Monday, July 31, 2006

A peek into my menu, and an update on sleep

First, we'll start with an update on my poor teething baby -- Poor thing ... he was soooo tired on Sunday. Usually, Sundays are a tough day, because Church, lunch after church, and traveling around in the car can all add up to "messed-up naps." We usually get home late on Sundays because of lunch out, and yesterday was no exception. We got home around 3:30. Hunter was in fine form until about 4:30, when his exhaustion hit him in the face. We put him down for a nap at 4:45, and he got up at 5:30. He did NOT wake up in a good mood. I fed him dinner, which he got all.over.himself. Then, I had to put him in the tub because he was so covered in sweet potatoes, and the poor thing was fighting to stay awake. The bath did some good in calming him down, and he played for about an hour. Sunshine (my SIL) suggested that I feed Hunter some cereal before he goes to sleep, so at about 7:00, he was chowing down on some cereal and fruit, and then I took him upstairs to put him to bed. Usually, I have to rock him to sleep. But yesterday, I set him in his crib, went to the laundry room to get something, and when I came back, the poor thing was asleep. And he slept all night long until 5:00 a.m. Your prayers helped big time! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

[As soon as Blogger allows me to upload pictures, Laura's cute banner will go here]

Next, here's a peek into my week's menu. Laura from I'm an Organizing Junkie invited me to play along with her Menu Plan Monday, and ironically, this is actually something I think I can do, because it doesn't require any picture taking, additional organizing, brainstorming, or added work on my hands, because frankly, it's something we try to do each week.

Here are a couple things to remember about my menus ... yes, we are new parents, but we are new parents late in life, which may not mean anything other than we are accustomed to a "certain way of eating," and tend NOT to have a whole lot of large-family-friendly meals, but rather a lot of "I'm in the mood for ..." meals. As our family continues to grow, however, I'm pretty certain that this will change. And, our budget won't be as freely flowing on food-stuff, but rather on important stuff ... like formula, diapers, wipes, etc... if you know what I mean. So I'm sure that macaroni & cheese & hotdog casseroles are in my near future, but for now ... I think I'll pass. Also, leftovers get eaten for lunches... although sometimes, I find myself purging the refrigerator of some mystery leftovers! Those are the meals that weren't the "greatest" thing we've ever made and no one felt like eating again.

I usually sit down with my husband on Saturday morning, and we pour through a variety of cookbooks and magazines that we have. Many of them are healthy and light books, so, keep that in mind when you see my menu. But, we (okay MEEE) still have a problem letting go of pastas, rice, and taters. What can I say ... I'm part Peruvian, part Italian, part Irish, and mostly mutt, and was raised that way. Having said all that, here's a glimpse at my menu for this week:

Monday: Roasted chicken and cranberry pie with puff pastry crust (oh, calm down ... the puff pastry is frozen and so easy) with a cranberry-Caesar salad (last week, I had my in-laws and my brother-in-law over for dinner. I made roasted chicken, and instead of one chicken, I went ahead and roasted two big ol' birds at the same time, and this is the third meal I'm getting out of it!)

Tuesday: Barbecued Ribs, (we got two whole, humongo slabs at the country butcher for $8!!) locally grown (yum) Sweet Corn on the Cob, Coleslaw

Wednesday: Grilled Steak (again, we got it at the country butcher -- two strips for $8!), baked sweet potatoes, frozen mixed vegetables (of course, I cook them and season them, too!)

Thursday: Pork tenderloin roast with peach preserve glaze, roasted garlic-y new potatoes, frozen sweet pea pods sauteed in garlic

Friday: Grilled chicken salads with garlic bread (easy peasy)

Saturday: Grilled chicken adobo with rice primavera and salad

Sunday: Crock-pot Chicken cacciatore with mashed potatoes and salad

Extra Meal (in case I change my mind about something else): Chicken saltado with white rice and salad. Saltado is a Peruvian dish traditionally prepared with steak, but we prefer chicken because it's cheaper -- I use the inexpensive frozen breasts you get in a bag. (It's sort of like a stir-fry with onions, potato strips, garlic, and tomato puree)

I'll let you in on a bad secret of mine ... sometimes, both my husband and I are just down right exhausted, and we will order chinese or pizza or something like that, and then, the meat we have sitting in the fridge ends up sitting a few more days and then goes bad and has to be thrown out, because we're not sure if it sat too long, and we're not about to chance coming down with botulism or some kind of food poisoning. I'm awful with that!

Now, go on over to I'm An Organizing Junkie and check out her menu, as well as other people's menus, and please feel free to join in! Laura's got Mr. Linky doing the work for her!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Your mission, should you choose to accept it ...

Background: Ten month old keeps waking up in middle of night ... sometimes for 30 minutes, sometimes for 3 hours. At times, child wakes up happy and jibber-jabbering, and at times, crying. Child is not hungry, because he spits his milk out and sticks his tongue out firmly to refuse the bottle. Child fusses, saying "eh, eh, eh, eh, eh..." Parents are unsure of what "eh, eh, eh, eh, eh..." means, but at first glance ... it can't be good. Parents acknowledge that child is teething, and wakes up at time that Motrin is wearing off, so first thing is to re-medicate child to relieve discomfort, but no matter how much rocking, cuddling, and shushing ensues after initial midnight re-medication, child will not stop wiggling or go to sleep. Child wants to play. Child loves to hang upside down like a monkey, but mom's too tired to play like that at 1 or 2 in the morning. Even though child wakes up in middle of night, 7:00 comes around pretty early for wake-up time, and said child has decided to cut naps down to 45 minutes. Not a good thing. Especially when mom and dad are old and tired and Then, child will stay up until WELL past his bed time, because he is not tired and refuses to go to bed, and screams and screams, and screams when placed in crib to listen to his beloved Bible CDs.

Mission: Should you choose to accept, offer advice on how to re-train child to sleep through entire night again, take normal naps during day, and go to sleep at normal time at night.

This parent will self-destruct due to lack of sleep in ten, nine, eight, seven, six...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Come on in ... I think ...

Well, I must admit that I'm feeling a bit intimidated to actually "post" these pictures of my chaotic home and actually include them in the Tour of Homes ... especially after viewing a handful of gorgeous well decorated and orderly homes. In fact, I wasn't going to, but since I had already taken the pictures, I just figured I'd go ahead and make my life an open book (since I'm so private, and all)... Just don't point out all the dust, 'kay? (And, I'm sorry I can't get my pictures to line up perfectly!)

And to start off ... I'm already a failure right from the very beginning! I didn't exactly follow directions. I took a "sweeping" photo of my house a few months ago when the azaleas were in bloom, so if you just squint real hard, you can see my front door. Sorry about that, but it's not a spectacular entry way, anyway!

Then ... in keeping with not following instructions very well, I have posted more than one picture of my rooms, because, well, I just did, that's all...

Here's some shots of my family room. The family plays here, rests here, watches TV here, and now that we have wireless connectivity, blogs here! You may notice the big empty space in the middle of the room, it's because we moved my beautiful wood and wrought iron coffee table out of the room so Hunter, who loved dearly to climb up on it, wouldn't smash his beautiful face up on it. We now call it ... Hunter's Safe Zone ... sorta. Sigh!!! Things change so much when you have kids, don't they?!

I'll start at the left and pan right with the pictures... This is where we try to keep all of Hunter's toys. Except for when he's playing with them. Then, they are

Here is "my" chair ... so inviting, so comfy, so relaxing, and the perfect place to blog ... when Hunter's not climbing all over me, that is!

This is Daddy's chair. It's a Mission's style recliner that isn't very comfortable to me, but he swears he loves it (because he picked it out, even though I told him I didn't think it would be comfy!)

This is the couch, which is where the dog loves to sleep when we're not around. Otherwise, you can find her in one of our laps, or running away from Hunter. It's only 5 years old, but it looks tired and worn. I hate that you pay so much money for a couch, and then it breaks down in no time at all! As you can see, the family room looks into the kitchen.

This is the kitchen ... Just ignore the back splash, as we're "still working on that" (we can't agree on what to do with it, so it's stayed white for over 3 years).

