Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wants and Needs

There are so many things I want for my boys. I pray they love the Lord above all else. I want them to be kind. I want them to serve others. Gratitude is a hard thing to instill, but we will keep teaching it until it sinks in. ..For ALL of us. Bottom line, I don't want them to have a spirit of entitlement. I want them to KNOW there are people whose needs far outweigh their wants.

You might have heard of a man named Dave Ramsey who has a radio program and a debt reduction program called Financial Peace. Even if you didn't know his name, I'd be willing to bet you have seen or heard his principles in action. Examples? People pulling out envelopes to pay for things rather than their wallets. Friends or family cutting up their credit cards or freezing them in a glass of water. Families creating budgets and operating only with cash. I do not profess to know all there is to know of Ramsey, but one piece I do know about is Financial Peace Jr. Pull up a chair...you'll be hooked.

Imagine this....teaching your kids at an early age that money they earn isn't just theirs to spend at Target on whatever they want. WHAT?? Is that just crazy talk? I don't think so. Our job as parents is not just to keep our children happy. We're raising a future grown-up who will face choices and consequences related to money. If we give our children a financial foundation and arm them with this knowlege now, they will be less likely to make those costly mistakes in the future. Do you know how many of our generation are contemplating walking away from their credit card debt and leaving that burden for the next generation to shoulder?

Financial Peace Jr. is the power of Financial Peace University tailored for children ages 3-12. It is a hands-on way to teach children the value of earning money. The kit we received came with a boxed set of books, envelopes for spending, saving and giving and wipe-off charts for goal setting and responsibilites (he uses the term 'commissions' instead of 'chores'). The books feature a character name Junior as he learns about working and saving; giving and spending. Love the logic...LOVE the program!

We began by identifying responsiblities for them to earn their commissions (taking out trash, dishes to the sink, feeding the dog, etc). Then we assigned a dollar amount to each and paid out commissions on Sundays. Sometimes they received their entire amount, others only a portion. But each time money was given, they divided the money into the three envelopes. We have since moved from envelopes to the Learning Cents Bank. The running joke was that I could sell these banks better than anyone at Learning Express. What can I say....it makes sense to me and I had to share! I really like the visual of the clear bank and the icons that label each section.

One of the harder things to teach is the difference between their 'save' and their 'spend'. To make it simple, their 'spend' is for little stuff and their 'save' is for bigger items that they are setting a goal to reach. Eventually they will come to an age when the 'save' will be for their portion of a car. The awesome thing is....no arguing. If the money isn't there, it just isn't there. How many of us would like to rewind and learn that before we filled out that first credit card application in college. Was that free t-shirt or coozie worth it? I'm just sayin'.....

I wish I had some snappy humor to make this more interesting, but I just love the program and feel it can stand alone. Don't just take my word for it. Log onto their site or visit a Lifeway Christian Bookstore to flip through the materials. I'll be suprised if you aren't impressed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This and That

It's a gloomy afternoon, perfect for a nap...but sleep won't come.

I took down part of my Christmas decorations but am losing motivation fast. Nothing like killing time by catching up on blogs.

Although shopping is the last thing on most of our minds, I found this treasure today and wanted to share. It resembles Piggies and Paws, but instead of a framed picture, you'll have a plate. Their company is called Clay Memories. Mercy, I am such a sucker for using kids' unique prints and transforming them into amazing artwork. If I was a Longhorn fan, I'd SO be ordering that cookie jar. Too die for!

And if you came into some extra cash this Christmas and wanted to indulge in something just for YOU, go here now! I have been eyeing this style of jewerly for awhile and I might just take the plunge. It will be hard to decide which to order. How cute is the name of her business? You might also want to check out The Vintage Pearl. Similiar style, different designs.

And finally, indulge me for a sec because I just cannot shake this.

Do you ever feel as if the story of Christmas has become less extraordinary? When has it ever been common for a 14 year-old girl to be told by an angel that she will give birth to the Messiah, the Savior of the world? How could she even begin to explain THAT to her fiance'? Hear my clearly...this offense was punishable by stoning. I know there are days at 35 years old that I can't find courage to handle even the simplest of task. Mary was remarkable in my eyes. And Joseph... what a man among men, a true hero full of integrity and honor. I don't want to add a ton of comentary because I believe the video below speaks completely for itself. A baby DOES change everything. You cannot help but be different when He comes in and takes over your life. I, for one, could use some of that kind of change. See if you can get through this without raising a hand to give Him praise. I sure couldn't.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Not just for December

If you are like me, you really enjoy checking the mail in December to see which friends decided to endure the torture of not only taking a family picture but licking all the envelopes to mail those darlin' cards.

The first card I receive each year is from a friend of mine named Kathryn. She was one of my 'Fish' at Texas A&M, which means she was in my small group for the Summer Brainwashing Session we call Fish Camp. This is where incoming freshman are driven out of town in the August heat on those big white Thomas buses (which I used to drive....wearing a BIG bow on my head. Yes ma'am! I had a CDL drivers license. Be SO impressed with me!) and taught everything they need to know about being full of the Aggie Spirit.

Anyhoo, I digress. Sweet Kathryn has 2 traditions. Her first is to mail her Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving and her 2nd tradition is to gather all the Christmas cards she receives in a bowl on their table and before dinner each night, one of her kiddos chooses a card, re-reads it and then they pray for that family.

We are lovers of this wonderful tradition and have participated over the past few years. Give it a shot. Think of the glory days you'll get to live over and over again as you get the opportunity to tell your children just how you know ALL of these people over tacos and spaghetti and the just how blessed they'll be by your choice to pray for them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

8 Things

I was tagged by my friend Nancy to complete the ardous task of naming things about myself. I pointed out to her that #1- I have NEVER tagged her with such a lengthy task and #2- I don't have 8 friends who blog. SO....let's see how far I can get on this. I am a rule follower after all..but you'll notice I had to tweak it a bit to get in my quotas.

8 Things

8 TV Shows I Watch/DVR or will start DVRing in January

1. The Biggest Loser
2. Chuck
3. CSI Miami
4. Meacum Car Auctions (my boys are NUTS for this show)
5. Fetch with Ruff Ruffman (again, PBS rocks the house for kids)
6. Scrubs
7. Martha Speaks (Kids show, NOT the one that did time in the Bigs )
8. Movies that I intend to watch but never do and sit on my DVR recorded list for months

8 Favorite Restaurants

1. Pappasita's
2. Carabba's
3. Alicia's
4. Pei Wei
5. Salt Grass
6. Tommy Bahamas
7. Fuddruckers
8. Idyll Hours

8 Things That Happened to Me since I was tagged with this deal

1. I commented on Nancy's blog about the 'blessing' of completing this list
2. I worked my last day at Learning Express for holiday help
3. I got a new dishwasher
4. I went on a holiday hayride to see Christmas lights
5. I went on my 1st holiday grocery run with all the crazies at HEB
6. Laughed my head off with family
7. Decided on a new Bible Study to complete
8. Got to hug the neck of my sweet friend and her girls from S'Port

8 Things I Look Forward To

1. The possiblity of snow again today
2. Eating tamales with family on Christmas Eve
3. Going to the BodyWorld exihibit with my niece
4. Starting to workout again
5. Watching a plan unfold in 2009
6. The Start of Astro's Baseball
7. See my kids faces on Christmas Morning
8. Hoping I really DID suprise my man with his gift

8 Things I Wish/Pray For

1. To see the good in people
2. To live, not just exist ('Fun Laurie' in 2009)
3. To choose laughter instead of frustration
4. For God to intervene
5. To be more in the moment
6. To love God and His Word more
7. To be content where I am
8. To embrace grace and mercy in others and myself

8 People I Tag

1. Michele
2. Nancy Matt
3. Jennifer W
4. Melissa C.
5. Tami W.

Best efforts!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Go To Gifts

I am a lover of sweets. I have been known to skip the meal and bank those calories to savor a more deserving item like dessert. Honesty is the best policy.

