Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A New Creation

Yesterday, I tossed out a quote that I made up, but I'm sure many, MANY people have said something like this at one time or another to themself, a friend, loved one, or even a stranger ...

"Your past and current mistakes and/or failures qualify you for Christ's work right now. No need to wait, or work on perfecting yourself. He takes the "as-is" version of ourselves and uses it for His glory in the here and now."
By: GiBee

This morning, I wanted to follow up with a couple stories, and a few scriptures ... I know that this is basics ... but sometimes, we all (read: I) need a little reminder ... no matter how long you've (I've) been a Christian!

Once upon a time, there was a woman. She was, how shall I say, of "ill repute." She was not saved, and had committed a lot of sin in her life. In fact, she was caught in the act of adultery by a group of prominent religious men, and they dragged her out into the street -- and since they didn't make an "appointment" with her, she probably didn't have much covering her, because she was taken by surprise. Oh, there's no doubt in my mind that she was guilty, not only of this sin, but probably of many others. And I'm sure, she was in a state of shock to have been so publicly humiliated like this. But imagine her fear when this prominent group of men say they want to stone her to death! Fortunately, Jesus challenged them by telling them that the one without sin should cast the first stone. Imagine their surprise! Because, surely, they all knew they had sin in their lives, and none of them were perfect, and without flaw. In fact, no one is without sin (Romans 3:23) except Christ himself. So one by one, they dropped their stones and walked away, leaving this woman alone with Jesus. He asked her to look around and see if anyone remained to condemn her to death. And, she said "no." And, Jesus, the only one without sin, said that he would not throw the first rock either, and told her to go, and "from now on, sin no more."

Oh, man how I love this story. It is one of sin, accusation, judgment, and forgiveness. FORGIVENESS. I often wonder what happened to this woman after she left Jesus. Do you think she went back to her home, locked herself in, and didn't say one single word of what happened to anyone until she became a "perfect" and model citizen? Or do you think she went out to all her friends, and shared the forgiveness she had just received? Maybe she began working with women who were in the same position she had found herself in, trying to encourage them and present the same opportunity of forgiveness to them. Honestly, if it were me, and Jesus forgave me of a sin punishable by death, I think I'd be sharing that with whoever came across my path, even if I wasn't perfect yet.

Wait a second. That IS me! Jesus has forgiven me. Again, and again, and again. And will continue to do so, molding me into the person he wants me to be until the day he comes back for me! Praise God for that, too, because where would I be right now if he wasn't a forgiving God? I can't stand around waiting until I'm "perfect" before I share the good news with everyone that Jesus has forgiven me, because let's face it. I will never be perfect. None of us will. But I know that my Savior is constantly working on me, and you, and my neighbor, and the crazy person driving down the highway like they've lost their mind!

"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

I may have shared this before, so if I have, just scan on a bit further. It's a perfect description of what happens to my sinful life ... One day, a potter made a pot. He sat her on a shelf in a box so she could dry and harden. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror as he walked her to the box, and was so sad, because she looked so ugly and muddy. As the potter shut the lid on the box, it suddenly started to get hot. Very hot. And it hurt! And she began to feel intense searing pain. Oh, how it hurt. She reached the point where she didn't think she could take one minute more, when the potter reached down and rescued her, setting her on a shelf to cool. Whew! That was awful. She couldn't imagine spending her life like that! A few days later, the potter returned, and took her off the shelf. She wonder to herself what her loving creator was going to do with her. He set her down gently on a table, and began to brush her off. Oh, that felt so good. And then, he began to brush something wet on her. Oh! What was that? It was acid, and it was burning! She begged him to take it off. She cried, she pleaded, but he continued to paint the acid on her. Then, he put her in that hot place again. "No! Please, take me out of here! I can't do this again!" But the potter closed the door and left her again. She burned. She hurt. And again, she reached the point where she couldn't take the pain one more minute, when the potter opened the door, reached down, and took her out. He placed her on a table, and began to rub a soft cloth on her. "Oh, that feels so good," she thought. The cloth was soft and smooth, and it was gently buffing all the pain away. The potter looked lovingly at her, and said, "You have gone through the fire and have come out refined. You are so beautiful." She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and sure enough. She was beautiful. Gleaming. Smooth, and she had beautiful markings on her that made her unique. She was no longer the ugly muddy pot, but she was a work of art.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

So, the question is this ... are we willing to place ourselves in the Master Potter's hands? We all have been pitted, marred, cracked or broken, but in the hands of the Master Potter, changes will be made, and many of them will burn and hurt deeply, but those changes will truly make something beautiful of our lives.

"But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel." Jeremiah 18:4-6

Daily. That's how often I need to hear this.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

Updated to add: If you are hopelessly wandering around in circles chasing your tail feathers while trying to find Everyday Mommy, don't worry. She's back in her spot... just click here and you'll find her. And don't get your tail feathers up in a flap... you're not wandering around in circles, chasing your tail feathers because you've got bird flu! (end of update)

Folks, I'm torn! As you may have noticed, I took the whole weekend off -- Monday included -- totally away from the 'puter -- and I have so much to chat about, but I think I'll go on with my normal Tuesday Toss Up, and maybe I'll post again a bit later -- or maybe not -- depending on how long it takes for me to catch up on all your blogs. Oh, and I'm going to try to get bloglines working in my favor today! So, as usual, here's the Tuesday Toss-up. Just read through it, and in the comment section, share whatever crosses your mind about the quote! Don't worry about whether you sound theological, knowledgeable, or anything else, and don't worry about the length, either.

"Your past and current mistakes and/or failures qualify you for Christ's work right now. No need to wait, or work on perfecting yourself. He takes the "as-is" version of ourselves and uses it for His glory in the here and now."
By: GiBee

Have an awesome, although sweltering, day in the Lord! And, don't forget to check back and see what everyone else is saying!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Food Fun

Well, I learned a lesson last Friday ... never post what the weather is, because chances are, the weather people don't know what they're talking about, and it.will.change. As it turns out, the light blue I saw peeking out from behind white puffy clouds turned gray within an hour or so, and the warm balmy temps turned cold and windy as a cold rain started to fall off and on throughout the day. So, I'm not even going to share how lovely the weather is right now, because I think there's a chance of rain for today, and with my luck, I'll bring it on!

As promised... here is a Friday Food Fun recipe... It's a time-honored recipe that almost everyone has either heard of, tasted, or made ... but if you're in the minority of those who haven't, or if you have a cookout or small group this weekend, this is the recipe to make. You'll be a hero! Just note that it must be refrigerated overnight.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

No-Bake Cake:
1 box Graham crackers
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
3 c. whole milk
1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cool Whip

Chocolate Eclair Frosting:
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Butter a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan. Line bottom of pan with whole graham crackers. Mix pudding and milk for 3 minutes until thick; blend in Cool Whip. Pour 1/2 of pudding mixture over graham crackers. Add another layer of graham crackers over pudding mixture. Spread remainder of pudding on top. Add third layer of crackers. Refrigerate for 2 hours before frosting.

Chocolate frosting: Mix ingredients thoroughly. Add a little milk if frosting is too thick. Spread chocolate frosting over the top layer of graham crackers.

Put cake in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight before serving.

Have a safe, blessed weekend, and enjoy the recipe!

Friday Feast

Hey, y'all ... I was tagged for the Friday Feast Meme by Becky at Joyful Mother ... I have been wanting to do this for some time, and now ... I have the perfect excuse. I mean ... reason. I have the perfect reason! Also, check back later, because I'll be posting a Friday Food Fun post after lunch!

How old were you when you got your first credit card?
Too young. I was twenty ... and it was a REAL credit card, not a debit card. It came with a really nice credit limit of $2,500, which I proceeded to ring up every last cent (and then some) within 1-1/2 years! I got married at 23, and it took me an additional 4 years to completely pay. it. off. Lesson learned ... Live by the credit card ... die by the credit card. Or ... die paying it off.

When was the last time you felt out of place?
Ummm ... is this question really necessary? Because if you know me by now ... then you already know that there aren't too many places where I feel OUT OF PLACE. Could be my outgoing personality, could be my multiple personalities. Not sure which one, but in either case, it's a good thing.

Did you have a curfew when you were a teenager? If so, what time did you have to be home?
Oh, did I ever. Once my parents became Christians, they became strict. My curfew was 10:30 until I was a Junior in high school, and then it was 11:30. Weekends only. No time extensions. End of discussion. And... since I was a good and obedient daughter, I would come home on time. My sister, on the other hand, was a brat. Well, not really, but she wasn't as angelic as I was, and she never came home on time, and never bothered to call and ask permission to be out late. To make things worse, my curfew was only extended to midnight when I turned 20, and as long as I lived under their roof, I had to obey it. And, I did. I sure hope my kids are as angelic as I was!

