un-blogged

Good Grief!  I've been living my life un-blogged for 3+ weeks.  What's the world coming to?  There was a day when one of those (a day) couldn't go by without me having something to say.  Lately, though, each day is so full of knowing I am right in the middle of where God wants me that there are no words at the end. (read: I collapse, exhausted.)


Also... if you follow Sasha @ LemonadeMakinMama, do you remember the day when she asked if Instagram had taken the place of blogging?  At the time, I didn't have an Instagram account, and (quite frankly) I was incredulous at what she was suggesting.

Today, I am here to tell you... Sasha knew what she was talking about.  I love documenting my days on Instagram with brief captions.  It only takes me a second.  So, long-story-short -- I would love it if you follow me there.  You can see my Instagram slideshow over there --> in my right side-bar, and if you would like to follow along, just click on this link:

and "FOLLOW."


My days of baby-rocking are quickly coming to a close for the season.  The summer will hopefully be more wide-open, and we are already planning for our summer vacation.  It's like a light at the end of a long winter tunnel!  My intention is to be more present here.  We'll see how that works out.

Praying that your heart will be fully engaged in this Easter weekend.  I will be rocking babies, serving dinner for 11, and remembering (with a grateful heart) the reason I am able to do all of this things.

If not for Christ on the cross...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Not Too Seriously


For the most part, we don't take ourselves too seriously around here.  For the most part, we are all pretty good at laughing at ourselves.  Here's a perfect example.

Last night, I remembered a dream from the previous night, and I shared it with my daughter.  The dream was a little odd in that I had a mustache.  Yep.  I looked in the mirror and there it was.  In the dream, it wasn't at all strange to me that I had a mustache... only that it was quite raggedy and uneven.  I was in a quandary about how to best even it up.  Do you trim it to match up with the top or the bottom of your lip, I wondered.

At this point in my explanation to my daughter, she held up her hand and amid hysterical laughter said, "Wait, wait!  Mom, you didn't think maybe you should just SHAVE?"

LAUGHING OUT LOUD, LOUDLY.

Nope.  That idea never crossed my mind.

See what I mean?

Not too seriously.

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Like Riding a Bicycle...

Remember THIS POST where I mentioned that we were having a little friend come to visit?

Well -- IT. WAS. AWESOME.


He came in like he owned the place, and within the first five seconds, found the teddy bear that I'd put out for him.  He willingly said goodbye to Mommy & Daddy.  No big deal.

We played.  He investigated the house, turning questioning eyes on me when he wanted to check something out.  There were only a couple things that I had to lay down the law on... like him picking up the little weights that I use when I walk [away the pounds], and dropping them.  Ummmm, NO!  We put that to an end before little toes got smashed.


He brought his own kitchen toys, and so, "cooked" at my feet while I made him mac-n-cheese for lunch.

He "talked to Mom" on his pretend phone, and then I got to "talk to her" too!

We put a chair cushion on a kitchen chair so that he was sitting higher for lunch, and he ate like a champ.


Shortly after lunch, it was naptime... meaning: the pack-n-play in my room.  Story first, read by my girl -- who was equally tickled to have the little guy here.  Then, shade pulled.  Familiar blankies.  And knowing his "code word" for blankie, too!  I stood at the top of the stairs listening to the movements behind the almost-closed door.  It only took about 3 minutes, and there was stillness.  I waited for a little voice to call,.. but nothing.

Two hours later, I knew that Mommy would return shortly, so I went up to wake the little man.  I called his name gently, reminding him that he was at Sally's house.  I expected a bit of a fuss upon waking -- you know how that can be.  I didn't know if he'd remember where he was.  But, no biggie.

We came downstairs and played with his trains as had been promised before naptime.  All in all, it went so smoothly, and way too fast!  Mommy was back before we knew it.

Though I care for these sweet little ones at church, I haven't had little ones in my home in a long time.  Even the nieces and nephews are grown up.  Age-appropriate toys are mostly gone -- and all of the important tools (high chair, crib) are long gone.  So, I wasn't really sure how it would go, but...

It's just like riding a bicycle!

This is one of my favorite pictures... the little guy on my couch, feet crossed, looking at pictures of himself on my iPod.
Sign of the times... and those crossed feet?  A clue to his comfort?  Precious!


Monday, February 23, 2015

(that post where I won't name any names...)

What a whirlwind weekend!

