Monday, December 31, 2012

be the message

I read this on Facebook the other day and it got me thinking. How many years have I lived my life expecting that just because I said I am a christian that it was enough? That because I went to church and read my bible that people were somehow impacted by that? I know I have spent the better part of my life in blissful ignorance of whether or not I was even impacting another person for God.

I wasn't always so lazy in my faith. I was saved as a teenager and was very active in my church and talked about my love for God all the time. But over time, my enthusiasm waned. And that's not all, as I matured I became more and more aware of people who did not appreciate my attempts to "save" them. Without making a conscious decision I slowly stopped sharing my faith, stopped living my faith. And that led where it always leads, to a life that has wandered away from God.

It's almost the New Year. A time for resolutions, for rededicating yourself to  the things you let slip in the previous year (or years). So, I am going to take this opportunity to rededicate myself to being the message. I don't have to preach, I don't have to get my bible and beat the "unsaved" with it. I just have to do my best to live the life that God has given me in the way that he directs. And he will do the rest.

 I thank you for this word, this reminder that I am called to live a life that reflects your love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. I ask that you walk with me through each day and keep my eyes focused on the path. I am human, I am weak. I am so easily distracted and led astray. I need you. Help me to be the best reflection of you I can be. Help me to live your message, to be your message to the world. Amen

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday thoughts and pictures..Michael & Lidija

This has been a very slow, very lazy day for me. Other than 2 trips to the grocery store (forgot the cinnamon on the first trip) I haven't done too much today. Well, I did a little writing, but not for this post. So, here I sit, with a pumpkin pie in the oven (the reason I needed cinnamon), my hubby watching a special on the Titanic on TV (and giving me a running commentary), exchanging Facebook messages with a friend while I write this. I just love multitasking! :-)

I didn't make it to church today because hubby wasn't feeling well last night and I stayed up really late/early with him. In the past, when he has felt bad like that we have ended up in the ER, so I was afraid to go to sleep until I knew he was going to be okay. He is fine now, thank God.

Staying up with him got me to thinking about 2 ladies that I have become Facebook friends with in the past week. Jennifer and Vivian are both parents struggling to care for children who cannot eat like the rest of us.

I wrote a blog post about Vivian's daughter, Lidija, here. Since I wrote that little post, Vivian and I started talking on Facebook and she introduced me to Jennifer. Jennifer's son, Michael, an adorable 3 year old; suffers from a different problem than Lidija, but with the same results.

Michael..Isn't he a handsome boy?

Michael has FPIES, an extreme food allergy. His doctors say this is the worst case of FPIES they have seen because Michael has been allergic to every food they have tried. So, this little boy can only eat Neocate.

As I shared in my post about Lidija, the makers of Neocate changed their formulation and many children have suffered severe, life threatening reactions to the change. And just like Lidija's family, Jennifer and her husband are trying raise money to buy as much of the old, blue label Neocate as they can find. Because the alternative is unthinkable.

You can read more about Michael here, and donate to help him here.

I don't have children. So perhaps I can't really imagine what Jennifer and Vivian are facing. I just know that they can't face it alone. They need our help. Yes, they need money, and I hope if you have it to give that you click the links and give (I will give both again at the end of this post).

Even more than money, they need our prayers. Prayer is a powerful thing. I have talked about this before. Prayer really does change things. So please, pray for Michael and Lidija, and for their families. Give if you are able and share their stories with your friends and family. Literally, the lives of these children depend on it.

To give to Lidija, go to

To give to Michael, go to

One last thing, if you haven't signed up to receive some Snail Mail Love from me in 2013, here is a link to the form. Please fill it out, I am really excited about this! :-)

Fill out this form

As always, thank you for stopping by to visit, and have a blessed week! xoxoxo

Saturday, December 29, 2012

NaBloPoMo, January 2013, I've decided....

Well, I have decided to tackle NaBloPoMo for the month of January. It seems right, heading into the new year. And this time I am planning on trying to follow the writing prompts. Note I said **Try**
To that end I have copied and pasted the prompts here. I hope it will motivate me and keep me honest. :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
From where do you draw your energy?
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Which daily tasks take up the most of your energy?
Thursday, January 3, 2013
What is your favorite way to recharge when you feel drained of energy?
Friday, January 4, 2013
At what time of day do you feel the most energetic and productive?
Monday, January 7, 2013
What is your favorite song that gives you energy?
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
If you could be given the option to never sleep and also never be tired, would you take it if it meant you'd also never dream again?
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Talk about a time when you used up an extraordinary amount of energy and were exhausted.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
What blogging task takes up a lot of your energy?
Friday, January 11, 2013
How do you find the energy to write when you're not in the mood?
Monday, January 14, 2013
If you were a superhero, what would be your hidden superpower?
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
As a superhero, would you rather have extreme strength or extreme speed?
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
If you were a superhero, what would be your kryptonite, draining your energy?
Thursday, January 17, 2013
How would you start saving the world if you woke up tomorrow with superhuman powers?
Friday, January 18, 2013
What would be your superhero name and why?
Monday, January 21, 2013
What is your biggest concern about the future of the environment?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Come up with a creative plan (and no, it doesn't have to be realistic and scientifically-based -- toddler on a hamster wheel, anyone?) to create energy once we use up our fossil fuels.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
What is the most creative way you conserve energy in your home?
Thursday, January 24, 2013
What is your favorite thing to do when you lose energy in your home and can't use electronics?
Friday, January 25, 2013
How long do you think you could last in a power outage?
Monday, January 28, 2013
What emotion do you think is the biggest waste of energy and why?
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
What reoccurring thought uses up a lot of your mental energy?
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Benjamin Franklin said, "Energy and persistence conquer all things." Do you agree or disagree?
Thursday, January 31, 2013
What will you do to energize yourself for 2013?

