Monday, December 31, 2007

Best Birthday Ever!

I'm not one who celebrates birthdays very well. After I hit 30, I felt like it was all downhill from there - why? I dont know - just always dreaded 30! When I turned 25, I was depressed that 30 was getting close! Well, I would LOVE to be 30 again! But, that doesnt happen & another birthday came rolling around yesterday. I usually dread the day, don't look forward to anything happening on that day & want to stay in bed with covers over my head. But I am proud to say - my birthday was probably the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! I'm still smiling over it, even on a Monday morning - a Monday morning that found me pulling Ricky's truck out of a ditch (darn black ice) - another story!

I woke up with my husband standing next to me with a cupcake with a candle in it singing "Happy Birthday" - how cute is that? He even went down to the store around 7:00 am to get candles. (I didnt have the heart to tell him we already had some - the thought that he went out of his way for a cupcake & candles - aahh - that's a good way to start the day!) He gets mad when I keep telling everyone he did this so I add that then, he took the cupcake & shoved it in my face - he didn't, but it keeps his "manly" persona going!

My birthday fell on a Sunday which meant I got to spent it with all my great church family! I wasn't in the door 5 minutes & already had hugs & well wishes for a great birthday. That's a great start! Then, when it came time to go with the youth - they all surprised me with a card & a gift certificate to my local yarn store that I could live in if Julie would let me! How sweet was that? These kids know me so well! Knitting - yarn .... ahh, heaven! But just the thought that they went out of their way & did this for me touched me more than any gift they could have ever presented me. I had tears instantly in my eyes - my heart was even more affected - it was just swelling with joy! I know I've said it before - I'll say it again - I love these kids! They are just the best blessing in the world to me!

Then Lindsay met up with us & Ricky let me pick out somewhere to eat. Ever since we've been back from Texas, we've been craving good Chinese - we had some AWESOME Chinese when we visted Julie but nothing compared up here. So I decided on PF Chang's. OH MY GOODNESS! We finally found a good Chinese place - if you get the chance to go - you'll love it! Between mine, Lindsay, & Ricky's plate - we were swapping, eating off each other's plates & enjoying every minute of it.
Then a trip to Target & I found a movie I have always LOVED - "The Last Unicorn" - anyone ever hear of it? Apparently no one around me the whole day did either - but I LOVED this! I can't wait to watch it - maybe I'll make others fans of it too. But I get home, & my family came over. My mom & dad came with a birthday cake & my dad had made me the coolest, most awesome desk unit for my Beauty & The Beast room! It even has roses painted down the sides of it along with rose knobs on the cabinet. Oh - more room for collectibles!!! It is beautiful! If anyone has been to my house & seen my book shelves in my reading room - he made those as well! His last name isn't "Wood" for nothing!
My nieces with my brother & his wife came over too & a little bit later, Ryan stopped over as well. Then, my neighbor who just turned 16 & is driving (still can't believe that) came over - & the house was full of friends & family - it was just the best day ever! I ended the night laughing & spending it with Lindsay & Ryan until 11:30 when I finally realized I have to get up at 5:30 for work! But the whole day was worth it - I guess I just didn't want it to end. Now, if every birthday could be that wonderful - maybe I wouldnt dread them so much! I'm already looking forward to the next one - not the age, but the time with my loved ones!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Blankets


This Christmas was a very odd holiday without our friend, Stephanie. Her presence was so deeply missed - but her spirit was with us - especially in gifts that were given to Ryan & Amber.

As some of you know, Stephanie had asked me to finish a blanket that she started for Amber. She had found yarn that was exactly like a blanket Amber had as a baby - she wanted to make an "adult" baby blanket. How nice to have a memory from something when you were so young. Steph started this blanket hoping to get it finished before she "had to go" but once the medicine & the weariness got to her, she knew she wasn't going to be able to finish it - so when she asked me if I could do it- I was honored to finish this project for her. I held it to my face for at least the first few weeks I worked on it just because I could smell Steph still on it.


With the summer months, it isn't easy to be drapped with yarn all over your legs so it was put back until it cooled off. Once the temperature changed, it was time to pull it out & fiinish it. It is the largest project I have knitted. Finishing it wasn't easy though - when I was done & all the yarn was gone, I had to cast it off & get it off the needles. That when it hits me - Steph had casted the yarn onto these same needles with every intention of finishing this & giving it to her own baby. Knowing she wasn't there & I was the one taking it off - it really hit me. I sat & cried while I pulled each stitch off, until it was free of the needles holding it. Who knew knitting was so emotional?

It fits my queen sized bed - & is the most comfy, cozy, softest blanket ever. I tied a white ribbon in where Steph stopped & I started so Amber could hold the part her mom knitted close to her heart & always feel her close.


The second project I worked on is probably my proudest project I've ever done. Background: Steph wanted a nice project just for her - she was so busy always knitting for everyone else. What she decided on was a gorgeous sweater coat - the kind that went down to your ankles & was heavy, but still with a sweater look. She saved for the yarn & would buy some when she could, ready to do this thing. She started on it & got about a foot or 2 done but never finished that project either.


Before she passed away, she was sure to let everyone know she wanted me to have all her yarn since we were together for 99% of the purchases & I knew what each skein held - the project she had in mind for it. And she also asked me to finish the sweater & to wear it & think of her each time. Once it got cooler, I pulled out this project & was ready to finish it for my friend. I just felt funny. This project & this yarn meant so much to her - I couldnt finish it - not for me. Then it was like something hit me & I knew exactly what to do. I would make Ryan a blanket with it.

I started with the skeins she never got to use - started the base of the blanket. As the pattern came through, I got so excited about the beauty of it. Then the hard part - I took the sweater she started & took it off the needles - attached it to the blanket & unraveled her sweater into this blanket. I even took a picture so Ryan could see the sweater I knew he would remember - he watched his mom sitting in her recliner many a night working on this. To pull her sweater out & feel the yarn go through my hands into this - I knew it was the perfect project.


When I finished it - I felt so happy about it - like Steph was happy with my decision. I didn't make the sweater she wanted - but it is now wrapped around her baby - a much better project. I dont think she'd mind at all.

And Ryan also got it Christmas morning & absolutely adored it. The picture of the sweater hit him more than anything. Memories are such a powerful thing - he saw how much she worked on it & he knew this was the same yarn his mom had entwined in her own hands with so much excitement.


So Steph may not have been with us in body - but on Christmas morning, two of her children felt her presence with them - felt her love surrounding them, covering them in warmth.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It was a lonely drive into work this morning - the roads are so bare except for me & my dear husband. Which brings to mind - HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEY! It's Ricky's birthday! A Christmas Eve birthday. He always tells me - yeah, me & Jesus, we're close - we're born around the same time! This is the first time in his LIFE he's ever had to work on Christmas Eve (his birthday) & since he took this new job, he gets to actually get out of bed at 5:30 AM with me. You would have thought he was 10 years old & had to go to school on Christmas morning. I was laughing at him all morning long as he was getting ready. ...."I cant believe I have to work today!"...."It should be like a National Holiday".....I told him it was time he grew up. Poor guy! I think he'll survive. I'll have him some Birthday cake ready for him when he gets home!


Yesterday, at church, we heard the message about the perspective of Christmas through Mary's eyes. It was really good (as all the messages are) but something really touched me. This time of year, the first Christmas without my friend, our pastor said something that really hit me. He brought up the point when Mary was done talking with the angel & learned she was going to have a baby (Can you imagine?) she went to be with Elizabeth - to find support - to have someone tells her words of wisdom to help her through this amazing & miraculous time! At the end of that part, the words were said, "I hope you have an Elizabeth there for you" - smack! A big reminder at this season that my "Elizabeth" has gone to be with Jesus himself. I know we have our spouse's for support & words - but there is just nothing like a friend who is seperate - who can relate to you in a whole different way.



