A friend of mine just started a new blog called Wretched Sinner, and I just love his second post... "Numbness". It really is excellent and thought provoking, while totally ringing that "true that" bell -- you know the one, dontcha? The one where you read something, and all the while, you're nodding your head, thinking: True That!
I loved the definition he used for numbness: Numbness, is the result of being desensitized; to become insensitive or callous. Heaven's sake!!! Do you know what callous means? No? Let me share: Emotionally hardened; unfeeling.
Wow! Emotionally hardened or unfeeling -- things we think would never happen to us ... just worldly people, right? Right? Not so right.
So many things that we are surrounded by truly cause our hearts and minds to become numb... whether you are a Christian or not! And when we become numb, we begin to tune out the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Check out this scripture:
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." Philipians 4:7-8
Wow! That really causes me to examine my life and think about the things that can cause numbness in my life... are they lovely? Are they true? Are they pure? Admirable? Praiseworthy? If not, then they will cause numbness in my life and I need to get rid of them. I went through this self-examination a while back, and decided that many television shows I watched, books and magazines I read, and radio stations I listened to (music styles, DJs, etc.) were NOT true, lovely, pure, admirable, or praiseworthy. I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to cut them out of my time, life, home. It wasn't easy, because I had become so attached to them, but I really prayed about it, and the Holy Spirit removed the desire for them from my heart. Even though the enemy tries to creep back in with an old desire for one of the things I've cut out, the Spirit is more powerful, and quelches that desire.
So, you might wonder ... did that indeed bring me peace and contentment? Yes, it really did. And I know that my heart and mind are guarded ...
I know, I know -- many of you think that it's "just TV," or "just a story," or "just some music, and that you're not really listening to the words or the message." But you know what? Peace and contentment is a result of a submissive relationship with God, and God was dealing with ME on removing those issues from MY life. I felt that I had to be submissive in this instance in order to find peace.
As a Christian, I have to train my mind and heart to act on deliberate reasoning, and make every effort to reason out how my actions (whether reading a book, watching a movie, listening to classic rock, etc...) will affect my life, enhance my life, or how it will shape my witness.
I like how my friend closed his post: "I pray you will examine yourself, examine where you have become numb. But it doesn't stop there. YOU must do something about it. Today's the day."
I too would encourage you to examine your heart and mind. Find the places that have become numb ... and if they aren't numb yet, but are simply on the verge of being numb, or are merely apathetic ... kick them aside. It is hard ... BUT ... you've got the power in you -- the Holy Spirit.
Go kick some numbness! And apathy!
Friday, February 29, 2008
A friend of mine just started a new blog called Wretched Sinner, and I just love his second post... "Numbness". It really is excellent and thought provoking, while totally ringing that "true that" bell -- you know the one, dontcha? The one where you read something, and all the while, you're nodding your head, thinking: True That!
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
This past weekend, we had a bout of ear ache pain ... severe ear ache pain. Hunter woke up screaming, and proceeded to scream the whole night away. Tylenol and Motrin were both to weak to touch the pain.
The next day, I did a search on ear ache relief, and got a great idea. One woman said she wrapped a pile of salt in a wash cloth and heated it up in the microwave... the first thing that came to my mind was ... "that's like a rice pack. HEY!!! A rice pack!"
So, I got a baby wash cloth, poured a mound of DRY rice in it, added a couple drops of good-smelling essential oil (because hot dry rice just smells bad!), and tied it off with a piece of ribbon. Nothing fancy, nor expensive... yet, once I heated it up in the microwave and held it up against Hunter's ear, you could see the comfort set in.
Just be careful when you heat it. You only want to heat it for 10 seconds, pull it out, mush the rice around, and if it is too cool, heat for another 5 to 10 seconds more. Essentially, it can either be heated, or placed in the freezer for a versatile home made boo boo bunny. (picture below was taken with my phone camera, so it is blurry -- sorry!)
So, that's what worked for me in a crisis! Head on over to Rocks in my Dryer for more tips of all kinds!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Laura over at I'm an Organizing Junkie hosts the weekly Menu Plan Monday, so hop on over and check out the over 200 entries.
Now, here's the deal for this week at Casa Sunshine ... It's not so sunny. I'm sick with bronchitis and an upper resperatory infection, while continuing to go to work. Hunter is sick with a bad ear infection and gunk in his nose ... and he was up all night IN PAIN ... and Daddy??? Well, poor guy -- he's just trying to keep up with everything in the house, stay up all night tending to a sick mommy and little superman (who was screaming his H.E.A.D. off last night with ear pain), and still waking up at 4:30-to-early-in-the-morning to go to work. Talk about Superman ... he's your guy!
