Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chick Flicks

The hubby is camping. The boy is asleep.

I figured this was the perfect time for me to watch a movie that:
a) Norse wouldn't like
b) Had received good reviews
c) I thought would be thought provoking

I picked - Rachel Getting Married featuring Anne Hathaway as the lead character, Kym.

After watching it I felt the following emotions:
a) disappointment that I spent my free chick flick night on a movie that was boring, depressing, and had no real conclusion. (I should have just watched Pretty in Pink for the millionth time)
b) worried that I am indeed not cool enough to understand and appreciate movies that the cool people seem to enjoy. (I am sure just by using the word cool, you have already realized that I am indeed not in the know.)
c) wishing I could belly dance, sing or play any type of musical instrument. (There were some talented performers in the film)

Thankfully after Googling "What is so great about the movie Rachel Getting Married?" I found out that I am NOT the only person who thought the movie was a little lame. Maybe I am not as socially defunct as I thought. However, if you did think the movie was worth the two hours spent watching, please enlighten me. What is so great about that movie?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Issues and Ages

I worked in youth ministry almost immediately following my conversion to Christianity almost 10 years ago. I LOVED it, especially the High Schoolers. I remember most the times when we would take prayer requests. There were the everyday issues of tests, homework, annoying classmates and school teachers. There were the more difficult issues of parents divorcing, peers who were self destructing, and deaths of loved ones. I remember the earnest prayers of those young people. I remember the ones that were embarrassed to pray out loud or even say they had a need. I remember the kids that already knew what it meant to be loved by God and those that were unsure what it really meant. I remember the ones whose light burned so bright you almost needed sunglasses. I remember the ones that barely had a flicker of belief. Each one is forever imprinted on my heart. I remember that when I prayed for them I was always filled with such hope for what might happen as they matured and entered into "real life".

Since becoming a mom I have found that I am making new friends. In some ways I am finding a new ministry. I have to say that this one is more difficult. As I age and the people I socialize with turn another year older I find that it is harder for me to know what to say. The problems seem more real, more heartbreaking, and more life altering. I can no longer assure them that there is a whole world of possibilities, because they are living the reality. What do I say to the friend whose husband is out of work? What do I do for the wife whose marriage is deteriorating? How do I console a friend who found out, that barring a miracle, she will never have a newborn in her arms? How do I give hope to the friend whose house is being foreclosed? How do I befriend the one whose smile is hiding the loneliness inside?

I don't want to minimize the issues that we dealt with during our years with the teenagers. Their problems were very real and very difficult. I just seemed better equipped. I find that I am growing ever more thankful that while I do not have the answers or the ability to dispense hope, there is One who does.

Father, my heart breaks daily for those I know. You know each one by name. You know each need. You know your plans for them. Help me, Lord, to help carry their burdens and ease some of their sorrow. Help me, Lord, to be a daughter of encouragement and not take the beauty of each day for granted. Keep me close to You that I may show each one Your love and sustaining grace. Give them hope.


In light of all this my quest for a slimmer waistline seems petty, but none the less, how can I be fully used by God if I am unhealthy and exhausted. With that said, I've lost half a pound, but that may be short lived since I just ate a chocolate chip cookie and it isn't even 9:30 AM. (Let's just say it was a long night with a teething and/or sick son) I hadn't really thought of a challenge for you this week, but how about this: the next time you reach for an unhealthy snack, put it back, grab a glass of water, and spend a few minutes in prayer for a person you know who is going through a tough situation.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I heart Alicia Brown Photography

My 9 year anniversary is coming up, this week! For "our" present we decided to take advantage of a wonderful offer from a great photographer - Alicia Brown!

I can't wait to see how the pics turn out. She makes EVERYONE look gorgeous. I think it is because she is beautiful and has an amazing gift for capturing the beauty in other people.

I do have a question though. Is it appropriate to wear shorts or are jeans a better choice?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Polly Want a Circle? - A Toy Review

When the toy website, Ebeanstalk, contacted me about letting B try out one of their recommended toys I was ecstatic! They are known to be very dedicated in selecting good, safe toys and baby gifts. I was doubly stoked when I found out we were getting a Tiny Love product! We received the Developmental Gym by Tiny Love (from my sweet stepmother) when B was just a little guy and he LOVED it. Tiny Love really seems to know how to make great developmental toys .


