Friday, June 29, 2007

Refreshing Summertime Drink

I don't know about where you live, but it is HOT here! We are in the high nineties and are supposed to be in the hundreds all next week. I love hot weather myself, as long as it is the dry, arid heat we have here in southern Idaho. I can take the temperature but I can't take the humidity!

Anyway, I have been trying to get into a walking program this summer and I am up to 2 miles a day. For me 2 miles is phenomenal. I respond well to rewards, so each evening that I walk, I reward myself with this great refreshing drink. It is very crisp and thirst-quenching, and absolutely refreshing. It might be a little more refreshing to jump into a pool but since I don't have a pool - this drink has to do. But it is awesome and the best part is that it only has 10 calories and no carbs! Whoo hoo! And you can count it towards your total water intake each day. So here is what you do:

Here are the components. I prefer the key lime Clear American sparkling water that Walmart sells - it is a little sweeter - but this is what I had in my cupboard last night.

First you crush a mint leaf or two and put it in the glass. Mmmmm...smells so good.

Then add two heaping teaspoons of Splenda or a sweetener of your choice. You may want to adjust the amount depending on your sweetness level. Well, not your sweetness level,I mean the level of sweetness that you like.

Then add 2 tsps. of lime juice. A little more if you like the tart flavor like I do.

Stir this all up until the Splenda is dissolved in the juice. Then fill your cup about 3/4's full of crushed ice.

Fill to the brim with key lime flavored sparkeling water. Garnish with a lime slice, add a straw, sit back and enjoy! And I promise, you will want more than one. I hope you are able to enjoy one this weekend!

Tropical Breeze

mint leaf
2 heaping tsp. Splenda
2 tsp. Lime juice
crushed ice
key lime sparkeling water
lime slice

Crush mint leaf in bottom of glass. Add Splenda and lime juice. Stir until dissolved. Add crushed ice about 3/4's to top of glass. Add sparkeling water.
Garnish with a lime slice.
10 calories 0 carbs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another Thankful Thursday

From the fullness of God's grace we have all received one blessing after another - John 1:16

It is so good to set aside one day a week to be intentionally thankful. Because I find that I don't have a very good thankful habit. Oh the thankful thoughts flit in and out of my mind during the week, but I don't take the time to dwell on them like I should. Because I have to focus on things like what to wear, and if I'm having a good hair day, and taking my dog to the vet. You know, important stuff like that. Life is just so busy you know. So I really enjoy having these mini-Thanksgivings each week. It turns my mind and heart to what is really important and how blessed I am.

This week I am extra thankful for my home. My home is my safe place where I live and create and decorate and keep clean and entertain and grow children and where I love my husband. I am a real homebody. I would rather be home than anywhere in the world, with the possible exception of Hawaii - okay the probable exception of Hawaii! :-) Being a pastor's wife I just always assumed I would live in a church provided parsonage. I never dreamed of having my own home. And I was okay with that. That is until both my father-in-law and my dad died in accidents. Suddenly I realized that if anything happened to my husband I would have 4 children and no home. That bothered me. It bothered me a lot. So I began to talk to God about it and told Him all my worries. He listened. He provided. Long story short, we were provided with the means to build a beautiful home - all our own on a whole acre of property. I never imagined. And seven years later I am even more in love with my home than I was at the beginning. Somedays I just walk around in it and praise God for such a wonderful gift. He is so good. He knew where my heart was and He knew I needed the security that a home would offer me and He provided it. Just like that. Because that's how He is you know. He is just like that.

100 Things About Me

Apparently I have reached a milestone in my blogging life - my 100th post. And apparently when that happens the appropriate thing to do is make a post of 100 facts about yourself. And as Father Tim would say, "There's the rub". I can't imagine I can come up with 100 interesting things about me. But I don't want to be the one to break tradition. So bear with me as I work through this list. And if you make it through to the very end - there will be a prize! A reward for your perseverance. A special way to say thank you for indulging my very fun blogging addiction. A very nice prize that reflects many of the things I love in life. A prize that will take you a whole year to use. No peeking now - you have to read through to the end of my list!

1. I was born on All Saint's Day. - a fact I NEVER let my husband forget. I once worked with a girl born the day before All Saint's Day - on halloween. I always thought her birthday fit her. I've always hoped my birthday fits me.