It's weird not having Steph around for this Christmas season. But I see so many people, especially in our church family, who you can see has their "Elizabeth's" - friends that are inseperable. It makes me smile - & I want to tell them to be sure to enjoy that friendship each day. Enjoy the company, the wisdom you can share with each other, & especially enjoy the laughter & joy you bring to each other. You never know when it'll be gone. The gift of a true friendship is one of the best gift's you'll ever have.


Another part of the message that I really enjoyed was the point that Mary was probably only around 13 years old when all of this happened to her. I got to spent the second part of church with the girls in the Junior High - which most are around that age. We took time to talk about the Christmas story & how they would feel if an Angel of the Lord came & appeared to you with this news & what they thought about being married & being pregnant at their age would be like. Their views were great - eye opening, interesting, & of course, filled with moments that made us all laugh! It's always great to see things through the eyes of girls from age 10-14 - I can't get enough of them - they all each touch my heart!


Tonight will be our candlelight service at church too. I always love that time - it's late, you're tired, but you just hear the message about our Savior being born & seeing the light's glow in the church with church family surrounding you - its wonderful! Looking forward to it - even though I'll have to sit next to a sleepy grump who I'm sure will still be complaining he couldn't believe he had to work today. (Love you Birthday boy!)

Merry Christmas to all - enjoy your family, friends & the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Countdown!

It's SUPER SATURDAY! The Saturday before Christmas! One of the busiest shopping days - & I BELIEVE IT! With my cold still dragging on (aahh, the good ole' days where I could breath) I woke up at 5:00 AM all stopped up. I thought I would grab the handy nasal spray - an answer to prayer in the middle of the night- & go back to sleep. Not this morning. I just laid there thinking of all the things I needed to get done on the last weekend before the big Holiday! It was overwhelming! I couldn't get back to sleep - ON A SATURDAY! How wrong is that! So I get out of bed at 5:30 (YES - A.M.!) & start working on things - things needed wrapped, packaged needed bows, rooms needed cleaning, lists needed to be made.

By 9:00 AM - I felt like it should be well into the afternoon - so much accomplished - so much more to do. We ended up leaving the house at 1:00 & headed into the Super Saturday rush. WOW - it really was as busy as Black Friday - & we were in that mess too! For us, on Black Friday - its about fun - seeing what we can find & enjoying a good deal. Today, not so much fun. With lists in hands & no idea on some things, we're off to finish up! It was 5-6 hrs later & we're ALMOST done! We're about ready to throw in the towel - so close to that finish line though!

Just a few pictures to show my day - first, I was taking a picture of a knitting project I just finished. I can't put any pictures on here as it could possibly ruin some Christmas surprises - but this is just too cute. I had the project ready for the final picture before wrapping when Zoe popped up right in front of the knits & did her "Ain't I cute" pose - tell me, isn't she cute?

And look at our tree - I love our tree! We call it our Griswald tree because I swear, it lights up the whole house with all the lights! Notice how nice it looks - its because the packages are piled in chaos across the room! And see Julie - we haven't opened our package you sent - its waiting for Christmas morning - but anticipation is getting to me!

Finally - this is how I'm ending my day - with my kitchen in a complete & total declared DISASTER AREA! Things to wrap, gift cards to get in order, recipes to find in cook books (Yes - Christmas is a time for miracles - I'll be cooking a bit) - LOOK AT MY KITCHEN. I just told my mom I would be so embarrassed if someone came over & saw this - so what do I do? Post a picture for the world to see! Welcome to my chaotic world! Let the Final Countdown begin!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snow Ball Fight

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A Snow Ball Fight starring my mom & dad with me, Julie & Lindsay on defense!

Winter Jam - NOOOO!

I look so forward to the Winter Jam each year when it comes. It is just the BEST concert & for the tickets to be $10.00 - AMAZING. I opened up my email the other day & saw the headlines, "The Winter Jam 2008 Tour Spectacular is coming soon" - OH yeah baby! Here it comes! I couldnt wait to open up the email to see who was coming around this year.

The first thing I see - Steven Curtis Chapman's face! OH - forget anything else - you know that's all I need. But there's more. Barlow Girl! I LOVE these girls - even got to meet them at a concert with Steph. They were great girls & we even got to talking about knitting (how cute is that!) It was so fun standing in line with Steph alone with hundreds of girls around the age of 11-15 - we fit right in, believe me!

Skillet is also coming - Ricky will love that! Its hosted by NewSong again - LOVE them! Every song they put out is wonderful - & even Mandisa from American Idol is with them. Its going to be great.

.....then the bad news.....I notice it says at the top, coming to Evansville. HUH? Maybe they think I'm closer to Evansville since I have an Indiana address. So I clicked on the link & noticed that Steven Curtis Chapman is only preforming at the Evansville show filling in for Mercy Me who performs at the other shows. And THEY'RE NOT COMING TO LOUISVILLE!!! Lexington & Evansville are the closest! I'm so sad! I have been the past 3 years to this & have enjoyed it each time! I can't believe its not coming back!

Tell me I dont have the sweetest husband - I told him about my sadness & he said, "We'll just go to Evansville. You know you have that love-thing with Steven Curtis Chapman anyways!" - let's hear it for my husband - aaahhhh! So there may be a road trip in my future.

.......with every bit of bad news comes good news.....I also got an email this morning & was able to get preorder tickets to CASTING CROWNS who is coming to LOUISVILLE in March! See - all the good concerts are in Louisville - why not Winter Jam? Oh well - I now have another great concert to look forward to! Even though my SCC wont be there (sniff)

Feel the Choir!



Here's the performance I was talking about! WHOOO - I feel the Spirit move on this one!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Clash of the Choirs

I was so excited about this show - or as excited as I could be drugged up on cold medicine! But I had been anxiously waiting to see this show since I saw previews for it weeks ago! I absolutely LOVE choirs & the sound of blending voices & was not disappointed last night. If you haven't seen it, there are 5 stars that went to their home town, found people of all ages & backgrounds & formed their own choir. The cool thing - these people aren't even doing it for their own reward. The choir that wins will get money donated to their home city & to a charity that the star has chosen - all the charities touch so many people. There are women abuse centers, cancer centers, homeless shelters, childrens hospital & a military center. It would be great for any of them to win - & how awesome is it that people are willing to give so much of their time for a reward that doesn't personally affect them? Loving this!

I'll admit, when Nick Lachey came on, I just knew he'd be my favorite. He's from the boy-band era & I was all about the boy bands (I've even got my N'Sync Christmas CD playing right now) & plus, he's from Cincinnati - which is just up the road. This would have to be the choir I support! They sounded awesome! I've included a video of their practice which showcases their voice. I even liked the song that was picked. Oh yeah - this is my team.



Then next came Kelly Rolands from Destiny's Child - she has a group from Houston. I should support that team - afterall, that's where Julie & our grandbaby is at. Maybe that'll be my team.

Then here comes Michael Bolton. I don't know anyone from Connetticut - but who doesn't love Michael Bolton? Even without the 80's hair? I can't look at the man & not want to sing "How am I suppose to live without you" - oh, now I'm just getting confused on what choir to support!

Next is Blake Shelton, Sheldon? I'm not a country music fan (I know - my dad is shaking his head just reading that statement!) but this guy was funny! Plus he had 2 military people on his team that had GE come & donate $250,000 to the Disable Veterans Fund - & then, their choir was GREAT. This group was from Oklahoma & I'm a big musical lover - there was a whole movie dedicated to this state - how do you not vote for this team?

Finally, Miss Patti LaBelle. A legend. This woman was determined to get her group together. I loved that she had them practicing in a church & finally, their song was "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" - OH MY GOODNESS! This choir ripped the roof off with their singing! I was feeling a revival in my house - even with the cold medicine. It was the best performance of the night!

