Monday, December 29, 2008

My review of Seven Pounds

Spoiler alert: I'm gonna share my detailed thoughts of Seven Pounds starring Will Smith.






Turn away NOW if you haven't seen it & want to.





I'm warning YOU!




Fine then.




As soon as I got home the babysitter asked me "how was it?" The popcorn was great. Peanut M&M's divine. The movie? Not sure.

I think Will Smith is an AH MAY ZEENG actor. Seriously, he can pull off just about any role. From alien fighter to homeless dad....he's got it going on! And his performance in this is nothing but top notch. And I should know because...well, just because.

The problem was the story line. I LOVE the idea of giving...from your heart...your whole heart...just not sure I meant literally.

The idea of trying to reconcile the deaths of his fiance & the other car of strangers just doesn't work for me. It's like people who do, do, do good things hoping they'll get into heaven. They're amazing people. They have a kind heart. But did they ask for The Savior? Are they doing these things in His name? Or are do they believe "I'll get to heaven if I'm a good person" ?

I have a friend who said that to me once "I'll get to heaven if I'm a good person". It reminds me of Mark Beeson (our pastor) talking about how he explains the acceptance of Christ to people he encounters. He asks them to rate themselves from 1 to 10..based on how good of a person they think they are.

Got that? 1-10 based on how good of a person THEY think they are. 10 being Jesus - cause he's perfect. 1 being Satan - cause he's...well...the devil. Of course he throws in that Mother Theresa was probably a 9. I think he said most people will say they're a 4-6. He then explains that accepting Jesus is filling in that gap from 4-10 or 6-10. We need someone to fill that gap, because we can't do it ourselves.

You can't fill the gap w/ actions. But you can w/ Grace. You can't fill the gap w/ money. But you can w/ Mercy. You can't fill that gap w/ warm fuzzy feelings. But you can w/ Love.

Will Smith was obviously trying to fill a gap. A gap of guilt, shame, responsibility. I've felt that gap. I still feel that gap. Even though I know it's filled w/ concrete, I sometimes fear it's only quicksand. I have to be reminded constantly.

I think most in the theater felt, that when the movie was over...he had earned forgiveness. Forgiveness for the deaths. Forgiveness for the stealing. Forgiveness for the lies.

I didn't feel that way. Yes, he gave away a lung, a kidney, part of a liver, his heart, his eyes, his home & bone marrow. Those are all unbelievable things. But in order to do it he had to kill himself. He. Had. To. Kill. Himself.

You can see it in the scene where Will is stung by the jellyfish (& also when he gives bone marrow) that he's punishing himself. He wants to feel pain like his fiance did. He thinks that will somehow make things right. But we all know that's not the way it works. He's empty...not whole...broken...

I'm not a theologian, a biblical scholar or a good person for that matter, but I know that God uses broken people. In fact I would say He uses me MORE when I'm broken. To whisper a word of encouragement or bless someone w/ a hot meal. I'm more receptive to His guidance when I'm submitting...when I'm broken...

I just can't help but think about all the people in my circle of influence who are broken...looking for something to fill the gap. Maybe it's w/ good works. Maybe it's w/ sex. Maybe it's w/ drugs. Maybe it's w/ shopping. Maybe it ends w/ suicide. Maybe it's all of the above.

Maybe it ends w/ ME or YOU...showing up...pouring into...emptying out...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Disney's Desperate Housewives

ht: Lisa Donati - no link, just credit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Marriages I look up to

It was 1998. I was attending a Mary Kay retreat on the Oregon Coast w/ my Mom. I was a peon consultant, she was an upcoming director.

We were listening to someone speak (please Jennifer, don't ask me who. I can't remember). They asked us to write down the name of a couple whose relationship you respected. I wrote down the parents of a friend. They had been such a loving, funny, giving couple...ever since I could remember. I was friends with their daughter & had been since age 3.

My Mom had seen the name I wrote & immediately got offended. I didn't understand that she had expected for me to write her name down as the best marriage I had seen. It took until this morning in the shower, reliving that horrible day of arguing, for me to get it.

She yelled at me for quite awhile explaining that the husband had cheated on his wife at work. He'd gotten caught by fellow coworkers. The wife was humiliated in our small town where everyone knew. They had moved out of town to get away from the drama. (please note that all this info is hearsay, I don't know the exact details)

Maybe it's just me, but I respect that woman. To work through the trouble spots instead of giving up. Most of us would rather give up than put effort into our relationships. How easy it would have been to walk away. It must have been difficult to stay. To hash things out. To earn trust again.

I think of them so often in my own marriage. How would THEY treat each other if this happened? Would THEY be able to laugh this off?

I hope my marriage has the ability to help someone through their tough times. I bet this couple doesn't even know the effects they've had on me & my husband. I think of them quite often, even though I haven't seen them in 17 years.

Is your marriage an example of tolerance, forgiveness, diligence, love? Mine isn't always, but I put energy into it. If I don't...who will?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Angel?

Kenady burst into my office to tell me the news.

Kenady - "People who are really really really really nice...when they die...they become Christmas angels. Maybe Mema (my mom) is a Christmas angel!"

Me - under my breath "She wasn't THAT nice."

Kenady - w/ out missing a beat "Well, maybe she's a Halloween angel then."

For my brother

My brother & I used play this song over & over at Christmas. We even made up moves once. Which is hard because you had to run to the other room, hit rewind, run back before it started. Remember hitting rewind? Is that what we call "the good ol days?"



Here's another favorite.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

I love blondes. Really I do.

BLONDE IN THE SNOW
It was snowing heavily and blowing to the point that visibility was almost zero when the little blonde got off work. She made her way to her car and wondered how she was going to make it home. She sat in her car while it warmed up and thought about her situation. She finally remembered her daddy's advice that if she got caught ina blizzard she should wait for a snow plow to come by and follow it. That way she would not get stuck in a snow drift. This made her feel much better and sure enough in a little while a snow plow went by and she started to follow it.
As she followed the snow plow she was feeling very smug as they continued and she was not having any problem with the blizzard conditions. After an hour had passed, she was somewhat surprised when the snowplow stopped and the driver got out and came back to her car and signaled for her to roll down her window. The snow plow driver wanted to know if she was all right as she had been following him for a long time. She said that she was fine and told him of her daddy's advice to follow a snow plow when caught in a blizzard. The driver replied that it was ok with him and she could continue if she wanted, but he was done with the Wal-Mart parking lot and was going over to Sears next.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

It's here! It's here!
Christmas 2008
I'm behind writing my letter.
I hope it's not late.

Life at our house has been nothing but crazy
With 3 little girls, there's no time to be lazy.
Each day in our house there's so much to be done
From sunrise to sundown we are all on the run.

Cyra is 9 now, and growing so tall.
She started 4th grade this year in the fall.
Her favorite pasttime is reading & art.
Anything Disney grabs hold of her heart.