2. I am the oldest of seven children. That worked well for me when I was younger. It fit in with my bossy, er.. I mean my confident personality. Now I think - "Great - I will probably be the first one to die".

3. My family moved a lot. But only between two states. North Dakota in the summer where my dad was a crop duster and Florida in the winter where he was a flight instructor and mechanic. Until I was in the fourth grade. Then we stayed in North Dakota. But we still moved a lot. By the time I was married I had lived in over 30 houses. I still don't know what that was all about.

4. I started wearing glasses in the 4th grade. I am very, very near-sighted.

5. I am going to have Lasik eye surgery next week to correct my very bad astignatism and near-sightedness. I cannot even imagine what it will be like to wake up in the morning and see!

6. I always thought my dad was tall. He was 5'3".

7. When I was little I was very skinny. My mom even took me to the doctor once to see if there was something wrong with me. Hmmm...those were the days!

8. I loved Vacation Bible School every summer. It lasted all day and we had to bring our lunch. Crafts was my favorite part of all.

9. I begged my mother to teach me to sew when I was 9- it was always fascinating to me.

10. I also remember begging her to let me stay home from church on a Sunday night so she could teach me how to knit.

11. I taught myself how to crochet.

12. The first of the only two times I ever saw my dad cry was when he prayed with me at the altar to ask Jesus into my heart. I wasn't old enough to really understand what I was doing, but my dad's tears told me how important it was. The second time was when he left me in my college dormitory.

13. The first time I went to camp I cried every day because I was so homesick. But I loved it anyway.

14. I met my first boyfriend, Keith, at camp when I was in junior high. We loved each other for years even though we only saw each other once each summer lol!

15. I finally gave up on him when I fell in love with his older brother, Rick.

16. Rick never knew I was alive.

17. I have always, always loved to read. When I was younger I used to get in trouble for reading too much and not getting my work done. My mom always told me "you can't live your life like a book". I always told her "I can try." So far I think my life has been a very good book.

18. I worked as a checker in a grocery store while I was in high school.

19. My dad bought me a brand new Honda Civic that he said would be all mine if I wouldn't go to college. Weird huh? I was the oldest and he didn't want me to leave home. I turned him down.

20. I moved 1400 miles away from home to go to college. My dad really wished I would have taken that car.

21. I was more homesick than I could possibly imagine - but I stuck it out. I loved college - it changed my life forever.

22. It changed my life forever because it was at college that I met my future husband. We fell in love quickly! We met in September, got engaged in November, and married in May.

23. I was 19 years old.

24. I have never regretted one moment of that decision.

25. We honeymooned in Yellowstone National Park.

26. My dream of being a mama came true in 1980 with the birth of our daughter Michelle.

27. Tara, Andrea, and Jessica joined over the next 9 years.

28. I lost a baby in 1989.

29. I grieved more than I ever thought I could.

30. I look forward to getting to be with this child again in heaven someday.

31. If I had not lost this baby, I would not have Jessica today. That is unimaginable.

32. God's ways are not my ways. His are always better. Even when I don't understand. Even when it hurts.

33. Although I have always had to be a working mama, I have never had to use daycare. My husband and I have always been able to raise our own children - to which I am very thankful.

34. My kids are much better people than I am.

35. I was deathly afraid of dentists as a child. Mom always drug me screaming and kicking into the dentist's office.

36. I was a dental assistant for 8 years. I loved it.

37. My mom just shook her head.

38. I taught myself how to drive a stick shift.

39. My husband lost his dad who was also his very best friend in a logging accident in 1990. Watching my husband suffer this loss was excruciating.

40. One year later I lost my dad in a plane accident.

41. My mom moved in next door to me and I was her main support person as she began her journey into widowhood. I was also working full time, raising 4 children and trying hard to be a pastor's wife. I didn't do a very good job at anything.

42. Just a few months later, my brother confided in me that he was living a homosexual lifestyle and was HIV positive.

43. I had to tell my mother.

44. I never became suicidal but I remember thinking that death sounded like a nice way to escape.

45. God began speaking to my heart. I had to make a decision. I either trusted Him with my life or I didn't. The choice was mine.

46. I gave every single part of my life to God and decided to place my total faith in Him. My circumstances didn't change - but my life did.

47. Jeremiah 29:11 became my life verse: "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 a hope and a future." I clung desperately to that verse.

