Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Happy 39th birthday to me :) - More adorable comics here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


How do spambots decide where to go next?  I don't know why, but my last post has been overrun with offers to view facebook hotties, get the latest Bollywood gossip and save on designer purses. All things I am super interested in, of course.  Comments have now been shut down, so you've lost your opportunity to share your 2 cents on my yard sale dealings...

So it's December.  I am generally the girl who pulls out Christmas decor on Black Friday, but this year I am behind -- particularly crazy when it hits me that I am HOSTING family members and a week's worth of festivities (for the first time since moving here).  We're planning to have a Christmas decor-fest this weekend, and I've already made peace with the fact that it's not going to picture perfect.  And that's OK.  Looking forward to commemorating our Savior's birth, surrounded by some family and friends.

On that note, it's time to get off my hiney and be productive.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Update on my "yard sale" dealings

Continuing on in my quest to clear space and make mega-bucks, I sold a lovely wooden chest.  I had dimensions typed directly onto the photo (in a large, contrasting font) and even had magazines in 1 photo to give an idea of scale.  Many people responded, and 1 person that I sort of know (brief interactions when we initially moved here 3 years ago) was the first to say I'll hand over $.  I told her I'd be at Walmart (next town over) at a certain time, she said that would be great.  Fast forward two days, and I give her a ring after I've parked to find out where she's at.  There's a long pause -- "Oh, I thought you were bringing it to my house."  I DON'T HAVE YOUR ADDRESS, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU THINK THAT?!?  I get directions, then double back to her apartment.  As I heaved it out of the car, the look on her face says it's not what she expected - turns out she wanted it for a coffee table, and it's way smaller than that.  I ask her if she had noticed the dimensions, and she laughingly shrugged it off: "I'm so bad with visualizing stuff!"  I am too, but if I'm purchasing furniture you'd better believe I have a tape measure out!  Anyhoo, she agreed to take it anyway, and then yesterday I receive a message from her wondering if she could give it back so I could resell it.  Uh, no way am I driving back over to pick it up due to your error!  Sheesh.  Yeah, she's now selling it on the site.

On a happier note, I did snag some clothes for our daughter, arranged a clothing trade with someone and may even have made a new friend in the process.

And finally, I've often lamented that things are just way overpriced down here compared to what I was used to paying up north.  I think it's a variety of factors: American goods are in demand south of the border and a lot of people run businesses reselling stuff, plus there just aren't that many options around.  I love the idea of finding old furniture in need of a little love, doing a light sand, tightening screws, and slapping on some paint to make a lovely new piece - the blogosphere is full of such projects, generally starting with statements like, "I picked this up at Goodwill for $30."  THIS is what was on the yard sale site this morning:

Im selling my antic cabnit it is 50 years old im asking 275 cash
 Most definitely not an antique (or even an "antic")

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wahoo & Ramblings

I have so much craziness rolling around in my head right now.  Here's the highlight reel :)

- I attended the Women of Faith conference in San Antonio last weekend.  There were some wonderful moments, and plenty I could have lived without, too.  Rode up on a bus, and it turned out that most of the ladies were significantly older, and from another more traditional church.  One lady in particular had taken it upon herself to arrange activities (announced by the ringing of a handbell every 15 min or so) including the "gossip" game ("Mary and her mother went to the mall to buy a mink coat. Pass it on!"), reading chirpy "heartwarming" emails (the annoying ones I immediately delete) and even a singalong which she led by warbling into the intercom.  Oh, how I wish I were kidding.  She had asked another lady to bring her tambourine, but she forgot (sigh of relief!) - oh, but wait! Inspiration!  We all have "shaky" things in our purse, right?  We then sang "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" accompanied by the shaking of a giant tub of Tums.  I. Cannot. Make. This. Stuff. Up. I had attended another WoF back in 2004 in Philly and wasn't all that impressed - it was more like a Jesus Pep Rally that lacked depth -- there was definitely more "meat" this time around and I did enjoy several of the speakers (Jennie Allen, Sheila Walsh, Angie Smith & Lisa Harper were great), but honestly I kind of hit info overload... not to mention my body was just tired of all the sitting (4 hour drive up, session Fri night, sessions all day Saturday, and then 4 hour drive home, arriving home about 11:30)  I also got a little annoyed with all the mini-commercials from the various sponsors. Yes, I clearly am annoyed entirely too easily.  You can see me in the group photo above - I'm the red girl in a sea of blue, because I didn't get the updated email with adjusted attire suggestions! I did manage to pick up a few little goodies while I was in the big city - found the motherlode of accessories store, and bought the kids glasses for a whopping $3 each, and then on the way home we stopped at a diner and I bought a 3 lb cinnamon roll (as seen on "Man vs. Food") to bring home for breakfast.  When A saw it, she blurted it, "That thing is as big as my head!"  Yep, welcome to Texas Li'l Lady!! :)