Kenady is 5 & is loving school
She making new friends & is totally cool.
She picked up reading & spelling so fast.
I'm sure she'll be at the head of her class.

Campbell is 3 now & is as popular as can be.
She sees friends all over town from GCC.
She can sometimes be like Jekyl & Hyde,
But we're doing our best to bring out her best side.

Our dog Coco is still as cute as can be.
She letting the girls play with her...finally.
Mostly she just follows me around
And picks up food dropped on the ground.

Ross has some changes heading his way
A new job in Oregon starts in a few days.
Starting over is going to be a fun thing
Can't wait to see what this adventure brings.

Now for an update on little 'ol me
Just trying to be the best mom I can be.
Sewing, cooking, cleaning & clothes
No explanation needed, you all know how it goes.

Can't wait to see our family back home
It's just not the same talking to you all on the phone.
Pretty soon we'll be making another cross country move,
Pray that the transition is easy & smooth.

I'll pray for you all that your Christmas is blessed
By the One who gave us the greatest gift.

The Conforth family
Ross, Mandy, Cyra, Kenady, Campbell & Coco

We had so much fun taking this pic with Daley. The girls were laughing inbetween shots. I know we don't look like the Corleone family...but we had fun pretending!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

$100 challenge on WSBT Part 2

Here's the conclusion to our grocery challenge. I didn't know she was going to ask me what meals we made, so I started rattling off stuff I normally make. The truth is we ate 3 meals a day. No take out. No hot lunch.

Check out the final interview.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

$100 challenge on WSBT

I recently had the chance to help WSBT with an experiment. Can a family of 4 eat for a week? 3 meals a day. No frozen pizza. Just home cooking. (Yes, I know I have 5, but they are all small)

Check out the first of 2 interviews.

I'll post the vid next Monday of our final interview & you can see if I was able to do it or not.

Huge dead snake

We're moving


For those of you who aren't on Twitter...you should be...


If you were, you'd know that Ross accepted a new position in Eugene this week. He's taking off for Oregon the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. We're staying until our house sells.


Pray for a quick sale!! I don't think we'll be able to be seperated for that long.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Halloween family night

I have been so bad about taking pics & posting our family nights. I've gotta figure out how to categorize them too. Kem said it's easy, but I don't think so. If anyone wants to help me...I'd love it.

We had a fun time going through the dress up buckets & figuring out what everyone was going to wear. We ended up w/ a butterfly, a princess, Minnie Mouse, Popeye & a ballerina. I was supposed to be Olive Oyl, but didn't think anyone would know who I was since Popeye was out trick or treating.

Speaking of trick or treating... the family got invited to go on "the trailer" this year. It's full of parents, kids, a keg & candy..good times..good times.

Here's a pic of the family.


Next we carved pumpkins. Cyra chose Minnie Mouse.


Campbell chose Mickey Mouse.


I carved mine for Ross...Jack Skeleton.


Ross carved his for me. Even though he thinks emoticons are so high school..he made one for me.


For some reason, we didn't get an individual pic of Kenady's but here it is in a group shot.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rodney Atkins & Winston Churchill knew what they were talking about.

This song describes the passed 4 months of my life. Trying not to slow down...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

School art projects

I have a HUGE bin full of my kids' art projects. I'm sure all of you do. I know you keep each & every scrap of paper that your kid has drawn / scribbled on right? I thought so.

Well, I only keep the top 10%...the creme de la creme...of the art projects.

But, I have a pet peeve when it comes to kid art projects.

You see, I used to teach an after school program to low income children. One day I planned a project where we were using different items to make a collage. Some of the items were feathers, bit of scrap paper, buttons, broken plastic toy bits, dried beans, peas, noodles...and much more.

The kids were all sitting around the table w/ their glue, paper & bowls of treaures to start their project. I walked around supervising. Helping little ones squeeze the bottle. Encouraging. Whatever.

Some kids were just dumping stuff on the paper. Some were drawing a pattern & being very precise. But there were 3 kids, 2 boys & a girl, all siblings. They were picking out the dried beans, dries peas & pasta. The kids were stuffing those specific items into their pockets.

I watched for a minute until it clicked. These kids were stealing only the food items. They were hungry.

I seized that moment to say "STOP". I explained that I just realized that maybe we should be using such a valuable resource, such as food, for art. We take food for granted in our country. And here I was gluing it down while 3 kids in my class were hungry.

I gathered up the last of the food items & carefully stuck them into the eldest boys' backpack. I didn't have to say anything. He knew, that I knew.

I will never use food as a craft project again. I also encourage my kids to say no when it comes to projects at school that use food items as craft supplies. When a craft project comes home that does use food, I simply tell my story to the teacher.

Whatcha think? Should food be allowed for craft projects at school or daycare?

Friday, November 7, 2008

President Elect

To be totally honest, race did not play a card in this election for me. I heard one reporter say that voters my age were color blind. We didn't take race into consideration. I guess I'm one of them. I voted on issues alone.


I kept hearing news anchors talk about how momentous this was...that an African American man would be in the White House. I didn't see the importance...until I saw this picture.


It gave me chills. The good kind.


I found the picture above posted on Rebecca Woolf's blog - Girl's Gone Child.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

She's passionate...I'll give her that...

This morning Cyra woke up early to get online & see who had won the election. She was rooting for McCain even though most of her friends were rooting for Obama. One friend in particular, she was very surprised about. She said "I thought we believed the same things."

Cyra's explanation for supporting McCain was that the Govt doesn't have the heart of Jesus to be able to care for old & poor people. She also said that she was against sucking the brains out of helpless babies.

Yeah.

So last night she was rummaging through the newspapers, searching for a picture of Obama. I asked her "what for?" She wanted to make a collage w/ a big red X through Obama's face to put in her folder at school. Just to irk her friends.

I let her know that in the morning we would have a new president either way. And out of respect for that man, and those who voted for him, she shouldn't be hurtful. Not to him or to her friends.

It was a good lesson in loving others. To not alienate yourself from others who don't believe the same things as you do.

I don't agree w/ Obama's ideals. I never will...unless they become WAY more conservative. But I do believe God can use anyone to do His will.

He's used me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

1 more B4 11 04

Next year's costumes...I wish

Voting & your pastor

Tim Stevens posted a blog earlier in the week asking for his readers to convince him one way or another...if he should share whom he's voting for.

I've had numerous conversations over the passed few weeks about this very topic. Folks are saying that if their pastor spoke on the act of murder and then voted someone in to office who is pro-choice...they would stop attending.

Tell me. Can your pastor preach one way & vote another & you would still follow his teaching?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eating Out

My family used to LOVE to eat out. Torero's at least once a week.

But since we've started eating healthier, my family gets tummy aches when we eat out.