Main Course
Name a person from history with whom you feel you have something in common.
I have no idea! If you do, shout out, 'kay?

When you read a newspaper, which section do you go for first?
Honestly -- I am more of a Good Morning America, and a Fox News junky, and don't really read the newspaper. My husband does, though ... from front to back, but he usually starts with the sports page, then he wanders over to the crossword puzzle (which I hate) and then finishes up the paper in any disorganized fashion possible.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hey, Wisconsin ... Guess What?!?

Avian Flu, better known as Bird Flu, will be arriving in your state! Today! Isn't that exciting?

Yeah, I thought you'd be all tickled pink about that! Apparently, Wisconsin has been selected as the place for researching select samples for the bird flu. And, where a pandemic would be monitored and even controlled! Cool, huh?

As you may have heard, birds are slowly making their way to Alaska from Asia ... so, in order to be one step ahead of, oh, I don't know ... INDONESIA ... birds are being tested and monitored even as we speak. And Wisconsin is the lucky state that will be spear-heading all the research. Woohooo WI!!!

I'm betting Jeana is questioning herself right now if her kids were around any birds, chickens, or ducks during her recent trip to Lauren's comfy home in WI!! (I sure hope she didn't serve you chicken, Jeana!)

But, don't worry. If any of the birds, eggs, or samples test positive for the flu in Wisconsin, Iowa get's to jump in and do more testing in order to make the final confirmation. Hey ... Iowa even gets to sound the alarm! Who could ask for more?

So, if any of you in Wisconsin, or even Iowa, homeschool... maybe you could plan a science field trip to one of the hot labs??? Yeah, maybe not.

This is GiBee, reporting live from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area... bringing you the latest news, because you want to know. And ... I want you to know. Now to you...

Have a glorious, bird flu free day in the Lord!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Woman of her Word

So, you may have noticed by now that I'm not very good with "sayings" -- like the one in my title. I can't remember if that's how it goes, but hey ... it's my blog, and that's how I want it to go (and I assure you, my church friends and family that read this are probably shaking there heads in an "up and down" fashion, saying, "oh, you just don't know how true that is!" -- just don't laugh at me too hard, 'kay?)

Of course, that paragraph has nothing to do what-so-ever with my post for today. I just had to get it off my chest. But, I really do want to be know as a woman of her word, and if I say I'm going to do something, you can trust that I will. And I was tagged to do a Meme, and by golly, I'm gonna do it! No matter how late I am!!!

Having said all that ... I now present you with an awesome, NEW Meme, created by the adorable and God fearing young woman known as Heather from not one, but TWO blogs ... The Rollercoaster Ride of My Life and Heather's Funny Thoughts. So, why do I always talk so highly about this little girl called Heather? Well, she is funny, young, thoughtful, young, single, young, wildly talented, young, and has a firmly rooted faith in Christ Jesus. Have I mentioned she's young? In fact, they're best buds. He's seen her through a lot, and she is NOT AFRAID to give him all the praise and glory! Girlfriend's got it going on with the Lord!

So, she, all on her lonesome, has created a very awesome, and spiritual Meme. And, I'm so excited about sharing this with you, because ... it's got a spot where I can share a bit of my testimony with y'all! How awesome is that? You will be riveted to the screen for three whole hours while you read this Meme, because, well ... that's how long I need to share my testimony. Abbreviated version, too!

Just kidding. But you knew that, didn't you? So... without further ado, or however you spell that word, I present to you ... Heather's Spiritual Meme.

1) What is your life verse: Well, I'm glad you asked. I absolutely love Philippians 4:13 - "I can do anything & "Bee" anything through Christ who gives me strength."

2) Give a bit of your testimony: Now, most of you don't know this little tidbit about me. When I was 6-ish and my sister 4-ish, my parents divorced. My father, who at the time was a recovering alcoholic for 4 years, still had alcoholic attitudes and behaviors. And I guess my mom had all she could take (background: my dad was raised Episcopalian/Catholic ... weird combo... and my mom was raised Catholic. So was I). Anyhoo... Somewhere along the line, my dad received Christ as his Savior while attending an AA meeting. Then, he started going to a Charismatictic prayer meeting on Wednesday eves. He would come to pick us up on the weekends, witness to my mom, and she would promptly slap him across the face and ban him from leaving his car. But one night, my mom was watching a Billy Graham crusade, and praise God, she gave her life to the Lord. And a year later, she and my dad, who at that point had been divorced for 4 years, re-married out of obedience to the Lord and the covenant they made before Him years earlier. Through all this, I began attending first a Messianic Jewish School for 8th and 9th grade, and then a Christian school until I graduated. I was saved back in 1970-something. Late 70's (stop doing the math... I've already said I'm almost 39). Life has not always been easy, but we were never promised a smooth road, were we? I've certainly had my fair share of bumps along the way. But I serve a faithful and loving God. He has redeemed me, continues to forgive me, loves and adores me, and calls me Beloved. What more could a girl want from a relationship with her Savior?

3) Do you have a favorite preacher? Well, I don't know if you'd call them "preachers" but I love to hear the Women of Faith ladies talk. Especially Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, and Luci Swindoll (Chuck Swindoll's sister). These women can crack me up, make me cry, and lift me up on a spiritual high all in one foul sweep. If you've never gone to a Women of Faith retreat, YOU MUST. They are awesome.

4) What's the best Bible Study you've ever done? Well, I wouldn't necessarily call it a "Bible Study" but I absolutely loved reading Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs. Oh, MY WORD. This woman can write! And, I did turn it into a study for the girls in my youth group, so does that count as an answer?

5) What do you feel God's calling is on your life? Oh, so easy ... a Godly wife and mommy. Final answer. Do I win a million dollars?

So, there you have it! A Spiritual meme written by a 23 year old that constantly manages to blow my socks off.

And now ... I tag ... [drum roll please] ... Peach, because she's been through a rough time these past few days, and I want to lift her spirits; Aggiejenn, because she has a son so close to age as mine, and I want to learn more about her (she also has a second blog); and Carol, Lauren and Shannon because they were my first few Christian blogging buddies, and basically, I wanna know what makes them tick!

And, hey ... if you feel like doing it, and I didn't tag you, then, by all means ... go for it. Just let me know in my comments so I can hop on over and read up on your spiritual side! (hmmm ... some of the one's I tagged might tag you, too!)

Ready, set... go ... have a great day for the Lord! GO, GO, GO!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

If you could see my face, you would see that I am pouting. Lower lip jutted out as far as it can go. Dragging on the floor, in fact. Face despondently in hands. Shoulders hunched over. One lone tear trickling down my face.

Why, you might ask? Well ... since you asked ...

I had wanted to post an MP3 file for y'all to listen to today. I thought I had it all figured out. But nooooo. I didn't. I even had a few tips from someone (won't say who for a very specific reason, but she knows why -- don't want to give anything away, you know!) ... so ... if you're a genius wiz kid and can help me figure out how I can get an MP3 file off of my computer and onto my blog, Email me!!! I would greatly appreciate it, AND ... it will enable me to post this very important MP3 NEXT week.

So, for today, it's just another quote! Sorry! Nothing fun or exciting. Well, actually, I'll make it fun. Here's a comical quote about eternity. Tell me what's on your mind!

Here's how it works... Read the quote, process it a bit, and comment on what the quote means to you. Oh, and don't worry about the length or theology behind your comment ... it can be short & sweet, or long and detailed... just GO FOR IT!!

Life is Short, eternity isn't. Will your seat be smoking or non-smoking?

Don't forget to check back and see what everyone else is saying!


Monday, May 22, 2006

What's in a name?

Glad you asked! Let's dissect my name a bit ... GiBee ... After all ... There's a whole lot in my name ... and since you've all been wondering ... I thought I'd share.

WOW! Two posts in one day ... oh, the deliciousness of it all!!!

First of all, "Gi" is the first part of my first name. My name is too unique to really share it with y'all ... stalkers, people ... stalkers. Anywhoo -- Gi is just the beginning (hehehe). "B" is the first letter of my last name. One which I will never, never, ever share on this blog ... for reasons that probably only my friends, family, and Flip Flop understand at this point. And maybe Lauren and Shannon (dont you just love her new look?) and of course ... the fabu and simply adorable Heather! (any one else know my full, and sorry name?)