One of my favorite ways to show appreciation for those who teach my kiddos is to bake some holiday treats. These three below are my faithful standbys. I'll be baking and getting these treats out of the house as soon as I can because I have been indulging WAY too much over the past few weeks...that and the fact I have been persuaded one too many times to Run For The Border, if you know what I mean. The hazard of working right next to one....

If you have any must-gift and are willing to share, please do!

Happy Baking and Testing!

King Tutt’s Toffee (‘cause it is so ‘rich’!)
1 sleeve of Saltine Crackers
1 stick of butter
1 stick of margarine
1 packed cup of brown sugar
1 bag of milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 ยบ. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Line the saltine crackers up in rows. Melt butter and margarine in pot on high. As soon as butter and margarine are just about melted, add brown sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. When the mixture begins to boil, let it cook an additional 3 minutes. (It could start to burn on the bottom as your are stirring it, so be careful at the very en. Sometimes, I have to take my pot off a few seconds early so it doesn’t burn.) Have a spatula ready to spread. Pour over crackers and spread as quickly as possible. Put in oven for 5 minutes. Take out of oven and evenly pour bag of chocolate chips on top. Let sit 3 minutes and spread chocolate. Put in refrigerator for 3 hours. Break and serve.

Pistachio Bread

1 yellow cake mix
1 pkg. pistachio instant pudding
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/8 c. water
¼ c. oil
1/3 c. cinnamon-sugar (using 1/3 c. sugar and as much cinnamon as you like)

Grease loaf pans with Crisco. Dust with some cinnamon sugar

Mix 1st 6 ingredients then mix in the cinnamon sugar. Pour into the loaf pans and shake some cinnamon sugar on top. Bake 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until done, depending on size of the pan-light brown on top, springs back to touch, looks moist.

Can use 5 mini-loaf pans per recipe

Mock Turtles

1 bag of pretzels (twisty kind)
2 bags of Rolos
1 bag whole pecans or walnuts

Lay pretzels out on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Place a Rolo on top of each pretzel. Bake at 325 degrees for 4 minutes or until the chocolate is shiny. Remove from oven and immediately press a pecan/walnut half on top of Rolo. Let cool. Store in air-tight container in the fridge.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New and Even More Applicable

This is by special request...

Diva Daray, This is your life....with subtitles.

Christmas Countdown Giveaway

My amazing friend, Christina aka NinaLoca, is at it again!

Jump over to her site to see just what she is up to this time. You won't be sorry.....

And while you are there, peek around. She's has some new goodies and features to make you smile.

Christmas Miracle Of Sorts

It is a well known fact my man doesn't like to take pictures. Case in point..our last true family pic was when Weston was 18 months old and I had flippy highlighted hair. Get my drift?

Large amounts of bribing went into this photo session as my oldest prefers to be photographed on the field, not off (he thinks Mrs. Audree is his personal photographer. Yes, we are getting bids from contractors to increase the size of our doorframes to fit his increasing head size). My youngest... that dude is MONEY. He smiled in every dang shot. I dig that about him.

I share these pictures not to brag about my big fat family, but to give gigantic props to my good friend, Audree Garcia, for once again saving the day with her photographic giftings and a touch of Photoshop. I keep telling her she could make a fortune. Think of the ladies that would pay $10 a photoshop to trim a little here and add a little there...if you know what I mean. Wink, Wink

She not only captured several money shots (as Tray would say), but also designed our cards. You are missing a blessing if you don't go check our her work. I'm JUST sayin'...

May this season find you content where you are and with what you have.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Story Break

Although we all LOVE reading our kids' favorite books so many times we can recite them by memory, it is fun for all to hear someone else read at times.

Check out this fun site I just heard about today. Celebrities reading Children's Books- genius I say!

My source? Facebook. Mercy...that ALONE is a post for another day. If I see a picture of myself with big bangs one more time....

When Little White Lies Become Big Fat Ones

Foolin' my children is wearing me out.

We all agreed to cut back this year as far as Christmas presents go. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, it seems most are...I just wish we had caught the clue several years ago. For years now, I have been sucked into the trap of buying gifts to meet a certain pre-set budget the grandparents or even we had set for each child. I have to say I am officially broken of that little habit as many of the gifts I so carefully chose last year are still sitting on the shelf in rubbermaid containers. Good thing they are building sets and don't have feelings or we'd have some toys in therapy at my house.

A new dilemma surfaced this year and it has to do with the fat guy in the red suit. Now, before you get your feathers ruffled...I am all about the magic of Christmas and Santa has been a part of our season (a part..NOT the focus), but I think this might be his last year. You see, Santa ALWAYS gets to give the best gift of all and can I just be honest, THE DUDE DOESN'T HAVE A JOB! I'd really love to teach my kids that the gifts they receive are because God has provided for their parents and in turn, they desire to bless them. See, I have it all planned out! And to complicate things, this year I totally painted myself into a corner as I gave the Grandparents the best gift ideas and not only hung Tray and I out to dry, I didn't have the very thing left that they asked Santa for. For the love!

So last night as the wind howled outside my window (very pre-Ike and creepy!), I sat down with the list and redistributed who was giving what (taking into account the WOW gift for each, good grief!). I felt like I had dodged a bullet and had a gameplan for complete honesty regarding Santa next year...but dern if my oldest son didn't come downstairs this morning with a forlorn look on his face. Why you might ask? Because Mother of the Year forgot to put money in his tooth fairy pillow last night and he thinks the winged lady passed him by. Ugh!

What did we do, you might ask? Well, of course, we consoled him with a bunch of big fat lies ranging from it was too windy for her to fly last night to he lost his tooth so late that maybe she checked our house around normal bedtime and didn't see his tooth. Are you kidding me? If anything comes up about the Easter Bunny, I am going to have breakdown. Oh, I kid. My people never fell for that one. A flying fairy, yes. A rabbit that walks on two legs? Nope. Sharp as a tack, my two.

Who has unconfessed sin in this house for us to be tested to this magnitude? Must be someone whose name rhymes with Parkay....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Double the Blessing, Double the Return

Several weeks ago, I shared my desire to purchase gifts this season that would make a difference, rather than mearly allow me to check someone off my list. I am happy to share a special treasure that was hidden among the other miscellaneous mail and catalogs that were delivered yesterday.

For 35 years, the Children's Art Project at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has made life better for children with cancer. Through worldwide sales of young cancer patients' original artwork featured on seasonal note cards and gift items, the project has returned more than $24.5 million to programs that benefit cancer patients and their families. Each year, the project offers Holiday, Everyday and Valentine collections of note cards and gift items.

I have seen their precious notecards around the Houston area but were you aware they have a boutique located in Uptown Park (610 West Loop at Post Oak Blvd)? Their store hours are Monday-Saturday 10 am- 6 pm. I know it might be a bit far for some of us in the 'Burbs, but make a day of it and grab lunch or cupcakes at Crave!

You will be blown away by the selection and unique touch each has to offer. Some of the items available are t-shirts, ties, platters (this one and this one are my faves), ornaments, calendars, jewelry and stationary. Check out this darn cute umbrella. Who doesn't need an umbrella in Houston? The cutie that created the design lives right here in Houston! Her name is Stepanie and she is 9 years old.

You have two choices...order $125 or more off their site and receive free shipping or buzz down to Uptown park and save shipping by driving. What a deal!

A Laugh in the Pocket

Save this litte gem for after you have endured ALL the family, pink stuff (you KNOW what I am talking about...yours might just be green or orange) and dry dressing/stuffing you can endure. And be sure to empty your mouth of any food or beverage as your computer screen might need a cleanin' after viewing.

