Sunday, December 29, 2013

Her First Song

Liza is such a creative little girl and I LOVE IT!

Today I was looking through her new sketch pad that she got for Christmas and saw this...

When I asked her what it was she told me it was a song she wrote. Let me translate the first grader spelling for you. :)

Who's In the Bible?

Who's in the Bible?
Who's in the Bible?
The Lord.
Who's in the Bible?
Who's in the Bible?
God is.

I am not afraid for the Lord is with me.

Who's in the Bible?
Who's in the Bible?
Love is.

I am not afraid cuz God loves me.
He loves you too.
He loves everyone.
And he is with you too.
He is with everyone.

Liza said she wrote it. All by herself! And then she sang it for me. :) Sweetest thing ever! I had to share it so I bribed her with a dollar to let me record her singing it. It took a while but she finally said she would do it but with music. She grabbed Jason's new guitar and sang me her song. Then we watched the video back and she said "I'm kind of really proud of myself right now!"

Me too, Liza.
Me too.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


I'm  not a superstitious person... at all! But I'm really starting to question the number 13. 2013 was a horrible year.

I've been holding it in the past week because I didn't want to rain on anyone's "merry" but Christmas is over right? That means I can let Scrooge out a little right? Today and the next few days all of blogland will be blogging about their awesome Christmas and how happy they are and reviewing their amazing year. Not me. I'm going to have a pity party and I invite all of you that want to gag over another "life this year was grand and Christmas was AWESOME" post to feel free to join me. :)

I honestly wish I had a "life this year was grand" post to write. I'm happy for those of you who do have that going for you. But I'm not into faking and I'm horrible at lying so I'll just tell you that I'm tired of this year and I'm just going to have my pity party starting now. Feel free to dismiss yourself at any time. I won't take offense!

You all know that Mike and I are a mess. We have our good days and things were feeling better for a while. But... life is full of triggers and they are usually quite unexpected. When I meet those triggers life blows wide open all over again and I have to sort through the mess and find my way to happy again. I ran into one of those triggers about a week before Christmas and found myself really depressed.

Mike had to work over the weekend but I couldn't wait to pack up the kids and head to my parents' for a few days of visiting with family. That day came, we got in the car and we went. Unfortunately, after being at my parents' for a few hours I tucked the kids in bed and Liza puked.

Not a great way to start a visit.

She woke up the next morning feeling fine but I wasn't feeling quite right. So... I sat around on the couch all day and took a good nap but I didn't feel right taking Liza out to visit with the extended family since she puked less than 24 hours before... and I still wasn't feeling well myself. We missed visiting with all my aunts/uncles/cousins and grandparents.

The next morning I woke up feeling fine and I needed to get out of the house so I decided to head to Walmart to get a few last minute things. Started the van and realized it wasn't working right. Got a diagnosis and hoped it was right because it would be any easy and cheap fix. But I needed to get it done because I was running out of days before Christmas and if I couldn't get it fixed I needed to figure out how to get my kids back home. So that afternoon while the entire family bowled I was buying car parts and trying to come up with a plan. I couldn't wait for anyone to help me any more so I called Mike, popped the hood and had him walk me through changing a spark plug. With some help from my youngest brother we got that thing changed... but the van was still running funky.

By this time I knew I wasn't very good company. I came into the visit stressed out from home life and just had more stress piled on. The next morning the car seemed to be running just fine so I packed up and headed home with the kids a day early.

I was still pretty depressed with life and spent the next day and a half watching movies in bed and sleeping. Although, I honestly haven't had a good night's sleep in over a week. I'm exhausted.

Christmas came and I did my best to enjoy it. That was also a fail. The kids had a blast and got "just what I wanted" over and over again. Me? I just wanted a break from life. So Mike and the kids headed to his parents' house and just planned to stay the night.

I stayed home and put away all the Christmas stuff... because I was just tired of Christmas. The house was clean and it felt good! I relaxed with a movie and eventually went to bed. However, in the middle of the night I awoke because I felt cold air blowing on my face. 4:30am and the furnace isn't working and I'm home alone.