It seems in Granger, folks eat out quite often. We get a Sam's Club pizza once / month. We substitute a casual sit down place maybe 4 times a year & a nice restaurant once a year. Well, and we grab fries from the drive thru once a week.

How often do you eat out w/ your family?

For Raianne

I don't usually do these things, but Raianne asked me to. I simply could not deny her...

1. WHAT TIME DID YOU GET UP THIS MORNING? 6:44
2. DIAMONDS OR PEARLS? I don't like jewelry. Except my ring. Diamonds.
3. WHAT WAS THE LAST FILM YOU SAW AT THE CINEMA? HSM3
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW? Boston Legal
5. WHAT DO YOU USUALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? Pepsi & whatever else I grab.
6. WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME? Claire
7. WHAT FOOD DO YOU DISLIKE? brussel sprouts
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CD? Prince - anything.
9 . WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE? Lincoln LS
10. FAVORITE SANDWICH ? Roast beef w/ mayo, heated up
11. WHAT CHARACTERISTIC DO YOU DESPISE? Controlling
12. FAVORITE ITEM OF CLOTHING? My slippers
IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD ON VACATION, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? Disneyworld
14. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BATHROOM? Pale yellow
15. FAVORITE BRAND OF CLOTHING? Whatever is on sale
16. WHERE WOULD YOU RETIRE TO? Cabo
17. WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY? 27th My first w/out my Mom
18. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Cheerleading
19. FURTHEST PLACE YOU ARE SENDING THIS? Sorry, not sending it anywhere
20. WHO DO YOU LEAST EXPECT TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? See #19
21. PERSON YOU EXPECT TO SEND IT BACK FIRST? OMW - don't you listen?
22. FAVORITE SAYING? Not sure...let me think on it.
24. ARE YOU A MORNING OR NIGHT PERSON? night
25. WHAT IS YOUR SHOE SIZE? 6
26. PETS? A pomeranian (Cora Estelle / Coco) & a betta fish (Frito)
27. ANY NEW AND EXCITING NEWS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? We're still hanging on financially. That's pretty exciting considering the 80% decline in our commission only job.
28. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE? A ballerina
29. HOW ARE YOU TODAY? Pretty good. A little tired.
30. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY? Toffifay
31. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER? Don't like flowers. I like banana plants though.
32. WHAT IS A DAY ON THE CALENDAR YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO? Thanksgiving
34. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Ritz crackers
35. DO YOU WISH ON STARS? Nope.
36. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Brown or red
37. HOW IS THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW? Frosty
38. FAVORITE SOFT DRINK? Pepsi
39. FAVORITE RESTAURANT? Torero's
40. SIBLINGS? 1 brother
41. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR? Christmas
42. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHild? Monchichi
43. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer
44. HUGS OR KISSES? hugs
45. COFFEE OR TEA? neither
46. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? vanilla
47. DO YOU WANT YOUR FRIENDS TO E-MAIL YOU BACK? Yes
48. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Yesterday
49. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED? Air & probably a little dust
50. WHO IS THE FRIEND YOU HAVE HAD THE LONGEST? Kim Bolton (Snauer)
51. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? Carved pumpkins & watched Boston Legal
52. FAVORITE SMELL? A baby's head
53. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? A stolen / injured child
54. SALTY OR SWEET? sweet
55. HOW MANY KEYS ON YOUR RING? 2 fobs, 3 keys
56. HOW MANY YEARS AT YOUR CURRENT JOB? 9 (a mom)
57. FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Saturday
58. HOW MANY TOWNS HAVE YOU LIVED IN? 6
59. DO YOU MAKE FRIENDS EASILY? Yes!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trunk or treating

We used to live in a small town & went to a church that skillfully protested trick or treating.

Our church rented a small fairground & filled it with fair type games. Darts & such. The prize for participating in each game was a candy or small toy. Everyone dressed up. It was a fun alternative to trick or treating. Too crowded, but fun for kids.

A neighboring church did trunk or treating. Their congregation would sign up to hand out candy from their trunks to kids in the community. They had a decorating contest to see who in the church could come up w/ the best themed trunk. One year my SIL did Christmas. Blow ups, lights the works. I didn't get to see it, but knowing her I'm sure it was amazing.

Here's my gripe about trunk or treating... isn't it just luring kids w/ candy to a stranger's car?

I know the intent is different. But the concept is the same. And in the mind of a 5 year old there is no difference.

I also question the lessons taught by going to ANY stranger's house asking for candy. We only visit people we know.

What do you all do on Halloween?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm missing her tonight

When I was in the 3rd grade, my Mom asked me to sing "Let it Be" at her funeral one day. I said "Ok. But you have to play Purple Rain at mine"

I couldn't sing Let it Be at her funeral. I gave up singing in the 11th grade. But we did play it.

Sometimes I listen to it just to remember her.

Sometimes I just need to cry.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Political cartoon


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Soup

This is one of our Fall / Winter favorite soups. It's cheap, easy & tastes delicious. Here you go:

3 chicken bouillon cubes
3-4 C. water
2-3 sliced carrots
1 sliced stalk of celery
1/4 minced onion
Cook on medium until veggies are semi-tender
Add:
1 large diced potato.
Cook until semi-tender
Add:
1 C. frozen peas.
2 heaping handfulls of dry pasta (any type)

Spices:
I use garlic powder, salt, pepper, basil & oregano to taste. I add the salt & pepper at the end, but the others at the start.

When the pasta is cooked through, add:
1 can cream of chicken (any cream of soup works, but if you use celery be careful how much salt you add)
2 heaping handfuls of shredded cheese.

Once it's all melted...it's done. I have to taste mine a few times to make sure the spice combo is right, but that's part of the fun right?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bailout

The blogosphere is all over this bailout decision. This is such a scary time in most of our financial lives. That is unless you are debt free & don't have any gov't backed loans.

Here's what I know.

We don't live within our means. And by "we" I mean most Americans. I know many folks who make 50k a year & live in a 400k house. Seriously. Who did that math? What banker looked at those numbers & said "sure! I'll loan you 400k. As a matter of fact, let do it via an 80 / 20 loan or an interest only loan so you can avoid mortgage insurance & you can LIVE YOUR DREAM!" That banker is selling a lifestyle, not arranging responsible mortgage loans. Whatever happened to 3% down or ANYTHING down for that matter. Loan officers are approving people left & right that really have no business getting a loan that size.

Even worse is the fact that the Federal Government hasn't stepped in to say "Whoa...this method of loaning money isn't working. The risks out weigh the benefits." The banker isn't saying it because, he got his money. The Gov't isn't saying it either. People were taking out large loans which (ideally) would mean large amounts of $ coming in. But now, responsible homeowners are being punished because these bankers & govt officials didn't do the jobs they were hired to do.