 In other kid updates:
* Our daughter is becoming quite the fashionista.  She layered a shirtdress (solid black) over a printed tank dress, and only buttoned the two waist buttons.  It looked fab.  Perhaps she can start advising me on my wardrobe!  I met with her teacher last week (general conferences now that we're 2/3 of the way into 1st quarter) and had a lovely report. She's doing very well academically (no surprise, there!)  but the teacher commented about what a kind heart she had, and how willing she was to help others.  Now *THAT* makes a mama's heart sing!  On a sadder note, she started feeling sick on Thurs night and we ended up in the doctor's office on Friday.  It all started with a sore throat, but her breathing was very rattly and I wanted to get her checked out - her oxygen levels were definitely low, and she ended up with a breathing treatment and steroid shot in the office just to get the inflammation in her lungs down, and 3 more prescriptions over the next few days.  So thankful for modern medicine. And insurance!
* Will be meeting with son's teacher tomorrow.  I'm really happy with the teacher he has, and while he still has a ways to go to perform at his full potential, he really is doing so much better.  He's made some friends (have another sleepover scheduled this weekend!), and also has discovered that he enjoys drawing.  He's still my little man who holds nothing back, whether it's a hug or a complaint about life :)

- I belong to a local "garage sale" site on fb, and rather than repeat last year's yard sale fiasco, I've been listing stuff on the site.  So far have managed to clear out a good pile of junk and made about $100 in just the last three days.  Yeehaw!  On a side note, it's really funny seeing what others have posted:  Hint: if you list a pair of Target shoes for $25, and repeatedly bump them with $1 or $2 price reductions and they still haven't sold in 2 weeks then I think it's safe to say that no one is interested.  Oh, and tonight someone posted a "Grime Reaper" costume for sale.  I think I deserve some kind of award for not posting a snarky comment about cleaning my bathroom...

- Our church is growing up!  It was started as an outreach across town several years ago, and as of today we're our own, independent body with its own tax ID and everything!  It's been kind of strange learning how this process works in the Methodist denomination (I could write a whole article just on that)  This was a pic that someone shared on facebook  - yes, we meet in a school cafeteria.  You can see hubby in the back (standing at the sound board)

Yawn. Will try to post more later.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Conversation with our son

We've been talking a *lot* about how important it is to do your best at school.

D came home today and proudly announced he was called a nerd, which therefore means he is smart.

(Or "Smartie Pants" is what came to my mind, but I bit my tongue.)

He then pointed out that *I* was also a nerd, and should be working and making lots of money.

We then exchanged the following dialogue, as best as this mama's brain can recall:

Me: "D, Daddy and I worked really hard to pay for things before you were born so that I didn't have to work, but could stay home with you."

D: "But you could go back now and we could get a nanny!"

Me: "But why would I want someone else to take you to school, pick you up and everything else?"

D: "Well, I like having you, but I'd like to be rich."

After I stepped away to stifle the snorts of laughter compose myself, we then had a chat about Jesus' teaching about not storing up earthly treasures.  But man, I have to admit that wouldn't mind showing what great stewards we could  be with our family's millions!

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I know I still haven't uploaded pics from our vacation like I promised, but I am taking a couple minutes for a sappy mama moment.

