Friday, February 27, 2009


I'm not an exercise person.

I'm not really a dancing person, either.

I do have Latina blood in me. (My mom is Peruvian, and MAN can she dance!)

But, surprisingly ... I have no rhythm.

I dance like a crazy white woman.

Which is why it is so surprising that about a month ago, I ordered... ZUMBA!

In my words, Zumba is a combination of Latin dance, aerobics, and hip-hop groovy moves. Which I am NOT known for.

Here's what their website says about Zumba: Zumba® Fitness was created in the mid-90's by Colombian native Alberto "Beto" Perez, a celebrity fitness trainer and choreographer for International pop superstars. Inspired by the traditional cumbia, salsa, samba and merengue music he grew up with, Beto paired his favorite pulsating Latin rhythms with the red-hot international dance steps his clients loved and Zumba® Fitness (Spanish slang for “to move fast and have fun”) was born!

Oh, OKAY.... so, "Pulsating" and "GiBee" are not two words people would commonly put together. But, I thought I'd give it a try... because even though this klutzy white girl can't dance, she sure has the call of the Latin rhythm in her (or whatever that means).

And it arrived last night. But apparently, there was a bit of confusion, because Hunter was all a flutter because HE received a package in the mail, and HE wanted to open it. So I took him up to my bedroom and let him open it. He was all excited. Especially over the Fitness Toning Sticks. He immediately began to play the drums with them.

So, excitedly, I popped the 20-minute Express Workout DVD in. It started. I started. They moved. I moved.

I thought to myself... "HEY! I can DO THIS!"

Then they got faster. I got faster.

And still, I was continuing to keep up. I can REALLY DO THIS.

And I was excited. And happy. For ten whole minutes.

And that's when Hunter turned the TV off and declared, "I don't like this game, Mommy."

The end.

More to come later.

Peace out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Important Theory ... Put to test right here!

I've come up with a new theory. This theory was developed after I spent numerous days cleaning up my den and seeing my husband tote out many dollars worth of "stuff" in black trash bags.

Each time I want to purchase something, make something, commit to something, or go crazy on something... I’m going to ask myself these questions first:

1. Will it make my life crazy?
2. Will it make my either my husband or me unhappy?
3. Will it take time away from important family obligations?
4. Is it outside of my budget?
5. Will it be wasted once it is purchased?
6. Will it sit and collect dust and be neglected?
7. Will we gain weight from it?
8. If I answer yes to any of those questions, I can not do it, make it, commit to it, or go crazy on it.

I will put this theory to test right now, as I sit down to peruse the ingredients to a new and delectable cup cake recipe... EHEM!

1. Ingredients: chocolate, sugar, butter, heavy cream, marshmallow creme – My life would be crazy if I DIDN'T try this recipe.
2. Furthermore, we would be very unhappy if we didn't get to sample it.
3. It will make our family obligations so much more enjoyable if we were obligated to eat cupcakes together.
4. I have all the ingredients at home. It’s totally affordable.
5. No waste here... we would eat them. Of course!
6. Of course not... how silly – cupcakes will be eaten immediately!!! No problems with dust issues.
7. Dang.
8. Double Dang.

Theory proven.

Maybe I should call it the "Cupcake Theory?"

Disclaimer: Sorry if I offended anyone with the use of "Dang" -- it's just heartbreaking to prove my theory with those two questions.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Den and Craft Room

I'm sorry -- but ... WHOEVER SAID CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS? Harumph. I think it was Benjamin Franklin, but if it wasn't... I can promise you they didn't have a full time job and a family to care for.

Dear heavens. I recently began "organizing" my Den/Craft Room.

Okay -- I recently began "excavating" through my Den/Craft Room.

This room had become a catch-all room for junk, clutter, paper, craft stuff, sewing stuff, craft tools, fabric, more craft stuff, and did I mention... junk???

Somehow, we managed to take a good-sized room and load it up with trash, trash, trash. The before pictures are so embarrassing, but I promise... they are coming -- just as soon as I finish the entire project. Maybe next week?

