Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a little NFL fun..

Since I love football, especially NFL and the Superbowl is in Indy this year, I thought maybe this Indiana native {I am NOT a Hoosier} would entertain you with a little NFL fun.

I sat with my man and the mancub tonight and this mom rocked the game!  Only missed four... let me know if you top me.

This was in the latest edition of our electric company's newsletter.  Enjoy!  Answers will be posted later.

I'll even give you a clue to get you started... once again, my beloved Colts are on the bottom!


See how many of the 32 NFL teams you can identify from these playful clues.  Some are pretty out of bounds.  Good luck!

1) Played with Bennie
2) Inattentive sunbathers
3) $1 for corn
4) Midnight snackers
5) Insect-sized soldiers
6) Fed-Ex Competitors
7) They "go marching in"
8) Little male mooers
9) Marine bird
10) Quothed "nevermore"
11) Seven squared
12) Indian leaders
13) Electric co-op power lines
14) Spotless leopards
15) Trained birds of prey
16) Barbies 1959 Cadillac
17) Disturbances by Summerall, Riley and McAfee
18) Rules not to break
19) Fast, sporty and spotty
20) Trinidad drummers
21) Quick communicators
22) Kings of the jungle
23) Franklin's lady friends
24) Guests at the Hotel California
25) Fathers of the gods
26) Windpipes
27) Streakers
28) Loaders
29) IOUs
30) Six Rulers
31) Ewes' mates
32) Frisky foals

when you wonder what's next...

Contemplative today....

After today....
And a VERY muddy January, with today's high temp forecasted to be 57*... I wonder what's next.  Will February be cold and snowy?  Will it be mild?  Will I even be able to make maple syrup this year?

After his first dance...
I wonder what's next.  He went with the girl his dad and I hoped and prayed he would.  Our influence is waning though.  Will I love the next girl as much as I love Emma?  Do I pray for the women who will influence him?

After Saturday...
He will be 15.  So often I see him in the recliner with his iTouch and I wonder... where did we go wrong?  Why doesn't he have more motivation?  Why isn't he doing something productive?  And, then... I see him at church playing with the little boys... or putting away the sound equipment... or running the PowerPoint, and I hear a woman whisper in my ear, "he is such a good boy!"  

All of this makes me wonder... and pray... for him.  He faces things at school that no 15 year old should have to face and yet he is there with 2,000 other students all either facing those things or perpetuating them.  Do I pray enough?

After this school year...
She has loved her year at private school.  She has thrived and grown and matured in amazing ways.  Tomorrow we get up before the sun to go to a breakfast where she will be honored as "Student of the Week".   This is new to her, and to us.  When you are homeschooled you are either always student of the week or never student of the week....

I wonder about next year?  Will God send her back to private school or will she stay home?  I don't foresee her going to our public middle school for 7th grade but maybe she will.  Do I pray for His best in her life?

After today...
Sat and talked with my kindred spirit last night and she outlined the next book.  I laughed.  She said "this is what you should write!" and she laughed.  

I don't know... I don't even know what's going to happen with the one that is finished.  I wonder much... in one day, enough books sold to support one Compassion International child for one month.   Do I pray to be blown away?

I wonder...

...maybe I have the question wrong.  It's not "what's next, LORD?"... instead, it's "am I seeking you with all my heart?"

For I know the plans I have for you,” 
declares the LORD, 
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future.  
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, 
and I will listen to you.  
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  
I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, 
“and will bring you back from captivity. 
I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD,
 “and will bring you back to the place 
from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14

Monday, January 30, 2012

fear, grace, FREE Kindle app...and a GIFT for you!

It is impossible to give thanks
and simultaneously feel fear.
A. Voskamp (1000 Gifts, pg 203)

So much of my life has been wasted caving to fear... fear of the unknown and fear of people's reaction to me.  Both have been an incredible waste of time... and a stronghold of Satan on my heart.  

He's the master liar.  For years and years and years I didn't know this was his stronghold...  I believed his lies over God's truth.  

I am the way,
the truth,
and the life.
John 14:6

Somewhere along this journey called life, I even bought the lie that fear was more comfortable than freedom.  So, I stayed in my fear.

Then you will know
the truth and the truth
will set you free.
John 8:32

Until I sought freedom.  I didn't know when I took Ann's challenge and started counting gifts that I would be changed so.  I had put limits on His grace, and didn't even realize I had done it.   I didn't know His grace was THAT sufficient.  I didn't realize His grace would change me in ways I never knew need changing.