The toy they sent is the Sort n' Learn Pelican. As soon as B saw what was in the box I had to race to get it unpacked. He was VERY eager to play with it.







It does take batteries - 3 AAA's. Thankfully Tiny Love knows that not all of us have the battery drawer stocked and provided the toy - batteries included!



The Pelican has three sound settings and three language settings (English, French and Spanish). It will recognize the color or shape or give a fun sound whenever one of the shapes is pushed through its proper slot.

Here is what we liked about the toy:

  1. It is bright and colorful.
  2. It is nearly indestructible as far as we can tell. Bode has tried to sit IN it and everything seems to hold up to his rowdy ways.
  3. It is versatile. When B gets frustrated with the shape sorter he can simply lift that section up and fill and dump the beak as often as he likes.
  4. The sounds are not annoying or horribly loud. You will not have to count down the minutes until the batteries die. Plus, it has volume control, so you can simply lower the volume or turn the sounds completely off.
  5. It doesn't have a bazillion bells and whistles. It encourages development without being obnoxious. I am a firm believer in simpler toys, but sometimes they are unable to keep B's attention. This toy draws him back over and over again.
  6. The spoken shape and color settings reinforce words we are teaching.



A few flaws.
  1. The top of the pelican head detaches pretty easily. Well, it seems like my son rips it off it's hinges a lot. It really is no big deal since it snaps on and off simply. This is not a huge drawback and if your little one is a little less maniacal when it comes to playing with toys you will probably not have the same problem.
  2. When the pelican's head is off and the shape sorter is lifted up, my husband thinks it looks like a urinal. (It kind of does) Not really a flaw, just the fact of the matter. Norse thought it could double as a potty chair if B decides he doesn't want it anymore. (Now I am reasonably sure that no one will EVER send me anything to try out again because of that last comment, but you the consumer have to know the truth!)

All in all I give the Learn n' Fun Sorter an A.

Boden enjoys playing with it. He has already started figuring out how the shapes fit in the sorter. He is content to play independently with the toy. It has remained at the top of the toy bin for an entire week. This one is a keeper! Thanks Ebeanstalk!



Please forgive my poor quality pictures and messy house. I am neither a photographer or a maid.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Self Control

I have none...
self control that is.

This week did not go so well.

My true confession is summed up here:

No exercise
Huckleberry Cheesecake
PMS
Fudgesicles

On a more positive note, I did have devotions for the last three days in a row! MUCH BETTER than previous weeks (ok... months)

I celebrate the victory in one area and recognize that self control is not one of my strengths. I know this, but sometimes I think that I am stronger than I really am.

How about you?

Is there something in your house that you could quit bringing home from the grocery store? I now know that Fudgebars need to be added to my list of only buy once a year items (they will join Double Stuffed Oreos and Old Fashioned Glazed Donuts).

This week make it a point to leave that item OUT of your shopping cart. If you have more than one weakness, work on cutting them out of the grocery list one week at a time. We all know cold turkey may lead to binging.

Weight check: The two pounds from last week must have been water retention because I am holding steady at my start weight.

How are you ladies doing?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wanna Go Out and Play?

I live in a beautiful place.

It is a wonderful area surrounded by endless recreation possibilities during any season of the year.

I do, however, remember growing up in AZ.

I remember it being so sweltering outside that the metal slides would get so hot that they would sizzle your legs. I remember that we never had grass, only rocks and these horrible sharp sticker things we called goat-heads. I know what it was like to sit in front of the television because there were no other options.

That is why I am so excited to tell you about a friend of a friend who is making a difference in her community. This Illinois momma is working, well, running, to help upgrade the neighborhood park in her area and the park is in DESPERATE need.

Guess what? You can help!

How can you help you ask?

1. Stop by her blog dedicated to this project and pray!
2. Blog and link to her site! The more hits she gets, the more likely it is that she could get sponsors to help fund this project.
3. Donate! Every little bit of dinero helps!


Every parent knows how important a fun play place is, for their children. Every parent knows that to help avoid the increase of childhood obesity and diabetes, we need to be able to play with our kiddos! Hop on board and send ALL your friends over to help buy playground equipment for the kids of Thomosboro.

