Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

the cross in christmas from tammi dryden on Vimeo.


Make sure to enlarge the video to full screen to fully enjoy it. When you hover your cursor over the video, you'll see a four cornered symbol by the word Vimeo that will enlarge it for you.

Love,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

So My Mom Tells Me...

...You aren't supposed to take a picture of a turkey from this angle, and I should be ashamed of myself.

 LOL




Oops!  : )   


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Verse Novel Challenge

Soooo....I may have mentioned a few times about my new love affair with verse novels.  OK...I admit my friends and family are sick to death of hearing me gush about them.

Well, now I'll tell you who you can blame.  : ) 

You can blame Amy, at The Green Bathtub.  Amy is a writer and loves good books AND she now lives in the town I grew up in.  Finding her online was a cyber match made in heaven that I'll have to blog about another time.  I love her blog, and when she mentioned she was a part of a challenge to read five verse novels this year, I thought, "What's a verse novel?"  I was mildly interested, but wondered if I would actually like reading a whole novel written in poetry.

Uh...I liked it a lot.  Just ask my sink full of dirty dishes. 

I know many of you are thinking, "Yuck!"  Trust me, it isn't like reading Shakespeare or a whole book of poetry that you have to interpret in order to understand.  I read Heartbeat by Sharon Creech outloud to my daughters, and they were begging me for a sequel.  If second and third grade girls can "get" it, so can you.  : ) 

I've loved many of the ones I've read, liked most of them, and disliked only two, but even the ones I disliked, I had to respect for the writing and creativity. 

I found out recently that it isn't too late to join the Verse Novel Challenge hosted by Caroline Starr Rose for a chance to win an advanced copy of her new book, May B

Here's a list of the verse novels I've read so far in the order I read them.  I put an asterisk by my absolute favorites and a little note or disclaimer by the ones that need it.  I hope you'll add a verse novel to your reading list and let me know what you think: 

1.  Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

2.  Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse  *

3.  Heartbeat by Sharon Creech *

4.  Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

5.  Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

These next two were the ones I didn't like.  The first one was funny, but I didn't relate to the main character very much and it has a different world view than me.  The second one was creative and I respected the concept, but it was not an easy or entertaining read.  It was more like a collection of poems and was VERY depressing.

6.  One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

7.  Split Image by Mel Glenn

These next two are HILARIOUS and fun to read, but definitely not G-rated.  They aren't R-rated either.  I guess I'd say PG-13.  They are meant for teens, are pretty steamy, and remind me of watching Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles back in my day- 

8.  What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
9.  What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

One of the appealing things about verse novels are how quickly you can read one.  If you end up getting addicted and read five before the end of the year, you should enter Caroline's  challenge on her blog, Caroline By Line.

Have fun reading! 


Monday, December 6, 2010

This Thankful Heart- Multitudes on Mondays





"Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed

By this thankful heart"
- Matt Redman


Counting My Blessings One by One to 1,000...



#77   A Thanksgiving meal that was a true feast.  Smiles like this one were my reward:

 
 


#78   A perfect bird



#79   A Thanksgiving that was far more than a meal, but a weekend of love, laughing, cards, shopping, and cousins.  Memories-  


 








#80 Seeing the big kids learn Pinochle with Grandma and Grandpa:

(And wondering when they become the BIG kids?) 


Beyond the Holiday:


#81  King Charming telling me I'm beautiful and laughing at me when I say my face is aging.  : ) 



#82 God's gentleness when He is disciplining me and shaping me.  We've been working on something lately, and I keep failing.  So thankful He doesn't fail me and doesn't quit on me. 

Clinging to this verse:
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. - Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

#83 Family friends who surprised us and visited our church Sunday morning.  The joy their surprise brought my kids.  (and me)


#84  Whispered conversation at the coffee pot in the back of the church with sweet friends (When we should have been sitting down and listening).  Trying to squeeze in everything I wanted to tell them into a few quick whispers before we became a distraction. 

 
#85  Reading, reading, reading- every chance I could steal this weekend.  Books that made me cry at the end, but smile at their beauty.  

#86  Tuesday morning.  Can't wait to do it again someday.  

#87  Remembering this:

My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.    
-Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
                                                                       
Remembering all the times He has in the past
                                         Confident He will continue in the future.


#88 Singing this song at church today:   






 

This thankful heart overflows. 


I'm participating in Multitudes on Mondays on A Holy Experience.




