Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday's Quote to Ponder

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
~The apostle Paul, to the Ephesians (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Yesterday I forgot to record the most important anniversary of my life. March 29, 1989--the day I was saved. I was 12, attending a spring revival at Beckham Ridge Separate Baptist Church with friends. It was a Tuesday night and I had had the "urging", the conviction placed in my heart to come to Jesus, for a while. That night, I came to the altar and accepted Jesus as my Savior. The next weekend, I was baptized in a creek in the area. I remember how the water felt as I stepped in--really cold! But as the pastor prayed and dunked me under, I remember the water was suddenly deliciously warm, like a calm bath. I was wrapped up in some handmade quilts and from there, my walk with Christ began.

It hasn't been perfect--oh, no. I forgot my way many times, followed my own agenda through most of my teen and college years, not really experiencing spirituality. Then, Sept 11, 2001 happened. I was about 7 months pregnant with our first daughter, working in a neurosurgery lab at the University of Louisville. I realized how short life is, and that my child deserved to be brought up in a good Christian home, so she would have an even better chance of coming to Jesus than I had. That's when I really made the commitment to live for Jesus, to worship, to study, to pray. I certainly have not been perfect since then, but I knew I had been "saved by grace--not by works". Nothing I can do can make me perfect or deserving of God's love, but He gave it anyway, and every day I know in my heart that I am His, and I want to raise my daughters in the hopes that they will feel the same way.

This morning, we listened to some praise music on my laptop while I made homemade waffles. We ate them fresh off the waffle iron. Megan and I both ate 4 and Zoe had 3. I think today started off just right! Waffles are good for the soul :)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday's Laugh Out Loud

Today, I've determined that the squirrels in my neighborhood are going through a suicidal phase. Another one tried to run out in front of me today as I was going to pick up the kids. Luckily, I was on squirrel-alert and was able to slow down in time. Have you ever wondered what a squirrel's suicide note would look like? Maybe like this?

Now, for some squirrel fun--

Q: How do you catch a squirrel? A: Run up a tree and act like a nut
Q Why did the chicken cross the road? A; To show the squirrel how its done.

Wanna put your squirreliness to the test? Play this mildly challenging squirrel game:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wednesday Worries

I'm in the midst of our bi-annual clothing purge. Started Monday and just today I have Zoe's room straightened out. Meg's room is still piled up. I haven't even began to think about our room. With the kids, it's just getting out the clothes that don't fit anymore and giving Meg's to Zoe and getting Meg some new ones. I have had a few friends who have very generously donated outgrown clothes and shoes, many of which will fit Meg this season and next. I still think they have too many clothes--well, when I'm going through them all, it just seems like too many. I'm sure I didn't have that many clothes when I was a kid though. When all the baby-making is done, I'll very generously be donating all these clothes too :)

Rainy today, sun just starting to come out. Kids whining about going outside. Too wet. Church tonight--don't want them getting muddy. Hit a squirrel on the way to pick up the kids today. I hate running over small animals. Haven't had time to do much else but the clothing purge and laundry this week. So my floors are in bad shape. I took the time to hurriedly sweep the dining room just before putting the kids down for a nap.

On the bright side--I found $10 in an old diaper bag in Zoe's closet. Things are looking up! How is your day?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Memories

What an awesome Saturday we had! Bryan traveled to one town to hang out with his car club buddies. The girls and I went to another town for a girls's day out. Bryan rode go-carts and watched some tasering demonstrations :) One of his friends has a gun/ammo shop there and used a taser on a few of the guys for a demo--just a couple seconds, but they sure felt it, even just through their clothes. The girls and I shopped at a small mall and had lunch together at Tumbleweed and ice cream at the local ice cream parlor. When we all got home, we put the girls in the Trans Am and headed to Sonic with the tops out and ate outside on the picnic tables. What a great day! Here's a Scrapbook Flair page I made about our girls' trip. Since the program won't let me save it as a jpg file (or I can't figure out how to anyway), I'll post the link to the public gallery so you can see it. I've hidden the town name just for privacy sake.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Fun!