May your Thanksgiving be FREE of Hot Pockets.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things that Make You Go Eeewww

My husband has a need to be near trees. If he had his way, we'd live on a few acres where it would take some type of ATV to check the mail or visit a neighbor. It only made sense to choose a heavily wooden neighborhood when we began our house search a few years back. Enormous pine trees fill our front and backyards and we back up to a reserve....so you guessed it, more trees. It is beautiful to look at but it comes at a price.


They come in all shapes and sizes. Some have fur, most have tails, some have scaly skin, some have wings and sometimes they have fangs. Yes, you read that right. FANGS. But that's for later.

Two Thanksgivings ago, we returned from our Texas Tour to quite a surprise. When we came in the front door, I noticed a few dead red wasps and yellow jackets on our entry floor. No big deal...we back up to woods, remember? Then I proceeded into our living room and looked up to see large groupings of wasps and yellow jackets in the corners of our upper windows and the ceiling. Let me be clear...I DON'T possess a poker face. I think I gasped or maybe called for Tray, still stunned by the sheer numbers in our house. We convinced the boys to hang out in our bedroom and watch some tv while we 'unpacked the car'. Several hours and a few cracked windows later, we thought we had it under control. Let's just say that didn't happen until last year. It wasn't a constant problem, but it didn't totally go away until Tray got up on the roof and sprayed two huge cans of wasp spray down our chimney. Protector and provider...that's my man. And I got to be pretty proficient with a broom and dustbuster.

Just when the boys had gotten over their twitch brought on by anything that resembled the sound of insect wings, we had another visitor, brought to us by opening the damper for the 1st fire of the season.

It's like Ranger Rick around here. This time instead of being the neighborhood freak show who was rumored to have unconfessed sin, we are the totally awesome parents that put the winged friend in our freezer for JT to take to school on Monday. Fortunately, smarter thinkers prevailed and we sent pictures instead.

Would living inside the Loop be so bad??

And no, Nancy, we are not deep frying it for T'Giving, but thanks for the suggestion. That is very reminiscent of Sammy Kershaw, Queen of My Double-Wide Trailer...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making a List, Revisited

As you are creating your Christmas lists, I am quite sure this or something similiar went through your head, "_______ really doesn't NEED anything but I'd sure love to find of something special and unique to blow their socks off."

We ALL want to wow our family and friends with something that they will use and enjoy, instead of merely finding some item that will fufill the perceived need and we can check them off our list. I have not begun my shopping yet, but here are some things I am considering.

Photo Creations: I have to say photo books are just my new favorite thing in the whole entire world. I was turned onto these by an insane special offer from Winkflash. I was able to create a 100 page book for $19.99. Can you hardly stand it? I was able to take all my photos from Italy that would have lost their luster in an 3x5 state and make them come to life as 5x7s and 8x10 on the pages of a book. It was such a huge success that I ordered 3! Now that is a deal! There are many sites which offer this service (Photoworks, MyPix, VioVio, Shutterfly )but so far, Snapfish is my favorite. And althought I haven't created a book on Shutterfly, I have seen one created on that site and it was beyond cute. These sites have a multitude of other items to create from serving trays to ornaments.

Personalized Cookbook: Kraft.com is offering you a chance to make a unique cookbook for someone using your own recipes or their online recipes. Who doesn't need a new way to cook chicken? And you can put a photo on the front of your creation. If only I had a taken a picture of me wearing that hairnet at my kids' Thankgiving Feast today. Oh.....I kid. I really wore a baseball cap.

Make a Memory: Several family members decided this would be the year we DID something instead of BOUGHT something. This could be something as simple as a trip to Incredible Pizza, Itz's or Main Event or a fancy night on the town with some couple friends. Feeling really spontaeous? Go for a concert or a weekend trip to a city you love or would like to visit. Don't forget to take your camera to document the adventure. Then you can create a fun book!

A Future Experience: This one is huge in our family. My peeps aren't big toy people so last Christmas we put the money aside and then registered them for some amazing summer sports camps at a local church. Tremendous success and BIG fun! This has no limits...art camp, pottery classes, cooking classes....whatever you choose!

The Gift of Hope: Billy Graham and his son, Franklin, have done tremendous things for the Kingdom. They organize two different ways to bless those in need during the holiday season. The first is Operation Christmas Child, which is packing a shoebox with items that will delight a child. Jump online and find a church/drop site near you. The Target Dollar Spot and many Dollar Stores are great places to find hygiene items, toys and books. The second is Samaritan's Purse. This part of the ministry offers a Christmas catalog filled with items to provide physical assistance to those who are hurting. Now, let me warn you....not everyone knows how to react when a goat or a brood of chickens is given in their name to a family a continent away. There are LOTS of gift options from hot meals to blankets to sports equipment. Pray that God will give you discernment as to who might be good choices for this type of gift and then pray for them to have a heart to receive the tremendous life-changing blessing you are inviting them to be part of.

Homemade Gifts: Oh, this is a popular one.....just NOT in my house. I was toying with the idea until my husband, who wasn't using his filter, said, "Oh Dear Lord, please don't make the gifts this year." Um....WHAT? I am not sure what I made in the past that has scarred him so badly but I officially lost any interest I had with that. Hmpf.....But if I WAS going to make something....I loved the etched Martini glasses my sister made me last year. They are so snappy! Each has a different animal print. Apparently she used masking tape and etching cream. Good luck with that!

Alrighty, my pot is dry. Have fun ideas? Comment away and let's help a sister out!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Pharisee in Me

Authenticity is HARD.

Am I speaking to anybody? It is incredible challenging to live out what I say I believe....to live and love Biblically.

I am a born and bred, dyed in the wool 'good girl' . Growing up I rarely broke the rules or lived in a way that was contrary to how a rule-follower should. Did I live perfectly? Nope. But I would not have been viewed as rebellious or even 'edgy'. I can't say much has changed today....and I am not saying that is a good thing.

Abundant life isn't lived out by just living.

Recently at church, I realized that I do not have a heart for all that enter through our doors.

Did I just say that outloud?

As painfully honest as it is, the only way for me to move to a place where I might someday have that burden to love is to say it outloud and ask God to begin to chip away the layers that have covered up my compassion and mercy.

I saw this very thing described as I checked in on the blogs I read yesterday. You see, she is not only calling the people of God to love but she is truly giving an example of what 'loving it out' looks like.

What would my life, and in turn, my ministry look like if I adopted this kind of love?

This kind of love sees beyond the actions of a teen that puts her feet up on the brand-new Worship Center seats while text messaging during the sermon AND the time when people are making life-changing decisions with God, and sees she is seeking Someone who can fill all the empty places.

This kind of love reaches beyond a person who may not understand the how-to's of 'doing' church but made the choice to visit a church that can seat 3,000 people on any given Sunday...all of which might be complete strangers to him.

This kind of love chooses grace when dealing with those that act or think differently than her....and realizes with absolute certainty, someone, somewhere extends her that exact same grace.

Far fetched? Nope. Hard to swallow. Yes.

Sometimes people question why I take the time to read and keep up with the blogs I follow. My answer? It is for days like yesterday when something hits me right between the eyes and I am moved to change. God will use whatever He chooses to bring about the change He desires.

A bus or plane is not always required to reach your mission field.

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

-Brandon Heath

Monday, November 10, 2008

What's the Code?

It's a rainy day here in Htown and it actually gives me no excuse but to take care of some things around the house. Boring, but true.

As we move into November, I am starting to create the Christmas gift list in my head. We have made a committment to really be mindful of what we are buying this year. Could it be the multiple trips to CAM and Goodwill or perhaps the toys from last Christmas that I knew they would just love but sit, sad and alone, on the shelf (the hazard of working at a toy store). And not just gifts for my kids..gifts for family too. I vow not to even go into a Bath and Body Works shop this year.