But I think there's another layer. What about personal responsiblity? Why on earth would I find it ok to get a 400k loan if I only made 50k a year? Several reasons. 1)I think people aren't taught personal responsibility at home. Our parents shelter us when it comes to consequences. 2) We don't have enough knowledge where finances are concerned. Most HS finance courses are developed by credit card companies. Hello? Red flag.

If the Gov't doesn't buy these loans, they could be called. Which means you'll have 30 days -6 months to pay your loan in full. Yes, IN FULL!! Which bank are you going to go to, to get a loan? You won't be able to find one. Many will lose their homes in this situation. Those that have cash on hand will have the opportunity for some great buys at that point.

If the Gov't DOES buy all of these loans, they could hold on to those that are being paid by homeowners. Those that aren't being paid could be sold (yes, maybe at a loss) but that money could be loaned out to recoop that income several times over. Then, when the market picks up again, those loans could be sold to banks at a large profit. I MEAN LARGE. Trillions.

One fear is, the Gov't may find some charity to give the housing to at little or no cost & that income will be lost. Yes, the charity will benefit. Don't think I'm not for charity, but this is a HUGE deal for our economy. Especially when discretionary income is at an all time low.

I don't claim to know everything about this situation, but I do know a lot about the housing market.

Would love any input on this subject...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do Something

I'm loving the new vibe Mandy Thompson's blog has. If you haven't seen it...check it out!! Seriously, some folks over there are changing the world.

I just don't know where I fit into all of it. I'm not good at listening to what God wants me to do, to be a part of. I usually come up w/ my own ideas, and then get worn out.

For example: I decided in 04 that I was going to use all my Mom's old fabric & make baby quilts for the Eugene Mission. I had the stuff, I had the machine, I had the time, I had the skills. The first few were beatiful. Flawless. Warm. I even quilted John 3:16 into them.

The next few were less quality. The last few were thrown together. I was so worried about quantity that I gave up on quality. I ended up making 17 of them. The Mission was grateful, but I was disappointed in myself. I wasn't giving my best to these folks even though they deserve it.

How can I stay focused in my "Do-ing" for others instead of getting off track so easily?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Disney 2008 Part 1

Heading out to Disney was so much fun! This time I had only given myself a few days to pack, so I made these huge lists w/ everything I needed on them:

snacks
ibuprofen
map
tickets
laundry soap
hundreds of other things.

We left at around 11:30 headed to Indianapolis. We stopped at Cici's pizza for lunch. Ok, that place is just weird. Mac n cheese pizza? Seriously? Weird thing is, my kid LOVED it. I loved the breadsticks & the cinnamon rolls. Mmm...


We stayed at the Adam's Mark hotel. It looks better in the pictures than it did in real life, but it had 24 hour shuttle service to & from the airport. The property was kind of 70's so it was fun to explore. We found this section of leather couches in a small lobby out back. We stayed there relaxing w/ a drink & letting kids run. It was fun. Sorry about the fuzzy picture. I was trying to keep up w/ the fam!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kem's bday

This is Kem. It's her birthday weekend. She's 40. I know...she doesn't look 40 does she? She doesn't ACT 40 either...as if you couldn't tell by the pic I posted.

I've had the chance to spend minimal time with her, but can tell you that I want to spend more. She is full of energy, love, passion & has a great sense of humor. Twisted, but great.

Our families have enjoyed time together. I've spent time with her kids. She once twittered me in a time of need. Our hubs golf together. I hope that doesn't all end, when she realizes what I've done to her blog & twitter over the weekend. BTW - head over & leave her a bday comment. it's ok if you don't know her...she's friendly like that.

Kem - I adore you. I hope this weekend was memorable. Can't wait to see you. And....your hubs made me to it. =)

Friday, August 29, 2008

KEM'S BLOG HAS BEEN HIJACKED

It's true. Kem's hubs Mark highjacked her blog.

Check out the video below. Then go to her blog & check out the cool videos & comments folks have left her. Even better, write a bday post to her, then link it in the comments.

She'll have access to it on Sunday evening, so let's send as many well wishers her way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sunday Setlist

I have been so lazy lately about charging my phone!!! I haven't been able to take notes at church as to what songs we're singing during worship. Excuses, excuses right?

Here's our list this week:

I couldn't place the intro song...who knows it? Go listen & then come back & tell me...it's driving me crazy.

Today is the day - Lincoln Brewster
Everlasting God(Today is the day) - Chris Tomlin
You never let Go - Matt Redman
My Glorious - Delirious

Spotlight songs -
Gravedigger - Dave Matthews band
The House of God Forever - Jon Foreman

Here's the link to the service. Click on watch the service entitled Fear of Death. The video at the end was too much for me. I was wrecked.

Check out Fred's blog for more Sunday Setlists!!

Family night

We have had several family nights since my last official family night post. Truth is, I'm working so hard on getting pics of the activities, food & kids...I wasn't enjoying myself.

This week's no different. It was Disney night, we were busy, I got no pics because I was busy enjoying myself.

Here what we did. For a centerpiece we had a mini suitcase w/ Disney stuff inside, stuffed characters around the house & food...lots of food.

We had Pizza Planet pizza, mickey & cars shaped pasta salad, deviled eggs w/ sliced olive mickey ears & our guests brought cupcakes & fruit salad.

We played Disney Scene it & told each other the things we're looking forward to the most about our upcoming trip.

Tiffany was so nice & brought the girls Disney themed notebooks & pens.

Tiffany works w/ hubs & is taking her family to Disney the week before we go. But, we overlap 1 day so we're hooking up at Chip & Dale's campfire singalong before they leave.

It's so much fun to share family night. And even w/ no pics, the kids will remember these for years!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This just in

When you post music on your blog...it makes it very difficult to read. The music distracts from your content. Wait, maybe that's your plan!?!

I like the feel of checking blogs manually, instead of using RSS. Seems to be more electric. More of a community.

Listening to The Killers while looking at your baby pictures ruins for me.

Boomama did a poll & that was the #1 complaint...music on blogs. I saw a huge decline in the use of music after her findings were posted. I ended up reading several new blogs because they had gotten rid of their tuneage.

Does music on blogs bother anyone else? Or is it only us Boomama readers? Do you RSS your favorite blogs?

Things are changing

I've been absent from the blogosphere for about a week now. I was still commenting & looking at all of YOU, just not writing my own posts.

Our life is hectic right now. But that's about to change...sort of. Here's what's been happening:

The girls started school. Cyra loves her teachers & so does Kenady. I had a mishap w/ one of the parents in the K class that had me in tears for a day & made me reconsider homeschooling. It was nasty. Both of their teachers say they are smart & respectful. That makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside. =)

It's no secret that the RV industry is in a HUGE slump. We receive a small salary, but mostly commission. That commission is currently down 40% & looks like it will get worse before Winter hits. Yikes. So we had a yard sale to help make ends meet next month. We walked out w/ $410. Not great, but considering we only had small stuff..pretty good. We also had someone look at our Excursion. If I'm not driving GS around this year, I really don't need a big vehicle. We're going to take the cash & buy a little car.