Does it end?

Anyone want to fix my furnace?

You see that indoor temperature? (We no longer get the outdoor temp because a bird knocked the transmitter thingy into the recycle bin and we didn't realize it until the recycle truck came and went.) Anyways... it's cold in here! Someone is supposed to be coming this afternoon but man! My toes are cold. My hands are cold. My nose is cold. It's just cold. It was actually down to 51 degrees. Brrr!

So yeah... one thing after another all... week... long.

I'm hoping the furnace isn't too expensive of a fix and I'm hoping nothing else goes wrong in the next 24 hours. And I hope your life has been going better than mine!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Couponing for Crafts

I have a Jo-Ann and a Michael's in town. Those are my craft store options. My favorite? Jo-Ann... and it's all because of their coupon policy!

Michael's will only allow you to use one coupon per customer per day. LAME.

Jo-Ann on the other hand... I just used 30 coupons at one time!!! :) And I had two left over to pass to the person behind  me for waiting patiently. Jo-Ann = AWESOME!

So how do I do it?

1. Sign up for their mailing list and start getting their coupons in the mail if you don't already. I couldn't find a place on their website to do this but you can sign up in store at the register.

2. Like Jo-Ann's facebook page. They post links to coupons there. You will find a link to this week's social media coupons HERE.

3. Sign up for Jo-Ann's emails. They will send you coupons to your email at least once a week. You will find a place to do that at the bottom right of the store website.

4. You will also find coupons on the store website. At the very top, on the right, it says COUPONS. Click it for more!

As long as your coupons all have a different code, and they will if you print them from different places (email, social media, the website) you can use them all! This week is Coupon Commotion meaning that they have several 40% and 50% off coupons at each link! There is also a 25% off total purchase coupon which will get you savings on anything you don't have a coupon for or the sale items that your coupons don't work on. I got a really awesome blanket that was originally $30 for only $11!!! I've been wanting it for weeks. :)

Jo-Ann will also accept competitor coupons so you can print out a Michael's and Hobby Lobby coupon as well and use those. (You can not use Michael's coupons on fabric at Jo-Ann because Michael's doesn't sell fabric.)

Jo-Ann price matches. You can read more about that HERE. They will even match their own online sale prices... because they often run different sales online and in store.

I also know there is a way to get coupons on your fancy cell phones but being that I don't have a fancy cell phone I have no idea how to help you there.

All I know is that Jo-Ann is awesome! If you take in a gazillion coupons make sure to make it easy for the cashier. They'll thank you for it. :) Have them cut and counted. It makes their life easier.

Do you coupon for your crafts and have any tips to share?

Jo-Ann has no idea I am writing this. I get nothing in return. I just get so excited about their coupon policy and how much I'm able to save because of it and I just returned from an awesome shopping trip with tons of savings... so I'm giving them a shout out. :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to Throw a Christmas Party

Ok... so I'm not really a party planner. We don't have big birthday parties. I delegated everything possible for my wedding reception. Not a party planner. BUT... every once in a while I get an idea for a party and I decide to do it and it always works out alright. I thought I would share some tips for making parties run smooth.

I did go to pinterest for some ideas and my tip for that is to not get carried away! It's a great place to find crafts or fun foods but stay within your zone. I don't do fancy food so I found some non-fancy food that was simple and I knew I could be successful at.

My favorite was the Rudolf water bottles. I enjoy crafts so I had a lot of fun making these. If you don't like crafts then just do plain water bottles. :)

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Chex Mix! 
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I saw THIS RECIPE and used some ideas from it. You can find plenty of different Chex Mix recipes HERE. I used the original and then added some fun stuff to it... like red and green M&Ms. Also... if you are afraid that people might have peanut allergies you can cook those up separate and put them in a bowl so people can add them if they want.

We also had sugar cookies and icing for the kids so they could do some decorating. In order to keep this easy and non-germy... We like to use cake icing and just add food coloring. Then I put a little bit of each color in little cups so that we didn't have to worry about kids licking knives and fingers and then re-dipping. Before the kids even came the icing was ready and there was a plate for each kid ready to go as well... three cookies and a knife... so that when the time came we just had to put the plates down and pass the icing around real quick. (Nothing kills a party faster than unplanned down time!)