In related news, this week's GBE2 writing prompt is "Decision". So, really I guess I have killed 2 birds with one stone here. HA! Life is good! ;-)

One last thing, yesterday I blogged about my (Karen Walrond's) "Snail Mail" idea. If you missed it, you can read about it here. I got a lot of hits on that post, but no one signed up for the mail! I am bummed, but not completely discouraged, yet. So here is the link to the form:

Please fill out this form, please

I would love to have someone to send a card to in 2013, so I hope you will fill out the form! (I bet Karen's form filled up in minutes, darn her for being so popular!)

Have a great day, thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Snail Mail Love

I am trying something new for 2013! I was inspired by Karen Walrond over at to send out cards to at least 100 people in 2013. Karen is sending out postcards, but I have a literal ton of greeting cards left to me buy my grandmother that I am itching to put to good use, so I am going to use those (No, this is not because I'm least not just because) I'm willing to mail 2 cards each week of 2013 to a total of 104 different people, each one with a favorite photograph I took as well as a favorite quote (exactly what Karen is doing, I am a hopeless copy cat).

I love cards, and I love receiving mail that isn't bills. I'm hoping you do too!

Image source

All I need from you is your address. If you are interested in receiving a card, just click the link below and fill out the form. I promise not to share your information.

Fill out this form

If anyone else wants to join the fun, feel free to copy me/Karen. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?!?! ;-)

Happy Friday Everyone! Go out there and make it great! 

Now, there's a thought!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Learning to love my voice

It's the day after Christmas and all through the house, the only creatures stirring are me and the cats.

What? you expected something more poetic? Sorry, I'm not really that girl. I am not that creative with my words. In fact, can I tell you a secret? Most of the time I don't even like my words. The written word is easier for me because I can read and reread and edit until I have reached my "least stupid" and then share. But speaking? More often than not I speak and then think "what was THAT??".

Strangely, other people don't seem to find as much fault with my thoughts as I do. Which tells me two things.
  1. I know a lot of really kind people.
  2. I'm not as dumb as I think I am.
Back in November I stumbled across a blog called Cathy's Voice. First of all, the title of her blog reached out and grabbed me. It's simple, straight forward, and to the point. Then there was this quote on Cathy's "about" page.

 There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

And we know that I love a quote. But that's not all, there was one more thing on her blog that caught my attention.


It was this little picture that grabbed me and held on. It was this image that really got me thinking about my own voice and whether or not I even like how it sounds.

That question was pretty easy to answer, NO. I don't really like my voice. Written or spoken, I almost always feel that my words don't have value. They sound stupid to me. But here's the thing, God gave me this voice. And I am pretty sure he wants me to use it. And love it. So, I am trying. That's part of what this blog is about, I suppose (why am I just now realizing that?). Me, learning to love my voice, to trust my words, and to trust that God can use them. That He wants to use them.

Writing those words is actually kind of scary. I usually do a really good job of avoiding thoughts and ideas that scare me. At least right up until they cause a panic attack. So facing this head on is new for me. I have a voice, and God can use it, has used it, to reach others. And I need to honor that by learning to love my voice.

I want to say thank you to Cathy for allowing me to borrow her picture, and for sharing her voice. Cathy, your voice is helping me find and love my own. Your voice makes a difference.

Please pray for me. I need God on this journey, and I need your prayers and support to stay on His path. I have so much to say, I just want to be sure my words are coming from the right place and at the right time.

And now I have run out of words for this post. Not the best wrap up, but it is what it is. :-)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas! I am sitting here snuggled up on my couch listening to the wind. A storm blew in last night and hasn't blown out yet. But this is Texas, so I have faith it won't last long!

Other than the wind it's pretty peaceful and quiet here today. Just me, the cats, and the hubby. Later we are heading out to my mom's for dinner. Then I am coming home to watch the Dr. Who Christmas special on BBC America. It's gonna be awesome!

I hope you are having a very Merry Christmas surrounded by people you love.

I'm going to leave you with just a few of my favorite holiday pictures, just some shots I took with my phone. :)

Santa's sitting on a desk at work

my favorite card this year! So beautiful

ornaments on the tree at church

also from the tree
gifts under my tree
paper penguins

May God bless you today and always. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday thoughts and pictures

Oh, it feels like it's been forever since I wrote anything here. I did post yesterday, but I wouldn't say it was "writing". Just a quick post to let you know I was still breathing. Writing has been hard this week. I have all these thoughts, but when I sit at the keyboard the words seem to get stuck. Does that happen to you?

Anyway! Enough about my little case of writers block! How about I share with you some of the greatness I have found online??

There are Christmas Miracles happening over at Single Dad Laughing. The story starts with a dog bite and ends with a $10,000 gift from the blogosphere to help a family in need. It's pretty amazing. And for those who read the first post and get upset about the dog, please read here for more info on that. And try not to miss the miracle that whole incident brought about. God really does use ALL things for good!

Just before the events in Newtown, CT I read an amazing blog post over at Titus 2 Tea. I meant to share it last week, but didn't. This morning I went back and reread it and realized again how powerful and timely the message is. Especially in the wake of the senseless violence in Newtown and elsewhere in the world. It is titled The God of Stillness and is so beautiful. I encourage you to go read it in full, but I will share my favorite passage with you:

"My anger has nowhere to go. I open my heart, my hands, so Father can lift it away.  Tears flow from frustrated eyes because He is the God who is able, but the God who sometimes says no. And my heart pounds grief.

Be still, He whispers. He means it.

I try. Swallow hard. But I speak out of disappointment. Confusion. Rebellion.

Great is My faithfulness, He reminds. I am the God who sees. My ways are not your ways. I am loving toward all that I have made. Trust Me.

My soul stills. I can not force my heart to understand His. I cannot will myself strong and wise. He alone is God. He alone is good. He alone is faithful.