Love, 


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Lazy Walk Down Memory Lane- Don't Bother Me, I'm Sleeping! : )

Lazy Wednesday's Walk


Today Stacey from I'm a Lazy Mom is hosting a blog hop called, A Lazy Walk Down Memory Lane.  Each Wednesday in December, she's inviting moms to go the lazy route during the holiday season and repost a favorite blog post from the past instead of writing a new one.


I can do lazy!


In fact the post I decided to repost is a perfect example of being a lazy mom!  Hee Hee.


I hope rereading it makes you feel really good about yourself and that you'll have mercy on me and not judge me too harshly.  : )   


Don't Bother Me, I'm Sleeping! 
(Originally posted 6-17-10)


Ahh, is there anything more glorious for a mom than to realize the stars have aligned and you have been given the gift of an afternoon nap?


My body sunk deeper into the mattress. I pulled the pillow over my eyes and felt a magnet pulling me deeper into the sweet bliss of unconsciousness.


Then the inevitable. The door creaked open and tiny footsteps tiptoed toward my bed.


"Mommy?"


Silence. I willed myself to stay asleep. If I ignore her, maybe she'll go away.


"Mommy!"


Ugh! She's not giving up easily.


"Are you bleeding? Dying?" I asked without moving the pillow off my head.


"No, Mommy, but I was playing outside and I think I see a TORNADO coming."


Oh brother, does she think we live in Kansas? She is such a DRAMA QUEEN!


"We don't have tornadoes here. Go back outside and LET ME SLEEP!!!"


"But Mommy, I'm scared. What if it really is a TORNADO?"


I will not wake up. I will not wake up. I will not wake up.


"Go away. All I ask is for 20 minutes to sleep. Is that too much to ask?"


"OK, Mommy."


She shut the door and left. And went outside to wait for her imaginary tornado to carry her over the rainbow like Dorothy. I laughed at her vivid imagination and drama queen antics. A tornado, ha! I gave into the sweet, well-deserved sleep of a hard working super mom.


When I woke up, I turned on the news and guess what I saw:


(Photo from KTVB website)
Here are a few of the local headlines:
Violent Wind Storm Produces Funnel Cloud.
Funnel Cloud Rips Through Neighborhood, Uprooting Trees,
Knocking Down Fences

You get the idea. Sure glad I sent my CHILD out to play in THAT. I can add this one to my Super Mom resume.

Tornado about to touch down? Don't bother me. I'm sleeping! : )




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Loveliest, Most Perfect, "Straight From my Dreams" Morning

I had the loveliest, most perfect, straight from my dreams, mornings, and I'm still smiling. 

When I tell you what I did, some of you will get a blank, "I don't get it" look on your faces, while others of you will instantly get a faraway, dreamy smile and will have to fight back your jealousy.  

#1- I had two whole hours TO MYSELF.  

#2- I spent those two hours in a cozy corner of the library writing while it snowed outside.  (And I was all by myself)   

#3- I had a travel mug full of hot coffee.

#4- I made a lot of progress on a writing project I've been yearning to work on. 

Heavenly. 

This morning will definitely be included on my list for next Monday's Multitudes post. 

Did I mention I'm still smiling? 

I hope there are moments that make you smile today.

Love,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Multitudes on Mondays- One Thousand Gifts




More Counting of My Amazing Blessings and
My Thanks to You, Lord-

#65 A phone message saying something had happened to Nana.  I was so afraid to hear the news and crying before I could dial.  The relief and gratitude I felt when Dad said, "She's doing OK and  going home from the hospital."  Thank you, Lord.  Praying for continued healing from her stroke yesterday.  I love you, Nana. 

#66 Witnessing my sweet girls take a stand for Jesus.  Hearing, "I want to tell the world that I love Jesus." 

#67 It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Super Prince Charming!





Memories of my own little brother in his superman costume with cape, now seen in my own son.

#68 Beautiful snow falling this week covering the dirty earth with white making my heart feel the holiday expectation.   

#69 Joy overflowing in church yesterday as many stood up and shared their thanksgiving. 

Image of Grace Wins Necklace
#70 Seeing this necklace  and pondering its message in my heart.  Closing my eyes and seeing it in my mind and knowing that Grace Won in my family.  

#71 Friends who know me, all of me, and love me anyway, covering me with grace.






#72   A butterfly raised by Littlest Princess from a caterpillar not willing to fly away.  The joy its beauty brought and also the reminder that I'm no longer the caterpillar and to remember that I can fly if I'll only do it. 