So, basically, we did a quick and dirty and cheap menu yesterday, because no one has time to cook, nor do we feel like cooking. AT ALL. So some things are yummy, and some are kind of "ehhh" -- everyone's been there, right? So here it is in all its glory, but not in any particular order:
1) Franks & Beans
2) Tuna Casserole with Salad
3) Beef Pastitsio Casserole with roasted broccoli
4) Homemade Chili
5) All Day Sunday Chicken Stew (Crock Pot recipe from my new** Taste of Home magazine -- my eyeballs hurt to much to find the recipe on their site, but it looks yummy in the picture in my new magazine**, so I'll try to post it when I've had more than 1.5 hours of sleep)
6) Wednesday night dinner for a dollar at church (if we're feeling up to it)
7) Delivery Pizza (NOT DiGiorno, because that would still be cooking)
**On another note, a friend of mine from blogland (so as not to embarrass her -- I won't mention her name or blog unless she says I can -- but she knows who she is) renewed her subscription to a Taste of Home magazine, and [gasp] got me a free subscription! I can't tell you how stinking delighted I am! It arrived Saturday, and I'm loving it! Thank you special friend! I truly, TRULY appreciate it!!!
Okay -- I'm off to rest my eyeballs. Y'all have a good week, ya hear?
Friday, February 22, 2008
...was well overdue!
But thanks to Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie, I have gotten a jump start at it! I organized three cabinets, and this weekend, I'm planning on organizing the pantry and my cookbooks.
I have before and after pictures to share, too. They are blurry, but ... I still wanted to share them, because I have a friend out there (or two, or sixty) that mentioned at one time that she felt like she couldn't "measure up" to many of the bloggers out there that looked like they had their personal lives in 100% order. The thought of that just makes me snort. Loudly. Because I can't measure up either. So, I wanted to show y'all that not everyone has their homes in 100% perfect order. Please hide the children's eyes so they aren't frightened. Just kidding. Sort of.
Speaking of organizing, Laura does a fantabulous job at making you feel like a "normal person" and really encourages you to just roll your sleeves up and dig in and start to organize a wee bit here, and a wee bit there... I highly encourage you to join her monthly organizing challenge, and start with a little bit here, a little bit there... and soon ... you'll be caught up! (Just wait until you see pictures of my bedroom!!!! it's such a mess with piles everywhere!)
The first cabinet I cleaned out still had baby formula, bottles, and baby food in it. Hunter's 2 years old, and hasn't eaten that stuff for almost 18 months -- pitiful. In fact, most of it expired in 2006!!! I had snacks piled in, baking dishes shoved in, vases, and a ton of other stuff in there. I placed all the snacks in a large plastic container, and stacked all the serving dishes and pie plates. I know it still looks crowded, but it's not. It is much, MUCH better.
The second cabinet I cleaned out was my container cabinet. They were all just shoved in there, and the lids were too. It was a terrible mess. I took an old plastic Longaberger protector (pretty big) that was chipped, and re-purposed it for most of my lids. The, I stacked all "like" containers together (round with round, square with square). Then, the top shelf had some mugs that were just shoved in, so I organized them. Again, it still looks crazy, but it is much, much better now.
Finally, I organized the cabinet that contains some other baking dishes. Again... things were just thrown in. Are you sensing a theme here? Throw it in, close the door, and forgetaboutit. Sad, but true. Now the dishes are all stacked neatly. Please ignore the sagging shelf. That's a project for another day. I also took all of my kitchenaid attachments out of this cabinet, and placed them all in a wire basket in the first cabinet (since I had more room once I tossed expired baby food!).
So there you have it. My life -- a chaotic mess! Sorry the pictures are so bad... dark, blurry, yucky.
More AFTER pictures:
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Works for me Wednesday is hosted by the ever-so-exhausted Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer... click on over to check out hundreds of other great tips!
Okay -- I may be alone in this, but... my two year old's span of attention is that of a gnat. Yes, he is a very active, on-the-go boy, who is, after all... Superman. So, getting him to sit down and read books is hard ... but do-able ... if it captures his attention. Especially if he can FIND STUFF on the pages (sort of like ... where's Waldo).
I have tried several kids Bibles, but they are either over his head, or I get bored with them (I know I'm reading to HUNTER, but if I GET BORED, think how HE gets?!). At two, I think a lot has to do with the pictures... but I have found one totally incredible Bible that TOTALLY works for us! It has such a fun, "rhymie" style that I can really act out for Hunter with drama in my voice... and seriously... if you know me, then you know I'm all about DRAMA! I think Superman takes after his momma.
