Saturday, December 27, 2008

Going Well

I have managed to read at least one chapter in my Bible each morning since my Stinkin' Thinkin' post. I have also been eating breakfast, a good breakfast, daily. The exercise on the other hand has been a little more challenging. However, I did just workout a bit upstairs. My left shoulder always gives me trouble, and the pain motivated me to the workout machine. Maybe there really is something to that old expression, "No pain, no gain!"

I do have to say that the decision to refocus has made a tremendous difference in the quality of my day to day life. I have a better attitude and am kinder and more pleasant to those around me; a big plus for all of us! It's not that I was nasty or anything, but I knew my attitude needed a check. I knew that I was not focusing on what I should be, and my quality of life was suffering.

It is amazing to me how simple God's instructions are. I have found time and again that consequences are almost immediate when we do not follow God's will. I find the object lessons most obvious in starting my day with prayer and Bible reading and in tithing. Have you ever noticed this in your daily lives?

Whenever I slip away from my daily devotionals my quality of life suffers. Also, when I manage to mess up with my tithing my finances instantly become stressful. It doesn't matter how much of a sacrifice it may seem to be to get back on track it is always worth it. The presumed sacrifices give way to peace and prosperity almost immediately after making things right. What does God use to teach you how to live? I'd love to hear your experiences.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stinkin' Thinkin'

It has not been too long yet, and I am already thinking I need to read The Sexually Confident Wife again. The book did a good job of teaching you how to keep your thinking in check, and I could use a booster shot. Why is it so easy to get off on a destructive thinking path?

It seems hubby and I are clashing heads a lot lately. It's not anything big, really. We just seem to spend a lot of time misunderstanding each other and being defensive. Even though I don't think what we are having a confrontation over is worth the magnitude of our attitude I just cannot seem to keep myself from going there.

As I am typing this I am wondering if I have been neglecting my prayer life. Oh, I pray constantly, but I haven't had my morning Bible reading time and beginning of the day prayer in probably weeks. I didn't realize it until this very moment. I know the importance of starting out on the right foot, but honestly I haven't even been getting breakfast regularly. Skipping meals is another thing I have struggled with for years. I know the destruction it inflicts on my body, so I have changed my ways. However, when things get hectic or stressful I just seem to naturally gravitate to old, bad habits. Let's recap. So far I have listed two bad habits; morning prayer time and breakfast.

As a mother it is so natural for me to put my needs first. It has been years that I have been thinking on a daily basis that I need to implement a regular exercise regimen. Yet, here I sit still needing to lose a full 60 pounds. If only mentally exercising your body would prove fruitful! I'd have been my ideal weight a year ago. Bad habit recap: no morning prayer, no breakfast, and no exercise.

Hmmm...I'm starting to see a pattern here. Maybe if I pledged to take care of myself first everything else would be easier to maintain. What do you think? Even though my schedule is insane I think now is the time to try something new. For the next seven days I am going to slow down. I am going to do some low-impact exercise, spend time in the Bible and prayer, and eat breakfast each and every day before I do anything else. Do you think it is possible?

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keeping on Track

I have been moving at a steady pace. Christmas preparations have been relaxed and uneventful. That is a good thing. I don't get too many things in my life that are relaxed and uneventful!

I had one round of baking last week. My best friend of 27 years came over with her six children. We baked dozens of cookies. It was a blast. This Sabbath will be my second round of baking. My mom, daughter and two oldest grandkids will be coming over to bake more holiday goodies. This time I will be baking treats that I plan to give as gifts.

The gift making is going well, by the way. I am certain I will spend hundreds less than I ever have when going the commercial route was all I knew. It is such a wonderful feeling to plan, shop and create a special gift for each friend and family member that is near and dear. The boys have been helping me.

Today we made 11 jar mixes for the younger kids to cook with their moms. I know they'll love it. We've also made suet feeders on string for hanging in trees or near windows to attract and feed birds throughout the winter. They are sure to bring a smile or two to the faces of those that receive them as they watch the birds from the warmth of their homes. There are other things on my list that still need to be made. I'll be sure to post pictures and descriptions after Christmas so as to not spoil the surprise should a gift recipient stumble by.