Then, we have the dining room. As you can see, I don't have a centerpiece on the table, because I can't decide on something that "fits." My mom made the window treatments (adorable) but I don't think you can see too much of them.

Finally, I want to share Hunter's bed room. It's probably my absolute favorite room in the entire house. When I was pregnant, my mom came over and painted the beautiful murals on the yellow walls. They are images she free-hand painted from the material she used for the custom bumper, crib skirt, drapes and pillow she made. She is so talented, and I'm so blessed that she does all this for me! She even made the cover on the cushions on the glider. Before Hunter was born, while the room was still empty, I would come and sit on the floor in the middle of the room, and just look at the murals in amazement that this was the nursery for MY child! God has been so good to us. And I even included a close-up of the area carpet, because some-how, some-where, my interior-designer sister (yes, that's really her degree) found it in North Carolina. She matched it to the nursery SIGHT UNSEEN, and by my small description of the main color ... Granny-Smith Apple Green. I just love it! It's so fun! And, it's the room I'm most proud of. My mother worked so hard in this room! I didn't do a thing. I was fat and pregnant, and swollen. So I just sat and watched.

The first two pictures are of Hunter's windows ... and the mural in between the windows. The window treatments are a combination of a child's black and white toil, green and white polka-dots, and white swiss-dot sheers. The mural is of a castle and a little soldier pointing to the left.

Then, if you pan to the left, you see Hunter's changing table, and a closeup of the mural over his changing table, which is a soldier pointing to Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall.

If you continue to pan left, you come to the entrance of the room. The windows are directly across from the rooms door. To the left of the door is Hunter's armoire, and to the left of that, the glider where I rock him, feed him, comfort him, and cuddle with him. A lot of love goes on in that chair!

Finally, to the left of the glider, is the wall that Hunter's crib is against. And, in his crib, is the beautiful pillow my mom made that shows a sampling of all the fabrics she used. To the left of the crib, the mural is of children playing on a see-saw (one little girl is fishing in a stream) and to the right of the crib and into the corner behind the glider, is an apple tree with a little girl swinging off of one branch, and a little boy picking apples and tossing them down to another little boy below. When I sit in the glider with Hunter, I will make up stories about Hunter playing with his brother and sister... ONLY TWO other kids, unlike what Lauren feels God has told her, which would be THREE more kids. We'll see about that! And then, the last picture is of the magically-matched throw carpet.

I hope you enjoyed the few shots of my home (and I hope I didn't scare you off!). If you squint your eyes real tight, you can see all the disorganization and chaos in the back-ground. But so as not to frighten you, I've only shown the "clean and semi-organized" rooms in my home.

Now, hop on over to BooMama's and check out some other homes!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Critical Public Announcements

Evidently, I have too much to talk about to be concerned with Tuesday Toss Up ... Again! I promise I'll start back up again soon.

Anyway, I thought I'd bring you a few public announcements ... for your convenience ... and link you all right up!

Announcement #1: [drum roll, please] Org Junkie has "come out" of the proverbial blogging closet. Yes, friends ... she has ... and now that she has "come out" ... I thought I'd fling the closet door wide open by teasing you all ... well, at least those of you who haven't figured it out yet ... she has dropped the name bomb, people! I know that this is such a hard thing to do, and I know she struggled, and I feel somewhat responsible for putting the pressure on her, but now it's out! Why is this hard? Well, because you just never know who's lurking on your blog ... watching. Waiting. Reading every word you type about laundry, spit up, poopie diapers, and dinner preparations. Waiting for the moment in which you slip up and give out personal information ... and BAM ... the next thing you know ... they're on your front door step. Just ask Lauren ... and Jeana! So, skip on over to OJ's and check out her name!!! (I won't reveal it here ... I'll just keep you in suspense a wee bit more).

Announcement #2: So --- Are you on it yet? I'm sure you're thinking ... "Ummm ... On what?" Gaaah! People! You're supposed to be able to read my mind!

Are you on the FAMILY-FRIENDLY BLOGROLL yet? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Lauren from Created is the master-mind behind this awesome blogroll, and if your blog is family-friendly, avoids using foul language in both your own posts and in your comment section, and the majority of your posts are non-embarrassing posts for people of geriatric age ... hey, Lauren mentioned her grandmother first, not me ... then you can join. And frankly, I'm not sure why you're holding off to do it, after all ... it's free, it's full of other awesome fellow bloggers, and it's EASY. Yes, EASY. If I can do it, YOU can do it!

Just send Lauren an email at ffblogroll(at)ahumbleheart(dot)org and include the following in your email:

Your name
Your Blog Title
Your Blog Address
A Short Description of your Blog

You get to use the special graphics she has created, (or you can snag mine as many have asked, or use your own), and she even points you in the right direction on how to collapse it, make it a scroll listing, or customize the color (A LIFESAVER for me)!!! She's just brilliant!

So, I should expect to see a throng of people joining the Family-Friendly blogroll, right? Ummm ... I said THRONG, not THONG. Sheesh ... get your mind out of the gutter, this is a Family-Friendly Blog!

Announcement #3: Well, color me stupid! I just found out, merely by accident, that I was nominated for another award! I am humbled and blessed to have such good friends and readers out there that keep nominating me. And I'm not even paying them!

It would appear that I was nominated for the Chick & Mommy Blogs category in the Blogs of Summer Awards, which is a good thing, because I'm a Chick, AND I'm a Mommy! And for the life of me, I don't even know who these people are, and I don't know how I got nominated, or who nominated me, but however it happened, and whoever did nominate me ... Thank you! Gracias! "Mercy Bow-Coo!" Danke! Mange tak! Mahalo! Toda! Grazie! Arigato! It's an honor just to be nominated!

Announcement #4: Evidently, I had a dead-link, similar to a dead-head, on my blog! And, it's a very important link! It's the one to the Some Gave All web page! I owe a special thanks to Nicole for pointing this out, and telling me how to correct it. Not many people take the time, or even care, to point stuff like that out, but I'm glad she did ... after all ... She's The Girl Next Door!

Announcement #5: I am currently working on creating a special award! Yay! Another award! And, I've decided that I'll be handing it out whenever I feel like it, because I find that when I box myself into a schedule (like the Tuesday Toss Up), something will always come up and cause a nasty kink in my plans. And ... I really hate being kinky in public.

I haven't finalized all the details of "the award" yet (like the name, or the graphic), but it will be awarded to bloggers that post particularly "Outstanding Posts." They can range from spiritual, to prayerful, to stinking hilarious, to frivolous, to deep and touching, to "makes me go 'hmmm'" to "awe, how adorable". As long as it is well thought out and well written (and family friendly), it qualifies. And, it is not limited to only my opinion, or to the small list of blogs (ehem -- 70-something) that I read, either. If YOU run across any particularly Outstanding Posts that you think I should read, and would like to nominate for the currently "un-named" award, just email me.

Announcement #6: I am THIS CLOSE to finding someone else to blog with. Blogger won't even let me go to the photo upload page today, giving me the message "The page cannot be displayed" -- yeah, well, I don't want to see that. I want to see my pictures. The nerve! Don't push me, Blogger! DON'T PUSH ME. (as my dear friend Kim says... itsfreeitsfreeitsfreeitsfreeitsfreeitsfree)

Announcement #7: Another brilliant friend of mine (brilliance runs in circles, you know!) hosts the now, all famous Works For Me Wednesday ... which has provided me with a WEALTH of knowledge that runs the gamete from removing stains, to organizational tips, to menu planning, to kitchen tips (which, by the way, are right up there with Paula Deene's tips), to safety tips, to Scripture memory, to ... well ... you get the idea!

Anyway ... it's tomorrow ... so make sure you visit Shannon from Rocks to get the latest links to the hottest tips on the internet! Frankly, Shannon Rocks in my book.

Well, that about wraps up my long list of public announcements. You may now return to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress. (It seems that I use that line much to often, doesn't it?)

Have a blessed day in our Lord Savior ... and BE A BLESSING to someone today!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Texan style post ... like Texan hair ... BIG!

