Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Sights

When I was in 8th grade, I got contacts. I can remember being enamored with the intricate leaves on all the trees. I guess for my whole life they had just been a green blob!

Colby had his eye test done recently and flunked! I received the letter in the mail from the school nurse telling us we needed to go see the eye doctor. We did and yes, Colby has my eyes.

We just got back from picking up his new spectacles and the first thing he looked at were the leaves. "Wow! Mom, you were right! There are leaves on the trees!"

As we drove back home he proceeded to read every sign as soon as he could see it. With a big smile on his face he exclaimed, "These things really DO work!"

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Tree

Chris and I got married very young. Being in college and living in Married Student Housing made the financial and spacial constraints of having Christmas trees just something we had to deal with. Plus, we always went "back home" so we actually had two trees -- one at my parents house and one at his parents house.

This little glass tree was the only tree we had for several years.

I can still remember the first Christmas tree we purchased.

We were living in Stillwater, OK. Chris was in graduate school and I was working at the Chamber of Commerce. Chris surprised me one night about 5:00 by walking into the Chamber, grabbing me and my coat and telling me to get in the truck. We headed to Wal-mart, got a cart and he pushed it to the Christmas aisle. We searched the aisles for the perfect lights and decorations. We ended up with a theme of purple and green! (This WAS the early 90's!!)

We then headed outside to the trees and scoured the lot for the perfect tree!

I will never forget the excitement over that night and how Chris surprised me.

Every year, I still "put up" our first tree to remind me of how far we've come and that special "first" in our marriage.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Cheer

I have a few new holiday decorations this year.

One in particular makes me smile.

I hope everyone has a holiday season that is filled with lots of smiles!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thankful

The Blakley Family has thrown tradition to the wind -- at least "normal" traditions. We don't spend hours on Thanksgiving Day cooking or eat in the dining room of a family member. Our tradition is meeting in some city in Texas for Thanksgiving weekend. We stay in a hotel, go on outings, make crafts with the kids and watch a lot of football! And, of course, we do eat!

This year we met in San Antonio. A beautiful, historic city.

We stayed on the River Walk, ate Thanksgiving dinner at a quaint restaurant, visited the zoo, and watched the river be transformed into a Christmas wonderland with Santa arriving on a boat!

My mom wanted us all to go around to say what we are thankful for. Judson, the youngest, was thankful for the clones in Star Wars! My sister and brother-in-law are at the end of a 3 1/2 year "adventure" and are thankful with God's provisions throughout it all.

One of our newer traditions is helping people on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, having lots of kids, it is hard to find somewhere where all of us can volunteer. This year we took matters into our own hands and the kids fixed bags of food for the homeless. My dad carried a big bag full of sack lunches through the streets of San Antonio and when we came upon a homeless person he would gather all the grandkids around and have one of them give the homeless person a small bag of nourishment. Each person was very grateful. We heard some sad stories. I believe it made a difference in each of our hearts -- to realize how blessed we really are.

I am thankful for so much. I have been blessed since the moment I entered this world. I have amazing Christian parents. Having a dad and mom who "walks the walk", especially in front of my kids, is huge! I have always been loved, supported and encouraged. I married a man who is my best friend, who I love being with and who I want to grow old with. He is an awesome father and giver and provider. I have two boys who are healthy, smart and fun! I live in the best country in the world. I know that God is beside me through everything and He is the Lord of my family.

And...we all really like spending time with each other!



Friday, November 19, 2010

Something Is Missing

About this time for the past four days -- after my three boys were at work and school and the house settled into quiet -- a little voice would say, "Good Morning DD!"

I would turn towards the voice and see a four-year-old boy standing in his jammies with sleep still in his eyes and a big smile on his face. Behind him would be a nine-year-old boy rubbing his eyes and his hair going in all directions.

From Sunday until Thursday, I kept my sister's two boys while they went out of town. They live in Dallas but will be moving soon. Unfortunately, we didn't take advantage of being only four hours from each other like we should have.

It occurred to me that it has been five years since I've had someone to pal around with all day. It has been at least five years since I sat by the window in Chick-fil-A watching "my kids" play in the play area. It has been five years since I sat on the park bench and listened to the laughter of boys climbing and swinging and running.

I really enjoyed my time with Jed and Judson. It is quiet in the house today. Even Colby mentioned last night how weird it felt not having Jed to play with. That is sweet. I am thankful for the memories that were made this past week. That is what family is all about.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Just the Way I Am

I believe I have posted about my Type A personality when it comes to closet organization. When the boys and I clean out their closets, we organize them by season and by color. So, all the short-sleeved shirts are together grouped by color; all the long-sleeved shirts are together grouped by color -- see? Very easy to find things this way. This is how I organize my closet as well...

It is not uncommon for Chris to holler out for me to come and help him match shirts with certain pants. And, I have to admit, it can be a little overwhelming and easier to wear the same thing over and over.

Twice-a-year, we will go on a shopping spree for him and invariably we get to the store and don't know what he has nor what he needs. Because I am not allowed to group his shirts by color, I really don't have a feel for his attire!

About a month ago, we were fixing to go out on such a shopping venture and I decided to use my organizational skills in a new way. I was going to know what he had and what he needed! So, for about two hours I took out every piece of clothing and began "matching" outfits together. I started with his black pair of pants and wrote down each shirt that could be worn with those black pants. I even took pictures of each set -- afterward I decided that he was a big boy and could read the label and match to the lists without help from pictures!

When I finished, I had this:

He can now go probably a year without wearing the exact same outfit! Although it's not too pretty, this list makes me so happy! And, when we went to the store, we knew exactly which colored shirts he could use and if there was anything in his closet to match new pairs of pants. Yipee!!

I concocted this while Chris was out of town and stapled it to his closet before he got home. I was anxious to see his reaction. He walked in and started laughing! However, a couple of days ago he came out wearing a nice ensemble - :) - and I asked him if he got that idea from the list and he told me that he did and that he looks at it every morning to help him get dressed!

Does he know how to warm my heart or what?!?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Accidental Oversight

In my celebratory speech yesterday, I mistakenly forgot one of my daily fans...

Thank you Justin for reading my blog every day and being a great brother-in-law too!!! :)

And, to anyone else out there who keeps up with me and my musings -- I don't want to leave you out either! So, THANK YOU to ALL my fans!!! Hee! Hee!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mission Accomplished!



HOORAY!!!
60 Days
(oh, granted, NOT 60 STRAIGHT days) but I DID it!!