After all the decision making of the night - I'm ready to go change the world with my 10 votes! In all the excitement - that, or either my eyes were blurred from sneezing & blowing my nose so much - I didnt get the numbers to vote.......

It's on every night this week with the Finale being Thursday. If you didnt get the chance to catch it - tune in - see which group you like. I'm sure I'll be changing my mind tonight again with each group! Fun entertainment!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas spirit

Snow? That's what the weather man was telling us last week - that the weekend has potential for some great snowfall. AHHH - that's what I needed to get into the Christmas Spirit - because I've been too busy, too sick to get in the mood for Christmas. The snow, of course, didn't come as they predicted. Do they ever get it right when it comes to snow? Slush isn't my idea of Christmas weather either. That was horrible! We had to take Bruno to get groomed Saturday morning & we decided we better do SOME (ANY) shopping while we waited to pick him up. The snow that was predicted was nothing but slush - & slush it was - turning into inches of rain. You couldnt get out of the car without stepping into a puddle that was ankle deep. That was fun walking around with wet socks. My cold still had the best of me, so most of the time, I sat in the middle of the mall & told Ricky what to go get. Still not feeling that Christmas spirit.....

Snow was expected to come Saturday night - YIPEE - I'll wake up to a winter wonderland & feel like Christmas is here. Nope! It did snow a little, but the grass was still poking through & the roads where clear. Not the snowy atmosphere I wanted. With runny noses & stopped up ears, I go through the day. After a great day at church with my friends, the youth girls & a nice lunch with friends, I ended up just going home since Ricky & Lindsay had already ventured out. Not in the mood to fight the crowds - even though I have 95% of my Christmas shopping still to do. This just isn't turning into the Christmas season I normally experience.

My niece Trinity was supposed to be in the kids Christmas pagaent at church - she wasn't able to make it but I thought, I'll go see it anyways. Always love to see the kids after all the hard work they put into it. The play was wonderful. I dont care if they got up there & flubbed every line (which they didn't) or sang every song off key (which they didn't) - its just so cute to see their enthusiasm & their enjoyment of being up there. Its so cute to see parents, grandparents, brothers & sisters cheering them on out in the audience. Towards the end, I look up & Lindsay had come in to see the end of it with me. You know what, I actually felt that Christmas spirit right there in my church - my home away from home. There it was - seeing the kids sing & talk about Jesus - talking about the "Christmas star" - seeing church family & spending another few moments with them - having Lindsay take the time to come find me & enjoy the kids herself. There is something so special about seeing kids on a stage performing - and I'm always waiting for the one kid who is always forgetting where they're at in the play - the one who is just busy looking out at everyone - the one who does their own thing - I LOVE that kid! It always makes me laugh! It rounded out my pretty sickly weekend nicely.

Now, if only this feeling would get the rest of my shopping done....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sydney's turn!


Oh, Yipee - I'm off work today - so what do I get to do with my day? Spend it again at the vet. This time, its Sydney's turn! Poor thing - she has such weird skin - she always gets oil glands that get very big & turn into infections all the time. Summer isn't so bad because we'll get her shaved down & then her skin can breath. Once the hair comes back in for fall, the problems start again. Ricky is really good at taking care of these spots, but one just got HUGE & we cant do anything with it. Syd is biting at it & it seems to bother her - hence, the trip to the vet. Poor thing - she was shaking & a nervous wreck. While we were waiting, the ladies behind the desk were amazed at how beautiful she is (I was the proud mama!) & they could see Sydney shaking from nerves. They tried to bring her treats to calm her down - she was having none of it! You know its bad when she wont take a treat. We get back & they look at the spot & have to cut back the hair & try to drain it more. The vet takes her away from me in the back to do this. When they brought it back, the vet couldn't get over how good she was. She said they poked, pinched, snipped & she never one time flinched. (Again - proud mama!)

They said its a cyst that has rupurted UNDER the skin! OUCH! They told us not to squeeze it anymore because that could make it spread under the skin & we want it to drain out. So we now have antibiotics, & an order to apply epson salt with heat packs twice a day - trying to draw out the infection. If she contines to bite at it - she has to get the dreaded "CONE" around the head. I have to admit - I always have fun putting those on the dogs - their reactions are hilarious - though I'm sure they dont find any humor in it! Right now, Syd is just happy to be home & is busy cleaning Zoe. Zoe must have gotten dirty the 2 hours we were gone & Syd can't fall behind on keeping her clean. I'd rather her lick Zoe than this spot on her back. My poor baby!
(In the picture - look at my hand on the side - that gives you an idea on how HUGE it is!)

Plus, I woke up today - again, my day off - with a cold - Ricky must have spread the love to me! Isn't your day off work suppose to be relaxing, fun, full of rainbows & unicorns? Apparently not! When I stopped in for Sydney's epson salt & a special bone for her - I picked up the new Ziacam which is supposed to stop cold symptoms & make you get over it quicker. Let's see how it works. With the holiday's - who has time to be sick?

I had big plans for my day off. Instead, I'm watching Syd & her back - sniffling, sucking on Halls Cough Drops & just looking at my Christmas list & seeing how far behind I am. What a day off!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What Christmas is all about



"Does anyone know what Christmas is all about" - that's the first thing in this video you hear Charlie Brown scream! It seems like so many have forgotten what the Holiday represents & that's so sad. I love that this cartoon has brought Jesus into it - remind everyone why we celebrate! Quoting scripture at that! What a great man Charles Schultz must have been to intentionally put the name of Christ in his work! Have you heard the controversy that they want to ban this cartoon now because it does state the name of Christ the Savior? What a crazy world we live in now! Something so beautiful - such a sweet reminder - such a feeling of being a child watching this with a great meaning - & they want to take it off! I was so sad when I heard that. Hopefully Charlie Brown will prevail - more importantly, I want the reason of Christmas & the celebration of Jesus's birth to prevail!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bad Disney!


I am a self-proclaimed Disney Fanatic - love the whole "Princess" thing - love the atmosphere at the parks - just love the way they can make an adult feel like a kid again - no matter the age! But right now, I'm mad at Disney!

Alaina - our middle daughter, received an internship once she graduated from Indiana University to work at Disney - which was an amazing opportunity because she wants to go into producing or directing. What a way to get your foot in the door - become part of the Disney family & you can branch off in so many ways - to the ABC family or ESPN - just so many opportunities! Well, it wasn't as glamorous as it would seem, but Alaina was hanging in there - enjoying seeing the kids at the park more than anything - she's always been a natural with the kiddos!

Now Alaina has been living in the "dorms" down in Disney & they have a "NO TOLERANCE" program. That's good to know for the safety of all the people down there. Well, Alaina has been dating a police officer & one night he took her home - well, he has his weapon on him & it was noticed so Alaina got kicked out of the program because of this no tolerance system they have in place & the rule of no weapons on campus! Its not like she was stowing guns under her bed - or they were running around like gun slingers - he had it in his holster & just didnt think anything of it - its second nature to him. Doesn't matter - No Tolerance means No Tolerance!

Its frustrating because Alaina has now moved out - another girl is already in her dorm - & she's trying to figure out where to go to from here. It doesn't seem fair - mainly because she's our family - we want her to be treated fairly - but I can see & understand that rules are rules! Isn't it funny how you look at things differently when its your family or friends that get hurt? But I guess the rules were there for a reason - so what are you going to do? We're just praying now that God will lead Alaina to where she's suppose to be - & apparently, that ain't Disney!

Who knew Mickey Mouse was so harsh?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dancing with God


I got this email this morning from a friend & it just really touched me - to think of it visually - it was something that I needed today. Hope you enjoy it was well...........

When I meditated on the word, GUIDANCE, I kept seeing "dance" at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable & jerky. When one person realizes that, & lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lighting in one direction or another. It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingess, & attentiveness from one person & gentle guidance & skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE. When I saw "G" - I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i"...."God" "u" and "i" dance".....God, you & I dance!