Anyhoo -- a friend of mine asked me for suggestions for a good Bible for her daughter about eight months ago, and I never got back to her. This weekend, she's having a birthday party for her daughter, and while I was out shopping for a gift for the party, and getting totally discouraged with all the "I'm a Hotty" outfits for little 4 year olds, it dawned on me... I should get her that Bible! She'll love it! And guess what??? So will you...
Well, that's enough suspense ... the Bible is called Growing Readers Phonics Bible. It is perfect for ages 3 through 8 (or higher). Each chapter focuses on a phonetic sound like er, ou and ow, th, etc. The pictures are bright and colorful, and the Bible includes stories from Genesis through Revelation! How often do you see that?!? By the way... this is the Bible I used to read most of the stories for our Jesse Tree at Christmas time.
Right now, it is $13.99 at Christianbooks.com (or $14.24 at Amazon.com)
Here are pictures and excerpts from the first chapter that I got from Christianbook.com:
So... that's what Works for Me...
Have a great day!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Okay -- I'm totally going to mooch off of Barb at A Chelsea Morning ... here's an informative Meme she did, and I thought it would be fun to
bore you share some wonderfully informative facts about myself with you! Let me know if you feel led to do this too, and I'll stop by to read it!
A Quick Meme
Like Barb, I don't remember the last time I did a meme. It may have been a gazillion years ago, but I'm given to drama, so I'm thinking a million years may be closer to reality. In fact, also like Barb, people stopped tagging me when I would forget to actually ... you know ... DO them. And seriously -- that's no fun, so I totally don't blame you!
Anyway, Barb mentioned that Lynne at Lynne's Little Corner of the World tagged her for this simple meme, and since I'm pretty creatively fried right now, I told Barb I was going to snag it. Here we go...
...How long have you been blogging?
I began reading and commenting on blogs way back in 2002. Or maybe it was 2001. Either way, I know it was shortly after I began working at my current location, and that was in 2000. However ... it took me much longer to gather the courage to do my own blog, and I published my first post on July 30, 2004, and OH MY, did I ever think I was all that AND a bag of chips. Too bad I wasn't! Can you say... ZERO COMMENTS for a long, LONG time? So basically, I was talking to myself... which I tend to do. A lot.
...What inspired you to start your blog and who are your mentors?
What inspired me? Probably all the bitter, angry, infertile women who had no hope in their lives. Although I was also angry and bitter, I did have hope in my life, and wanted to share that, as well as the fact that there really is a positive side to the whole "half-full cup of water" side of life. At that point, I really did not have a mentor. I just knew I loved to write, loved to talk, loved to complain, and loved to do it to the only audience that would sit still and listen. Me. No. I'm not self-centered. I promise. It was a wonderful outlet for me, and I think it kept my husband sane, too.
...Are you trying to make money online or are you doing it just for fun?
At this point, I am totally against inviting anyone to advertise on my blog. I feel that my blog represents me, my family, and since I don't make it a secret that I am a saved-by-grace mommy, my faith. I don't want to compromise that by making money from ads that I may not totally approve of.
In fact, I am waiting for a friend of mine to find a good Christian resource that will do what Google Ads, or Amazon, or Blog Her will... while providing 100% SAFE, FAMILY FRIENDLY, and CHRISTIAN BASED advertisement on my blog. I won't mention her name, but she is very resourceful, and very knowledgeable... and if she's reading... she needs to STOP, because she has work to do! Just kidding. Love ya, Lauren! Your talent amazes me!
Anyway -- back to the question: no. I am not trying to make money. Yes, I do it for fun. And for you... all three readers of mine, because I HEART you!
...What three things do you love about being online?
As for blogging, I love the community. The friends I've made on line are amazingly very deep and wonderful, and I'm amazed that I continue to find even more amazing and wonderful people each and every day!!!
As for being online... as in ... on the internet ... I love the fact that I have the world at my finger tips. TRULY. I can google anything, and just about anyone. I can buy anything I want on line, and seriously... everyone knows about Wikipedia and what a reliable source of information [ehem!] that is, right?
I also love that I can reach out to a gaggle of Christian friends with the stroke of one, or two, or a thousand buttons and you all know at the same time if I need prayer, if I'm celebrating something, if I'm sad ... and with the same stroke of a button, or two, or a thousand, you are reaching back to me. Isn't that the coolest thing in the world?
...Chat and IM?
Well, MS IM is my lifeline at work. I IM my girlfriend almost non stop, all day long... but I can't really IM out of the office. It's way too distracting (as if blogging isn't!), and I don't have time once I get home.
Besides ... once you hit that ENTER button after typing something out, there's just NO taking it back... at least with blogging, I can type out my thoughts, read them, re read them, edit them, re edit them, etc. before I hit that publish button.
All righty then. Hope y'all feel like you know me a little bit better ... whether you wanted to or not! And please forgive me of any spelling errors. Blogger's spell check hasn't worked in ... forever.