Online shopping is something we all do (some of us ONLY do) and I admit, it KILLS me to pay shipping. I know, get a life, right? There are so many ways to get around it...and I don't mean just buying more items to get to their pre-determined no-shipping total. Amazon.com so often taunts me with their "you only have to spend $2.31 more to get FREE SUPER SAVER SHIPPING! Ugh...

Below are a plethora of sites I have found that just might offer a code to save you some green when shopping online. The codes are not limited to free shipping...sometimes you are offered a product or a certain percentage discount. I created a collage poster for free from Snapfish.com last week. If you haven't checked out Snapfish lately, give them a peek. Lots of fun ideas using your photos. I mean, really, who doesn't want more pictures of YOU? Ahemm..


Now get out there and give the Guys in Brown something to do today!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It Is What It Is

If I had the chance to re-name my blog, 'It Is What It Is" just might be the title. I promise you, I say it at least 5 times daily. It has to be right up there with 'Seriously'. It carries a ton of weight....it is the ultimate thing to say when things are what they are no matter how much you did or didn't want them to be and nothing will change that.

Maybe some of us felt like that on Tuesday, as if our prayers went unheard. He IS still God and He is STILL working. Period. And often He'll do what HE HAS to do to get us to do what HE wants us to do. If you look at our nation as a whole, we aren't so obedient, if you catch my drift. Painful, but true the same.

I have told you before, if Time magazine had a version for kids, I'd totally subscribe. Well, as it turns out, they totally do. They have now called my bluff. Don't worry...even if I impulsively order a years worth of currrent events geared toward 5th graders, you have my word I won't bring politics into my blog. That is just crazy talk.

But, may I share two different responses to the current State of our Union? The first was written by a well-know Bible study/author. The second, penned by a gal just like you and me. I know you'll be blessed.

So I challenge us to stop wringing our hands and starting talking to Him again. He can take whatever we have to bring to Him. And He's one of the few that will listen to all our ranting and raving, patiently...until we are through, before He begins to mend and heal. I totally dig that about Him.

If my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I'll be there ready for you: I'll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Not By Chance

Yesterday, I decided to bite the bullet and get serious about fixing our two computers that have minor issues. I say minor...they are major enough that I have been unable to fix them with my limited knowledge gained by surfing the internet for solutions.

So, I called up the Geek Squad and quickly hung up as they told me just how much it was going to cost to fix my 'minor' problems. Sheesh! Don't they know it is a down economy?? Apparently not as their store is still filled with customers purchasing big fat TVs on credit. Ooops, I'm sorry. Did I say that outloud?

Plan B. I googled Computer fix Cypress and came up with several choices...even with testimonials. Now, I am aware websites can fake their testimonies but for some reason, I trusted what these people had to say.

I took a chance and called Computer Fixs and was first greeted by a 9 year-old, acting as receptionist for the day. I thought I had the wrong number but he then put his dad on the phone. I have to admit, by now I am thinking, 'Back to the drawing board, or google searching' but then everything began to look up.

I began to describe the situations with my two computers and asked what he charged per hour. Almost joyfully He said, "Well, today everything is free!" Seriously? Nothing is free, and in this case, I didn't want/need any 'free' advice when it came to fixing my computers. He then went on to explain he had been diagnosed with cancer 3 months prior and was able only to consult over the phone-so my services were free that day. I assured him that I did want to compensate him for his time but he would hear none of it, as long as we could fix whatever the glitches were over the phone. Over the next several hours, he walked me step-by-step through several of the problems, told me his 'story' and even directed me to multiple places to learn how to change out the RAM on my computer. (I have to say, that freaks me out and I am not sure if I have the courage to take the computer apart myself, but at least I am armed with the knowlege if I choose to use it. YouTube is a total trip!)

Feeling like I had a good handle on the rest of the steps (severe understatement) and not wanting to take up more of his time, our session ended. Several hours later (I had a kiddo with a stomach bug at home) I began working on the computers again and hit several snags. Not wanting to impose on him again, I grabbed the computer manuals and jumped on the internet on my 1 working computer to see if I could figure out what was going on (stop laughing!). Of course, I couldn't. And would you believe the darn phone rang and it was HIM checking on me to see if I was able to complete what we had started. I explained to him that I had hit a rough stop and again, he worked the problem with me over the phone.

You see, I believe my God put Mardy, in my path yesterday for a reason. Mardy is having surgery this morning to remove several cancerous lymph nodes and then he will begin treatment. Mardy is a God-fearing husband and father who runs his business with great integrity. I am still just flat blown away by how it all transpired yesterday but I believe that I can return the blessing he gave me yesterday by praying for him, asking you to pray for him, and getting the word out regarding his business. If this blog has one purpose....that is recommend something worth recommending.

And by the way, He is not getting off that easy regarding payment. I am TOTALLY going to figure out a way to pay him. That may mean sending his family gift cards so they don't have to worry about cooking one night, but I will figure out a way to bless them. And the thing is, Mardy's services are worth what Best Buy would have charged...and I would have gladly paid.

And the cool thing is...now I DO have a computer guy I can call instead of having to haul my computers to Best Buy! Now that is cause for great praise.

Father, I pray your richest blessings on Mardy and his family today. I pray You will flood them with your peace. I pray the surgeons will have great knowlege and direction as they operate today and I pray Mardy's recovery will be thorough and quick. I pray for complete healing for him, Father. I pray you will lavish his business with great success as he continues to honor You through his giftings to fix things that need fixing. Thank you for the simple reminder that You are about not only the big things, but the small as well. We trust in your plan for us and Your Sovereignty. In Your Mighty Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, October 31, 2008

However You Like

I think I can say with confidence that most of us are just D-O-N-E with the constant politcal coverage surrounding the election next Tuesday. But, these kiddos at the Ron Clark Academy made me smile for the first time in weeks regarding voting.

Is God sovereign regardless of who ends up on top next Tuesday? YES. But, your vote counts. Get out there and use your voice.

Brillant, I Say

What did we learn from Halloween 2008?

When you lack the discipline to buy the candy the day before Halloween AND you answered the call of the 'talking candy bag' enough to realize you have a measly 5 pieces left on October 30, just get your kids to trick-or-treat early and give away THEIR candy. Now that is sheer brillance.

Thanks to my friend, Michele, for including us in "We-Make-Our-Own-Fun". We had a great start with the gang at CC and finished in our neighborhood. I love how everyone pulls out their chairs and makes a point to enjoy the evening. Ike forced us outside a month of ago. It was a pleasure to see so many of my neighbors again tonight.

Pre-Loot (Notice W is playing the part of a Secret Agent, his lips are sealed)

The Whole Gang


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Right Between The Eyes

Having a son make the decision to ask Jesus into his heart and be baptized does something to you. It forces you to examine exactly how you live, what you speak and then decide if both are consistent. One would think that once a child chooses to follow and serve Christ, a sense of relief would come. Actually, it has been the opposite for me. If anything, it has created in me a sense of urgency to clean up my act and make sure I am equipping him with everything he needs to learn just what it means to serve God and love His Word. I know...I should have been doing that along. Thanks for stating the obvious, Smarty.

I am happy to report my requests have been heard as several Bible study teachers and pastors have been ALL up in my bizness...if you know what I mean. Here are just a few samples of teaching that have hit me right between the eyes:

*We as believers often live in a state of remorse instead of repentence. We walk around saying how bad we are and how bad we feel about it, but choose not to change. When will we make the decision to repent, turn around and walk/live in a different way? (Often a friend of mine will ask the question, "Do you want to be well?" ie, are you willing to make the choices in your life that will bring on real change and bring the contentment we are promised in Christ, but lack as we try to go at it alone)

*What can you now do that you have the Holy Spirit that you couldn't do before? And if the answer is 'nothing', then something is wrong. (2 Peter 1:3 says His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowlege of Him)

*Loneliness is a common feeling among many people today because we have spent our time on lots of surface-level relationships (Facebook, texting, email) instead of taking the time to cultivate deep friendships that will speak the truth in love, encourage and offer a source of accountability.