As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead. I want to dance together with God, trusting Him to lead & to guide me through each season of my life. I pray you are willing to take God's hand & step up to the dance as well.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Firefighter Ryan! - UPDATE

Just to keep everyone informed - RYAN HAS MADE IT TO THE NEXT ROUND! He found out he is in the top class (which is the top 30 something people) of who tried out. The next round is the interview - which shouldn't be a problem - then the Lie Detector Test.

Things are looking good for him! Keep praying him into the Brotherhood of Firemen!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sharing the Knitting Love!


Tuesday night was the best night! It was our KNIT NIGHT at our church. Let me explain. I've had tons of people come up to me & say they wanted to learn to knit. (Who wouldn't - right?) So a thought came to me. A fellow knitter friend from my church, Jenny, came immediately to mind. See, me & Stephanie would always meet with a knitting group at the local coffee shop, The Hobknob on Tuesday's. It was wonderful meeting on winter nights, snuggled around tables pulled together, knitting up warm, snuggly projects that were for us or for gifts. It was always fun to sit & talk to other people you just met, or talking with old friends about the latest going-ons. We looked forward to our Tuesday knitting group so much. Fast forward & with Steph being gone - I just haven't gone anymore. Jenny said she hasn't made the trip up there either in quite awhile. So, there's the lightbulb moment!

I asked Jenny if she wanted to see about starting a knit-night at church - a time to get together, share the skill, & have a great time working on projects & having some great fellowship. She was all for it!

Last night was our first night! I know it was short notice so alot of people who wanted to come wasnt able to make it, but we had 3 new comers, me & Jenny & her 2 knitting daughters. We were able to meet at Sacred Grounds - the youth house next to our church. It was perfect settings - we had Christmas music playing on the radio, we all gathered on the couches & we were off! The newcomers thought they wouldnt be able to do this - but they soon learned it wasn't as hard as they thought! They were truly naturals to this! By the end of the night, they each had seen results of their new skill - with that gleam on their face when you first make something. I got excited for them just because I can remember my first project - there's nothing like that! We finally thought to look at the clock & noticed we had sat there for over 3 hours knitting & talking - oopsie! Some people have to work the next day - so we had to close up the night! The knitting bug has now been passed on to others!

I can tell one particular new-knitter has TRULY got the bug! She is a home school mom & she said to me as we walked out - "You know - if I stay up all night knitting & can't do my lessons with the kids tomorrow, it'll all be your fault!" - YEP - there's the bug right there - when you can't put it down! I suspect, this lady will be making socks & sweaters in no time!

So - the plan is to hopefully get new knitters & keep everyone coming together every other week - for time to talk, knit & just enjoy each other & what we can accomplish! I have a feeling there will be a "show & tell" craft show coming up one day at church showing all the accomplishments!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Using my Hands!

I was so blessed to be able to do sign language along with Angela Wernke singing yesterday in church. It is just something I love to do - but it seems to be the only thing that I get nervous about! I can get on that stage & talk, or sing with the Ensemble & not feel the least bit of nerves. But when I know I will up in front of everyone signing - I can feel those butterflies like nothing else! Maybe because its something that is so dear to me! When I sign, I can feel the passion behind it - imagine myself standing in front of God - doing it for Him! I can't imagine how that will feel when that day comes! Its bad enough my leg was shaking like Thumper on the stage yesterday!

I have to say - if you've ever been to a Christian concert around this area & seen an amazing signer - its probably Tyra Lokey - who has inspired me in so many ways. She is my goal of where I would like to be one day! I catch myself watching her more than the concert sometimes. One of my best days in my life - she signed at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert - could it get any better than that?

I thank Lynn for getting me started doing it for the church & I thank Angela for asking me to sign for her Sunday - & I especially thank everyone who encouarges me when I do feel those nerves churning in my stomach!

Finally - I have to say, the best thing that ever came out of my signing - I taught my twin nieces when they were babies to say "Aunt" in ASL (American Sign Language) - & even though they can talk now, they still remember some of the signs - especially "AUNT"-aahh, it does my heart good! Look at this video & see how easy kids can pick up on this skill - pretty amazing!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bible Study VIA Phone

I had another late night last night...but it was all good! Ryan made it back from Colorado Tuesday night & he had called to check on Ricky & his new job. They talked for awhile & then, being nosy & talkative, wanted to talk to Ryan next. I get on the phone, & the updates of the past week happened - & then we got talking. As from previous posts, when we get to talking - it can last for HOURS! Next thing I know, I'm telling him to grab his Bible so I can show him what we talked about at Joe's Bible Study. I wanted his insight. One thing leads to another - then another - then another - & before I know it - we talked for over 2 hours going through the Bible looking at things & questioning & discussing - it was some good stuff - let me tell you! (And I have to note - I am LOVING my new Study Bible! Thanks Christy!)

But something we ended up hitting on was the talk of discipline. In our Study Group - we've ran across that idea referred to as "pruning" - but Ryan found it in scripture as another way. A direct "God telling you why" sort of scripture.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father [a] the son he delights in

So - when I'm being disciplined - its because God loves me - not as a punishment or as an "I told you so" sort of attitude - And then with the help of my great new Bible - it led us to Hebrews where we found a WHOLE chapter dedicated to this idea.

Hebrews 12:4-11 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.


Maybe you had to be there - but we were excited about this verse last night - maybe it was the lack of sleep (hehe!) I particularly like the way it says in vs 11 - for those who have been "Trained" by it. For those who work out & train in exercising, its not easy getting there - its tiring, makes your body tired, you have to have the DRIVE to push forward - to not quit. God is "training" us all the time with discipline - because He accepts us as His CHILD (hello - do I hear a Princess comment somewhere) - how cool is that!

.......Ryan makes me miss my friend - but how much he is like his mom - keeping that Word of God close to the heart. I see her living on through him - and am so glad to still experience that DRIVE to always learn more. It pushes me as well - the Love of the Lord is so contagious!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Types of Christians?


I was reading an article from Christianity Today about the "types" of Christians that people seem to be in today's world. As I'm sure you can guess, its not like the good ole' days! It really is an interesting read if you have the time - but whats funny is I was talking to Ricky this morning about the conversation (or at least part of - it was good & LONG last night at Joe's Bible Study) we had regarding people who dont use their "talents". It ended up in a round about way leading us to a discussion about people who think they are a Christian just for the "fire insurance", as Mickey said, or are they "true" Chrisitians. Ricky & I were discussing that same thing this morning.

For instance, we know people who BELIEVE in Jesus - BELIEVE he's the the Son of God who died & rose again - but yet, they dont ACT like Christians. You would not see the face of Christ in them - with their words or attitudes or actions - so are they a Christian?

The one thing I see from this article & how today's world has put different "categories" as Chrisitians is to sort of sugar coat their Christian walk. It shows me the difference between someone like I talked about before & someone who you can see, can tell, they are walking with Christ. Its not just the "Believing" - its the "Accepting" of Christ. Accepting Him to be in your heart & lead you to do His will. That's a HUGE difference!

Its amazing to see how the "church" how changed in our country & people's attitudes. Not all changes are bad - don't get me wrong - but people's attitudes changing is the bad part. Just like this article says, we are a age of tolerance. Again, not all bad, but there has to be a line somewhere - or you end up with "Culture Christians" - & what the heck is that!
Here is the example of how they break down how people see their "Christianity". Which one are you?

Active Christians 19%
Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
Committed churchgoers
Bible readers
Accept leadership positions
Invest in personal faith development through the church
Feel obligated to share faith; 79% do so.