This may be the only blogging award I receive, so I would like to thank a few people...

Thank you, Chris, for challenging me to this endeavor and for inspiring me when I didn't feel like posting anything.
Thank you Connor, mom, dad, Danette and Keri for being my faithful followers!

I promise that I will do better -- probably not everyday -- but not once a month like I used to do!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh How I Missed You

So, I have been on this kick lately about tracking our spending...

My friend began this coupon/circular savings system last year. I keep hearing how much money she saves and finally decided to give it a whirl. Who wants to spend all that money on food that you then have to go and cook?? Not me!!

I have always been a Wal-Mart shopper. I do not like going grocery shopping so Wal-Mart is truly my "one stop shop" as they say on the commercial! I know where everything is located. I have my routine down -- from saying "Hello" to the same doorman to turning left into McDonald's to get a large Diet Coke and then going back outside to get a cart. I then get a wipey and wipe off all the germs and take another left and head to the Health/Beauty department. I work my way back and over and end in the Produce Section.

Four weeks ago, I decided to try Glenda's coupon/circular strategy. Unfortunately, I found that Randall's had better deals on some things than Wal-Mart. I was going to have to change my routine!! Let me tell you that there were some pros and some cons that first Monday!

The first thing I noticed was how nice every Randall's employee was and how there was an employee around every corner! The meat man was giving me recipe ideas. The deli man was searching for the olive tapanade I wanted like he was going to purchase it for himself.

Then when I saw how much money I saved, I was ecstatic! Totally worth the one con...

Maneuvering in a new grocery store is painful!! I had NO idea where anything was located and it took me twice as long to get groceries because I had to keep going to opposite sides of the store to get something I had missed. Oh, how I longed for familiarity!

Each week I have returned to Randall's and each week gets easier. I would have to say that I do think I am saving money -- not sure how much yet because I think when you stock up on sale items one week and then stock up on other sale items the next it is hard to tell. Randall's has awesome meat sales so I have seen a huge help in that regard.

I do have to say that I think I know the true cause of why people become hoarders...they begin by stocking up on sale items! For example, my pantry has three boxes of Connor's cereal, my garage has three cases of water stacked in it and behind my trashcan is enough paper towels to last six months!

As I was making my grocery list for this week, I decided that yes, this was finally paying off because I only had a few items to fill my already overstocked pantry. So I decided to make a quick trip back to my Wal-Mart to pick up the few things.

Ahhh...my same doorman was waiting to greet me. My Diet Coke was calling my name and when I turned left and walked right to the toothpaste, I had to smile!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Gentle Reminder

When I wrote my blog yesterday, I was thinking about this week. It wasn't just yesterday that I was in a whirlwind; it was everyday. I remember looking at Chris Sunday or Monday night and telling him this week was going to be "the same stuff -- different day".

I wasn't mad or unhappy by the end of each day. I was kind of blah and tired. I didn't find much joy in the day nor did I see any in the day to come!

Monday through Thursday, I let my to-do lists and time table get in the way of one important thing...my morning quiet time. I had time for my quiet time today and guess what the subject was on?? The importance of starting each day with God no matter how busy we are or are going to be!!!

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Mark 1:35

This was the verse for today in the Journey devotional. It went on to say that of all people, Jesus had a busy schedule -- everyday -- and He knew He was on a tight timetable!! He knew, in all His humanity, that He had to draw His strength from God everyday before He could have a purpose-filled, productive day.

I don't know why; but, it still amazes me that God knows what I need to hear and when I need to hear it! I don't know if any of the other thousands of people who read through Journey were effected like I was. I do know that it was not a mistake for me to put in writing my whirlwind activity, to reflect on my mood all week, and then have this in print in front of me the day my to-do list was short!!

When will I learn that I can't accomplish ANYTHING with my own strength?? Thankfully God gently reminded me of my need for Him. We do have an awesome God!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Minute By Minute

Car rider or bus....Guess how I decided how Colby would get to school today?

I looked at the calendar, saw what was scheduled for today and counted backwards -- minute by minute.

It seems that the majority of my days lately are spent going from one activity to the other. I like that. I don't want to change anything. I just sometimes get overwhelmed and wish I could make time stop. That minutes wouldn't tick by. That minutes weren't so important.

My feet hit the ground at 5:45 and every minute counted. Connor had to be at school at 6:45 and I had to drive him. I probably looked like the Tasmanian Devil whirling around getting breakfasts and lunches prepared, making sure notes were signed, reading logs logged, baseball clothes packed AND getting a shower and half my makeup on before 6:30. I got back in time to finish my makeup and hair before getting Colby up and fed and then we were in the car at 7:40 to get both of us to school on time. (Yes, he was car rider because taking the bus would have gotten him home 10 minutes too late this afternoon!)

I had library duty until 9:10 and then had three items to return to three different stores in three different locations. I knew I had to be at Connor's school for a conference with his counselor concerning his four-year high school plan (yikes!) at 2pm. Sounded like I had lots of time to shop around and enjoy a leisurely day. However, I found myself counting backwards again! "If I stay any longer in THIS store, I won't make it to THAT store and that is the store I came here for in the first place!" I was the Tasmanian Devil in Target, DSW, Old Navy and all over the mall!!

I made it to Connor's school five whole minutes early only to have the meeting go 10 minutes too long. Therefore, I was far back in car rider line to pick Colby up which made me get home five minutes later. Instead of having 20 minutes to regroup, we had 15 minutes! In the door, go through the backpack, grab homework, drinks and snacks and hit the road again!

All that counting backwards paid off when I got home at a normal hour and actually had time to make one of Connor's favorite dinners. Colby got to play with his friends on this gorgeous evening. Now they are bathed and upstairs chilling out getting ready to go to sleep and start over tomorrow!!

As for me, I see my schedule is completely free until 5:15pm tomorrow. I am sure I will be utterly bored by noon!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Uhhh...Excuse Me?!?

Connor informing us what he did in Science class last week:
"After our test, we made babies."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Toothy Jack

I believe I have blogged before on the seriousness of pumpkin carving since I have been married to my sweet man!

When we were newly married and childless, he would bring out the Engineering graph paper, draw a unique jack-o-lantern's face and then make the drawing come to life on the pumpkin. We have had pumpkins with ears, pumpkins with eyes and noses. We have even had pumpkins with hair!

It should not have surprised me then that Chris's pumpkin artistry should be passed on to one of our children.

Colby came home from school yesterday. Searched "jack-o-lantern designs" on the internet and within five minutes had found the face he wanted on his this year.

