Thursday, January 29, 2009
I am headed south for a couple of days for a baby shower for my sister, Sarah. I know it's going to be a great weekend! Not only are we going to a baby shower but it's also a special birthday for our daughter, Jessica this weekend. I'll share some highlights when I return. Have a wonderful weekend:)
Oh look there I am in Breakfast at Tiffany's! I am so glad I found my cat and true love in the end...
Now I'm feeling the need, the need for speed!
There really is no place like home...
I am hopelessly devoted to you...
Okay, I had way too much fun at this site and know you know how I spend my evenings when I can stay up late because we have another snow day! This last one is my favorite though don't you think? These really are a few of my favorite movies. Anyway, if you do visit the site... not all the pictures are family friendly so just be careful!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Snow days.... I actually love them as much as my children do. We found out last night that everyone would be home for the second day as a result of the snow. That meant sleeping in, playing in the snow, watching movies, my daughter's best friend spending the night, and of course lots of hot chocolate. Here are some highlights from today...
Outside our windows...
Sam and I had to check to see if the weathermen were right with their estimated prediction of 10 inches...
I have no idea what Jessica was thinking but apparently she was tracking me down to find out what I was doing...
Sam LOVES being outside. He literally could stay out here for hours. His favorite thing to do in the snow is build forts...
Ben enjoys snowboarding...
While Jessica had fun making snow angels...
I love these kind of days because it means that everyone is home...
My Jessa girl...
Even the puppies got to play for a little while...
Not only do my children like to play in the snow, but they like to eat it as well. I can remember making snow ice cream when I was growing up but they prefer syrup on their snow...
I looked out the window a little later and found Jessica and her best friend, Morgan, having "slushies"...
A day playing in the snow is not complete without having the BEST cold weather treat in the world... HOT CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BUTTER BREAD...
I can remember having this snack as a little girl when my Mom and Dad would make it for me as I would sit and watch "Born Free". Does anyone remember that show about the lion cub named Elsa? It was my most favorite show and I even have a stuffed animal of Elsa. That little lion cub is the reason why I wanted to grow up and be a veterinarian or Joan Embery (animal trainer at the San Diego Zoo). Anyway, there are 3 rules to follow in our family when having this treat... 1) never toast the bread 2) only use Jif peanut butter and 3) what makes this so good is dunking the peanut butter bread into the hot chocolate. YUMMY!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This week the Nester began a new series called 10 Minutes Till A Room You'll Love. On Monday she began with the family room and offered several great tips on how to make it just that- a family room. One thing that I struggle with, I mean have fun with is rearranging the furniture. I'm known for doing it. A lot.
We have lived in our house for just a little over a year now and there have been several furniture placements during that time. None of them had that "just right" feeling until this last one. And dare I say, there doesn't seem to be an upcoming desire to rearrange the furniture anytime soon. Even better than that is according to the Nester, I have done some things right! One being that when I placed the furniture, I moved everything away from the walls. Our family room is a fairly large room (really a great room), so I knew it would look absolutely ridiculous to have the furniture up against the walls. The second thing I did was to turn the furniture to the center of the room. This allows for intimate conversation and being focused on the people in the room, not the T.V. Two of the chairs in our room aren't even facing the T.V. In my other attempts to get that "just right" feeling in this room, I was pretty much squaring the room off with the placement of the furniture, but now I have angled every piece of furniture but still aiming for the center.
I was watching a little Barefoot Contessa while snapping some photos:)
I also still need to give my windows some famous Nester mistreatments:)
Other things that I like to add to making it a cozy and welcoming room are pillows, blankets, and quilts (made by my Mom). I can't snuggle up in a chair without having a blanket close at hand.
But as far as the pillows, they are for decoration only. Oh believe me, my family would love to lay their heads on these pillows but I want them to stay pretty and fluffy. Not dingy and squishy. That is what these are for. Again, thanks to my Mom.
I'm also a big believer in everything having a place. I love to use baskets for storage because not only are they functional but it looks nice too.
Another tip the Nester offered was to use lamps. We have a great ceiling fan in our room but I much prefer to use the light from the lamps. It's soft and welcoming and I'll do anything to make myself look 10 years younger.