Have a wonderful week!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Friends, I am simply blown away at the perspective God has dropped smack dab in the middle of my lap. I can not put into words how it is I'm feeling, but I can say this... I'm drawn to tears at just about anything right now. It's not hormonal. It's not due to pain ... other than the pain in my heart as I read some of the blogs of the people in Uganda right now (if you can't read all of them, then please -- at least go to Shannon's).
I'm realizing more and more that Compassion Internationals goal was NOT ONLY to bless the people in Uganda by inviting a handful of "mere bloggers" ... moms at that ... to join them, but one of their goals was to use these bloggers to challenge us in such a profound way that we are rendered speechless to the point that we feel we must ACT, and ACT immediately.
Today, I was going to post a Meme, a You Tube clip, and whatever other random thing I could grab on to ... but honestly? I'm not up to it. God is really working in my heart right now, and I pray that he begin to prick yours, too.
By the way... I'm totally awed by a God that can use a mere mortal to prick our hearts so deeply. Think of the power that his own son possesses to do the very same? Wow!!! That's all I can say.
Please... I beg you ... if you haven't been following the group in Uganda I was referring to, I ask you to pop over and read some of their entries in their blogs, and look at some of the beautiful, heart wrenching, soul pricking pictures.
Then, come back here, and feel free to post your thoughts. I look forward to hearing how God is working in some of your hearts as well!
Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer: Link to her posts on the trip to Africa
Sophie from BooMama: Link to her posts on the trip to Africa
Anne from Flowerdust: Link to her posts on the trip to Africa
Shaun Groves: Link to his main "Shlog" (he doesn't have his posts with individual categories) and a link to his main category page (all his posts for Uganda can be found under "Compassion International Blogging Trip To Uganda 2008", or currently on the main page of his "Shlog."
Compassion International's Blog: List of Bloggers and others on the trip to Africa
Edited to add: It looks like all the links work now. Sorry about that.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
There are so many things I could say to prove how fortunate I am as a wife, a friend, and a mother... especially on Valentine's day. And please know that my heart is true and sound when I say that I love my husband and son .. along with my lifestyle... more than anything in this world, and I wouldn't trade it for a moment.
But, I also know that there are many hurting people out there, across the world, who don't even have a fraction of what I've been blessed with... people who are hungry, sick, poor, empty both physically and spiritually, and they don't realize that there's really anything else out there than what they are surrounded by.
But there is. It's the love of Jesus.
It may not find them a better place to live ... right now ...
It may not find them immediate health ... right now ...
It may not find them with full bellies ... right now...
It may not give them wealth untold ... right now...
But trust me when I say, there is a world out there dying... dying to know of a man named Jesus who can save their souls, heal their emotional state of being, and fill their spiritual cavities to overflowing. And yes, it may be true that this man named Jesus won't make them rich, or give them full bellies, or line their pockets with money ... but He will give them everlasting life, mansions in heaven, perfect health ... riches that the likes of me or you could never share with them.
So please ... on this day of love ... as you take a moment to reminisce on how much you love your spouse, or your children, or your friends and family -- also take a moment to remember the many, MANY children, women and men in third-world countries who have nothing ... nothing but each other, and a small handful of men and women sharing the love of Jesus with them.
And then there's always me. And you. How can we become a part of their lives? How can we impact their little world in a big way? How can we make a difference?
Well, my friends Shannon (from Rocks in my Dryer) and Sophie (from BooMama) are doing that right now, along with Compassion International. They are in Uganda seeing and experiencing first hand things that you and I only read in papers, magazines, or see on TV and hear on the radio.
You can hop over to their blogs and read their experiences first hand, see heart touching pictures, and know that someone is making a difference, and there's a way that YOU can too...
So for Valentine's Day, I encourage you, and CHALLENGE you to think outside the box. Do something different with your sweet-ones. Why not sponsor a child instead of purchasing a box of chocolates, a dozen roses, or a fancy meal or weekend away... That's what my family is doing.
I'll close with a quote from Shaun Groves' blog (who is on the same trip with Shannon, Sophie, and others) that explains how sponsoring one child works to break a vicious cycle:
In Uganda, one of Compassion’s goals is to care for one child in every impoverished home. As that child’s needs are met the entire family is rescued.
The parents of a sponsored child are taught proper nutrition, given a skill they can earn money with, taught how to manage their money. They are educated in family planning so the family will not grow unless they want it to, and taught disease control so that HIV and other common illnesses are prevented. They are taught how to parent and are no longer alone: Every bit of Compassion’s care, in twenty-four countries, is administered by the local church which means that pastors and Christian social workers from Compassion visit every family regularly - in this case, at least once every month. Those visits build community, a network of support, and help then is always nearby.