The "Bee" in my name is my favorite part. The first time I ever went to a Women of Faith conference (about a zillion years ago) ... Thelma Wells shared her testimony. And if you've ever been to a Woman of Faith conference, then you already know the story behind Thelma Wells' love for bees. She offers information, motivation, inspiration and encouragement to help people throughout the world "BEE" their best. Her actual motto is: "In Christ, you can BEE your best."

Thelma shared that the body of a bumblebee is too big, its wingspan too narrow for it to be able to fly. According to aeronautical experts, the flight of the bumble bee is a mystery that defies conventional laws of physics, as its wings do not flutter rapidly enough to create sufficient lift. Yet, it flies around anyway doing what God made it do, reminding us that we can do what God made us to do, too. A miracle that was lovingly created by God ... for us ... as a reminder that we can do anything through HIM! Praise God for that!

So, the Bee became my little emblem too. It reminds me that God has created me the way I am. And even though my wings are too narrow for this big 'ol body, I can do anything, because He gives me the strength!

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

Recently, I started creating a line of jewelry. Many of the pieces are spiritual and inspirational pieces. I will also have a "mother's necklace/bracelet," some fun pieces, and several other pieces that were inspired through my own personal struggles and experiences, and they will hopefully encourage women that either have gone through or are currently going through what I have. And, on each piece I create, a tiny little bee will be included on the clasp, or incorporated somehow on the piece of jewelry to serve as a reminder to the wearer that they can "Bee (or do) anything with Christ's Strength!"

So, there you have it. The history behind my name!

Living Beyond Yourself

I have to be very honest with you... I started writing this post on Friday. Saturday morning, I changed my mind, and started re-writing it. Then, the interruptions of the day and evening kept leaping before me, and before I knew it ... it was Sunday afternoon. And once again, I sat down to complete my post, re-read what I had typed, and deleted everything, only to start again.


Because this weeks LBY lesson was on Faithfulness. And this weekend, I have seen a first hand example of faithfulness, both God's, and ours... and I have been unable to put my words and thoughts into writings that are clear and concise. Or, better yet ... understandable. And, still ... I'm not sure I've accomplished that!

We all have faith in something, and my hope ... nay, my prayer ... is that you have faith in God ... that you believe in the One that is so great and so powerful, even though He can not be "proven," "seen," or "touched." Even though He is not "tangible." After all, we don't see air, sound, or concepts, yet we have faith that they exist.

But Faithfulness -- that carries a few different ideas along with it. In this week's study, Beth Moore pointed out that in the Old Testament, faithfulness describing God was used with Hebrew words ... Aman and its derivative, Emunah. They carry the ideas of firmness, steadiness, sureness, steadfastness, faithfulness, trust, honesty, safety, and certainty. And ... when we apply this to God, the faithfulness of God is His believability. So, when we apply faithfulness to us, a believer in God, it means our belief in God's believability... resting in His certainty, being persuaded by His honesty, trusting His reality, being won over by His veracity, being sure that He's sure, and believing He's worth believing.

God is certain. He is enduring. He is true.

Now, I know many of these words are not my own. They are Beth's. But I couldn't have said it any better. And the reason why I kept starting over and over and over again is because of the place that my friend Momrn2 has found herself in. And as a mother, my heart goes out to her and her husband. I can only imagine the rollercoaster of emotions she has been on this past week.

But friends ... God has shown his faithfulness in their lives. HE HAS. And the outpouring of love, prayers and concern that she has received since Thursday has simply blown me away. Her little girl's life was hanging on by a precious, but thin thread. And God reached down, and proved, yet again, that he is faithful. He has shown his firmness, steadiness, sureness, steadfastness, faithfulness, trust, honesty, safety, and certainty in such a clear and divine way, that it can not be denied.

You see, sometimes, our faith takes us to places we don't want to be. Places that are to big for us to deal with on our own. And that's when we have to believe that God CAN, whether he DOES or DOESN'T. God may not choose to answer our prayers as he did this time for Momrn2. And, yes, that is disheartening and discouraging. But the fact still remains -- even when we are faith-less ... He still remains faithful, because that is what He is. And that's when our Faith is based wholly on WHO GOD IS, rather than what he does.

2 Timothy 2:13 says that "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself." It would be a denial of God's very own nature for Him to be anything other than perfectly faithful. Praise God for that, because I can't imagine a life with a God who is less than faithful!!

On behalf of my friend, who has seen God's very hand this weekend, I thank you for your faithfulness to her through your prayers and words of comfort. Even though you may not have even known her before this weekend. The community we have formed is priceless, and I am moved beyond words.

Thank you. And praise God for His faithfulness.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Update on Momrn2

A quick update on MomRN2 -- DD is in surgery as we speak. Her bowel was twisted, affecting both a vein and an artery, which may result in a dead bowel. Please continue to keep this precious family in your prayers. Her friend Heidi will continue to update us until MomRN2 is able to get to a computer.


Fabu-Fri with a little food fun thrown in!!

Friends, yesterday was such a busy day at work, that after I posted my meme, I didn't get a chance to go to my usual blog haunts... having said that, I was horified to find out this morning that my dear friend's (MomRN2) little 8-year old daughter, is in the hospital undergoing tests, scans, and suffering from her 10th or 11th day of non-stop vomiting. This is serious. She needs our immediate prayers. Please, please take a moment in your day to lift this beautiful family up in your prayers, and stop by to encourage her. Thanks for showing your blog-friendship and loving care!

Now my own post seems so petty and trite.

First I'm gonna thrill you with the beauty of my day, then I'm gonna bore you with my nutritional and medical "stuff," then I'm gonna toss in some cute kid things, and finally, I'll taunt you with the mention of a yummy crock-pot meal that can be used two different ways in one week ... so stick around a while!

Today is absolutely beautiful! The sun is out, and I can actually see some light blue poking through the white cotton in our sky! The humidity is so low, I've forgotten what humidity is, and the breeze is gently blowing. It's gonna be in the mid to high 60's today... can you believe it??? Love it. It's making my Friday fabulous. Even though I'm stuck inside ... at work ... oh well ... you can't have everything ... but I promise I'll go out during lunch and suck up as much of this lovely day as I possibly can!

So, this morning, since it was so sing-songy beautiful, I thought I'd deviate from my normal scrambled egg-beater and sausage breakfast. I had me a panny-cake, as my aaaa-dddorable niece used to call them. With syrup. REAL syrup. And I had sausage, too. Why? Because I was once told by a nutritionist (oh, okay, it was last year when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes) that if you're going to eat carbs, eat them with protein, and the carbs (ehem) will (cough, cough) break down easier and faster.

Soooooo -- if any of you nutritionists, nurses, or really smart people know any different, (like Carol, or MomRN2) you'd better break the news to me gently. And since this beautiful day is a pre-cursor for a really nice weekend, you'd better do it today.

Now, I've been experiencing a strange sort of ear ache. It's more like an electrical charge that smacks the middle of my ear every so often, accompanied by a dull ache. And, there's a spot on my head (right behind my ear) that hurts badly ... especially when I touch it or brush it (so I try not to do that) -- I think there are glands back there somewhere, and I think they are hurting -- badly. But, since I'm not a real doctor, just a Google doctor, I really can't accurately diagnose why I'm feeling so yucky. Oh, and my throat hurts, and half of my face. So I'm guessing either allergies, a sinus infection, or both. Great way to start the weekend! Aaahhh, heck... If anyone out there thinks they know what ails me... feel free to chime in.

Anyway, my beautiful, adorable son is doing some new stuff and making us laugh so hard! After all, he was put on this earth mainly to entertain his parents and make them roll on the floor laughing, if not wetting their pants! He will.not.crawl. HATES being on his belly and will immediately flip over if put in that horrible, terrible position. But loves being in his exersaucer, and this past week, he began jumping up and down in it like a little monkey! So, out came the Johnny-Jump-Up-Clamp-Over-The-Door thingie ... and he loooooohhhhuuuuvs it! It is stinking hilarious to watch him jump all around in that thing! (And the best part ... I got it for free ... a hand-me-down from my sister of 4! Love those kind of toys!!!) Anyway, he laughs so hard and gets this funny look of concentration (not consternation, and definitely not constipation) on his face when he starts to jump in that thing. Then, the other night, I was holding his hands, and he started to jump his way down the hall to the bath tub. So, it looks like I may have a non-crawler-Mexican-jumping-bean for a son! Hey -- this girl's gotta be different, ya know!