Pictures... got to have them and the more the better in my book but it really is all about the arrangement of them because the last thing I want our family room to look like is a museum. I have them placed in different areas on our room from tables to walls.
I also say fill your home with the things that you love and find special ways to display them. Show off those shells you have collected at the beach, the bird nests you have found in the yard, pictures drawn by your child, and all the other special collection pieces that you hold close to your heart.
In the frame is a picture Ben drew of our dog, Anabelle.
What is a home without some history filling the rooms. From the family room to the bedrooms, there are pieces of furniture that have been passed on from my grandparents and parents. I love mixing the old with the new.
This table was bulit by my great-great-great-grandmother's father who worked @ a lumbermill in Pa.
Add some candles, music, laughter, conversation and some of this...
and you will find the family room.
What makes your family room a special place?
Monday, January 26, 2009
Last month I joined the 5:16 AM club that Sarah Mae is hosting at Like A Warm Cup of Coffee. The purpose of this club is to rise early and spend time with the Lord before the duties, responsibilities and everything else that can so easily take over our days. I have a confession to make though. I haven't been an early riser lately. I'm finding out that I am not the morning person I thought I was. I had a couple weeks of choosing time with Him over pushing the snooze button, but I have found myself these last several weeks pushing the alarm button and going back to sleep. You know the saying, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"? That's me these days. The thing is, I know how much I benefited from those early mornings with the Lord. It was so quiet. My mind was clear and focused and it truly made a difference throughout my day.
Even though I haven't been having my time with God first thing in the morning, I have spent time with Him during the day. The beginning of the year I wanted to do something new, fresh, and something I haven't done before when it came to reading my Bible. What I found was a Bible that is arranged in chronological order. I've already made my way through most of Genesis and have read through Job. These stories of faith never grow old and God is speaking to my heart through these timeless accounts.
This Thursday I will begin Believing God by Beth Moore with a couple of other women. We are women who are questioning, pursuing, wrestling, worshipping, loving, and choosing to surrender to God. I have shared before that this is a study that completely changed my life. I'm not one to do Bible studies more than once or read books more than once, but I really believe that this is one that you could do over and over again because of the truths and lessons that are given. I know there are new things to learn and opportunities for my faith to be stretched once again. The excitement and anticipation are already building. I know what God did in me before at the time of doing this study, so I have found myself asking Him what could He possibly have in store this time. A little scary, but I am choosing to trust Him on that.
Another spiritual discipline that I am trying to incorporate into my life is Scripture memorization. Another confession... memorization is hard! I've had times of complete frustration and defeat that I can't do this seemingly simple thing. I keep praying that God will make His words stick in my mind and that they will deeply abide me and bear much fruit. What I am learning though is that in my attempt to know (memorize) Scripture, that meditating on the Scripture and saying the words over and over again, is feeding my soul.
Even though I am pursuing and finding God throughout my days, there is something to be said for those early mornings. So, I'm getting my mind and my heart back to what those early mornings brought and hopefully tomorrow I will be an early riser once again.
Friday, January 23, 2009
This past Christmas I received this cookbook from my husband. Everyday Italian and Giada at Home are my favorite Food Network shows to watch. I love Italian cooking and after trying several of her recipes I have found that they are easy meals to prepare and in our family they are always a hit. Steve and I both dream of one day visiting Italy. So whenever we have Italian dishes at home, I think we both pretend we are sitting along the Tuscan countryside, sipping cappuccinos and eating Italian pastries for breakfast, or sitting on the steps of the Trevi Fountain in Rome having a piece of pizza and some gelato.
This is the only cookbook I have by Giada (yes, I am on a first name basis with her). Check my recipe book though and you will find many recipes that I have printed off from dishes she has prepared on her show. I honestly haven't found one that I haven't liked yet. Last night I prepared this dish that was deliziosa! It's called Orecchitte with Mini Chicken Meatballs and you can link to the recipe here.