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SO... the food was ready and we just needed the guests to arrive. :) We didn't want the kids running all over the house and getting all the toys out so I needed a  plan for when they started arriving... because we know that not everyone will show up at the exact same time. This is where the photo booth came in handy. I shared how I set that up HERE.

The kids had a blast with it!!

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After everyone was here we jumped right into our crafts. The key to making this move along smoothly was being prepared before the party started. Our first craft was just something I picked up at Michael's. I made one wreath as an example and then had all the pieces that each kid would use on a plate. All I had to do was get the kids to the table and put a plate in front of them.

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When they finished their wreaths we picked up those plates and put down the new craft.

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To have the tree craft ready I had all the small pieces of paper that were necessary to make it cut and put on a large piece of paper for each kid. Just had to pass out one thing. Also, a glue stick for each kid makes it go quick and without fighting.

After the crafting I took the kids to the living room for story time. While reading stories Mike put out the cookies and icing.

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The kids were pretty excited about decorating cookies and because we didn't have to worry about licked knives and fingers, I think the parents were able to just chill out and enjoy the time as well. :)

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After all that was done we turned on Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas. The kids enjoyed cookies, snacks and hot chocolate. They didn't last for the whole movie but that's ok. They ended up going back to the photo booth props and putting on parades for the adults. It was a lot of fun!

We ended the night with a one song dance party and sent everyone back home with party bags full of goodies.

I know that me and my family had a really great time getting together with a few friends just to celebrate for the fun of it. I think everyone else had a good time too. I tried to keep things simple and was able to prepare it all in the three days leading up to it. (Mike was a HUGE help with cleaning, shopping and making all the cookies! He rocks!)

And there you have it... how to plan a simple party from a non party planner! Do you have any fun Christmas foods or crafts that you love to make?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Not the Hap-Happiest Season of All For Some

I love my friends and I hate when they are hurting. Several people I know are dealing with infertility and when they pour out their hearts to me... I'm getting only a small glimpse of how hard life must sometimes be for them. The ache in their hearts is huge. I always offer to these friends that they are welcome to share their stories and feelings anonymously through my blog. My hope is that their story will connect with someone else out there... that someone reading will know they are not alone but also that my friends who share will find that they aren't alone either.

This is a story about someone dealing with infertility and how hard this time of year is for her. PLEASE take the time to read it... especially if infertility is something that you never had to deal with. Take a moment to read and understand a little more what it is like for those who do have to journey through it. And I would love for you to leave some encouragement for my friend. (Please avoid fluffy answers like "God knows what he is doing" or "it's all in God's timing" or "it will happen when it happens". Consider your words before writing.) If you don't want the world to know who you are when commenting you can comment as a guest and write "Anonymous" for the name. You do have to enter an email but I will take it to my grave. Or you can just send an email directly to me and I will forward it on to my friend.

Here is the letter my friend shared with me...

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. . . . . . NOT!!!!! Now please don’t think I’m an Ebenezer Scrooge because I’m not. Most of the time I totally agree with the song that Christmas is the hap-happiest season of all but not this year. This year my heart is broken and it just hurts even more every time I hear a joyful Christmas song on the radio or see yet another Christmas card with a little one dressed up as Santa Clause.

I had a miscarriage and I wanted to write this letter to share how seemingly innocent comments/questions can be so painful. I’ve been dreading this holiday season because it means going to Christmas parties with family and friends who inevitably ask the question, “Oh, when are you guys going to have a little one?” How am I supposed to answer this question? I mean, I just want to scream “WE’RE TRYING, WE’VE BEEN TRYING FOR OVER A YEAR! THANKS FOR BRINGING IT UP!!” but I know that’s not going to make me feel any better. Instead I just smile and say “Oh, I don’t know, maybe soon.” I get that people are just being nice and trying to make conversation but this question hurts so badly. It has caused me on more than one occasion to quickly duck out of the conversation to make it to the bathroom before I burst into tears and embarrass myself. Next time you want to ask a couple this question, please keep it to yourself. You never know what pain they may be experiencing.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is receiving Christmas cards from friends and family who live far away. It’s so nice to be able to connect with them this time of year. It’s hard to open those envelopes and see the happy faces of my friends who are starting families and dressing their babies in cute little holiday outfits. Don’t get me wrong, I am really happy for them. I’m not going to lie though; a part of me gets a little bitter when I see those Christmas cards. I end up asking God: “Why can’t that be us this year?”