BLOGGER NOTIFICATION: I've been trying to post this since 10 am -- EST -- I can't even post comments on anyone elses blogger-blog! In other words ... Blogger is scre ... ehem ... messed up. They also said that all photos previously uploaded will not be visible during this maintenance. Just thought you'd like to know!


I have many things to cover, and it might get long ... so stay with me girls! (okay, and if there's a guy or two out there, you can stay with me too!)

First off, I'll tell you about my weekend away. We went to a town in PA (about 3 hours away from my home). It was difficult to find a hotel room, believe it or not, and it's not because they are 1/2 hour away from the Poconos. No. It's because they are 1/2 hour away from the Poconos and NASCAR was racing there this weekend. Good grief! And to add insult to injury ... they JACKED the rate of the room up by $30. When I questioned the girl checking us in about it, she said ... "Well, we really hate to increase the prices." Yeah. Right. LIARS.

Okay. That might have been a wee bit harsh. But do you really believe her? The hotel room was in a "strip hotel" on a main road. I should have been cautioned when I saw on the website that "most" rooms have been remodeled. This "REALLY" means ... "some rooms have been spiffed up, but you might get the room with mold on the ceiling in the shower, peeling wall paper, scanky tile floors, and avocado green toilet and tub, cold water if showering when toilet is flushed, and no room to turn around in the hotel room because we've crammed as much as we could in the closet-sized room -- deal with it." Oh, and YEAH ... the water tasted NASTY. But, it had an awesome Italian restaurant attached to it. It was very good, very gourmet, and very expensive. Go figure. I knew we were in trouble when they asked us if we had made reservations, and then told us there would be a 20 minute wait. Even though there were about 8 tables that were EMPTY. Then, I saw the Lexus and Mercedes vehicles start pulling in, and the Ralph Lauren shirts, and expensive silk-looking shirts. But, I was pleasantly pleased with our meal. The salad was TODIEFOR, and while we were waaaay underdressed, we had a great time.

The only problem about dinner was that everything took so stinking long, and it took us for.ever to eat, making us about 5 minutes late to the concert. It was in a beautiful venue, which was located on top of a mountain. The view was breath taking. The artist, Don Williams, was not really a guy who I would say I was DYING to see. But, it was his farewell tour, and my husband really likes him (me too, now, truth be told). I thought it would be awful, boring, and old-country twangy. But guess what? It wasn't. This man sings beautiful songs about family, love, and women. It was literally a ROMANTIC concert! And I was hysterically entertained by a crazy woman that was two rows in front of us, who kept shouting "I love you Don" and kept screaming "Wooooooo" at the top of her lungs, and was swaying frantically with each song, as if he was singing just to her, and had her arms up in the air with the sign language for LOVE ... as if it was an AC/DC concert, or something like that. It only lasted 1 and 1/2 hours, but it was excellent, and really put us in the mood. To go back to the hotel room. And sleep. In separate beds. Did I mention the beds were "DOUBLES" ?!? Seriously ... who puts Double beds in hotel rooms?

Anyway, while I missed Hunter terribly, I did not regret the decision to go away, nor did I fear leaving him behind, because we left him in excellent care ... his Auntie Sunshine (my husband's li'l sister) and her husband "B" stayed at our house and took excellent care of him.

In other news, I just wanted to touch back on my post called "I Need To Quit Procrastinating" which I posted on Thursday. I was blown away from all the comments I received to this post. I was pleasantly surprised by how many women seem to feel the same frustration and can relate in one way or another. I was encouraged by MugwumpMom who said she enters people's homes about 5-10 times a week for her job, and she said that NONE of them are "neat and orderly" and that everyone is in the same boat! My mom, who worked full time until I was in high school, always had, and still to this day has a perfectly clean home. So, it couldn't have been all that hard, and why can't I do it too?

Any way, Shalee from Shalee's Diner wrote an awesome post, which you must go read first, then, I'd like to respond to it! (And for the record, she really does contribute a LOT of worthwhile stuff to my life, not just this one time!)

Are you back? Good. She's a wise woman, isn't she?

And, she is right about so much. We do need to ask our hubby's to help. Especially if we BOTH work full time. And, just so you know ... my husband does help -- A LOT. I just hate asking him to do more, because I feel like it's my responsibility as the WOMAN of the house. Crazy, huh? And then, one of us has to watch (literally) the baby while the other one gets stuff done.

And, Shalee is right in that I need to lower my standards. I'm all over this point. Today. Now. Standards are being lowered as I type out this post. And I TOTALLY relate with and agree with canceling the magazine subscriptions. I just.don' In fact, I've been reading the same book since January. And I'm only in the third chapter. I just don't have time!

I am such a list person. And I'm smacking myself on the forehead right now... it's bright red and welted. Why didn't I think of this on my own? I have lost my mind. Seriously. I have. (example: I left the back door open yesterday when I left to go to church, my dog got out, was found by a neighbor wandering around, and when they brought her back, they discovered my door was wide open. They deposited the dog inside, and secured my home. DUH!)

Before Hunter was in the family, I was organized. And was frequently compared to Martha Stewart for my entertaining abilities. Now? I'm just thankful if I remember to slap napkins on the table and put the flatware on the rights sides if and when we have guests for dinner. Parties? Pshwa! What's that? (actually, we're going to be building a deck, and then we're having a party [maybe Mexican themed with Mariachi music playing in the background], and you're all invited, 'kay?!)

So, as Shalee so appropriately pointed out, I need to pray that God will help me become a better steward of my time, my home, and that He'll make me the best servant for Him. So, I'm off to be the Giselle that He created. How about you?

Shalee -- thank you! It was so thoughtful of you to respond like this!

And ... if you haven't stumbled across this blog ... Organizing Junkie ... you really MUST stop by. In fact, I'm going to be doing what she recommended in her post called Lightbulbs and Batteries, because that alone will help with a lot of my clutter! By the way ... please give us a name to call you by ... like maybe a made up name, or a nick name, or your middle name, or something like that, because it's just more personal!

Finally, my dear friend Shannon from Rocks has made life so much nicer by hosting her now, very -- very famous Works For Me Wednesday posts. If you've never seen these, and really, you must be living in the dark ages if you haven't, you must go and check out all the wonderful organizing, cooking, child rearing, toy managing, clutter conquering tips that so many women are publishing. It is just awesome, Shannon! Thanks for spear-heading this!

I'm sure I'm leaving someone off, and I'm so sorry for that, but I tell you ... with girlfriends like these, who needs those high-dollar organizational experts?!?

(And for the record, I am sooooo lusting after OrgJunkies P-Touch for labeling stuff! I think I'll have to get one so I can label all my piles lying around my kitchen, dining room, ah-heck -- house.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hunter's First Meme

Before we get started on the Meme, I am happy to announce, because I know y'all care ever so much, that we are going away for the evening to see a Don Williams concert and stay in a hotel. Without Hunter. First adult time away from Hunter since he was born. Nine long months ago. Yay! And thanks to Auntie Sunshine and Uncle B for bravely taking on a teething child overnight! Woot!!!

And, now to the Meme ... Momma D's baby, Miss A, tagged Hunter for his very first Meme called 3 of These Things. Here it goes!

3 Things That Scare Me
When Momma is too loud
Loud sudden noises
Screeching Noises

3 People That Make Me Laugh
Auntie Sunshine

3 Things I Love
My parents
Giving my dog a hard time
Standing up

3 Things I Hate
Sitting still
Getting my diaper changed
Havng my face cleaned

3 Things I Don't Understand
The word "no"
That he can't play with Momma's lap top

3 Things On My Desk/Table
(I'm interpreting this to be the floor)
A Ball
A Caterpillar Toy
A Discovery Toy (Noah's Ark)

3 Things I'm Doing Right Now
Climbing all over Mommy
Carrying a toy hammer

3 Things I Want to Do Before I Die
That's too far away to even consider right now.

3 Things I Can Do
Wave and say Bye-Bye
Say Momma

3 Ways to Describe My Personality

3 Things I CanĂ‚’t Do
feed myself bananas (too squishy)
Talk fluent spanish

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To
Me jiber-jabering
Me laughing
Twila Paris' Lullaby CD

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To
Screeching noises
Momma saying "no"
Anyone saying "gentle"

3 Absolute Favorite Foods
Gerber Bitbiscuitsits
Gerber Fruit Puffs

3 Things I'd Like to Learn
How to read
How to walk
How to talk

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly
Whole Milk
Watered down Apple Juice

3 Shows I Watched as a Kid
Baby Einstein videos
Fishing and Hunting with Daddy

3 Babies I Tag

AggieJenn's Caleb
Faith's Little Man
Shannon's Corrie

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I need to quit procrastinating...