Have a great weekend and I will see you bright and early Monday morning for the 5:16AM club.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Like many of you, part of my morning routine consists of blogging. Not only has this been a creative outlet for me but I have made connections with other women in a way that I truly couldn't believe would happen. I know that all of you fellow bloggers completely understand what I am talking about. Blogging really does provide that sense of community that women so desire. I have found encouragement, been inspired, challenged in my thinking, laughed and cried, and have felt connected to many of you out there just through reading about your daily life.
This morning while I was making my way around some blogs I have found this one. I LOVE the purpose of what this particular blog is for. They are getting ready for their "grand opening" with lots of give aways so go check it out. I will see you at the well.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I just wanted to share with all of you this audio set called "Elijah - Drive Thru the Bible" by Curtis Jones (Beth Moore's son-in-law). I occasionally read her blog and the latest post was actually written by Curtis Jones. To read more about this audio set as well as get some tips on giving a Bible resource to a man (these are awesome ideas girls and something we could all benefit from hearing) visit the LPM blog. Have a good one!
Monday, January 19, 2009
One of my favorite things to decorate with right now are stars and windows. It all started when my parents gave me these two window frames from their old house when they were replaced with new ones. This is a project that I did a few months ago to fill up a large space in out great room.
As far as I knew all the windows my parents had saved had been given away. I know that you can find these window frames at flea markets, thrift stores, and even garage sales if you are fortunate enough. I have seen them being sold from $35 to $60. I love the fact that that mine came from the house in which my parents lived. It's a great story isn't it?
Over Christmas, I got a phone call from my sister, Sarah telling me that my parents had more window frames in their garage and that she was going home with several of them. My parents weren't at all surprised when I called them and asked them if I could come over and get some too! I LOVE these windows!
While Sarah was here we went to a store here in town called the Flower Factory. They have some incredible deals sold at wholesale prices and you just never know what they are going to have. One thing they always have are these rustic stars in a variety of sizes and colors. This large one was only $9. Yes, $9.
These cream stars were just calling my name. I love all things cream and what I love even better is that each of these stars were under $2...
I actually ended up going back and getting several more along with some red and cream ones that I think will be so much fun for the 4th of July. Yes, I'm counting down for the warm days of summer.
So, tell me, what are your favorite things to decorate with?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I have found myself this week really paying attention to how God is working around me, in me and through me. It's so easy for me to get caught up in everyday life that I am not stopping and really paying attention to how He is working. Several years ago while doing the Believing God Bible study by Beth Moore, we were instructed at the end of each lesson to have a "Godstop". This was a place to journal in our books ways in which we were seeing God around us. Whether it was through circumstances, people, or even through simple things like the laugh of a child or witnessing His creation and worshipping Him through that, we were to write down how we had seen Him. I loved that particular section of the book each day because knowing I had to write something down ( I have a thing about leaving blank spaces) I forced myself to be a lot more aware and pay closer attention.
These last several months I have experienced Jesus in ways like never before. Not only do I want to experience Him, I want to recognize Him. I want to see with my own eyes what He is doing around me. Not because of a lack of faith do I say that but because I want to be one that doesn't miss out on His wonderful and divine acts that are taking place right before me. My faith is deepened when I am recognizing Him. In recognition, there is worship.Often when I am busy, consumed, overwhelmed, and distracted, I don't take the time to stop and take it all in. Take all of Him in.
God has really shown up in big ways in our family this week and I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that I have purposed to be on the look-out again. To have those "Godstop" moments.
I have seen Him in friendships. My sister, Sarah and her husband have recently moved to a new area. Moving to a new place means that everything else is new too. Finding a new church, new places to shop, and of course making new friends. One day, while perusing blogs, I came across Monica's blog. From what I read about her, I knew that my sister somehow needed to get connected with her because of something very special they have in common. I immediately called Sarah and told her about Monica and to check out her blog. Come to find out, Monica and her husband were currently living in Ohio (where I live), but were planning on an upcoming move to Tennessee where Sarah lives. Would it surprise you even more when I tell you that they were moving within 30 minutes of each other! All this to say (as women, don't we just love all the details!), Sarah and Monica, along with their husbands have shared a meal together, spent time together and it is the beginning of a friendship.