[The one child sponsored] ... then helps her entire family by simply being sponsored. One sponsor isn’t just releasing one girl from poverty, but [her entire] family. They all thank God for that generous American. They read the letters that arrive from across the ocean.
One child released from poverty is saving [the entire family].
You can change a family right now. Sponsor a child through Compassion International.
you do unto me."
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Thanks to Melanie over at Don't Try This At Home for sponsoring Shannon's weekly Works for Me Wednesday feature today! Check out Melanie's post today for all the great Works for Me tips. Shannon is in Uganda, so make sure you stop by to read her latest updates... Now that I've confused you with all those links, let me share with you what works for me...
In my kitchen, I have two separate cleaning cloth-type items (and a scrub brush, too)... a sponge for washing dishes, and a sponge CLOTH for wiping down counters, spills on tables, floors, etc. I love this little spongy-cloth... "thing." It is maybe a total of 1/4" thick, and it is about a 7" square. Two come in one pack for about $2.50 USD. I have a very hard time finding them in my grocery store, because once they come into stock, they fly off the shelf. I am in the process of searching for an online solution, and so far what I've found is that I can get it HERE in the US and HERE in Canada. SWEET!
The company says the following about the product: Sponge cloths wipe like a cloth, but absorb like a sponge – up to 10 times their own weight in water. Use around the house, or in the yard. Perfect to take along on picnics – they fold easily for neat storage. Great for getting the dew off patio furniture or cleaning off a seat in the park.
Here's what I say about the product: The cloths pick up puddles of water (any liquid) like NO PAPER TOWEL can! They wipe off the counter leaving it clean and dry. They are a small miracle in disguise of a sponge. We are constantly... contsantly spilling the dog's water bowl, and if I lay one sponge cloth on top of the spill, it will pick it all up. Not so with a paper towel. I adore these things, and have one in all our main bathrooms, and in the kitchen.
Added bonus ... Antimicrobial! It kills bacteria in the cloth!
Downfall ... it does dry out and get hard, because it is, after all ... a sponge. But if you wet it and wring it out, you're in business again... so not really a downfall.
Warning: don't confuse these with other items such as the microfiber cloth, which smears... or the Handi Wipes reusable cloths, which tear easily and are flimsy. The sponge cloth is tough and works well. If it "sours" like sponges tend to do, I soak it (along with my sponge and scrub brush) in a solution of: a splash of clorox bleach, a dash of dawn detergent, and a bowl full of hot water.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Laura over at I'm an Organizing Junkie hosts the Menu Plan Monday, and since our budget is currently tight, I thought it was time for some accountability again! So here is my menu...
Monday: Lazy Shepherd's Pie -- Ground beef w/ onions, mixed veggies, beef gravy, covered with mashed potatoes, baked until bubbly.
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas w/ rice & beans - cheap, easy -- seasoned shredded cooked chicken with onions and red peppers, flour tortillas and cheddar cheese.
Wednesday: Dinner for a Dollar at Church -- Dinner -- for one dollar a person -- $3? DEAL!
Thursday: Dirty rice with salad -- boxed dirty rice, ground beef (we toss in some raisins, too), salad
Friday: Shredded Pork Tacos - Crock pot recipe in soft corn tortillas
Saturday: Homemade Mac-N-Cheese w/ ham -- a new recipe I'm trying -- an Italian Mac-N-Cheese with white cheddar cheese, gruyier (sp?) cheese and chunks of ham (one ham steak)
Sorry I'm late posting this, but work has been wicked crazy! Please go to Laura's blog and check out the couple hundred (as in over 200!) menu plans!
How awesome to be thought of like this!!! Susanne over at Living to tell the Story has given me this sweet, sweet bit of encouragement, and she has named me among a list of very awesome ladies, indeed! I feel so honored! So, thank you, Susanne ... it was so sweet to receive this! Her list of people that she gave this same award to are among my most admired and loved bloggers, as is she ... so it was truly an honor!!!!!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Last week, I was bogged down with a horrible head cold. I "powered through" most of the week, but Friday, I woke up, got dressed, went down to start my car, couldn't find my keys anywhere, and trust me when I say, I didn't need my arm to be twisted to stay home and recover.
So, back into my jammies and bed I went. It was nice, if that's how you choose to categorize staying in bed all day in your jammies, with your face pounding, your nose so stopped up you can't breathe, and you eyes all puffy and runny. Nice.
Then, Saturday, Hunter woke up with a fever and the same head cold. But... the nicest thing in the whole world... my sweet SIL Sunshine, her hubby B, and ladybug came to our home Saturday evening and watched Hunter while we went out on a date night. It was the fastest date night I've ever had, and frankly, I was still feeling crummy. We went to the $2.99 movie theater and saw Charlie Wilson's War. OH MY... it was so full of foul language and adult content... I'm surprised it passed as an "R" rating!