And of course I love when I’m asked what I’m most thankful for this year. You want my real answer? O.k., I’ll give it to you. Today I’m most thankful that I was able to make it through church this morning without anyone noticing that I cried all through the worship service. Two months ago I was thankful that my husband was by my side while we celebrated my nephew’s first birthday. It was comforting to not have to put on a happy face in front of him.

This year I just can’t wait for the holidays to be over. I don’t mean this to be a Christmas bashing letter. I love God and without him I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. He has been my strength through this whole nightmare. This year I will celebrate as I always do the true meaning of Christmas but I’ll do so with a broken heart. He understands and is o.k. with it.

Please enjoy this wonderful time of year. Have fun with family and friends. Enjoy the blessings God has given you this past year but please remember the ones who are hurting this Christmas season. There are so many who have lost a loved one or cannot be with their families during the holidays. Please say a little prayer for these people. It’s easy to get depressed this time of year so your prayers could help to bring some hope and peace to those who aren’t feeling all that joyful this year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Photo Booth Fun!

We are having a very small Christmas party for the kids tonight. I spent the past few days coming up with ideas, shopping and prepping for the party. (Mike has been a HUGE help!) Last night we put up our "photo booth" and decided we better try everything out to make sure it "worked". We had a ton of fun so I wanted to share with you how incredibly simple it was to do. That way, if you are having a party or are stuck inside because of all the snow you might be able to throw it all together and have some simple entertainment.

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I went to THE dollar store... you know, the one where everything truly is only a dollar? I picked up Santa and elf hats, reindeer antlers, Christmas headbands and of course the ridiculous glasses.

I also printed out a few things on card stock and hot glued to skewers. (You could just tape them as well.) You can find a great FREE set of Christmas photo booth print outs by CLICKING HERE.

Lastly, we found a space of wall that was wide enough and put some wrapping paper up. If you use painters tape you don't have to worry about messing up your walls.

Set up tripod.
Find camera remote.
Pick your props.
Have a great time!

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Liza said "elves are shorter" and made herself short.
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Jason has been wearing these glasses and it just cracks me up!
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The snow is here and it will continue to snow all day. Thankfully all the people coming to the party are in walking distance so I hope that even if the roads get bad they will put their boots on and make their way here anyways. :) We are looking forward to more photo booth silliness with our friends! 


Friday, December 13, 2013

The Weight of Words

Yesterday I went to counseling. While there I mentioned how I had gone to deal with one thing... my marriage issues that were a result of pornography... but I ended up dealing with so much more. My counselor had suggested that maybe I should write letters (that wouldn't be sent) to the women in porn so I could unload some feelings and find some closure. Because let's face it... they are the "other woman" in my marriage but I'll never be able to have a conversation with them.

So that was the plan. Go home and write letters. But I ended up writing to other people instead. People who had said things ten years ago that were STILL affecting me. I kind of laughed a little and told my counselor "Here I thought I was coming to deal with my marriage issues but I'm all tied up in things that were said to me ten years ago!" She understood and said that she had been in counseling before and found herself dealing with things that were said to her in seventh grade!

Wow. Words you guys. They are definitely powerful.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death.

We can kill people with our words. Maybe not physically but we can kill their spirit, their self esteem, their joy. Words are heavy. They hang around for far longer than we often wish we would. The mean things said to us over the years can continue to haunt us for decades.


They can build us up or tear us down.

The title of my blog is "A Hearty Overflow" and that's based on Matthew 12:34. It says "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." The words that we speak reveal what's in our heart. Ugly words coming out? Ugly heart. Kind words coming out? Kind heart.