So, because I know you're dying for more fun stuff ... okay, I'll share some more. I frequently give Hunter "eskimo kisses" (rub noses) and he really didn't get it at first ... that is until the other night! I went to give him an eskimo kiss, and the started laughing his little head off ... and shrieking. Did I mention he loves to shriek? So "adorable." Anyway ... last night, when I got home from work, he actually started laughing as I collected him in my arms and went towards the nose, and he pushed his head towards mine to get an eskimo kiss from his momma. And when I finished and pulled away, he pushed his face towards me again. I tell you -- the child is a genius. AAAANNND -- he melts my heart. And his daddy's, too, but this is all about me.

Now, for the deeelish meal teaser ... at the beginning of the week, I made a yummy crock-pot mexi-flare roast. Oh, my it was heavenly, and shredded beautifully, and whoo-ahhh -- it just melted in your mouth. (Yes, I actually said the banned whoo-ahhh word) The secret was in the seasonings, the cut of meat, and the sauce. Theeeeen, because I'm so brilliant -- oh, okay -- because I watch a lot of cooking shows, I got the idea to use the leftover shredded meat and make easy-peasy Mexi-flare Empanadas. Sigh, sigh, sigh. We ate them last night, and even though I was feeling sick, I enjoyed them soooo much. Yuuu-hhuuum.

Yeah, yeah ... whatever ... I'll share the recipe(s) with you ... just hold your apron on! Just don't forget where you got it!!!

Mexi-flare Crock-pot Roast

-3 to 5 lb beef roast (I prefer the eye-round roast -- it's long and thin, and I get two at Costco for like $13-15)
-1 pound bag of carrots, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
-2 or 3 baking potatoes, peeled, and cut into long 2" pieces
-1/2 large sweet onion (I use Vidalias) cut into big chunks (they will sweeten up and pretty much disappear while cooking)
-Flour to coat the roast
-Season-all Salt
-garlic powder
-Ground black pepper

-1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-2 teaspoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder

Trim fat off of roast. Generously season the roast with the season-salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Cover the whole roast with flour. Place all the cut vegetables in the bottom of a large crock pot, and put roast on top.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients. Pour over the roast. Cook on low to medium for 8-12 hours (if possible, turn the roast over towards end of cooking time so it gets completely coated with the sauce).

Remove roast from crock pot and place on a cutting board to "rest" for about 5-10 minutes. Transfer veggies to a serving bowl (or keep in crock to maintain warmth), and transfer all of sauce into a pot to thicken. Thicken slightly (to BBQ sauce constancy) with a combination of cold water and flour. Shred the meat with two forks (saving 1/3 of it for later on in the week), and serve with the sauce and vegetables. MMMMMMM!

Now, you have the main ingredient for another easy meal later on in the week!

Mexi-Flare Empanadas

1 package refrigerator pie-crust
left-over shredded meat
diced green chiles
chopped cilantro
Sargento 4-cheese mexican shredded cheese combination

Let pie crust come to room temp for about 20 minutes. Unroll one crust and place on counter. In the 4 "corners", place a mount of shredded meat, and top each mound off with diced green chiles, chopped cilantro, and shredded cheese. With a pastry brush (or your finger) "paint" water all around the crust and in a cross shape in the middle of the crust. Place the top crust on, and press down lightly. With a pizza cutter (or knife), cut into 4. Crimp edges with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees until pie crust is nice and golden-brown.

There you have it ... TWO for ONE food fun on this Fabu-Fri-day.

So, now I'm off to design a beaded hand-made, and certainly, by no means, cheaper, gift for 6 female high-school grads, and try and think of a "cool" gift for 1 male HS grad. If you have any ideas, drop me a comment!

Have a fantabulous weekend, and make sure to catch all the LBY comments this evening and tomorrow! (links to the left)

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Yes, ladies and gentlemen ... another wonderful Meme coming your way, curtosey of the ever lovely and talented Faith from Faithful Mommy...

What is your favorite word? Beloved -- it is so intimate, so caring, tender and gentle.

What is your least favorite word? Hate -- 'nough said.

What turns you on spiritually,creatively,emotionally ?
spiritually - Worship, Christian Music, Scripture
creatively - Beautiful things
emotionally - Tenderness

What turns you off? Fighting, contention, back stabbing, cursing.

What's your favorite curse word? Shoot! (I need to find a better one)

What sound or noise do you love to hear? My son laughing, and waves crashing.

What sound or noise do you hate? Teeth scraping against silverware.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Photographer

What profession would you not like to do? Economist

If Heaven exists,what would you like to hear God say at the pearly gates? IF heaven exists? Well -- it does, and I would LOVE to hear God say, "Welcome home, beloved."

Now, I'm going to tag: Flip Flop, 'cause I love her blog; Overwhelmed, 'cause I want to get to know her better; and Shalee, because I love the way she writes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Boys, boys, boys!

I'm sitting here reading, and re-reading this post, and each time I go to press the "Publish Post" button, I chicken out. Why? Because I want to make sure I do this post justice without hurting any feelings, sounding judgmental, or pious. So, if I offend, or come across as harsh, please forgive me. I just want to speak my mind as delicately as possible. DEEP BREATH. Here we go...

Everyday Mommy has pulled together a wonderful grouping of posts she has written called Like Joshua where she discusses our roles as moms in raising our boys to be Godly men, and what the world is doing to attack our efforts. She also extends a challenge to us (moms) to "employ the God-given motherly influence we have to raise our sons to be like Joshua." Please, please take a moment to read her posts and the comments. They are really good! And, they inspired me to really think about my own son, and what our goals are for him!

As I started to write this, one question was going over and over in my head... Do you think there is an epidemic in our world for Godly male role-models? I do ... I hate that many men "act the way they do" because they think "that's the way they are," and use it as an excuse. They accept that their "masculinity" renders them incapable of being gentle, nurturing, or viewing things from an emotional perspective. But scripture tells us to not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Many worldly fathers are often unavailable. They don't communicate well, and possibly don't care. They focus on either their own success, or just keeping their heads above water. Boys are taught to "take it like a man," "real men don't cry," and "sensitivity equals weakness." Many boys will go without receiving acts of affection from their parents ... not just their fathers, and boys are considered "tough," and are treated like that and expected to act that way. This is the epidemic I'm concerned about.

There is just so much for a boy to learn on his way to becoming a man ... especially a man of God. When boys look around them to see what makes a healthy, Godly man, don't you think that they get contradictory, confusing, and inconsistent information about what defines being a man?!

I know when I was pregnant, I really wanted a girl, because I was so intimidated about raising a son ... after all -- I am a girl! But you know what the good news is? My son was God's idea! Praise God for that! I am so head-over-heels in love with this little boy, and as his mom, I can be influential in teaching him how to go from boyhood to manhood, shaped by God's character and purposes.

Some of my goals (along with my husband, of course) in raising my/our son are: teaching him how to be "emotionally intelligent;" how to respect people not just their elders; how to "grow a heart" for God; how to live life responsibly and independently; how to be a man with honor and integrity; how to deal with failures, loss and grief that life is bound to hand him; how to find joy in the mundane; how to love, honor, cherish and respect his wife; how to love and raise his own children. And ... that's just a few of my goals! Granted, some of them have been 'coined' by other people, but hey ... they're my goals too (and there's a lot of them)!

You see, I consider it an honor to have been handed this little child to care for and raise. And, I honestly feel that a mother's influence on her son(s) is unique and valuable. I only have a very few, short, not-long-enough-18 years with him until he legally becomes a "man" in the world's eyes (GAAH!), and I want to make every minute count so that I can make the biggest, Godliest impact on his life, hopefully while directing him to eternal things!

Now, I'll be the very first to admit that I know nothing about raising boys. Okay, girls either. But ... I have many friends (in person and in blog-land) that are either raising boys or have raised boys, that I can go to for advice. Dr. James Dobson has written for years about the importance of the traditional family (a dad and a mom) and especially the critical role that fathers play in the lives of young children. And, I am blessed beyond measure to have a husband who strives on a daily basis to be a Godly man. I know without a doubt that he will serve as a living example to my son, and will be involved in every aspect of his life. I also see characteristics in both my dad, and my father-in-law that are Godly that I want my son to see.

I recently learned in my Living Beyond Yourself Bible study that women are powerful and influential... so, when it comes to raising Godly sons, how can we use that power and influence? Well -- we can start by encouraging our husbands to be the head's of our households. I read on a blog somewhere that an "empowered man as head of the household is better and creates less strife than the co-captain of a ship, which can run a ground." We can also find ways to enable him to have quality time with the kids ... date nights, family nights, sports, scouts, walking the dog, yard work, movie time, etc.

