Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Today, I have a heart full of thankfulness...
For the Lord, My God, has blessed me beyond measure.

Today, the day of Thanksgiving....I am hearing people all around me express their thankfulness. I think it is wonderful that a day has been set aside in our country to do that. But, it also makes me aware of the many days that go by that thankfulness is not expressed.

And so Lord, I pray, that You let me not forget to express my praise and humble gratitude for Your great provision in everything on a DAILY basis. Let my heart rejoice in Your great mercies ALWAYS.

YOU are the giver of the many blessings I receive, and the creator of all that I have in my life.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may your heart be full of praise and gratitude,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I am a copy cat

So....loved the signature on Dawn's blog (older, high achieving, loved sister) so I copied the idea.
Now I have a cool siggy too! Thanks, Dawn!

my older sister

My sister puts me to shame. Seriously.
I have been doing my blog for quite some time. It seems I go through waves of posting and then not posting. I may go a month with 20 posts, and then I will go three months with just 2 posts. My posts are random, and most likely fairly boring. I know this because, after a couple of years doing this thing.....I still only have a few followers. AND....they are family. Or very close friends who want to be nice.

Anyway--my sister......
yeah--what you need to know about her is, she does everything well. She was one hard act to follow growing up, I tell you. You know, excellent grades, scholarships, leadership type skills, social, pretty, popular in school and our youth group.....AND (some nerve....) totally loveable to boot. I remember many times wanting to hate her, just because unfortunately all of her talents just stressed my own weaknesses to me. But, hating her just wasn't an option. I loved her too much. And for the most part, she was always rooting for me.

Fast forward to us as adults. She still does everything well. Still has better taste, still has no problems making friends, still is looked up to by many, still pretty, still sweet, still very loved by me. I am okay with not doing everything as well as her. It is an accepted fact of life for me. And....I venture to say, I may even possibly do some (although definitely not many....) things better than her....although, I am not sure what those things are yet. :0)

Blogging is not one of them. She has become quite good at it! She naturally made friends in blogland, and has managed to find followers that aren't family, or close friends. WOW! I am impressed. Truly. She writes about important things, and random things, and is able to sound like herself, and make me smile, laugh and cry.

Her blog is a good read! I encourage you to read it if you don't already. The link to it is in the sidebar of my blog to the right. It is called "theGoodlife". I'd put a link right here in my post if I knew how, but I don't. (Of course, my older sister knows how to do that also....maybe she can teach me sometime.) And while I am on the topic of sisters who blog, I should tell you that my younger sister has a wonderful blog too....."beebabble" in that same list of blogs to the right. She doesn't post as much (like me)--but when she does, it is something worth reading, for sure. (and Kerry....I hope you know that you are amazing, too. SO amazing. I love you beyond words, and you are a wonderful, talented, and beautiful person. For some reason this post just went in the direction of following in the footsteps of an achieving older sister.) :0)

Aren't I blessed? Not everyone has such talent and sweetness in their families. I am truly thankful.

AND....I will try to work on my blogging skills.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests."
Ephesians 6:16

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More than you need to know...

I just made a terrible realization this morning (EARLY this 6am when I should have been sleeping soundly and sweetly--like a baby). It is something I hesitate to write on my blog, considering it is of a fairly sensitive nature. BUT- then I remember that most likely it will only be my family that reads this entry, and possibly a couple of close friends...

(I would like to interrupt this rambling to give a shout out to my THREE "followers"....THANK make me feel that I am writing to someone here.)

Anyway, back to the story...

So, I wake up with a jolt this morning--you know what I mean, one minute of pure sleeping bliss, and the next minute you find yourself in a nauseous state because your subconscious did some thinking while you were unaware....and BAM! the thoughts hit you like a ton of bricks?? Ever had one of those moments? Well, I had one this morning.

I have been trying to plan a summer vacation for our family since like forever. I started way back in the winter--during those cold and gray days, when the thoughts of a sunshiny tomorrow are so needed. We started talking about going on a Disney Cruise. They were having a FABULOUS special going a summer cruise, and kids sail for free. The price would literally be cut by thousands of dollars. We dreamed of tropical places, warm sun, and family bonding. Then sadly, we had to let that dream go, as we realized that it was very possible that a specific child of ours could possibly have a summer commitment (read: unwanted summer school class) that would make it impossible to go this year. (How many times can the word "possible" be used in a sentence?--WOW.)