That's just a smattering...I'm still processing. I just wanted to be a friend and get in your bizness too.

Your welcome.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Precious Gift

Can I share something, Friend to Friend?

You may notice a new button on my blog, pray for Will. A sweet friend of mine has a new grandson and he is such a precious gift. His blog will forever change you. Please pray for this sweet family. They are walking a hard road with Jesus right now and I have never seen them praise Him more.

To God Be The Glory.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Cumulative Effect

*****Update: 10/27

I wish I could say Car Spa is dead to me..but I can't. Type A's with OCD need a clean car. It is what it is. BUT....let me break it down so you will not be disappointed if you try to remedy your car of the nastiness.

#1- The 30% off coupon doesn't apply to the package I spoke of because they have already taken $60 off to bring the package down to $99. Didn't know that.
#2- When they say 'blow out crevices', they mean your air vents. Now, they did agree to blow out a few areas of my car when prompted but told me to do my entire car, it would be $200-$300. Right....gotcha. I am SURE people pay that much normally.
#3- My computer hates me at Car Spa and won't connect into their wifi and I was forced to listen to CNN as I worked offline. HELP ME!

So, to summarize. Yes, my car is most definitely clean inside and out and overall, I am happy with the job they did. I just felt I needed to again state the obvious...if a deal sounds too good to be true, IT IS.

Remember how I mentioned Car Spa has an AMAZING detail package where they blow out all the crevices of your car and I was waiting to find a coupon because I couldn't stomach shelling out that much cash for the service? Guess who found an online coupon? That would be ME! This coupon brings the price down 30% and that is worth remedying my car of all the snacks my kids have partaken in over the last 5 years. Seriously? 5 YEARS worth of goldfish, graham crackers, Gerber Graduate dehydrated snacks, Chik-fil-A....I had never thought about it in a cummulative nature. That is just plain NASTY....hopefully you weren't eating when you read this.

You might want to consider all YOUR kids have eaten in your car over the years and then get yourself over to Car Spa. Anyone who rides in your car but has been too nice to mention the 'funk' will be so grateful. I'm just sayin'.....

FYI- This particular coupon expires October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

For the Visual Learner

So, the season of gift giving is near and I wanted to give you a head start on those hard-to-by-for people in your life.

The search is over! These Flashcards have the potential to be the gift of the season. Gone are the days that you or a loved one uses a phrase to be cool and hip, only to receive silence and embarrassing glances as a result of the misuse of such words.

I have to say that Slang and Slang 2 are my favorites as I have no use for the Corporate Set and the other set is just down right inappropriate.

And in the spirit of the election, Been There Done That...and Then Some does not endorse or support the message or intent of ALL the flashcards, but dang, we sure think some are funny!

Peace Out! Word to your Mother.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Under My Nose

Often when something gets lost, we tear the house apart only to find it right where we were looking the entire time. Case in point...I thought I left my cross necklace in Boston last week. Seriously bummed and frustrated, I commenced to search my entire closet, all my luggage and my jewelry case 5 different times, only to find it tucked up in a corner, by the zipper, on the 6th time. I was so relieved, thanked God for making me smarter than I am (AGAIN!) and went about my night.

I was doing some brainless surfing on the net and found what felt like a long lost friend. Many years ago, I found a wonderful calendar and also some note cards from our bookstore at church that I just HAD to have. At the time, I searched and searched for more products from Kris-10 Creations, who made the calendar, but came up dry. Not any more!! I found her site tonight and she has expanded her products to include Christmas cards, calendars, notepads, stationary and absolutely darlin' placemats. You are going to fall down at how cute they are. And get this...there are several stores that carry these darlin' items right here in Cypress! I am going to have to head over to Paper Daisy and II Friends to see what they have. I already emailed her about the 2009 calendar. I can hardly stand it!

Sometimes it is the little things in life, like a fun fridge calendar, that bring major joy. And it was right under my nose the entire time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Girl's Got Talent

I am so glad to be home, on domestic soil, where there is no doubt in my mind if the toilet has a seat and where to flush it. I'll save that juicy story for a day when my body isn't still 7 hours ahead of itself. The trip was just wonderful but my place is at home with my people. Try mothering from a continent away....

I have so much swimming in my head. I know you have no desire to hear ALL about the trip, but I will share some comical and unique encounters from the last 11 days later in the week. Right now, I am pretty overwhelmed and at times, just frozen. Don't get me wrong....Tray did a magnificent job with the boys, our dog and the house...like, an INCREDIBLE job just living out life with two boys in school and involved in sports. But there are things I need to do now that I am home. And once my feet hit our driveway, I have been on the move. The laundry is pretty daunting....and most of it is mine. Dinner tonight? We might have something as fancy as waffles. By then, my body will think it is in the middle of the night. I pray my family has grace over the next few days.

But, I decided to take a break from it all and take this opportunity to introduce you to a friend of mine with incredible talent. Her name is Audree Garcia (audreegarciaphotography) and she has an amazing gift of capturing life on film. And as if that is not enough, she then transforms the pictures into amazing collections, posters, books, cards....just about anything you can dream of. She does everything from portraits, to Christmas cards, to sports posters to team books. My words could never describe what she creates, so just head over to her site and take a look. The picture at the top was from a game I missed while in Italy. I heard of the interception from my Man, but she captured it for me to see when I returned. She has captured many a memory for us. I DIG that about her!

I know she is currently booking appointments for the ever famous Christmas card season. Don't act like you don't know what I am talking about. I see you scanning catalogs for matching clothing and searching for ideas for the card that will blow both family and friends away. I LOVE checking the mail during December. I actually receive my first of the season the week after Thanksgiving from a darlin' Aggie friend that was a freshman of mine from Fish Camp. I am a lover of the Photographic Christmas Card.

Let the bribery begin.

Friday, October 3, 2008


My man is connected. Not connections like the Sopranos, but he knows people. You see, he is in the banking industry and services many clients in many different fields of business. Because of this, it is a well known fact and running joke that he is very connected. Need a sheep shearer? Call Tray Mounce, he's your guy.

One of his recent clients is a pretty fun company formed by two sisters called Claridge & King. Their product is called the His is Her Shirt and it offers ladies the chance to raid their own closet for a comfy shirt to sleep in. I admit, I am a bit lazy in the sleepwear department. I tend to wear old Date Party shirts or even FCA shirts..and those are XL....pretty, right? Now that is Classy with a capital 'K'.

I knew I might be receiving one of these goodies and Tray brought it home today! I just love it...so soft and it has my monogram on the pocket in lipstick pink! I am such a sucker for personalization. I am also a sucker for packaging and it came in a darlin' grey pinstripe pillowcase. Girls.....it is just so fun! It is a bit fitted so it doesn't swallow you and I hear it only gets better when washed.
I know this might be a splurge, but I promise, so worth it. Kills two birds with one stone, if you catch my drift. 'Nuff said, this blog is PG.

Finally, lingerie I can get behind.

PS- I'll be MIA until mid October....heading across the pond. Will share pictures when I return!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Through the Back Door

This summer, we traveled to Florida and stopped off at Disney for several days. I can say, without a doubt, Disney would have been 100% different had we not used the oh so wonderful Tour Guide Mike website. That site is such a wealth of knowlege...what a blessing if it could be cloned for other destinations....