In the book of James we read about how hard it is to tame the tongue. Words can be such a difficult thing to control sometimes. We say things in anger we never really mean but once words are out we can't take them back. We can't unhear something that has been said.

Last night I was reading in Proverbs and saw something in a way I hadn't before. Proverbs 16:23 says, "A wise man's heart guides his mouth."

It kind of flipped it for me. Yes our words reveal what is in our heart... BUT... our heart can guide our words. Instead of waiting to hear if ugly or kind words come out to let me know the state of my heart... instead of waiting... I should be working on my heart so that I am believing kind things about others, believing truth so I speak truth. And then I can let my heart guide my mouth instead of just letting my mouth reveal my heart.

I have no idea if I am making clear what is in my head right now! All I know is that I saw something new and it made sense to me!

So here's the thing... it's the Christmas season and everyone is thinking about giving. How about we all give the gift of words! Compliment people. Think of something you REALLY like about someone that you never told them before and then tell them. Tell a complete stranger they are beautiful. Use your words to make someone's day... every. single. day.

Words can be nasty... but they can also be wonderful! Choose wonderful words today... and every day.

Here is a great song about the power of words...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Moving On

About a month and a half ago I shared how messy my life was. My marriage was falling apart and I was dealing with a lot of bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. I was about as stuck as stuck gets.

Well... one of my pastors read that post and suggested that I get some counseling... because my marriage is worth fighting for. Our church has a counseling program set up and I got the info and made the call. It wasn't an easy call for me. I am in no way against counseling. It's a GREAT thing... but I've always been one of those people that can process and move on... well, at least enough to continue enjoying living.

But I was so stuck. I needed some help this time. I tried doing it on my own and it wasn't working.

I made the appointment and I went. I basically spewed all the "dirty" inside of me and vented for an hour. Then I went to the local bakeshop and downed one of their amazing cinnamon roles.

It felt good to let it all out and I took my counselor's suggestion and started writing letters. Getting things out. Saying things I've needed to say... even if the people those letters are intended for never read them it is still an incredibly helpful thing for me to do.

I've started letting go of things that have managed to have a hook in my brain and my heart for over ten years. It's been emotional... but also empowering.

I went back to see the counselor two weeks later and basically repeated my first session... purge and then refill on yummy baked goodness. But I noticed that I was starting to feel a lot better. I wasn't quite as stuck as I had been. I was starting to move forward again. Things between me and Mike were (and are) still tense at times but we've been having better conversations, working on things together, not hating each other all the time.

This morning I went to my third counseling session and I decided it would be my last. I'm moving forward. I'm dealing with my deeper issues again. Me and Mike still have a long way to go together but I'm doing my part of working toward better again. I'm no longer stuck.

I just want to encourage some of you. If you are stuck... or on your way to stuck... or just having a hard time dealing with something in your life... find a counselor. It's so freeing to be able to talk to someone who is legally not allowed to repeat what you say. It's good to have someone who can look at your situations from a different perspective. It's good to talk to someone who is not in any involved.

If you are stuck... take whatever steps are necessary to get unstuck. If you try a counselor and it's not a good fit... try a different one. But don't stay stuck forever.

Today... today I am doing alright. I didn't even feel the need to go for a delicious cinnamon role after my session. Today I am not stuck. However! Should I find myself stuck again I won't hesitate to make the call. How silly of me to stay stuck for as long as I did when there was always help waiting for me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guidelines for Good Living

Love must be sincere.
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.

Share with God's people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone with evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

I didn't actually write any of those words. The proper use of commas and other punctuation should be your first clue. :) All of those guidelines for how to live are found in the Bible (Romans 12:9-18) but even if you aren't a Christian and don't believe in Jesus and the Bible, you have to admit that it's all great advice. Love sincerely. Hate evil. Honor others. Be patient in affliction. (That's a hard one!) Live in harmony.

It's good stuff. Not always easy... but good. It's a good way to live.

One of the hardest things can be blessing those who persecute me and not repaying anyone with evil. Sometimes I think it would feel good to dish out a good dose of revenge but the Bible goes on to say...