48. I have never been the same.

49. Part of my new faith filled life was quitting my job. My family needed me at home and I needed to be with them.

50. I started making and selling crafts.

51. God blessed my little business.

52. I have sewed probably a million miles on my simple Singer sewing machine that my husband gave me on my 20th birthday.

53. I recently gave that machine to my daughter, Michelle. I felt a little like Marty in Love Come's Softly when she gives her much loved and much used sewing machine to her daughter Missy!

54. I got a brand new Bernina sewing machine - Bernina and I have become very good friends! She is so awesome, she is very talented, and she makes me look good.

55. My husband and I did a paper route for 6 months to put our oldest daughter through college. We got up at 1:30 a.m. and got home at 6:00 a.m. We took showers and went to our day jobs.

56. The paper route caused us to draw very close to God and very close to each other.

57. We both enjoyed spending those nights talking about everything under the sun - I mean moon!

58. 6 months was all we could physically do.

59. We invested our last paycheck in two Yorkshire Terriers - we decided breeding dogs had to be easier than a paper route.

60. It wasn't.

61. I still breed dogs - but it is a lot of work.

62. It is also a lot of fun.

63. There is nothing sweeter than brand new puppies.

64. Except finally letting them go to their new homes - I am very weary of cleaning up after them for 10 weeks.

65. I am a pastor’s wife.

66. I like being a pastor's wife.

67. Except it would be nice to have some weekends off.

68. My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii.

69. It was an incredible time for both of us.

70. We definitely plan to go back again someday.

71. While in Hawaii, we agreed to not talk about the kids or the church.

72. We never talked about the church.

73. I swam with a dolphin - a life goal of mine!

74. My husband and I plan to take a sabbatical someday and do a road-trip around the perimeter of the United States. We plan to go where we want to go and stay as long as we want to. No agenda, no time frame. Pure freedom!

75. I want to write a book someday. I already have a storyline planned. My next step is to do an outline.

76. I enjoy going to rodeos. My husband is glad about that. He loves them.

77. I am very afraid of flying. My dad was a pilot - a very good one. It was his life profession. He always told me flying was safer than driving. But he died in a plane accident.

78. As I get older, I seem to get more afraid of flying.

79. But, I refuse to let me fear of flying stop me from traveling.

80. I have medication to take if I have to - but I try not to. I don't like relying on medication.

81. I am also very afraid of snakes. I get chills just typing the word.

82. I am trying to lose weight.

83. My weight goal is not a number on a scale - it is more about how I feel about myself.

84. I think being middle-aged makes me more sensible about things like that. It is freeing.

85. I just started coloring my hair - I was getting more grey than I was comfortable with!

86. I have good genes - my great-grandparents lived to their hundreds.

87. When I was 38 I had to have a hysterectomy. For a couple of years I displayed symptoms of ovarian cancer. It is a very hard disease to diagnose and I have a very strong family history of it. Having a hysterectomy was the hardest decision for me to make. But I have never regretted it. I did have pre-cancerous cells in my ovaries - so it was a good decision. It is good to not have to worry about it anymore.

88. I took hormone replacement therapy pills for 10 years. I took myself off of them cold turkey last fall. Aside from a few hot flashes - I'm okay. I decided that menopause wasn't a disease that needed treating - it was the way God made my body. I don't care for the hot flashes, but they are bearable. And they are getting fewer.

89. I love Disneyland. My family makes fun of me because I love it so much. One time when we went on a family vacation - we had to drag the kids back in the evening. They were tired and wanted to stay at the hotel. Not me - there were fireworks to see!

90. I love the 4th of July - it is one of my favorite holidays to decorate my house for.

91. I make home-made Christmas tree ornaments for my girls every year. When they get married, I give them to them to use on their tree.

92. I bite my nails. I wish I didn't. But I can't stop.

93. I collect fabric. I use it occasionally!

94. I also collect scrapbooking supplies. I use them seldom. But I have good intentions.

95. Everyone tells me I look good in green. I don't like green - but I wear it because well, you know, everyone tells me I look good in it.

96. My favorite color is blue.

97. I would love to own and operate a Bed & Breakfast someday. It probably will never happen - but I am collecting awesome breakfast recipes - just in case!

98. I hate to paint - I would rather take a beating! But I keep thinking I am going to paint my kitchen and dining room soon.