Oh, but there is such a site! Enter Rick Steves. I found him by accident as I was googling 'What to pack when traveling to Italy'. You see, I am leaving in less than a week to travel to that amazing country that is shaped like a boot. It is still very surreal that I am even going and I am overthinking everything about it...(just HOW MANY pairs of things do I need to bring?) I am still on the hunt for the perfect pair of walking shoes. I am taking my tennis shoes, but I am trying not to stick out like a sore thumb and be the obvious American tourist. Hmmmm.....I find it hard to believe that a pair of $100 walking shoes will disguise me, but one can always hope.

Rick Steves has a site that allows you to plan and see Europe 'through the back door'. I am just diving into his site, but the 'graffiti wall' or message board, has just been tremendous on tips. I think I have successfully figured out how NOT to have my camera stolen. I have just scratched the surface, trust me!
I also found several sites that are bound and determined I travel with only one bag. Seriously? I don't think that is going to happen, but I think onebag.com and this buddle method just might help this type-A pack more efficiently.

So, if you have any tips you'd like to send my way about what to pack and what not to forget, please hook a sister up. And if you feel so inclined, pray for my man as he will be Mr. Mom in addition to Mr. Banker for the 11 days I am gone. He is going to be just fine....and the employees at Chik-fil-A and Luby's will be on a first name basis with my boys by the middle of October. Oh, I kid. They will probably also hit Pappasitos too.


Friday, September 26, 2008

In Theaters Now

Remember that movie I talked about a long time ago? Well, it is in theaters now. Grab a sitter and go see it with your man!

And remember, Never leave your partner behind.

Hey wait, that sounds familiar.

"It's the first rule of flying, Mav, never leave your wingman".

Circa 1986

Cue 'Highway to the Danger Zone' and bring on that volleyball scene! Woohoo!

The Word of the Day is 'Laughter'

There is a sweet Asian family who lives across the street from us. The grandparents came from China to visit last April and have been here ever since. The grandfather can be seen each morning as he joins all the moms at the bus stop to put his two grandchildren on the bus and then again in the afternoon, to greet them and carry their backpacks home. Although the mom, dad and two children speak and understand English, it is my understanding that the grandfather does not.

My daily interaction with him is a smile, a wave and then him smiling, a single wave and then a brief laugh. The laugh part is my favorite becasue that is his standard response to everything. Anything that is spoken to him, his response is to smile and laugh.

How much sweeter would my life be and how much more pleasant of a person would I be if I chose to adopt that response for even half of my daily interactions.

If you can't say 'Amen', you need to say 'Ouch'.

I'm just sayin'.......

What We Learned From Ike

I am well aware there are still many people who are still without power and are returning to their homes only to find greater damage than they could have even imagined. This post is not to discount ANY of that. I simply could relate to some of the instances below and figured it is always good to laugh.

And the picture of the car above....now that is begging to be made into an Aggie Ike joke.

This list of what we learned from Hurrican Ike is brought to you by Aunt Daray... One of the Godliest and funniest gals I know...and the person who is teaching me to be more fun.

Coffee and frozen pizzas can be made on a BBQ grill

Hot pockets taste pretty good deep fried in the outdoor cooker!

My car gets 23.21675 miles per gallon, EXACTLY (you can ask the people in line who helped me push it)

He who has the biggest generator wins.

Watching children work outside in the yard is a new event for many parents

A new method of non-lethal torture- showers without hot water

There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought

The Internet is an addiction and the withdrawal symptoms are painful

A 7 lb bag of ice will chill 6-12 oz Budweiser ' s to a drinkable temperature in 11 minutes, and still keep a 14 lb. turkey frozen for 8 more hours

There are a lot of dang trees around here

Flood plain drawings on some mortgage documents were seriously wrong

People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for

Cell phones work when land lines are down, but only as long as the battery remains charged.

Hampers were not made to contain such a volume

If my store sold only ice, chainsaws, gas and generators, I'd be rich.

Tree service companies are underappreciated

I learned what happens when you make fun of another states ' blackout

MATH 101: 30 days in month, minus 6 days without power equals 30% higher electric bill ?????

Drywall is a compound word, take away the ' dry ' part and it's worthless

I can walk a lot farther than I thought

A MUST for all blackouts with kids... GLOWSTICKS! Cheap, fun, no mess!

A skateboard and a sheet make a great “sailboat” before the rain starts

It is a great time to teach the children the fine art of gambling (penny ante poker) card playing

You can never have too many gas cans!If you fill the bathtubs with water, the water will not go off

5 gallons of sweetened iced tea a day is not enough for 9 teenagers

Neighbors are much more sociable when they are sharing a generator

Just because it is dark and you are in the privacy of your bedroom doesn’t mean we can’t hear what you are doing in there because our windows are open too

What looks acceptable by candlelight in your bathroom will scare you when you look at yourself in the mirror at the office

Rather than campfires, you find families huddled about tiny battery-operated televisions to watch the news.

Peanut butter and jelly is a perfectly acceptable meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the same day

Don’t shun those who use Tylenol PM or Advil PM to get through 11-hour nights

That neighbor who knows how to use a chainsaw is your new best friend

Ice is a form of currency

It’s OK to let the kids keep their stick fort until the debris-pickup crews start rolling in

Coming home from work with a pizza and a charged-up laptop so the kids can watch a DVD makes you a hero

You run out of things to barbecue after Day 2.

Hair can dry without a blow dryer, but it may not look the way you planned

The storm treasures your kids are finding really belong to your neighbors

Baseball caps go with any post-hurricane ensemble

Grapes taste better in the dark

You can’t train yourself not to flip on light switches when entering a room

Lukewarm is the new cold

You have neighbors

It’s easier to ignore a dirty floor when you can’t see it

A new opening phrase when seeing someone: “Got lights yet?”


Watch the video of Geraldo Rivera getting knocked over by a wave during pre-storm coverage

Shut the windows and pretend you never saw your neighbor in those baggy shorts

Turn on the DVD player super loud and have a mini dance party even if it’s 3 a.m

Have a long conversation with TiVo about how he let you down.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Everyone knows two things...

#1- There is nothing new under the sun
#2- Imitation is the highest form of flattery

Can we all feel a bit of freedom and come clean on something? Admit it, at some time in your life, you copied someone. Maybe it was the way they dressed or the way they were able to make people laugh by certain phrases they used. As we get older, this translates into fun ideas for sprucing up our houses and sometimes what books we read or gadgets we buy because someone close to us said it was heaven-on-a-stick.

I can 'imitate' with the best of them. When I am looking for way to update my wardrobe, house or dinner menu, I flip through magazines, websites and even ask around to get new, fresh ideas...which really aren't, if you know what I mean.

So today, right now, I am coming clean in regard to three very fun things that I lifted off other people's blogs. Yes, I am a copycat. I can receive it; acceptance is the first step.

The first is hulu.com, courtesy of my friend, Melissa C.. This site allows you to watch ALL KINDS of shows absolutely free. The thing I love is that it allows me to watch back episodes of shows that sounded interesting but don't really have enough power to make me want to stay up all night watching episode after episode to get the DVD set back to Blockbuster or the Library before the due date.

The second is pandora radio, courtesy of Big Mama. This site gives you your own personal radio station. All you have to do is pick an artist and it will create a playlist with that artist plus similiar other groups. Love this!

And the third is an oh-so-cute craft that I WANT to attempt but it scares the pants off me to try. The above link, courtesy of Rocks in My Dryer, gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make a customized silhouette t-shirt of your kids. I can hardly stand how cute it would be to have one of my boys in baseball gear in cute stances. One can dream....I can already tell that some of you are wanting to skip the black paint and bedazzle it instead. Don't fight what is natural... it will always come back to bite you in the form of a too-tight-jewel-encrusted tank top you bought in the name of 'being fun and wild'.