I think we've missed our window for the fourth month in a row now (trying to conceive, that is), so I decided to get out and have fun with the kiddos today. We went to our church's playground and met up with a good friend and her son. So, we had an even number today--two boys, two girls. We were able to sit and talk and the kids played and ate snacks and had water and juice boxes. Just before we left, Zoe had a poo accident in her pants (the pull-ups got lopsided somehow and it came out of the side), but luckily I had kept an extra change of clothes in the diaper bag. Just this morning, I had thought of taking it out--glad I didn't! Then, lunch buffet at Pizza Hut. Everyone ate well and back home to play for just a bit before naps.

I've had a nice almost half hour nap and now I'm enjoying my decaf and watching Dr. Phil. It'll be another week at least before I'll have any hint whether we'll be expecting #3 or not. We've decided that we'll probably not be successful until the cycle just before our vacation at the end of May. We found out about both our girls while we were on vacations in 2001 and 2004. Good vacation surprises :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday's Laugh Out Loud

This one just keeps cracking me up!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm happy and disappointed at the same time...

The good news: We sold our Grand Prix just three days after we moved it to a different location for people to see. (If you'll remember from a post back in Feb, we bought a Bonneville in Chicago, so we didn't need this one anymore) Woohoo! Now we can pay off our truck and some other minor bills.

The potentially disappointing news: Bryan is headed out of town yet again for two nights and TODAY I get a positive ovulation test. Today, on day 14 of my cycle--hoping like crazy I would get positive test YESTERDAY...but, no, today, which means I'll probably ovulate tomorrow. Which means, we've probably missed our window yet again. We've had two nights this week, so maybe that will work, but as we're trying the Shettles method--we're supposed to time it as close to ovulation as possible for a boy. So, we'll either miss it again or get another girl. Don't get me wrong--we'd still love another girl too, but just knowing we're missing that 24 hour window.....I'm just so frustrated. I don't know why these stupid trips have to coincide with my ovulation. Why can't we just live up there so he doesn't have to go away? Well, I'm going to eat some chocolate hazelnut pirhouette cookies and drink some decaf and sulk awhile. Then I'll be ok.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tuesday's Terrific Food

I froze the leftovers after I made this last time and it reheated well. If you like pork barbeque, you'll love this. I got the idea from my sis-in-law, who makes it quite often when we come visit and it tastes so good when you've traveled all day :)

Crock Pot Pork Barbeque
1-2 pounds pork loin (maybe more if you have a BIG crockpot)
Your favorite barbeque sauce
Put pork in crock pot. Add enough water to almost cover it or cover just slightly. Cook all day on low (8-10 hours). Remove from liquid in crock pot (it'll be falling apart). Shred up, adding some of the cooking liquid back as needed to moisten it up. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix in barbeque sauce and some kethup to taste. Serve on good buns with baked potatoes and even some baked beans if you have them. Mmmmm! Freeze leftovers.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Memories?

So, I've decided to tentatively begin a new Monday topic--scrapbooking. I haven't been inclined to delve into the scrapbooking much since I finished my MIL's scrapbook for Christmas. I've got this nice Photoshop Elements program and Scrapbook Flair, yet it's just not in my blood yet, or something. I thought maybe if I dedicate a day to blogging about it, I might at least get a page a week done. This may last for a couple weeks, or many months, but seems like a good idea for the present, so bear with me.

Now, be prepared for the sweetest thing you've ever seen. I made an 8x8 page out of this picture my husband made and edited. It really didn't need much embellishment but I added a Bible verse. Let me know what you think. I call it, "Zoe's Prayer".

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday's Quote to Ponder

"I never think of the future - it comes soon enough."
~Albert EinsteinUS (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

Okay, I haven't been better this week with blogging either. I feel like I should apologize, because I have this guilt complex thing, but who exactly am I apologizing to? My huge fan base? (*tiny laugh in the background, followed by a lone cricket chirping) I know a few of you read my blabberings on here, but if I sit out a few days, I'm sure it won't affect your lives that much.