99. In 2008 we are having a year of celebrations. We will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, our 20th year pastoring at our church, my youngest daughter will graduate from high school, my third daughter will graduate from college, and I will celebrate my 50th birthday. So to celebrate everything, our kids and their spouses and us are going to Italy – a real dream come true for all of us!

100. I am very tired of talking about me. But it's okay - I'm done now!

You did it! And now for the prize! To celebrate the fact that you read clear to the end of this post and the fact that I have 100 posts, I am hosting a give-away. My prize is a one year subscription to one of these three magazines. You get to choose from:

Martha Stewart Living
Today's Christian Woman
Real Simple


Home Companion

Here's how to enter:
1)Just leave a comment telling me you would like to enter and which magazine you would prefer.
2)And then mention my celebration give-away in a post on your blog.
3)Be sure to leave an email address or a link to your blog so I can contact you. Then your name will be placed into my sweet dog, Josey's,

food dish and she will pick a winner! Because I don't have the heart to do it myself! And I will post the winner on August 10th - my mom's 70th birthday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Winds of Change

For many, many years I drove a vehicle like this:

I loved this vehicle because when I drove it everyone knew I was a MOM. I transported my kids, their friends, their stuff, their groceries, their Christmas presents, their diaper bags, car seats, and stuffed toys, their book bags, their sleeping bags, their sporting gear, their EVERYTHING! Driving that van was all about them! That van fit all six of us comfortably and we rarely heard the dreaded phrase "She's touching me"! It carried us on many family vacations to the coast, to Disney World, to San Diego, to North Dakota and beyond. I can't even begin to calculate how many trips it took to the dentist and doctor. Really that van was almost like a member of the family. It was faithful, dependable, and trust-worthy. And I never realized how much that van defined my identity - I was a mom and proud of it.

But times change. And even though I am still a mom, it's different now. I am needed in different ways but not so much in the transportation department anymore. Our poor van had many, many miles on it but it was such a trooper and was just like the Little Engine That Could - it just kept driving along. But the older it got, to more gas it used and since it was my vehicle to drive back and forth to work it became obvious that a smaller, more gas efficient vehicle would be a better option. So now I am driving this:

And I like it. It's definitely taken a bit of time to get used to being able to reach anywhere in the vehicle without leaving the drivers seat. I am getting more accustomed to the "go-cart" feeling from being seated so close to the road. I adjusted right away to having a car that is "my" car. I like how it is peppy and quick and I can fit into tight parking spots - no problem. Going to the gas station half as much is joyful. But I find myself still a bit sentimental about the old van and its statement about who I was and I find myself trying to understand where I am in my life now that I am "redefined" by a sportier, smaller vehicle. This vehicle change signifies a changepoint in my life. I like where I was and I think I like where I'm going but. . .

I find myself asking, "Can't I drive both?"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Final Spring Reading Thing 2007 post

What was the best book you read this spring?
Actually there were two. The first was Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron. It was a different type of book than what I usually read and it really made me think. It made me think about what I believe and why I believe it. I found Mr. Cron to be a very discriptive writer and I felt as though I spent a few days touring Italy! The second book I enjoyed most wasn't on my list but I saw it on a lot of other lists - Uncharted by Angela Hunt. Wow! I almost stopped reading it several times because it didn't seem "christian" to me. I'm so glad I stayed with it. It had an absolutely mind-blowing ending. You won't hear me spoil it for those who haven't read it yet! Everyone should.
What book could you have done without?
White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick. Very disappointing.
Did you try out a new author this spring? If so, which one, and will you be reading that author again?
Definitely will be reading more of Angela Hunt
If there were books you didn't finish, tell us why. Did you run out of time? Realize those books weren't worth it?
I ran out of time because I kept adding/reading books that were not on my list! I can't turn a good book down. I do intend to finish reading my entire list.
Did you come across a book or two on other participants' lists that you're planning to add to your own to-be-read pile? Which ones?
Girl on a Swing and Peace Like a River are on the top of my pile.
What did you learn -- about anything -- through this challenge? Maybe you learned something about yourself or your reading style, maybe you learned not to pick so many nonfiction books for a challenge, maybe you learned something from a book you read. Whatever it is, share!
I learned that I really need to make myself read more non-fiction. I don't think fiction is bad at all but I do think you need a healthy balance.
What was the best part of the Spring Reading Thing?
The prizes - I won two books!!!
Would you be interested in participating in another reading challenge this fall?
I will absolutely be a part of the fall challenge!
Any other thoughts, impressions, or comments.
Just a big thank you to Katrina for doing such a fabulous job on this challenge!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Good Taste