This morning, he and Chris free-handed the picture onto the pumpkin and took two hours to create this masterpiece!

It is a perfect match...a smiley pumpkin for a smiley boy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mr. Fashionista

It is Red Ribbon Week this week at school. Each day there is some silly thing to wear to make "Say No To Drugs" a little more fun.

Monday was Red Shirt Day.

Tuesday was Crazy Sock Day.

Wednesday was Sweats Day. (Although it WAS 90 degrees here on Wednesday!)

Today is Polka Dot Day.

Colby came to me last night to inform me that he wasn't going to participate today. "I just don't look good in polka dots."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Say Cheese!

Pictures have always been a huge part of me.

I have a mother who has a camera attached to her hand! And, although we give her a hard time, we know we will always have a picture to remember whatever it is we are doing!

I have a husband who has lots of lenses and monopods and tripods and gadgets. He honestly could probably do a photography business on the side! He always seems to perfectly capture those sweet faces. When taking baseball pictures, he gets the ball and the bat and the dirt flying through the air!

I have kids who are usually willing to stop and pose and give me a goofy face.

I am the one who has close to 40 photo albums that tell the story of my life, Chris's life and each boys' life. i don't feel organized until I come home from a vacation and make an album using lots of photos and pamphlets and ticket stubs! Each year, I make an on-line album for each boy. It is an obsession I have and I am way behind!

Today I sat down with 500 pictures, scrapbook paraphernalia and brochures from our D.C. trip and began the long task of creating a tangible memory.

As I was going through the first day of our trip (yes, I am only on day 1 of our 10 day trip!! It isn't a hobby for the impatient!!), I realized the real reason I fret so much over getting an album done after every event. I do it because I love looking back and reliving those memories! I love taking that book in my hand and turning each page and remembering.

I know that I can pick up any of those 40 albums in my closets/shelves/chests and get lost in that time. I can remember the smell of that baby boy or the feel of the ocean air. I can hear the cheers after a safe slide into homeplate. I can remember the anticipation of opening a big wrapped box. I can remember the taste of that cupcake I had in D.C. I can remember the 108 degree weather that caused us to look like drowned rats in Williamsburg. I don't ever want to forget.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How Long 'Til Someone Notices?

Apparently, four days... You-know-who brought it to my attention today! :) Thanks, honey for keeping me honest!

I am so close to the end of my 60 days and I plummeted!! I have racked my brain every day for something to blog about. There is just no creativity here lately!

In the past four days there were several things I could have blogged about:
*It was a baseball weekend (shocker, I know!).
*When eating in a booth in Wendy's, my foot started on fire. I brought it out to look at and it was covered in ants!
*I am working on several photo albums that I am behind on.
*I am wanting to purchase a Criket and be creative in other ways. Does anyone have any pros or cons for me on the Criket??
*Today was a good Bible Study with great life lessons from Joseph.
*The wind has been blowing so hard that pine needles have attacked! -- so much so that men were standing in the middle of Research Forest (a major road) with blowers trying to clean them up!

I think about these things and am just not inspired to expound on any of them. Period.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring some zing!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't Get Dressed In The Dark

I have always done some form of exercise. I have never joined a gym or boot camp. The only time I exercised with other live people was in college when I took an aerobics class. I have never enjoyed jumping around and sweating in front of others! I feel that I am fortunate to have the willpower to put on some DVD and work out with the people on the OTHER side of the screen!

When I went home for a visit this summer, my mom and I walked three miles every day around her neighborhood. When I came home five pounds lighter (even after having all the comfort foods that say "Albuquerque"), I thought maybe this was a form of exercise I should take up!

Weeks passed and then a couple months passed and I still hadn't "walked among the people"! Mom came in late September and we decided to walk again. I even added an app to my phone to keep track of our progress. Last week, Chris and I walked and improved on mine and mom's time.

This morning I decided it was a beautiful morning and I should do this on my own. I sat out for my route, passed lots of people -- some I knew -- , smiled and said a cheery "Good Morning", even tried to improve my time by running in spurts here and there. When I got home I had improved my time! 3.03 miles in 46 minutes! I was feeling pretty impressed with myself.

I walked into the house and passed a mirror only to see that the gray shorts I had picked up off the closet floor in the dark this morning -- and still was wearing-- were smeared with yellow paint all over the rear!! Remembering all those people who had passed me on foot and in their cars had me turning red. I then reached into the waistband of those shorts to get the kleenex I had stashed there just in case and ... it was GONE!!

I am sure there is someone who will tell about this poor woman they passed today who had a yellow butt and a kleenex trailing behind her! Hmmm....at least I was friendly!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Good Day

Colby stayed home from school today. He has been fighting a bad cold -- no fever or running nose -- just a bad cough.

We ended up having a good day.

We cleaned out his closet (without ANY complaining on his part!); went to lunch; and, went to Target to get a birthday gift for his friend, his Halloween costume and start his Christmas/birthday list. Yes...I was one of THOSE moms that I give dirty looks to when I pass them and their coughing child in Target!!

He is such a fun kid and I love spending time with him. Who wouldn't love spending time with this face?!?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bits and Pieces

I heard a story today about a man in a old, beat-up row boat. He was fishing in a cove and looked up to see a beautiful, sleek yacht pass by. As the yacht passed him and his rickety vessel, he noticed the name on the back -- "Residual".

Evidently, this yacht owner had made some big bucks somewhere down the line to use his leftovers on such an elaborate toy!

I had to think twice about the word "residual". A residue makes me think of something slippery, slimy and gunky. A "residual effect" -- something negative coming from a bad decision.

We all have these "leftovers" from our past. They may haunt us. Satan uses the residual effects of bad decisions to make us feel guilty, angry, shameful. Satan makes "residual" feel like a bad word. He wants it to clog our hearts and minds and loose all hope, self-worth and joy.

Thankfully, "residual" has another definition: a situation following an event; payoff; impact. We Christians can cling to the residual bits and pieces left by Christ and what he did for us. The event of his death and resurrection and the residual effects of that are nothing but positive! The leftovers for us is forgiveness and eternal life! It is freedom from our past; hope for our future.

I may never have enough extra funds to buy a yacht; however, I know that my "Residual" is worth far more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Brotherly Advice

Connor got his phone taken away today at school.

According to him, he was JUST checking the date.