Tomorrow the boys and I will be getting a tree. We changed around the living room to accommodate the chosen evergreen. Personally, I do not like real trees. I would love it if it were potted, but we always have to have a real one that goes in a stand. I am the one that has to care for it, and it's such a pain. Until my husband and I got together I always had a four-foot artificial that I put on an end table covered with a white sheet. It looked so pretty, and it wasn't difficult to deal with. I cannot convince him on the artificial. For him, it's just not Christmas without a real tree. Not to mention, I did some reading. Apparently it is more eco-friendly to get a real one than it is to have an artificial tree. Again, I am defeated!

I am looking forward to finishing the decorating tomorrow. I'll go through my decorations again and donate what I no longer want. I do this every year thinking I finally simplified, and every year I am amazed at how many decorations come in from the garage. I like to donate using Freecycle and Purple Heart. They are both great since all you have to do is put the items on your front porch, and someone will come pick them up. You can't beat the simplicity!

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Ribbon

I am not a supporter of cancer research. I believe we already have a cure. I am not a supporter of breast cancer research. I know that it not only effects women, but men get it too. Last Thursday I was reminded of what I believe. At the age of 37 I had my first mammogram.

It was for good reason that I sought out the mammogram. Cancer really seems to be comfortable in my family. My paternal grandmother passed away when I was 11 years old after a heroic battle with pancreatic cancer. My paternal grandfather beat three types of cancer before he passed away in his sleep at the age of 94. My oldest paternal aunt survived ovarian cancer, the next oldest passed away several years ago of lung cancer, and the youngest aunt is a breast cancer survivor. Here's the clincher. On April 1, 2005, my father passed away from male breast cancer. So, you see? My ribbon would be pink AND blue. There's no real information out there for daughters of fathers that had breast cancer. Maybe if there were more awareness there would be.

It seems that they have now learned that cancer can be hereditary, and there is genetic testing available for those that have cancer so prevalent in their family trees. Based on the recommendation of the nurse practitioner I saw this past week I will be advocating for genetic testing for our family. Should my aunt agree to the blood test the information could prove life saving for the rest of my family. It is best to start with a family member that has cancer, and she is a breast cancer survivor.

Breast pain that started several months ago encouraged me to seek out any free or affordable resources that may be available for me to get a mammogram. With my husband working in the automotive repair industry our family has not had health insurance for years. I just paid cash for an MRI in relation to the Meniere's Disease, and mammograms are expensive. I had heard of free screenings, but I did not know of them personally.

Well, the pain went away, but I did find a lump. The lump kept me moving forward in my pursuit. Since I was born with a tumor and cyst under my right arm, and I had fibroids in my right breast at the age of 14, and the history of my family, I knew to not ignore the lump.

While my husband was having breakfast at his favorite local restaurant, Acropole, being the morning person, breakfast guy, social butterfly that he is his waitress knows him well. He was talking to her about my situation, and she told him about a program at Karmanos. It seems there are funds available through the Race for the Cure annual fund raiser for women just like me. (I wonder what would be available for men. My dad received his treatment through Karmanos, but he had insurance. I'll have to look into that later.) This is a program related to cancer that I will support in my charitable giving from here on out. I have no problem helping to make cancer screening services available for those that cannot afford such services.

Anyway, I almost didn't go to the appointment, but I am so glad that I did. It seems I have another tumor in my right breast. It's exactly where I thought it was, so do not forgo those self breast exams you ladies are supposed to be doing once a month! Who knows how long that lump was there since I hadn't done an exam in ages. If you are a guy, it wouldn't hurt you to keep an eye on your chest as well. The thing that alerted my dad that there was something to be concerned about was when my son asked why his nipple was sunken in. As my dad always said, "Any body part that men and women have in common can be afflicted by cancer."

