Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spending Time with Family

I'm sorry I haven't been back here since right before Christmas, 
but we have been spending time with family. 

We have been doing a lot of eating, talking, laughing, 
shopping, and watching lots of football!  
We, of course, stayed up to watch Drew Brees break Dan Marino's record!


Brian and I started out sick with a cold and then Sarah ended up 
with some kind of virus.  Thankfully, it looks like we are all better!
(Although my sister-in-law and nephews may have gotten our cold - sorry!!)

I hope to be back to blogging next week with lots of Christmas pictures, 
a menu, and who knows what else.

Until then, have a very Happy New Year!

See you in 2012!

Living thru faith,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."   
Luke 2:10-11

I pray that each of you will have a very blessed Christmas!

Living thru faith,

A Surprise in the Tree

I found a new ornament on the tree.

I just can't imagine who would have put a pink hairbow there...

While I had the camera out, I tried taking some pictures of the tree.  I just haven't figured out how to do it without everything coming out blurry.  
I managed to get a few to turn out somewhat decent.

 Our First Christmas doves

Rudolph and the "Bumble"

One of the fish ornaments that Matt made when he was about 5 or 6

Starbucks ornament that really does smell like coffee!

Living thru faith,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Hodgepodge of Things

 Life has been a bit crazy!  So, what's new?!

Last Thursday was my birthday (the big 4-0!)  Daniel was sick, so we picked up chicken and an ice cream cake.  Yummy!!

As we were sitting down to eat and watch a movie (yes, I made them watch a chick flick!), we hear something hit the floor in the kitchen and I look to see Daniel just staring at the floor. He had dropped the very full, Sam's size bottle of bbq sauce on the floor! 

The bottle bust open and we had a blob on the kitchen floor!

We had to use the dust pan to scoop up all the sauce.  
I'm still finding places where it splattered!

Friday was the office decoration contest at work.  Our office suite created a video to Justin Bieber's "Santa Clause is Coming to Town".  
We had a blast and premiered it on the red carpet.  


You could even get your picture taken with Justin by the Christmas tree!

Sarah's class came over and loved watching the video 
and seeing Justin "Beaver".

On Friday Matt passed his driving test, I had a hair appointment, and we had Brian's office Christmas party.  When we finally made it home, I was pretty much done in and ready to go to bed!

The weekend was also full as usual, but I know you don't want to hear all those boring details.  Here are a few pics you might enjoy though.


Yep, it's never boring around here!

Living thru faith,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The tree that did not want to be decorated

I firmly believe that my little tree was on strike this Christmas!  Maybe it's little feelings were hurt because I originally brought the wrong tree to work with me.  (After arguing with my husband about which was the right box, but we won't dwell on that part of the story!)  

So, back my darling husband goes in the attic...

Thinking that I had extra lights in the box of Christmas stuff at work, I didn't bring any lights with me. 

Yeah, no lights...

 I forgot to send one of the guys back up in the attic over the weekend to get lights, so Monday morning I went up in my work clothes. (Why is it that I never can figure out how to get myself turned around with my feet and my hands in the right position without feeling like I'm just going to fall on my head?) 

I ended up grabbing two strands that were stuck together and without thinking, I put one strand on the tree and then plugged it in.  

Of course...they didn't work!

I took them off and plugged in the other strand.  There were a few lights out, but no big deal.  So, I put them on the tree and plugged them in...only the lights on the very bottom came on!

That's when I discovered this...

I'm thinking a cut in the cord is probably not quite up to fire safety standards. 

Not ready to admit defeat, I decided to check the lights on the original strand just in case it was just a loose bulb.  As I went through I found not one, not two, but four broken bulbs (like only pieces left).  I replaced the broken ones with lights from the other strand and...yes, we had lights!

Now, I could finally decorate the tree!  The kids' ornaments have taken over the tree at home, so I brought some of my favorites to put on this one.

Ahh, my Rhett and Scarlett ornaments.  
These may be a bit cheesy, but I have always loved Gone With the Wind.

And, of course, every little girl needs a glass slipper.  
Even those who are just little girls at heart.

This sweet little angel was made by our friends Doug and Julie about 15 years ago!  She has lost some hair over the years, but she still brings a smile to my face each time I pull her out of the box.