Grace washes over me. Always more grace to soothe the wounds, heal the confusion, soften the harshness. Gratitude replaces discontentment. I watch quietly, awestruck with wonder, as a wellspring of joy splashes up where anger left me dry and thirsty."

Please, go read the whole thing. It's beautiful. God works through Karen, and she is a blessing to me.

I have to wrap this up, because I really have to go get dressed and head to church for Praise and Worship Team practice. Can I share with you one of the songs we will be singing today? It is "Christmas Offering" by Paul Baloche. I've been listening to it on You Tube while I was writing this, it's lovely.

And lastly,  let me leave you with this beautiful image to remind us all of the reason for the season:

Have a beautiful, blessed day, and thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Still God

I don't have anything to say really, but I found this on Facebook and just wanted to share. I'll be back tomorrow with more to say. :-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taking a break

Yesterday morning I logged on and published my post. Then I logged off and unplugged for most of the day. And you know what? It was really nice. Don't get me wrong, I love this blog. I love reading other blogs. I love the friends I have made here in the blogosphere. I have just been so overwhelmed since last Friday. The web has been alive with grief and pain and anger (and opinions). And it's been too much. I needed a break. I need it still.

So, I'm keeping it short today. And after I post this I am going to work and I am not going to touch Facebook or my Google reader for the rest of the day. After work, we''ll see. But for at least the next 9 hours I am disconnecting. 

Please keep praying for the community of Newtown.

Lord, bless and keep the families of Newtown. Pour your peace and comfort over them. Walk with them. Father, I would further ask that you be with our nation. That you would guide our leaders and direct our nation's path. Thank you for all you are and all you do. Thank you that in our darkest moments, even when we can't feel you, you are always there. It gives me great comfort to know that you were there in Sandy Hook with our arms outstretched, waiting to take your precious children home. I love you. Amen

for you, because we all could use some simple beauty and love.

Be blessed my friends and have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day of Silence

  • Charlotte Bacon, age 6
  • Daniel Barden, age 7
  • Olivia Engel, age 6
  • Josephine Gay, age 7
  • Ana M. Marquez-Greene, age 6
  • Dylan Hockley, age 6
  • Madeleine F. Hsu, age 6
  • Catherine V. Hubbard, age 6
  • Chase Kowalski, age 7
  • Jesse Lewis, age 6
  • James Mattiolo, age 6
  • Grace McDonnell, age 7 
  • Emilie Parker, age 6
  • Jack Pinto, age 6
  • Noah Pozner, age 6
  • Caroline Previdi, age 6
  • Jessica Rekos, age 6
  • Avielle Richman, age 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler, age 6
  • Allison N.Wyatt, age 6
  • Rachel Davino, age 29
  • Dawn Hochsprung, age 47
  • Anne Marie Murphy, age 52
  • Lauren Russeau, age 29
  • Mary Sherlach, age 56
  • Victoria Soto, age 27
  • Nancy Lanza, age 52

Rest in Peace.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Setting (and meeting) goals

So, the last few weeks I have been sharing with you my "to do" list as a tool to motivate me to not procrastinate. So far, I think it's working.

that's me....
So here is last week's list:
  1. Work on cross stitch.
  2. Get back to my journaling. 
  3. Prepare Christmas cards and gifts for work Christmas Party on Friday.
  4. Spend more time in prayer
  5. accept my Liebster.

Well,  I can cross #3 and #5 off my list. Cards and gifts are done and handed out, and I spent all last week talking about the Liebster. I did work a little on my cross stitch and my journaling, though not as much as I wanted to. I even spent more time in prayer, though again, not as much as I need to. So those will stay on my list. 

This week's list looks like this:
  1. Spend more time in prayer.
  2. Work on cross stitch.
  3. spend time on journaling. 
  4. plan a dinner with old friends.
It's a short list, I know. But I think it's manageable, and that is the most important thing. 

On another note, As we head off into what promises to be a busy week, Please keep the community of Newtown, Ct in  your thoughts and prayers. You can find a list of the victim's names here. My hope is that we can flood the world with their names so that their names are the ones remembered, not the shooter's.

Have a beautiful and blessed Monday!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday thoughts and pictures

By now we all know about the shooting in Connecticut on Friday. Even if you don't watch the news much (like me) you can hardly turn on your computer or smart phone without seeing something about it.

And everyone is blogging about it (like me). That's natural, I suppose. When something touches your heart, you want to share it. And this tragedy has touched so many hearts. I am seeing all kinds of posts and discussions popping up all over on gun control, the treatment of mental illness, prayer in schools, you name it. And all these issues deserve discussion. My hope is that we can all try to maintain rational discussions on these topics, realizing that not everyone will agree with our point of view. But for now, I just want to think about the victims.

I found a list of the victims names here. I started to just copy and paste the list (the easy way), but I am going to type each name. A memorial of sorts, maybe. My small way of honoring these precious lives. I hope you will do them the honor of reading their names and lifting their families in prayer.

  • Charlotte Bacon, age 6
  • Daniel Barden, age 7
  • Olivia Engel, age 6
  • Josephine Gay, age 7
  • Ana M. Marquez-Greene, age 6
  • Dylan Hockley, age 6
  • Madeleine F. Hsu, age 6
  • Catherine V. Hubbard, age 6
  • Chase Kowalski, age 7
  • Jesse Lewis, age 6
  • James Mattiolo, age 6
  • Grace McDonnell, age 7 
  • Emilie Parker, age 6
  • Jack Pinto, age 6
  • Noah Pozner, age 6
  • Caroline Previdi, age 6
  • Jessica Rekos, age 6
  • Avielle Richman, age 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler, age 6
  • Allison N.Wyatt, age 6
  • Rachel Davino, age 29
  • Dawn Hochsprung, age 47
  • Anne Marie Murphy, age 52
  • Lauren Russeau, age 29
  • Mary Sherlach, age 56
  • Victoria Soto, age 27
  • Nancy Lanza, age 52
You may notice that I included the name Nancy Lanza (the shooters mother).  Despite what anyone may feel, she is a victim too. Time and the media will eventually tell us all there is to know about this woman and her son. But to be honest, I'm not sure I want to know, at least not yet. Right now my heart hurts for all these families, including the Lanza's. Perhaps it's because I have family with severe mental illness. I can all too easily envision the horror of knowing someone in your family did such an unspeakable thing. 