Aaaanyway... I used to have a fastidious cleaning bone in me ... until I had a baby, at which time, life became a mad dash, literally. And to maintain some semblance of order in my home, the den became our storage/dump-all room, and the door remained, virtually, constantly closed. Hermetically sealed. LOCKED UP.

So after three years of keeping the door closed, my husband and I finally had EEEE-NUFF.

Time has always been the reason why I haven't tackled this room. I work full time, and then I run around like crazy for family things, church, random functions, and other scheduled "things" ... so, cleaning the main portion of my home became more important than cleaning this one room. I kept praying and begging God to change the whole crazy daylight savings time thing, and ... you know... actually ADD hours to the 24 he's already given us. But as that option didn't seem feasible, we just kept closing the door to the room.

And one day... I was handed a wonderful blessing of time to my busy schedule. My company changed their work hours, and I began a new schedule in January -- what they call mandatory "8-9's and one 8" ... meaning ... we no longer have flex start-times, but rather ... work 9 hours for 8 days, 8 hours on 1 day, and I get every other Friday OFF. A FREE DAY! Well, sort of free.

The funny thing is... many at my company "suspect" that they changed to this new schedule to "weed out" moms that have difficult schedules with the kid's daycare and school, and abuse flex time. Sort-of going back to the "good-ol'-boy" way of doing business. That's not my case, as my husband has an incredible schedule that allows him to be home early in the afternoons. The funnier thing is... WHO CARES!? This works out great for me, and I'm sure they weren't planning on that! I get the last laugh. Bwahahahahaha! Ehem.

Can I get an Amen!?!

Sometimes, when you pray for extra time in your busy life ... God answers in a big "ka-ching" kind of way!

So I've been working on this room for two Fridays (so far). I spent most of the first day wading through the den/craft/dump room. I toted out 4 30-gallon bags of trash... old wrapping stuff, broken boxes, broken tools, broken STUFF, old half-started crafts that didn't give me "immediate gratification" and couldn't be recycled or re-purposed, dried out bottles of glue and paint ... you get the idea. Then I sorted through stuff and put them in "like" groupings in large paper shopping bags and lined them along the wall. I boxed up my old books (Christian fiction and non-fiction) for our church library. Finally, I waded through the desk, made a "shred" pile, and got rid of what we don't need or use any longer.

It was a satisfying kind of day.

This past Friday, I went through my bookshelves, sorted all the "stuff" in them, and began to reorganize everything in new containers, re-purposed containers, and totally brought order to the room. Can I just say ... that took FIVE HOURS!! And 4 MORE trash bags of junk I just didn't want to hold onto anymore. A total of EIGHT trash bags -- how embarassing is THAT?!?

And yet... it was another exhausting, but satisfying day.

I think some of you may be wondering why I threw stuff away? Why don't I just sell stuff at yard sales, or give it away, etc?? Because I DON'T HAVE THE TIME. And in order to a) keep my sanity; b) spend time with my family; c) get the stuff out of the house... it is just best that I place stuff in black bags, tie them off and tote them out before I have a chance to think twice about them. I mean -- the way I figure is... it's been sitting in this room for three years. If I haven't used it or missed it in three years, chances are... I never will.

FINALLY ... the last thing I have to do is pretty-up the room. I want to make window treatments and a curtain for the sewing table, maybe a cushion for my chair, and hang stuff on the walls.

Then... when the room is finally clean, organized, and complete... I'll post before and after pictures. Don't kid yourself... it isn't one of those Better Home & Garden or Southern Living makeovers... it's simply a functional, clean and organized room ... and for the most part, with the exception of a couple drawer-bins, I only used what I already had on hand to organize it.

So far, its only taken me 3-1/2 days. I think I'll only need 1 more day, maybe 1-1/2 more days.

I thought it would take me a year. Literally.

Life is sweet.

And the door remains open once again!

Many, MANY thanks to the constant, and quiet encouragement from my friend Laura over at Organizing Junkie. Each month, she hosts a Monthly Roundup ... she selects one thing to focus all your organizing energies on -- which is truly smart, as it can become terribly overwhelming if you try to organize everything! Now, it is important to keep in mind that she posted the Craft/Sewing room organizing roundup back in OCTOBER of 2008. I committed to doing it, but did not have any free time. Until now. Yay!