A new friendship has been made for me as well. A friendship is developing with a woman in our church that I have sat by and said hello in passing for several years. One day in October, she graciously took me out to lunch and since then God continues to grow us together as friends. We can share our hearts freely in being vulnerable and honest, share our joys and struggles, as well as encourage and pray for one another. We are two women who are trying to figure a lot of things out and along the way we keep finding Jesus. I am seeing God in a new found friend.
I see Him in my children's faces when we are laughing like crazy over old family videos. I love those moments when as a family we are absolutely delighting in one another and every care in the world is of no concern.
I have seen God reveal Himself to me through my husband too. Whether it's been through his actions such as a much needed hug without him not even knowing how much I needed one, or if it's been through his words and spiritual leadership. We have talked about things that really matter and God has come and given us peace, direction, and perseverance. This past month has brought some significant revelations to us as a couple and with every ounce of our being, we are surrendering, walking by faith, and trusting Him for what He has in store for us.
Our daughter, Jessica received her application for YWAM (Youth With A Mission) this week and a new chapter in all of our lives is quickly approaching. After much prayer, Jessica is pursuing going to the Maui campus where she will initially take courses in discipleship training and then spend time out on the mission field. I see God working in her when her faith doesn't waiver and she is believing Him for many things. I see a passion to serve the Lord, no matter what the cost, that can only come from the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
God has also revealed Himself in allowing us to be a part of someone else's spiritual journey. There is nothing like being with someone who is new in their faith or when God begins to make Himself known to someone who has lived their life without Him. To love, serve, and share life with those God brings into our lives is a privilege and I see God in that.
God is working and making Himself known all around us. All the time. Everyday. There are "Godstops" everywhere we look. Just open your eyes and see.
"And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD." ~ Ezekiel 38:23
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I'm sure that many of you out there have made the resolution to spend money more wisely this year. I know that it's one thing that I am always trying to do. These days, it's often hard though don't you think? I have recently started following Kellye's blog and she does such a great job of staying on top of the latest give aways, household tips (you've got to check some of these out) and how to get coupons. Today only, Suave is offering a coupon for a FREE Suave product. All you have to do is visit their site and submit your name and address. How easy is that and it's a couple dollars saved right?!
Monday, January 12, 2009
I'm always up for a good challenge aren't you? Last week, my friend, Kim, presented a challenge on her blog that I didn't hesitate to be a part of. All I had to do was be one of the first 3 bloggers to leave a comment on her post and in doing so, I would receive a handmade gift from her. Yippeee for me! I was #2!!! Now, let me just say that I have received a couple of handmade gifts from Kim before so I can't wait to see the fun, creative, and crafty thing she comes up with! Don't you just love receiving a special gift in the mail?
Now it's your turn to be a part of this challenge....
Be one of the first 3 bloggers to leave a comment here on my post. Those 3 bloggers will then receive a handmade gift from me. The first 3 bloggers can then pay-it-forward to 3 bloggers on your blog. All you have to do is:
~post this challenge on your blog
~ the gift can be anything you choose and any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item.
How about that for spreading some love around blog land!!!
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I just came across Kimba's post about making a Ragamuffin Pillow... go check it out and get busy on this no-sew project friends! I LOVE projects like this because I am far from being a sewer. I tried it once. Like back in 1996 when I attempted to make a maternity jumper for myself and a matching jumper for Jessica to wear to a Mother's Day event at out church. It was probably a tea party or something like that, and we were ever so cute. We were all dressed up in peach and cream plaid jumpers. What else would you expect... peach was the color the summer of 1996!
Anyway, I am going to get busy making some of these pillows... I love them! I also thought I would share with you the latest Ragamuffin Garland that I made for my friend, Carrie, who just had a little girl named Aubrey.
I've made one of these before but did this one for Aubrey a little different. I cut strips of fabric this time that were 16" long - I think it looks better. I also added the "A" and hidden in the fabric are a couple decorative hooks (drapery hooks) that Carrie can hang photographs or other keepsake items from.
Don't you think this is a fun way to spend a cold, wintery day?