I have to say that I tend to believe him because in all the years that he has had his phone, it has never gotten taken away. The phone is "spending the night" in the front office of the school. I gave him some motherly advice: when you get it back tomorrow, don't be tempted to sit and check all the texts you have missed. In fact, put it deep into your backpack!"

Colby had another piece of advice...in the morning before school, look at the calendar and write down the date on a notecard!

I guess brotherly advice was on the schedule today because Connor had some brotherly advice for Colby too.

Colby was very excited to tell us about a boy in his class who pulled FOUR teeth today at school. I said, "Wow! The toothfairy will be busy tonight at his house!" Colby replied, "For some reason he threw them all in the trash!"

Connor piped up, winked at me and added his two sense. "You should have got them out of the trashcan and pulled a fast one over the toothfairy!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beyond Thrilled

About two months ago, Chris got a promotion. He is a hard worker, dedicated to his job and to his company. He enjoys figuring out the most productive ways to make things work. He loves challenges. So this promotion was an awesome opportunity for him to conquer more challenges. The only drawback is the travel that accompanies the new position. He is responsible for 100 manufacturing plants located all over the world.

In the last 25 days, 15 of those have been spent in other countries. The same is in store for the next 25 days.

I am so thankful that he has this opportunity and that God has blessed me with a husband who provides for me and my boys more than we need or deserve. But, the single-mom syndrome gets old some days. I have to stop and laugh because my busiest time of day is still when Chris is at work. So, it's not like him being in the country is any different on my taxi services! For me, it is the emotional and physical presence when I get home from running the boys around. I need to see him and hug him!

He has been gone for the past 8 days -- Amsterdam, Norway, Vienna, Cyprus, Italy. He was supposed to be in France today. Thankfully, the French airlines are fussing about something and it would have been a wasted trip for him to go. So, he will be home earlier than planned! In fact, I am typing this while trying to kill some time before heading to the airport! Needless to say, I love the French right now!

They say "absence makes the heart grow fonder". I believe that is true. I have learned to cherish our time at home together much more than I used to. As challenging as this transition could be, I am thankful for the "togetherness" that has happened in our relationship. It is "intoxicating"!

I love this man!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Cheap Lunch??

I had an hour to kill around lunch time today.

After going over our spending habits last night, I decided we need to be a little more thrifty about some things. In order to help my budget cause, I decided I would head to Sam's Club and eat a huge piece of pepperoni pizza and wash it down with a mega Diet Coke -- all for the budget-conscious $2.68 (yes, that includes tax!!)

I still had a few minutes to spare so I decided to walk around and peruse the merchandise. I ended up at the ladies clothes and noticed that they had Lucky Jeans for $16.99!!! That was amazing! I started searching through the stacks like I didn't have a single pair of jeans in my closet -- unfortunately, they were all a size 0! Well...I somehow forgot about saving money and started searching through the great deals that Sam's has to offer. I have learned that if you don't buy it when you see it, it will be gone the next time! ...I ended up with a pair of yoga pants and tank top.

I did get one thing I needed...I shouldn't need paper towels for the rest of the year!
So...in the end, my $2.68 lunch ended up costing $45 instead! I think I just need to stay home so I won't spend any money!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It Happened....

Just like I predicted last week...

The only thing that is remotely like Fall here in Houston are the decorations!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pesky Critters

We have lots of trees. In fact, when we moved in there were 57 trees in the backyard alone. We built our pool and had to cut down 20 trees, leaving 37 -- which is still a LOT!

I have always enjoyed the squirrels that call our yard "home". They are fun to watch as they chase each other around the yard and across the trees and build their nests and collect their nuts.

After Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike, we even nursed baby squirrels that had fallen out of the trees.

After a long week and not needing to be anywhere until 3:00 today, I was looking forward to sleeping in. At 7:45, I was awakened by a thunderous sound! It had to have been a HERD of squirrels running on the roof right above my bedroom.

Running, running, running, BANG....silence!

Colby comes running into my room. "Mom, there is a dead squirrel on the glass table on the patio. He is laying like this." He proceeded to get in the fetal position.

Oh man! Poor squirrel was playing chase on the roof and must have slipped!

It seems I have animal issues whenever Chris is gone. So, in the few short seconds it took for me to process the fact that a dead squirrel was on my table, I decided that my poor neighbor would be getting a call to come and get it off of there!!

Colby decided to go take another look ... and the squirrel was gone! Hallelujah!! He was resurrected and I didn't have to call Brad!!!

After a while of lying there, I decided that I should do something productive. It was a beautiful morning so I went to pull weeds out of the flower beds. Our front yard has a big oak tree in the front flower bed with a big squirrel nest in it. As I was bending over pulling weeds, nuts started raining down on my head.

"What the heck?"

I look up and there is a squirrel throwing nuts down at me!

I gave up. This day was going to the squirrels!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Parenting Child # Two

As the firstborn, I always thought that I got the raw end of the deal. I had to wait for a certain age to wear makeup, get my ears pierced or shave my legs. I still say my little sister got to shave before she should have!!

I am finding that I truly am harder on my firstborn. (Connor reads this blog so I am risking a lot by admitting this!)

Connor is a social butterfly and likes to talk. Every October from kindergarten until about sixth grade, I would get a call from his teacher telling me he is talking too much and is disturbing the class. He would no doubt be disciplined--usually grounded from something that he thought he might die from a lack of! But then he straightened up and I wouldn't get a call until the next October!

Colby has always been my shy, quiet one...until this year! We are about seven weeks into school and he has brought home several notes from teachers saying he is sweet but is talking too much and being disruptive. He has even had to sit out of a few recesses as a result.

Have I grounded him? No. I just can't believe he is not going to start behaving properly.

After having to sit out of recess AGAIN this week, I proceeded to ask him the following morning before school if he was going to have to sit out of recess that day. He looked up at me and with the most sincere look said, "Well, not yet mom."

Guess I need to find out what he thinks he might die from a lack of!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Family

I love being organized. This includes all the pictures that we take in a year. Each boy has an album for each year of their lives (of which I am a year behind on). After each vacation, I also make an album.

Last night, I stayed up way past my bedtime going through pictures from this year and began the first step toward checking off "Albums" on my To Do List!

It's not often that we get a full four-person family picture. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites that we were able to capture and scatter in a few other ones of my silly family!



Trying to get a picture of the family in front of the Washington Monument!
Having fun in D.C.








And, if we ever become a singing group, we can use one of these for our album cover! :)




Muah!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Salutations

Saying "goodbye" is a hard thing to do.

Unfortunately, I have to say "goodbye" a lot.