Saturday night (really, Sunday morning), Hunter woke up feverish, and slept most of the night in our bed. I think I'm the only one that didn't get any sleep, but thank goodness for naps! Right before nap time, Hunter was sitting on the arm of a big comfy arm chair, and he fell over backwards and hit his head on a dresser. He was crying so hard, and I was rubbing his head, and when I pulled my hand away, I saw... blood.
Now, I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but... I don't do well with blood. At all. I shouted for my husband to get me a cold, wet wash cloth, and after applying pressure to the wound for what seemed like 5 hours, it stopped bleeding. It was really only 15 minutes, but all the while, I was talking to myself (in my head), reminding myself that head wounds bleed a lot. Fortunately, it stopped bleeding, so off to bed he went. He napped for two and a half hours.
When he woke up, I casually looked at his head, and noticed that it had not scabbed over like I thought it would, but was still a small open wound. You know where I'm going with this, don't you? I called a neighbor of ours (who is a nurse), and she confirmed my fear... it would need a stitch. How could I have been so stupid!
So off to the emergency room we went. My husband said a prayer over Hunter and for the wait we were sure to have... but guess what? No wait! We walked right in, the checked Hunter in, they took us back, stitched him up (with NO numbing!), and an hour later, we were back home, listening to Hunter proclaim that he is .... Superman!!!
I'm pretty sure I won't be receiving any nominations for mom of the year, or "brightest light bulb" of the year, but I can confirm one thing... God was there! He heard our prayers, and he opened up the emergency room for us, because as soon as we were checked in, it filled up quickly! Praise God that he watched over us this weekend. It could have been much worse!
How was your weekend?
Friday, February 08, 2008
Introducing... the launch of the Family Friendly Network's exciting new website ...
BloggedIn - News & Networking is a newspaper style site dedicated to promoting the family-friendly side of blogging!
In Lauren's own words... it is the "only official publication of the Family-Friendly Network" that will "keep you up-to-date on what are widely considered some of the best family-friendly blogs in the ’sphere."
The website will feature sections such as Highlights, Blogstyle, a Meme section, and Ask Us, as well as higlighting great family-friendly posts, beautiful blog designs, and many more little goodies like interviews of your favorite bloggers (like Boomama)!
You can CLICK HERE to see Blogged In - News & Networking's Launch Announcement ...
You can CLICK HERE to subscribe today (powered by Feedburner--can someone help me figure that out?)!!
I've been a member of the Family Friendly Network since its inception in 2006, and I am so excited that Lauren has taken the FFNetwork up to the next level... the BloggedIn - News and Networking. I hope that you stop by and check out this awesome site! In fact, kick your feet up, stay a while, and enjoy! I guarantee you'll bookmark them as a fav!
Okay -- I've got to go. I've got things to do, people to read, and a cold to wallow in! Have a blessed weekend, and share the love of Jesus with someone!
I'M A MEMBER!! Are you?
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer has asked that we share our fav online shopping locations for this week's Works for me Wednesday... so here it goes...
Of course, the place I love for handcrafted jewelry is GiBee Designs... Custom made, quality materials... how can you go wrong?
The place I love for all things Christian -- books, music, videos, shirts, etc. is Christianbook.com -- they usually BEAT all other prices, including Amazon.com.
The place I love to go for Christian t-shirts for tweens and teenagers is C28 -- It is an awesome store, and it's the best source for "bold" Christian Gifts, Christian T-shirts, clothing, and music. They also carry Ezekiel wear! Trust me when I say -- this place caters to the young at heart and the music they carry will make your teenager happy (but will make your ears bleed!). Warning to moms: in my humble opinion, the t-shirts for girls at this site are cut specifically for a girl's figure. While this can be nice, they can also run "small" and tight, so go one size up if you want room to layer, etc.
So there is just a few of my favorite places to shop online! What are yours???
On another note, has anyone noticed that spell check on Blogger isn't working, or is it just me???
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Sunday worship is so important to me. Not because I get to see all my friends, although... that's a plus. Simply because it refills to my spiritual gas tank (along with Wednesday evening Bible studies, and my daily devotions). Even when I'm feeling low, a good time of worship on Sunday morning, or any day for that matter, can truly wash my heart with joy, no matter how sad I am!