Friday night was a drive to camp to drop off our girl and her friend for a Winter Weekend with our church youth group.

Saturday was snow, snow, snow, and though it was recommended that we wouldn't, my hubby and I ventured out for lunch (breakfast food for me) at a neighborhood cafe that we have recently discovered.

Sunday was baby rockin', worship, a Mexican lunch, and a drive back to camp to get our girl -- and then a lot of feet up, surfin', snoozin', kids & friends playing cards, and Downton Abbey watchin'.  (No awards, thank you.)

There was a lot of down-time in between all of the running, so, it was a nicely balanced weekend, even though it sped by.

The highlight of my Sunday morning in the nursery was a silly little thing -- but in another way, huge.  One little guy was going around the room, pointing back to me and saying, "That's Sally."  It just kind of struck me that... he really knows me.  Week after week, visit after visit, we have become buddies.  So much so, in fact, that when I saw him again later in the morning, he kissed me.  On the lips.

OBviously, we have become close.  I'm laughing out loud, and shaking my head.  Oh that boy.


I hope you had a great weekend, too!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Stay Warm!

I hope everyone is staying toasty warm on this coldest of cold days.  My girl and I are hunkered down at home... school was cancelled yesterday and today due to the extreme temps/windchills expected -- and we are all too happy to be spending the day with one of our favorite "littles" from church.  It's been fun to dust off some old toys, favorite books, and a naptime blanket for him.  I'm looking forward to some great adventures... indoors.

Stay warm!

And for your viewing pleasure: frost on one of our windows.  God's handiwork.



Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day Weekend... I Hope


I hope you have a beautiful Valentine's Day Weekend.  I hope it's filled with fun adventures.  I hope you get crafty.  I hope you prepare some of your favorite foods... together.  Spend time... together.

I hope you do... the things that will give you the MOST wonderful memories.

Happy Valentine's Day!


#LoveIsWorthCelebrating


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sunny Days Inspiration

SUNSHINE.  


I just googled and found out there is an average of 164 days of sunshine where I live.  164 out of 365.  That's only about 45% of the days in a typical year.  That puts our city at 44th of the list of the top 101 cities with the lowest average sunshine amount.  BOO.  Also - I just did all that MATH before 9:30AM.  If my calculations are wrong, don't tell me.  This is NOT a math blog - *wink.


Okay, so this is an average.  I get that.  That means there are some years where we have lots of sunshine, and other years... not so much.  Well, this has been one of those "not so much" years -- at least so far.  My south-bound mother teased me a little about my dismal outlook this year.  To that, I can only say, "Talk to the hand... You weren't LIVING it."  LOL.  Just teasin' ya back, Mom.  {By the way, nice tan!}


Anyways, I'm here to tell you that there have been a handful of sunshiny days in the last week or so, and... all record-making, taking, or breaking aside... I'll TAKE 'EM!


It was a dreary January, but as soon as the sunshine showed up, I felt like my brain was finally open for business.  I even went so far as to do a little crafting, resulting in some Valentine decor.  Kind of blew my own mind, since I've been in a long dry spell.


I also was inspired to do some picture-taking -- which I haven't done [just for fun] in a long time.  Most of the pics showed up on Instagram, as you know if you follow me there.  As usual, I'm way behind the curve when it comes to technology.  I've only recently "inherited" my daughter's old iPod.  It takes ridiculously crummy pictures, but I'm having fun with it nevertheless.  Someday, I will have something even "smarter."


But I digress.  


It took a fellow-blogger's comment to snap me out of the doldrums after THIS POST.  Amanda and I have become blogging buddies since we both participated in the "This Week in My Kitchen" bloghop.  She chided me, saying, "...really [pictures] are what jog our memories when we look back on life... TAKE MORE PICTURES, and stop wishing the winter away. ;)"

Thanks Amanda.  You were right.  {You can find Amanda's blog HERE.}


Picture-taking can really change your perspective on things.

The other day, I was downtown at a stop-light that was taking forever to change.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and all of a sudden it occurred to me that I might get an interesting "urban" shot of the red traffic light with the sunlight behind it.  So, instead of sitting at the red light tapping my fingers, I was taking pictures.  BOOM.  Perspective changed.

Try it.  You might be surprised.  Also: some of the best picture-taking happens on days without sun!  NO SHADOWS!