The only good thing I can think of when saying "goodbye" is that "hello" will be the next thing I get to say.


Monday, October 4, 2010

A Silly Story

The bathroom situation in Canton leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, one of the bigger ones that didn't have lines actually has shower curtains as doors and the stalls are so short you can see your "neighbors" as you "do your thing"!! I tried my hardest to keep the shower curtain closed and keep my balance, etc. I am a quite modest person. However, I decided to throw caution to the wind and let it all hang out -- literally!

When I got home, this story was forwarded to me and I thought--"How appropriate!"

Then, yesterday, at the baseball field, this story came back to mind as the restrooms fit some aspects of it as well.

All this to say, it is HARD being a woman. And, I am so thankful I had boys. I would HATE to have to deal with this with a little girl!

When you have to visit a public toilet you usually find a line of women, so
you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for
feet under the cubicle doors.

Every cubicle is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman
leaving the cubicle. You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't
matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants!

The dispenser for the modern 'seat covers' (invented by someone's Mum, no
doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your bag on the door hook, if
there was one, so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mum
would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!) down with your
pants and assume ' The Stance.

In this position, your aging, toneless, thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd
love to sit down, but having not taken time to wipe the seat or to lay
toilet paper on it, you hold 'The Stance.'

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover
to be the empty toilet paper dispenser.
In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, 'Dear, if you had
tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!'
Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one
that's still in your bag (the bag around your neck, that now you have to
hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have
to do, so you crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller
than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work.

The door hits your bag, which is hanging around your neck in front of your
chest and you and your bag topple backward against the tank of the toilet.

'Occupied!' you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious,
tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, while losing your footing
altogether and sliding down directly onto the TOILET SEAT. It is wet of
course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare
bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the
uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was
any, even if you had taken time to try.

You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because
you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because,
frankly, dear, 'You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get.

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused
that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the
inside of the bowl and spraying a fine mist of water that covers your bum
and runs down your legs and into your shoes.

The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force and you grab onto
the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet
toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a sweet wrapper you
found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can't figure out how to operate the taps with the automatic sensors, so
you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line
of women still waiting

You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very
end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe.
(Where was that when you NEEDED it?)

You yank the paper from your shoe, plonk it in the woman's hand and tell her
warmly, 'Here, you just might need this.

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left
the men's toilet. Annoyed, he asks, 'What took you so long and why is your
bag hanging around your neck?

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with any public toilets It
finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also
answers that other commonly asked question about why women go to the toilets
in pairs. It's so the other girl can hold the door, hang onto your bag and
hand you Kleenex under the door.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blessed

I got back from Canton late last night.

My boys met me in the garage as soon as they heard me pulling in. They were smiling and waving and happy to see me.

They helped me unload my treasures. They watched and listened as I unwrapped and told about what I bought. They were genuinely interested -- event though nothing was for them!

I spent two fun-filled days with my closest "women folk"! My mom, sister, nieces and girlfriend. I rarely do Girl's Nights Out because I love being at home with my boys. But, once a year, I do this Canton trip and have a blast! We eat, laugh, and shop. We are silly. It is a nice change from normal.

But, when I come home to two sons who want to know about everything I did and who want to tell me about their days while I was gone and to a husband who is so sweet and loving and happy that I went and had a fun weekend and I retell the funny stories and fun times I had with my girls...I realize I Am Blessed!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sixth Sense

Have you ever had a feeling like something you are about to do is just not right? I woke up this morning and my sixth sense was in full bloom.

The past few years, my mom, sister and I meet in Canton, TX to go to the Trade Days and shop 'til we drop! Since my mom's Stem Cell Transplant three years ago, this has become how the three of us "celebrate" her second birth! We have a great time together shopping, eating, laughing. In fact, I can't believe it has been a year since I posted about our last trip and how we closed the place down on Saturday in the pouring rain while carrying more than our arms were capable of and all needing to use the bathroom. We just had to stop and laugh!

Mom flew in yesterday (hence, the day-off of posting on the blog!). She and I and my BFF are heading to Canton tomorrow and my sister and her two girls are meeting us there on Friday.

For some reason, I am the "travel agent" of the family. We all meet for Thanksgiving also and I am usually the one who makes all the arrangements. Canton is no different and I have to say that "so far, so good" on the places we have stayed and eaten at.

A few months ago, I made reservations for all of us for Canton. We normally stay in Tyler, which is a 45 minute drive to Canton. Thinking that we should save about 15 minutes, I made reservations in a small town that no one had heard of. I didn't think about the hotel again...UNTIL this morning! That's when my sixth sense kicked in.

When I made the reservations, I had gone to the hotel website and read the reviews. Yes, it was a small town and yes, it wasn't the Ritz; but, it was closer and would be fine.

I went to the website today and read more reviews and realized that this "hotel" was definitely not the Ritz...it was closer to the Roach Motel. Let me just say that after reading the reviews, there was no way I was going to take a shower, lie in their beds OR walk on their carpets!

Canton Trade Days are a HUGE deal and I was pleased to get our rooms a few months ago. How in the world was I going to find rooms the night before we were going?!? My successful travel agent days were in jeopardy!! I decided right off the bat that we needed to drive the extra 15 minutes and stay in the metropolis of Tyler! I began calling hotels. No vacancy. No vacancy. And, then, JACKPOT!! Yes, we have two rooms available! And, let me get you a special rate! YES!!

My sixth sense has been very relieved all day. Hopefully, it is still working and we aren't now headed to the Bates Motel!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Hint Of Fall

When I opened the door for Connor to catch the bus this morning, I thought I might freeze! Now, granted, it was probably in the low 60's...but, to me that IS freezing!!

Nothing gets me in the mood for Fall like a crispness in the air. Fall is my most favorite season...
My birthday is in the Fall;
the Fall starts all of the big, fun holidays of the year;
while growing up, Fall meant going to the State Fair and eating junk food, riding rides, and rodeos;
hot air balloons fill the Albuquerque sky in the Fall;
the leaves change to all shades of brilliant colors;
my makeup doesn't melt off my face in the Fall;
I get to change my wardrobe from shorts to jeans!

Living in Houston makes it a toss-up on how long my Fall may be. In fact, today may be it! It is not unusual for us to have a few beautiful days and then for the temperature to spike into the 90's again! There is nothing that makes me more frustrated than pouring sweat while hanging up Fall wreaths and setting out pumpkins! I have even decorated our Christmas tree in shorts before!