Let me share one experience I had this past weekend with you... I'm certain you will be as touched as I was. We sang a song in worship yesterday called "Yes, Lord" (You Tube video below). I love this song, and it even refers to one of my favorite scriptures that you can see on the banner of my blog: "...Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5b. Anyway, I was watching our friend and his son ("G") worshiping together to this song, and it touched my heart to the very core
His son is two, and he has downs syndrome. He is the most loving, adorable, sweet child (although he has quite a bit of "all-boy" in him, too). My friend had placed his son on his shoulders during worship. "G" speaks mostly with sign language, and when we sang "Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord..." he would sign it out by moving his adorable little chubby closed fist up and down, and raising his arms in worship. His smile was genuine, his heart was sincere, his eyes were glowing. He gets a genuine look of joy when his parents prompt him to "praise Jesus" -- he grins, and lifts his hands in the air (Praising Jesus is something both his parents have firmly rooted in his young and tender heart, as well as his siblings' hearts). My friend was doing the same hand motions along with his son, and both son and dad had beautiful smiles on their faces. Soon enough, several of us around them were doing the same hand motions to the song, and I was trying to teach them to Hunter.
What touched me the most was to truly see the innocence in the way they were worshiping God together. It brought to mind how God really ministers to me when I can let myself worship with total abandon and complete joy... as an innocent child does. It frees the soul, it renews the heart, and it invigorates the mind when you clear your thoughts and focus on the Lord through worship!
Have you ever noticed how sometimes we can be ever so stately and stoic, and ... well ... stuffy ... in worship? Many of us feel there is a "time and place" for certain behavior. In the sanctuary, you behave with dignity and respect. Why ... everyone knows that you're supposed to worship the Lord with some modicum of decorum. You certainly don't raise your hands, bounce around, and [GASP] clap in worship. AHEM!
[insert screeching record player sound here]
Is that really true? No... I don't think it is. It's funny, but many Christians are afraid to raise their hands and worship the Lord freely because we're afraid of what our friends might think of us... or because we feel silly, or self conscious. But, let me share one freeing thought with you: the more you trust and seek the Lord, the more he begins to free you from the worries of what others will think of you when you show your true and intimate feelings of worship to Him?
This thought ... this freeing, liberating thought ... goes a lot further than just encouraging you to raise your hands in congregational worship... Why, my husband and I have even been known to raise our hands in worship ... in the car, people! THE CAR! I'm sure the people driving around us on the highway think we're seriously cracked.
But think about it... there is such freedom in letting go of your inhibitions ... of letting go of yourself ... and of having a heart before God that is patterned after an innocent child. Even King David abandoned his inhibitions and danced before the Lord with genuine joy and enthusiasm (2 Samuel 6:14). He actively worshiped the Lord without any cares -- in fact, David chose to set his pride aside for God - and having done all that, God called him a man after His own heart. How awesome would it be for God to call you, or me a man or woman after His own heart? But despite all of our own inadequacies or inabilities to loose our inhibitions in the act of worship like David did, the fact still remains... not only are we created to worship, but we are also commanded to worship. (Psalm 150)
God doesn’t command us to praise Him because He needs us to "pump HIM up," but rather, because we need what praise can do for us!. When we praise and worship God ... it does something for us! Now, I'm not saying that you must dance in worship in order for it to be "true" worship, because there are all kinds of styles of worship that are true worship. I'm just trying to point out that many times, we become too consumed with ourselves to allow the free expression of our worship to our Lord -- in other words, if we're not "feeling it," we're not "doing it." It's easy to praise and worship the Lord when we've been blessed, or when we're happy... it's much harder to do it when we're not... but whether you're happy or sad, the reward is the same... God comes down and meets us where we are, and fellowships with us. He lifts our spirits. He renews us. He cares for us. He feeds us. He refreshes us. He holds us. He invigorates us.
Trust me when I say... Little "G" hasn't learned yet how seriously adults judge each other. And better yet, "G" isn't concerned with what society thinks is appropriate behavior for worship... I guarantee you that!
It causes me to think about a game I play with my son. I place my finger on my mouth, and pat it on my mouth while I say "hmmmmm..." pretending like I'm thinking, all the while, getting closer, and closer, and closer yet to him. Finally, I grab him and tickle him until he is squealing in delight, jumping around, wriggling, and laughing. I hug him, kiss him, squeeze him in all his ticklish spots, and roll around with him. Trust me when I say ... he is not thinking about what mommy is going to think is appropriate behavior at that very moment in time! He just knows that I'm loving on him, and he's reacting genuinely to that.
Now, picture God just loving on you, ministering to you through music... wrapping his arms around you, throwing you up in the air, and showing you how much he loves you. Would you respond to Him in a reserved fashion? I hope not. I hope you would throw your arms in the air and run to him like a child free of any pretenses... jumping in his arms and allowing him to twirl you around and around. After all ... Jesus challenged us to change and become like little children and NOT be frightened of being passionate!