Professing Christians 20%
Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
Focus on personal relationship with God and Jesus
Similar beliefs to Active Christians, different actions
Less involved in church, both attending and serving
Less commitment to Bible reading or sharing faith

Liturgical Christians 16%
Predominantly Catholic and Lutheran
Regular churchgoers
High level of spiritual activity, mostly expressed by serving in church and/or community
Recognize authority of the church

Private Christians 24%
Largest and youngest segment
Believe in God and doing good things
Own a Bible, but don't read it
Spiritual interest, but not within church context
Only about a third attend church at all
Almost none are church leaders

Cultural Christians 21%
Little outward religious behavior or attitudes
God aware, but little personal involvement with God
Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation
Affirm many ways to God
Favor universality theology

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First day of the rest of your life?

My poor husband! I thought he was going to have a panic attack getting ready for his first day of his new job! He started this morning. After 27 years, he closed the door of the building he's been going to for so long yesterday. He said he just sat in the parking lot for awhile - just sort of numb to the fact that so much time, so much familiar surroundings, so much of what he's done his whole life - was over. Its been really rough on him - & understandably so.

He was WIRED last night & couldnt lay down to rest. When I finally got to bed around 11:00 - he was still struggling to go to sleep. Then I hear him up & moving around at 4:00 AM this morning. He probably didnt get any sleep at all.

When he left this morning, I told him to play nice & make new friends. He wasnt in the mood for light heartedness this morning! So hopefully, he's doing well today. He's been there a few hours this morning & I havent had any phone calls with him freaking out - so I'm praying things are going well for him. New beginnings....they can tear you up!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanks Mike!

I was so surprised at church yesterday - I came around the corner to tell Ricky something & saw he was talking to our former youth minister, Mike Tolle. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning - the look on my face was shock & I just ran to hug him & had to find where his wife, Toni was at as well! They are just the cutest couple who loves the Lord & have changed my life in knowing them.

When Mike was at our church, he put together a new team to help in the youth group. I was blessed to be one of the people he chose (along with many other AWESOME people!). The funny thing - he had us take a spiritual gifts test to see where we had our strongest parts & then he would decide prayfully where we should serve. Going into this, I thought, I'm good at behind the scenes stuff - thats always been my forte! I also felt like I would be best serving with the Senior High group. I don't know why - I just felt like I would have life experiences I could share with them that they would understand.

After taking the spiritual gifts test, we had to share our top three gifts. My number one by far was Mercy, with Adminstration & Service rounding off the top 3. I had to laugh because far down the list was the gift of Teaching.

The day came when Mike told us where we would be. He put me as the Small Group Leader with the Jr. High Girls. WHAT? This isn't where I wanted to be! What about what I want! I even went & told Mike - "Did you not see my Spiritual gifts list? Do you not see that "teaching" isn't the best thing for me?". I'll never forget what he said. He looked at me & told me he sees something in me - something that tells him I can do this. I was scared to death. Now, I know I'm good at talking (you can ask almost anyone!) but to "teach" is something different. Mike reassured me that teaching these girls involved talking & getting to know them -it is a main part. He asked me to just give it a try - how could I saw no?

Fast forward almost 2 years now & I am so blessed to be in the position I am in. I still may not consider myself the best "teacher" in the world - but I do enjoy leading these girls in some great God-discussions & getting to know them & who they are - & more importantly, seeing them grow into young women of God.

And ironically, I feel even more blessed I am with the Junior High gang & not the Senior High. First - I TOTALLY love the giggly, fun loving attitudes of the younger kids - & I have found that I am doubly blessed because they will go to Senior High knowing that they are loved by me & by all the Jr. High leaders & can always come back & talk to us - which I have already had the wonderful chance to see happen.

So when I saw Mike yesterday, I see someone who changed my life - someone who had faith in me to be a vessel used by God. I am thankful for Mike & Toni for who they are & for changing who I am!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shopping....

The day after Thanksgiving....shopping...traffic...lines....SALES....more shopping....loading & unloading packages...wrapping.......TIRED now.... (Cant wait until next year!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

When we think of Thanksgiving, I think we all are so thankful for the things in our lives - family, friends, our homes, all the BIG things! I was driving to work this morning thinking of some of the little things that I'm thankful for. Its pretty fun to sit & think of some - things you dont really pay much attention to - but are so thankful they're there.

Here are a few things I thought of I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season:
* Hobby Lobby 40% off coupons
* Tide Stick (that little bugger can get anything out!)
* Finding money in the washing machine
* Getting hair washed at Audrey's (aint nothing better than that scalp massage!)
* Radio to sing with in the car
* Getting the mail & finding no bills!
* the DVR (how did anyone live before these things?)
* my yarn & needle stash!
* pictures that capture memories
* Comfy, warm pajama's when its cold outside
* The smell of burning leaves
* A dishwasher that saves the hassle of dish-pan hands!
* Books
* When gas prices drop (Do I hear an amen somewhere?)
* Blue skies
* Getting just the right amount of wrapping paper out for a package - the corners fit perfectly!
* Two words....cool-whip!

I could think of 1,000 other things .... its fun - think of the little stuff - it all adds up to big stuff!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Where does the time go?


I was just reminded this morning that I just had my 15 year anniversary at my job over the weekend! 15 YEARS! Oh my goodness - where does the time go? I can remember when I graduated from high school & the prospect of college was there facing me & I couldnt imagine what 4 more years in school would feel like! 4 years - I laugh in the face of 4 years! How the heck does 15 years fly by so fast!

When I started my job, I was 20 years old (giving my age away here) - not even married, starting as a receptionist. To think of the changes in life during that time & to think how much has happened since I've been here. I've changed my name (getting married - not joining the Witness Protection or anything), have moved to Indiana, have lost pets, grandparents, aunt & uncles, friends, pregnancies....have became an aunt, a grandmother, gotten more pets (yipee!) have seen people come & go here(stayed in contact with some still). To think of how far I've come in the company. Starting out in that front desk answering the phones & greeting people, to becoming the Billing Manager of our company - to the position I'm in now in our Accounting Department. Its just funny to see where life takes you.

When I started here, I never thought it would last this long - & now, its just like home. I'm sure I spend more time here than home - thats for sure. It just shows that you can never predict how the road of a job will go. Now as I sit in my Beauty & The Beast decorated office, looking out my window (it took me 13 years before I got a window!), I do know that I am blessed to have the job I have. Blessed in so many ways I can't even explain. So when I walked in this building as a young 20 yr old - I'm so glad God had this plan already laid out for me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I dont wanna grow up


I've been teaching the girls in the Jr. High from a series called, "The Gospel in Disney". Its been quite fun with lessons that are very interesting & something to learn from legendary movies - the good early stuff like "Sleeping Beauty" "101 Dalmatians" "Cinderella" "Snow White" "Dumbo" & "Peter Pan" just to name a few. At the end of each lesson, I have some questions that the girls can pull out of a bag & then we discuss. Each question goes with one of the movies we've talked about. The other day, someone got the question, "If you could, would you choose not to grow up?". As usual, it got us on a roll of some interesting talking. The girls all instantly said they did want to grow up! I asked them what they thought the perfect age was - & it was almost unanimous - 18 years old was the age they thought would be perfect to stay at forever!

I thought it was so interesting to see what these young girls between the ages of 11-13 thought was the perfect age. The idea of 18 means they will have a drivers license & will be considered an "adult" at that magical number - that's all that they can see as the perfect life.

Funny, isn't it? How being an "adult", you can see so much more than they can see? To know that at 18, you still don't know that much in life - have the life experiences that make you grow & learn things that only age can bring. For me, a great age to stay at would be around 23. But it made me think - what would others say would be their perfect age? Would an older person in their 70's think the perfect age is in their 40's? It would be interesting to see. And maybe its what year someone had that perfect time of life - that's the year they would like to go back to. These kids just wanted to be older though - how many of us want to go back?