Lately I have encountered a couple women who seemingly do nothing but complain about their children: laziness, bad grades, stubbornness, potty mouth, etc.  And sometimes it's all too easy to join in with my own examples of motherly frustrations.

But truly, I would hate to imagine how dull life would be without our goofballs.

I love their amazing enthusiam for life, the eagerness to try new things (D charges in, while A will hang back a moment but you can see it in her face how much she wants to join in!).  The hugs that nearly knock a person over.  The excited accounts of things that happened at school.  The corny jokes. The times they gather around a pile of Legos and play amazingly well together.  Their tender hearts, bruised by a hard situation or laid bare when we pray together.

A friend and I were talking earlier this week about how incredibly difficult parenting is - the continual battle between letting them grow and learn from the scuffles vs. fiercely protecting them from the big bad world.  I know this will be even harder in the years ahead - won't be long before D is in middle school! {yikes!!!}

But truly, I am so blessed.

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? 
The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? 
(Psalm 127:3, The Message)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Orzo & Rice Mediterranean Salad

Had some friends over for dinner last night, and I concocted this salad loosely based on a couple different recipes.  It was quite tasty if I do say so myself, and just wanted to document it so I can remember how I made it when my hubby asks for it in the future :)

1 box Uncle Ben's long grain & wild rice, prepared according to package directions
1 pkg orzo, cooked and drained (this is pasta that's shaped like big pieces of rice - I did 16 oz because I wanted a big bowl)
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 c green pepper, chopped
1/4 c onion, chopped
2 Tb capers
2 Tb slivered almonds
10-12 oz of marinated artichoke hearts with oil
3 oz goat cheese (this was the last thing I added - it was still tasty, but the goat cheese added a perfect note of creaminess)
black pepper
Olive oil and/or vinegar if desired

Dump it all together and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  I happened to have a jar of marinated veggies that included not only artichokes, but also roasted red peppers, hearts of palm, & baby corn.  It would also be really good with mushrooms or olives, but I didn't happen to have either on hand.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012


Son had surgery this week. We went in for for the pre-op blood draw on Monday and he didn't exactly enjoy the procedure, so I was a bit concerned about how he'd handle surgery on Wednesday.  Prayed a lot for him, as well as for MY state of mind so that I could be supportive rather than making it worse.   Everything went very well.  He had tubes inserted in his ears (the type that are designed to stay in 2-3 years) plus had his adenoids removed at about 8:30 am.  We were home before 11:00, and he laid on the couch watching Top Gear.  This picture was taken at 2:25 pm after he chowed down on a bowl of cherries.  Yes, he's doing just fine :)  Still waiting to see if getting all that fluid out will help with the hearing issue, and if not, we'll most likely be getting him some sort of amplification device.

Took the kids to meet their teachers this morning and drop off school supplies - so happy to have those piles outta here!  I'm happy with the teachers the kids have, although both of them are disappointed to not have many friends in their particular classes.  AWANA starts back up next week as well, and both kids are also interested in doing karate, but I think we're going to hold off on that for a few more months.

In other big news from the D house: we have become pet owners.  The kids have been wanting something forEVER, and D had recently taken to catching lizards (the rule is that he can capture 1 in the morning, then release it before bedtime).  A likes the idea of animals, but is still quite fearful of most of them, which is yet another reason that I'd like to have something around.  Really wanted to move up to something fuzzy, but not quite ready to commit to a dog or cat.  One trip to PetSmart later, and we now own 2 gerbils.  The one you see here is Spike, and there's also a black one named Rocky (who's definitely quieter - amazing how I'm already noticing the rodent's personalities!)  The biggest challenge thus far is letting the poor little guys have quiet time away from their overly loving owners...

I still have a ton of other pics from the summer - kids activity camp, 1 day VBS program & trip to San Antonio.  Perhaps next week when I turn my little darlings back over to the school district for several hours each day!

And a final bit of silliness on this fine Friday: it's kind of tough to tell your kids not to play with their food when Daddy is building a snowman out of the mashed potatoes and brisket!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer drawing to a close...