My friend Cindy gave me this ornament in 1987! It is just a simple little wooden music note, but it reminds me of a precious person I have known since 8th grade!  I am going to get see Cindy again in the spring when we head to Florida for Matt's baseball camp.  We got to spend about 2 hours together two years ago.  I am hoping for much more time together this spring!

Even the tree itself has a memory that goes with it.  This was our main tree the year we lived at seminary for Brian's doctorate program.  Housing was small and furnished, so most of our stuff was in storage for the year.  We brought just a few of the kids special ornaments and bought this little tree.  

One thing that we learned that Christmas, was that it really didn't matter about how big or elaborate the decorations.  This little tree brought us as much joy as the big one stored 800 miles away.  The joy came from the memories...both the memories we were reminded of as the kids hung up their ornaments and the memories we were making in our temporary home.

My little tree still doesn't have tinsel or a star or even a tree skirt this year, but it's finally up, lit, and filled with memories!

Living thru faith,

Monday, December 12, 2011

2 Weeks!

2 weeks!

2 weeks to finish tying up all my loose ends at work...

2 weeks to finish shopping for Christmas...

2 weeks to prepare to visit family... 

2 weeks filled with things to do and places to be...

2 weeks to remember every little thing that must be done to prepare...

but will I forget the most important preparation of all...

the most important event happening in just 2 weeks...

Living thru faith,

Friday, December 9, 2011

St. Jude Carol of the Bells

I love seeing these beautiful smiles!

You can help put smiles on all these precious children by donating to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital this holiday season.

We are making a donation in honor of our friends' son Gabe.

Because of the wonderful people of St. Jude's, Gabe is beating cancer a second time...and they won't stop until the battle is won.

Living thru faith,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Office Assistant for Today

When I came to work this morning I discovered I had a new office assistant for today.

 Justin has been helping out several people in our office this week and will be posing for pictures in front of the pink and purple Christmas tree tomorrow. So, all you Justin Bieber fans, come on over!

Living thru faith,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Time of Testing

I had mentioned in a previous post how we had gone through a period of testing following our decision for me to leave work.  I promised I would share that with you, but honestly I have had a hard time sitting down to actually write it out.  It is not that I don't want to share it.  I think it is that I don't know exactly how to share it all.  

I don't want to focus on the testing necessarily, but on the grace that God provided to help us deal with it and the peace that came out of it.

It started on a Wednesday...

We took our main car into the dealership for an oil change (we had a coupon) and get the 100,000 mile check up done.  We have never done a 100,000 mile check up before with any of our vehicles.  If they reached that mark, Brian could do whatever needed to be done or they just weren't worth the expense.  So, when Brian sent me a text late that afternoon that it was going to cost over $300 to get the car back I was really glad I was sitting down. Undoubtedly, you have to actually lift out the engine to change a spark plug in this vehicle.  Seriously?!  

We had the amount saved for car maintenance, but it was intended to fix the Buick.  Guess that will just have to wait a little bit longer.  Also, they couldn't get the work completed so it wouldn't be finished until Thursday morning.  

Wednesday night I was heading to bed and noticed that the dryer was making a funny noise.  It was running but not turning.  Brian thought it was the belt, but at 10:30 at night he was not taking it apart to find out for sure.  

Then came Thursday...

Brian stayed home to take apart the dryer and I took the wet load to a friend's house.  Sure enough it was the belt and he was able to find the replacement part about 45 minutes away.  The washing machine had been making a noise when it agitated and they had the parts in stock for that as well.  So, when the clothes were finished I headed back to the house.  If the car was ready, we would both go and I would drive the other car back in time for me to get back for a meeting at work.

Before we could leave, the dealership called with more great news (insert major sarcasm here).  The engine mount had a crack in it.  That would be another $500!  Thankfully, it was the top one and we could wait a bit on replacing it.  Brian may possibly be able to do that work himself, but we'll see.

So, $380 later we get our car back and another $60 later we have the dryer and washing machine fixed (although last night I noticed more noise from the washing machine so maybe not).  At this point, I knew we were being tested and, as I've said before, when I know I'm being tested I dig in my heels!

Oh, did I mention that Brian was leaving on Friday for San Francisco?  He had to get all of his packing done Thursday night.  About 11:30 or so Sarah starts waking up.  Congestion, coughing...yep, she was sick.  Brian was finally done about midnight and I slept on the couch with her propped up on me from about midnight to 2am.  I was able to put her back in her bed, but just tossed and turned until Brian's alarm went off at 4am. 

