Cleopatra and a Cowboy

For those of you that played my guessing game as to what Jenna was going to be for Halloween...here you go...and pictures of our surprise guest...
Preparing for the costume!

Cleopatra! The Queen of the Nile. Did anyone catch my hint in an earlier comment??

Cleopatra and the Cowboy. What a combination!


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We have a full day today which includes carving our pumpkin which I hope hasn't rotted sitting outside. I have the regular weekend stuff...laundry, cleaning, scrapbooking. And we are hoping to have a special guest tonight. More on that, as well as Jenna's costume, later.

I can't tell you how excited I am that this work week is over. If you will remember, it started with me being over tired and feeling awful. I have worked late every night this week. Last night, Jenna spent the evening at school doing special Halloween activities while Steve and I went out for a date night, which makes 2 in one week! It was pouring down rain and honestly, I would have loved to come home and snuggle up in front of the TV with some movies and our own microwave popcorn. But we had a good time nevertheless.

Speaking of that, Tuesday night we went to TPAC to see "Little House on the Prairie". Melissa Gilbert played "Ma" and while it was cute and it was neat to see her on stage in the show that she grew up in, but no offense, she is not that great of a singer. The show starts off slow in that it was hard for me to get interested in and I think it's because the plot jumps around so much that you don't really have time to get interested in it before it's moved on. Ultimately, the end is cute and happy and you know how I like a happy ending!

Last night, because it was raining, we only had time to go through the Chik-fil-a drive thru. I got off work just a wee bit early and since we couldn't drop JG off until 6, I went over to Kohls. I LOVE that place! I had a $20 gift certificate and a 15% off your entire purchase which turned into 20% if you spent $100 or more. I got 3 blouses for work, 2 pair of pants and jewelry to match all the blouses. With my gift certificate and my 20% off, I spent just a few dollars over $100 and saved...get this...$126!!! Did I already mention how much I LOVE that place?!!? After we dropped JG off and ran through the drive thru, we went to see the movie Paranormal. If you know Steve, you know how much he loves all things scary. He would much rather decorate for Halloween than Christmas (part of that has to do with the fact that it's so much colder outside in December than October!). But he just loves Halloween and scary movies. So we went to see it while we had the chance. Like all movies, I'm sure there will be differing opinions, but I thought it was SUPER SCARY. That is, if you are into scary. Not to give anything away, but it kind of reminded me of The Blair Witch Project, which I also thought was pretty scary. And when I say scary, I mean mostly in that mind way. You know, when you obviously know it's just a movie etc., but when you get home, you start listening for sounds and think you see stuff you don't. So, Steve enjoyed it and I did too. At any rate, it is good to get out with my sweetheart every once in a while.

OK, better get this weekend started...Lots to do.................


Pray for Stellan

If you keep up with MckMama and her blog, you know that Stellan is again doing poorly. If you don't know Stellan's story, I encourage you to go to MckMama's blog and get updated. It is a miraculous story which makes Stellan's struggle now all the more painful. Let's join together and pray for him...


What do you know about me?

So, I saw this on another blog and thought it would be fun to do...you can learn a little more about me!

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while your blogging?
I don't usually snack while blogging...but if I am, probably something chocolate!

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
Obviously my family comes to mind, but since the question is about a "thing", I'd say, my cell phone. I know it's totally non-spiritual but it's true...

3. Beach, Mountains, or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
I'd like to say Beach, but only if I was retired there and didn't have to work. Although I love the beach, I'm not sure that I'd love it if I had it in my back yard all the time.

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
I really hate vacuuming. Not sure why, but I do.

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
This is tough. I don't know that anyone says I remind them of someone in particular. More often, I've gotten the "You remind me of my best friend", so I guess that would have to be it.

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying home with the fam?
Depends. As you know, I love my "MY" time, but I love being with my family and just hanging out.

7. What's your all time favorite movie?
Gosh, I don't know...I really like Love Actually. I watch it over and over every Christmas. Last year, I started wrapping gifts at a card table in my bedroom and would watch it while I wrapped. Makes wrapping go a lot faster.

8. Do you sleep in your make-up or remove it like a good little girl every night?
I really should remove it every night. Some evenings I do, but more often than not, I sleep in it. Of course, in my defense, I don't wear a lot of makeup to take off!

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
No hidden talent that's for sure. I really wish I could play a instrument really well. I'd love to play in the church orchestra. And I wish I'd been blessed with a beautiful singing voice. I would love to sing on stage especially worship songs...I could totally get into that if I could keep from crying while singing!