Does God look at us & laugh when we think we want to be older? Or younger? He knows the whole story, the ending anyways - does He look at us & think, "Oh, wait until you're here with me - that will be the happiest time you'll ever have - not an earthly age" - we dont think about that though, do we?

For me - I just know that no matter my age - I'm always going to be young at heart - that's what I love being with these girls - they keep me that way!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fruit

At our Small Group Bible Study Tuesday night, we discussed the verse that talks about the branches being connected to the Vine. Of course, there were tons of ideas & thoughts about the matter, especially when it comes to the idea of being PRUNED - OUCH!

Then yesterday, I started a new book that I've been so anxious to read. I was just waiting for it to get closer to the Holiday's because it involves Christmas & 3 angels named "Shirley, Goodness & Mercy" - (How cute is that!) It is by one of my favorite authors that I've mentioned before, Debbie Macomber. I'm going to love it because these angels are always doing something mischievous when trying to answer prayers for people on Earth. .....I have to tell you, its so cute how they are introduced. Gabriel hears the familiar voice of Shirley. And it says, "Shirley was visiting, & where Shirley was, Goodness & Mercy were sure to follow" - I'm going to LOVE this book!


Anyways - the person they are going to help in their time of need is a Wine maker!!! It starts off immediately talking about vines & fruit that is produced & how a disease ruined the branches destroying the grapes that are so vital to this man's career. Talk again of how important it is to be connected to the vine to produce fruit. Is this man being "pruned"? God is already sending these angels to help him with this pruning-process!


I just thought it was funny how the timing of it all works out. I love when God throws "coincidence's" in life - a message to be learned? A whisper from God? I'm anxious to see how the story ends. I'm suspecting his branches are going to be producing a great deal of wonderful grapes!


So in our own lives - we need to stay connected to that vine, even when we are going through the process of our own pruning - because as the verse says, "apart from it, we can do nothing!" And I think God does send "angels" to help us through the whole pruning process too - whether it be Heavenly or Earthly ones. I just hope my angels are as energetic & mischievious as "Shirley, Goodness & Mercy"!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Where Babies come from




Look what my son in law, Steve, did to our little baby!

He had the caption under it - "How babies are delivered!"

Isaac actually looks pretty comfy & snuggled up there - thank goodness the mailman didnt drive by!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Interview with God

Nina sent me this email this morning - I think I've seen it before. The words are so profound & touching. The pictures are absoultely amazing! I ADORE photography & to see the world God created in still frames. How beautiful His creation is! (Look at that picture of the waves - WOW!) This is just very soothing & makes you think - Hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Making a switch

My poor husband! He is about ready to face one of the biggest things in his life. He has been at his current job for 27 years! He started there when he was 18 years old - just a young teen - & is in the same place all this time later! It's all he's ever know. They are now selling their building which is on Main Street in Downtown Louisville - its where the new mall will be going up - right down the street from the new Arena that is being built. The business will be going to the factory which is the size of a garage - big change! Needless to say, they wont need Ricky anymore. The good news - he's already been offered a job; the bad news - he's scared to death! Can you imagine - being at one job for your whole life & to make a change now? He's comfortable with his job, of course, because it's all he knows - & now he'll have to learn everything new. So needless to say, he's a nervous wreck right now. He was planning on sticking with the business until the end, but this opportunity has come up & his head is spinning on what to do. Some people think its a clear cut decision - but if you know Ricky - nothing is every clear cut! His mind has thought up all kinds of scenarios & situations...only confusing him more. So please pray for the guy - he needs it bad. He has to put in his 2 week resignation by tomorrow if he's going to do it! Talk about stepping outside of your box - whew wee!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Britt Nicole

I just got an email linking up to this new video by Britt Nicole. She was the opening act at the Winterfest in January - if you've never been, you've got to go! Tickets are just $10 & its the top Christian artist! Last year was my guy, Steven Curtis Chapman, along with Jeremy Camp, Hawk Nelson, New Song, & more - its fantastic! But when Britt Nicole opened, not alot of people were in yet & she didnt get the attention she deserved. Ricky said right off, "She's going to be big" - I remember her because she had on knitted fingerless gloves! (its the little things!). Afterwards, she was at her booth signing autographs - not alot of people were there to talk to her so me & Ricky went & told her how awesome she was. She was so kind & sweet - a great model for teens. Well - she's making it big now just as Ricky predicted & I'm excited to see her first video. I just wanted to share - Christian music is just the best!

Hibernation


Oh, how I dread this time of year! When that clock sets back & its dark at 5:30 - I cant stand it! I want to just go home, put on the warmest, snuggliest pair of sweats & socks & huddle under blankets - my own personal hibernation.
Isn't it funny how when the sun is down, it makes it harder to do the "get up & go" things. My mind tells me its time to settle in, do the night routines & get to bed. Not to mention the chill in the air that REALLY makes me want to stay inside & not come out!

I always look forward to December 21st because that's when the sun starts rising 1 minute earlier each day - & setting 1 minute later. Only 42 days away - but who's counting?

I did see an article in the Courier Journal yesterday about this whole topic - see, I'm not the only "Solar Energy Person" in the world! You?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Study Bible


I finally did it - I went & got me a new Study Bible yesterday. I've been wanting to do this for awhile & Family Christian is now having a one week only sale where certain Bibles are 50% off! The reason I wanted to finally break & get a Study Bible is because when I'm in one of my Bible Study groups - I see people reading other notes their Bible has & find other verses that correspond to this one verse - I'll admit, I was jealous - I wanted to learn more too!

Yes, I have other Bibles at home too, but none are Study Bibles. I have Bibles from where I was young growing up (my mom still has my first Bible sitting on her table at home!) - I have different translations of Bibles, I have Bibles that were gifts, I have my pocket Bible that is good for quick references - especially listening to the radio & they throw out a verse - I got that handy pink Bible right there to find it!

And then, there's my ole' faithful - the one I've been using for 18 years! My mom's best friend, Myrna, bought me this Bible when I got baptized. It also is an NIV Study Bible - but its not like the study Bibles of today. As everything does with time (most everything) things get better. My ole' faithful just isn't up to par when it comes to "studying". But now, I'm torn - I hate to retire my dear Bible to the shelf. Its been to so many places with me - so many trips, studies, sermons, through so many struggles, joys.....not to mention, every note I have taken during lessons are marked, checked, circled & noted in the margins. And just for note - I am a One Bible Person! Even though I do have those other Bibles - I like to keep all my stuff together in one nice package - so everything is in there from the past. Do I just let those go? A friend of mine told me to look at this Bible with "new eyes" - see it afresh. But I like my notes & my thoughts from before....ohhh, I get so worried over the stupidest things!

Tonight is the Women's Bible Study - I guess I'll try out my new NIV - give it a go. I'm already feeling guilty leaving behind my old gal...changes - I'm not good with them!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hurt


I just finished my latest book, "Doesn't She Look Natural" by Angela Hunt. She is one of my favorite authors that writes cute little contemporary Christian novels. She also has some biographies, historical works, a prophetic collection - she does it all. I also saw where one of her books is being made into a movie that will play on the Hallmark Channel this Christmas - based on the book "The Note" - which is an EXCELLENT book! One of my favorites - actually two - are "Uncharted" and "The Debt".... she has some great books.

I have to say though, I was sort of disappointed in this book - it was OK - but not my favorite. Maybe I'm just use to higher standards from her - but there was one point in this book that really touched me & made me think - (so I guess all in all, if it made me think - it couldnt have been too bad!)

In this book, the main character's husband cheated on her with their nanny leaving her alone with 2 sons. Towards the end of the book, he came back to see the sons with some news. Upon arriving, he is talking to his mother in law. Just these two sentences between them really hit me.
"I never meant to hurt them," he says.
"Of course not," she answers. "Hurt is a by-product. It's what gets dished out on our loved ones when we seek our own way."