"It is a wise father that knows his own child."
William Shakespeare

Fathers are important and valuable in our sons lives, and many dads don't discover this until it's too late. I'm reminded of something I once heard at a youth conference ... the speaker said there are three kinds of dads: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who ask what happened! As a woman, we can use our "power and influence" to encourage our husbands to be the kind of dad that "makes things happen."

And another thought that crossed my mind ... It is difficult to be a single mom. It can be discouraging, and I'm sure there are many times when a single mom feels like she's reached the end of her rope. Women who do not have godly men to look up to in their own families need our support and the guidance of a godly church body that upholds biblical roles and believes in supporting the fatherless and the widow. We can all help single moms cope. We can encourage them, and be actively involved in their lives.

We can also help them by mentoring their children. You might be thinking that you just don't have the hours in your day or even the knowledge needed to make that kind of commitment. Well, mentoring doesn't always have to involve the huge amount of time and energy that you might think, and you don't need a four-year "mentoring degree" in order to make a positive impact on children around you! Simply investing even an hour a week with a child -- taking them out for ice cream with your family, helping him with his math homework, sharing Scripture and ultimately just loving him or her can make a world of difference. You can be a family, an empty-nester, a single person, or a couple that doesn't have children yet. All you need to do is take the first step towards making a difference!

And, it's not just the single moms that need our help. In the past year and a half, my husband has started taking our PastorMan's son (who is in 8th grade) fishing... he started this before our son was born, and the thing about fishing is ... they have all kinds of time to talk about silly stuff, as well as spiritual stuff. I KNOW his dad is a Godly man, and loves his son, and spends quality time with him ... but I also know that his dad is a busy man, and can use all the help he can when it comes to role models for his son... I know I'll certainly appreciate that from the men in our church as my son gets older... and I can promise that there are parents out there (single or not) that WILL appreciate your positive influence in their kids lives.

Finally, we should also remember the many children here in the US, and around the world who don't have a family. Now, more than ever, the privilege of adoption is something that Christians, in particular, need to consider. For an orphaned or abandoned child, being adopted into a loving, intact family can literally mean the difference between life and death. As followers of Christ, there can be no higher calling than for us to extend our hands to one of "the least of these" -- the overlooked in our society -- and invite him or her into our home as a son or daughter. And another thing I learned from Beth Moore's Bible study ... is that in a very real sense, that is what God has done for each of us through His own Son, Jesus Christ. My husband and I have discussed sponsoring a child through Compassion International. That is an immediate goal of ours. But my own personal long-term goal is to one day adopt a child who is in need, and welcome them into our family as one of our own.

So -- back to the original reason for this post ... when it comes to raising my son "like Joshua" ... I'm game. Are you?

Feel free to share in the comments section your goals for your kids, and even tips on how you plan to implement them, or have already implemented them! We can all support each other and share with each other things that work and things that haven't or don't. If you don't have kids yet, I encourage you to make it a personal goal of yours to make a difference in the life of one child in your church or neighborhood.

"Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them." Joshua 1:6


Additional Posts of Interest:
1) Foster Care - The "Aging Out" Dilemma -- Janice's Interview (5 Minutes for Mom) with Diane (Praying for A Prodigal)
2) Why Foster Care? Part 1 of 3 by Diane from Praying for A Prodigal
3) Why Foster Care? Part 2 of 3
4) Why Foster Care? Part 3 of 3
5) She's An Expert by Carol at She Lives (an article on Parenting)

If you know of any other posts that correspond to this discussion, please let me know! Thanks.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

Tuesday's Toss-up is here again! It's YOUR turn to comment on my blog, and I can't wait to read your profound, funny, and at times, life changing thoughts!

Here's how it works... Read the quote, process it a bit, and comment on what the quote means to you (it's a long one today!). Oh, and don't worry about the length or theology behind your comment ... it can be short & sweet, or long and detailed... just GO FOR IT!!

"You are great, Lord, and greatly to be praised. Great is your power, and of your wisdom there is no end. And man, who is part of what you have created, desires to praise you. Yes, even though he carries his mortality wherever he goes, as the proof of his sin and the testimony of your justice, man desires to praise you. For you have stirred up his heart so that he takes pleasure in praising you. You have created us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."
The Confessions of St. Augustine

Don't forget to check back and see what others are saying!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nothing like a Monday Meme!

I was tagged by Carol at She Lives, and Heather at Funny Thoughts About Life's Crazy Happenings -- you may know her as Heather from The Rollercoaster Ride of My Life (girlfriend has time for two blogs -- go figure!).

Accent: Slightly Southern, so I've been told. Northern-southern?

Bible Book that I like: I love the book of Ruth. A beautiful story in many ways -- a story of undying devotion between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law; a love story between a man and a woman; a story of kindness, blessing, and redemption. It's a biblical novel of sorts!!!

Chore I don't care for: Gardening. I know, I know ... many don't consider it a chore, but a pleasure to do ... but because I dislike it so much, it's a chore for me. Oh, and scrubbing floors and tubs/showers. GAAH!

Dog or Cat: My first "child" was my dog -- a sweet, gentle, loyal Maltese. The best family lap dog ever, and so gentle with children. Even when they pull on her tail, hair, ears, etc.

Essential Electronics: Cell phone, laptop/computer

Favorite Cologne: Clinique's Happy. Love it. Won't wear anything else.

Gold or Silver: SIL-ver. All the way, baby! Or white gold. Especially with diamonds!

Handbag I Carry Most Often: Right now, I carry a little Vera Bradley toggle bag in petal pink and lime green. But, I'm waiting on two bags that I'll switch over to as soon as either one arrives ... THIS one in Black with Pink Gingham ... and something like THIS one in black and white with lime green polkadots.

Insomnia: Every now and then. Sometimes I lay awake until 1, 2, 3 in the morning and finally fall asleep, and sometimes, I wake up at 2 or 3 and can't get back to sleep. Less now than before I was pregnant -- praise God for that!

Job Title: Financial Analyst at work; honey, hun, mommy at home (my favorites).

Kids: Son -- Hunter -- 7 months old. Loveable, adorable, and the apple of my eye. Oh, and three frozen embryos ... wonder what they are? hopefully, we'll find out in another 5 months!

Living Arrangements: This sounds so "institutional" -- like in a dorm room or something like that! I live in a nice home in the Suburbs, and I would gladly trade down to a tiny apartment, if my husband were willing, just so I could stay home with my boy.

Most Admirable Trait: Compassionate.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: Does throwing knives at my sister count? How about laughing at her when she got her finger crushed in an automatic garage door? Or when she ate a whole bottle of children's vitamins and had to have her tummy pumped? Yeah ... I was pretty mean. But so was she! [read with a whinny voice]

Overnight Hospital Stays: One surgery and birth of one baby.

Phobias: Claustrophobia -- particularly tight, enclosed and crowded spaces ... with people pressing in on you and there's no way to go -- like elevators, metro trains, or huge packed concerts or malls... with an inability to GET OUT FAST. Uuuuuuhhhhhhhhh!!! just thinking about it sends me into a tail spin.

Quote: "You are a boil on the butt of humanity." Yeah, I know -- you're thinking, "Gee whiz, GiBee -- that's real spiritual" ... but it just cracks me up! And, I love Steel Magnolias. Tons of cool quotes from that movie! I also love Jerry McGuire's "You had me at hello." Sigh. And ... "D'you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?"

Religion: Family of God. Born again Christian -- saved by grace. Does that count?

Siblings: 1 sister. I lover her a ton and miss her (she lives about 6 hours away!)

Time I Wake Up: 6:30 am on work days, 8:00 on a good "sleep-in" day.

Unusual Talent or Skill: I can gracefully multitask like nobody's business. Unless I'm holding my son, in which case, I drop him on his face. Not many people can do that gracefully!

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Broccoli (okay, I eat it every now and then, but rarely) and Okra.

Worst Habit: I crack my knuckles. Very un-lady like. And I can crack the knuckles in my toes. Gross, huh?

X-rays: Girlie stuff.

Yummy Stuff I Cook: Beef Roast, Turkey with cornbread-cranberry-pecan stuffing, lasagna

Zoo Animal I Like Most: Baby animals. So cute. Especially the baby panda at our zoo.

Whew! It took me forever to get this done!

I tag, Lauren from Created for His Glory, because I simply think she needs more to do; Peach from Just Peachy, because she has an adorable new template up; Addie from Life with Little Women, because I really think she needs the distraction right now (and our prayers); Becky at Joyful Mother, because I'm just getting to know her, and I think you'll like her too!

Have fun with this, girls!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This is for all the ladies out there ...

Friends --

Let me start by saying ... my mom is 67 years old. She had me when she was 28 years old. She looks amazing, in my eyes!!!