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
Organizing? I do a good job at meal planning and grocery shopping etc. If you've ever been to my house, you know there is always a 2 week meal plan on my fridge...helps save money when shopping for groceries.

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
Micah, Steve's daughter (my step-daughter). I fell in love with her long before I knew Steve. It was a total God-thing.

12. What is something you love to smell?
Fresh cut grass in the spring. Or the smell of coffee especially when it's cold out (though I'm not much of a coffee drinker).

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
I totally overanalyze things and probably take things way too personally that aren't meant to be personal.

14. When you have extra money, what's the first thing you think to do with it?
Well, first I have to determine whether I have bills that need to be paid or a need that has to be met. Then I pretty much spend it on whatever.

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
Loud laugher and I get in trouble at work all the time for it. Genuinely funny people that crack themselves up make me laugh hardest. Watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? where the comedians get themselves tickled makes me laugh until I cry.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Depends on what I'm shopping for. I hate clothes shopping because I'm obviously way bigger than I wish to be. Otherwise, I like Target or Hobby Lobby (for all my scrapbooking needs)...when I do have to shop for clothes, I love Kohls.

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
Hmmm...this is a toss up between scrapbooking and reading. Although if I could get caught up on my scrapbooking, I'd have more time to read.

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
Frugal. I am stuck in the 90s and can't stand to pay more than $20 for any piece of clothing, pair of shoes or purse. I know...it just doesn't work these days. People who spend hundreds of dollars on shoes or purses...I just don't get that. Sorry if you are one of those people...I just can't see spending that kind of money on stuff...but I could see spending it at the scrapbook store. :) :) :)

19. Who is your favorite character of all time?
Character? I'm not sure I get this question. I don't think I have one.

20. Would you want to be famous?
No. No desire whatsoever. I'd like to be related to someone famous. Then I could say, "Oh, Brad Pitt is my brother in law" or "I roomed with Drew Barrymore in college"


Another giveaway (not mine)

If you blog, you want to enter this giveaway...

What are you gonna be for Halloween?

Jenna has chosen quite an unusual costume for this Halloween. We found it at Target. It's not a fairy, animal or kid superstar (Hannah Montana etc).

It is a person though...someone pretty well known...back in her day. Any guesses? I'll post pictures after Halloween. And I'll have a little something for anyone who guesses correctly. And for those of you that already know, you don't get to play. :)


Two Wheels!

While I was gone on my getaway weekend, Jenna had a red-letter weekend! First her fabulous report card, and then with this...

Some of you know that we've tried and tried for several summers to teach Jenna to ride her bike without training wheels. She has worn us out trying. We have taken the wheels off, raised them, and removed one training wheel. Nothing seemed to work. I was beginning to wonder if they made adult bikes with training wheels. Someone had recently recommended that I remove the pedals from the bike and let her coast until she learned. We just hadn't gotten around to that yet.

So on Saturday, Steve encouraged her to go outside to play with our neighbor's kids, Grey and Gage. Jenna is, age-wise, right in between both of them. Anyway, Grey apparently told Jenna just to "pedal".

And she did.

And now she can ride her bike without training wheels. Go figure. But I was super excited...I was sorry I missed the big event, but so glad she learned. Rachel put it best, it's like potty-training...when they are ready, it just happens despite all of our attempts to force it earlier. Wow...there's some deep thoughts in that comment, yes? Maybe for another day. :)


Report Card Time!

I'm sure no one else cares as much as me about Jenna's grades, but I wanted to take an opportunity to brag on my girl just a bit.

She got her report card on Friday while I was scrapbooking and I went right online to see what the grades were. Being in 2nd grade, she's still on the E, S, N, U scale. Check it out:

Bible: E (a girl after my own heart...me being a former multi-year Bible award recipient)
Reading: S+
English: E
Writing: E
Spelling: E
Math: S+ (not the least bit surprising given my challenges in Math)
Science: E
Social Studies: E

I mean, seriously, this would be Honor Roll material if we were on that grading scale. But that's not even the best part. Get this...

You know how I'm a crazy reader. OK, maybe you don't know, but I am. If given a choice between anything and reading, reading would win almost every time (except in a showdown with scrapbooking and then who knows what would happen?!) Anyway, I sincerely believe that the love of reading, or at least the liking of reading is the bedrock to doing well in school. I honestly believe that. I think if a child learns to read well and likes it (not to mention loves it), they will overall do better in school. Obviously I haven't tested this theory, but you know...it's what I have observed in many cases.