#73 Rediscovering my love for poetry as I newly discover novels written in verse.  So thankful for the way they move me and inspire me and make me dream of creating beauty with words.







#74 My children are warm and have new coats, gloves, boots, scarves, and hats when Wednesday's forecast says a high of 15 degrees. 



#75 Two beautiful princesses dreaming together by our fire while I read aloud one of my favorites.  




#76 The building excitement of family coming to help us celebrate Thanksgiving.  Only two more sleeps and then  "over the river and through the woods" to Aunt Becky's house they will all go.  

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
- Psalm 34:8


I'm participating in Multitude Monday on A Holy Experience

Love,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giveaways, Giveaways Make Me Happy : )


If you know me, you know I love The Nester

Other people love The Nester, too.  Nester has really cool friends who make and sell really cool stuff, and I have been spending the last two days drooling over some of that really cool stuff that her really cool friends are giving away.  

Entering all of the giveaways, I've been wishing I could win them all, and then it dawned on me.  I need to let my blogging friends know about all of this before it's too late for them to enter, too.  If I don't win, I would love to see one of you win!  

So go over here and enter! 

The Nester isn't the only one giving things away.  Today, I entered to win $2,000 from Dave Ramsey.  Winning that would be really, really cool!  (And he's giving stuff away everyday for awhile).  

And my current favorite giveaway of all of them is being hosted by Krista from Hope in the Waiting.  She is giving away a copy of one of my books.  Krista said, "I am praying that the Lord knows just the right person who needs to read this book."  I'm praying the same thing.  If reading the book would be a blessing to you personally or you know someone you'd like to give it to, make sure you hop over and enter the giveaway.  She's drawing the winner tomorrow morning. 

Good luck to me and you! 


Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Girls' Big Day: Mommy's Heart Overflows



"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" - Luke 2:19

Our family at church this morning, excited to celebrate the girls' special day. 
When our pastor announced that we would be having a special baptism service on November 14th, my girls asked if they could be baptized.  I was so touched by the answers they gave when we asked them why.  Later, they met with our pastor and explained that they fully understood what baptism was all about- an outward expression of their inward faith.  

They told him that they understood what sin was, they shared their stories of when they asked Jesus into their hearts, and explained why they wanted to be baptized.  Our pastor said he would love to baptize them and they've been looking forward to it for a long time.  Today was the day.   

After today, I thought of the Bible verse above.  I think I know a little how Mary must have felt.  Today has been marked in my heart as a day to remember and to celebrate. 

The most important thing for me as a mother is to know that my kids have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus, and this afternoon, my sweet little girls got up in front of the church and told everyone that they love Jesus and want to live for him. 

I cried of course.  : )   


Grandma and Grandpa couldn't be there and demanded requested videos and pictures.  I was so excited about getting to church this morning, I drove off without my camera.  My friend Jen rescued me and loaned me her camera for the day.  Thank you, Jen!!  

Unfortunately, between using a camera I wasn't familiar with, juggling Prince Charming, and wiping lots of tears of joy away, I didn't make it home with high quality videos or pictures.  Sorry, Mom and Dad.  

But I did get these!  They don't do a great job of reflecting just how sweet it really was for all of us seeing it in person, but you'll get the idea.  And the videos are also very quiet so you'll have to crank the volume)

Littlest Princess

  video

"I'm being baptized because I want to tell the world that I love Jesus." 

Oldest Princess:

video


"I want to be baptized because Jesus died for me, and I want to tell the world that I love Him." 

My pictures of them all didn't turn out, but I also wanted to say how much it meant to me that several of our friends came to church with us today to support the girls.  (A 40 minute drive for many of them). 

We are so blessed by the friends God has given us.  Thank you Erin, Madeline, Marisa,  Alisa, Daiquiri, Luke, Ben, Clara, Sammy, Thomas, Jen, Joel, Noelle, and Zach and to the rest of our sweet church family for making this a memorable day full of love for our girls and for us!  We are truly, truly grateful!

Lord, I pray our girls will walk with you all the days of their lives!

Love,   





Monday, November 8, 2010

W.O.W. Postponed : (

I was looking forward to kicking off our Within One Week challenge this morning, but boo hoo I'm too sick to get it going today.  I'm going to have to postpone it until I'm feeling better.  I'm sorry. 