Dear blogging friends ....

So ... earlier this morning, I was emailing back and forth with KPJara (yes, THE KPJara) and I think I might have said something like ... "Well, I need to go and get working on my post before "someone" (yes, I'm referring to her) gets impatient and starts emailing me and asking where my post is... And, being the truly loving and understanding friend that she is ... she emailed me back and sweetly asked me ... "so, where's your post." Oh, man, she just cracks me UP!!!

And, that's when it happened. I choked. I realized I didn't really have much to chat about, and, well ... didn't have a clue as to what I was going to write about. Good grief ... I just told her I had to go work on a post ... all important like, as if I really had something to say, and now ... well ... I'm coming up empty.

I think it's my own fault. My brain is full of ... stuff. Distracting stuff. Stuff that is just empty blah, blah, blah stuff.

Like the family I blogged about yesterday. Still. And, then I popped over to Shannon from Rocks, and saw her post about having A Little Perspective, and man ... she brought it home again. I have a roof over my head. A comfy bed, AC, food, etc. I'm all good there, thank you Lord!!!

Then, there's the fact that my BAG with all my beach clothes is STILL unpacked, sitting on my loveseat in my bed room. I'm feeling a wee bit discouraged about that.

Of course, there's always the point that my house is in a constant chaotic MESS. How do women that have full time jobs and children (oh, and lives, too) keep their house so orderly and clean? HOW, I ask???!!! I have piles of papers everywhere. My den has been re-decorated by crumpled and torn magazines and pieces of paper that my little boy felt looked better scattered around the floor then in the trash can, and really, I haven't had the heart (read: TIME) to pick it all up, because he worked so hard at it.

I have unfolded CLEAN clothing on one bed in my guest bedroom, and I have dirty clothes on the floor in MY bedroom. The only person that has their laundry caught up is HUNTER. How'd he do that? 'Cause Momma needs a few pointers! And, let's not even mention the closets. OOOOHHH, the closets!!! And drawers. SHHHH. Don't say that word around me. And, you know what? I have a very important guest coming to stay with me in August for a wonderful weekend of singing and fellowship ... yup, HEATHER is spending the night at my home. Won't she be surprised when I point her in the direction of the clean pile of clothing that needs to be folded! Party Time... (yeah, RIGHT!)

I hope you realize, that all this means that I probably WONT be participating in the long awaited Tour of Homes being hosted by our very own BooMama (who, by the way, is read by TENS of people each and every day, in case you didn't know). Actually (insert evil laugh) I should probably take a picture of the real Casa de GiBee so you don't think that I'm as organized as I once USED to be... or THOUGHT I was, or might even sound like I am. Which ever one comes first. Fortunately, my kitchen is sort of in order (hallelujah, praise Jesus), and my family room (now that we've moved the coffee table out for Hunter's safety) is pretty clean too. Hunter's room is okay, and yeah, the guest rooms are okay too. Now that I think of it, the dining room's okay too, and so's the un-decorated rec room. Maybe I'm just feeling all cluttered up and messy and unorganized and yucky because the rooms I can never seem to get to are MY bedroom, the den, and the living room, which ... for your information (like you need to know) has a treadmill that hasn't been fully put together sitting right in the middle of it, along with one lone coffee table straddled across it, some baby paraphernalia (do you know how long it took me to spell that word right?), a booster seat, and, well ... the regular living room furniture. Ugh!

Now that I really sit and ponder over all this ... I guess I realize that I'm mostly feeling BAD BAD BAD about my own bedroom. It's huge. And ... it's filthy. I think it has 9 months worth of dust collected everywhere. Laundry hampers are overflowing. Clean clothes, beach clothes (in a suitcase) and stuff piled over "there" and books, baby toys, heating pad, shoes, and papers piled over "here." I don't have a headboard to snaz the room up, and I have two plastic three-drawer bins for night tables, and my bathroom hasn't been cleaned in a month of Sundays. I can't believe I just admitted that. Just don't share that bit of info with anyone. It's just between YOOOOU and MEEE. (EXCEPT the toilet and sink. I clean that regularly.)

I guess the only true comfort I have right now is, I get off work soon, dinner is in the crock pot, I get to see my toothy boy, and KPJara is calling me tonight. Now I'm starting to cheer up!!! Sort of.

Well, I'll let you get back to more important blog reading ... have a wonderful day filled with the love and peace that you can only find through Jesus!

The so-NOT-Proverbs 31 woman!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Putting Things Into Perspective

We interrupt the regularly scheduled program for a special announcement ...

Hunter's third tooth, the top left one, has finally broken through! WHEW!

After much startling screaming, and unrelenting, unexplainable crying, we now know why! Poor baby. And ... I'm off to put some bananas into the freezer, thanks to Jeana and Sarah! Yo, baby! No more crying, 'kay?

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.


When we returned from our vacation, we walked into a very, very hot house. No big deal. We expected that, because my husband told the friend of ours that fixed our AC while we were away on vacation to set it at 85 degrees (what was my husband thinking?). So, my dear husband said he'd lower the air to 72, and it'd be cool in no time. Except for one thing. The AC didn't kick in. And when we finished unloading the car, it was over 90 degrees in the house. So, my husband wandered down to take a look at the unit, and stepped into a puddle of water in our carpet. Ugh! The unit was broken again. So he called our friend again, jiggled a few wires, hit a few buttons, and realized that he had just blown out the circuit board, and

So, we went out to dinner and discussed our options... one of which was going to spend the night at my in-laws home (who we had just spent an entire week with), which meant packing the car back up again. Not an easy task with a 9 month old (yes, he really is 9 months old now). While we were eating (and honestly, I was lamenting, because and because I had yet to go to the grocery store), our friend called us and asked my husband to try a few more things. I quietly prayed during dinner that the Lord would reach down and heal our air conditioner. I had done this before when a friend was out of the country. They were renting their home out, and the AC broke down. I laid hands on it and prayed over it, and it started working again. It happened another time at my sister-in-laws house when the heater (or something like that) broke down, I laid hands on it, prayed over it, and it worked. So, why not ours?

We went straight home (again ... skipping the dreaded task of grocery shopping). My husband called his friend,who talked him through "hard wiring" the unit to by-pass the circuit board (or something like that). And, it worked. Praise God, the AC started blowing sweet, cold air into our home once again. He referred my husband to someone that works on our type of unit, and we made arrangements for them to come over on Monday to work on the unit. But in the mean time, He does answer prayers, even if it's a "by-passed, temporary fix."

Sunday afternoon, we set out to the grocery store. Since it was close to dinner time, I suggested we eat first, and not shop on empty stomachs. After dinner, we finally stepped into the grocery store. We walked through the whole store, replenishing our very bare and empty cupboards and refrigerators. Hunter fell asleep towards the end, so we kept trading off carrying him (man, that child weighs a ton when he's dead weight!).

We pulled up to the register, started unloading our groceries, and ... that's when it all started. The couple in front of us were from somewhere in Central America. They had a toddler, maybe 2 years old, in the cart. They had about 6 gallons of milk, 3 or 4 dozen eggs, 2 large packages of cheese, some canned apple juice, and some dried black beans on the conveyor belt. I noticed this as I placed my wild salmon, white fish, pot roast, chicken breasts, ground turkey, fresh fruits, fresh and frozen vegetables, yogurt, milk, etc. on the conveyor belt next to them.