Anyway, all that to say, at DLES, they have reading progress levels which have benchmarks to be reached at the end of each grade. For example, at the end of Kindergarten, children need to be at reading level "C". It's just kind of a guideline. Jenna's reading level skyrocketed at the end of last year and we worked really hard at reading over the summer. Many times over the summer, kids don't read as much and it's not uncommon for a child to drop a level or two during the first 9 weeks of school. I was anxious to see what level Jenna would come in at.

At the end of second grade, she needs to be at a reading level of "P". Well, I should have known not to worry because her guided reading level came back this time at "Q"!!! That means, she is already reading beyond where she needs to be when she FINISHES second grade! That just makes my heart sing!

So I just felt the need to brag on my little one. :) As for me, I had a rough night. I absolutely could not breathe which not only kept me awake, but Steve too. I had already taken 1/2 day today but I didn't get out of bed until 10:30. I lounged around the house trying to decide whether to go to work and ended up going. I was tired all day, but the meds seem to be working on my congestion. Hopefully I can get caught up on my much needed rest tonight and feel back to myself tomorrow.

Poor Rachel didn't fare as well. She has bronchitis. YUCK!


Scrapbook weekend

I said I'd try to be better about posting so here's my attempt...

This is one of my favorite weekends of the year. SCRAPBOOKING WEEKEND! Rachel and I left on Thursday afternoon for a state park just down the road a piece to hang out with about 18 other women who are as crazy about scrapbooking as we are.

There are two retreat weekends a year...one in October and one in March and I look forward to each of them for weeks before they get here. Thinking back to the first one I went to a couple years ago (has it been that long)...I thought I was a serious scrapper with my rolling tote and all my stickers etc. Well, you have never seen the likes of what some of these other women come with. When we first started, we stayed up until 11:00pm and thought we were pushing the limits. But these other women are hard core. Staying up until 3am almost EVERY night. And you know what? I'm one of them now.

Every spring and fall, Steve removes all the seats in my van (except the passenger seat (and driver, of course!) and by the time Rachel and I have finished loading up all our stuff, it's filled to the brim. I mean, I take two scrapbooking chairs also...and everything in my scrapbook room goes. And when we get there, it's like being "home" again. Back in the day, the retreats would start on Friday and I'd head out after work on Friday afternoon. Subsequent retreats, we'd move it up to only working 1/2 day on Friday. The day came when my consultant and retreat hostess opened it up an extra day so that we could arrive on Thursday afternoon and by that point, we jumped at the chance!

Now, Rachel and I have a standing lunch with some scrapbooking friends around 12:30 on Thursday (we now take the whole day off). Then we head out and get there right at the time it starts and we can check in our room. And we stay up until 1am or later just about every night. And we don't really sleep in. Most days we are in the room by 9am. Oh yes...it is one of the highlights of my year.

This year was just as wonderful and much anticipated. I managed to get a couple of Christmas gifts done (books I was making) and finally got caught up on Jenna's school album as actually into 2009 with her regular book. There's still lots to do, but these retreats give me the opportunity to really get going. Unfortnately, Rachel started getting congested last night and I woke up clogged up this morning. It is definitely allergies. Complicated with the wishy-washy weather and the fact we both got a flu shot on Wednesday of last week. Oh well...we rung out every last drop of the weekend we could. And now, we begin the countdown to March.

And for all you scrappers out there...this is NOT a closed group. You are totally invited to come. It's very economical...you have lots of space, a pretty decent room (for the few hours you are in it sleeping) and catered lunch and dinner for Friday and Saturday. Plus you get time away from the family to concentrate on getting your stuff done not to mention the really good company of people who like doing this as much as you do! If you are interested, the next retreat is in March...first weekend I think...let me know if you want more information and I will get it to you ASAP. If you live out of town, that's NO PROBLEM. We had 2 from Kentucky and one from south Alabama...they come from everywhere...Murfreesboro, Nashville and even my friend from MI, Becca, came one year...so start planning now and join the fun in March!

Thankfully, I take off 1/2 day on the Monday after scrapbook retreat weekend too. Usually I'm getting groceries, finishing laundry, unpacking etc. However, not sure how I will feel tomorrow...guess we'll see...I'm all drugged up on Actifed Allergy medicine and ready for a LONG night of sleep.