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)

 We always have choices. Every moment of every day is filled with choices. How we will act, respond, live. There is always a good choice and always a bad choice. By seeking revenge I will likely become bitter and angry. If I allow myself to be overcome by evil I will likely isolate myself from others and become depressed and have a lot of anxiety.

But if I honor others and live in harmony, if I I choose to continue doing good and leave it to God... that, I believe, is when miracles will happen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Fun

Me and the kids went to visit my parents for Thanksgiving and we had some good snow while there! It's always nice when it snows at "grandma's" because there is a big field outback and I can dress the kids and send them out and know they will be ok. I just have to glance out the window from time to time to check on them. It's nice to be able to stay warm while the kids play!

Even though the snow was kind of crunchy and not good for building anything they managed to play outside for at least an hour and a half. I went out for a few minutes to get some pictures and then went back inside. :)

Beautiful day!
Fun pictures.
I'm really glad they had a day in the snow because we haven't had much since!

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Tis the Season!!!

Our house is decorated.
We've been watching our Christmas movies.
The shopping is done.
The kids are making gifts and wrapping them and putting them under the tree.
It's festive.
It's fun!

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But what I love most about this time of year is all the GIVING!!!

I loooooove to give! And during December I have an excuse to give MORE. So I use that excuse like crazy. It's fun. It's exciting!

The other day something happened to me that could have been devastating and kept me down for a long time but instead of wallowing in self pity I picked myself up and devised a plan of giving. I started working on gifts and found that my outlook on life became good again. The heaviness in my heart went away and I felt tons of joy when I should have been down and depressed.

Giving is a good way to live.

And we should be givers all year round!

Lots of people use November as a month to express thankfulness. But once November ends, even though I am sure these people are still thankful, we stop hearing about the thankfulness. Then December comes and everyone wants to be givers... which is WONDERFUL!!! But my hope is that the giving doesn't end when December does.

Use this month as a way to kick off a new way of living! Donate to your local food bank, do the Opperation Christmas Child shoeboxes. The Angel Tree is another great thing. So many different ways to give at Christmas time! But don't stop there this year. :) Keep going! Listen to others and when they speak of a need find a way to fill it!! And if you REALLY want to have some fun do it anonymously and don't tell anyone about it!

There are always needs. And giving doesn't always have to cost you money.

As they say in the movie Robots... See a need, fill a need. Look for it! You'll find it. And when you give, give and then give some more you'll find that it is a joyous way to live!

Don't let giving be a seasonal thing.

Monday, December 2, 2013

11 Years Ago...

Eleven years ago today Mike asked me to marry him. I was beyond excited and happy and ready for our future together!

We set the date for only seven weeks away. Life was happening!

And then things got tough. It didn't get tough because of anything happening between me and Mike. The wedding planning was simple and I don't remember being stressed about that. What made those seven weeks tough was the negativity surrounding us.

Everyone had an opinion.
We were too young.
We didn't know what we were doing.
We were definitely rushing into this thing and should slow down.
It couldn't work with such a short dating and engagement period.
Surely we didn't know each other ENOUGH to get married that soon.
We wouldn't be able to support ourselves.

Everyone was talking. Most people didn't talk about it to me because... well, I'm assuming they knew that they wouldn't get anywhere with those lines of conversation. Or maybe they just believed in me. Who knows.

But Mike... poor Mike was getting it from everyone. Concerned friends and family at every turn. Trying to talk him out of it or at least convince him to put it off for a while. Calling his mom to insist she have a talk with him because surely he didn't know what he was doing. Telling him things like he can do better or he should at least be attracted to the girl he is going to marry. Telling him he didn't need to rescue me.

This has been a source of bitterness for me ever since. I realize I need to deal with it once and for all. Forgive and let it go. It's not exactly easy and I was considering "writing letters" like my counselor suggested but I decided that instead of writing letters to EVERYONE I was just going to make public some facts.