Since reading a post by the recently retired and fabulous at fifty Becky at the Butler's Wife, I have been pondering aging issues. While I am not quite at 50 yet (but hovering dangerously close), it does seem like I am changing in several areas of my life. I'm not even going to touch the obvious physical body changes - no sir, I'm not going there. But one thing I have noticed is how my taste buds are changing. For instance, I have been a life long member of the I Hate Onions Club. I have always hated onions and wouldn't eat anything containing an onion if my life depended on it. All of the sudden I am craving grilled onions! I can't get enough of them. It all started at a church potluck and I walked by the kitchen window that was displaying a huge plate of grilled onions. The aroma caught my attention first. They just smelled heavenly. I made sure no one was looking and popped one into my mouth. Grilled onions, where have you been all my life? You are amazing in your buttery, smooth, mild flavor. I am hooked forever!
Another taste bud upheaval has been for fish. I have never been a fan of fish, except for the fish sticks they served every Friday in elementary school. But now, grilled salmon and halibut are something I really enjoy.
I have also been a huge chocolate craving freak all my life. Suddenly chocolate is well, okay. Not great. Not awesome. Not if-I-don't-have-a-piece-of-chocolate-I'm-going-to-tear-your-head-off kind of thing. These days I tend to prefer salty snacks. Popcorn is my latest fad. Weird huh?
I don't know about all of this. It kind of seems like maturity might be at least offering a healthier alternative in my life. I'll be waiting to hear from all you other "mature" ladies to tell me if this is normal or maybe I'm morphing into an alien creature whom no one will recognize!

Monday, June 18, 2007


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This was last weeks promise:


1. Write down every point I eat. Every single one. Even the creamer in my coffee.
2. I promise to drink two glasses of water a day. This is two more than I normally drink.
3. I promise to walk 5 days this week. I promise.

I DID IT!!! And I lost 4 1/2 pounds!!! I feel so good about this last week - so here is my promise list for this week:

1. I promise to write down every single point I eat - every one.
2. I promise to drink three glasses of water every day.
3. I promise to walk 4 days this week. I'm going out of town for business on Thursday through Saturday and I'm not sure if walking will fit into my schedule while I'm gone - just keeping it real.

I am going into this week feeling strong. I really hope my business trip doesn't foul me up - but I'm going to give it everything I have got!

I get a button! I get a button!

Passing the Torch

"The mama that we saw at home was the mama that the world saw," said their son, Franklin, who is now the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

I can't think of any words that I would be more honored to hear than those spoken at Ruth Bell Graham's funeral by her son Franklin. To me those words say that this woman was real. She was real every day of her life, in public or in private. She was who God made her to be. No airs, no pretenses, no image. Just a woman who loved God and her husband and her family. She didn't care so much what the public thought of her but she cared deeply what God thought of her. I was tickled to hear that she remained a Presbyterian all her life, even though her famous husband was a Baptist. I'm not sure how well that would work in a regular church attending family, but it obviously worked well for them. I guess since he was gone so much, she raised the family in the denomination of her youth. I always think it doesn't matter so much what your first name (denomination) is as long as your last name is Christian.

I always appreciated this family for being real. They had their troubles and problems, rebellious children and all. But no matter what they loved each other and they served God and in the end that was what made all the difference.

Thank you Mrs. Graham for being a wonderful example of a pastor's wife to me. You were an example for thousands I am sure and you did not let us down. Thanks for keeping it real.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

I am concious today of all the good and perfect gifts God has given me. Too many to list really. But here are a few:

* The older women in my church who mentor me. There is one particular lady who is 86 and I really want to be like her when I grow up!

* The incredible day of rain we had last Sunday. I have never seen it rain so hard and steady for a whole day since I have lived here the last 19 years. It was refreshing.

* Our vacation

* My brother-in-law, Craig who helps me see that God's good and perfect gifts come wrapped in packages that surprise us sometimes.

* My ever growing pile of books to read!