In fact, I'm certain that's what they had, because I had to wait impatiently (and just a wee bit annoyed) for more room on the conveyor belt so that I could load up my cleaning supplies, dozens of bottles of baby food, diapers, wipes, toothpaste, etc. onto the conveyor belt. Why in the world was the cash register lady re-arranging everything on the conveyor belt? Just ring it up, pay, and be done with it. That's when I noticed that the couple next to me did not speak any English, and the cash register lady, and the manager on duty were trying to communicate something to her.

Now, there's something you should know about me. I speak Spanish fluently. It was the first language I learned. My mother is from Lima, Peru, and I was raised speaking Spanish until I went into kindergarten, and while I have one parent from South America, I have another parent, my dad, who is a mixture of Irish, French Canadian, American mutt, so I don't even resemble the Spanish part of me ... I got the Irish part ... very white skin that BURNS in the sun, ruddy complexion, 5'9 with brown hair and brown eyes. Regular joe-schmoish, if you ask me. Now, some of you already know this little factoid about me, but what you may not know is, when you don't use a language skill regularly, you get rusty, which in turn can make you feel very self conscious, and cause you to shy away from speaking it. Grammar was never my strong spot anyway, and I learned many Spanish words in a child-like manner, which would embarrass me to no end if I inadvertently said the child-learned word instead of the correct word. So, I usually don't let on that I know Spanish. Plus, it's sometimes very difficult for me to understand the dialects from Central America. South American dialects are just fine, but Central American dialects are more like "street language" and they talk entirely too fast. Sort of like the difference between a New Yorker and a Texan. Anyway, my husband, on the other hand, is so proud that his wife is bi-lingual, and wants the world to know about it. He would shout it from the roof tops if he could, but he knows I'd kill him if he did.

Back to the story -- I slyly glanced over to the couple in front of us, and realized that they were using government issued checks to pay for their food. Probably WIC. So, I felt torn. Should I help them out, possibly embarrassing them, or should I keep to myself? I was totally keeping my head down and my eyes glued to the items in my cart. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my husband trying to get my attention. I leaned over to him and explained my dilemma. Understanding crossed his eyes. He thought for a few minutes, and suggested that I offer my help to them. So, I did.

It was then that the full meaning of what was happening slapped me full in the face. They were trying to pay with expired checks. They didn't realize they were expired. They spoke no English, and were relieved that someone could help them, but they were devastated that they could not pay with the checks they had. That meant no "food" for them. I felt awful asking them, but I had to know if they could read. They assured me that they could, so I slowly explained to them about the dates on the check -- the "spend from" date and the "check expires on" date. I'm pretty sure they understood.

I turned to my husband, and whispered to him, begging him to allow me to offer to pay for their groceries. He said, "No way! They have so much up there!" So, I stepped back to my spot, and the cash register person suggested that they might have more checks in the envelope they were holding. So, I went through all the papers they had, and we did indeed find more checks. All the while, God was working on my husbands heart, and he leaned over and said that he didn't realize what little they actually had, and that we could pay for what ever they couldn't pay for.

I was so relieved to know that if they didn't have enough checks to pay for their bill, that we would pick it up for them. Then, it dawned on me to ask if they realized that they didn't have to spend all the checks at one time, and didn't have to get 6 gallons of milk right now, because it might go bad. That's when they told me that they had three other kids at home. My heart broke for them. They were humble people, trying to find a new life in a new country, without being able to speak the language.

They paid for their groceries, thanked me, and left. I started to pray for that family immediately. They left such an impression on my heart, but it wasn't until after everything happened, and until after I had paid for my own bountiful groceries that what happened slapped me in the face. And slap me hard, it did.

This humble couple had 4 children. And they were taking home 6 gallons of milk, 3 or 4 dozen eggs, 2 large packages of cheese, some canned apple juice, and some dried black beans to make meals out of for their family. For their children. And, for all I knew, they probably didn't have any air conditioning, and their children were hot and uncomfortable, as well as malnourished. At this point, I was standing behind our car, loading the groceries into it, and I just started to cry. My heart was truly broken for them. I felt so humble to have been able to help them in such a small way. I only wish there was more I could have done for them. I got into the car, and my husband was just as shaken as I was. For some reason, all of this didn't "come together" in our minds until we were out of the grocery store. I wish I could have done more for them. I would have given them bread, meat, fruit, vegetables. If only I had connected everything in the store.

But, out of all of this, you know what struck me the most? Their joy. Even though they were in an embarrassing situation, and even though they were eating minimally, and even though they didn't have anything, and even though they didn't speak the language, the interaction with their toddler in the cart, and between themselves was joyful. Thankful. Appreciative.

This family has been burned into my heart. I don't know their names, but I would recognize them in a minute. It felt good to help them. I hope they felt nothing more than kindness and compassion from me, because I did not wish to embarrass them ... but I wish I had the chance to ask them if they had jobs, or if maybe he did yard work, or if maybe she would watch children, or do housekeeping, or anything like that. I wish I could have offered them an opportunity to earn extra money. My husband and I have prayed that God would cross their path with ours again, because most importantly, I want to make sure I have the opportunity to share Christ with them.

And here I am complaining about not having air conditioning for a few days, and about not getting to the grocery store right away when I needed to! It certainly put things in perspective.

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Luke 9:36

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:10

I hope you have the chance to do good for someone this week!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I'm Baaaaack! Did ya miss me?

I am finally back, and have so much to share, that I'm tossing out Tuesday Toss-up. We'll get back on schedule next week.

First, let me say, that I have missed you all desperately! Good grief, you would have thought I was going through withdrawal! I took my laptop with me, but had absolutely NO WAY to hook up to the internet. We didn't even have a phone line at the house we stayed at! I just kept walking past my lonely computer ... and I would stick my lower lip out in a pout every now and then. It was hard to be away without access to the world! But I survived. Without my computer. And without technology. Pooh!

It did, however, reminded me of the importance to slow down and enjoy my time with my family and even some special time with God. I love the ocean, and I am always reminded of God's power and majesty each time I see things like the ocean, mountains, desert, forests ... and actually, pretty much everything else my eyes see on a daily basis. It really brings to my mind the words to the song Shout to the Lord: My Jesus, my Savior, Lord, there is none like You; All of my days I want to praise the wonders of Your mighty love. My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength; Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You. Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing, Power and Majesty, praise to the King; Mountains bow down and the seas will roar, at the sound of Your name. I sing for joy at the work of your hands, forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand -- Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

I get so busy sometimes, that I forget to look around and see the many miracles around me, and praise God for them. Do you remember the Triumphant Entry of Jesus? When Jesus entered Jerusalem, everybody was shouting praises. Some guys (party-pooper-Pharisees) told Jesus to make the people be quiet but Jesus said: "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." (Luke 19:40, NIV) The STONES! And ... I'm getting ready to get grammatically correct on you now ... brace yourself ... "I AIN'T gonna let that happen!" The thing I love about praising the Lord is that we can do it any where, any time. It doesn't have to be in "corporate worship" or in the car listening to Christian music... but it can be right in my head while sitting on a crowded beach, or in my car while driving around town. Just looking at what the Lord has created around me ... from the largest mountains, to the deepest seas, down to the itty bitty nails on my sons toes and fingers, I am reminded at how amazing God is. How creative. How powerful. How beautiful. I love Psalm 150. The entire psalm speaks about praising God in his house of worship, under the open skies, for his acts of power, for his magnificent greatness, with instruments, with dance ... but most of all ... "Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah!" (Ps. 150:6, the Message). So, that's what I did last week, and continue to do this week. Because ... well ... I'm living ... and breathing ... and I guess I'm a creature. So, Praise God!

Okay ... Moving on ... I am so far behind on all my favorite blogs that I don't know when I'll catch up, but imagine my surprise to see so many comments on my On Vacation post! But even more surprising and even humbling was a couple of emails I received while on vacation ... a couple friends were telling me that they had nominated me for a couple of the Blogs of Beauty Awards! Who knew! In fact, I have a suspicion that a few more than just a "couple of friends" nominated me for stuff. The sad thing is ... I didn't even get to vote for myself because I was away on vacation. The good thing is ... I didn't get to submit 5,000 fake nominations for myself. So, it was all on the up and up. And, while I'm very proud of the fact that I was a Finalist in one category, I can't load up the button on this post! If someone can tell me why blogger won't let me load pictures many of the times, I'd be ever so grateful.