Last week, my daughters had strep throat, and I'm afraid it's Mommy's turn.  I hope you'll all still join me to play along at a later date. 

Love,

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why Just a Day? How About All Month Long?

Thanksgiving is on its way!

In a few short weeks, my home will fill up with my family who are coming to help me celebrate, and I am so excited for that special day.

Amidst my busy preparations, house cleaning, and menu planning, I don't want to make it to December missing what the holiday is all about- Thanking God.

Last Sunday night, our pastor talked to us about Thanksgiving coming and challenged us to consider dedicating this entire month to giving thanks instead of relying on the one day.

His challenge resonated with me. I'm excited about how much better prepared I will be on the day, if I spend the whole month actively identifying my blessings and purposefully saying, "Thank You!"

It's been special already. Each morning during our drive to school this week, the girls have been listing the things they are feeling thankful for that morning. It's interesting to hear the creative things they appreciate, and it has given me fresh perspective. For example, one of the girls said, "I'm thankful for the colors. I'm glad the world isn't black and white." Now I've been looking around and seeing color in a new way.

"Yes, little girl, I'm glad this world isn't black and white, too!"


I want to use my blog as a place to highlight my gratitude and I know just where I want to begin.

This afternoon, I thought it would be interesting to see what pops up when I Google my name, and I stumbled across this article about me on my church's website. It made me incredibly grateful to re-read it today.

So, Father, I want to publicly thank you once again for your faithful presence in my life and the knowledge that you hold my future as well!

Love,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Miscellaneous Musing

  • A Little Worried-  My girls are both home sick from school today which means I was able to sleep in with no alarm clock and will not have to be the chauffeur to and from school today and won't be sitting at gymnastics for two hours tonight.  Uh oh!  That sounds a tad like a day off.  Yikes!  I don't want another one of THOSE!    Trust me!  I have absolutely no expectations for today.  Did you hear that, Murphy?  No expectations!  So you just keep your law to yourself today, OK? 

  • On the Novel Front-  I've been plagued with writer's block.  I was telling my Writer Buddy yesterday that I've written a whole four paragraphs in the last two weeks.  Not exactly stellar progress, but I'm encouraged because writing those four paragraphs was fun and not frustrating like it has been.  Maybe I'm breaking through the block?  I hope so. 

  • Time to Climb That Mountain Again:  Oh joy.  It's time to lose weight again.  Here's me sticking out my tongue-  : p 

  • W.O.W. : We are going to have a very full house for Thanksgiving this year.  I'm so excited about it.  My aunt and uncle and cousin are coming to visit for the first time since we've been married.  My mom and dad and grandma, my brother and sister-in-law and their four kids, and great friends who really are family will all be joining us.   I've got a long "to-do" list but its a labor of love because I want it to be special for everyone.  The front porch project went well, but once I walk IN the house I'm bombarded with all I see that I'd like to make better before everyone arrives.  It is definitely time for another Within One Week challenge.  I'll post more details soon, but I wanted to make sure you got it on your calendar so you'll join me.  It will be Nov. 8 - 15.  

I suppose that's enough rambling for now.  : )

Have a very happy Thursday everyone!

Love,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Latest Project- Before and After Photos



We are hosting Thanksgiving again this year, and I've been looking around our home lately and seeing all of the poor neglected spaces I'd love to spruce up before our company arrives. 
 




One of the first places calling to me was our poor, sad, neglected, cobwebby, front porch. 
 
 
 
And the entryway was just as uninviting. 


Making Bets on Who will fall through first -    

 

I love to sit out with my friends and drink coffee while we watch the kids play, but lately I've begun to wonder which one of us will be the first to fall through the chairs.  Classy, huh?  : ) 

So armed with coupons, I ventured into the sacred grounds of  Hobby Lobby. 

Here are my after photos: 


So I might need an intervention. 
I'm a little addicted to creating chalkboards
Here's my latest: 

From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. - John 1:16


 I hope the new look will say to friends and family -

Come on in! 



Sitting area all ready for relaxing and coffee sipping:




Shannon from Bless Our Nest inspired this project:




There was so much more I wanted to do, but alas, I ran out of money.  I was able to do all of this on a small budget, though, and I'll tell you more about how I made the changes in my next post. 

Hint:  I had a willing and talented labor force: 





Thank you, Mom!!! 


Happy Fall Everyone! 

Love,




Friday, October 15, 2010

A Day to Remember

One in four pregnancies end in loss. 