Please pray for these families. Do you know what I think would be amazing? If we could flood the world with the names of the victims and forget the name of the shooter. That would be a beautiful and fitting memorial.

I will just leave you with this image, it is one I love, and it seems to fit as well. God bless you, thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My first car

Image source
My first car was a 1964 Ford Galaxy. This was in 1988, so it wasn't exactly a new car. I do remember being very proud of it though. My parents got me a loan at the bank and I had to pay the note every month. It was less than $100 a month, which I now realize must have been because my (step) Dad made it so. He had a way about him in banks. He always got what he wanted. :-)

Paying that note was a great learning experience for me. I highly recommend it. It gave me a sense of pride to work and pay for my own ride. I valued it more than if it had just been a gift. The car I earned, the experience of paying for it myself was the gift.

Another thing I remember, this old car did not have power steering. Talk about a workout for my arms! Hmm, maybe I need a car like that now.....

It also had only an A.M. radio that basically picked up nothing. So I kept a cassette player in the car for music. It looked a lot like this:

Image source
I kept it under the front seat. Don't ask me why. One night, as I was driving home down a dirt road, an armadillo ran in front of my car. He looked like this:
Image source
Only not that cute. He looked BIG. And I hit him with the car. I knew it was going to happen and I hit the brakes, hard. And just as he made a sicking thump under my car, that dang cassette player slid out from under my seat and hit my feet. For a full minute I just KNEW he was in the car with me! I screamed a very unladylike scream. Then I sat and waited for my heart to start beating again. Then I laughed hysterically...for at least 3 minutes.

I never forgot that night, or that car. I eventually moved on to a "newer" used car, but I have never forgotten the joy (and fear) of my 1st.

**this post was written for the Group Blogging Experience. I have really enjoyed the challenge it presents to write about all kinds of topics. I highly recommend it for anyone who blogs, is looking for a challenge, and is sometimes at a loss for a topic!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Liebster Award, part 4

So this week I have been talking about this:
If you missed it, you can read all about it here, here, and here

Today I am telling you 11 random facts about myself. I guess since I was nominated twice it should be 22, but I don't think I have that many facts in me, so we are sticking with 11! Here we go!

Random facts:
  1. green is my favorite color
  2. my real name is Tamara, but until I was 11 I was Tammy. At age 11 (when we moved to a new town) I insisted on being called Tamara. Now, no one calls me Tammy....My grandmother was the the last to do it....I kind of miss it.
  3. I love condiments! Ketchup with fish sticks, Ranch dressing on french fries, way too much mayo or miracle whip on sandwiches!
  4. I'm not the healthiest eater ;-)
  5.  I was slow to start talking as a child, but my mom says I have been making up for it since.
  6. I'm not nearly as nice as people think I am.
  7. I am very shy and insecure in social situations. 
  8. I try not to cuss (bad habit) more for my hubby than because of being a christian. He says ladies don't cuss, and I want to be a lady in his eyes.
  9. I hated, in the strongest sense of the word, my step dad when I was a child/teenager. I had to grow up to see all the good things he did for me and choose to let them out weigh the bad stuff.
  10. I am a terrible aunt. I don't see any of my nieces and nephews as much as I should and have no real, lasting relationship with any of them, though I love them all deeply.
  11. my favorite color is green.......okay, I did that one already, but I can't think of another one. Let's see, what is my 11th random fact? Hmm..........I got it. I am very self critical. I find it easier to admit to the the things I do wrong than the things I do right.
Now, I am supposed to nominate other bloggers for this. And ask them 11 questions. And I will. But I think we can all agree that the holiday's are a pretty busy time of year, so I am going to hold off on my nominations until after the first of the year. In other words I am going to procrastinate. Which we all know I am good at. But look for my nominations and questions after January 1. (this assumes the Mayan's had it wrong and the calendar keeps going into 2013)

Again, thank you to Larissa & Rennata for nominating me. If you haven't checked out their blogs, here are the links, go give them a read. I think you will like them!
Tomorrow I am going to tackle the GBE2 writing prompt about my first car, I hope you will come back and check it out!

Today is the Christmas party at work, so I am in a festive mood!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Liebster Award, part 3

So, this week I have been talking about being nominated for this:
 You can read more on it here and here.
 Today I am going to answer Rennata's questions (she writes over at Growing Unique)

1. What is your favorite scent. Honeysuckle
2. If cost was not a factor, where would your next vacation be? Ireland
3.  If you could spend an hour in the past, when would you want to visit? Gosh, I really don't know. Can I go to the future instead? I think I would like to go about 200 years into the future and see how the human race is doing.
4. If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be? Professional scrapbook maker. You know, for all those people who want scrapbooks but don't want to take the time to put them together. I think I would really enjoy getting paid for what I have been doing for free for years. :-)
5. What superpower would you want to have? The ability to meet the needs and fulfill the desires of all the people I love.
6. If you could spend a day as an animal what animal would you want to be? This one's easy. One of my cats. Spoiled little monsters.
7. If you could have a thousand dollar gift card to one store, which store would it be? I think, that would be cool.
8. If you could anonymously grant a wish, whose would you grant? My hubby's wish to be pain free. I would really like to see the person he could be without the constant pain (so this might me my wish too, not just his)
9. What flavor evokes the strongest memory for you? This one is tough.... Lemon. Lemon makes me think of Lemon Meringue Pie and that makes me think of my grandmother. She made the best pies.
10. If you had to choose coffee or alcohol to give up for life, which one would go? Ha! This one is super easy because I don't drink either. Coffee smells so good, but tastes terrible to me. We don't even own a coffee pot. And I never developed the taste for alcohol. By the time I thought I might want to give it a try I was a diabetic and it just seemed a waste of carbs. But don't you even think about touching my morning Diet Dr. Pepper (preferably from Sonic with vanilla and extra ice).
11. What is your biggest dream? I have no answer for this. It's been a really long time since I let myself dream. I have actually been toying with a blog post about this, but I haven't found the right words yet. So, I'll have to get back to you on this.....