This month (Feb '09), she's rounding up your unorganized recipes... Mine are looking great so far, and I have a system that works for me ... but I do hope you join in on organizing your recipes! It's liberating to see organization come out of chaos!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are you sweating the small stuff???

A sweet friend of mine sent me this awesome list... it is a great reminder to NOT sweat the small stuff ... and heaven's knows ... we are ALL guilty of that in one way or another!!!

And I know many of you are Erma Bombeck fans too, so ... enjoy!

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

1. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

2. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

3. I would have talked less and listened more.

4. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

5. I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

6. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

7. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

8. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

9. I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

10. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

11. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

12. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

13. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.'

14. But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute. Look at it and really see it ... live it and never give it back.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's a Monday Kind of Tuesday

I should have known that today was going to be a rough day when I rolled over and hit my snooze button for the fourth time, wishing I could just throw my alarm clock out the window and have a free day off. Again. So I could sleep. All day long.

Yesterday was President's Day – a paid holiday. It is so nice to have a day off without having to use my leave!!! We spent the day with my in-laws, driving our son to a train display, and my husband to Cabela's (almost 3 hours away from our home). We had little sleep the night before because Hunter was up crying all night due to an ear ache. My husband had to run out at 4:00 in the morning (he is so wonderful) to get some Motrin for Hunter, because we had spent the night at my in-laws, and I had NOTHING with me! Miraculously, his ear was fine by morning time, so despite feeling groggy, off we went.

The day was fun, but long. We got home around 7:30 pm (after spending close to 6 hours in the car). We were all exhausted, and Hunter went straight to bed with no problem ... one of the benefits of driving all day long. We all slept soundly, so I’m not sure why waking up was so hard... it just was.

So while today is Tuesday, it really feels like Monday, and my "rough" day doesn't seem to have ended with the whole waking up issue. Oh, no. It couldn't possibly be that simple. You see – I have to be at work by 7:30 (I arrived around 7:15). By 10:00, I went to the bathroom, only to find that the bathroom on my floor was closed for cleaning. Lovely. So I rode the elevator up one floor (too lazy to walk). Fortunately, that one was open, and that's when I realized... my zipper was down. And since I hadn't used the bathroom all morning, and I've never had problems with the zipper on these pants, I can only deduct that I didn't put it up when I got dressed at the crack of dawn – while I was still half asleep. Which meant that I had gone 3 and 1/2 hours with my zipper down.

In those 3 and 1/2 hours, I managed to visit my supervisor's cube twice, went to another manager's office, worked with someone else on a report, walked down to the cafeteria for coffee ... and back, and stood by the printer with my hand on my hip as I impatiently waited for the million-page printout the person in front of me was doing. Which leads me to ask... why couldn't today be one of those boring "sit behind the desk all morning" mornings? Further, why didn't someone bring to my attention that I was not properly ... attired?

And to add insult to injury, when I left the bathroom, I boarded the elevator, hit the wrong button, and didn't realize it until I had gone all the way down to the first floor, got out, started walking to my cube, only to realize... I was on the wrong floor.

Then it dawned on me. In my whole hazy, exhausted, lazy, snooze-button-pushing, zipper-down morning, I hadn't taken one moment to pray. Not one. And, while I must confess, there have been other days where I HAVEN'T bounced out of bed bounding with energy, feeling all perky and cheery and ready to spend time in prayer (I’m so obviously NOT a morning person) ... I've NEVER had a "zipper-down-bathroom-closed-can't-ride-an-elevator-properly" kind of morning. That in itself was a red-flagged warning to me that my day was going to be rough, and maybe I should take a walk around the building and pray.

And that revelation, my friends, brought to mind a scripture... Psalm 5:3 – "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."

I may not get scripture in first thing every morning (that comes in around noon-ish), but I always try to start my day off in prayer. I usually pray for my husband and son, my family and friends, and all the extended requests I've promised to pray for as well as my co-workers, etc. I also spend time just praising him and thanking him for his blessing – not just asking him for stuff. When I finish praying, I like to top it off with praise and worship music on my way in to work. I’ll turn it up and sing along.