Today is Mother's Day, and I am so thrilled, because it is my very first one with a real-live baby in my arms!! For many years, MANY years -- Mother's Day was the most painful day of the year for me, because it served to remind me that I did not have a child, and was not a mother. But my blindness and one-tracked mindedness caused me to forget one very important thing ... while I may not have been a mother to my own, I certainly served as a loving mentor to many children and teens throughout my married life. So, before I wish the Mothers a Happy day, please, allow me to tip my hat, and wish all the women who continue to struggle with infertility, and reconciling with not having a child, a wonderful, blessed, and peaceful day. You are brave. You are loved. You are precious to many. Especially Our Lord. Please know that I am honored to have such wonderful and strong women in my presence. And, my son will be a better man through sharing your love with him.

My husband honored me this Mother's day by placing a picture of me holding Hunter in the Washington Times this morning! I was floored, to say the least! When I find a link to it, I'll post it for y'all to enjoy!

Now ... I found two E-cards I wanted to share with you all for mother's day. Just click on the links, then click on "Open your E-Card" and then wait for the movie to cue up and click on the "click to start" button. Sorry for all the hoops you need to jump through, but its about as technically savy as I can get! There is a brief message from me, but the videos are the best part! Enjoy!

The first E-card is light and funny. Very cute. And really, I think we can ALL relate! (Don't forget to come back!)

The second E-card is encouraging, and very touching ... especially for all the moms that are feeling a bit discourage right now. Shannon's post from the other day touched me to the core. My heart went out to her, and all the moms that left comments on her blog. This e-card spoke volumes to me, and I just wanted to share it with all of you! (I think you'll need to click on each slide of the card to advance the pages.)

Being a mom is a tough job... and I really think God knew what he was doing when he chose the "woman" to be the "mom" -- And we're all doing a great job, raising fine children who are well behaved and who love the Lord with all their hearts.

So ... whether a mom, or a loving woman, leave this blog today knowing that you are loved. You are appreciated. You are amazing. And if you're discouraged, keep your chin up, because you are not alone, and I'm reaching my arms out through the computer offering you a warm-squeezie-kind of embrace and two extra arms to carry you through the day, week, or month until the sun shines bright in your corner again (or until all the laundry is done)!

Happy mother's day!

Warm hugs and kisses,

Friday, May 12, 2006

Beauty tips...

... from an "almost-39-but-not-quite" year old woman...

I have been blessed to be surrounded by beautiful, and Godly women! When I say beautiful, I mean inside beauty... Their beauty regime includes slathering on lots of love, spraying on some joy, dabbing on some peace, spritzing on kindness, a shake of genuineness, a sprinkle of patience, and a touch of reality.

But one of the most beautiful women I know is my mother. She is beautiful inside and out. She's a Godly woman -- the epitome of a Proverbs 31 Woman. She keeps a spotless home. She sews. She cooks. She paints. She creates. She works hard. She cares for her family. And, she's a prayer warrior, and let me just say ... when she says she's going to pray ... she does. She might be walking around her home, sitting on her bed, on her knees, or flat on her face. But she's praying. I've seen it. In fact, I'm one of those very people she prayed relentlessly for. And Hunter is living proof of her years and years of prayers (not just hers, though ... many people prayed for Hunter, too). I knew that whenever I was down, sad, broken hearted, or even rejoicing ... I could call my mom, and she'd stop what ever she was doing and pray for me over the phone.

But I also think my mom is beautiful on the outside. She was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Her mother was Peruvian, and her father Italian (she got his nose!) ... My mom is -- well -- I'll let you guess how old she is... But I don't think she looks her age. She takes very good care of her skin. She washes her face every day -- morning and night. She removes her makeup every night before she goes to bed, splashes her face with hot water, she moisturizes with SPF creams, she uses minimal makeup, she drinks a lot of water, eats a lot of vegetables, takes vitamins, and exercises. And -- she's healthy as a horse, and has the stamina of a 16 year old. She runs circles around me! This is a picture of my mom and Hunter three days after he was born ... Go ahead ... guess how old she is!

And, while I'd LOVE to be just like my mother ... I'm not. I don't have time to stand over a sink and wash my face morning and night. Or to splash my skin with hot water to tighten the pores. But, I have come up with a lot of "shortcuts" inspired by my mom, friends and co-workers, "accidental discoveries," and even my son! So here are a few beauty secrets of mine. Some of them you probably already know or do. Some of them, you might think are really good ideas, and might implement them, or toss them. And one of them, you might think "boy, I can't believe she shared that with people!" But either way, here they are ... do with them as you see fit!

Tip #1: As I said before, I don't have time to stand over the sink and wash my face. But, I do keep a tube of Mary Kay's Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser in my shower, and wash my face every morning when I shower. Mary Kay has nice products, and they last forever, but they can be pricey ($18 for this cleanser) -- so I'm not necessarily recommending the Mary Kay cleanser -- just keeping any cleanser in the shower and using it is what I'm recommending ... But, I do highly recommend NOT using plain old soap. It's too drying for the skin.

Tip #2: I totally believe in moisturizing your face. DAILY. With SPF. End of discussion. But, I will share a product I discovered and love. Normally, I prefer Oil of Olay's Total Effects 7X Visible Anti-Aging Vitamin Complex - With UV Protection -- but unless you've suddenly come into some of that "Texas Tea -- Black Gold -- Bubblin' Crude" (Carol???), this product can run you about $18!! So, in an effort to save a bit of money, I stumbled upon the Generic CVS brand at $13, and it is a better moisturizer! Make sure you smooth it down your neck and even on your chest.

Tip #3: I use very little makeup -- no foundation, only moisturizer, eyliner and mascara. Occasionally, I'll use some shadow when I dress up, but I don't normally have time to doll myself up every day. But I've discovered two products I love ... I use Mary Kay's Signature Eyeliner in Sable, and its smudge proof. It lasts all day -- under my eyes -- where it belongs -- NOT ON MY FACE! No smudging or running. And I chose to use the color Sable, because it's not as harsh as black, but not as washed out as brown. It's a great mechanical pencil that lasts forever. As for mascara, I will only use Max Factor's 2000 Calorie Mascara Number 2 or 3 -- it's hypoallergenic, water resistant, and smudge proof -- and they claim it volumizes lashes up to 200% -- and trust me, it comes pretty darned close! Very long lashes!

Tip #4: I take my makeup off every night. I started off using an expensive department store eye makeup remover. Then I tried various other brands. But what I've found works the best is Pamper's Lavender Baby Wipes -- one side of the wipe is smoother than the other, and it's gentle on the eyes, and takes EVERYTHING off. It's fast, convenient and one tub of wipes costs a whole lot less than a small $10 bottle of makeup remover that is either too oily, doesn't work, and doesn't last long. AND -- it works at getting a quick stain off of your shirt when the baby spits up on you.

Tip #5: Deodorant. I use it. So should you. But a long time ago, I discovered Secret. It's strong enough for a man, but made for a woman - literally. In fact, this deodorant works so well, my husband uses it. Shhhh -- that's a secret!

Tip #5: Dry cracked heels and elbows -- I hate that! And recently, I discovered that Aquaphor Healing Ointment works wonders on those two tough spots! And again, this product is very expensive, and the CVS brand works just as well. And, I only need to use it occasionally.

Tip #5: I struggle with dry skin. STRUGGLE. Cracked, flaky, itchy, ugly dry skin. I've used every imaginable lotion on the market. Including Bath and Body Works stuff. But I accidentally discovered a lotion that leaves my skin so soft ... And I have my son to thank for this tip! I started using this product on my son, and noticed that it was leaving my hands silky smooth. So I started using it on ME too, and I love it ... Huggies Lavender and Chamomile lotion. It is gentle, leaves my skin silky soft, and smells good, too!

Tip #6: Want to keep your pearly whites, well -- white? My Pastorman's wife recently went to the dentist and the dentist told her to use a toothpaste by Arm & Hammer. She shared this with me, so I figured I'd give it a try. Well -- it cleans your teeth very well, leaves them smooth, AND whitens them! Actually, toothpastes aid in removing stains ... not literally "whitening them." Did you know that toothpastes may contain one or more of the following ingredients as an abrasive for cleaning teeth? Alumina, hydrated silica, dicalcium phosphate, salt, pumice, kaolin, bentonite, calcium carbonate (chalk), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), calcium pyrophosphate. Interesting.