The kids will be headed back to school in 9 days - :) and :(

We just got home from a mini-vaca, but before I share pics from that guess I should update stuff from June and July.

driving to AZ Devil's Canyon, AZ little boy paradise! Lego Store posing fun at the mall Escalator! Look, I'm actually in *front* of the camera cousins Mom & Kids Birthday New rocket Father Son moment Fashion Statement sprinkler issues jump jump Sleepover  nerf gun + motorcycle balloon dolphin that's our TX girl loading the clip is hard work
  • When we drove to Arizona in June, there was a small fire on a hill in the distance, and our son was convinced that it was an active volcano
  • Drove through Devil's Canyon on the way to Mesa, and our daughter was excitedly telling us that she learned about this place in school.  "Um, honey, I'm pretty sure that was the GRAND Canyon."  Yeah, that might be right...
  • Took a little trip to the mall to visit the Lego Store, ogle the Hello Kitty merchandise, and ride the escalator.
  • One of the kids managed to snap a picture of me :)
  • Cousins, plus MIL and her kids
  • Celebrated nephew's birthday, including covering him with silly string and giving him a model rocket that was slightly above his previous experience
  • Kids had friends over, so lots of swimming, watching movies, nerf war, etc.
  • When cleaning her room, A decided she'd rather just wear everything rather than put it away
  • Issues with our sprinkler meant a flooded backyard.  Also had to replace one element from our pool pump.  Sometimes home ownership stinks.
  • out to lunch, and the restaurant had a really good balloon artist who presented our kids with a motorcycle and a dolphin
  • Off to the shooting range, too (Hi, Grandpa!  Wish you could've joined us!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Funny Business

Lego Family Portrait Paint emergency? So life continues to be crazy around here (why do I cling to the illusion that summer will somehow be slow and peaceful?!) - trying to catch on some things, and thought I'd share these bits of funniness.  The first is our family, assembled by our son.  The first thing I noticed? Both guys have weapons, while I am clutching a coffee cup and A has been given a broom. Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.  I snapped the second photo last week - We were stopped at a light, and thankfully I had time to grab the camera from my purse.  In case you can't read the window graphic, this van is from Perez Professional Painting, and the bumper advertises 24 hour emergency service.  Can anyone tell me what constitutes a paint emergency?!?
We've had a lot of friends over lately, the kids just wrapped up a program at the library, I'm co-leading a major community outreach day with the kids' ministry at our church, and then there's the normal business of life.  Hope to be back more soon, though...  But 1 last funny story before I head off:  I bought some fresh beets last week, and the kids gobbled them up on Tuesday evening.  Wednesday morning I was awakened by our son, who had a very anxious look on his face, telling me he had to go to the hospital.  You see, we've told the kids that if their, um, body waste is not the usual color they should tell us because this may be an indication of illness.  Next time I serve them beets I will be sure to remind them that their body will be affected by the natural red dye :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Sorta Funny

Had a couple reminders about this lately.

Seriously, if you're on the phone, step away from the group of people.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Grandma Betty is now in her final home -- the one where the golden streets out front never need sweeping. She's free from pain, and hanging out with her beloved Jesus.  Her "celebration of life" service was this past Friday evening, and the pastor spoke briefly on Psalm 23, and said if he had to summarize her life with 1 word, it would be faithful.  What a testimony! Truly, she leaves a wonderful legacy of faith through her family, both the legal and church varieties. (picture is from June, 2006, looking at the display that we'd made for her 90th birthday party)

Anyway, we drove out to Arizona for the service -- logged nearly 3000 miles in 9 days.  Sad time, but also nice to spend some time with family.  We were able to celebrate my MIL's bday as well as our nephew's, not to mention our 16th anniversary and Father's Day.  Yes, it was a busy time.  Will try to post pics later this week.