WOW - what we dish out on our loved ones when we choose our own way! I guess it hit me right at a time when I'm hearing so much about obedience & obeying our God. I actually typed in the word obey in one of my favorite Bible look up sites, Biblegateway.com and 223 different scriptures came up on that one word!

How important it is to try & obey God & what he commands & not what we want & what would make life easier for us!

How many times have we been hurt because someone has chosen to do something the way THEY wanted & not the way God intended? I bet you can think of a dozen things right off the bat - in an instant of a thought. But think now, how many people have you hurt because of doing things YOUR way? That's not an easy answer you'd probably like to ponder on. Think even how many times, in the end, you've hurt yourself choosing your own way - the way you THOUGHT would be best - consequences - a whole other topic! I know for me, it gives me a reason to want to better myself - to listen to God & obey HIM more - so others around me don't get hurt. That's the life God intended right there!

So even though it wasnt my most favorite book ever - with just 2 sentences, it touched me. Now, onto my next book!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Donut?


I have to say, Joe & Ryan did one of the best lessons in our Jr. High group that has ever been given - & I'm just not saying that - I heard with own ears some kids say so!

Joe came prepared with donuts. The kids were instantly intrigued what they had to do to enjoy! First he started off with the verse everyone seems to know - even people at every sporting event - John 3:16 - how God loved us so much he sent his son so we may have ever lasting life. A verse probably all the kids had heard before - but never SEEN in this way.

Joe went to the first kid & asked if he wanted a donut - Of course he wanted a donut! Before they could eat the donut though - Ryan had to do 15 push ups. At first, giggles & laughter about the event was going around the room. Next person - sure, they want a donut too - another 15 push ups from Ryan before it was to be eaten. Then it came to a person who didn't want a donut - OK - they didn't take it, but wait, Ryan still had to do the 15 push ups. A lot of curious glances when that happened. The laughter was dimming & everyone was watching.

At one point, one of the kids even said "Can some of us leave so he doesn't have to do the push ups for us?" - they were slowly getting the message. After 9 kids (135 push ups) Ryan was slowing down. Sweat was coming up on his back - his arms were starting to show some veins popping out. It kept going.

In the end, there was 18 people in the room - Ryan had to do 270 push ups! Towards the end - it became painful to watch. Ryan would have to take breaks in the middle of the 15 push ups before the person could enjoy their "gift" of a donut. It was even brought up - "Can I do the push ups for my own donut?" - the answer given, "No, Joe & Ryan had an agreement beforehand". When those last few people getting their donuts & all of us watching Ryan, it was dead silent in the room - no more giggling at all!

The message was learned. Whether you took the gift that was given or not, it was paid for anyways. And it made it even harder on the ones who didn't take the donut when they realized that the struggle & pain was there anyways - & others got to enjoy their fresh donut, while the ones who turned it down got nothing.

It was a wonderful lesson!!!! Thinking of what Jesus went through for us - & how people just shun it away like it was nothing. I just pray that the kids remember this always - which I feel like they will - & always hold it close in their heart. Good job Ryan & Joe - it was truly a blessing!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Back home



I'm home...a little happy but a little sad. Glad to be back home - In honor of my mom's Wizard of Oz world "There is no place like home" - but I miss holding that little wiggle worm! When I left, I just bawled - didnt want to leave him at all.

The flight home was MUCH better (thanks for the prayers guys!) It was smooth & quick - just the way I like it - if you really consider me "liking" it!

But here are some things that I learned on the trip!


1. I miss Julie & want her home with us or at least CLOSE driving distance!

2. Isaac is probably the cutest little boy in the world (bias?)

3. I learned that a baby's cry can make Ricky jump quicker than anything I've ever seen before! Even though I think that little "lamb"cry has to be the cutest thing - & I promise, I didn't pinch him just to hear it! I also learned Isaac loves the outside to quite down that cry QUICK! He's going to be an outdoorsman!
4. I learned that dogs can remember people after long periods of time - when Pippin saw us, you could tell it was the first reaction of "Oh yipee, visitors" - but then you could see it CLICK - & he knew it was us & got so excited. That is one smart puppy!

5. I learned I could sit for hours just to watch a babies facial reactions - & get so much joy out of the smallest smirk.

6. I learned that I love my small town of Greenville! Holy cow - people drive like maniacs in Houston! I'm not a 'big city' type of person anymore. I enjoy the quiet & fresh air of the country.


7. I learned I have the best friends & family in the world. Friend would call & make sure I was OK or leave messages via phone, email - just to let me know they were praying for me & my flight & the visit - is that the best??? And my parents - they stayed with my doggies & took care of them while we were gone & spoiled them like they can only be spoiled.
All in all - I learned I am so blessed! In so many ways! And I'm just thankful for technology too - where I can see pictures of Isaac quickly & hear his voice & video - & who knows- maybe I'll do it again soon just so I can see that face (oh, my stomach just flipped thinking of it!) I guess I need to recuperated from this trip first!

................................

Just a quick note on this last picture - this was my perfect morning....I just woke up, got to get Isaac after his morning feeding & hold him while he feel asleep. The pugs got right up there & feel asleep in my lap too. This is the picture of pure happiness!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Modern Day Nanny!

Oh yeah - I'm a modern day nanny here - I'm blogging while holding little Isaac in my lap - what a world! I've had the best 2 days because I've been in charge of baby sitting! Last night, we tried to go out to dinner together but Isaac was having NONE of it! He screamed like never before once he got in the car seat - Nanny to the rescue! I told everyone to go out & do what they need to do & I'll watch Isaac. It was the best night, sitting holding him, my grand-pugs sitting with me, watching Ugly Betty - could there be a better night? I dont think so! Today, I'm baby sitting again - not for a great reason - Julie is sick & Ricky took her to the doctor - so I'm glad we're here right now. I've got some great baby time in. The downfall of this -Its going to make leaving even harder! I've already gotten use to the feel of this wiggle worm in my arms! I'm just going to enjoy my last day with him - all I can do! Everyone - lift up a prayer for Julie - being a busy new mommy while having a sinus infection - not good! My little snugglers is wiggling around right now - time to love on him even more!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Texas Time!

I'm offically in Texas! I have offically met little Isaac & am offically in love! He's the cutest little man I've ever seen - & I dont care what anyone says - his hair is red!!! Especially in sunlight! The flight - UGG! We had half the time in turbulence & I'm begging Ricky to rent a car to drive home. But 2 hrs compared to 18 driving? I know, I know....But I dont want to think about it for the next few days - I just want to enjoy this little baby! Oh yeah, I've already taken tons of pictures but didnt bring my "link-up thingie" - Maybe I can use my phone & download a picture or two. I'm already trying to figure out ways to sneak Isaac back with me - & I'd like to get Julie back with us too!

Oh yeah, dont let anyone fool you - Mr. Ricky was just as scared on that flight with this turbulence! IT WAS BAD! Even the landing gear was messed up - when the wheels came out for landing - the whole plane shook & the worst noise came out from under us. Me, being the loud person I am, said, in a probably too loud voice - "OH MY, that scared the crude out of me!" - I can't tell you how many people said, "YEP, me too!" - see I'm not alone - I'm just the only one who vocalized my fear!

Thanks to all my buddies who have called to check on me & encouraged me - what would I do without you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Flying

Tomorrow - I will be on a plane! For some, that is exciting & the thought of travel makes them happy. For me - I've literally been sick over it. I'm not a good traveler. I'm pertrified of flying! I've done it a few times & it just never gets easier for me. I think what really sparked it - in 1993 or 1994 (cant remember) - Ricky & I went to Disney flying on a USAir out of Pittsburg & vice versa going home. As we were packing to come home down in Florida, we had the TV on - & a USAir plane going to Pittsburg crashed - no survivors! I was completely freaked out! We were just hours away from getting on plane heading to the same place. People even thought it was our plane!!! I called my parents from Florida. Their reactions - completely different. My mom was telling us to get a rental car & drive home. My dad's reaction - "What are the odds of 2 planes crashing within 12 hrs time" - (I see me & Ricky in that - completely different reactions to things!)