So, moving on...

I then got it in my head, that if we couldn't enjoy a relaxing cruise and tropical paradise....we could at least go frolic in the ocean. Our last beach themed vacation was wonderful and peaceful and enjoyed by the whole family. (Even the more difficult to please teenager...). I played with multiple ideas of destinations, all based on the beach we could relax on the days not spent at an amusement park, or sight-seeing.
Unfortunately, our summer became less than predictable, with Jake's soccer schedule stretching much further than we expected. (An honor and accomplishment for him, that we did not want to squash.) Which took us straight into July without a week to spare, except August. (Actually, something has been scheduled then, too...Jake's regular soccer commitments....but we have chosen to ignore them mostly this time, because THIS FAMILY NEEDS A VACATION, DARN IT!)

Finally, just a few days ago, we settled on a more do-able vacation in the time that has been alloted to us. We are planning to go to Michigan and Wisconsin. All activities focused around things near Lake Michigan. We will do an amusement park, water park, dune buggy the sand dunes, spend a couple days on the lake beach, take a 4-hour ferry "cruise" across the lake to Wisconsin, spend some time at a State Fair, and finally end up with Jake's tourney in Milwaukee. (Didn't think we'd escape soccer completely did you?)

Let me share a few of the photos of sights and experiences we hope to have on our trip.....

It feels soooo good to have a plan. To have a week set aside for family togetherness, on a lovely location, enjoying the sights, the water.......


----this is when my ugly thoughts from deep sleep popped up, seemingly out of nowhere-----

Guess what? In my frantic search for ANY week that we did not have important commitments that would interfere with a vacation.....I just chose the one week that had nothing written down on the days in my calendar. (Of course, since then things HAVE popped up, but like I said we chose to ignore this...). My subconscious knew something was not right with that week though....and it screamed the "wrongness" to me when I least expected it.

I have bad news to report to myself.
This designated week... that is supposed to be heavenly....will be a little tainted. Because, in the early morning hours this morning, I made the ugly realization that I. will. have. my. period. NOOOOOOOOO!!
What is the big deal, you ask??

Well, for one thing, my period is a monster. It is unpredictable. It comes with a vengence.....and sometimes prevents me from leaving my house--for a couple of days-- for pure fear I will have a terrible and humiliating accident. On most months, I battle this awful fear with "doubling up" the protection. In MOST cases, I make it through okay. But, how, oh how, do you "double up" in a swim suit? We will be spending most days in swimsuits....waterpark, beaches, tubing. I am totally NOT comfortable with going "without" on those beginning days. No way....can't do it.

What is a mom to do?? I sooooo wanted to participate in all of these activities. I wanted to bond with the family with experiencing the same things as they were. I was even willing to go down the giant water funnel at the waterpark. I want to be a FUN mom--not one that sits and watches while everyone else experiences things first hand. ARGH, ARGH, and DOUBLE ARGH!!

Okay, deep breath.

Will you please pray with me that maybe I will get things rolling a few days early this month? (If this could happen, I would be past the scary stuff before we need to leave.) Or how about it showing up late?? That would work too. Anything, I will take anything.

Sigh....the joys of being woman.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Hope everyone has a terrific 4th of July!

I love seeing the neighborhood decorated in flags and patriotic flair!

The house below is NOT in our neighborhood......but if it were, I'd take a picture of it too....

Love it! So festive...

Friday, July 3, 2009

While the husband's away.....

Matt Has been in San Francisco this week for work. He is at a Networkers conference. He also got the chance to tour San Francisco a bit with old college friends.

Here is a picture of him enjoying the beauty of San Fran.

While my hubby is away, I decided to decorate a bit. Nothing major....I didn't buy new couches, or that dining room buffet/hutch I have been dying to get. I kept it small.