I've just been enjoying the todays--not looking into the future too much. My kids are growing up like weeds and we've had a few days of warm weather and I'm enjoying it all. Last night, I watched Mulan II with Megan cuddling on my lap. She looked up at me with those big, hazel eyes and said, "I just LOVE cuddling with you, mom!" Now, how could I miss that?? Mulan II wasn't exactly a good movie (lousy, weak plot you'd expect from a straight to video movie), but just to sit a while, 5 year old daughter laid back in my lap, smelling her coconut shampoo in her hair--priceless. I won't be able to cuddle like that with my firstborn for long. So, I'm soaking it up, every little sweet moment like that. And I'm not going to be sorry if I didn't keep up with my blog, or have a perfectly organized house, or get pictures of it all. I'm just loving the moment, not thinking about the future that comes too soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yep, I'm still here, just enjoying myself :)

It's so warm today and yesterday and all weekend was so nice! I've got three new blueberry bushes we planted Saturday and am getting three more the end of this month. I'll have a good batch of blueberries next year and after! I already have three that I've had for 4 years now. I've gotten three decent harvests from them, and since I've decided that they are low maintenance and I just need more blueberries, I got 6 more.

I remember growing up that my granny had at least 9 of them and all kinds of raspberries, strawberries, and gooseberries. I spent my summers of my early childhood helping her pick berries that she would sell to lots of people. I think I ate more than I put in the bucket though :) She also kept a big garden for many years until she became ill with Alzheimer's. I loved helping her hoe and plant and pick. I've had a love of gardening fresh fruits and veggies ever since. I just haven't put it into practice much except for my blueberries. I have a goal of planting a raised bed garden (4-4x6 beds) in my backyard when the kids get old enough to help and not hinder :) I want to go all organic too, if I can manage it. I've been reading a little on companion planting to keep pests away. Did you know if you plant your beans and corn together that the beans can help support the corn from wind and they mutually deter pests that like each of them? Marigolds and garlic are also good for repelling many pests. Also, you can plant "attractant" plants away from your garden to keep pest there, like nasturtiums for aphids, for example. Maybe if I can research it enough in the next few years, I'll be ready to get out there and make a dream a reality!

Now to enjoy the great outdoors.....

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday's catch up post

I've been enjoying the outdoors this week. The weather has warmed up and it's been so pleasant outside, especially today. My evil Aunt Flo arrived in full force yesterday, so I'm brushing her off to enjoy the warm weather. I was fortunate to have a wonderful last night of our Intimate Issues Bible study in my small group. Well, mostly it was just food and fun, but I REALLY needed that. Salad, real Coca-Cola, pizza, and brownies. And very funny laughs playing Scattergories! So, I've been neglecting my blog this week and many other endeavors.

I took the kids to our church's playground and gym today and met up with "Maggie "and her youngins. Had a great long play time with them. Then back home, palyed outside AGAIN after begging to ride the scooters ("Buddy" had brought his today and wanted a chance to show off his skills). So, 10 minutes of that, then back in for a quick lunch---until "Buddy", who had shown off impeccable dexterity skills on his two wheeled scooter, decided to open the door from the garage into the house, lock it, and then shut it back. So, 15 more minutes of me calling hubby to see how to get the door off the hinges the best, and back and forth to the big garage to get an appropriate tool to pry it off. I had to put Zoe back in her car seat, then made the two big kids plant themselves in some chairs while I worked on it. So, finally off, washed up, quick lunches, and naps.

I decided to sit outside and talk to my dad on the phone while I enjoyed the quiet and warm sun. Then, I changed litter boxes and cut a kite out of a tree....oh, didn't tell you that one, did I? The kids and I decided to fly their kites on Wednesday, and after telling THEM repeatedly to keep them away from the trees, then I, yes I---got Meg's Care Bear kite stuck in the tree. So, today, the branch finally gave way enough that I could reach it and cut it down. It was a $4 kite...I'll buy another one.

My outdoor adventures have not been without their challenges this week, but I've really enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine anyway. I hope you've enjoyed my catch-up blog. I'll really try to do better next week.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tuesday's Terrific Food--2 days late *blush*

Sorry I was away from the blogsphere. I have been burning DVD's on my computer and it takes a few hours for each one, so it's been tied up. I've been a bit pre-occupied with this baby-making drama too. I'm on day 27 of my cycle now and my temp was down today, so that probably means old Aunt Flo is on her way. I'm going to medicate myself with a therapy session with my small group tonight, consuming pizza, triple chocolate fudge brownies, real Coca-Cola, and board games. We're on our last night of our "Intimate Issues" Bible study, so we're celebrating with a little fellowship.