Yep, you heard it...no GS this year. I've decided instead to start working again. My neighbor has graciously offered to get me a job at a hotel. I love working at hotels. I'll either be swing shift or graveyard (please pray for swing!). This will bring in enough income to cover the disequity in hubs' paychecks!!! So GS is out. If I'm working swing, I wont' be available during after school hours. If I work graveyard, I'll be sleeping during those hours.

I want my girls to see that if things get rough, we all have to chip in. Dad will change his hours at work. His boss was great about understanding our financial need. Girls will take on more chores & Mom will be bringing in some big bucks (not really).

Two things I'm thankful for right now:

1)Last night's sermon. I hold on to so many worries, doubts & fears. I forget how big God really is. Even though He's shown me how much I matter to Him...I still think my problems are too big. I'm going to change that "stinkin thinkin".

2)We have minimal debt. Hubs & I completed the Dave Ramsey class last August. We still have our small house payment & 1 car payment (it's worth SO MUCH LESS than we owe). We'd have to take out a loan to cover the diff. I can't imagine how stressful it would be if we hadn't taken care of all the small debt we had accrued.

I just wanted to let you all know where I had been lately. Busy with life...and learning to love every minute of it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My kid likes to wipe herself

My littlest Campbell is awesome at using the potty. She has a Dora potty seat for inside the house & a Pooh Bear potty for in the car.

When we're out, I just open up the barn doors & she goes right there in the back of the Excursion. Like so:
he refuses to use "toilet papers" when we're out. Yuck.


At home, she uses her Dora potty. After she goes, she insists on only using "ONE SQUARE OF TOILET PAPERS!"

None of these pieces made the cut. It can't have a tad missing. It can be a tad bigger. It has to be JUST RIGHT!

If she doesn't go, she saves the "toilet papers" for later by tucking into her potty handle. I would say she's frugal because of that, but she just wasted 9 perfectly useful pieces of toilet paper...she BETTER save that usable one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Grade school punishment

I just got back from Kenady's Kindergarten Orientation. What a joke. We sat through an hour of description of what they're going to teach.

Seriously. Aren't you going to teach counting to 100, basic phonics, responsibility, respectfulness, being a good friend & SIT DOWN & SHUT UP. I prefer the majority of the school year be that last lesson. Just kidding...relax.

The teacher also gave us a list of rewards & consequences. Here is that list:

Rewards are Praise, Postive note sent home, Gold slip reporting good behavior & prizes from the prize box (which the teacher says she rarely gives out). These are all fine & dandy. My middle daughter would love to get any of these & will work her fanny off to get them. My oldest is all about the prize box....the other stuff is child's play.

Consequences: My middle daughter would be crushed if any of these things below happened. My oldest who is a self proclaimed comedian will give Mrs. Teacher a run for her money. This kid is the cream of the crop in every subject & makes sure to correct her teachers when they are wrong. YES - she has caught them doling out incorrect information to the classroom. I received a phone call from the teacher, that's how I know. She was trying to punish Cyra w/a phone call home for pointing it out during class. I said "was Cyra correct, or were you correct? Was she disrepectful at all? No? so you were just embarassed?"

Here are the consequences
First time: verbal warning - Kenady would be crushed & sobbing if this happened. Tender little thing.
Second time: name on board - why does this scare kids? All it means is that your teacher A. remembers your name & B. she can spell it accurately.
Third time: time-out & note sent home - this would scare me. My Dad would have been irrate. But not at me, at the teacher. I could do no wrong in his eyes. This became a huge problem once high school hit & boys were in the picture.
Fourth time: sent to principal - Cyra would be upset at this point. It would take the biggest punishment to get her to even THINK about changing her behavior. And I only think she'd be upset at this point because she'd lose some serious perks.

I got sent to the office one time for wearing too short of a skirt & an off the shoulder blouse. My Mom (who worked at the school) was called in as well. Mom's answer "I think she looks GOOD"

How many times were you sent to the principal's office & what for?

Driver's etiquette

I set off this morning to take care of last minute Kindergarten registration. OK - I totally lost my registration packet & had to have it re-filled out.

I pulled up to the kids' school & of course there are NO PARKING SPACES OUT FRONT. I pull around again & find one. It's at the very back where you have to be a good driver to get out...and that's if you drive a normal vehicle. NOT something the size of a school bus.

I run in a drop off paperwork. I get back in the car & start it. I look back & 2 cars were pulling into, and parking in, the turn around area. I hop out & asked if the ladies where just running in papers or staying awhile because I wouldn't be able to get out until they left. One lady was even sticking out at least a foot. I would have creamed her Yukon.

The ladies both say "do you want us to move?" Are you kidding me? Of course I want them to move. I can't get out until they move. They shouldn't park in the turn around anyway, let alone block a HUGE vehicle in. Move dangit, Move.."yes please, that is if you don't mind. Otherwise I'll have to wait until you finish w/ your lunch to get out"

They both slam it in reverse & move ...after being persuaded.

Sad thing is, I think one of them is one of my GS leaders. Maybe she didn't recognize me...or the fire in my eyes as I said "Please"

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I will not join them

Hubs & I are so discouraged. Please help us figure out what's happening. Maybe we're doing something wrong here & just don't know it.

We both lived in an area where we felt very connected & loved. We attended church each week & had a few couple friends there. These friends would come over every Sunday afternoon for family time. We'd potluck, grill, watch movies, play poker...whatever.

Our kids had their share of arguements but were thrilled to play together for the most part. I always had someone to call if I needed someone & vice versa. There was never a doubt that I had their support in my life.

Even now...when I have a problem...guess whom I call? Yep. My old friends from Oregon.

I knew that good friends were hard to find, but this is getting so ridiculous.

I am officially discouraged when it comes to meeting & hanging out w/ folks in Granger. I see a lot of the same folks each week at church or in my neighborhood, but no one responds when I leave a message inviting them for pie or drinks. We had a new neighbor move in & I stopped by (apparently they weren't home) with a box of Godiva chocolates & a card. Asked them to call so we could get together...*chirp...chirp*...nothing.

I've baked bread & delivered it to everyone w/ in a 2 block radius. I've volunteered myself to watch kids, water dogs, pick up mail...anything just to spark some interraction. They take me up on it, but it never reaches more.

The invites are never RSVP'd, who knows if the cards are even read...I sure hope they ate the bread, cause if not, they're missing out.

If one more person say s"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em"...I'm gonna scream. Please pray that THAT doesn't happen. I couldn't stand it if I'm stuck in a place where I just survive from one day to the next. It would kill me.

Tell me - what could I be doing better to encourage REAL interraction here?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fetus Friday #3

Fetus Friday is a carnival hosted by Amy Beth to help her Roomie learn all she can before giving birth in a few months.