Tip #7: I used to work for a company that put on really big conferences. I did the money end of the conferences, but one year, we did a huge symposium in Kansas City for HUD. It was held in the Kansas City Convention Center ... and heavens! That place is huge!!! It covers 8 blocks, has three levels, and we used every single square inch. In fact, we needed golf carts to get around! By the end of the week, I had managed to break one toe, and bruise several others. Owww! But one of the experienced conference planners gave me a strange tip that might be useful for whenever you plan on being on your feet for a long time ... She recommended spraying antiperspirant on your feet. It helps prevent blistering, and energizes them, and gets them going for a good long time. And at the end of a long day on your feet, you can roll the can back and forth under your foot for a quick massage. Weird, huh?

I had another tip, but I can't remember what it was ... anyone have a tip for my memory?

Hopefully, I'll look as young as my mother does when I'm her age... And, if you have any beauty tips, share them with us in the comments!

I was just tagged by Carol and Heather to do a Meme, and it's going to require some thinking. As if I don't do enough of that at work -- LOL!!! So, I'll get to it this weekend, and post it on Monday -- will that work?

Have a blessed day in the Lord, and don't forget to bask in his love.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Random acts of Kindness ... and Ignorance!

OOPS! Edited to add -- I almost forgot to tell you that Hunter's second tooth broke through yesterday. Poor baby! Owie!

Hi, all! I was totally swamped today with work (yawn, I'm exhausted) ... and I didn't get to ANY of my blogs today! Pooh! And then, I discovered through a random act of "ignorance" (uh, yeah ... on my part) that I haven't been going to ALL the blogs that were bookmarked on my favorites, because my computer crashed two (or was it three?) weeks ago, and when they (IT) gave me my new laptop, they only gave me a partial copy of all my favorites. THE NERVE! So ... if you haven't seen me on your blog, can you leave me a comment telling me so, and I'll re-bookmark you! Thanks ... and sorry about that! It really wasn't anything personal!

And now ... for some Random Acts of Kindness ...

Okay -- first of all, we had a Board of Deacon's meeting tonight, and would you believe that my dear friend that makes those yummy cakes with the most delish frosting MADE ME A CAKE!!! She's so sweet... adorable ... and you all would absolutely LOVE her (I have a feeling she reads your blogs every now and then, cause she obviously reads mine!)... So, thanks trendy mama! I appreciate the cake more than you know ... but understand that those extra 5 pounds I've gained in the last month are killing me, so I just HAD to share the cake with the Board. Besides ... they were all drooling! hehe! And it was YUMMY!

Now -- I had two new guests comment on yesterdays post ... and you are not going to believe this. In fact, I DON'T believe it!!! Becky from Joyful Mother gave ME an award. I'm stunned! Thank you so much for the award for a well designed blog ... and all the credit really belongs to none other than Susie (check her blog out -- SusiePie -- very cute with a freshly updated new look) at A Little Luxury -- she is so talented and the brains behind my absolutely adorable template! Becky -- I can't wait to devour your blog tomorrow, because I we've got a lot of things in common, and we're going to be fast friends! Your blog is adorable, and I love your banner -- especially all the feet ... very cute.

And speaking of fast friends -- another fast friend will be Zoe from Zoe's Thoughts -- Oh yeah!! Now I have an international friend!!! And don't you love that name? Adorable.

Now, I must say that I really thought the bath ring was no longer being made because of all the ummm ... accidents (to put it gently) in the US that were related to this bathing ring. I even searched for it on line, and could not find one anywhere at all!!!

Until yesterday. When I got not one, but TWO links to two different bathing rings. And I must say, it certainly looks like they are making them a lot safer than the older models. In fact, Sandra from Diary of a SAHM gave me a link to a nice one with toys on it, and Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer gave me a link to one that connects to the tub. AND ... I can't forget the advice for the sleep sacks ... especially the awesome one that Heth from Under the Laundry Pile left me ... I think that will work out well!

So, Thanks to all of you for the awesome advice, encouragement, affirmation, and lovins, hugs and smooches you sent for Hutner. He sends it right back at you.

Finally, I had typed a bunch of beauty tips for y'all ... but for some reason, my entire page went blank, and when I went to "Recover Post" -- it only gave me HALF of what you currently see. And I was too tired to go back and find all the links [read lazy] ... so I'll share my secrets with y'all tomorrow. Maybe. If I have some free time.

So, GO TO BED, will ya? You're keeping me awake!!!

Smooches! [editorial note: spell check brings up "smashes" for "smooches" -- so "SMASHES" to y'all!]

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Call me crazy, but ... I'm looking for some baby advice

One thing I'm finding about being a new mom is that it's tough knowing what the best thing is to do for your little one. American Academy of Pediatrics says one thing. Doctors say another. And moms say yet another thing! It makes it difficult to figure out what to do!

So here I am ... getting ready to ask all of Hunter's "internet Aunties" for advice ... because I just can't get enough from other sources ... There are a few "questions" I have, and I don't know what to do... so I was wondering if you could share your opinions, or what you have done or currently do with regards to those particular issues! It doesn't matter how old your kids are now ... any opinions are welcome. Now, they aren't "major" or "serious" things ... just something I need a bit of guidance on. I would be eternally grateful!

Background: Hunter is 7 months old, he weighs close to 20 pounds, and is about 28 or 29 inches long ... and he's in a size 12 month now ... big boy!!!

Question #1: When we put Hunter to sleep, it can be a bit cool in his room. We put a blanket over him (cotton with satin trim), and he also has his "silky" blanket (chenille with satin trim on one side, all satin on the other side), which he adores and cuddles. We've also tried the small "security" blankets with the stuffed animal in the middle, and the same sized "security" blanket without the animal (satin on one side, chenille on the other). Unfortunately, he insists on pulling any and all blankets over his face, and that seems to be the way he puts himself to sleep. He also does it throughout the night, and I have this gut wrenching feeling that he's going to suffocate himself, or die from SIDS. I know, I know ... you're probably thinking I'm being a bit dramatic ... and maybe I am. But what I need advice on, is ... is it common for infants to sleep with blankets over their face? Is it okay? Or should I take all the blankets out of his crib? And if I do that, what will he comfort himself and cuddle with or how will he keep warm? (He has long outgrown the "wearable blankets") How long did y'all continue having your baby sleep on a wedge? I took his wedge out of his crib this past weekend, because he kept pushing himself way above the wedge, and then was falling asleep in a weird angle (half on, half off). He rolls all around, and ends up sideways some times. This also causes him to get "wrapped up" in his blanket. Is it okay to have him sleeping flat in his crib at 7 months?

Question #2: Hunter has been eating solids since he was 4&1/2 months old (based on his doctor's direction). He started on rice cereal in his bottle when he was a newborn (because he had issues with acid reflux and projectile vomiting), and moved to one thick rice & formula bottle at night (between whole milk and milk shake consistency) around 2 or 3 months old, then on to vegetables and fruit by 4&1/2 months old. Now he eats 8 ounces of formula at 6:30 am, cereal and fruit mix for breakfast (between 1/2 jar and 1 full jar) around 8:30 am, 4 ounces of formula around 10:30 am, a vegetable for lunch around noon (again, between 1/2 jar and 1 full jar), 8 ounces of formula at around 2:00 pm, at dinner time (between 5 and 6 p,) he eats 1 full jar of meat with fruit or veggie combo (i.e. chicken and pears or turkey and sweet potatoes) 1/2 jar of veggies and 1/2 jar of fruit, and then at 8:00 pm, he gets his last bottle (he drinks between 6-8 oz) before bed time. My question is... is he getting enough food, or too much food during the day, and does he still need his last bottle of formula? Am I giving the child too much food? He also gets about 2-4 ounces of very watered down juice in the afternoon.

Question #3: Has anyone ever actually used one of these inflatable tubs? Hunter has outgrown his infant tub (even if he sits on the toddler side), but he's still too instable to sit him in the big bathtub. Any suggestions on what to do next?

Okay -- that's my laundry list of questions. Again, they aren't really critical, just something I need some guidance or advice on... so, have at it!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

Good morning, beautiful friends!!! I'm coming to you live from the cold, rainy East Coast... Err, sorry. I got a little carried away.

Once again, it's Tuesday Toss-up ... and it's a fun one! No thinking ... no analyzing ... no deciphering ... just plain, enjoying music.

Today, I'm going to point you in the direction of the new video from Mercy Me called "So Long to Self." Once you click on the link below, and are at Mercy Me's website, click on the VIDEO button on the left. You'll notice on the right hand side a couple video options pop up (the colors make it hard to see). Click on the first video by choosing either Quicktime or Windows Media (I'm not as fancy shcmancy as some of you, and don't know how to download it onto my blog for you to view ... sorry!). Let me know if you have any problems getting there!