(used this song in a tribute slide show -- "All I know is I'm not home yet, this is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus..."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I'm feeling overwhelmed. Hubby's grandmother has been moved to hospice, and we're waiting for the inevitable.  She's very ready to meet her Savior, but it's still hard -- plus there are the logistics of traveling to AZ.  My grandmother is having surgery Friday (in MT), plus my Mom and her siblings are still working through issues with Grandma's house and all it contains.  The kids are finishing up school (Friday is a half day, and then we're DONE) but son in particular has had some rough days as kids have really been picking on him.  A family we are friends with is moving to Florida, and they'll be staying with us tomorrow night as their house will be all packed.  Hubby is going through yet another round of audits at work.  We're encountering all sorts of issues with the children's ministry at our church - some related to the culture, some because of the youth of our congregation, but I seriously want to just yell at someone right now. And my feet are covered in fire ant bites.

Seriously, please be in prayer for our entire family.  Thanks.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

At church today, we had the kids decorate small clay pots with thumbprint animals, and then popped a little flower in to take home to Mom.  A friend snapped this pic, and I thought it captured my two kiddos amazingly well: the crazy boy and the girl who practices posing in the mirror :)

They are why I celebrate today, and I am truly blessed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life Tidbits

  • I love listening to kids pray.  They're so honest.  Earlier this week our daughter finished her little chat with God by saying, "I can't think of anything else. Amen."
  • We were planning to go see the Avengers movie this morning, but discovered that this is the ONE time that you actually have to show up early in this area -- there were still seats available, but we wouldn't have been able to sit together as a family.  Will try again later.
  • Stopped by "Market Days" at a neighboring town (essentially a fancy name for their monthly flea market). There were about 15 tables, three of which were selling hair bows.  Ooooo-kay.  Another was for PFLAG*and they had a whole bunch of used Christian novels for sale - not quite sure how to take that one.  There was a local farmer there who did not speak a lick of English, and when we approached his truck, he whipped out his old pocketknife and carved off a chunk of watermelon, and thrust it at us expectantly... these are the moments that it's easy to forget we live in the U.S.
  • Son has really had a tough time at school lately, specifically with two of the girls in his grade who have been calling him names during recess.  He asked if he could be homeschooled for the last two weeks of 3rd grade.  These conversations make my heart hurt.
  • Daughter took a note to give to a friend at school, asking a parent to call me so we could set up a playdate.  Her father called me, and we had a very interesting conversation during which he told me he would really like our daughters to be friends because he knows ours is really smart based on things his daughter has said.  Um, thank you? And in other friend news, there is another girl in A's class that has started trying to tell her who she can play with.  Can't believe that this junk is already happening in 1st grade.
  • I've worked out 4x in the past week.  Can't call it a habit yet, but it feels great to be making positive changes.
 *Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday, some funny and some news

Just in case you need a laugh.

In REAL news, I joined a gym today.
And did a 45 minute workout.
And the earth did *not* shift off of its axis.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quick check-in

Yes, I know it's been over a month since I posted.  Sorry, but real-life comes before the blog ;)  And yes, we have been busy. A quick rundown:
  • Continued craziness for hubby at work, but HOPEFULLY things will slow down now that we've flipped the page on the calendar.  I can hope, right? ;)
  • Repeated visits with our son to the ear specialist.  Can't remember how much I've shared here, but he had failed his hearing screening at school, and at our initial visit with the specialist, he had a cyst on his eardrum.  That has disappeared (hallelujah!) but he continues to have issues with fluid build-up for no apparent reason and does have some definite hearing loss.  Would appreciate prayers for wisdom as we navigate this path...
  • Our church held *the* community Easter event.  This was the 4th annual "Egg Drop" but the first-time it was done in conjunction with the city.  The joining of church/government is just kind of taken for granted down here, but as a northern girl it still stuns me.  Anyway, it was great fun, but also very hot, super crowded, and a bit disorganized as we're still learning what works best.  Oh, and to top it off, 2 days prior to that I became the co-leader of our children's area at church.  Excited to see what God has in store, but struggling to learn exactly how things are done in our body (young church, no building, etc) and the list of things we want to accomplish is pretty long.
  • Our house. The a/c unit upstairs was not working (central air, but we have two units due to the square footage), our garage door opener went kaput, we couldn't open our front door, major landscaping purge in the backyard just to name a few of the "fun" things we've been doing.  I'm trying to remember to be thankful for the shelter we have for our family.
  • Did hold my friend gathering, but it didn't come together quite as I had hoped.  Although I specifically invited a diverse group, those who were actually attended were 10+ years older than me, and none of their new-to-me friends were able to make it.  Gonna have to try again.
  • Had a fun girls day out with a 2 friends and their daughters, and we went to see Disney on Ice Dare to Dream.
  • We now have a Costco, and we've already gone twice ;)
  • Trying to get back on the "live healthier" train.
  • Will try to post some pics next week.  Don't hold your breath.
  • Have found some great recipes: this fennel crusted pork was a HUGE hit with the whole family, and I even used the leftovers to make a lentil dish that everyone wolfed down (anytime my kids ask for seconds on lentils, I'm calling it a win); I've made this cilantro lime rice 3-4 times now - great side for grilled meat; and lastly, if you're looking for something indulgent, I'd recommend these layered Samoa brownies (with coconut and caramel. yummo!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Painty Fun