During the exam I was just blown away by the kindness of the staff. The mammogram really wasn't bad, and I had to get an ultrasound as well. I was initially given a choice to have a biopsy right then, or keep an eye on the tumor and come back in six months to see if it had changed. That would be the normal protocol for someone that didn't have the history that I have in my family and my body. So, the nurse practitioner wants me back in three months for a biopsy. She does not think it looks like cancer, but she wants to be certain. Had they suspected cancer they would have done a biopsy right then. Honestly, I wish I would have just done it last Thursday. Now I have to go three months dreading another needle!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sexual Confidence

Yes, this is a Christian blog. And, yes, healthy christian couples have sex. (How do you think you got here?) However, none of us really talk about it. Honestly, lack of discussion and openness is a bad thing. Sex is a gift from God. It unites us as a couple, "And they shall become one." It also draws us closer to God.

Unfortunately, there are many of us out there that have an unhealthy relationship with sex. We have issues from the past that stay with us and interfere with our marriage relationship. Maybe we had parents that were unaware of how to speak to us in regard to sex and marriage. It could be that our parents did not set a healthy example of the sexual aspect of marriage for us. Maybe sex has been taboo your whole life.

Our inability to deal with our own issues and move into a higher intimacy with our spouse and with God will create more adults, currently our children, that have the same issues, or more. Learning to embrace our sexuality as a gift from God, dealing with our issues, and setting an example for our children is essential to their success as confident, married adults. Our willingness to introduce sexuality to our children as a healthy, blessing from God could potentially change their lives.

I recently read The Sexually Confident Wife by Shannon Etheridge. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I was a little embarrassed when I checked it out from the library, but I am SO glad that I did. It is an amazing book. Shannon is blatantly honest and forthright in the information she shares. The Sexually Confident Wife gives straight forward information on issues like healing past scars, body image, techniques, boundaries, overcoming the "church lady" syndrome, and talking to our children.

The Sexually Confident Wife is a tastefully written, informative guide to the mind, body, heart, and spirit. This is a must read for any woman that is, or plans to be, a wife. It wouldn't hurt matters if her husband read it too! If for no other reason, read this book for the future of your daughters.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Praise God!

For those of you that frequent The Zoo Crew you may remember, I lost 100% of my hearing in my right ear back in September and was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease. Something pretty cool happened today. While I was grocery shopping I noticed something peculiar. I'm not sure how it happened, but when I moved the grocery list by my ear I could hear the paper crinkle. I'm sure I was a sight walking through Costco crinkling my grocery list over and over by my ear! I just couldn't be sure if I was hearing it or not.

When I left the store I still wasn't certain if I was hearing, so I did other things to test it out. I called a number on my cell phone that I knew for sure was a recording and turned the volume up on the earpiece all the way. I turned the music up loud in the truck, and covered my left ear. It's for certain. I have regained some of my hearing, not all. It is muffled, but I CAN hear a little bit in my right ear.

I know many have prayed for my healing. I am grateful to everyone. Praise God, and thank you for your love and prayers! I'll be sure to let you know of any new developments.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Processed People

There is a new documentary slated to hit the streets in mid-December. It covers a topic close to my heart. For years now, given my struggle with my weight and everything American related to diet and food, I have searched out information on the reality of our food and medical systems. In my journey I have discovered people like John Robbins and Michael Pollen. They have become mainstays in this food revolution of sorts. I have learned and grown through the information they have shared, and their insight has driven me further in my quest for real nutrition and health.

In the upcoming documentary, Processed People, we will learn further about the highly processed nature of our food and it's consequences. Does the health care system really have our optimum health as their number one priority, or could something else be driving their efforts? Have you ever paid attention to exactly what "authority" it is that is providing your health and nutrition advice? There is sure to be something for everyone to learn.

Click here to view the promo video.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our family does not participate in the national tradition of mass spending on this lovely day after Thanksgiving. I hope you have found something better to do with your time and money.

Today the boys and I are taking the day off of school to make homemade Christmas gifts for our family. This year at least 90% of our gift giving will be homemade, and not store bought. I have been encouraging my friends and family to do the same. Hopefully, this year will mark the start of another cool tradition for our family.

For ideas on homemade Christmas gifts see my post from earlier this week titled, "Homespun Christmas". Enjoy spending today with family, and keep your pocketbook in your pocket!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What do you eat, then?