Okay, so that's all the questions from both Larissa and Rennata. Now I am supposed to tell you 11 random things about myself. I think I'm going to save that for Friday. Tomorrow is Thursday Thankfulness, so I think I might take a break from the Liebster for that. But we will finish this up on Friday, I promise!

Thanks for stopping by today!

This is for you! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Liebster Award part 2

To recap, I was nominated for this:

by Larissa over at Papa is a Preacher. Yesterday I started answering Larissa's questions. I answered 1-5 with the intention to answer 6-11 today. But a funny thing happened when I was doing a little blog reading yesterday. I was over at Growing Unique catching up on my reading. I was excited to see that Rennata got a Liebster too and was reading her post when I got down to her nominations and found my name. Wow! 2 Liebsters! How cool is that? I was so excited to see my name on her list! It's so nice to find that your words are valued by other people whose words speak to you so often.

So, now I have 11 more questions to answer! My new revised plan for the week is to answer questions 6-11 of Larissa's questions today and start on Rennata's questions on Wednesday. 

Lets' take a look at those questions:

From Larissa: 
1. A childhood memory. Done
2. One of your biggest fears. Done
3. Something you wish you knew at 18. Done
4. Five things you cannot leave the house without. Done
5. Favorite U.S. President. Why? Done
*find my answers here.
Today's questions: 
6. Something on your bucket-list. (Or simply something you really want to do someday.) To travel, I would love to visit all 50 states and travel abroad. Of course, I have some serious anxiety issues to overcome before that will happen! 
7. Polkadots, stripes or chevron? To look at: Polkadots. To wear, none of the above. Solid colors for this girl.
8. A place you think everyone should visit! Anywhere that sparks your interest!
9. If you could change one thing about 2012, what would it be? I think I would have started blogging sooner. I started this blog in August, and it has really been a blessing. Also, I think I might have reconsidered buying my hubby a table saw for his birthday (he almost cut his thumb off 2 1/2 months ago on the thing). ;-)
10. Something you like about yourself.  I have a pretty quirky sense of humor.
11. Sunset or sunrise? Both ;-)

Tomorrow I will tackle these questions from Rennata (for Wednesday): 
1. What is your favorite scent.
2. If cost was not a factor, where would your next vacation be?
3.  If you could spend an hour in the past, when would you want to visit?
4. If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?
5. What superpower would you want to have?
6. If you could spend a day as an animal what animal would you want to be?
7. If you could have a thousand dollar gift card to one store, which store would it be?
8. If you could anonymously grant a wish, whose would you grant?
9. What flavor evokes the strongest memory for you?
10. If you had to choose coffee or alcohol to give up for life, which one would go?
11. What is your biggest dream?


Monday, December 10, 2012

Liebster Award, part 1

I told you yesterday about winning this:
If you missed it, you can read more about the award here.

Anyway, I thought the best place to start fulfilling my Liebster obligations would be by listing the questions and tackling a few. Here's the list from Larissa at Papa is a Preacher:

The Chosen Questions: 
1. A childhood memory.
2. One of your biggest fears.
3. Something you wish you knew at 18.
4. Five things you cannot leave the house without.
5. Favorite U.S. President. Why?
6. Something on your bucket-list. (Or simply something you really want to do someday.)
7. Polkadots, stripes or chevron? 
8. A place you think everyone should visit!
9. If you could change one thing about 2012, what would it be?
10. Something you like about yourself.
11. Sunset or sunrise?

Here's my plan:
  • Monday (today) I will answer questions 1-5
  • Tuesday I will answer 6-11
  • Wednesday I will share 5 facts about myself
  • Thursday I will share 6 more, for a total of 11
  • Friday I will give my list of nominees for the award (this gives me all week to procrastinate over who to choose)
So, let's get started!

  1.  A childhood memory. This one is harder than you might think. First of all, I have a terrible memory. Especially concerning my childhood. My hubby remembers everything, which is a source of endless fascination for me. I guess one of my favorite memories is my mom reading to me from one of the many "Raggedy Ann" books I had. I think I had the whole series, and I loved to listen to her read them. 
  2. One of your biggest fears. Failure. Everyone says that, I guess. For me it's more about failing God or my family. 
  3. Something you wish you knew at 18. Life is hard. So much harder than I ever imagined. And worth every minute. Cherish your family and friends. (2 things, I know, but both so important).
  4. Five things you cannot leave the house without. My mp3 player, cellphone, keys, wallet, & glucose monitor. That will get me through any work day. On the weekends I try not to leave the house, but if I do I generally only need my wallet, keys, cellphone, and husband! :-)
  5. Favorite U.S. President. Why? I cheated on this. I asked my husband. He follows the history of our wonderful country much closer than me and I trust his judgement. He says Reagan and when asked why he says because he was tough when he needed to be and he successfully began the work with Russia to end the Cold War. 
Okay, that's it for today. Tomorrow  we will work on 6-11. See you then!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday thoughts and some pictures...