Thursday, January 01, 2009
A few weeks ago I joined the 5:16 AM club that is being hosted by Sarah Mae. If you are looking for an inspiring, encouraging, and challenging way to start the New Year, check out her blog as well as the other women who are part of this club. One thing we do is share each Monday what God is doing in our lives or things He is showing us. I thought I would leave this last post up and use it for Motivate Me Monday. Have a good one friends!
As I pull out my new, crisp calendar for this year, I am reminded of the verse from Psalm 90:12 which says, " Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." When I took down the calendar from this past year, I went through each month where nearly every little box had something written in it. Days of appointments, anniversaries, school schedules, birthdays, vacations, lunch or coffee dates with friends, reminders, and even family nights that we had to schedule in. Really, it has been a condensed version of my family's life in 12 pages.
There are days that I can remember so clearly and yet others that I have forgotten as this year has come to a close. Whether there was something written for that particular day or not, each one held a significance of it's own. There were days filled with joys and celebrations - birthday parties, the first day of school, Jessica's appointment for her senior picture, Sam's first band concert, and the sleep overs Ben had with his friends. There were other days that were marked with trials and difficulties like the six weeks beginning in late September that Jessica battled a horrendous migraine.
The old calender has been taken down and the new one has taken it's place on the desk. A clean, fresh start. Besides where I have filled in birthdays, anniversaries, and school schedules, there is nothing yet to fill these pages. There are no reminders of things to do yet, items crossed out, or arrows drawn to other boxes. What will this year have in store?
Knowing that there is a new year ahead, I find myself thinking about how I will spend my time. How will I make my days matter and just like what was written in the Psalms, how will I number my days aright and gain a heart of wisdom.
This really is going to be a very significant year for our family. I have a lot of anticipation and excitement that is already building knowing a few of the things that are in store for us. Our daughter, Jessica will celebrate her 18th birthday the beginning of February. I still can't believe that this is where we are in our life right now.... where she is right now. With that comes the graduation plans - parties, announcements, and knowing that we really are on the countdown until the day she leaves. Oh, how I want to make these days count and matter. My sister, Sarah will be having her baby girl this Spring. A baby that has been dreamt of, prayed for, and hoped for. This summer will hold the celebration of our son, Sam, turning 13 - officially a teenager. I can only wonder what these days will have in store. Once Fall rolls around, we will begin school again. This time I will only be sending off two. Jessica will be finalizing all of her plans and preparations as she gets ready to leave for YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in either Maui or Australia. This will definitely be a year like no other. A year of being in new places and many opportunities for my faith to grow and be stretched.
From January 1 to December 31, the days are already numbered and God knows exactly what each day is going to hold. I find such comfort and peace in knowing that. There are no trials yet that have been part of the new year, but neither are there any joys either that have graced them. There are 365 days for me to let slip away or to make matter. The choice is ultimately mine.
God has been teaching and showing me so much this past year about living a purposeful and intentional life. I know this lesson will be one I continue to learn as I begin planning and numbering my days this year. I really want my days this year to be ones of knowing that I have surrendered myself to Him and am allowing Him to use me - wherever, whenever, and however He chooses fit.
I am going to allow Him to be the Planner of my days and find the peace that comes from knowing that I have yielded my plans. I will trust Him for the details that each day will bring.
To number my days well also means that I am in His Word - reading it and memorizing Scripture. Learning, growing, allowing it to change me and hearing Him speak personally to me through His words. I also want my days to be filled with worshipping Jesus and pursuing Him above everything else.
I know that there will be many days in this new year that will be filled with insignificant things and daily tasks of little consequence. Even in those I want the Lord to be glorified and I want to know Him in those mundane tasks. Even the mundane can become divine.
So, I give this new year to the Lord. I pray that I am a woman that does the tasks that He has called me to do and that He finds me available. In all of the busyness that I know will come, I don't want to make my plans and then wonder if I have allowed Him to fit in somewhere. I choose to seek Him first. I pray that He gives me a heart to learn and a heart that finds enjoyment and peace in all the details, no matter how big or small. I just want to see Him in it all. I pray that He will give me the gentle reminders of when I need to slow down and get re-focused. I want to know and recognize His voice in the midst of my days, whether it's a quiet whisper or a tender shout. To know and experience His presence all of my days.
"Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." ~ Psalm 139:16