Although an Amish turkey will be at the center of our table this year, we do cater to vegetarians in our family as well. If you must keep with the traditional dinner, tofurky is a viable option. Tofurky is a vegetarian alternative that comes complete with stuffing and gravy. It is available in many local markets, health food stores, and Online at Turtle Island Foods, the creators of tofurky.

Also, if you think about it there is plenty of traditional fare that is not meat based that may satisfy your vegetarian appetite. Our family serves homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, deviled eggs, a variety of desserts, and so on. Your options may be a little more limited from the traditional menu, however, if you are vegan. Even so, I think you will find it very easy to please your pallet, especially if you bring a dish to pass.

This year I plan to add two new items to our menu. I will be making Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup and Sweet Potato Balls. It's not like we need anymore food, but I really like to experiment with recipes. I spotted these two on Food Network and searched them out. They seem simple enough, and I'm pretty certain they will be big hits. Plus, I like to have plenty of extra food so that I can send some meals home with the kids. You remember what it's like to be young and on a very, very tight budget, right? Extra food is always appreciated.

On Christmas we always have Minestrone Soup. This tradition came about when the only vegetarian in the house was my youngest son, and we used to serve ham on Christmas. I asked him what he would like, and we've made it ever since. His thinking was that it is a very festive soup because it is red. We no longer eat pork, so the ham has gone by the wayside. Now we serve a venison roast if the hunt was successful. This year it was. The guys came back with two.

You see? We are not vegetarian per say. We have evolved over the years from our various states of food choices to become what I call conscious consumers. This started with food choices. We like to know where our food came from and how it was prepared. We do not eat any grocery store meat, as I call it. Rather the only meat consumed in our home comes from what we have procured and processed ourselves with the occasional variance at times like Thanksgiving. It is then that we visit our local Amish Market and order an Amish raised turkey. In the future I would like to take it a step further by visiting a local poultry farmer and getting it directly from the farm. We have made a pledge to grow what we can, redistribute what we don't need, and search the resale stores for what we do need.

With a little thought it is very easy to please your vegetarian and vegan guests. It seems that every meat eater asks the same question when they find out someone doesn't eat meat, "What do you eat?" To which I reply, "Everything else!" Once you realize that fact, the sky is the limit. Most vegetarians and vegans alike are used to eating many "sides". What better time than the holidays with the vast variety of options? So, if you are vegetarian or vegan, there's no need to make a show of it. Eat what you like, and don't eat what you don't like. For those of you that are serving vegetarians and vegans, be mindful, but there's no need to fret. There will be plenty of food for them to choose from. Not everyone eats turkey, and that is a-okay.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Homespun Christmas

Since the holidays are upon us, I decided to republish this post. I hope you benefit from the ideas here and reconsider what Christmas is really about.

Yes, I do know that it is merely June! Although, for those of us that would like to have a more simple Christmas including handmade gifts for all June is a late start. Planning Christmas had already been on my mind, but I kept knocking it down the priority list thinking it can wait. Well, in light of my previous post I've decided to give planning Christmas a higher priority.

With all the details involved in Christmas, decorating, cooking, shopping, gift giving, preparing can become rather expensive. Maybe now would be a good time to evaluate our current perception of how we celebrate Christmas. Is it possible that we have become just a little too commercially influenced? Do we celebrate in a manner that honors the true meaning of the holiday? According to Parent's Link, Volume 2, Issue 6, "The average American family will charge $1000 to the handy credit card for their Christmas shopping. If minimum payments are made toward that debt at 12% interest (this is low), it will take over 8 years to repay it with an additional $545 interest charge. Your fourth graders best Christmas ever won’t be paid off until they are graduating from high school."

The amount of debt that we can be willing to incur in the name of a good Christmas is rather disturbing. Would it be possible to have a good Christmas without all of the debt? With a little effort on our part I do believe that we can become memory makers instead of robbing ourselves of retirement or our children of college funds. I believe it is much more fun to create personal gifts to remind those we care about of our love for them than it is to spend hours at the mall looking for that ever so perfect, and co$tly, gift that will likely soon be forgotten.