That statistic has always taken my breath away.  It is a staggering number isn't it?  It reminds us of how BIG pregnancy loss is, and how common it is, but the numbers also miss the smaller picture.  The smaller picture of each individual woman, each family, each baby, each broken heart. 

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and I'm thankful for a day to remember and a day to celebrate the individual lives of my four babies.  It may seem strange to use the word celebrate for something so sad, but over the years of healing, I'm able to see the beautiful ways God has used their sweet, short lives to bless and impact other people, and to shape and change their Mama for good. 

Thank you, Lord, for David, Micah, James, and Sarah.  Thank you for who they are!  Thank you for the beautiful mark they have left on my heart and the ways you are using our story to point other people to this truth:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  - Psalm 147:3

Today is a perfect opportunity for you to find one of those individual women and let them now you are remembering with them.  One of the secret fears inside their hurting heart is that they are the only one who remembers. 

Also, one of my very favorite bloggers- Shannon from Bless Our Nest is hosting a giveaway of my book on her blog today in memory of her niece, Reece.  You will love her blog!  If you are here from Shannon's blog today, welcome!  I was so hoping my new website would be finished so I could have a better welcome for you all, but it is still in the design stages so I hope you'll still make your selves at home here on my blog.  You can also find me on Twitter here and the book on Facebook here

Thank you to everyone for helping me remember today.  I have great treasure waiting for me in Heaven, and I'm so grateful to be the mother of all of my babies.   

Love,


Friday, October 8, 2010

Adventures of Super Mom: A Day Off or Just An Off Day?

Wednesday night, I snuggled up to my husband in bed and said, "I'm excited because tomorrow I get a day off.  There's no school so I don't have to set the alarm, and I don't have to be Mama Taxi Driver.  It's going to be a great day!"
 
As I fell asleep, I fantasized about a day of reconnecting with my kids.  The girls had been so busy lately, maybe we would go for a bike ride.  Maybe we'd play board games or snuggle on the couch for a long cozy chat. 

Then I had the bright idea of starting potty training.  Prince Charming has shown interest, and has had some successful bathroom visits over the past few months, with a four day weekend ahead and no where to go, wouldn't this be the perfect time to give potty training a shot?

I sighed contentedly and fell asleep with great expectations for the next day.  

Ha!  Isn't it funny how a day can unfold so differently from what we expected it to be?   

Here's what really happened:

1.  Because of a late school event the night before, we woke up to all of the dinner dishes waiting for us: stuck on, greasy meatloaf crusted plates and pans = grumpy start.

2.  Potty Training-  I'll spare you all the gory details, but after several tantrums, an extra large bottle of bubbles dumped on the bathroom floor, and an absolute REFUSAL to point his "thing" down so he wouldn't pee on Mommy's face, Prince Charming made it VERY CLEAR that he was NOT ready for this new skill.  I tendered my potty training resignation after only two hours of trying.  : )

3.  By this time in the morning, a large crowd of neighborhood kids invaded the house stopped by to visit.  Gone were my dreams of quiet, cozy fireside chats in the living room with my kids. 

4.  Then Littlest Princess found me to tell me the upstairs toilet was clogged.  While she came looking for me, Oldest Princess went in and flushed some more trying to "fix" the problem.   By the time I made it up the stairs, a crowd of children had gathered to see the fascinating toilet fountain that had flooded the bathroom floor and was seeping in to the hallway carpet. 

I sweetly asked them all to exit my home while I figured out how to stop the fountain and clean up the flood.  (Confession- maybe not so sweetly at all.  Maybe I'm a little afraid of the stories they told their parents that night of my teeny tirade) 

5.  I'm still trying to block out the memory of the screaming match with my children outside in the front yard for all the neighbors to see and hear while I convinced my oldest two that it was their duty to watch their little brother while I rescued our home. 

And then it happened.  

I walked back in the house, into the laundry room, and reached up to the top shelf and accidentally knocked this container of Oxy Clean down on my head.  : ) 



It was at the moment, standing in the laundry room, covered in white powder, watching water leak from upstairs, that I finally just laughed.

I couldn't help but see the "I Love Lucy" comedic aspect to what was happening and there really wasn't anything else left to do but laugh at myself.    
 


And It Was Only Noon!

Being Super Mom is just harder work than you think. For some reason, though, I don't think I'm ready to ask for another day off any time soon.

Here's to us all having a weekend with low expectations!  LOL!

Happy Friday!

Love,