I was actually nominated for several awards ... The most beautiful blog of a non-contemporary design (what a surprise on this one, but all thanks go to Susie at Bluebird Blog Designs for her beautiful blog design); best discussions in the comments sections (no surprise here, because YOU are the ones to thank for awesome comments!); most encouraging blog content (you really think so? hmmmm ... I'll have to work harder on that one!); best humor (how embarrassing when I let you down!); blogger you have never met and would most like to meet in person for a mocha (awe!!! thanks a bunch! I was even a FINALIST! I'd love to meet YOU TOO for a mocha! And for the record, I totally think Barbara at Mommy Life deserves this award, because I would DIE.TO.MEET.HER. for a mocha, wouldn't you? Good grief ... the woman is a MOM OF TWELVE and an awesome author -- one of my heros!). I think that about wraps up the nominations ... I am honored to have been nominated for so many awards, thrilled to have been voted as a Finalist, but most of all, I am honored to be in the company of such wonderful and phenomenal bloggers. Make sure you check out the winners at A Gracious Home -- and join me in checking out all the cool blogs that won and were nominated that haven't been peeked at by either me or you yet!

But -- WAIT -- before you go to peruse some new blogs, let me share with you that I was deeply touched by a personal email I received from the best friend of the wife of one of the men I wrote a tribute for. She happened to stumble onto my blog and found the tribute. His life touched so many, and she wanted to thank me for posting a tribute. Honestly--I got goose bumps just reading her email. Please, if you have a few minutes, and want to post one, two or more tributes, please let one of us know at -- it means so much to the family and friends of the soldiers who sacrificed their ALL for us. It really does.

Come back tomorrow, as I plan on sharing an experience I had this past weekend that truly humbled me.

(Did you notice how many times I said "blog," "blogger," or "blogs" in this post? Spell check did!)

Monday, July 10, 2006

On Vacation!

Don't miss me too much while I'm on vacation!
I'll be back on July 17th!!!

A Friend In The Middle of the Sweltering Heat...

Friday evening, I got a phone call. You'll never guess who it was! I'll give you a hint ... It was a beautiful blogging sister ... Time's up! It was Momrn2 !!! Okay, you might have guessed if you read her post about it ... but let me just say how much her phone call lifted my spirits. I just kept sitting there thinking ... "oh, my goodness ... oh, my goodness! She's called me!" Sort of as if she was a celebrity! Of course, as she mentioned in her post, our first call was cut short ... she was much kinder by saying that I needed to tend to "motherly duties," making it sound so glamorous ... when actually, I had to clean up an exploded poopie diaper that went all over Hunter's legs, belly, carpet, and me... then I had to bathe the child ... and then ... I returned her phone call. What a joy she is. And, like Lauren, who called me last Friday ... Momrn2 is NOT an evil axe murderer either! So pleasant, so kind ... the call was so thoughtful, that my husband and I chatted about it afterwards.

It was another good thing for my husband to see and hear. I think he's slowly coming around to accepting the fact that I'm not blogging with mean, evil people that want to come steal my child, my belongings, or my dog. Not that anyone would want her, but you know what I mean!

While I was talking to her on the second phone call, our air conditioner broke. Kapute. Dead. It cut our phone call short again, but I felt the glow of her love and warmth all weekend long. Well, I also felt the glow and warmth of sleeping in an 80 degree house without air conditioning ... only fans ... but the warmth that filled my heart was from the special phone call. Thank you, friend! It was most welcome (and needed)!

Then on Sunday, my sister-in-law (my husband's brother's wife, but she and Sunshine [husband's sister] have the same names, so I'll have to come up with a name for her so as not to confuse people) gave me a hug, and spoke some words of encouragement to me about not caring what other's thought about me on the beach, but that I should concentrate on spending time with my son and having fun, creating memories, and pretty much, chasing after him. She's right. It's just a lot harder to do when you know you've got cottage cheese peeking out from under that swimming suit.

Finally, I went up for prayer on Sunday. The pastor rebuked satan and the feelings of depression he was placing on me. And, today, I feel better. I can feel the fog starting to lift. It's strange how depression can creep up on you. Even when you're taking medication for it. Recently (as in the past week), I have seen how hard satan is at work. He is working overtime to bring many of my friends down. But he doesn't have a strong foothold, and his grip is weak, and slowly, he's being kicked to the curb. Hallelujah!

So, now ... we are sweltering in a hot, muggy home. We try to surround ourselves with fans, we have all the windows open, and fortunately, up until Sunday afternoon, the weekend wasn't humid. But then ... BAM ... the humidity slapped us in the face. This morning, I took a shower, dried my hair, and felt like I needed another shower! Ugh! So, I thought I'd let you know, that due to the lack of air conditioning in our home ... which brings on a lack of sleep, we shall be leaving tonight to go to the beach instead of tomorrow. YAY!!! I need the break! So, you probably won't hear a peep out of me all this week. I'll try to log in at some time, but... don't hold your breath!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Tribute to A Fallen Hero - Armer N. Burkart

Specialist Armer N. Burkart

Specialist Armer N. Burkart, 26, of Rockville, Maryland, died of injuries sustained in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 11, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat patrol operations. Burkart was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.

He served two tours while in the Army, the first one in Afghanistan before going to Iraq, where he was killed by a bomb. Specialist Burkart was a gunner in the turret of a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. He knew that it was dangerous to be stationed in Iraq, but he felt that serving his country far outweighed the risks. He was proud to be there.

Armer's father said that he attended Colonel Zadok Magruder High School, where he plaid the saxophone with the marching band. He also attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania on an ROTC scholarship, and dropped out to enlist. He joined the Army in July 2000 following his family's example of military service -- both his late grandfathers were retired Navy captains.

Specialist Burkart, we thank you for the heroic and selfless sacrifice you gave for your country. We appreciate it, and you will never be forgotten. I pray God's blessings on your family.

Specialist Armer N. Burkart was burried in Arlington National Cemetery.

"Where Valor Proudly Sleeps."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Blues

You may have noticed lately (or not) that I have not been my usually chipper self. Oh, it creeps in here and there, but for the most part, I've been battling the blues. I guess it's a mild case of depression.

Maybe it's because I'm facing the fact that I've got to squeeze my blubbery-jelly-belly into a swimming suit next week for all the world to see. Maybe it's because my feet are in such a state of pain, I doubt I'll be able to do much walking on the boardwalk. Maybe it's because I am feeling as though I'm in a dry spot spiritually. Maybe it's because I am mourning not being able to see all the neat things my son is doing on a daily basis because I work full time. Maybe it's because I can't look back and say that I've seen God lately. Maybe it's because it's a beautiful, breezy, big-puffy-cloud kind of day without any humidity, and I'm stuck in an office building breathing stale air. Maybe it's because life is moving so fast -- like a movie before my very eyes ... one that I can't seem to pause no matter how hard I try. Maybe it's just the Popeye's spicy chicken strips I had for lunch coming back to haunt me.

Whatever the case may be, the fact remains. I'm feeling blue. And, as I was reading some blogs this morning, I stumbled across a scripture from Habakkuk. I can't remember whos blog it was, but it sent me in search of the book of Habakkuk.

Ironically, Habakkuk means "embrace" in Hebrew. Ironically, because I could use a "God embrace" right now. And even more ironic, Habakkuk doesn't hesitate to openly question God about all the unfairness he sees, as well as pretty much challenging God's wisdom! AND, he complains a lot! That sounds so much like me. "Why, God? Why is this happening? Why is that happening? Wouldn't it be better if it turned out like this? Or that? Why does everything seem so unfair?" I can totally relate to that.

But more than that, I can relate to Habakkuk's swing of moods. In chapter one, he's feeling pretty low and questioning God ( "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you . . . but you do not save? . . . Why do you tolerate wrong?"). In chapter two, he is feeling despair, but he's waiting on God for an answer ("I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint"). Waiting seems to be an important step; one which I hate. But in chapter three ... he is praising God. So, pretty much, Habakkuk is pretty moody, and I like that about him. He can swing like a pendulum. Yeah. Me too.