I finally decided it was time to hang those darn pictures I bought about 6 months ago for the Living Room. I have stared at blank walls long enough! isn't that we are COMPLETELY lazy about these things. (just MOSTLY....) It is just that I wasn't completely sure I was in love with the pictures.

Wall art is a funny thing....I find it hard to commit. I mean, you are going to stare at it every day.....and we all know, framed art is not cheap. Right?

Thankfully, I found the pictures I hung at a really great price! (Like for $15 a piece at Walmart.) I figure, at that price, I can hang them and if something better comes along in the future, I can just take these down and not feel guilty about it. (Not to mention, I am sure I could find a place for them in our front office.....)

Here is the new look:

You can't tell what those pictures are very well from that photo....but the focal point in each is a leaf. The leaves are raised--so it adds some texture, too, I think. I am not sure the size of the two pieces are completely right for the wall......but I tell you, it is a HUGE improvement than blank walls staring back at me!

Here is a closer look: (excuse the sun streaks and spots) IS morning, and there is just no stopping the sun! :0)

Now, while looking at these pictures, I am struck with how "uncolorful" this room is. Hmmmmm..... The pictures seem to really emphasize that. The crazy thing is, that I feel in real life, it is not quite as stark as it appears here. I also think it has more warmth going on in real life. I actually like the peacefulness of the browns, and mustards, and creams, and cranberry.
It IS still a work i progress though. I also still need to update those curtains---just haven't decided what I want, yet.

Guess what else I did yesterday?

I bought a cute little accent table to go in the LR, too. I got it at Kirkland Home. It was one of those "put it together yourself" deals. So I did, thank you very much. :0)
I am sure it would have taken Matt about 20 minutes to do it. It took me an hour. Some of the screws didn't line up well, and I had to get creative. BUT-I did it. MYSELF. Yes, I am kind of proud of that fact. :0)
Here it is:

I had to rummage around my house to find stuff to put on the three shelves. It was kind of like "shopping". I went down into my basement storage, and dug through boxes that were still packed from our move. It was good. I found a bunch of stuff that I put aside for my upcoming garage sale.....but I was able to grab a couple of things that I could use, too. Here is a close up of the top shelf: none of that stuff came from the basement. I pulled the glass display jar (can't think of the word for it at this moment in time) with the apples from my kitchen hutch. I pulled the glass vase with shells (which also completely smells like the beach....yum!) from my LR side table, the candles were originally hidden in a drawer.....and the glass bird is new.

Did you happen to notice that TALL glass vase next to the table? I LOVE that vase. I bought that a while ago, too....and struggled with where to put it. It is totally fun, because there are trees on it and little birds perched on the branches.

Found that at Homegoods. Love that store.

Here is a closer look at the birds....

Cute, right?
My kids think I am a little crazy that I get excited by these things.

Jake said to me yesterday..."Mom, what exactly is that tall glass thing for, anyway?" I told him it was to decorate with. Then he asked. "BUT, what is it FOR??" I simply said, "To enjoy". Then he said, "Weird."

I guess sometimes you can't expect everyone to "get it".

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Poor Puppy...

This is Emmy. (she's posing)

Our poor Emmy was acting strange last night. She was barely moving. She was stiff and lethargic. She was not herself and it was scary for me.

So I called the vet.

I gave her aspirin in a hot dog. She laid in the same spot for the rest of the night.

I slept (barely) with her on my mind, the. whole. night. (After MAKING myself go to bed at 2 am...after just sitting with her, praying she'd be okay.)

This morning.....
she has been mostly better. Moving around more and seemingly without pain.
Then she threw up.
So something is off.

I still need to call the vet to get her in.

I hope she is okay.

How can you not love that silly face? Sweet dog.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fantastic Find

Okay...I don't usually do this...but I was so impressed with this project--I had to share.

You know when you see a great pair of shoes, but you look at the price tag and you calmly try and conceal your shock, and just keep walking?

Yeah--I think we have all done that before, at least once.

Well, this morning I saw this blog that showed a pair of shoes that were quite exciting. They looked just like a pair Carrie Bradshaw wore. The owner of these shoes actually MADE the "frill" that made them so fantastic. AND she gives the tutorial on how she did it.

Wow, right?