1. I can understand why people were concerned. Mike is not one to make decisions quickly. He's not a fan of change. He moves forward at the pace of a turtle. So when he said he was getting married in seven weeks after only dating me for four... I get it. But to tell him he should at least be attracted to me? That's pretty shallow and I'm pretty sure there was some serious attraction going on. Just because YOU don't find someone attractive doesn't mean that no one else ever could. And that he could do better? Thanks. Thanks a lot.

2. I didn't need rescued. I was coming to the end of college and believe it or not I actually had a well laid out plan. I knew what I was going to do with my life and how I was going to take care of myself. I was actually looking forward to that plan. It would have been a fun, exciting, adventurous and rewarding life. It was my dream. But when Mike came along I gave that dream up to be with him. I did not need rescued. I was not sitting around thinking "Where is my knight in shining armor who will sweep me off my feet and save me from this cruel, hard world and take care of me for the rest of my life and bring home paychecks to pay off my school loans." Yep... that was never me. I had a plan. I liked that plan. But sacrificing that plan was worth it.

3. I did not set the wedding date. Mike did. And I did not force him to set it for "soon". We discussed it together. Mike said he wanted to get married soon. I said something along the lines of "Soon as in a year? Soon as in the summer? Or soon as in a couple of weeks? Because if it's the summer or a year I need to go get a job and I'm just going to go ahead with what my plan was and that will take me to a different state. I'm ok with that but I want you to know my plan." He said probably a couple of weeks from now.

I told him that would be awesome but also let him know that once he chose a date I expected him to stick to it. If he later changed his mind and wanted to move it back I would leave and he would not find me. A man's word needs to be something I can count on. He understood that when HE set the date.

When everyone tried to talk him out of it or convince him to set a later date they had no idea that they were asking him to give it all up. If he had changed his mind on the date he would have lost all this...

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So, now that we know that everyone's reasons for trying to talk Mike out of marrying me were shallow, rude, unfounded, and nothing short of asking him to give up a great blessing that God had given him... I'm going to retire this picture...

proving people wrong

Because just like I no longer need to prove The Reverend wrong... I no longer need to prove these people wrong either.

Just a final word... be careful with your words. And please don't expect others to live inside the cozy little box you've created for yourself. Not everyone does life the same and that's ok.

The end.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday

Hi Friends!
Were any of you brave enough to shop this weekend? I saw a bunch of photos online and wow! I don't know why anyone would want to go out and shop that bad. I prefer shopping from my couch to crowds like that. But that's me. I'll never understand how some of you enjoy that. :) Did you get any good deals!?


So yesterday was Black Friday and today is Small Business Saturday... or shop local or however you want to look at it. I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind you all about the children's book my husband wrote. :)

You can find out all kinds of info about the book by clicking HERE.

 It would be a wonderful gift for dads to give to their children!

Amazon is currently out of stock but you can still purchase it several different ways...
1. If you are local to me I have a few copies left at the house.
2. You can ask your local book seller to order it for you.
3. You can find it on
4. It will always be available from Inspiring Voices... the publisher.

If you have any questions about the book please ask!

If you already have the book leave a comment letting me know what you think!

Friday, November 29, 2013

My New Favorite Christmas Movie

Every once in a while I come across something I LOVE soooo much that I just can't help but tell you guys about it.

Today I watched what is now my most favorite Christmas movie EVER! I laughed. I cried. It's super funny and it's super sweet. It's meaningful. It's wonderful!

It's Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas.

Yep... VeggieTales.

No joke you guys! LOVE IT! So much. I almost asked the kids if they wanted to watch it again right away but figured I should wait for a few hours. :) And the silly song!! Oh the silly song!! It's pretty silly.

Honestly... I'm not a fan of people saying "You MUST get/read/watch this" but seriously... you might regret it if you don't. I don't care how old you are! Or if you no longer have kids at home. This movie, which runs just under an hour, was... It was just a really really great Christmas movie!

No one is giving me anything to say all this to you guys. I get nothing for pointing you in the right direction. But if you would like to buy it go to the VeggieTales website. It's only $8.99 today (Black Friday... not sure if that price will run longer) and the code HOLIDAY13 will get you free shipping through 12/2. If you miss the deals it's definitely one worth paying full price for!!