So, I concentrated on chapter three, of course, because I was already down, and feeling despair. Now, I wanted to feel joy! And what a better chapter to zone-in on than one that tracks Habakkuk's progress towards spiritual happiness?

Habakkuk realizes that God is in control. He is holy. And it only took him two chapters to get there (ha-ha). He spends time not only pleading with God, and writing about God's wrath, but he spends time praising God's majesty and his power, and he promises to wait and trust in God. Even though what is looming ahead of him is frightening. He settles down and "embraces" God. He accepts that even though we sometimes don't see God, God is always actively involved. He is holy, and he hears and answers our prayers. Habakkuk did something I find very difficult to do. He relied on God and not -- get this -- human strength. Even when it wasn't in Habakkuk's own timing, but rather, God's timing. Owww.

"Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!"
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (The Message)

"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

Vs. 18 (NIV)

It sort of brings to mind the song Chris Tomlin wrote (and sings) called, How Great is Our God... (I'm going to scrunch it all together to save space)

The splendor of the King, clothed in majesty; Let all the earth rejoice, All the earth rejoice. He wraps himself in Light, and darkness tries to hide. And trembles at His voice, Trembles at His voice -- How great is our God, sing with me, How great is our God, and all will see How great, how great is our God.

Age to age He stands. And time is in His hands. Beginning and the end. Beginning and the end. The Godhead Three in One. Father Spirit Son. The Lion and the Lamb, The Lion and the Lamb. How great is our God, sing with me. How great is our God, and all will see. How great, how great is our God. Name above all names. Worthy of all praise. My heart will sing. How great is our God.

That is soooo what I needed to hear. I'm actually feeling a bit better. Not all the way better. Just a bit. Maybe a banana split kinda date with my husband tonight will make it aaaallll better. DOH! Forgot about the jelly-belly thing. X the banana split. Just spending one on one time with him will be a sweet balm to my sad spirit.

Have a blessed weekend. And remember -- use a shot glass full of sunscreen for an adult's arms and face.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Flip Flops has been FOUND!!! Yes, friends ... KPJara emailed me her NEW blog-address ... NEW! She moved and took everything with her ... including her forwarding address... All sneaky-like! THE NERVE!!! (yes, I'm pouting and stomping my foot like a spoiled child with my hands on my hips) It's almost like she's trying to hide from us! HA! That'll never happen, 'cause we love her too much! And I'm a blabber mouth and I'm sharing her address with y'all.... go to...

Of course, if I had bothered to look at the Family Friendly Blogroll I might have gotten her correct/new address... and ... apparently ... I'm the only one that didn't have it. Hmmmm ... maybe it's more personal than I thought?

Moving on...

Monday, we put Hunter in his baby pool for the first time. And trust me when I say ... the water was frigid! And he loved it! He even pulled himself up (of course, his legs were spread WAAAAAY apart) to a semi-standing position. Well -- I just got a call from my mother-in-law (they are watching Hunter this week while the Daycare lady is on vacation) and she's all excited and I could hardly understand her, and finally, I got out of her that Hunter had pulled himself up to a standing position in his crib ... alone ... without help ... and he did it again! Oh, my ... he's growing so fast! He just turned 9 months old on the 5th, and I can hardly believe how much he has changed! Practically OVERNIGHT he's pulling himself up. And, he is finally starting to eat some solids without acting like he's gagging over poison mommy just fed him! Too cool. I can see why people have 12, 13, 14, 15, 15, 17, 18 kids. Okay. Maybe not 18. But 4 would be good!

And ... as if you were dying to know ... (and with baited breath, I might add) ...

Next week, we're headed off for the beach.
The first time with a baby, too!

So, I started making a list of things I'd need to take with us... Pack-n-Play for him to sleep in, blankies/silky, pacifiers, booster seat for meals, regular cooler, diaper bag cooler, bottles, formula, food, appropriate snacks, clothes, diapers, wipes, powder, sunscreen, hat, spf shirts (short & long sleeved), bathing suit/swimmer diaper thingies, toys, inflatable baby pool, canopy for beach, towels, floatie-donut thingie for the pool, and Speedo inflatable floatie thingie for pool, etc.

Then, I realized ... I've never been to the beach with my own baby. Yeah, I've been to the beach with my sister-in-law, and her baby, but heck -- I didn't have to pack for her, play with her, entertain her, feed her, change her and watch her like a hawk ... all on the beach or at the pool!

So, what I'd like to get from you is some sound advice on what I NEED to take, and what I DON'T need to take. And any other advice you'd like to throw out there. Ummm ... Within reason.

Other than that, I'm feeling pretty burned out and ready for a vacation. In fact, the wonderful, exciting jewelry I began designing is still sitting in my den right now ... crying out for attention that I just can't give it right now because my family keeps me hopping! My designs are pretty set, but getting to making the jewelry is another story... More on that later.

OP, yeah ... one more thing ... does anyone know why all the serious thunder-boomer storms sweep in at around 9:30 p.m. or later? Just wondering how much longer I'm going to be kept awake with storms.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What up wit dat?

So, today is a yucky, down kinda day. I don't feel like doing much. I was, however, just doing some housecleaning on my blog, and noticed that my beautiful, blingy award from Carol at She Lives was not showing up on my sidebar! What up wit dat? Que pasa? We can NOT have that! No! So, I had to go back into the language and figure out what was going on, but ... since I have no clue, I just went back to my email, copied the whole thing again, and repasted it. I think it's there now.

And then, I vaguely remember someone tagging me for something, and I remember thinking, I can't do it now, but I'll get to it, and then ... nada. I forgot. It's gone. Don't know who tagged me, can't remember what the tag was for. So... if you were the tagger, can you remind me what I was supposed to do? My mind has gotten lost. What up wit dat?

Lately, my life has become so hectic. Yeah, I know ... everyone's life is hectic. But summer just seems to be even MOOORE hectic. No free time. Lot's of stuff to do. Rush, rush, rush. Run, run, run. Why is summer more hectic than any other season? I mean, I can't even keep up with my blogging pals... We should be paid to blog full time. What up wit dat?

I have suddenly been inundated with SPAM mail in my blog email account. Weird, WEIRD stuff that I won't even open. In fact, I get about 15 or more spam emails a day. What up wit dat?

My husband's family came and ate dinner with us on the 4th of July. We had a lot of fun together. We had burgers (brownies), ribs (brownies), corn on the cob (brownies), tater salad (brownies), green beans (brownies), and I'm sure there was something else (brownies), but it doesn't come to mind right now. What up wit dat? (Discipline. It's what I DON'T have when a plate of warm brownies is sitting on my kitchen table.)

Today, I am feeling like I just don't care. About anything. Except, of course, the men in my life... but other than that ... baah. Just don't care. What up wit dat?

I keep trying to go to my friend's blog called Flip Flops at -- but for some reason, the page can not be found... What up wit dat? Someone PALEEZE tell me she's okay!

Yesterday, I ran to the grocery store. Twice. Oh, my achin' feet and back. And someone -- anyone -- please tell me -- why do the stinking grocery carts get funky wheels that won't let you steer the darned thing right? What up wit dat?

Last night, we were rudely kept awake by neighbors setting off illegal fireworks. Seeing that we have just received a bountiful 12" or so of rain over the past 5-ish days, I guess there is little chance of wild fires ripping through our neighborhood, but PALEEZE ... 10:30 at night? Do you know the trauma you caused my dog to have? The sleepless hours my husband (who has to wake up at 4:15 am) had to endure? The 15 minute wait I had on the "non-emergency" police line just to report you? And then, as if you knew I was parked on hold, you STOP the second the nice police lady, who assured me she understands all about keeping infants asleep while idiots light the sky with (did I mention) illegal fireworks and what sounds like CANONS tells me that she'll send a police cruiser out once she gets through the 30-some calls they have on hold? What up wit dat?

And as if fireworks weren't enough ... we get a 5-alarm thunderboomer that is so loud it shakes the house, causing my dear husband to sulk off to the "other-other" guest bedroom (because his parents are in the "other" guest bedroom) so the dog will leave.him.alone. so he can get some, if any, sleep before 4:30 rolls around.