I have to admit that I'm not the normal Mom after I give birth. I don't rest when the baby is resting. My house looks amazingly clean. I prepare great meals. All of that is because I feel so much better after that thing is out!!! In fact I had Campbell at 5:43 in the morning, left the hospital at noon, & attended a church potluck that night at 6. Not normal, I know.

The reason is that I get extremely sick during my pregnancy. Can't go anywhere. Lose some weight. The first I lost 23 lbs, second I lost 18 lbs, third I lost 16. Of course I gain it back (plus) after baby is born. =(

If you feel more normal after your birth (and by normal I mean...hit by a train) please accept help from those who offer. BUT, be clear. A lot of good meaning people just want to come hold your baby. Truth is...YOU'LL want to hold your baby. Tell them what you need help with. Laundry, freezing meals, grocery shopping, mopping floors....anything at all. My Mom came for a week and did all of this for me. Even though I didn't NEED it...once she left...it was a huge blessing.

You'll want as much quality time w/ baby during those first few days. Don't feel like you have to let everyone hold him just because they offered help. BTW - some of this fear will ease with each subsequent birth. =)

Another thing people will do is grab baby's hand & kiss it.....YIKES. Babies put their fists in their mouth. Your baby could have just gotten herpes...seriously. When people come up to my baby, I'm quick to put my hand up & say "I prefer you touch her hair & not her hands. She likes to suck on her fists." Surprisingly kids are cool with this...adults are not. But I WILL NOT risk my baby getting something nasty because I was worried about hurting people's feelings. I am their only advocate.

Of course you could just put on those little mitten things too. But I always had girls & painted their nails so...I CAN'T DO MITTENS! Here are some pics of my middle girl Kenady:

My brother holding her at 2 weeks.
Her little puckered lips...Mmmm...kisses.
This girl has some great eyelashes.
And great hair.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

bloggy break

I'm taking a short bloggy break to get ready for back to school. The kids go back in a week & I'm not ready!!!

See you all soon.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sunday Setlist Carnival

My family decided to skip church this weekend (GASP) & instead spent time at Bonneyville Mill. We watched wheat being ground by an old mill stone, played in a waterfall, picnicked & did some hiking.

BUT, I did get to watch the GCC service online & here's the setlist rundown.

1)Today Is The Day That You Have Made - Lincoln Brewster
2)Awesome Is The Lord Most High - Chris Tomlin

& a spotlight song Courage Is - Strange Familiar

I received several messages saying "only 2 songs? do you normally do more?"

Nope. We usually have 2 during the weekend services & several more during our mid week meeting. It's always amazing & God shows up...even in only 2 songs.

Here's the link if you want to watch. Go down to the sermon entitles Change Is Good & click watch.

School's starting

School is starting in 9 days! 9 days!

I remember my first full school year here. I went to Walmart w/ my oldest to get her list & buy what she needed. We searched at Walmart's list kiosk & our school's list is missing. Not one of the kiosk's had it. I asked a passerby & they told me that at Penn, we don't buy school supplies.

HOORAY! No school supplies? That'll save me about $30 for the year. Yippee.

Then I get a letter from her school. With a list of items that THEY will provide...for a HUGE fee.

Cyra's first year was $150. They have us buy new books every year!! Every year!! Where do the old books go? That's what I wanna know.

This year Cyra's school fee is around $165. Kenady's is $95. Imagine if you had 5 kids in school. That could put some people in a very bad way considering our area has lost over 1500 jobs in the past month.

The school will allow you to make no interest payments until February. But seriously...I do not want to get in the habit of financing ANYTHING. Not even interest free school supplies.

Anyone else out there have the same sort of school supply fiasco?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fetus Friday #2

It's Fetus Friday again. We're helping Amy Beth's roomie learn all she can from us veteran moms. Cyra & her lovely baby Christina are helping me this week.


My second installment is going to be on burping your baby. Colic is a nasty, dirty, horrible, very bad thing. Most babies get colic from gas not being able to escape their little bellies. OK - let's let out a collective "Ohhh....poor little thing" ...ok good.

First, when feeding your babe stop every once or so to burp them. Sit them on your lap like so

Start at the bottom of the baby's back, putting pressure on him, rub up. You'll know if there's a burp in there, because you can actually FEEL the air. I can't explain what it feels like, but they sort of wiggle when you get to the spot that's full of air.

It also works well to hold them on your hip, facing out. You can support their little neck & get your other hand around to work it out. Although this position encourages spit up...at least the spit up is AWAY from you.

Laying baby on your legs works good to. Either straight up & down or sideways. Both work. Use the same rubbing motion. Start the bottom, rub up w/slight pressure. Repeat. This will usually put baby to sleep, especially if you bounce your knees slightly.
I know it seems like burping is a small issue. I can't tell you how many moms don't do it thoroughly & end up w/ some nasty colic.

Better out than in right?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Family night.

Last night's family night was so much fun. We invited Kem Meyer & Mark Meyer (along w/ their kiddos) over for the event.

We started off w/ some chips & pureed frog skin & frog guts (salsa & guaco). We drank pond scum (7up & sherbert).

For dinner we had frog legs (chick tenders) swamp sludge (green mashed potatoes & green gravy) & lilly pads (salad). Dessert was a scoop of green ice cream w/ junior mints & gummy lifesavers for eyes. Kem's daughter doesn't like ice cream so we also had sugar cookies...but she did end up eating the ice cream too. =)
For fun, we made origami jumping frogs. Where I was accused of rigging the instructions so mine would be the only one that jumped. THEY WERE WRONG!

Then the kids played a frog throwing game. I laid out 3 lilly pads about 8 feet away & they had to try & get the frogs ON the plate.
The kids ended the night w/ some pool splashing.

The cost for the night was a little more than normal, but I had been saving on previous nights to compensate. We were at about $32.

It was so much fun to share our family night w/ others. We'll have to do that more often!

Check out Heather's blog for more posts on Family night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I've been tagged...

Last Movie I Saw in A Movie Theater? The Dark Knight.

What Book Are You Reading? Sex begins in the kitchen.

3. Favorite Board Game? Sorry.

4. Favorite Magazine? American Girl.

5. Favorite Smells? Chocolate chip cookies, Japanese cherry blossom.

6. Favorite Sounds? Piano music.

7. Worst Feeling in the World? That second just before you yak...it's nasty.

8. First Thing You Think of When You Wake? Pepsi

9. Favorite Fast Food Place? Jimmy Johns

10. Future Child’s Name - Kanyon

11. Finish This Statement - “If I Had a Lot of Money…. I would pay off any and all debts,bank the rest and live on the interest”...ditto to Jennifer's answer.

12. Do You Drive Fast? 2-5 MPH over the limit.

13. Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal - He's fluffy & he's an animal.