Later! (and sorry to all of you non-scrapbookers...I know this post was a huge bore to you all!!!)

A new blog design

I have been thinking for a while about a new blog design. But that is definitely NOT my forte. The Design Girl is giving away a free photo makeover for blogs. I would love to win this! If you are interested in getting in on the giveaway, click the button to the right of this post or just click here.

Good luck!


The Potter and the Clay

OK, so I have been super-bad about blogging lately and I swore to myself I'd do a better job. I owe you (who are "you" BTW?!) a recap post of my weekend in Memphis with Rachel and Beth Moore and it's sitting in my blogger dashboard waiting to be finished. I want to add pictures and so that is the hold up. Yes, I've uploaded them, but then I never went back to finish the post.

And this post would not be here now except I have finally given up on finding what I was looking for to go with this. So, I'm posting without it because it's something that has been on my mind and I need to share.

The last several weeks at church the sermon series has been on...stewardship. I know, I know...so many of you (non-BBCers) are rolling your eyes now because who does that guilt-'em-till-they-give sermon better than us Baptists!? But this has been different. The series is titled "His." and it has been great! It has really put into perspective what all we have that belongs to Him. Not just our money, but our stuff.

So, in our small group time, our leader was talking about when he was a young person, seeing a potter come demonstrate the making of a clay pot. He told how the potter would spin the wheel so fast and throw water on the lump of clay and how he would beat this clay to mold it the way it needed to go. And at times, the potter would even tear off a big chunk of clay and throw it off to the side. Obviously, there was too much clay for what it was going to be made in to.

When I was in art class in high school, we had the opportunity to work with clay and let me tell you, it is NOT as easy as these folks make it look. The clay is really hard and it does take strength to mold it. And one wrong move with your hands can cause the clay to collapse on itself. I remember I was going to make a vase becase it couldn't be that hard. But it WAS hard. The clay was unruly and hard to mold...every time I tried to form it into the shape I wanted, one side would fall in. When I added too much water and it slung all over the place and made a huge mess of the piece because if you don't know, this job is MESSY!

It's no wonder why there are so many references in the Bible to God being the Potter and us being the clay. How often do we try to take the position of the potter with our own lives. We try to mold ourselves into what WE think we should be. We add too much "water" and generally make a huge mess of our lives. Why do we do that? Well, because it sometimes hurts when the Potter gets hold of us. It feels like we are being beaten down...ripped apart. But the Potter sees the whole picture...what the finished product is going to be. He knows when there's too much of us and some needs to be broken off. He knows exactly how much water to add and where to place His hands on our lives. And in the end, what started as nothing more than a lump of hard, unruly, ugly clay...

...turns into something more beautiful than we ever could have imagined.

"And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand."

Isaiah 64:8(NLT)



My brother is home now. They have determined that he definitely had a stroke but it was a TIA, but it was one of the mildest that a person can have. There is nothing that could have really prevented it. The neurologist said that the numbness and tingling (which he likens to feeling like you arm is asleep) might take up to 24 months to cease and he might never regain the feeling. It's just one of those things.

At any rate, he's on some medications, off work for a bit and should have pretty minimal lasting damage.

Thanks for all your comments and prayers...

And just to clarify, this was David G., NOT David T (who is Steve's brother).

Update on David

There's not much to report, but I did just call the hospital and David actually answered the phone.

He sounds just like always. He says he doesn't believe it's a stroke and no one has said for sure what it is or whether it was for sure. They've bascially been told nothing except they "think" it's a stroke or it looks like it is. He's had an MRI, ultrasound on his heart and neck and cat scan of the brain (they found one, go figure...we've always wondered! :) ) and no one told them how those tests came out. He is still feeling the same tingling and numbness as he did when he arrived. No better, no worse. He wonders if it's some kind of pinched nerve.

Someone entered the room after about 10 minutes of conversation, so he had to let me go. I told him to keep me posted and he said he would.

Continue to pray that whatever it is, it is minor and that it can be fixed easily. I've always been close to my brother and I am very concerned and worried for him.

Thanks for your prayers!

Prayer Request

I know I owe like a huge update post and I have one started (I really do!), but can I ask for all of you to pray for my brother David today? Last night, he was taken to the hospital where they believe he had a stroke. He's only 51 years old but they do think they caught it very early on and they hope there is no to only minimal last damage. They have taken him for lots of testing and will know more as the day goes on. If you will just keep him and my sister in law, Judy, in your prayers, I'd appreciate it.