P.S. I just found out that Mama is expecting a new sweet baby! HOORAY! So, while she may not be able to run the soles off her shoes, the cause is still a worthy one, so don't forget to stop by her site and get the scoop.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Memory Lane

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires
.


Today I am setting out on my trial run at a healthier lifestyle. I have even persuaded a few other lovely ladies to join me in my little adventure.

My desire is two fold.

1.To lose a little weight, exercise more, and be a physically healthier person.

BUT - this cannot happen without being spiritually healthy too. Thus, my second desire...

2. To make a conscious effort to be in fellowship with my Heavenly Father on a DAILY basis and to search His wisdom that will enable me to make better choices.

I really don’t want to focus on what I eat or how much time I spend not being active. I would rather focus on a deeper walk with Jesus, because living in light of His desire for me is much better than meeting the usually unrealistic and vain goals that I set for myself.

I also believe that when I am most in tune with Him I will be a more loving person that is exhibiting the aforementioned “fruit(s) of the Spirit”.

As I began preparing for this little change in my life, I began pondering John 15:1-13

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.


When I am abiding in His perfect plan, it is then that I am most satisfied. He comes right out and says it.

When I am close to him, I am bearing fruit and bringing honor to the name of Jesus. When I am close to him, my joy is FULL! When I am close to him, it is then that I can love others the way He has loved me.

I am reminded that I AM His.

My heart is complete because of the grace He bestowed upon me. I need His grace because I fail - often. But He always loves me - when I succeed and when I fail, when I look like an idiot and when the world adores me. I need his grace and my heart rejoices that He has shown me there is victory because of His sacrifice. I am willing to make some sacrifices because I love him, not because I HAVE to. His love is unconditional.

Sooooo...

I think we should start this little journey by remember the things that God has already pulled us out of and given us victory over. I believe that when we look at how much He has already enabled us to do, then we will realize that going for a walk is really a gift not a burden and that passing on the third piece of pie is really no sacrifice at all - especially when He has called us to give up much BIGGER things, that we, really, no longer miss.

Here is a small list from my trip down memory lane:

1. I had to give up MY life plan to follow His. It seemed so hard, but I cannot really remember what I sacrificed. I can only recall what I have gained - Hope for whatever comes next, a true gentleman of a husband, a son who is more wonderful than I could have ever imagined and friends that love me not just for what I can do/give them.

2. I had to give up smoking and drinking for a season. I had to do this because it was an escape for me. It was an unhealthy escape that instead of bringing me joy only fed my desire to ignore my problems and halt my growth as a person. This is not something everyone must give up, but for me, it was necessary. I truly believe that I have the freedom to engage in these activities now - because they are no longer a stumbling block in my relationship with God (though it would be unwise for me to smoke since we all know it can cause cancer) I have chosen, however, to continue to abstain because of my family history and to keep the promise I made to my husband. I will however enjoy dinner at a brewery or good conversation with friends over a glass of water while they enjoy a bottle of wine.

3. I gave up on mainstream music for a time. This was another of those things that isn’t a big deal for most people, but for me when I would hear a song on the radio it took me straight back to the time of loss, pain and heartache that I was experiencing when that song first snuck into my brain. I needed a break so those wounds could heal and God knew that. Now, it is no big deal to sing along to a song that made it on the soundtrack of my life, because those wounds no longer bleed, but remind me of the mighty power of God to bring joy and hope to my life. Plus, what would road tripping be without music you can sing REALLY loudly to?

Ok... that is enough for me.

Can you name one thing that God “took” from you, that in hindsight is really no big deal?

As you reflect on those victories, may it be the way God enables you to go for a few more minutes on the treadmill or just say no to a second helping, because it really isn’t a big deal, is it?


P.S. I totally gained two pounds in the last week. I ate less crap (except for two packs of pop tarts in the last two days -- they aren't even that good. What am I thinking?) But I didn't get much exercise. Hopefully I am just retaining water (which means I should be drinking MORE water) or wearing heavier clothes. Seriously, this was NOT the result I was expecting. Arghhhh! I hope you are doing better than I am. Press on friends! Maybe I will weigh again in the AM and get better results :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Can I just say...

I really like this song.



I know that it gets played WAY too much on the local Christian stations. Fortunately for me it isn't ruined because I don't listen to the local Christian stations that much. I hope the message hasn't been ruined for you by too much air time.