If you want to be a part of Thankful Thursday, jump on over here and join the fun!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


This is too funny! I was just looking back at this post, more specifically at the picture of us on the beach. I just noticed a head peeking out between my husband and I and it just cracks me up! Do you see the mischievous eyes twinkling from between us. That's not just someone passing by who stopped to stare into the sun reflecting on the water just as we happened to take a picture! No sirree, that's someone being full time, 100%, completely luvin' it ONERY!! That someone is my brother-in-law Craig. And I had no idea he was there when we took this picture! Craig is an incredible member of our family. He is blessing that never stops blessing. Craig has Down's Syndrome. But that doesn't mean a whole lot to us, his family. To us he is a gift from God and it is a privilege to be related to him. We took him to Florida with us because he loves to travel and we knew he would love Disney World. And did he ever!
When I entered into this family, both Craig and I were 19 years old. We really hit it off well and he embraced me into the already large family group. He and my husband are special buddies and I was very happy that he didn't see me as a threat. The only problem he had with me was that I now shared a bed with his best buddy-brother. He thought I should sleep on the couch so that he and his brother could continue to share a bedroom as always! He wasn't especially excited about being moved to the couch when he came to visit. But he worked through it.
Craig loves Jesus passionately. There isn't much that blesses me more than watching Craig worship. He has a serious speech impediment and is difficult to communicate with by words. But he sings and he prays and he lifts his hands in tribute to his Creator. Every Sunday. He wouldn't think of missing church. It's just not done. And if there is an altar call, you can be sure Craig will be at the altar. Because after all, that is a special place to talk with Jesus.
There is just something so honest about Craig. He has an uncanny sense of right and wrong. He does not tolerate injustice to himself or others. Because he can't speak a lot, he listens a lot and I am confident that he is wiser than any of us. When my father-in-law was killed in a logging accident several years ago, we all worried about Craig because he just didn't seem to show any emotion. No tears, no questions, just a calm acceptance of something that seemed impossible to comprehend. We kept asking him "Craig, you understand that dad died and that he isn't coming home again don't you?" He would say "yes" and that was all. Nothing more. We discussed as a family how we could help him deal with this horrible occurrence and nobody really knew what to do. The day of the funeral came. We were all so sad to say earthly goodbye's to this man we loved so much. There was a time during the service that people were invited to stand and share a memory or a comforting thought. Many people stood and shared and it was very meaningful. Suddenly, in the front row, Craig stood up. Craig can't talk well and some were uncomfortable because they knew he wouldn't be understood. But very clearly, very plainly, everyone sat in amazement as they heard Craig say, "It's okay. Jesus told me that dad went over the rainbow." And then he sat down. This gave a whole new meaning to speaking in tongues! I know that God gave us that moment to reassure us, not just about Craig's comprehension of this great loss, but about the fact that this much loved man was safe in His keeping and we would see him again someday! Somehow, we all found the burden a little easier to bear. Many years later, people still talk about that special moment.
At the university where I work, a professor and his wife just had their first child, a little boy. A little boy with Down's. Naturally they are devastated because this isn't what they dreamed of. In my heart I want to tell them that this isn't the worst thing in the world that could have happened to them. But they will learn that on their own. They will discover that this boy will do more for them than all the other children they ever have could possibly do. They will discover that God has given them a very rich blessing indeed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Resolve

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Okay, I'm done with this fooling around business. I have had to face the reality that in 5 weeks I have not lost any weight and I have only been fooling myself into thinking I am doing a good job. The hard truth is that in this 5 week period I have only lost ONE pound. I am ashamed. But I am not giving up. And here is my new plan.


1. Write down every point I eat. Every single one. Even the creamer in my coffee.
2. I promise to drink two glasses of water a day. This is two more than I normally drink.
3. I promise to walk 5 days this week. I promise.

Hopefully, next week I will have something positive to report. Please help keep me accountable and ask me during the week if I am sticking to my promises. I really, really want to do this.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm Baaack!!!

It's good to be home! Our trip to Florida was wonderful - we did a lot of fun things and had a true family vacation. We spent a day at Disney World and a day at Epcot (I can never ever get my fill of the Magic Kingdom!), a day at Tarpon Springs (a delightful Greek community that served awesome gyro's), a day at the beach (there is nothing more beautiful than the beach), and a day driving around trying to find places I remembered from when I lived in Florida as a child. We enjoyed visiting my husbands sister and family and getting to know their kids better. It was fun being away from home and phones and responsibilities. And it all went by very, very quickly.

I did learn a couple of things about Florida.