For our food today, here's some quick snack ideas that I indulge in frequently:

Stove-top popcorn
1/2 cup good quality popcorn (not microwave!)
1 tbsp canola oil
Fat Free Parkay spray
Popcorn salt (it's finer than regular salt so will stick better)
Heat oil in a good Dutch oven over medium heat for just a minute. Add popcorn and cover. Shake the popcorn around a bit to coat with oil. Listen closely to hear when it starts to pop. Then, every few seconds, using a towel to protect your hands, hold the pot and toss the corn around as it pops. When it slows down to just a couple pops every 2 or 3 seconds, take it off the heat. Spray with the Parkay, then add popcorn salt, cover and toss. Repeat this a few times until it's seasoned just the way you like. Enjoy! I have started liking this so much better than microwave corn.
Oven S'mores
Graham crackers
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mini marshmallows
Turn oven on to broil. Lay out one layer of graham crackers on small baking pan. Add a few chocolate chips to each. Then add some marshmallows. Put in oven under broiler for about 1 minute, or just until the marshmallows start to get golden brown. I usually just keep the oven door open on the first notch to keep an eye on them. Remove from oven and add a top layer of cracker to each one. Enjoy! These are one of my favorite afternoon snacks. In the words of Shakira--"My hips don't lie!" :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday--Misty's Challenge

This week's Frazzled Female study is about depression. It's really speaking to me, almost tearfully. I realized early last year that I was probably dealing with post-partum depression. I went to the doctor and had bloodwork done, but nothing physiological was wrong. I didn't follow up with counseling or medication, and haven't really put much thought into it until this week. I think it's gotten better, but I still have bouts here and there. This end of winter is getting me a little more blue waiting for spring and warm outside days.

I think most people have dealt with depression at one point or another. Stress of any kind can bring it on, kids can do it (oh, yeah), and even medications, medical conditions, or family history. There was a list of symptoms that were listed and said if you are experiencing 5 or more of these for 2 weeks or more, then you're likely to be struggling with depression. They were:

  1. Extreme feelings of sadness and a depressed mood
  2. Loss of interest and pleasure in spending time with family and friends
  3. Significant changes in appetite.
  4. Sleeping too much or too little.
  5. Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness.
  6. Inability to make decisions, focus, or remember.
  7. Constant fatigue and lack of energy.
  8. Restlessness, decreased activity.
  9. Thoughts of suicide or death.

I could relate to 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Especially #6 and 8. Numbers 4 and 7 seem to be plaguing me more these last couple months. I have such a hard time focusing on one thing at a time. Part of it comes with motherhood, I know, but it's really debilitating to my productivity sometimes. I am constantly thinking of all I need to do and I get so easily overwhelmed and frustrated by distractions and thinking about all that needs to be done. It gets so bad sometimes that I just give up and don't do anything, or just the bare minimum because I can't get in too deep or I get overwhelmed.

So, who can relate? Did I see a bunch of hands go up? This week, I challenge you to really evaluate yourself and see if you are experiencing depression or other emotional challenges. Really think and look into it and seek out the reality of it. Christians are just as likely to struggle with depression as anyone, but we're often the last to admit it because it makes us feel week or like we've lost our faith if prayer, fasting, and Bible study just doesn't fix us. There was a list of suggestions that were offered as ways to take care of ourselves so healing could begin. They are:

  1. Slow down.
  2. Don't take on new activities.
  3. Delegate some of your responsibilites.
  4. Be kind to yourself when you can't accomplish what you normally accomplish (I would add--what you WANT to accomplish, too)
  5. Plan additional time to relax during each day.
  6. Don't load your weekend with housework or other "catch-up" activities.
  7. Eat a well-balanced diet (I would add--exercise too--it's been shown to release endorphins that help with depression)
  8. Get enough sleep.
  9. Cut out some night activities.
  10. Refrain from making major decisions.
  11. Seek comfort from friends and family who love you.
  12. Spend quiet time with the Lord, resting in His presence, thinking about how much He loves you, being confident He will renew your strength.