14. Storms - Amy Storms is cool, tornado type storms are scary

15. What Was Your First Car - 1969 VW bug.

16Favorite Drink -Pepsi.

17. Finish this Statement - “If I Had the Time, I Would…" - this is dumb, because I have all the time in the world, it's the $ I lack to do the things I want to do.

18. Do You Eat The Stems on Broccoli? if forced

19. If You Could Dye Your Hair Any Other Color, What Would it Be? Used to dye it red, but it's so spendy (or salty if you're in the midwest)

20. Name All the Different Cities in Which you Have Lived - Cottage Grove OR, Drain OR, Creswell OR, Selah WA, Yakima WA, Granger IN.

21. Favorite Sport to Watch? cheerleading or boxing. Combine both & that would be amazing.

22. One Nice Thing About the Person Who Sent This to You -She's a loyal friend!

23. What’s Under Your Bed? Air.

24. Would You Like to Be Born as Yourself Again? Totally

25. Morning Person or Night Owl? night Owl

26. Over Easy or Sunny Side Up? Scrambled or hard boiled

27. Favorite Place to Relax? At Jauncho's in Cabo

28. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Cold Stone Cheesecake.

29. Of All the People You Have Tagged, Who is the Most Likely to Respond First? nobody.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday Setlist Carnival

OK - so although I'm not in the paid ministry, I seem to be in this large circle of pastors & worship leaders on the blogosphere. Hence my post about our worship setlist last week.

Fred McKinnon is starting a new weekly carnival called Sunday Setlist. We post on our own blog the worship setlist & then link back to him.

This is going to be a great way for folks to share ideas!! Great idea Fred.

GCC this weekend used these songs to bring their attendees closer to God:

Heaven Come Down (Robbie Seay Band)
The Heavens Declare Your Greatness (Lincoln Brewster)

Where is the Love? (Black Eyed Peas)
Resistance (Aaron Neiquist) I was convinced I was going to hate this song (it ended the service)I'm so glad I was wrong. AMAZING!! It got a standing ovation at the Sat. 7:30 service.

Here is the link to the service. Go down to the Power AROUND you service and click watch on the right! It was awesome. Jason Miller knocked it out of the park!!!

P.S. - I love that the guitarist is wearing a TWLOHA t-shirt & Dustin (the drummer) is wearing pink.

P.P.S. - check out the new "commercial" for our upcoming series about change. Hysterical.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hepatitis song

Does anyone remember that Public Service Announcement about Hepatitis that used to air in the early 80's?

It's been stuck in my head for weeks. I'm hoping by "singing" it on the blog, it will somehow stop.

Here goes

Hepatitis has some symptoms we should learn to recognize.
Like fever, feeling very tired & loss of appetite.
Your tummy hurts, you feel real sick, you will not eat a bite.
Your eyes sometimes turn yellow where they only should be white.

So wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
Wash your hands after changing babies too.
Cuz we don't wanna catch hepatitis.
And we don't want hepatitis to catch you
Who?
You!

There I feel better now. BTW - I tried to find this on video for you all, so you could get it stuck in YOUR head for weeks get the tune, but no such luck.

UPDATE: Big thanks to PSPam for forwarding this vid to me. At about 1 min 50 sec you will hear the best Public Service Announcement ever created. It's not the original (obviously), but you'll get the gist.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Birth plans Shmirth plans

Hooray! This is the first week in AmyBeth's Fetus Friday Carnival. Head over to her blog & read why we are all excited for this time in her life.

First I have to bring attention to my oldest daughter Cyra Lynn. She is 3 days old in this pic. She was born August 12, 1999 at 8:06 a.m. Weighing 6lb 7 oz & 18 3/4 in long. She had the most beautiful black hair...*sigh*
Here's my advice...First edition:

Everyone (over the last decade or so) feels like they MUST have a birth plan. That's the plan you have in place that describes in detail what you want to happen in the delivery process.

For example I have a friend who decided she MUST NOT use drugs. Another one who wanted Enya playing in the background while she was laboring. One who wanted a video camera "down there" documenting that beautiful thing they call birth.

I had my first labor planned in my head too. And then my water broke. It was "supposed" to happen while hubs was home and on a weekend so I could immediately go back to work on Monday morning. Yeah right. It happened on the toilet. Splash. Uh oh.

Then I was supposed to labor for a day while I waited for my parents to come from OR. Nope. I didn't labor at all. Not for 12 hours. Once it did start...I. HAD. 36. MINUTES. TO. PERFORM. That's right 36 minutes from first contraction to delivery.

I had planned to have an epidural, but 36 minutes isn't long enough. Dang it.

So my advice is...don't have such a rigid plan. God has one for you & for your little one. You really have no say in the matter. Roll w/ the punches.

The pain may not be so bad that you need drugs (mine wasn't). You may decide you don't want TIME magazine documenting every curse word or exorcist type outburst (oh yes, you'll have a few). And you may decide to watch Wheel of Fortune instead of listening to your mixtape of relaxing music. "Can I have a W Alex. For WHY ON EARTH DID I EVER GET MYSELF INTO THIS PREDICAMENT. FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY...MAKE IT STOP!?!"

My Mom told me..."The only thing predictable about labor & delivery...is that it's unpredictable." Amen.

No matter how your labor goes, at the end of the day (or 2, or 3, or 36 min) you still have a beautiful baby in your arms. God intended it that way...so you'll keep reproducing. And you will actually WANT to take care of that alien that somehow got your cheek bones.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dinner at home costs pennies Part 2

It's been so much fun to calculate how much I'm spending on feeding my family each night. I think it's going overboard though. Now I'm trying to see how LITTLE I can spend on feeding my family each night (while not skipping on size or quality).

Tonight I'm making Bruschetta Chicken Bake. I stole borrowed it from Shannon over at Rocksinmydryer. Here the recipe & the cost was only $5.30 for my family!

1 19 ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained (or 15 oz can of tomato sauce)
1 pkg Stuffing Mix
2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic powder equivalent)
1.5 lb chicken breasts, cut into bit-sized pieces(I used 1 breast & 2 small thighs)
1 tsp dried basil leaves
2 cups Mozzarella shredded cheese, separated

PREHEAT oven to 400. Place tomatoes in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix and garlic. Stir until moistened.
PLACE chicken pieces in greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle w/ basil and 1 cup cheese. Top with stuffing mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Uncooked chicken sprinkled w/ basil & topped w/ mozzarella
Topped w/ stuffing mixture & more cheese.

Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class

Wall - E was such a great movie. Who else but Disney could keep kids occupied for an hour w/ only a handful of words? No one, that's who. I can't even do that w/ my own kids.


I love the idea of robots having feelings & wanting mates. I also love the awareness it brought to my kids. Buying all that "stuff" & then knowing it all has to go somewhere after it's lost its lustre (usually w/in 24 hours). I'm hoping I can use this story line next time they are begging for a new toy at Stuff Mart.