Go check out her blog....I posted the link for you to read the whole thing.

ENJOY! (and try not to feel inadequate.) :0)

Thursday, June 25, 2009


So, in my previous post about checking Jacob into soccer camp....I forgot to mention another significant moment of that morning.

While standing in line in the scorching heat....a friend of mine said to the gentleman staff person (who I might add looked about 70 or so)...."Wow, this heat is killer. Makes me feel so tired and old!"

The gentleman eyed us both over carefully, and said..
"What?? You two don't look a day over 42. What are you complaining about?"

UMMMM......EXCUSE ME???!!!
A day over 42? FORTY-TWO??

(Normally, wouldn't you say, when you say something like perfect try and guess an age much YOUNGER than what they actually are?? You know, to be nice?)

Well....I would. AND...if that was the case.....and he guessed younger than what he thought I was.....
YIKES!! (Double Yikes!!)

I am 40!! FORTY!! So....I am NOT terribly happy, he thinks I look "not a day over 42!"


And so.........I guess...........

this is what I have to say to that:

Good Luck, Jacob!

Well.....I just dropped off jacob at ODP State Soccer Camp. His tryouts/training has begun. We should know by the end of next week whether or not he will have been chosen for the Illinois ODP State team.

The line to check him in at NIU (Northern Illinois University) was HUGE!! We waited for a about an hour in line, and thankfully it was moving at a decent rate. Of course, the whole time we were in line, I was trying to figure out how Jake was going to manage all his stuff by himself. They gave all the players a checklist of stuff to bring....and that is all he brought. BUT, he still had a large duffle, his very heavy soccer bag, his jug of water, his bag of healthy snacks, his pillow and his blanket. We originally thought he could make two trips to his room. Leave half of his stuff in the lobby with me, go up and drop off the first load in his room....then come back for the second load. (They don't let parents up into the living quarters of the dorms.) That is what we did the first time he went to NIU for soccer camp two years ago. This time, they wouldn't let the parents into the building at all, and they were funneling the kids in with all their stuff so that there was no place to put anything down, let alone leave it unguarded for a while.

We tried to combine his stuff best we could so that he could maybe carry it. I tell you though, it would be a struggle for a grown man--let alone a 90 lb. kid!

Jacob looked miserable when I left him--outside in the heat, (about 85* so far....), sun beating down on him....the heavy soccer bag with filled jug of water crammed in the top on his back, his large duffle with snack bag balanced on the handle in his one hand, and his pillow tucked under his other arm. (We took his blanket from him....decided he'd rather just sleep with his sheet than carry the blanket, too!) Poor kid.

Then, he was going to have to drop off his stuff in his room, grab his soccer socks, shin guards, cleats, jug and soccer bag....and book it right back down to the lobby to meet for their walk to the training field for a 2 hour training session/evaluation.

This is it....
He has gone to tryouts once a month since January for the opportunity to go to this State Camp. We were thrilled he was invited. Two of his buddies from his club team are there too. I hope they all do well.

THEN....we have to pick them up early from ODP Camp, so that we can go straight to Indiana for the Region II Tournament that his club team has been invited to compete in. The U16 team in our club just won their Regionals this week, and are headed to the Nationals at the end of July. It is so exciting! They will be playing in Massachusetts. If Jake's team wins their Regional tournament, they'd be off to Nationals, too.

Time will tell the outcome to both of these big Soccer events in Jacob's life....
Please pray that Jake stays healthy and there are no injuries for him or his team.
I am tired just thinking about it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So, we have some more flowers opening and showing their pretty little faces out front. Thought I'd share them...because they really are only around for such a short time.

Take a look at these beauties!

Believe it or not, those deep red lillies were just one of the types of lillies I was waiting for to pop out....we have more that are in bud form now.

How about these cuties? I love these colorful pink delicate petals. They seem to be happy, don't you think?

AND--I LOVE these little guys (girls?). I planted these this year. They are on their second round of blooming so far. They are like little purple bells. Oh so cute and pretty.

I love the contrast of the small yellow flowers sprinkled among the teeny green leaves. These are just beginning to open. We should have a sea of delicate yellow flowers pretty soon.