NUMBER ONE - I do NOT have Florida hair!! My hair is thin and requires lots and lots of product and styling to look anything near good! The humidity in Florida was not my friend. I finally had to give up and tell myself that no one in that state was going to see me again so it didn't matter. Arghhh... I hate having 7 bad hair days in a row!!

NUMBER TWO - It just doesn't seem right to live somewhere where alligators and snakes are lurking on the sides of the freeways. I'm just saying.

NUMBER THREE - Doesn't have anything to do with Florida but here is a free piece of advice. When you take an Ipod on the plane to help you deal with your fear of flying, do not, I repeat DO NOT download the first season of Lost to watch. I had no idea it was about a PLANE CRASH! How's that for the epitome of stupid? I ended up resorting to taking medication on the way there. I hate doing that - I want my faith to be strong enough to carry me through. However, on our trip back we had to take separate flights and I had to fly alone with my daughter. I refused to take medication - I had to take care of her. So I suffered through it and I did okay I guess.

Anyway, I am back and am looking forward to catching up with everyone's blogs. I missed blogging and my sweet doggy Josey - otherwise I would have been tempted to stay much, much longer!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Our Princess

It's our last family birthday of the "birthday season" so today I am honoring our third daughter.
We were coming out of a very difficult few years of college and seminary with two young daughters. School was finally done and the life we had spent years preparing for lay before us, a bright and shiny promise of our future. We were on top of the world and could hardly wait to find out where our first pastorate was going to be. And then we arrived. I won't say where the city was, but suffice it to say that it was in an area of the country where Christians were looked upon as an oddity. We moved into a very small apartment attached to the church with a postage stamp sized yard. That first night in our new home we looked at each other and cried and wondered why we had worked so hard and so long only to be rewarded with "this". And God decided at that time to give us a gift. Very unexpectedly, I realized I was pregnant and it couldn't have happened at a better time. As I was overwhelmed with life and bordering on depression, God gave me the gift of a new life to look forward to. And how I looked forward to this baby. I sewed for her, I prepared a nursery for her, I dreamed of her, and I planned for her. And finally the time came for her to make her entrance in to our lives. We went to the hospital, my husband and I, and we labored all night long. It was a Saturday night and she finally arrived early Sunday morning, all nine pounds of her. My husband had to call the church and let them know that he wouldn't be preaching that morning and they were very sweet and understanding about it. We never did hear what they did that morning! Our little sweetie was a beauty and we named her Andrea. This labor was different than any of the other three births in that it was the most spiritual birth experience I ever had. The presence of God was so evident in our room. In fact at my six week checkup my doctor commented on it and asked me about it. He wanted to know if I had noticed it and if I knew what it was. I told him that we were Christians and that God had been with us. He kind of brushed that off, but he told me I should consider writing a book about it someday!

Andrea was a wonderful perfect baby - she never cried at all. Even though she was born big - she stopped growing and was the most petite and pretty little girl. She was definitely "all" girl and loved clothes and makeup and girl stuff right from the start. She truly was a gift from God during a difficult time in my life.

As she grew, she developed into a lovely young lady. She has always had strong convictions of right and wrong. One time at a parent teacher conference her teacher (public school) told us that Andrea had given quite a dissertation in class on why abortion was wrong. He suggested that we "help" her by teaching her to keep her thoughts to herself. Of course, we were very proud of her and did no such thing! To this day she strongly knows what she believes. When Andrea was in high school her once good friends began making poor decisions and Andrea was very lonely. We prayed and God provided a way to send her to a Christian high school where she flourished.

Today Andrea is a married young woman ready to begin her senior year of college where she is majoring in elementary education. She will be a wonderful teacher. She still loves fashion, jewelry, hair, and makeup! She wears stilletto heel everywhere - even shopping! She is definitely princess material! She is married to a fine young man whom we admire greatly. Once when Andrea was younger I was teasing her and her younger sister about who they would marry. I told them Jess would marry a math teacher and Andrea a youth pastor. Today Andrea's husband is our youth intern at our church and is seriously considering a call into youth ministry. So now she and I share a special bond as pastor's wives. She teaches the kindergarden Sunday School class in our church and all her little students love her.

God truly blessed our home with the gift of Andrea. Her dad and I enjoy watching her life as it unfolds. Her husband Jayson's birthday is only two days after hers and so I want to wish him a very Happy Birthday too! We are so blessed to have this princess in our lives. Happy Birthday Andrea!