Embrace your inner CopyCat and build self-esteem in all those you hang around.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What Ike Was Like

We are on the backside of a Category 2, almost 3, Hurricane that hit Texas last Saturday around 3 am. My mind is still reeling from all we have seen and heard, but perhaps these snippets give you a glance into what Ike was like for the Mounces.

*Cringing as they stereo-typed Texas once again by using the phrase "Hunkerdown". Just add that to us all riding horses, having oil derricks in our backyards and JR and Sue Ellen being everyone's BFF.

*Walking the aisles at Target on Friday and marveling at what people thought were 'essential supplies' beyond D batteries, peanut butter and bottled water. Let's just say the carbs were free flowing in everyone's baskets. Nothing says comfort like some Ding Dongs and Fiddle Faddle

*Making a pallet for my boys on the floor beside me and then turning off the lights to grab a bit of sleep before the winds began to change. Feeling so grateful that they fell right to sleep...no fear at all.

*Hearing the first of the transformers blow and not being able to distinguish the green glow for lighting or more transformers losing power

*Seeing my man intensely watching progress of the storm, by the blue glow of our tv

*Hearing the wind begin to shift and knowing the Hurricane is really going to hit our area this time

*Keeping watch over a specific tree, very close to our Master Bedroom in our backyard, as it went horizontal under the force of 70 mph winds pushing against it and then snap back in the calm.

*Hearing a moan and then a large crack....and then feeling the relief that the tree that had gone down was behind our fence

*Hearing another transformer blow and knowing, this time, it was ours

*Watching my youngest son sleep through the entire storm as if God put ear plugs in those precious ears

*Laying on the floor with my man and oldest son listening to the crackle of our weather radio and ALL our son's questions

*Drifting off to sleep around 6 am and the phone ringing...an anxious family member on a different time zone that just needed to hear our voices before she got on an airplane to London

*Seeing with our eyes, what we had heard with our ears, as the morning broke

*John Tyler, in his innocence, asking if we could to The Egg and I for breakfast, not having any idea that 4.5 million people were without power and that INCLUDED The Egg and I

*Endless rain and more wind

*Venturing out to see how others had faired

*Pine trees much taller than houses upended and many wedged in house, on powerlines and through garages

*Neighbors working side by side, in the rain, to clear downed trees and endless branches from each others' yards

*Watching my sons work alongside their dad, clearing branches and serving their neighbors, with enormous grins on their faces

*Receiving the endless amount of text messages from friends and family checking in and their endless offers to shelter and use generators until our power was restored

*My man marveling at how women WILL find a way to use their 50, 000 words...if even by text message

*Remembering to check our CallNotes yesterday and having 10 messages...all from the day after Ike, right as day was breaking

There are more glances but so many of you lived those very days with me in another part of town. Over 500,000 are still without power and those who have yet to see if their homes even still exists. There are people that have such great needs and are not complaining one bit. Remarkable survival skills, remarkable perspective.

Lord, please help me to remember this experience and let it shape my future reactions to situations and challenges. Please do not let this fresh perspective fade. And help those with the greatest of needs to remember, YOU have not forgotten them. Amen

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Look Inside

How many times has someone been living out something you had no reference for? It could be something as simple as being the mother to an only child or living with a chronic illness. There is no way for us to know exactly what another person is experiencing but it helps when someone offers a window of opportunity to look inside and see what is like to walk that road and how to be a friend and offer support.

The gal who writes Rocks in My Dryer offers a weekly invitation to pull up a chair and listen. "What I'd Like You to Know" are posts/stories that are filled with courage, grit, honesty and hope. What a tremendous way to really hear the best way to minister to someone who has a real need.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Than A Color

I live in a house full of boys. The only other resident in my house that might take my side on things is our Golden, Glory, and half that time that is only because I feed and walk her. And because of the blue dominance in my home, I am often drawn to pink. The cool thing is that many times, the pink items I am led to purchase are special products that support Breast Cancer Research.

I am not sure there is anyone whose life has not been touched by cancer in one way or another. I have seen friends and family fight it and are living to continue that fight and help others know how to fight. I have other friends and family who fought and then were healed by the Lord taking them home. It's something I knew about from a distance until last Spring. Now I can say I do understand the emotions, fears, and eventual surrender of what comes with that unknown.

There are two products that support Breast Cancer Research that have captured and held my interest. The first is Lean Cuisine's Carry on the Cause. I found out about these darlin' insulated lunch bags a little too late last year and was so bummed. I think these are just so fun and will have a hard time choosing just one.

The second is Warriors in Pink. Love, love, love these clothes and am about to take the plunge and purchase!

Pink. It is so much more a color.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I am a lover of Veggie Tales. You know, the talking tomato, cucumber and various other gourds with no arms or legs that teach our kiddos that God made them special and He loves them very much. My people seem to think that they have outgrown these wonderful high-budget films but I am hear to tell you, I welcome elementary explanation to God's Word at times. Heck, I am contemplating ordering the kid's version of Time magazine, just so I can get current on world events. My husband says I need to get my news from a more reliable source the Yahoo News. Hmpf. Maybe since Time Magazine Plus is geared for children it won't be SO liberal.....

One of my very favorite Veggie Tale movies is Madame Blueberry. She is a single gal that lives in a tree house and is so blue because she has a problem with coveting her neighbors possessions. Yep, this one hits home for all ages. So, to solve her problem, she has some consultants (they are Scallions, if you were wondering) from StuffMart come over and suggest what she needs to make her home complete, all while doing the StuffMart rap. Very funny stuff, bungee, bungee, here we go bungee, come on.

So she heads over to where happiness lives, StuffMart, to get the air compressor, wok, flannel shirts for looking grungy and a nose ring for her poodle. The Scallions convince her to put all this stuff in her basket until finally she says, "But I don't need a toaster oven." To which they reply, "Do you really need any of these things?" And off she goes, getting more stuff.

I have a confession....I have StuffMart moments. Maybe I visit a friends house and she has amazing decorating taste. Or maybe I get the itch to put in a pool because everyone is my neighborhood is putting one in (never mind the pine needles and mosquitos). We all have moments when what we WANT overrides what we HAVE.

Case in point...I went to Stuffmart last week.

I had this brilliant idea to update a few things in my home. A little here, a little there. Yeah, right! What you forget is that once you get started, lots of things need to be tweaked and the next thing you know, you are stressing out your spouse as he watches you walk from room to room mumbling something about wanting your home to look like Better Homes and Gardens not college rental property.

Ikea is one of those places that you go in for one thing and you convince yourself you NEED some other items. It's like it has some kind of hypnotic ability to render any Type A defenseless as you walk from room to room and see just how many ways you can organize your closet, pantry or playroom for such a small amount of money. You'll be happy to know that I did indeed only buy the chair I was seeking out at Ikea. No swedish meatballs or hanging shelves for me. No sir. I was locked on and I stayed strong. But the matching storage ottoman is calling my name. Did I mention they have childcare and a cafeteria? Seriously? They had some smart women on that
design team....nothing speaks to a woman's heart like childcare and food. Can I hear an Amen?

My point is this....none of us live our lives on the pages of a magazine. As women, we desire to reflect some since of style with the clothes we wear and how are home looks when we have guest over. But ultimately, our home is to be a sanctuary for our families, not a model home showroom. Find great comfort in the fact that your man and your kids have no idea what Shabby Chic, Vintage or Faux Finishes are.....they just like clean sheets, their favorite dinner and a mom who'll sit in the floor and play their game of choice. They want US, girls. Isn't that refreshing? Because the world wants so much more and offers nothing to fill us back up again after we have poured ourselves out for something so temporary.