It's Sunday, the day I usually reserve for sharing with you the inspiration I have picked up in cyberspace. Problem is I am behind on my blog reading and Twitter hasn't offered much in the way of inspiration this week. But have no fear! I did find some inspiration out there, and I am almost never at a loss of thoughts to share (inspiring or otherwise).

First, let's talk about goals. Last Wednesday I wrote about what a great procrastinator I am and how I am trying to change that. (You can read more here) To help motivate myself I have linked up with Rennata over at Growing Unique and posted a short list of goals for the week. Here they are:

  1. Finish scrapbook by Friday. This must be done in order to get it on time.
  2. Work on cross stitch. I have been working on this for a coworker for roughly 5 years. It was supposed to be a wedding present. She has 2 kids now. I am not kidding.
  3. Get back to my journaling. 
I am happy to say that I can cross #1 off my list! The book is done and ordered, and I think my friend will like it. I hope so, anyway. 
Unfortunately, #2 & #3 on my list have not been successful. And by that I mean I have not even touched either the cross stitch or the journal. So, those stay on the list, and I am going to add some new things. But I have not been completely lazy! I spent some time working on Christmas cards for my church this week, getting addresses on envelopes and such so that all my Pastor has to do is sign the cards and put on a stamp. I am in charge of the Birthday card ministry at church and took this Christmas card project as a way of helping him out. And it was worth it, I wish you could have seen his face when I handed him the first stack of cards. It was a wonderful feeling, being able to take some of the burden off him in some small way! My other accomplishment this week was helping my hubby install a new pool liner in our above ground pool. Yes, in December. We had no choice as the other one died a couple of weeks back and it was either take the pool down or install a new liner. So we did. And managed to not kill each other. I think that's a pretty huge accomplishment. (Cyber high-five's all around!)

Here's my list for the upcoming week:
  1. Work on cross stitch.
  2. Get back to my journaling. 
  3. Prepare Christmas cards and gifts for work Christmas Party on Friday.
  4. Spend more time in prayer*
*I actually have 1 more to add to the list, but I want to talk a little bit about #4 first. I have a calling as a prayer warrior. I know that as a believer, we are all called to pray, but I have known for a while now that I have a special directive to pray. I have tried to take the easy road on this, I started a Facebook prayer group almost 2 years ago at God's leading and then I sort of stepped back and tried to stay in the background. Sort of a "here you go God" moment. But He was not satisfied with that, and eventually I realized that His head is harder than mine and I needed to just do things his way. And it has been a great blessing. The Facebook prayer page is a wonderful place, where I find so much support and love. And this past spring I helped to revive a prayer group at work. Basically I send out weekly prayer emails and we meet once a month to pray for any needs of our work family. That has also been a huge blessing to me. But, as with most things in life, I allowed myself to get bogged down and distracted and I lost my focus on prayer. Then this week I had a great reminder when a coworker sent me a message through Facebook asking me to pray about some health problems she is dealing with. She was so kind and thankful just to be able to ask me. It reminded me that praying for needs is a blessing. It has always blessed me as much or more than the person I am praying for. And I need to keep it central in my life. So, I am striving to set aside some time for both prayer groups and for time in the word to inspire my prayer life. 

      5. Accept my award....what award you say?? The Liebster!!
Cool, right?? Larissa over at Papa is a Preacher awarded me last week, but I have been too busy to give it the thought it deserves. For those of you not familiar with the Liebster, here is the description that Larissa provided in her blog post:

" The Liebster Blog Award is an award given from bloggers to bloggers that are small to medium in size or up and coming in the blog-sphere.  Liebster is German for favorite.  The award is a way to give beginning bloggers some worthy attention, make connections and let readers learn a little more about you. "

The award comes with a list of 11 questions I have to answer, then I have to list 11 facts about myself, and finally chose 11 other blogs to award the Liebster to (although Larissa changed that number to 5 in her's, so I might be fiddling with that number, we'll see.) Normally, this is all done in one blog post, but I think I might play around with it some and spread it out over the week. It's a bit less overwhelming that way and allows time for focusing on my other goals.

Now, how about a few pictures?

This week is all me, pictures taken with my cellphone camera. I hope you enjoy them.
A cross on the Christmas Tree at Church
Ornaments on the Church Tree
A cool picture I took last weekend
Maggie, sleeping cuteness
Last, I'll leave you with some "Textgram" inspiration. I am loving this app on my phone, even though it's really a time suck and I need to be focusing on other things! :-)

I am going to link this blog with Larissa over here for her Tidbit Thursday (even though it's Sunday) & with Renneta here for her Setting goals Sunday. I encourage you to check them both out and consider linking up if you blog! Happy Sunday everyone and have a blessed week!

1 more, just for grins!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Birthday wishes

Today is my nephew Clark's birthday. He is 14. Clark is not his real name. I picked it, not quite at random, because I didn't want to use his real name. Clark came into our family through adoption from a state child welfare agency. And though it is unlikely that his biological family would ever read my little blog, why risk it? The last thing I want to do is to create any problems for my sister and brother in-law.

Anyway, today is his birthday. They don't live near me, so I won't be participating in any birthday celebrations, that makes me kind of sad. I miss a lot, not being closer. But that's life, and not really what I wanted to focus on here.

What I want to tell you about, what I wish I could tell Clark, are my wishes, dreams, and prayers for his life.

Clark makes life very difficult in his home. He does this with intention. Yes, I know he is a teenage boy and they are by definition difficult at times. But this is more than that. This is tied more to his past and his feelings of self worth. In short, Clark has a hard time accepting love and guidance because he feels unworthy. So he creates situations where he gets in trouble. He is stubborn and willful, and refuses to listen and follow instruction. It is a constant battle that leaves his parents drained and frustrated. How can they reach him? How can they make him accept their presence, their love?