I have bad feet. Not as in -- stinky feet -- as in -- owww, my feet are killing me, I can't take it anymore, feet. The little bones on the top of my feet hurt, hurt, hurt, and I can't bend my toes very well. And that's saying something, because I'm pretty darned flexible. Everywhere. I feel like they've been put through one of those wringer-style washing machines! I was complaining yesterday evening, and rubbing my poor feet, and I think I said something like, "Honey, I think I have arthritis in my feet." And he said ... "Maybe it's cancer." As in a snide way of saying -- "have you made an appointment with the doctor yet? I'm tired of hearing about it without you taking any action." I know, I need to see a doctor, and I've made an appointment, but ... what up wit dat? Anyway, if you have bad feet, go to The Big Trade Off and check out all the shoes mentioned in the comments for owie feet.

Blogger won't let me post any pictures. What up wit dat?

It's easier for me to go to work ... because then, I can whip right through all my blogs. I thought getting hooked up with wireless at home would help. But it doesn't. Maybe it's all the distractions at home. Maybe it's the infant trying to "eh, eh, eh, eh" reach the keyboard and push all the pretty buttons. Maybe it's because I don't have a "real keyboard and mouse" -- which ever reason you choose, it seems like I get far behind on reading all my favs ... but at work, I can breeze through them all. What up wit dat?

This morning, I was side tracked from getting my coffee by our secretary who had been out with an abscessed tooth. She was explaining to me how a tooth she had a root canal in had an abscessed infection and it caused her face to swell up like a bull frog. She went to the ER twice, and they finally sliced her gums open to drain the ... stuff ... and pulled the tooth. I guess she forgot that I just had a root canal and she was scaring the living daylights out of me. Joy. What up wit dat?

Remember reading about the fireworks, thunderstorms and husband that wakes up at 4:30 to go to work a bit above? Well, said husband stayed home today. And I was so excited, because his parents are staying at our home to watch Hunter while his daycare provider is on vacation. So, being that I'm all happy that my main man stayed home, I asked him ... "Hey! Wanna have a romantic lunch date with me?" And he said ... "We'll see." And it's now 11:30 -- MY lunch time, and he hasn't called me to make any plans... instead he's shopping at Toys R Us with his parents and my other little man. So ... What up wit DAT? Feeling kinda dissed! Kicked to the curb!

Never mind. It's now 12:00, and he just called to tell me he's got to take the van through inspection. And my son and his parents are joining us for our romantic date lunch. I love his parents. I love my son. But every now and then I want some alone time with my husband. So, I'm off to meet my family for lunch... What up wit dat?


Monday, July 03, 2006

A Tribute to A Fallen Hero - Pfc. Justin R. Davis

Pfc. Justin R. Davis, 19, of Gaithersburg, MD, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y. He died in Korengal Outpost, Afghanistan (near Kunar Province), on June 25, 2006, when he came in contact with indirect fire while on patrol during combat operations, and has gone "forward" to a better place, a new "assignment" -- one of permanent status. While the circumstances of his death are under investigation as a possible friendly-fire incident, we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that what ever the cause of death may have been, Justin is "partying hardy" with his Savior. "Forward" is the motto for the 32d Infantry Brigade. And "Forward" Justin has gone.

Justin, thank you for your sacrifice. You gave your life for freedom, and now, you have moved "forward." Thank you friend. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21 And, to Justin's family, thank you for sharing your son with us for just a brief moment in time. He touched many people.

A bit about Justin:

All his life, Justin wanted to make a difference. He also wanted to become famous. Justin graduated from Col. Zadok Magruder High School in 2005 after attending Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA for a year. While attending Magruder High School, Justin was a member of the football team, and the JROTC. After he graduated, he enlisted in the Army was deployed in March of 2006. He had plans to attend UCLA after he finished in the Army, where he planned on studying acting.

Justin was such a joy to be around. He smiled with his entire face. He was always up-beat, and loved to joke, laugh, and talk, and Justin loved his family and friends fiercely. Justin wanted to be an actor, and a "Ninja." Whenever I would ask him what he was going to do with himself when he graduated from high school, he'd say, (and I'm not kidding) "I'm going to be a ninja!" He'd come to youth group dressed in fatigues or in his black sweat pants or black cargo pants, and his hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his face... and he, in his mind, "was a ninja." On his space, he listed his heroes as God, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bruce Lee. Everyone loved Justin. Rare was the person that didn't.

Justin had a passion for the military, and he wanted to make a difference in this world. When he had finished basic training, he seemed excited about his military career, because he was getting to do what he wanted to. A fellow soldier said about Justin: "He was well liked and carried himself so well... He exuded leadership and was an inspiring guy to be around. He worked his way up to squad leader in charge of about eight people... he definitely had that leadership charisma - when he talked, everybody listened. He was bright in every sense of the word and was the first one there anytime something needed to be done."

There were several youth leaders that influenced his life, as well. Two youth pastors (myself, and Craig), and three youth leaders - Sunshine, "B", and Keith. Sunshine and "B" helped me write this post, and here are a few extra things they remember about him... he was very agile and like to strike a karate pose, he could crack a joke with such seriousness, and one day, he stole "B's" Yukon, with a youth lying on top of it, and went for a little "joy" ride around the neighborhood by the church, giving us all a major "headache." Also, he would always volunteer to pray, and would share very mature prayers.

He was lovable, and he was also loved. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

Some Gave All -- A Tribute to the Fallen

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
A dear friend of mine, Lauren from Created, called me this past Friday. First of all, I loved touching base with her again. It has been a long time since we've talked in real-time. And you know what? She's a normal, hilarious chick! I know, I know ... a complete shocker, huh?

Anyway, she asked me what I thought about putting up a special blog to honor the fallen soldiers that have fought bravely in both Iraq and Afghanistan. To be honest, I was a wee bit distracted by my family at the exact moment she asked me that, and I think I had to ask her to repeat to me a couple times what she just said. I say this just so that Lauren doesn't think I'm slow on the uptake, or anything like that. When it finally sunk in what she was saying, I think I was rendered speechless. Yes, friends ... speechless. It was such a simple, yet fabulous idea. There are over 2500 brave men and women that have given their lives to fight a greater cause than I can even wrap my arms around. They have done it self-LESS-ly. And we want to honor them.

Our Goal: To honor every single person that has sacrificed their life, and to post it between July 4th, and Labor day on Some Gave All.

What we've done: Lauren has birthed this child. Jules has designed the beautiful blog header and button. Suziepie has done her magic in cleaning the blog up. And voila ... Some Gave All was born. The technical part is done.

What YOU can do: You (we) can go to the blog. Select a name. Type up a simple tribute to them, thanking them (and if you wish, their family) for their priceless sacrifice. You can either choose someone from your state, your town, your family, a friend, or a stranger. It doesn't matter if you know them or not. There are several links on Some Gave All that have been provided as tools for gaining information on the person you plan to honor. It can be a paragraph long, or it can be a blovel (blog novel) -- the purpose is just to honor them. That's it.

This project DOES NOT belong to just Jules, Lauren, Susie, or GiBee -- no friends ... it belongs to all of us! Why? Because they are fighting for you and for me.

How it happens: YOU write a post thanking a fallen soldier on your blog. YOU email us the link to your post. WE will like your post on Some Gave All and email you the Some Gave All button to display on your blog.

I'm copying Jules here ... because she said it best: We ask that your blog be free of profanity, and that it be family-friendly, as this tribute is designed to honor the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families. We respectfully ask that your tribute be courteous, respectful and free from any political views. Propoganda will not be allowed.

A tribute may look something like this:

"As an American citizen I thank you, (soldier's name here), for your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your family for all they have given for the cause of freedom. I will remember you, and I will teach my children to remember you. We are forever in your debt."

You may contact us for more details at

Please visit at ... Some Gave All.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

P.S. -- two more things: 1) I'll be posting a tribute to my friend Justin Davis on July 4th. Come back and check it out! 2) Please --- check out the Operation Helmet and Operation AC (Care Boxes) Links on Some Gave All.