Isn't this just lovely?!? I've seen so many tutorials for ways you can transform "gems" like this into something cool for your wall.... I'd been on the lookout for something suitable, and once again I would like to pause and lament the lack of good thrifting in this area. I dream of transforming an old dresser into an amazing statement piece for our dining area, but apparently it's easier to find a chupacabra down here than cheap furniture. OK, taking a deep breath and moving on ;) Anyway, I finally found this picture at our local thrift shop two weeks ago; the frame is plastic, not even composite wood, and it was still priced at $3.98! Thankfully it was 50% off, and the shape worked for what I had in mind, so I forked over 2 bucks and brought it home.

I used this tutorial as my guide, so I didn't have to mess with cutting wood to fit the oval frame. I didn't have primer that was recommended for use on glass, but I did have glass etching spray, which is often recommended as a first step on other projects. It worked beautifully! It took three coats of chalkboard paint and you can still see some brushmarks (possibly because it was already 80 degrees?!?) but overall I really am happy with it. Love the fun turquoise - and see how it really pops against that yellow wall? (This happens to be the room immediately to the right as you enter the house, which the previous owners used as a formal dining room. I already have a a gallon of a pale gray paint on standby, but the arched doorway was not properly built up, and I'm waiting for hubby to rip that apart and reassemble it in a nice, boring rectangle before painting)

One last funny story: I was debating about what to write/draw, and decided to just make a simple tree based on some of the doodles here. Let's just say I need more practice ;) When our son saw it, his first question was, "Why did you make that pokey thing with circles all over it?" His second was, "Why do you put Bible verses on EVERYTHING?!"

What better words are there with which to surround our family?!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

So grateful for grace

What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms. It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!

So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Romans 7:15-8:17, The Message (added emphasis mine)

Our pastor spoke on this passage this morning (as part of the the "schism" series.) I need to put this passage on my "Must Read Monthly" list. What a great build-up for Easter, and the reminder of the awesome "resurrection life" that we've received!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Recommended Reading

Finding Inspiration - Pure. Gold.
I’ve found it helpful when I see an inspiring photo or read an inspiring post to ask myself what it was that I learned from what I saw or read. It helps me have a take away from what I’m reading and instead of focusing on the skills of others and lack of my own skills, I try to figure out what I can learn from them–it completely changes shopping and blog reading and pinterest lurking–it’s ok to make it about yourself and what you can learn and apply. It’s really the only way to not be wasting your precious time.
It's so easy to be overwhelmed with the ideas out there, and think we have to have certain things - not true!! It doesn't have to cost big bucks, but whether purchasing furniture, clothing, or even kitchen tools, stop to consider whether it's truly the right pick for you and your family rather than immediately settling for what's cheapest/easiest. I know I've mentioned before about trying to bump up my style factor a bit - I still love Shari Braendel, and I've also been browsing the fashion stuff on pinterest a bit. Yes, it's full of supermodels sporting strapless dresses and neon eyeshadow, but I specifically have been looking at the way outfits are styled. Sweater layered over a button down shirt and a belt over top: I'm pretty sure that we all have something in our closet that we can use to pull off that look ;) (funny story: I did exactly that for church a couple weeks ago, and was staring at the mirror, wondering if it looked OK. I felt a bit ridiculous because it was SO not something I'd normally do. As I entered the building, one of the high school girls saw me and immediately complimented me on my outfit. Trust me when I say that hadn't happened before! And I received compliments from several other ladies, too - it was unexpected and admittedly an ego boost) I also like checking out jewelry (what type of necklace with what neckline, colored cuff bracelet with a mostly-neutral outfit, etc). I still wear scarves a lot, and there are all sorts of ways to tie them. But back to the Nester's post: I like Lisa Leonard's style, but she uses lots of layers, which is simply not practical when I'm in 80+ temps for the majority of the year... my big takeaway from the posts was noticing how she has a very clear color palette for the clothing, so when she does purchase something new, she can easily mix & match with existing pieces. Definitely need to work on that!