Don't forget: #LoveIsWorthCelebrating


Monday, February 2, 2015

When Crafting With Candy, Know Your Audience

So, I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking when I fell in love with my friend Pam's Valentine idea.  Obviously, I forgot her comment: "You gotta use a candy that you don't love more than life itself, or you're just asking for it be be refilled constantly." 


Obviously, I forgot the "audience" at my house -- since this jar wasn't even out on display 48 hours before somebody wanted to empty it.  [In reality, 48 hours is probably some kind of record around here!]


That person shall remain nameless, but suffice it to say that he[?] was told it was there for decorative purposes.  I really didn't think that these little cinnamon red-hot things would be very tempting.


Obviously, I am not the right person to ask.  Obviously.


The good news is that I am pretty sure he[?] heard the edge to my voice, shook in his[?] boots, and returned the jar to the tabletop, unopened.  Pretty sure.  Or, you know... umm, not.


Either way, I have learned my lesson.

When crafting with candy, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.


#LoveIsWorthCelebrating


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Friday, January 30, 2015

A Valentine Banner

In my daily blog-reading, KIM'S, ALICE'S, and JENN'S posts inspired me to create a Valentine banner. I decided to use a roll of wide burlap "ribbon" that I had leftover from Autumn decorating.  I also knew that I had some Valentine scrapbook paper on-hand, so the basic idea was to create a banner from supplies that I already had.  I purchased nothing for this project.


I knew that I wanted to use the burlap ribbon for the individual banner-flags.  I started by cutting a small length of the burlap, folding it in half, and notching out the bottom.  Once I was certain that I liked the size, I cut 11 more of the same, making 12 little "banner-flags" in all.


I cut a way-too-long piece of red and white twine, so that I knew I had more than enough.  I stretched it out on my counter, and started folding the banners over it.


I cut 12 hearts out of decorative scrapbook paper, laid them on the banners, and stapled them in place.  I wasn't too worried about the look of the staples.  I knew that when I hung the banner, the staples would be too far away to really be noticed.  Also - the staples are the only way this is held together.  I stapled through the heart and both layers of the folded banner.


Once all of that was done, it looked kind of plain and in need of a bit more dimension.  I went searching for, and found some ribbon to tie in between each banner.


That was all it took, and I was happy with the results.  It's simple, and it cost me nothing.


As you can see, this is no "rocket-science" project.  Maybe it will inspire YOU to create something fabulously simple.


You'll notice that my wreath isn't exactly like any of my inspirations.  Instead, there are elements of each in it, making it completely my own.  My favorite part is that I didn't spend a dime, and I ended up using up some crafty odds and ends.  Win-win!


It's amazing how a little sunshine streaming through the window can inspire you!  It sure inspired me this week!



#LoveIsWorthCelebrating

I'm joining up at Share Your Cup Thursday HERE.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blessed Beyond Measure ~ Rockin' Babies

Yesterday, I sat in a room with four other ladies, and nine kiddos under the age of two.  [We don't always enjoy those great ratios!]  It was absolute bliss for me.  I was in my happy place.  Now, I know that lovin' on babies is not everyone's "thing" -- though it took me years to catch on to this.  Who doesn't love babies[?] was my thinking.

And then one day, I thanked a church high school department intern for loving on my kids through some hard years, and they said, "OhMyGosh - I SO LOVE working with high school students!!!!"  and I thought, "Wait. Seriously?  They LOVE it?  They're joking, right?"

Here's the thing... they weren't joking.  Just as I'm not joking when I tell you that it totally fills me up to the brim to love on these sweet little ones!  Better than that, I can tell you that the ages of about 6 months to 2 years are MY ZONE!


I have served in various ways through the years -- but when I am in THE ZONE and doing my best work -- I am rockin' the babies [as I like to call it].  I cannot even begin to tell you how freeing it is to know that -- to be able to say, "no" when something is not my strength, and to say "YES" to holding a little one for hours on end --which may or may not include things like lots of crying, and some changing, feeding, or putting to sleep.

And another thing I've learned about baby-lovin'... You're really doing double duty!  Usually, when you are loving on babies, you are allowing their mamas to be doing something that they WANT to do, you know... as in FREE TIME.  Bonus, right?  I have met some of the most delightful mamas just because I have loved their babies!  Big, big bonus for me too!

I'm so thankful for days like yesterday!

#DeclanLoganLockeCalvinMatthewZekeLeoJudeanddontforgetAudreyJan27TimeOutForMoms


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