This ivy geranium is right next to our garage, hanging out with the hose.

And, just one more picture for today....
One of the planters next to my front door...full of petunias and geraniums. I have a mirror image on the other side of the stoop.

The summer floral show has begun at my house....and I am not exactly a green, I am excited when I see such pretty things happening in my yard without any help from me!
Really, the growth happening here is in spite of me. I don't know what I am doing at all. :0)
In fact, my guess is in about a month only half of these plants will be surviving.

You know when someone says "take a picture, it lasts longer"?
Uhhhhh....yeah. That's what I did.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

figuring things out

Every once in a while I'd like to post a quote that I like....just because.

The problem is, I can't figure out how to get a good up close image, so that it is clear and easy to read.

This one above, for instance, has a "light spot" and sheen on it, due to the flash of the camera. Hmmmmm......

I suppose I should scan something like this, but I am a little embarrassed to say that I am not sure really how to go about doing that.

Matt? Oh, Matt....? Computer guru husband of mine...?

I guess I should also add my thoughts about this quote. I feel I should say that while I believe this quote to be true and inspiring--I don't believe it is COMPLETELY true. Yes, I believe each one of us has the responsibility to make life what we want it to be--to not be a victim, to not sit around waiting for things to happen, but to MAKE things happen....

BUT-I ultimately believe that it is GOD who has the control...and thank God for that!! He can make much more happen than I ever could. He can change bad into good, and He can halt things I am trying to accomplish if I am seeking His will, and I am headed in the wrong direction.

I guess...what this quote needs is more of a thought in parenthesis after the YOU to say, "(not someone else)". Or maybe, YOU "(and your attitude)"....if we are just talking about people here. Of course, if you did include those words in parenthesis, it no longer reads correctly, so....I don't know.

I am sure Jim Henson said these words fairly casually and didn't mean for them to be so complicated or picked apart like I am doing right now. :0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I am lovin' summer so far. Haven't even done that much--but that is the point, right?

Just thought I'd post some early pictures of our house, and how it is starting to show the signs of summer. It is still early, so some of the flowers have yet to come out.

BUT, still....I like driving up to the house and seeing blooming and greenery and general life.

Here is our front walkway up to the door.....
Won't you please come for a visit?

I plan to take more pictures of our flowers--in fact since Matt took these photos about a week and a half ago, we've had lots of rain, and things are really growing! Can't wait to show the lilies that will soon be here:

Until then.....

Let's enjoy the days that we can not only look at some flowers growing in our own yards.....
but also enjoy and sigh over THESE cute sights!

Those cutie patootie toes belong to my adorable nephew, Caleb. I actually saw those piggies last summer....but they NEEDED to be shown!

Right here, right now.....

Wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

lamp makeover

I just realized that I never posted pictures of my chandelier makeover from last summer.....

Remember this?

Yup...ugly brass chandelier. It hung in my dining room when we first moved in. I hated it.

I noticed other bloggers spray painting everything in sight black, and saw a few lamp re-do's, too. So, I decided before I throw this brass baby away....I just might be able to make it fit my taste a little better. Out came the black spray paint....which I NEVER would have thought about using before! I hung the ugly thing on one of those iron staff plant hangers outside, and went to work. I think I sprayed 3 light coats for good coverage.

Then I added "mellow moss" (my days as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator make me think in their color palette) green lamp shades over all the fake candles......

And now the big reveal....


And another view, looking up:

And finally, a view of the room so far: I have bigger things to tackle....I am sure it is pretty obvious.
That. hideous. wallpaper.

I have plans for tackling that this summer. The dated stripes need to go. Right now the plan is to paint a "mellow moss" color. I also plan on changing out those curtains, and curtain rod.....the whole thing needs updating.

As for the LR, I haven't found the right wall art yet. I am still working on it. So, it looks rather blank in there. I am still deciding what to do about THOSE curtains, too. BUT- the furniture is a huge improvement over this:

Right? That "leather" couch was sitting on our curb when we moved in. Leave it to me to drag it back into the house---I just wanted something in our empty LR until we got new furniture. Maybe I should have just left it out there! :0)

Anyway....still lots to do. But, we are SSSSLLLOOOOOWWWWWLLLLYYYY getting there.