Trust me when I say ... when you throw yourself into worship with a child-like attitude... not caring what those around you think of you're actions or how you look ... Jesus WILL MEET YOU, and he WILL FREE you, and he WILL BLESS you.
I invite you to throw caution to the wind this Sunday... whether you worship in a traditional church with a choir and quiet hymns played on a piano or organ (or both), or in a church that sings a cappella (no music, just voices), or in a church with a full band, or a full symphony, or maybe just a guitar or a violin ... free yourself to worship recklessly -- raise your arms, shout out amen, whatever your heart desires... conquer that quiet voice in your mind telling you how silly you'll look or sound, and loose yourself in the presence of the Lord. Pull out your childish personality and worship passionately! Just don't do it in only a linen ephod --- please worship fully clothed!
"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
Thanks to Sue at Praise & Coffee who reminded me of this in her Monday post, because ironically, she posted about the very same song!
Monday, February 04, 2008
Ya know... sometimes, you roll the dice and come up with NOTHING.
I have no idea what that means... other than, I am empty of anything witty, funny, clever, or important to discuss or bring to your attention. Except for all the lovely Spring designs I have rolling around in my head for my jewelry website! I am not a complicated person -- I'm very simple, really ... and therefore, so are my designs for this Spring! I can't wait to introduce them... in a couple of months!!!
Oh, yeah ... look at that... I do have something to share...
I've been in a "walking boot cast" (looks like this) for about 6 or 7 weeks now, and I think it's simply comical that this past Sunday, people still came up to me saying, "oh, my! what did you do to yourself!" My answer... "I tore some ligaments in my ankle... in December." In fact, people that I see every single day at work still ask me that question (as in... this very morning).
I guess my funny limp has become the norm in other people's eyes. Go figure!
In any case... here's a question I'll pose to you...
Have you ever found yourself going back to a blog... as if you were addicted to it ... but didn't really like it? What's up with that??
What say you???
Friday, February 01, 2008
This has been a crazy, crazy weekend. Work has been crazy! Family life has been crazy! My emails have been crazy! But it's all been a good kind of crazy, if you know what I mean!
Having said that... I'm stepping out on a limb to announce that I do indeed have a blog where I have some jewelry for sale. I'm scared to death to announce this... and I'm having second thoughts even as I type this, but many of you have expressed a desire to purchase some of my necklaces, so I thought I'd stop keeping it a secret! If you are interested in purchasing a piece of jewelry, you can go to GiBee Designs (or click on the button at the bottom of this post). I have limited inventory, but will work hand in hand with you to create a beautiful piece.
Now... as I made each piece of jewelry, I prayed over them, asking God to bless the recipients each time they wear it. Yes... I really did... and when I went to the website to draw the numbers for the winners, I prayed for each person again. And as I sent out each email notifying the winners, I prayed for each person again. Each piece was truly a labor of love, my hope is that you will enjoy wearing your piece of jewelry frequently! Because I've invested so much prayer and time into this, if it isn't too much trouble, I would love to hear from the winners about how they're doing and how God is blessing them!!
Anyway, I've selected the winners by using Random.org, a random integer generator... sounds so professional, doesn't it? And, without further delay... here are the winners of all six of my giveaways:
1. The Remembrance Necklace: #124 -- Kat (no blog, but email is wisdomseekers [at] verizon...)
2. The Mother's Necklace: #37 -- Aimee at A Day in the Life
3. The Silver Cross Necklace: #113 -- Queene of my Domain at Enjoying Life One Juice Box at a Time
4. The Crystal Cross Necklace:#70 -- Celly B at Busy at Home
5. The Bubble Cuff Bracelet: #135 -- Lisa Osborn, and she has three adorable blogs: Osborn Odds 'N Ends; Little Bits of Lindy; and Make Room for Mei Mei
6. The Cross Watch: #12 -- My friend, Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!!!
Whew!!! I think I matched all the right names to the right numbers! I'll be getting these pieces out in the mail within a week after I receive your addresses and make any requested adjustments or personalization (mother's necklace). Please let me know when they arrive.
Finally, I just wanted to share that each time I would go to write a post this week, I found myself completely overwhelmed by all the comments I was reading on the Remembrance Necklace Giveaway. My heart goes out to each and every single person that has suffered a loss... whether it be a miscarriage, a loss during pregnancy, a stillborn child, a loss of a young child, a loss of an older child... it doesn't matter what stage or age your child was at... what matters is that you have a special bond with so many women that understand your heart. If you are struggling with healing, please reach out for help! Contact me any time via my email. I would be happy to pray for you, chat with you, or point you in the right direction for additional help! Blessings to all of you dear ladies!
Here is where you can find my jewelry (more pieces will be added around spring time):