 Friday was pretty quiet...

Brian left around 5am and I was able to get about 2 hours of sleep.  
I pretty much felt like I had been hit by a truck.  
Sarah and I both stayed home on Friday.

but Saturday, oh Saturday!

Saturday was filled with mischievous and grumpy children, meltdowns, homework, laundry, stopped up toilets (yes that is plural!), minor injuries, and I can't even remember what else.  Nothing happened by itself.  While I was dealing with one crisis another one began.  

I have to admit, I did not handle these moments with the grace I needed to exhibit.  I could handle the big events.  I could almost laugh them off trusting God to handle them.  It was the little things that got me.  It was a bombardment and before I knew it, I was grumpy and testy and impatient.  If only I had just stopped for a moment in the chaos to ask for the grace and strength to handle the things of the day...

Sunday!  O glorious day!

Somehow I managed to get the whole brood (including the extra kiddo on crutches) to church.  God knew I needed to be there!  
The songs, the people, the He spoke to me that morning!  

Follow Him, trust Him...songs that affirmed my original decision, words that spoke right to my heart.  Someone else may have heard a different point that morning (God does work that way, you know),  but for me it was about trusting Him enough to follow Him where ever He leads me.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Our decision for me to leave work and stay home doesn't make sense on paper, but I know He has something planned that is greater than we could ever imagine.  I don't know what that is and I know it won't be easy, but I also know that I can trust Him... 

and that is all I need to know. 

Living thru faith,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is it Monday already?

Really?! Is it Monday already?

I don't know what happened to my weekend.  

I woke up Saturday and started off with going to a local craft fair (I can't show you any pics from that 'cause I would give away some gifts!).  From there I went to Starbucks, Kohl's, Sam's, the bread store, and Walmart.   

4 1/2 hours later I finally made it back home, cleaned the kitchen, started supper, ran another errand, finished supper, and crashed in front of the tv.  I was tired and sore from being on my feet all day.
After church Sunday morning, I made lunch, dozed on the couch, 
and then got to work. 

I made chili for tonight

sloppy joes for a quick go-to meal

hamburger patties for Wednesday

taco meat for next week and meat for cheeseburger soup this weekend.

Cleaned the kitchen, put away the rest of the groceries from Saturday, did some laundry, and helped Sarah put her room back together (she had made a fort or something).  I still have chicken to cook up, but I didn't have the umpf to keep going.  Instead I watched the Saints' game with my boys.

I think I need a vacation to recover from my weekend!

Living thru faith,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Menu

Here is what's for dinner this December!

1 - Beans and rice, cornbread

2 - BBQ chicken wings, carrots and dip


3 - Paula Dean's Twice Baked Potato Casserole, veggies

4 - Cheesy Bowties, salad

5 - Chili, cornbread


 6 - Teriyaki chicken and rice

7 - Hamburger patties, mac-n-cheese, corn

  8 - Cheese Quesadillas, spanish rice

9 - Pizza Rolls

10 - Cheeseburger Soup, bread


 11 - Crispy chicken sandwiches, fries

12 - Spaghetti, salad

13 - Jambalaya, cornbread

14 - Leftovers

15 - Out (It's my birthday!!)


16 - Chili lime chicken tostadas 

17 - Cheesy Enchilada Stacks


18 - Bagel Pizzas, carrot sticks

19 - Tacos, chips and salsa

20 - Pork chops, stuffing, green beans

21 - Beef stroganoff, salad

22 - Leftovers

The rest of the month will be filled with Christmas activities with family, so who knows what we will be eating!  Whatever it is, it is sure to be good!

Living thru faith,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going Backwards to Move Forward

It sounds counter productive, 
but sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward.

As most of you know, I will be leaving work in January and, in order to help compensate for the loss of income, we have to cut costs where ever we can.  

No area is safe from possible "tweakage"!

First up for adjustments...cell phones.

As a society, we have come to believe that we have to have the latest and greatest technological breakthrough.  Why use the old version that serves all your needs when you can buy the new version that serves needs you didn't even know you needed?!  Somehow I survived my teenage years with a quarter in my pocket for an emergency call and now I can't leave the house without my cell phone.  