Needless to say, we flew home. Over half of the flight had cancelled & the huge plane was very empty - almost ghostlike. The air traffic was so heavy with media going into Pittsburg, we couldnt land. We had to circle for hours before we could land - circling right near where the plane crashed. Our layover was crazy because of all the madness. We didnt know when we would get out. We ended up being 14 hrs late getting home. Ever since that experience - I just dont care to fly.

But tomorrow, I'll hopefully be getting on a plane heading to Texas to see our new grandson. I'm wanting to see this little baby - believe me, its the only reason I will be visiting the airport again. So I'm asking - please pray me through this.

I wish I was one of those people who enjoyed flying - someone who got excited - someone who found fun in getting on a plane in one part of the world & getting off in another part. My travel experience usually consists of nausea, dizziness, a least a dozen crying spells & a few trips to the bathroom! Sound like fun? No, not to me either. Oh well, we'll see how it goes! Isaac is waiting for his Nanny & Pappy! I just need to get that family up here - or at least closer driving distance!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What a weekend!


Here's some pictures of the weekend. I forgot the camera at Amber's birthday party & I wish I did have it because those kids were adorable! And a picture of Rollie holding the pinata would have been priceless - but I learned my lesson & had it with me the rest of the weekend!



The scavenger hunt was full of fun! Lindsay must have got off early because when we did our annual "Lindsay picture" - she was already out of Cracker Barrell - darn it! Me & Ryan got to drive the church van & join our team so there was us two plus 10 kids - a total of 12 - that equals tons of fun! Loading in & out of that van with that many kids was a sight in itself - those kids were fast! The highlight of the night - when the police pulled us over! Oh yeah - dont think the worst, I wasnt driving - it was Ryan! And everyone knew immediately it wasn't for speeding - that van has NO pick up at all to even REACH the speed limit. We just didnt have our lights on & the van door was open - it was in the process of being shut. We had the routine of driving, slamming the brakes & the door would automatically shut - saving time for our hunt. Well, we lost all that time waiting for the cop to check out everything - we lost 20 minutes - not good! The police was very nice, understanding & told us to stay safe. He did see we had all the kids in seat belts & believe me, we were very careful with that van load of kiddos! The funniest part - all the kids were too busy taking pictures of the policeman & the flashing lights! It will surely be a memory they will NEVER forget! I'm just glad it was Ryan driving & not me! And we seriously didnt even realize we didnt have the lights on - we were just concentrating on the next clue & the next stop - we were into the game! We came in 3rd place - not the first I had hoped for - but still, a medal position! Hey - there were 6 or 7 teams (never got that straight) - so I told the kids - we are better than most! Find the positive! I think our night was the 1st place in fun though!



The next day - we had our Making Strides walk. I was so grateful for the people who came out & walked. It ended up being such a beautiful day & I was excited because the walk took us over the 2nd street bridge - what a view! I saw in the paper that there were over 10,000 people - I believe it! It was an amazing thing to see so many people come together for a cause. You could see so many signs for support & signs for people in memory of, & you realize how many people "cancer" has touched! As mentioned before - our team was "TEAM VICTORY" in honor of 2 things - 1st, our dear friend Vicki Meredith who is an awesome SURVIVOR! What a woman she is! Her faith in God, the way she handles herself in daily life & the way she handled her fight with breast cancer - she's just amazing! 2nd - we named it that because we claim Victory over everything in Christ's name! It couldnt have been a better name! The cutest part of the day for me - I'd look & Vicki & Steve (her husband) were walking holding hands - aahhh, they are just the cutest couple in the world! What a supportive husband! I just can't say enough about those two - and their whole family!




Of course, the walk couldnt just be a walk for us GCC'ers - we had a game of TAG going on - & before you know it - it became some serious stuff! We were scattered out - chasing, running - laughing the whole walk! People were staring wondering what the heck we were running from! It was great fun! But we all crossed the finish line together - even running through the end! It couldnt have been a more perfect day - especially for us to celebrate our anniversary!






Then me & Ricky got to end our day with another AWESOME "God-talk" with Ryan. We can get into some DEEP conversations that lead to topic after topic. This one started with my fear of flying & ended with the topic being "Is there free will or is life pre-destined?" - I'll have to mention highlights from that talk at another date - I know this is getting pretty long! It was some good stuff! I was in tears sitting between Ricky & Ryan, so you know it was some good God-talking going on! What an awesome God we serve!



Enjoy the pictures & thanks again for all the people who walked Sunday - you are all amazing to come out & support a great cause! Next year, we need to double our numbers - get a GREAT game of TAG going on!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Anniversary







Today has been 12 years of marriage for me & Ricky. That blows me away to think of 12 years - we've been together 15 years. Where does the time go? I have to say - its always an adventure! I hope you enjoy some pictures from our big day. It was truly a day I'll always remember - the perfect wedding day! 12 years down - a lifetime to go!


(Look how little the girls are...that just shows how much time has passed!)









































(Me & my dad dancing)
















Friday, October 26, 2007

Feel like a kid again!

Remember that feeling when you were in school - the last day before Christmas vacation, or Spring Break, or forget about the whole 3 months of Summer vacation. The anticipation of that final bell ringing couldnt get here soon enough. That's where I'm at today - 4:00 - please get here! I'm on vacation next week! I'm itching in my seat even as I speak (or type if you want to be technical!) So much to catch up on before I leave - dont even want to think how much I have to catch up on when I get back either - just want that week off!

Vacation will start tonight with plans already for the whole week. Tonight - I'll be enjoying a kid's Halloween party that Amber is throwing for her kiddo's & their friends. I'm supposed to be helping but I have a feeling I'll be involved in the fun with the kids! I always enjoy being around kids - they're need to have fun without caring about what they look like - that's all for me!

Tomorrow- the fun REALLY happens. The youth (both junior & senior high) are involved in a scavenger hunt. Last year, it was probably one of my top 10 fun things that happened - I think we laughed the entire night - sore stomachs the next day! The kid's personality really shines through on outings like this - & its such a fun time to spend with them. And bring in competition - I'm there! (My team WILL win by the way!) Last year, one of the funniest moments - we have to stop in different places that we figure out by the clues. We ended up in Corydon & I knew Lindsay was working (at McDonalds at the time) - I asked my team if we could run in there for a second. They were all for it. We shot out of the car, ran into McDonalds - my team of girls just started yelling "Where's Lindsay?" - poor Linds...she looked so confused. We made her come around to take a picture with us & as you can see by the look on her face - she wasn't quite sure what just happened. She said everyone in McDonalds laughed about it all night long. I do know for a fact, she will be working again this Saturday - now at Cracker Barrell - so if you are in Corydon Saturday night - I have a feeling you'll be seeing my team come in for our annual "Lindsay picture". It doesnt give us any extra points - but its just fun to bring others into our night of scavenger hunting!

Sunday - its our big "Making Strides for Breast Cancer" walk! I'm so anxious to walk together for such a great cause! TEAM VICTORY! And, Sunday is also mine & Ricky's 12th wedding anniversary! I'll have more to say about that later. (Maybe even a wedding photo from the big day!)

Then later in the week - the trip to Texas. I dont even want to talk about the trip though. For those who know me - I'm not a plane person & I have literally gotten sick twice just thinking about it - no joke! ..... I'm getting nauseated & dizzy now just mentioning it - I've got to change the subject!

So, I'm watching the time tick. At 4:00 - you know there is going to be at least one happy person in the world. I may even get some recycled paper & throw it in the air as I walk out the door. Truthfully, I know the week will fly & I'll be back to my little hole in the corporate world in no time - but I'm going to enjoy every minute away!