Oh, how I wish I could make Clark see, really see, how valuable he truly is. How important he is to our family. And how much he is loved. That he is worthy of that love. I want to dig down deep into the darkest places of his heart and root out those feelings of being "less". I want to open his eyes and force him to accept that this is not a mistake, he is not a mistake. He is family. He is ours. Now and forever.

I chose the name Clark in the beginning because I was thinking about Clark Kent. You know, Superman's alter ego, the quiet, mild mannered reporter. There isn't much resemblance between my Clark and that description of our fictional Mr. Kent. But there is one thing that they have in common, my dear nephew and Mr. Kent. Under the disguise of everyday life they are both hiding incredible strength and potential to change the world.  The difference is Mr. Kent knows it, my Clark hasn't realized it yet. But he will.

I have faith that he will. Faith in my sister and brother in-law, that they will find the way to reach him. Faith in God, that he is working in Clark's heart, clearing away the darkness and planting seeds of love and healing. And I have faith in Clark. That he will find that inner Superman.

Image source

I don't know when/if Clark will ever read this, that's up to his parents. But if you ever do read my humble words Clark, please know that I love you. And no matter what you may think of yourself, I believe in you. Happy Birthday, Superman,

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I suck at setting goals.....

I really do. If they handed out PhD's in procrastination, I wouldn't have one, because I would have put it off too long. That's just what I do. I jokingly say that I only work well under pressure. But really, that's a complete lie. Under pressure, I have panic attacks. The work gets done, but I end up a basket case afterwards, swearing I will NEVER do that again.

Until the next time. Which, by strange coincidence, is now. Right now in fact. I am at home today, in front of the computer, propped up on a pillow and a really hot heating pad. My back has been hurting mildly for a couple of weeks, but in the last 48 hours it has been really bad. I attribute this to some work related problems (bad chairs and awkward keyboard placement) and to the self induced stress of a project deadline.

See, I have this friend at work who is leaving to write full time (You can find his name at the top of my favorite books list) I have known he is leaving for almost a year. I knew I had to make this book, I make all the scrapbooks when people leave. And this one is special. You would think that would motivate me. Nope. It makes my procrastination turn into a superpower. I am pathetic.

So, the other day I was browsing through some blogs when I found this post  over at Growing Unique. Here is the link to the full post, which is titled "Wishing and Wanting".

In this post Rennata gives a review of her goals (long and short term) and where she stands in meeting each one. She also provides a place for you to link your own post and share your goals. It's a way of making yourself more accountable and keeping the motivation up. I really need this!

So, here I am. Writing my list of short term goals for this week, when I should in fact be 1 tab over working on my project. So, this week's list will be short.

  1. Finish scrapbook by Friday. This must be done in order to get it on time.
  2. Work on cross stitch. I have been working on this for a coworker for roughly 5 years. It was supposed to be a wedding present. She has 2 kids now. I am not kidding.
  3. Get back to my journaling. 
Okay, that's it. I will report back in a week or so on my progress. And maybe then we can think about some long term goals. Maybe.....

OH! I wanted to give you one more link! It is to the my weekly review of the TV show Castle on the Fanbolt website. I am having so much fun writing these weekly updates. I hope that next summer I might get the chance to write the Falling Skies review too. Hey, a girl can dream!

Castle 5.09 Episode recap and review: Secret Santa

I made this using a new app on my phone, Textgram. Instead of working on the scrapbook. I am hopeless

Monday, December 3, 2012

looking for inspiration on the web

I think I mentioned somewhere that I have recently started using Twitter again. I have to tell you, I still have mixed feelings about it. It's a thrill for sure, when someone else re-tweets something you said or mentions you in a tweet. But it still feels a bit stalker-ish to me. I mean, I don't really know these people I am following so closely.

I was hugely thrilled yesterday morning when an actor I follow responded to me. It was just a "hey there, I see you stalking me" kind of moment, he was just letting his fans know he was alive. It was very cool. But also weird. Maybe I will get used to the weird, but I kind of hope not. :-/ It just seems to me that stalkers shouldn't get too comfortable, ya know??

Anyway, I have also found Twitter to be a source of inspiring thoughts and quotes. I have shared a few here and there with you. I actually have a lot more. Almost a whole journal full. For that reason, I will keep using Twitter. But I am still a Facebook girl at heart. There I can connect with family and friends. I can see pictures of my nieces and nephews, and feel really connected to the lives of some of the most precious people in my heart. And that may be just about the most inspiring thing ever. When I am feeling down, I can log in and reach out to my sisters (who live in another state) or a friend from high school and instantly receive love and support. I can go to my prayer group and ask for prayer and someone will always respond. That is, hands down, the best inspiration out there.

WOW! Look at the time. I really have to stop typing and go get ready for work. Before I go though, I was wondering, where do you find your inspiration?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Just some random beauty I picked up somewhere. :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday thoughts...about labels and acceptance

So, if you are a regular, you know that on Sundays I do a sort of weekly wrap up of things I have read or seen that have touched me in some way. Usually I have more than one thing to share. Not this week. This week I am afraid I am going to get on my soap box a bit. This week I read something that grabbed hold of me and will not let go. So, I am going to share. It's controversial. I just want to warn you. I may end up offending you. I hope not. I hope you will be touched by this as I have been and that my opinions on it will make some sort of a small difference in the world. But if not, please, just click away. I don't want to have a debate with anyone. We are all entitled to believe as we choose, to see the world in whatever light we choose. I can agree to disagree, it won't affect how I view you (or myself). I just really need to share this, to go on record in my small corner of the world.

Okay, that was your warning....moving on.