Obviously, my day just doesn't start off quite right if I don't pray first!

It also seems that I'm "fresher" in the mornings, even though I might be tired. I'm not in as much of a stupor as I am in the afternoon. And interestingly enough, if I don't spend time with God first, then I feel like I'm missing out on some of the exciting things God has in store for me, because my attitude is usually sour!

The scripture I just quoted indicates that God will hear my voice in the morning. Now, I know he hears me any time I pray (Ps. 55:16-17), but I know myself... and it is much more difficult for me to set time aside to pray once the day starts rolling out (or even at night) ... and God can’t hear my voice if I don’t find the time to use it! And I hate giving God my leftover energy at the end of the day. So I often feel like bringing my prayers to God first thing in the morning is like bringing him my tithe. My "first-fruits," so to say.

When do you find it works best for you to pray?

All righty then ... when I look back on the morning I've had ... I guess it's only appropriate that I had one of those "Mighty Mango 'Naked' all-natural, well-being juice smoothies" for breakfast this morning, since I was only one "button" away from really being Naked... huh?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Updated to add: Hmmm... this is strange. This was a scheduled post that never posted. Nothing like being timely (2/23/09)!

Honey, I love you more than words can express. You are an amazing father and husband --loving, kind, and patient. Thank you for being the Godly man of my dreams! I love you -- and all that sweet stuff!!!

Now -- for you, my loyal 3 readers...

K-LOVE had a contest this week. Couples submitted their stories, and then the winner got a love song written and performed just for them by Matthew West.

They aired it today. It is beautiful. The words are perfect for anyone planning a wedding or renewal of vows. MAN he is so talented!

They have a free download of it HERE -- but if you don't get there in are the words... and if someone can teach me how to upload an mp3 file --- I'll load it up here so you can hear it...

There must be a God, I believe it’s true
‘Cause I can see his love when I look at you
And he must have a plan for this crazy life
Because he brought you here and placed you by my side

And I have never been so sure of anything before
Like I am in this moment here with you --
And now for better or for worse -- it’s so much more than only words.
And I pray that every day will be the proof
That I mean what I say when I say I do
Yeah, I mean what I say when I say I do.

You see … these hands you hold -- will always hold you up
When the strength you have, just ain’t strong enough
And what tomorrow brings, only time will tell
But I will stand by you -- in sickness and in health

‘Cause I have never been so sure of anything before
Like I am in this moment here with you
Now for better or worse it’s so much more than only words.
And I pray that every day will be the proof
That I mean what I say when I say I do
Yeah, I mean what I say when I say --

Take my hand -- and take this ring
And know that I will always love you through anything – yeah…
And as the years march on, like a beating heart
I will live these words -- Till death do us part

‘Cause I have never been so sure of anything before
Like I am in this moment here with you
Now for better or worse it’s so much more than only words.
And I pray that every day will be the proof
That I mean what I say when I say I do
Yeah, I mean what I say when I say I do

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Some of you may remember a previous post of mine, in which I whined about having freakishly small ears that find MOST earbuds quite uncomfortable.


I have found a wonderful, WONDERFUL solution that I LOVE and that I'm so comfortable with. The Panasonic Clip-on Headphones for TEN BUCKS at Wal Mart. They are so light that I forget I have them on. And really, who cares what you look like ... when comfort is so important?

Now I can listen to K-Love online once again without experiencing pain in my left ear. Praise God from whom all blessings flow... and headphones.

Gotta love it!

I feel normal once again.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Un-train the Trainer

It's like that show where people get ... "Punk'd."

Seriously ... one night, it just happened. We didn't plan it ... it just ... happened.

We got "Punk'd."

By a three year old.


And we're not happy about it. Especially my husband. And it is my own fault. Because I'm the mom. The softee. The one who is all heart and wants to rush to her screaming and unhappy child to quiet him down and love on him.

Don't get me wrong. We have tried to train him to fall asleep in his own bed. Oh, okay -- we've even resorted to bribery... no "big-boy" (twin-sized) bed unless you fall asleep on your own.