The only downside I see of Fall is all the leaves and needles that collect in our pool. The pool causes more work in the Fall than any other time of year. However, this afternoon while I was emptying skimmer baskets and hauling leaves out with the net, I began wondering why God made different seasons. Did He really think through the fact that people may not WANT to be hot or cold their entire lives? That we would like some variety in our year? I know He probably didn't do it so my makeup wouldn't melt anymore!

He made the seasons in the beginning.
Genesis 1:14
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,"

He had a plan. Maybe He did think, "One day Davedda is going to question My reasoning for seasons in a blog."

Of course, there are SO many things that I wonder about. But He is God and He doesn't have to tell us His reasoning! We just get to reap the benefits of His power and abilities. And, I get to pull out my comfy sweaters!
Whatever reason He had for seasons, I am thankful He did. Because I know that come December 21, I'll be ready for Summer again!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When Did I Become One Of THOSE Moms?


Fall baseball is in full swing. Colby started playing last weekend. Connor had his first tournament this weekend.

We have been playing baseball in the Marshall family since Connor was 3. I have always been his strongest supporter and even if he didn't play to his fullest potential, I would tell him he did a great job -- or at least looked good doing it!

After Connor's first game this morning, we went and ate some lunch. We were discussing some plays he had made -- one of which he bobbled the ball and didn't catch it but did recover in time to get a guy out at second base. Chris asked what happened and Connor explained and said that at least he got the guy out at second and Chris agreed with him. Without missing a beat or even thinking about what I was about to say, I said, "Yeah. But if you had caught that ball you would have had a double play!"

I guess I've become a REAL baseball mom!
Today is my birthday...well actually it is past midnight, so I guess yesterday was my birthday.

I spent all day with my three most favorite people in the world.
We had lots of fun!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Greatest Gift

Last night I was on the phone with Chris when Colby comes in my room crying. He had been in bed for about 30 minutes and does have this habit of coming downstairs after about an hour of being in bed crying over some nightmare. I told Chris to hold on and asked Colby what was wrong.

"I want to be baptized," he sobbed.

I told Chris I'd call him back!

Colby has such a sweet, gentle spirit. He is a sensitive boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. We sat on the edge of my bed and I asked him why he wanted to be baptized. We talked for a little bit and I prayed for him and then asked him if he wanted to pray and ask God to come into his heart. He nodded yes and started praying. That has to be the most heart-filling sweetness a Christian parent experiences.

After he was done, we sat there for a few more minutes and he looked up at me and said, "Can I pray one more time just to make sure?"

I am so thankful for what God has done in our family in the recent months. I am so thankful that God has given me the family that He has. I am so thankful for a husband who is a believer. I am thankful for both of my sons being my brothers-in-Christ. I am thankful that all four of us will be together forever and ever!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Theme

I am sensing a theme to my spiritual life lately.

PRAYER.

This school year, I have joined two prayer groups -- one for each of my sons' schools; I have purchased a book on prayer that came highly recommended by my sister; and this week, my daily devotions have all been about prayer.

I have been surprised by the new things I have learned on prayer. Not that I am all that when it comes to spiritual matters -- but I was raised in a Christian home, went to a Christian school my whole life and have been involved in church forever! I thought praying was the easy part!

Mom's In Touch has opened my eyes on praying scripture. Many scriptures were written as praise and worship to God so this is a great tool to use when just coming before Him and thanking Him for His awesomeness! It is also a very moving way to pray over your child.

Even the format Mom's In Touch uses was new to me. Yes, I have been taught that we need to confess sins before God can hear us; but, they have taught me the importance of praising God and thanking Him for who He is and what He has done. This has helped put the focus on Him rather than my "want or need" at the moment. Oh, I still have those"popcorn" prayers throughout the day when I think of something that I am worried about or forgot to pray about. But, I can say my morning quiet time has been enriched with my new "prayer knowledge"!

One of the things I do everyday is the daily devotion out of the Journey magazine. Like I stated, this last week has been on prayer. Several things have really opened my eyes...

Sometimes, what is stressing me out seems so silly in comparison to what someone else is facing. For example, when I get frustrated because my boys won't clean up the gameroom or hang up their clean clothes I don't think God cares to listen to that so I don't go to Him. I think that someone else may be praying that their child were healthy enough to make the mess in the first place so what right do I have to come to God with my immaturity!! But, one devotion taught me that I must remember something very significant about the character of God: If it concerns us, then it's important to Him. He offers us rest -- even from the daily grind of life. He can provide that rest when I come to Him and lay my heart before Him.

The most amazing thing about prayer that I have learned this week is that God wants us to pray specifically, intensely and persistently. Wow. Really?

I have always had the idea that God already knows my heart and its burdens and I shouldn't "bother" Him with things. Maybe this comes from being a mom. If my boys tell me or ask me something one time, I don't want to hear it EVERYDAY from them! God is busy, right? He is all-knowing, right? I shouldn't have to repeat things that are on my heart everyday. He probably gets tired of hearing my same requests!

Not so.

Even Jesus offered "prayers and appeals, with loud cries and tears." There is something about our deep desperation and stubborn persistence that moves God to take action.

In another devotion, it states that lots happens when I pray persistently. My faith gets clearer. God may help me readjust my requests until it fits His will. I will start seeing through His eyes and ask for what's on His heart. I grow closer to Him.

God has designed us for long, in-depth conversations with Him. He created us because He wanted fellowship! The most awesome thing is that God is the BEST best friend you can ever have. He pays attention to everything about you. He listens completely and remembers! He does care about whether your kids clothes are hung up!!

We all need to pray like we are talking to someone who really cares, who is moved by what's in our heart, and (the greatest thing) who will and can do something about it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thirty Down

ATTENTION!!

Day 30!!! I am half-way to meeting my 60-day challenge!!!

I'm just saying! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Then VS. Now

I can almost guarantee that at the beginning of every school year, one of my boys will have an assignment about themselves. It might be to tell about their life, their summer, or their family.

This year, the fourth graders had an interviewing project. The first criteria was that the interviewee needed to be at least 55 years old. Colby chose Chris's parents. We e-mailed the questions to them and Colby asked with every new e-mail if they had responded!

A few days later, the answers came and Colby was eager to get his project done. He took the answers to the table and was quiet for a long time. After reading through the answers Colby came up to me and said, "Wow, Popcycle had an interesting life!"