For those of you too young to know, this is called a pay phone, the original "pay as you go" phone.
It cost you a quarter to make a local call. 
I think there have been a lot of different factors that have moved our society into such a state of mobile communication.  Some good, some not so good.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it is all bad.  However, what I find the most frustrating is how it has become harder and harder for us to differentiate between what we truly need and what we want.

For our family, we have determined that Matt needs a phone due to the whole baseball schedule.  Some have argued that they don't even need one for that, just pick them up whatever time practice is over.  I would agree, except we never know when practice is going to be over and game schedules can change at moments notice, both with cancellations and additions.  

Matt needing a phone means I need a phone because Brian is constantly in meetings.  Granted, we could still make it work without either of us having a phone if we had to, but we also have to into consideration what will help make the family function a little better.

So, here is where we start moving backwards...

Even though I enjoy some of the perks of an iPhone, I just did not use it enough to justify paying the $15 a month for the data plan.  I liked the instant Facebook notifications and the simple texting functions (hated auto correct), but I don't need those features.  

So, as Brian so eloquently put it, I have changed to a dumb phone.  

I have gone backwards in cell phone technology.  

Not only have I have chosen a dumb phone over a smart one, I purchased a refurbished one for $10, which was half that of a brand new one. I hate that I am now under contract, but we are now saving $15/month. (On a side note, you can get new ones for free or purchase at Walmart/Target/Best Buy.  By purchasing from somewhere else, you can avoid being under contract.  Because we have a business discount for Brian's phone, 
I had to choose one directly through AT&T.)

So, in order to move forward in the journey of returning home, I had to move backwards in technology.  And I'm not done yet...there is more tweakage to come!  Which is going to be a little more painful to some family members than others...

Living thru faith,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Back!

Sorry I've been MIA! I started feeling bad on Thursday, over did it on Friday and Saturday, and went down hill from there.  Sarah shared her germs with me and, of course, they weren't kind.  I ran a low grade fever for about 3 days.  Not high, but just enough to make me feel bad and be pretty much worthless.  But, thankfully, I'm back at work today and ready to get back in the swing of things.  I think!

My Thanksgiving turkey wasn't my best this year, but my apple pie turned out amazing!  At least that is what I've been told.  I wasn't up to eating it that evening and they ate all the leftovers. 

Of  course I got a picture of the turkey and not the pie!

We did manage to get the tree up on Friday and the guys put the outside lights up on Saturday.  However, before we could put up the tree we had to move some furniture and Brian took the opportunity to turn over the couch to see why we were sinking in the middle.

One of the springs was completely out and a middle piece was broken.  When Daniel was little we were constantly telling him to stop jumping on the couch.  I knew they would give out one of these days.  Brian was able to get the spring back in place and secure things a little bit better.  The middle cross piece is still broken, but we are no longer sinking in a hole!

I want to show you some better pictures of the Christmas decorations later, but here is a little taste.

Check out what I did with the stockings!  We do not have a mantel, I didn't want to put nail holes in the wall, I couldn't find the clear command strips, and I really didn't want to spend any money.  So I took down the valance and hung the stockings!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and pray that your Christmas season will be filled with joy as we anticipate the arrival of our Savior!

Living thru faith,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 118:1

First, you need to know that I have a little stubborn streak.  
I would say I get it from my mother. 
She would probably say I get it from my dad, which probably means I get it from both of them and you may want to watch out when it shows up.   
I admit it doesn't always look pretty.

We have been going through a period of testing over the last week. 
Which brings me to the second thing you need to know.
When I know I'm being tested, I get stubborn. 
I dig in my heels and will not be moved.  
(This is when that stubborn streak comes in handy.)

We knew why we were being tested.  It was all about me giving up my income to stay home to care for my family.  I will share more about how we were being tested next week, but I wanted to share the results with you now.  
Sunday morning our pastor preached on Psalm 118.  God used his words and the words in the worship music to reaffirm my decision.  
I dug my heels in deeper, trusting in a God who will love me forever!

The service ended with the beautiful hymn " 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus."  How those words touched my soul that morning!

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

With all the things I have to be thankful for, the one thing I am most thankful for is that I have a God who loves me, who fights for me, who never leaves me, and who will always carry me when I cannot walk on my own.

Living thru faith,