I've counted above and beyond 1000 in my quest to develop an attitude of gratitude.  In that journey, He has changed me above and beyond 1000 different ways. 

Most recently... by guiding me to let go of my fear of rejection and pursue a life long dream of publication.   He guided and I finally followed.  Not only did He guide, He taught.   He taught and I finally learned. 

When I clicked the last button on Saturday, I was sitting in the kitchen of my friend, Rachelle... gratefully using her super fast, unlimited wi/fi.  And, when completed all the steps to independently publish a book, I clicked the last button "publish" and I lifted my hands in gratitude.   

No fear,
just awe!

Last night, I reread parts of 1000 Gifts, and Ann's words jumped off the page...

It is impossible to give thanks
and simultaneously feel fear.
A. Voskamp (1000 Gifts, pg 203)

the grace gift list grows...

... for His guiding
... knowing I am upheld
... and carried
... and covered by Him

... free indie publishing
... pursing a goal
... friend's free wi/fi
... fellowship around a computer downloading files
... joint praise and worship and gratitude

... his first dance
... a friend who loans size 14 dress shoes
... and dress pants long enough
... and a shirt and tie
... a "date" who was the perfect one for a first dance

... his prayer over me
... his hand that reaches for mine 
... his warmth
... his companionship
... his understanding of this mess called me

for now, this novel...

...is only available as an eBook.   

Did you know that Amazon has a FREE KINDLE APP for your computer?  You can download this and read any eBook you want, right from your phone, macbook, laptop, or blackberry....

Here's a gift for YOU.  Today only... 50% off coupon for The Secret of Counting Gifts.  This coupon is only good by following this link and using this code.  This is a Smashwords coupon... it will not work in the Kindle Store.  However, Smashwords will give you a Kindle file that will read in your new Kindle app!

coupon code:

Your coupon code is LE65J (not case-sensitive)

... and for friends who love me enough to support this endeavor.

thank you!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

12 weeks later...

Twelve weeks ago.... I went to ExtraOrdinary Women 2011 and was changed.  

Eleven weeks ago... I read this and was changed more.  Gathered around the table in the candlelight of our weekly Sabbath celebration, Eric read Ann's words to us about Compassion International and Jonathan on the banks of the Amazon.   I shared with those I love the most about Ewomen, and Ann, and Lois.  We prayed.  Emme prayed....

Lord, please help my mom write a book 
so she can sell it and we can 
help support a Compassion International kid.
In Jesus' name, Amen

I wrote.  I prayed.  I asked my kids to continue to pray.  I kept going with this experiment.  And, I was changed more.

Four weeks ago, I wrote an email and asked for permission and she said yes!

This changed me... much.  

He taught me... much.

...twelve weeks later, it's published.... at the Amazon Kindle Store or Smashwords.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

at the end of a day...

This was what greeted me at the beginning of my day today... I wish I could have captured the sparkle of the snow.  Ab.so.lute.ly beautimous {some days just need made-up words}!

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of work I can do at home... if I simply stay home.  It's such a simple concept, I know.  However, it is one that I forget from time to time.  

often I need a reminder or two

So... today while Chad and Emme were out shoveling 8 driveways  for money to return to Guatemala in April, I managed... 

~to do 4.7 loads of laundry 
(washed, dried, folded, put-away... 
except for the last load of jeans 
that is still sitting in the dryer)

~to make a double batch of Chex Mix...
which, of course, is mostly gone now

~to send pre-publication manuscript
to some favorite bloggers for
their review

~to make two complete batches of granola bars...
and cut and wrap them 
and store them in the freezer for 
next week's lunches

~to assign chores and see that they were
mostly completed,
which means the house was about
69% clean today

~to make a batch of bosco sticks
wrapped and frozen and ready
for lunches next week

~to send manuscript via email to
yes... seriously! 
thankfully not too serious of a mistake

~to make a batch of turkey and cheese minis
wrapped and frozen and ready
for lunches next week

~to make yummy potato soup for supper...
not quite as good as my friend, Anne's,
but super close

~to make rolls to go with said soup

~to take Emme to girl's Bible study
and not run into the snow plow
that was taking 2/3 of the road

and at the end of a day like that...

~to cuddle up on the couch to watch
with my courageous man

a great ending to a productive day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

what if we are all wrong...

What if we/me approached life knowing and acknowledging that I am wrong rather than trying to prove I am right?