I hope you enjoy the video ... it's fun, upbeat, and refers to their "alter-egos!" Very funny!

Don't forget to come back and let me know what you thought of it in the comments!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday Musings

Whewwww! This has been one busy weekend ... and Monday, too! It has just been NON STOP. And I'm ready to drop in bed.

But I just wanted to share a few things with you:

1) Narnia -- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is an awesome movie. A few scary parts for young kids to watch alone, but as close to the book as I remember! Loved it!

2) Pie and Cake auction -- We had one at church yesterday. Ugh! We got one devils food cake with 7-minute frosting (yum), and one strawberry cheesecake. How much did we pay? Why, thank you for asking ... we paid a nice sum of $45! And, I made two cakes for the auction too. It was a very, VERY good fund raiser, in case your youth are looking for one. They served soup and salad (nothing fancy, just pre-packaged salad mix, some canned soup, canned chili, lemonade ... and voila! Fundraiser extraordinare! The cake I really wanted was purchased by the creator of said cake (my hilarious and very hip friend from church) ... YES... I do have friends outside of the internet... close your mouth before you catch flies! Anyway ... I didn't bid on it because she said her family wanted it (she makes awesome home-made cakes with the most incredible chocolate frosting). So she donated it, let people bid on it, and paid $20 or $25 for it ... can't remember exactly how much. One cake ... a beautiful Red Velvet cake with the most gorgeous fluffy 7-minute frosting went for $80!!! (My Pastor-man made it) So, all-in-all, Sunday was a long, but fruitful day. The youth made around $675!!!

3) Work has been crazy on-and-off ... and today ... it was ON ON ON. I need a vacation!

4) It's funny how a person can feel so sick after having a big piece of devils food cake and a tall glass of iced-milk. UGH! I'm glad I gave half of that cake away.

5) Anyone want to have lunch with me tomorrow?

Well, since my brain is obviously fried, and I have nothing exciting, profound, or even interesting to talk about, I think I'll head off to bed. I know, I know ... you're probably thinking ... "Geesh! And I wasted all this time reading this post, and got nada ... zip ... zilch!"

All I can say is ... sorry! But, don't forget ... tomorow is Tuesday Toss-up, so we'll see what YOU have to say!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Knowing the Shepherds Heart, part 3

Well, here we are at the end of this journey ... the final two characteristics I discovered while studying Psalm 23. And, I promise this one won't be as long as the other two were!

However, before we begin, there are a few things I wanted to clarify... We all have issues that tear our hearts apart. The death of a loved one, the death of a child, a child that has turned their back on the family or God, the diagnosis of a disease, infertility, the list goes on and on ... and I honestly feel that one person's suffering should not be weighed as greater than another person's suffering. For example: I believe that our 14 years of infertility carries the same amount of grief and sorrow that another couple feels from having battled with infertility for two years. Therefore, please don't feel for one minute that I am judging anyone's struggle with grief of any kind, or that I am placing grief over different issues in "categories" or "levels of pain." Suffering is suffering -- plain and simple.

I also honestly feel that grief is personal, unique, and it's a long and hard process with many stages. It would not be fair for anyone to say to me or you, "it's silly for you to be grieving over this" or, "you've grieved long enough." At the same time, I'm not saying that when we are handed bad news, we should shout for joy, paste a smile on our faces, be happy and ignore the sad feelings welling up in us.

I acknowledge that each person's outcome to their journey is different, but we each have the same choices on how we can handle the journey and its outcome. We can either 1) hide our heads in the sand, choosing to ignore the issues, 2) we can become angry, bitter, resentful and blame God as we slowly harden our hearts towards him and walk away from him, or 3) we can run to him and seek his guidance, love, compassion, joy and peace, trusting all the while that he knows and understands what we are going through, that he has a plan for our lives, and that his ways are always the best way. And, whether he chooses to heal us hear on earth, or heal us in heaven (in my case, give me a child here on earth, or a gaggle of them in heaven), we can find joy in our circumstances.

I'm sure there are many, many other choices on how to handle grief, but these are the ones that come to my mind right now. Does that make any sense whatsoever???

There is a song that provided me with so much comfort -- it's called Trust His Heart (Written by Eddie Carswell and Babbie Mason):

All things work for the good, though sometimes we can't see how they could. Struggles that break our hearts in two; sometimes blind us to the truth. Our Father knows what's best for us, His ways are not our own. So when your pathway grows dim and you just can't see Him, remember He's still on the throne.

Chorus: God is too wise to be mistaken; God is too good to be unkind. So when you don't understand, when don't see his plan, when you can't trace his hand, trust His heart.

He sees the master plan, He holds the future in his hand. Don't live as those who have no hope, while our hope is found in Him. We see the present clearly, but he sees the first and last. And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me, to someday be just like him.

I hope you find the same encouragement that I did from the words of this song.

Okay -- here are the final characteristics that will help us Know the Shepherd's Heart.

V. Trusting the Shepherd that Renews and Heals -- "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil." (v5)

My second IVF procedure had taken place, and I remember crying out to God. "I've suffered for so long. How much longer until I can have my own child, Lord?" And then, I realized that I was trying to control God again. So once again in my journey, I changed the way I was praying, and my prayer became: "Lord, whatever you have for me, I accept it from your hand. Give me grace. Wrap your arms around me, renew my heart and mind, and help me accept whatever Your plans are for us."

Fifteen days later, on the day we were supposed to find out if we were pregnant or not, I remember saying during my morning prayers: "Today is the day Lord. Today we find out if I am pregnant. Oh Lord, we have waited for so long for you to do this. We want so badly to have a child, but prepare my heart for whatever the answer is." I was so scared and worried.

And then, I remembered the scripture I shared previously with you: Phil 4:6-7 -- "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down." It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life, and in its place gives you a peace that only He can give. One that "comes and settles you down."

The word displace means: To move or shift from the usual place or position; to take the place of.

That's what happens when Christ "displaces" worry -- He moves it... shifts it... and takes the place of it.

Again -- I saw a shift in my prayers as I began to pray: "Lord, help me to lay aside all of my worry. Renew my heart, my mind and my energies. I know that you are in control of this situation. I trust that your plan is best. If the answer is no today, then I will still praise you. Give me your strength Lord, fill me with your peace and strength."

Later that afternoon, we got an answer. Not only was I pregnant, but my numbers were stronger than I had ever had. It was a VERY VIABLE pregnancy... And, I had to go off and find a spot to praise God with every fiber in my being.

Praise the Lord! He looked upon us with favor. I thanked Him for the child within me. He answered our prayers. After fourteen long years the day had finally come. "He has made the barren woman a joyful mother of children." What a blessing He gave us, and we readily acknowledged that this was only by His hand, in His timing, making it His plan!

That evening, we prayed together and thanked the Lord, and prayed for our child. After desiring a child for so long, we knew that the health and life of our child was in the Lord's hands. Both of our families were praying and several prayer chains were started at our church, as well as in my parent's church in North Carolina and in many small groups from the church our new Pastor came from back in Ohio. We felt overwhelmed with a sense of peace. We knew God was in control. It was a miracle that fear never gripped my heart.

Proverbs 18:10 says, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run in to it and they are safe." God's name is a place of protection! I can run there, and I will be safe! Even though I'm surrounded by danger and turmoil, not only am I safe, but he will heal me.

VI. Trust the Shepherd who Blesses, Loves and Fills us with Joy -- "My cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (v5c-6)

God has blessed us so much. My heart overflows each and every time I look into the eyes of my son. He is so good, and he loves us so much. I am in awe of his perfect timing. I have come to personally know and feel God's strength, love, and compassion through the power of prayer. The Lord can make any situation for us here on earth pleasant, wonderful, even miraculous by the very anointing of his Spirit and the joy of His salvation. And I constantly remember one thing... my cup overflows.

He has brought me through the fire refined. And I honestly feel that He is preparing me to minister to other sisters or families that struggle with needs so painful they break our hearts in two. They may not be struggling with infertility, but we each have our own personal and painful battles that we struggle with. Deserts we walk through. And we CAN come out victorious.

Charles H. Spurgeon once said, "Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you. So carve your name on hearts and not on marble."

I hope that I have a long list of people that are helped by me... people that can carve my name on their hearts, because, truly, I have been blessed by a long list of people that have their names carved on mine.

Psalm 95:2-3 in the Message translation says: "Let's march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns! And why? Because GOD is the best, High King over all the gods."

Praise God ... He IS the best!

All Contents Copyright [2005-2006] by GiBee at Kisses of Sunshine -- Please do not use contents without prior permission from the author. Thank you.