My father-in-law was born in a small town in Arkansas -- in his home, not a hospital. He lived on a farm and fed animals, brought in wood for their kitchen stove, brought water inside from the well. His best friend was his brother and they didn't have lots of toys, creating games themselves instead. So, you can imagine that I was interested in hearing what this 21st century kid would be amazed at with his grandfather's childhood.

With complete sincerity, he said, "Mom, Popcycle doesn't remember eating in one single restaurant when he was my age!"

Yep, that's my boy!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Full Palate

OK. So here is the last installment of my Beth Moore simulcast! I don't mean to sound "preachy"; but, I believe what she taught on is so relevant to ME and to women and to the general population as a whole. Kindness is not just being nice! Kindness has many faucets!! Kindness can change the world!!!

5. Kindness is a Savior.
Kindness took on flesh to dwell among us. There was and never will be someone here on Earth kinder than Jesus. Period!

Beth asked us if we had lost our wonder of Jesus? She showed us a picture of a little girl who had been surprised with a gift of a goldfish. Her eyes were wide and her lips were in a circle as if she were saying, "OHHH!" You could see she loved her gift and wasn't expecting it. She was taken aback with how awesome it was! Am I like that when God reveals something to me?? (Ouch! AGAIN)!!

6. Kindness has good memory.
Psalm 106:7
When our fathers were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.

When we cease to live without kindness, we have forgotten how good God has been to us. We must REMEMBER!

7. Kindness craves an outlet.
In II Samuel 9:1, David wanted to know if there was anyone left in the house of Saul that he could show kindness to for Jonathan's sake.

Is there anyone I can show kindness to? Is there someone I can bring true profit to?
Yes. There is always someone!

I donate lots of things throughout the year. However, I tend to leave the sack by the front door and let an organization hand them out. Maybe I could find an actual person in need and take them my things...

8. Kindness leaves a legacy.
Acts 28:1-2
Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

The Greek word used in the phrase "unusual kindness" in verse 2 is the word meaning "philanthropy." There has been a recent study on how countries around the world rate in their charitable donations. Australia and New Zealand are #1 and #2. The U.S. is #5. It was found that 83% of Maltans still give to charities today. They were "unusually kind" in Jesus' day and have continued that path.

However, it only takes one generation to drop to its knees and ask God to let it start now -- to start with me.

Our culture is breeding self-absorption.

If our children turn out kind in this world today, it will not be by accident! It will be because we have pressed on toward the goal of kindness. That we have lived it out in front of them. That we love our Savior and have taught them to love Him too!

WOW!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The First Four Tastes

As promised...per Beth Moore...Tastes of Kindness:

I am only going to give the first four tastes of kindness. I want those of you who read this to not be overwhelmed. Think about these ideas. They are little nuggets of gold!

1. Kindness is not a weakness.
*It takes divine empowerment to be kind in this mean world.
Luke 6:35
"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful."

Beth said that if in the last week, you haven't run across someone who it is hard to be kind to, then you are not getting out enough! It is time to head to the mall!! When we have to deal with unkind people is when we show we are His children.

This was the first "Ouch" point for me. Lately, I find myself staying at home. I just don't feel like dealing with anyone or anything. I always find some reason not to get out. I feel too tired to deal! Is the reality that I do not feel like being kind?? Guess I need to head to the mall more often!! :)

Beth also gave the difference between "kindness" and "being nice". (Another "ouch" point for me).
Kindness is being fully aware of the ungratefulness and wickedness in the world and making a decision to be kind.
"Nice" is from the Latin word "necius" meaning "ignorant", "not-knowing". In essence, if you can be nice, you're an idiot!

Wow! I find it easy to put a smile on my face and "pretend". That makes me nice, not kind...

She also pointed out that kindness is capable of speaking a hard word.
Psalm 141:5
"Let a righteous man strike me -- it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me -- it is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it."

This is a great concept for parents who don't like to discipline their children. You can still be kind -- in fact, you ARE being kind when you discipline your child. Train them now in the way they should go and when they are old they will not turn from it!!

2. Kindness is not an action. It is a disposition.

The adjective word "kind" in Greek is defined as "profitable, fit, good for any use, good-natured".
You need JOY to be kind.
The noun word "kind" in Greek is defined as "the grace which pervades the whole nature."

Again, because kindness is a disposition, it cannot be faked.

3. Kindness wears down when we do.
DING, DING, DING!!! This has my name all over it!!

This is the work of the enemy! He wears us down!

It is easy to know when our hearts are broken, but not when our hearts get warn down.

What are some things that wear us down?
*resentment
*hatred
*jealousy
*pressure
*bitterness
*being sick of the rat race

What do I need to do when I am worn down?
Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Any time we are worn down, we need to be built up -- our spirit, not our egos!!

God also uses other believers to help build us up. We need to be vulnerable, transparent. This will produce accountability!

4. Kindness looks pain in the face.
Job 6:28
"But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face?"

Don't look away from someone in pain.

In Titus 3:4-5, it says, "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." The Greek word used for "love" in verse 4 is "philanthropia" or philanthropy - "lover of mankind; lover of humanity". Our culture is trying to take "God" out of philanthropy! The ability to love and give to mankind cannot be found in ourselves. We need God.

Kindness is not an easy thing to be. But, it is so important for us to be kind. I am going to work harder at it!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Women and Kindness

Beth Moore is one of my most favorite people! She is a brilliant Bible teacher teaching God's Word in a straight-forward, funny, life-changing way. She is a normal woman who has the same trials and tribulations as any other woman and uses those to touch her "students".

Today I spent the day at the Living Proof Live Simulcast. Beth was in Chicago and was simulcast to over 125,000 women of 20 different denominations in 11 countries. She is so on fire for God and even though she was on a big screen, her excitement was catching!

The theme of the day was "Law of Kindness".

Proverbs 31:26 was the key verse:
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

Why study the law of kindness? Beth gave two reasons.
Reason 1: Because we live in a mean world. And, it is only going to get meaner!
*We need to protect the warmth of our hearts so we don't get mean also.
Reason 2: Because she "openeth her mouth"!
*A study was done that showed a woman speaks 20,000 words a day compared to a man's 7,000 words a day.
*As proof that women talk a lot, Beth pointed out the Jesus DID appear to women first after His resurrection because He knew women would spread the way!!

Women are teachers whether by example or by position. We touch people of all ages.

We are also published authors -- whether we blog, comment on a blog, Facebook, text, e-mail or tweet! And, scarily, we don't have editors to tell us a comment is not appropriate! God needs to be my editor! We need to think: am I lifting up Jesus?; am I building someone up?; or, am I stating my opinion to make myself look smarter or better than the other person?