As it is written,
there is no one righteous, not even one
there is no one who understands
there is no one who seeks God.
Romans 3:10-11

Seems lately, in Christian circles {love that vague term}, so many are trying to prove their stance based on right vs. wrong in how to follow Christ, where to educate our children, how to parent, how to be married, what movies to watch, which holidays to celebrate, which version of God's Word to read, etc., etc., etc.

I'm beginning to believe we are all wrong

... because if we were right, we wouldn't fall into the trap of trying to tear down our brother/sister to build ourselves up.

My children are teaching me this lesson.  It seems as if they are constantly fighting to be right.  In the fight, they tear down their brother/sister in order to defend themselves.  In the end, this parent is left to deal with puffed up pride and hurt feelings.

It's taken 42+ years to realize I do this and my Father God is left to deal with puffed up pride and hurt feelings.  

Sin is wrong
I sin
I am wrong

This is how I want to live the rest of my days... I know I will fail miserably.

I want to be wrong so that I don't fight to be right.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{virtual coffee} again...

maybe caffeine would help?!?

Good morning... it's a yucky, rainy, cold and mostly miserable day outside... a GREAT day for {virtual coffee} dontcha think?

Joining up with Amy to sip some virtual coffee together today.  Care to join us?

Ellen and I brought school to the library today.  Doesn't she looked thrilled?  I have to confess that I've kinda let school slide a little lately.  Not that I'm a rigid homeschool mom; but, even to my standards, things have slipped a bit.   What, with writing a book and now working on a sequel, celebrating Christmas and New Year with friends and family, almost running over myself, passing out toys for Toy Time, and waiting for puppies to be born... it seems as if I don't have enough of me to do it all and school too.

I used to worry about such times in our lives... worry that my kids weren't learning enough, getting enough, being enough, whatever enough.  Somehow, putting the two older in school has changed my perspective greatly.  They both were homeschooled.  They both transitioned beautifully.  They both have high GPA's.  They're fine.  Ellen will be fine too.  So, I don't worry anymore over the days when we stay in our pj's and read 3 entire Boxcar Children books or the days when we make Bosco sticks, hot pockets, mini pies, cookies and granola bars for the other kid's school lunches.  

Just think of all the time I've wasted worrying!  So, today we push the "restart" button and we work diligently on our schoolwork while still having fun at the library.

Speaking of libraries... I think mine is about the best around.  You know, we could actually have our coffee here?  Yep, my library is cool like that.  Just make sure you keep the lid on.... ; )

I've been attempting to make my own coffee creamer at home.  So far... I'm undecided on it.  I'd like to do it to cut cost and preservatives but not so sure it's worth it.  I'll keep you posted on different recipes I try.  Here's the one from today...

Honey Almond Coffee Creamer
1 can sweetened evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4. c. honey
1/8 t. almond extract

Pour all into a 1 quart canning jar and tighten lid.  Shake well until all honey and condensed milk is mixed in.  Store in fridge and use with your favorite coffee.

... this is the recipe I like best, thus far.  I've tried vanilla and pumpkin spice.  Still not as good as Sweet Italian Cream, which is, by far, my fave!!

In this little chat, Ellen has finished her school work.  Time for us to move on.  

Hope you have an amazing Tuesday.  Thanks for joining me!

Monday, January 16, 2012

tasting the quiet...

It's just me and the dog at home...  for 24 hours now.  It's still and quiet and slightly weird.

Another migraine left me at home while the rest went to see Mama and Papa.  I'm torn.  Shouldn't I be the one to go to my parent's home?  And, yet, I love that they are my man's parents now too and he goes without me.  

I love that my dad is willing to take my mancub alongside and teach him some skills... helping Eric complete a woodworking 4H project.  Time together in Papa's shop is so much more than learning how to sand and plane and build a table.  The time is the gift, the lesson is the whipped cream and cherry on top.

I love that my girls are scrapbooking with their grandmother today.  I love that I am not there to make sure everyone is on their best behavior... sharing scissors and not fighting over stickers.  My mother raised four children... she is quite accomplished at handling sibling rivalry.  And, amazingly, there is probably little fighting going on in Grandma's presence.

Yesterday, they left me tucked into bed in a very dark and quiet room.  I was too sick to miss them... today I miss them immensely.  I frittered minutes away this morning doing laundry, dishes, etc.  feeling slightly discombobulated... missing the noise and chaos, their companionship and love.  