I loved it so much that I told the kids we are going to have to have a Christmas party and invite all their friends. We'll wear pajamas, eat good food, do a craft and then watch Merry Larry while eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. They're pretty excited... I guess that means I should pick a date and start inviting people!

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
We also purchased Elf this year because... well... I like to laugh! :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The First Christmas Night - Book Review and Giveaway

 "Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

My kids love Christmas books so when I was given the opportunity to review and give one away I accepted. :)
We enjoyed The First Christmas Night! It's your typical, Biblical Christmas story and that is a story that never gets old no matter how many times or ways it is retold! As we were reading Liza said to me "that looks real!" The illustrations are amazing! Very realistic and absolutely beautiful! Two thumbs up for this book! We'll be reading it all December long.

About the Book
The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men.  The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.
Who is it for?
Kids ages 4-8 - The rhyming language can help them develop verbal language skills and learn to read
Family story time during the holidays
Children's Ministers and Sunday school teachers
Christmas carolers could set it to a tune!

I have one copy to giveaway but if you can't wait you can just BUY THE BOOK HERE.

One lucky person will win one copy of The First Christmas Night. To enter simply leave a comment answering the following question... "Where are you at with Christmas shopping?" Done? Haven't even started? What's Christmas shopping? :) I actually went out this afternoon and got most of mine done! Woo hoo!

Make sure to use a valid email address when filling out the comment form. Giveaway is open to US and Canada. Winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday, November  27 and contacted by email.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

This World...

There are so many things I have been hearing lately that just break my heart.

Things like...

A 12 year old girl jumping to her death because she was bullied to the point that she could no longer take it. And then one of her bullies posts to facebook saying something along the lines of "Yeah I bullied her and she died. I don't care." The language was worse than that and the girl claims her account was hacked. Hacked or not... THIRTY people "liked" the status. That's just sick.

Or how about this new "game" called the knock out game where kids run up behind unsuspecting strangers and punch them in the head? The goal being to knock the person out with one blow. People are dying as a result of this game.

What about the children who are dying from abuse as a result of a "parenting book" called To Train Up A Child? A book that encourages parents to abuse their children. Ugh. 

And how about the things that are happening close to home like "revenge sites". Or let's just call them what they really are... hate sites. My town has many of these sites and I have friends who have ended up on them. It's just ugly.

I often hear the question asked "how can people treat others like they do?"

My theory?

So many no longer value others.
It's a "me me me" world.
We are told "do whatever makes you feel good."
There is no right or wrong. 
We sit behind computer screens spewing hatred and never have to look into the eyes of the person we are hurting.
We are told that it's ok to kill unborn babies.

Life is no longer precious.
We no longer communicate in real ways. We text. We email. We facebook. We have shallow conversations. We are losing touch with reality.

You guys... I just want to encourage you today. In the midst of all the ugly in this world go out and do something beautiful! Help a stranger. Hold a door for the mom who has her hands full. Buy a coffee for the person in line behind you. Hug a homeless person. Volunteer. Smile. Call someone. Send a note.

Tell someone they matter!
Stand up for someone.

Consider others.
Value human life.

Be the beauty in an ugly world.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

M. Family Photos

Whew! I finally finished editing my last family session from October. That means I get an editing break and I am looking forward to it!! Of course, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't be happy to schedule some more photo sessions but here in PA we've kind of run out of nice (warm!) weather and I'm kind of limited to the type of sessions I can do in my house. Winters are always a bit slow for me and that's ok because winter is when I stay plenty busy making hats. :)


This is a family I know from church and I was more than happy when they asked me to do their family photos.

Fun family + fun photographer = fun session! And fun photos. :)

Honestly, while I've enjoyed all the families I've photographed over the years this was one of my most fun sessions. It probably had something to do with the fact that they weren't too shy to give the big fake laugh a try. :) Or the fact that they were willing to just let me do some different things that I hadn't done before. Or it could have had something to do with the fact that I knew them. Who knows... I just know I had a really fun time and it was the perfect session to end my busy season with!

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