But it would seem that the trainee has trained the trainer.

Now, bed time has become a nightmare for us. This is how it goes:

7:30 -- Hunter eats a snack of either fruit, bread, or something like that (because the child is forever hungry); we head upstairs to put on jammies and brush teeth. He watches Dora or Caillou.

8:00-8:30 -- We go to his room, put him in bed, pray with him, turn on his music, and TRY to leave.

And he proceeds to cry, scream, and beg one of us to "stay right there" -- until he falls asleep. At some point in time, I gave in... and now... the Trainer has been trained by a three year old trainee.

If we just leave him in his room, he proceeds to scream until 10:30 (last night, for example), he gets out of his bed and comes into the hall way or into our room. This is a problem, because my husband wakes up at 4:15 every morning, and needs his sleep! (probably the very reason why I gave in)

Tonight, I've resolved to let him scream, scream, and scream some more... we'll see what happens. I may even throw in an extra bribe.

Any sage parental suggestions?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Spiritual Bankruptcy

I have a friend who is going through a crisis in her life.

She has had her share of depression, and whether it was post-partum, or a chemical imbalance, the result has brought on devastating, heart breaking consequences in her life and relationships.

Her depression led to two years of spending uncontrollably, using credit cards, checks, a second mortgage, or cash as a form of Novocaine... something that would provide a rush that would temporarily erase the feelings of depression or emotional instability. Later, prescribed medication would lead to thoughts of suicide (obviously the WRONG medication was prescribed), and she removed herself from it cold turkey, unknowingly throwing herself back into a vicious cycle.

Her husband, who I'm certain carries his own amount of guilt (as it does takes two to tango), recently informed her that he's had enough and wants a divorce.

This news has severely strained my friend emotionally and has pushed her beyond her own ability to hold it together. Irrational rationalization (if that is possible) about her mental well being and marriage has manifested, and desperation has taken over. She claims that if her husband would only "work on his spirituality," their problems would be solved, and their marriage would work out.

In some cases, that may be. But working on your "spirituality" isn't the sure-fire, fix-all remedy to heartbreaking circumstances in our lives. Whether is is disease, financial crisis, or marital crisis we face, "spirituality" won't cure the problem. Yes ... A personal and weathered relationship with God will make it easier to face the hard news, but it won't always make "it" go away.

You see... my friend "knows God" but doesn't "know God."

Faith to her is something you "do" -- work in a soup kitchen, recite some prayers out loud, give to the church and the poor, recite three things a day that you're thankful for ... very "Oprah-ish." And that saddens me, because faith in someones life... just for the sake of having faith ... is empty and useless

And now that my friend is financially, physically, and emotionally bankrupt, she is finding that she may be spiritually bankrupt, too. There is no backbone to her faith; no meat or substance that she can cling to in her hour of need, because all she's done is "do."

This sounds all too familiar, because I have been in her shoes, and have truly walked a mile in them, if not more.

My heart breaks for her because her heart is broken, and yet, she finds herself in a lonely place, and refuses to listen. She has many things she wants to say, scream, accuse, or cry about, but she doesn't want to hear anything about God's love, grace, and mercy. And that is fair. She's been dealt a hard hand. Anger is definitely one emotion she will need to work through.

This is why it is so important to develop our faith over a period of time and developing a personal relationship with Christ by reading scripture, having interactive conversations with God, worshipping, memorizing, learning more about the foundation of our "faith" - the creator of everything, the one who gives us peace, and listening. All this gives us a reservoir we can pull from when we are faced with difficult or hopeless circumstances.

Yes, there is so much more to establishing deep roots in faith, but friend, if you are barely teetering on the borderline of your faith, may I encourage you to just trust God and dive in? Begin pouring over scripture. Start talking with God. Take time to listen to Him. Worship him with your heart. Abandon yourself in his arms. Because what may seem like overkill now may one day become your lifeline when faced with difficult, stressful, and/or emotionally taxing circumstances.

If you're interested, read all of Psalm 27 it offers tremendous encouragement and hope and strength!