Who knew that a post about kids programming and a home furnishing store would end up like this. HE did. I pray we can all recognize the Madame Blueberry in all of us and move toward being content where He has us. Ugh...growth is so painful at times!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I love products that make cooking easier. When sports seasons are in full swing, we are gone more nights than we are home and sometimes, I just don't WANT to eat Chik-fil-A again. I know, gasp! My people would eat it every night if we'd allow it. It is one of the few meat items W will even consume.

Enter Pillsbury's Crescent Recipe Creations. You are going to LOVE this wonderful new product. It offers one flaky dough sheet without seams...so no pressing seams together and no holes! Yippee!

Nice move, Pillsbury! And in celebration of their pure genius, here are two recipes to give this new product a spin. They are with the regular cresent rolls and cookie dough.

Chicken Baseballs

3 oz. fat free cream cheese, softened
2 tsp light margarine, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chopped onion
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 8oz can reduced fat crescent rolls (or Cresent Recipe Creation)
2 Tbsp skim milk

In a blender (or by hand) combine cream cheese, butter, salt, pepper, milk, onion. Blend. Pour mixture over chicken and stir. Separate crescent roll dough into four rectangles and seal perforations. Spoon 1/2 cup mixture into center of each. Pull opposite corners of dough to center and seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 baseballs

Sopapilla Cream Cheese Cake

2 Cans of Original Crescent Rolls
2 - 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
2 sticks of butter
2 cups of sugar
2 TB vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

Roll 1 can of crescent rolls on bottom of greased 9 x 13 pan. Mix 2 - 8 oz. cream cheese (softened), 1 stick of butter (softened), 1 cup of sugar, 2 TB vanilla. Spread the mixture over the first layer of rolls. Roll out the 2nd can of rolls over the cream cheese mixture. Melt 1 stick of butter and pour over top of rolls. Mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over top of butter. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Do not cover with foil. (too much moisture)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Up for a Challenge?

I have a confession....Challenges intrigue me. Especially challenges that provide a step-by-step guide to complete the task at hand. For example, when it became obvious I needed to step up my cardio by moving from powerwalking to actually running, I found the Couch Potato to 5K Program. I completed it, just as the directions told me to, and yes, now I can run 3 miles or a 5K. Then I found the Hundred Pushups Challenge, again, with step-by-step directions. (Can you guess that I don't cook from scratch?) I am now on week 3 I can complete 20 pushups on my toes in one set. It would be very difficult to make it to 100 pushups in 6 weeks, but I still have that goal to work toward. After I hurt a muscle inbetween my shoulder blades this week, Tray asked me why it was SO important that I actually be able to complete the 100 pushps. I didn't have a solid answer for him...I just knew I WANTED to be able to finish the challenge. This all goes back to this really frustating character trait I have of being a great started and a not so great finisher....but that is another post for another day.

Both of the challenges were great additions to my workout program, but really didn't have any impact on anyone except for ME. Now, what good is that? So, I'd like to share two challenges with you that will have a direct impact on your husbands and your kids. These challenges don't offer step-by-step directions, (don't let this be a deal breaker, Type As) but the directions are pretty crystal clear.

Challenge #1- This is a 7 day challenge that calls us to respect our husbands for 7 days straight....no yelling, no arguing, and see what God does. You might not agree with EVERYTHING she has to say, but I guarantee it will make you think and you'll take something away from it. Promise me you'll give it a try. Start here and scroll down to the very bottom of the post. It reads in reverse order. And it might help to have a visual reminder...like a rubberband or string around your wrist.

Challenge #2- This is a daily challenge that stems from the question, "Do I serve my family with reluctance or honor? What is my heart-response to all the day-in-day-out jobs of motherhood? In the words of Tony Evans, "If you cannot say, Amen, you'd better say, Ouch!" Start here and think of a way that you can write this reminder on your heart.

We're all in this together, gals, let's continue to share ways to serve in excellence.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just What You Wanted to Know

I was tagged by my sweet friend and neighbor, Tami Whitmarsh, to blog 6 random things about myself.

Here are the tagging rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you are tagged, DO IT and pass it along

So, here are my Random Facts:

1. I drove a 4o ft. shuttle bus at Texas A&M, so that means I had a commercial drivers license.

2. I am a marketer's dream. If I hear about something new, especially food, I HAVE to find it and try it.

3. Tray and I met Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, on our honeymoon cruise. Where did we meet them? We first saw them while taking a walk on the deck but we talked with them at length in the casino. Shhh, don't tell anyone I was in a casino, I'm Baptist.

4. I have never broken a bone and the first time I was ever in the hospital was to give birth to my 1st son.

5. My Mother In Law was one of my professors at A&M and I walked the stage and graduated with her on the same day that she received her PhD.

6. Someday I'll inherit a Precious Moments collection worth over $60,000. I pray my mother sells them ALL before that comes to fruition. If not, we are giving them away to each person who attends the visitation as party favors.

Tag, who's it? Ummm...I don't know who reads my blog and has a blog of their own to complete this challenge. Those who don't have blogs, how 'bout you answer in the comments section...does that work? And then get on the stick and create a blog, for the love!

1. Jenny Johnston
2. Michele Hackett
3. Kelly Marler
4. Nancy Monarch
5. Nancy Mattingly
6. Melissa Curtis

PS- Nicole & April, I think you are out there too! Feel free to give a shout out!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On a Mission

The first day of school has come and gone. It feels very odd not having my two 'shadows' with me.

Today I stayed home and made a big fat list of all the things that have needed attention and closure. I am seriously on a mission to get my house decluttered and get our photo albums up to date. Now, I am not a scrapbooker, but I do put our pictures in albums because our boys LOVE to look at them and that blesses me. Also on my list was to backup pictures and music on our computer to make it go faster. Yes, I am a computer genius, can't you tell? The Geek Squad and I are BFFs. Because it was quiet and I knew I would need extreme amounts of concentration and focus, I attempted to install an external hard drive on our computer that has been needed to be installed for quite some time (FOR THE LOVE! I could not get a live person on the phone and on top of that, their on-hold message was broken so it sounded like the Emergency Broadcast System on auto-repeat. And they lie....10 minutes until the next operator can help me, my behindy! I eventually just hung up, twice. Did I mention it DIDN'T come with a manual?).

I still have not gotten used the fact that I don't have to pick up W at 2:00. Checking my watch is a hard habit to break. And I also marvel at what I could accomplish in 5 hours....and now I realize how much more I can with the two extra hours! Apparently that doesn't include lavish dinners....Tray was so hoping for a wonderful array of deliciosa comida because I was at home ALL DAY without distraction. Unfortuntalely, we just had leftover barbecue sandwiches. In my defense, I have to adjust to the new routine as well...wink, wink.

What was amazing to watch Monday was how my youngest never looked back once that Yellow Dog rolled around the corner. He has been waiting to get on that bus for 2 years and yesterday was his chance. He totally robbed me of the 'getting on the bus' shot, all I got was his backpack and the darlin' girl behind him waving away. What I was also not able to catch on camera was his wide eyes taking in all that it meant to be going to school. I love that about him....that dude LIVES life. He is all about experience and often the consequence is worth the fun to be had. So basically, he scares the pants off of this rule follower.

As my Father-in-Law put it so well today, Men never turn back when they are on a mission. So true. I pray that I can spur in them a desire to be a light in their classrooms and an encouragement to their friends.

On a side note...if you are also on a mission and need a bit of help in the organizational area, take a peek at my friend's blog for her new business. Sometimes you just need someone to bring a little bit of vision and help you get the project back to ground zero. Like my car... for example. Did you know Car Spa does this amazing detail job that includes wash/wax, seat treatments, carpet shampoo and they blow out ALL the crevices. Seriously? They are offering me a chance to get all the goldfish and other miscellaneous snacks out of the deep, dark recesses of my 5 year White Knight? SOLD! Now I just need to find the 30% coupon.