It is inevitable that women are going to open their mouths. Luke 6:45 says, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." When our hearts are full, something has to come out. What will it be? Unfortunately, what comes out can not be put back in!

Beth gave eight Tastes of Kindness. I am going to dangle those in front of you until I blog tomorrow! Let me just say that a few of them made me go "Ouch!"

Friday, September 17, 2010

What To Do When Your Bucket List Is Finished

Chris and I love to travel. We love to experience the culture, not just be a "tourist".

Because of his job, Chris has LOTS of opportunities to travel the world -- in fact, he is heading to Canada next week and then in a few weeks going to London, Cyprus, France and Italy! UGH!!! I will keep holding out for eight more years when I can go with him!

When our boys were little, we had a "bucket list" of vacations we absolutely wanted to take them on before they left home.

Hawaii
DisneyWorld
New York
Mount Rushmore
Yellowstone
Washington D.C.
England

As of this August, we have completed all of those except for England. Chris and I went there about four years ago and think that they would really love the castles and history of the country.

While in Albuquerque this summer, my cousin who lives in Australia was visiting also. I hadn't seen him in probably 10 years. He is married to a sweet Aussie girl. Daniel told us all about Australia and Connor hung on every word. Daniel loves to surf, his father-in-law has a big boat, there are poisonous snakes and spiders...you know, everything a boy likes!

Last week, Connor and I were discussing where we should go this next summer since most of our "have-to's" were finished. He informed me that we will be going to Australia. That is on HIS "has-to" list!

On MY list to do with the kids before they are no longer living with us besides England is an African Safari!

Colby wants to do DisneyWorld again.

Hmmm...looks like Chris needs to keep traveling the world to support our "New Bucket List"!!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Twenty-four days ago, I began a challenge from my husband...blog for 60 straight days.

No one questioned the idea until a friend of mine said she told her husband about it and he asked "Why?" (So, "Thanks, Scot for giving me a blogging idea!!")

I have a husband who is so encouraging and makes me feel like I am good at things even when I don't necessarily think I am.

I began blogging a few years ago. I did it as a way to "help out" my horrible memory. It was going to be a way to let our family get a glimpse into our everyday lives and a way for me to go back and say, "Oh, yeah. I forgot about that!" As a result 99% of my blogs are of something my boys have done. There weren't many posts that were very thought provoking.

I graduated from college with a Journalism degree. I haven't really used that degree; but, do still enjoy the process of writing. I guess that was what drew me to blogging in the first place.

As the time has gone by, my posts have gone from 3-4 a week to 1 a week to 1 a month! My avid fan would check it everyday and come home and ask why I hadn't blogged. He even got to the point where he didn't ask anymore.

So...he came home one day and challenged me. (See, after yesterday's post that proves I like a challenge!) He told me that after I blog for 60 days, it should be a habit and I will continue long after my 60 days are up! Sneaky of him, huh?!? In 24 days, I have only missed one day -- but I made up for it by posting TWO posts the next day. I will not loose this challenge. (That is why some days are pretty sketchy!!)

After blogging for a few days, Chris then went a little further and told me I need to not stress about what to blog about. I should look around and when something intrigues me, write about it. I have tried that the last couple of weeks. Kind of a "digging deeper" into myself. I have to admit that it is refreshing and exciting--but still stressful.

My blog is now emerging as a daily diary of sorts as well. It feels good. I am, crazily enough, learning more about myself. I don't know if I will blog EVERY DAY after my 60 day challenge; but, I do hope that I will take time to look at something like the "Sand" or a "Door" and write out my thoughts a little more often. Maybe my blog will actually help my boys look back one day and remember me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Every Time Is The "Such" Time

Esther 4:14b
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

Esther was an amazing woman. She went from being a somewhat "normal" girl to a queen. And God put her there to help Him save the whole Jewish nation! She questioned Him. She felt inadequate. She was scared and unsure. Yet she obeyed.

Can you imagine how she felt when she became queen? Waited on hand and foot. Anything at her bidding. But, I bet she got really bored!

I am at such a time as this now...I am bored.

For the past 14 years, I have been a mom. When Connor was born, I threw myself into him. We would play on the floor with tractors all day or read a pile of books or go on some outing. He was my focus. Then Colby came along and I started all over again.

My boys are at a pretty independent age now. They don't want to play tractors anymore or snuggle on the couch with a pile of books. There are some mornings when I am turning the channel on the TV and I pass Blue's Clues or Thomas the Tank and I get verclempt!

Don't get me wrong, I am always ready for school to start! But, I do wish that I had appreciated those toddler years a bit more. (As I was rereading that previous statement, it occurred to me that is true of every stage of life and I need to appreciate the right now also.)

My husband has fully supported my being a stay-at-home mom and, I feel, has given me the honorary title of "Queen". He has never made me feel like I need to get a job or put me on any sort of "allowance". He never tells me that he is unsatisfied with how the house looks, or laundry feels, or meals taste. But, he knows that I am antsy. He has suggested that I find something -- job or volunteer -- that gets me out among the people. The interesting thing is that I have booked my calendar with Bible Studies, prayer groups, and volunteering at school. Finding time to clean my house, do the laundry or even blog is getting harder as the school year progresses. However, I am still antsy.

I am a couple of years (oh, OK, one year) from turning 40. And, I guess some days I wonder what I am going to be when I grow up! It's a little silly because I know that my calling was and is to be a wife and mom and I wouldn't change that for the world. But at some time the mom role is going to change. And I need to be ready for such a time as this when that happens.

This is one of the two blogs I wrote yesterday and felt needed lots of "tweaking". Maybe I was in a "Woe is Me" moment -- I definitely wasn't bored yesterday. I ran all day long. Today I needed to make a doctors appointment for Connor and while looking at my calendar, I was amazed at how full the next two weeks are.

I do think my main problem is that I need a challenge. Having babies was challenging. Raising toddlers was challenging! Moving nine times in 11 years was challenging. I just hope I can find that challenge before I build a whole ant colony from my antsy-ness!!

I took Beth Moore's "Esther" Bible Study -- which I highly recommend -- last year. Beth believes the main theme of Esther is: "What God can do when we resolve to obey and if I perish, I perish." Maybe what I need to do is be still and listen. Then I need to obey. And if I perish from God's challenge, then I perish. Esther didn't perish; she flourished and saved a nation. Yes, I need to get ready for my next "such" time.