Tenth Avenue North - By Your Side
From the album Over And Underneath

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching?
As if I'm not enough?
To where will you go child,
Tell me where will you run?
To where will you run?

Chorus:
Cause I'll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
Please don't fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands, at my side
They swallowed the grave, on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life

Chorus:

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
Please don't fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
And I, I love you
And I want you to know
That I, I'll love you

Chorus:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wide Load

Next year I turn twenty-ten (some people would call that thirty, but I am not one of those people)

It will also be my ten year wedding anniversary.

It will also be a time when we might want to add another small one to our family.

And on a more depressing note - if I maintain the same weight I will have gained 30 pounds since the day I was married.

I have officially crossed the barrier (with this 8 pounds of fat that I didn't shed after B was born) to the "overweight" category according to my BMI.

I struggle to write that I desire to lose weight because I have several friends that would LOVE to be the size I am, instead of their current weight. I also worry that because I am not obese it merely seems shallow or vain that I would even struggle with weight issues - because I am not THAT big.

Nonetheless, it has really been bothering me lately.

I find that being at home I have become slothful and undisciplined. Mind you, I don't want rigid structure and law. I am all for letting loose every now and again, but since I no longer have to go to work or be "presentable" on a daily basis - it is easy to whip up a batch of frosting and devour the whole thing. I also don't get nearly enough exercise. I really have no excuses. I have the means, just not the motivation.

I am hoping that if I publicly announce a goal and publicly admit when I TOTALLY blow it that I would be motivated.

I know my story is not new. I know that this is a little lame, but I need to make some changes. If I want to rock a bikini on my 10th wedding anniversary or carry another precious baby in my womb, I NEED to be healthier.

So here are my goals -

Very doable goal:
Lose 5 pounds and have a normal BMI
Can probably do it if I make a REAL effort:
Lose 10 pounds and be thinner than before I got pregnant.
Probably gonna have to work my hinee off to achieve goal:
Lose 25 pounds and feel better than I have in YEARS (and bonus - probably have to buy new clothes.

Things I need to do to achieve any of the goals?
No more frosting or cookie dough binges
Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week.
Find a friend to help me along on this process that I can be completely honest with.

Maybe you are in a similar situation that I am. If you would like to be accountable to me (and I to you). Let me know. I really need someone to wage this little battle with me. I have tried numerous times to get my sweet husband to help me out, but he doesn't really understand. The man is so in love with me that he always says, when I bring it up, " I like you the way you are. I think you look good!" (I know - SWOON) However, my desire is to be GREAT for him and a little more healthy for me.

I will try to post an update on my progress weekly. If you have any pointers, resources or want to join me on my first ever healthy living plan (because I don't do diets and really I have never made a true attempt to curb any of my bad habits regarding food) leave a comment with your email and we'll connect!

And as embarrassing as this is - my start weight is 170.5

Hopefully I will never see that number again!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Missing

I have been following the tragic disappearance of 4 young boys from the streets of Uganda, at my friend, B's, blog.

A dear friend of hers serves the street kids in that region and it seems that 4 boys were kidnapped a few nights ago.

Get more of the details here and here.

Please pray for these boys and for, Abby, and the others, that are giving all they have to love these precious children.

My heart breaks that these little guys are alone and probably afraid - or worse. I know that my Father sees them and my hearts cry is that HE will do the seemingly impossible, by rescuing them from the darkness they now face.

Thanks for taking the time to say a prayer for them.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cozy Doesn't Have a Color

A few days ago we received a Cabela's flyer in the mail. Of course my manly husband had to check out all the bargains.

Soon, he was chuckling to himself. The kind of laugh that is kind of quiet, but your shoulders move up and down.

I had to know what was sooooo funny.




Pretty soon we were both rolling at the thought of these two guys, snuggled in to their PINK sleeping bags, at huntin' camp.

Not that there is anything wrong with pink sleeping bags - if you are a pre-teen GIRL!

Perhaps they thought that having the "CAM-O-COT" would distract the guys from noticing the unfortunate color of their sleeping bags. They are relaxing and trying to look VERY nonchalant.




No, really, maybe you're MAN enough to wear...er...sleep pink, but I bet you would get tired of the ribbing you would receive if you took this on a trip with any of the guys I know.

Obviously it was a printing error, but it sure made our night.

Man, we really need to get out more.