This week I found a new blog. Some of you may have already found this guy, he has a pretty huge following. Still being fairly new to the blogging (and blog reading) world, I had no idea this man existed. Dan Pearce writes the blog "Single Dad Laughing". Mostly he writes about life, the ups and downs and twists and turns. He is pretty funny, so I hear. The first post I read, the one that introduced me, was not funny. It was heartbreaking. It was titled Anything Other than Straight. The title alone should tell you where we are headed here. This week Dan came out as a bisexual. He admitted to the world that he is attracted to both men and women. But it was so much more than that. Because that alone is not enough, at least not to me. Frankly, I am not that concerned about Dan Pearce's sexual preferences. Or yours for that matter. I have a really strong "live and let live" inclination. I have mentioned this a time or 2 in this blog, I am sure. I just don't see how some things are any of my business.

What grabbed me, what had me sitting at my computer reading with tears running down my face, was the fear. Dan used this phrase over and over again: "Dear God, please don't let me be anything other than straight". He describes spending the better part of his life fighting this part of himself, denying his feelings. Denying an essential part of who he is. And being afraid. Afraid of how the world will see him, label him, judge him. Afraid of how this will change how his family and friends see him. He talks about the fear of no longer being seen as Dan. Of being only seen as a bisexual man. Because that is, after all, only part of who he is.

Okay, let me get out my soapbox now (where did I put that thing?? Oh, here it is, right under my feet!). Labels are wrong. We all use them. I have a gay friend or 2, and I have been known to refer to them as such (and I truly owe them a sincere apology for that. Because they are so much more to me than just gay). I am "the crazy cat lady" or "that crazy *insert expletive here*". Labels are easy. Sometimes they can be funny and harmless. But they are also another form of judgement. And judging others is wrong. In fact, it's a sin.

Generally I don't like to talk about sin. Sin is a deeply personal thing for me. I know what the bible teaches about sin. I know the labels found there. But I also know that Jesus came to release us from it. To remove the stain, or in other words, the labels that define us as anything less than clean, forgiven children of God. And I feel strongly that I have no right to judge the sins of another person. I have enough to worry about right here inside of me.

Here is what I believe, in a nutshell. My job as a believer is really simple. To love. To be a reflection of God's love to the people around me. Sin and judgement are above my pay grade. They are not my job.

That's it. So, when I read Dan's post, it broke my heart. Not just for him, but for all the people like him. I don't mean bisexual people. I mean people. People living in fear of judgement from the world around them. For whatever reason. Sexuality, faith, skin color, hair color, mental illness (an issue of mine), disability, weight (mine too).....the list goes on and on. Really, don't we all have a secret part of ourselves that is afraid of being judged and found wanting? Don't we all fear a label of some sort?

I don't care about anyone's sexuality. I don't care about anyone's sin. I care about people.

I hope you will go read Dan's whole post. And no matter where you stand on the issue of his sexuality, I hope you will look past that and see what I saw. Because I saw a piece of myself, fighting to come out of the dark and fearing that the world will not like me, will not accept me. I look at Dan and I see me, and you; all of us. God loves us each for who we are. No labels, no judgement. Just love and forgiveness.

The next time I open my mouth and a label slips out,  give me a (gentle) nudge and remind me that I am wrong. That I need to repent and look, really look at the person or situation. And I need to leave the judgement to the one who paid the price I could never pay.

 And Dan, if you ever read this, you have a faithful reader here for as long as you have words to write. If I don't agree with you, that's okay. I really like your courage, your strength, and even your fear. Your fear made me look deep into my own soul this week and question myself. It made me have a long talk with God and it humbled me. Thank you for that. :-)

To the rest of you, thanks for stopping by. I hope this post makes you think. I hope it touches you in some way. And I really hope you still like me and will come back and visit soon.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Earning "good daughter" points

This week I have been working on earning some "good daughter" points with my mom. I guess I don't really need to worry about being the good daughter since I am her only daughter. In fact I am her only child. But I do worry.

I blame this on my (step) dad. He was 33 years older than my mom (they married when I was only 6, he was 66 and she was 33) and all my life (well, from age 6) he always told me how one day it would just be me and her and I needed to take care of her. I doubt he meant to create a monster in me, but he kinda did. After he died in 2003 (at age 89 and 3 quarters) I couldn't go to sleep at night unless I talked to her. Everyday. This went on for at least 3 years. Nine years later I still can't go more that 2 days without checking in.

**This pretty much drove my mom crazy. She is a very capable woman and fiercely stubborn and independent. So, having her daughter stalk her daily was annoying.**

 Like I said, I have improved. And this week I have been racking up the points. First there was operation "opossum walk". This was a 3 stage operation:

Ring, ring!

Stage 1, the phone rings and mom informs me that she has "trapped" a opossum on her back porch. Could I please come by after work and haul him off? Sure, why not?

homemade opossum trap

Stage 2,  drive out to mom's place after work and load the opossum trap into the back of her truck and drive at least 10 miles away from her home.

let me OUT!!

run Forest, run!
Stage 3, the release. This involved me hauling my large rear end into the bed of the truck,  removing the top of the trap (aka trash can) and turning it on it's side so the ugly monster could jump and run for it!

He and I both survived, so I call that a win!

Then today I spent the day running the roads for mom again. This morning I drove 40 miles (round trip) to pick up tractor parts (I should get good wife points for this too. This is normally the hubby's job but he wasn't feeling good) and then I went out to mom's and she and I drove in the opposite direction from this morning's trek to a friend/coworkers house (about 80 miles round trip) to pick up a new dog for mom. She is so sweet (the dog...well mom too, but you know what I mean)! Both drives were lovely, so no great hardship on me. But I was gone all day and left a sick hubby here alone, so I have a little wife guilt. At least the good daughter points are banked up, so I suppose it balances out!

Her name is Bella, for now.
By the way, I told myself I wasn't gonna post today, but I find I was suffering withdrawal. And I had no page views today and that made me sad.