Facing Challenges - "The Enemy wants us to over commit. He wants us and give up when we try to climb mountains too soon." Just.keep.going. Baby steps are better than nothing (or even worse, losing ground!)

Quotes to inspire me toward better home management - "If housework isn’t the definition of ‘service to others,’ I don’t know what is." !!!

Teaching Kids About Money - good stuff to think about, and some suggestions. Our son in particular is really interested in how much stuff costs right now, and we've already had numerous conversations about using money (i.e. go to the Dollar Store and buy a few things that will probably break in a week, or save up for the Lego set that he REALLY wants). We're still debating about just how much to share with the kids money-wise: I don't think they need to know exactly how much Daddy makes, for instance, but I DO think it's good for them to see exactly how much we spend on electricity every months. Anyone want to chime in with how they were raised, or what they're doing with their kiddos?

Creative Consequences
- this article may be geared toward tweens, but I found it helpful even though my kids are younger.

And just for fun: my brother is done here for work this week, and had dinner with us last night. The kids were disappointed that he didn't bring their cousins along to play with, but all was soon forgiven ;) And secondly, this is the inside of my junk drawer. I'm quite happy with the general function, and the white basket corrals the glue/tape. Our daughter had used the gluestick, and she did put it back in the drawer, but I nearly had an unfortunate incident when I reached for my lip stuff later in the day. May need to rethink that storage arrangement ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break, day 1

We spent most of yesterday morning in the backyard, ripping out what I not-so-lovingly refer to as our "jungle vines." All sorts of interesting plants down here in our semi-tropical climate... Anyway, after those hours of hard labor, followed by lunch and showers, I set the kids loose with a bag of mini marshmallows (I even splurged on colored ones - thank you 99¢ store!) and toothpicks. They had a ball, and amazingly enough arguing was kept to a minimum. Now THAT'S what I call a successful project ;)

This afternoon I will cement my position as fun mama when I have them make these marshmallow poppers and send them outside. Fun fun fun!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

random catch-up, round 2

And now catching up with a few pics:
1 - For dinner Tuesday night, I was reheating some leftover peas, and as I pulled them out of the microwave to walk towards the table I had a little dropsy moment. Hubby was very quick to point out that I had pead all over the floor, which the kids thought was absolutely hysterical. When I shared this pic/story on facebook, a friend suggested that some grey poupon would round things out quite nicely. Seems we never outgrow our love of potty humor ;)
2 - TX Public Schools week means an excuse for the kids to dress up. When they initially brought the flyer home, our daughter was excitedly reading over the different themes, and wanted to know whether I would know how she should dress for Thursday's "Flashback to the 80s." Uh, yeah, I have some insight into that era. Sadly our son was already starting to feel pretty lousy that day, so he didn't want his hair spiked like we had originally planned, but we did get his collar up at least. And A? Well, she was a little confused about why I seemed to feel she needed two pairs of socks, all those bracelets and all that hair product -- she should just be thankful I let her wear capris rather than long pants folded over and rolled ;)
3 - Realizing I never shared a finished view of our living room. It's really hard to get a good pic, but this at least gives you an idea. I promise the wall in front of and behind the stairs are the same color, although the flash makes the back one seem much greener. I'm still moving little things around, but the overall layout is pretty set now. For as large as the room is, it's tough to fully utilize because of all the doorways and kitchen pass-through (you can see the countertop sticking out on the left side), not to mention the TV and the fact that we have 2 full-sized couches rather than a couch and a loveseat. I love the little spot behind the couch with a spare dining chair, pillow, and a stack of books on the side table. It's really hard to artfully arrange vignettes when there are two folks who frequently use the decor as either a backdrop for an epic Lego battle or a Polly Pocket party, but I am trying to get a bit more creative (as long as it's nothing too valuable or fragile!)