If you haven't seen it yet...GO NOW! It's really cute.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Positive Post Tuesday

This is my first time participating...feel free to welcome me with open arms. =)

I want to write about my friend Joan. Joan is the mom of 2 and works full time at a bank. She is a woman after God's own heart. Her oldest daughter is in my Girl Scout troop.

There have been so many times I've been discouraged in my role as their leader. It involves SO MANY hours of training. Which means babysitting costs, gas costs, time away from family & sometimes hubs taking time off of work.

I get very little thank you's or support from my moms. Except Joan. She is quick to say "thanks". She's quick to call when an email for help goes out. She understands that I can't do everything myself & doesn't "punish" me for that.

Because she works, she can't volunteer for everything. But does when she can (or sends hubs). They both have been a blessing to me this year. I'm grateful to have them in my life.

Friday, July 18, 2008

40 Day Fast

This is my day to participate in something called The 40 Day Fast (no I'm not fasting for 40 days!) There is a widget on the side bar that you can click for more information or to read the other bloggers' posts. This is an effort to bring attention to organizations that are feeding hungry people all over the world. Check out my teammate Randel's post.

I asked to write about Feed the Children. Check out their humble beginnings, and how you can help in all sorts of ways...big or small. They are committed to feeding families... and not just with food.

I have to admit that I've been feeling the need to fast for about a month now. The idea has presented itself several times while I've ignored it. Even when the 40 Day Fast sign up came out; I found myself signing up, but kept thinking "What am I doing?"

GET THIS: Once I signed up, our church did a sermon on fasting...No coincidence there huh?

Our pastor talked about saying "no" to basic desires. Desires that can take our time, attention & money. Like food. Like tv. Like Twitter. =/ All of the things that bring attention to "me" and my "comfort" my "enjoyment". If I take the energy away from these things for a short time, if I remove those dependencies from my life short term...Whom would I become dependant on instead? To Whom would I direct all that energy? Time? Money?

One of our pastors posted this quote out of Muhammed Yunus' book Banker to the Poor. It took my breath away.

"There are many ways for people to die, but somehow dying of starvation is the most unacceptable of all. It happens in slow motion. Second by second, the distance between life and death becomes smaller and smaller, until the two are in such close proximity that one can hardly tell the difference. Like sleep, death by starvation happens so quickly, so inexorably, one does not even sense it happening. And all for lack of a handful of rice at each meal. In this world of plenty, a tiny baby, who does not yet understand the mystery of the world, is allowed to cry and cry and finally fall asleep without the milk she needs to survive. The next day she may not have the strength to continue living."

I know some of you may already be involved financially with an organization. But let me say that sometimes giving time is just as valuable. Find out if you have a FTC distribution center near you. I go a few times a year and along w/ dozens (sometimes hundreds) of others...we pack MASSIVE amounts of boxes. We touch each item before it goes into the box. Some pray as they do it. Prayers of hope, that those who receive it will feel the love of Christ. Yes, the love of Christ sometimes comes in the form of beans, rice & toothpaste!

I have also distributed those boxes to families in inner city Chicago. Imagine pulling up to the projects in Chicago with truckloads full of food & personal care items for folks that are in some serious need. One little girl, about 3, was alone for the day. Her parents were at work and had left her to fend for herself. She spent the day with me. ME! She helped me hand out boxes to her peers. What an amazing gift for me, for her & for those people. I have prayed numerous times that she remembers that day years from now. That SHE was the face of Christ for her community.

Watch this video of our church members gathering in December (it was 4° that day) to deliver packed boxes to folks in our area from Feed The Children. After packing the boxes, then packing the trucks, we got to hand deliver the items to the actual families. IT. WAS. AMAZING. Praying with people. Helping people. Smiles. Love.




During this fast, my family is taking the money we save on food and giving it to Feed the Children. It's probably around $10. That will feed 1 child FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH.

We are the hands & feet of Jesus. Let's put on some boots & gloves and fight dirty. Are you in? If so, aren't you excited about what that sort of life will look like?

I don't know about you, but a lot of times I feel hungry. Hungry for just the right thing, to hit just the right spot. What if that included an increased diet of the Bible and some Living Water? I know it's a lot to chew on (ok, I'll stop now).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Vacation Clothes

UPDATE: I've had so many requests for the pattern. Silly me, I forgot to link it. Here it is ladies. Can't wait to see what you all find!

We've had a vacation planned since last August. And through extraordinary circumstances, we're still able to go even through our financial stress.

The girls started asking last week if they were getting new vacation clothes. Sometimes I'll get them a new swimsuit, shorts or dress. I decided to try & see what I could get for $20, which was how much fun money I had to live off of for the month. We went to Goodwill for 1/2 off day, but nothing tickled their fancy. I remembered a pattern I saw once where you used a men's shirt to make a little girls' dress.

We headed to the men's section & found 6 shirts (2 each) and bought them all for $15.

I've gotten pictures of 5 of them. The baby wouldn't hold still for the 6th. Check 'em out.


This Hula one was the hardest. The yoke in the back was round instead of straight. I did a lot of piecing, but it turned out adorable. It was a men's XL.

This orange one was a men's L. So cute. And it's super soft.


Kenady is so tired of being a model. She probably had 4 fittings for the straps. Sorry kiddo.

Cyra about screamed when she saw this flaming shirt. We call it "Little House meets Nascar".

This one was a women's XL and had long sleeves. I ran out of elastic, but as you can see, I'm using the sleeves as knickers.

My hubby was proud of me for taking the time to give them something new and teach them how to reinvent something. I just do it to see that look on their face & to hear "Mom, is my dress clean yet? I want to wear it AGAIN today."

Family night.

I have a weekly budget of $10 for our family nights. That's supposed to cover any decor, extra food, games or gifts. We are having guests over for our family night in 2 weeks, so we're doing our best to save $ on the nights preceding it. So, last night we did camping night.


We started off with tacos in a bag (or walking tacos). You crunch up any flavor of corn chips in their single serving bag & then add tacos fixings. You can then eat it out of the bag w/a plastic fork and have NO DISHES. That's what I'm talkin' about.

We sang campfire songs that Cyra learned at camp & some I know from being a counselor for so many years & from being a Girl Scout leader. We sang Baby Shark, There was a Moose, Princess Pat, Tony Chestnut, Swing Low, OREO and many others.


The kids made ice cream in a bag. You put sugar, milk & vanilla in a small freezer bag. Then take rock salt & ice in a large freezer bag. Put the small one, in the large one & pass it around (shaking it) for 5 min. (you can also do this inside a coffee can & make it "kick the can" ice cream.)We topped it all off w/ smores.

It was a fun (less work) kinda night. I like those kind. All I had to buy was the chocolate bars ($2).


Let me know if you do a family night....I always need new ideas.