Which of these could you implement now? Number 4 just SCREAMS at me and number 2 and 12 would work well for me too. We need to remember that it's possible and not uncommon for Christian people to become depressed. We need to give it to God and tell him about it and pray about what direction to take for healing. We may just need to heed the examples above or seek medical options. Whatever we do, it's worth doing for us and our loved ones so we can enjoy them like we should. Share your thoughts with me please.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday's Quote to Ponder

"Sometimes it seems like God is difficult to find and impossibly far away. We get so caught up in our small daily duties and irritations that they become the only things that we can focus on. What we forget is that God's love and beauty are all around us, every day, if only we would take the time to look up and see them."
Matthias, Correction Weblog, 11-01-03

This morning's Frazzled Female study focused on when we lose sight of our faith. It said as Christians, we never really LOSE our faith, but lose SIGHT of it when we focus on life's troubles instead of on Christ. There was a comparison to Peter, who wanted to walk on the water with Jesus, but when he was buffeted by the storm, he lost sight of his faith (his Master) and began to sink. Isn't that true for us all? We know we're saved, we know God loves us and wants the best for us, but the storms come, the winds blow us around and we forget that Jesus is right there holding us. We develop a "Woe is me!" attitude. We should remember Paul's lesson to the Phillipians: "4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phillipians 4:4-7)

God's beauty surrounds us if we just look for it, look for HIM in the daily "stuff".

Now, I'm jumping WAY off topic, but it is beauty related, so not that far off, I guess. Who in the world decided that women should have to shave their legs? I tried to find a quote about that, but had no luck. I did look up a nice little history article on general shaving, but exactly how and when women started shaving their legs isn't clear. I keep thinking, "We're mammals. We're SUPPOSED to have hair." I confess that in the winter months, I just don't adopt that hairless attitude very often. I figure no one will see much skin on me anyway, so why bother, and the hair God gave me will keep me a little warmer too. Today, though, after freaking my hubby out one too many times, I took the time to shave and do some "self-maintenance" while I had a slow day. I still don't "get it"--who decided body hair on women is a bad thing? Why did God give us hair if we're just going to cut if off? Here's the little history article I found. It's an interesting read:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is Eating Healthy Too Expensive?

I'm pondering this today for some reason...I think it's because I just came back from Kroger where I think we'll need to start direct-depositing our paychecks :) I really spend a lot at the grocery--with two kids, one still in diapers, it adds up. However, I've been consciously choosing healthier foods for some time now and they tend to be more expensive than the unhealthier versions, especially anything packaged or out of season.

I think that's why a lot of people gravitate toward the white breads, the processed foods, the sugary cereals, canned veggies. So, how do we work toward making the good choices and keep a reasonable grocery budget? Some ideas that come to mind are:

1. Mixing some fresh, in-season veggies with frozen and canned. Most of your frozen veggies are not precookedand have no added salts, so haven't lost their vitamins. You can steam those babies up and have a good healthy meal. The store-brand ones are usually just as good too. Canned beans--great source of fiber and protein. Add to soups or serve as is. Fat free refried beans are great with Mexican meals.
2. Choosing at least 1 or 2 whole grain bread items a week. See what's on sale. Then, get that refrigerated can of biscuits to have once or twice a week. Try some brown rice. Store brand is good--much healthier than the white rice. And fills you up more. Be creative with your choices.
3. Cut down on the sodas and opt for something like Diet Rite once a day. Drink more water and have milk or unsweet tea with supper.
4. Buy meats on sale and freeze what you don't need--wrap it up really well so it'll keep better. Better still, make double portions of meals and freeze the leftovers for a later meal.

Now for thoughts on buying organic. I wish that I had the assurance that everything I buy was free of pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics, but the food market still has a long way to go here. I just chose to buy sausage patties today that are preserved with MSG...and after looking at all the choices, every package of pork sausage had MSG. Even the ONE choice of turkey sausage I found had some preservative I didn't recognize. The choices in organic, natural meats, especially in small towns are slim. We do have Laura's Lean Beef in Kroger, but only limited options there too. Organice choices in dairy and breads are also limited. The organic fruit and veggie selections are picking up, however.

My theory is---if we keep buying the organic choices and even expressing interest to our grocery store management for more choices, the choices will increase, AND the prices will DECREASE. If we don't support our organic growers, the prices for these things will stay elevated and keep most folks away from them. Perhaps we can cut back on other spending so we can buy more organic products and boost their demand. Another theory--if we spend more to eat healthier, we'll spend less on health care. I'd love to hear your views on this one. Do you think eating healthy is too expensive? Do you choose any organic food items and what? I know I have lurkers out there--time to DE-lurk and voice your opinions.