And last but not least, as I've been feeling less than stellar myself, I've been going through my old favorites on IE and starred items in google reader to get them all over on Pinterest. Yes, after repeatedly saying that I wasn't interested, I have been pinning like mad. TahDaah in case you want to check me out. I've even made several recipes that I had marked awhile ago but forgotten about: chicken with mustard mascarpone sauce, baked potato rounds with cheese and bacon, strawberry spinach salad with poppyseed vinaigrette, strawberry shortcake with homemade sweet biscuits, and lemon "brownies". I'm thinking we're going to try out the baked oatmeal and pizza muffins over Spring Break. Mmm Mmm Good!!

On that note, time to get back to "real" life. Will try to share some spring break updates when I get a chance.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

random catch-up

Much to catch up on, so I shall fall back on the good ol' bullet list
  • Son failed his hearing test at school back before Christmas. Followed up with our primary doctor and then off to the specialist, where we discovered that he had a cyst on his left ear drum. Scheduled for a CT scan and discussion about surgery (where they'd remove the cyst and patch the ear drum, but there was concern was that since he's had recurrent fluid issues he may end up blowing out the patch and there'd be scarring issues). Much prayer over the situation, and way more drainage than normal over the following week. CT scan a few weeks ago, and back to the specialist this week... where we found out that cyst was GONE. So very thankful for this amazing answer to prayer! He does have confirmed hearing loss in both ears for no apparent reason, and there's still some fluid built up so we're still dealing with some other minor things, but did I mention the cyst completely disappeared?!?
  • There is so much sickness going around. Strep and flu, mostly. Yesterday was the last day of school before spring break, and D woke up with a fever of 102.7. Delightful. He's better today, although still not 100%. Hubby and I are both a bit achy and congested. Happy spring break!
  • Speaking of spring break, we don't have any visitors this year. First time since we're been down here that this is the case. I'm planning to spend a day in each kids' room (purge/organize clothes since they both have this annoying habit of outgrowing their clothes, plus evaluation of toys and their storage situation). Thursday is supposed to be 86, so we're going to turn the heat on in the pool and have open swim time for our friends in the afternoon. Fun! We're also going to see Cirque du Soleil on Saturday. Hubby and I saw Alegria last year, and this year it's Dralion. I scored a major deal on the tickets way back on cyber Monday, so this time around the whole family is going -- I'm looking forward to seeing the kids' reactions. I'm not looking forward to seeing what their attempt at acrobatics will do to our already battered couches.
  • There was a kidnapping at our local McDonald's. The one right by our Wal-Mart, Target, Chick-Fil-A, etc. Talk about bursting one's "safe" bubble.
  • Our pastor's cousin is headed to the Olympics for shotput. Way cool!!
  • My craft pile is still, well, a pile. I plug away at portions of it, but then something else comes up and my "fun space" gets pushed back down on the priority list. The current plan is to attack it on the Mon-Tues after spring break.
  • Last weekend we bought not only a new lawnmower but also a toilet. Yeehaw. Our son is seriously excited to use HIS lawnmower, though. Here's hoping that excitement carries him for several years ;) I'm just excited to have a functional toilet upstairs again so I'm no longer being woken up in the middle of the night by the kids coming down to use ours.

And finally, as a reward for making it through all the drivel, I present You're very welcome.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rainbow Reminder

After my flippant comment about flooding the world a couple days ago, I couldn't help but feeling like this rainbow was just for me.

Thank, God, for your truly amazing grace.

"It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23, Amplified