Finally, a cup of tea and honey and a phone conversation with a friend and I get it.  I taste it.  I taste the sweetness of the honey and taste the sweetness of this time.  I remember the younger me... the one with crying babies and toddlers at my feet wishing for just a few moments of quiet.  I remember the last week me... driving all around town hurrying here and there and not tasting the coffee that I inhaled.   I remember the yesterday me... so very sick.  Wishing for just a moment's peace from a pounding head and upset stomach.  

All of me wishing for some peace and quiet and when the peace and quiet comes, I don't immerse myself in it and taste it for what it is.  

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

So... in the still and quiet and slightly weird, I taste what my soul has often longed for.   Sticky and sweet and yummy, much like the honey in my tea, it tastes ohhh so good!  And, for this moment, this brief blip on my timeline, I am thankfully tasting the quiet and counting it as a gift of goodness from my LORD.

On this Multitude Monday... I continue to count with the gratitude community at Ann's.  

... for peace and quiet
... for only a residual headache
... for my personal nurse who cares more deeply than I often realize
... for dark
... for sleep

... for a dad who wants to teach his grandson
... for greater lessons learned
... for time with Grandma
... for parents who love my man almost as much as I do (sometimes more...)
... for the love my man has for them

... for the sweetness of honey and the warm steam of tea
... for my kindred spirit who is my own Nurse Practitioner and the care she gives me
... for answered prayer
... for friendships that span years and memories

... for beta readers
... for her willingness to say yes! and I'm praying for you!
... for His guidance
... for words
... for direction

... for grace
.... and mercy
... and new mercies every morning

Friday, January 13, 2012

beware of the random post...

You are about to enter a very random post... 
you may want to walk away...

we woke up to this hanging off 
our roof this morning..
I actually opened a living room window 
and removed the screen to take this picture
much to the chagrin of the boy.
I don't know what bothered him more...
the cold air coming in
or that his mother was hanging out the window.

this still just cracks me up!
What looks like Rapture left-overs is
actually a very carefully laid plan.
This is what the 8 year olds bedroom floor
looked like Wednesday night.  She laid
her clothes out for homeschool co-op the next morning
in the exact way she would wear them....
funny girl!

beauty for $3.99 at Aldi.
The male cashier asked me if I was purchasing those
for myself or someone else.
I told him for my marriage...
I enjoy them immensely 
and it gets my husband off the hook.

this is what's for dinner tonight.
The idea of a turkey stuffed with a duck and a hen
has always intrigued me.
Though not a rockbottom price,
the clearance tag convinced Chad to try it
and he convinced me.  
The best part?
We're taking it to a spontaneous get-together tonight.
Should make for some great discussion!

this is how we spend snow days!
I'm wrapped up in this blanket 
looking down at Ebony at my feet.
I should be writing, folding laundry, doing dishes
or doing a million other things.
Love this blanket, by the way!
Dad bought it to wrap Chad's Christmas gift
and it's now used every day in 
the living room.

this is the first idea
for the book cover...
not crazy about it and have 
been brainstorming with my photography friend,
she is uber talented and I can't wait 
to see it all come together!

I've started the sequel
and I thought a snow day 
would be the PERFECT day to write...
I even fell asleep last night dreaming
of writing all day long.
Let's just say...
not so much...

I'm under the red blanket
blogging a hideously random post...
and apparently,
you did not head the warning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


often this is worship to me...
time marveling in and at His creation,
His faithfulness and grace,
His mighty right hand...
all done within
my heart

often this is worship to me...
time in His Word,
His love letter
 a story of sin, death and redemption
stained with the blood of His Son...
written to me

often this is worship to me...
these three entrusted to their dad and I
for only a short time, a blip on the radar...
a time to teach and admonish
and worship the Creator
not the created

often this is worship to me...
time alone
when "Peace, be still"
is said to the storm raging within...
quiet and still before the Throne

this is my favorite way to worship...
hearts that come together to join
in corporate prayer...
for He Himself promised
where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name
He is there

though I love this little one,
the daughter of a friend,
raising hands and singing
is rarely worship to me...
those who sing and dance
and make music unto the LORD
find it hard to understand

...to me, worship is 
peace... quiet...
my heart still before the Throne of Grace
and the One who sits upon it
my heart joyful
my soul glad

often this is worship to me...
the Body of Christ 
gathered together in the shadow of the Cross
each exercising the gifts and abilities
the Father has bestowed upon them...
in love