So, I decided to sign up for a online Doodle class that Stephanie Ackerman is doing over at "Homegrown Hospitality" (blog link is in my "Places to Visit" section to the right.). Stephanie's doodles have caught my eye from the moment I saw them. When she offered an online class, I jumped at the chance to join in.

Her first assignment was to just color in one of her doodles. To play around with color and ways to decorate letters. Any opportunity at sitting down to color as an "assignment" is alright with me!

Here is what I did:

It was fun to just color.....a relaxing way to spend some time. Here are two close ups:

I am not sure the direction this class is going to go in. I am not sure exactly why I am taking it, other than to have the opportunity to try something that forces me to get my creative juices flowing in a very non-threatening way. For the last week, I have been trying to sit down everyday for at least a half hour to just play in my craft room. I find it really relaxing.

And, that is what summer vacation is for, right?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Too Funny....

Teenagers. They make you crazy, they make you cry, they make you smile (sometimes....), they make you shake your head in disillusionment, but they also often make you LAUGH.

I was checking in on my favorite blogs tonight, and came across this funny entry by "The Pioneer Woman". If you were ever a 15 year old girl, it will make you laugh, too, I think.

I actually laughed out loud.

Here is the link:

Go ahead, go over there and read it, it is worth two minutes of your time......pure entertainment I tell you.
You will at least crack a smile......


Okay, if you are not watching "So You Think You Can Dance" this should be. The first round of official competition was really good.


It was REALLY good! May I even say.....GREAT???

I really do enjoy that show.

If you have never seen it....what are you waiting for? Set it up on your TiVo, or DVR, or whatever you use to tape things (or try and catch it live).....and just watch it.
You will like it, I promise.
Your husband will most likely like it too. Really. I am not kidding. Truth.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

another background change...

I changed my background again. Although, I'm not TOTALLY satisfied yet, it IS a little brighter, which I like. I was feeling rather depressed seeing the dull background color of the other at least this is a bit more cheery.

I am sure this will not be the last time I adjust this. And since I have all about 3 or 4 readers at this point....I don't think this switching every few days matters all that much! Sorry if you are one of my "loyals"...(Thanks, Mom and sisters!) are appreciated for putting up with my whims. :0)

Today is another cleaning day. Laundry, and straightening on deck.

Tomorrow I need to bring Pasta Salad to feed 22 (meal size portions) to Lazarus House. So, I am guessing I should start on that today. I cleaned out my refrigerator on Tuesday evening to make room for the big disposable aluminum pans I bought for this purpose. Last night I got all the ingredients...I have a serious amount of salami in my fridge right now!

Anyway--lots to do. Time to get a move on!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I love blank paper, new notebooks, sharp pencils, and fun decorative pens. I love a fresh box of colorful crayons, arrays of markers, and children's coloring books. I love paintbrushes, and blank canvases, and the smell of an art room.

This morning, as I jotted a quote down on a clean, blank notebook heart felt happy. There is something about making a mark on a blank page. My fingertips get tingly, my brain swells with ideas.

Most of the time, true complete creations don't ever actually make it out of me onto a page, or canvas. Maybe there is a fear there, that whatever I am imagining won't come out the way I want it to. So, I feel paralyzed to begin.....

BUT- I think about it sometimes. The possibilities, the creations, just dormant deep within me.

I once considered majoring in art in college. In elementary, middle, and high school, my art classes were my favorite time of my day. My H.S. art teacher encouraged me, and said I had great potential. The talent was there.....I just needed to learn to "let go", and express it.
I was afraid to try....not really finding MY style. I took the "safe" road. Drawing faces and things I could see in a picture, next to me. Pencil drawings...even adding color scared me. Maybe, I'd ruin what I had done so far.

It is interesting, though....because I still feel it within me. This urge to fill a blank page. To make a mark.

I am still hunting for the "right" medium, and the way to use and develop this "talent", this love of paper and pens. There has got to be something.......that fits.

Someday, I may discover what that right fit is.

Until then...I will consider the possibilities. :0)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trust in the Lord...

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding;
In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5,6