When I think of Christmas, I think of Little House on the Prairie. Remember how much fun they had cooking, singing, playing music, dancing, and giving thoughtful, handmade gifts? I have slowly been progressing toward this idea of family and fun for our Christmas celebrations. With seven children, four grandchildren, and extended family members that we celebrate with every year things had gotten a little out of control. I was spending WAY too much money. See, my perspective was a little off, shall we say. I grew up poor. The only time we received ANYTHING was at Christmas, so we got a lot. My mom saved her change all year long to provide us with all the clothing and toys we would get for the year. It was the mother load of Christmas hauls! The problem became that I am no longer poor, but I was still living Christmas like I was. My children get what they need, when they need it. They don't have to wait until Christmas. Not keeping that in mind I was spending a ton of money on each child so that they would have A LOT of things to open on Christmas. I had a lot growing up, so my children should as well, right? WRONG! They already had a lot. What more did they need?

Now, our thinking has changed as a family. The Michigan economy further assists my efforts to tighten the belt on Christmas spending. Things are tough for everyone here. It's impossible to not be effected by rising gas prices. It seems that every visit to the grocery store delivers higher food prices. Times are tough, period. There is no reason to believe that everything will be miraculously better by Christmas, so here are some ideas to get you thinking:


  • Create a recipe box or cookbook with hand written recipes for a newlywed, college student, or someone just out on their own.

  • Cook a homemade meal for someone with a new baby, an illness, a single parent, or someone putting extra hours at work.

  • Offer to clean an elderly person's house once a month for a time, or even someone from the list above.

  • Give a themed gift basket that you put together yourself using items gathered from discount stores, flea markets, thrift stores, and even yard sales.

  • Host a cookie exchange to gain a variety of cookies. You can freeze them, give them as gifts, or serve them at gatherings.

  • Create a customized coupon book for a loved one offering to do things that they would appreciate upon the redemption of the coupon.

  • Offer to babysit for a few hours, a day, or a weekend so that a busy mom or a couple can get some alone time.

  • Start a simple tradition for grand kids by making a special ornament and pairing it with a quality book, or not. Then they will know what to look forward to each year, and you keep your expenses down as your family grows. (Think like this: $50/ea. x 10 grand kids = WAY TOO MUCH $$)

  • If you enjoy photography, frame a beautiful picture you have taken, and give as a gift.

  • What about canning? Did your tomato plants yield a bumper crop? Can you get a good deal on a bushel of anything? Get canning! Home canned foods are the greatest, and your benefactor will think of you every time they use your gift.

  • Make chocolate spoons for the coffee lover in your life.

  • Chocolate covered pretzel sticks are easy and can be embellished with any candy treat you can imagine.

  • Do you bead? Hand beaded jewelry and Christmas decorations are fun to make. I really enjoy making beaded snowflakes.

  • Make homemade bath salt or bath milk and pair with an homemade candle.

  • Make mixes for cocoa, cookies and dips. Include a recipe card.

  • For grand kids that live far away, you could record yourself reading them a story, and include the book for them to read "with" you.

  • If you have a canine friend homemade dog biscuits would be a great treat to share.

Another expense at Christmas time can be decorating. Here are some frugal solutions to beautify your home in the name of Christmas and create lasting family memories:


  • Cut old Christmas cards into strips and make an advent chain with your children or grandchildren to count down the days to Christmas.

  • String popcorn, cranberries, and/or beads to hang on the tree.

  • Gather nature's discards like pinecones, sticks, pine boughs, and use them to create decorations for the tree and house.

  • Gather the children in your family to create cookie cutter dough decorations.

  • Play Christmas music every time you are baking, creating, or decorating. Make it a family affair involving everyone in the planning and preparation.

  • Save dried baby's breath from flower arrangements to add to your Christmas tree as snow.

  • Put old bulbs in a bowl and display on table, piano, shelf, or mantel.

  • Make a rag wreath for the front door, or hang on interior door.

The possibilities are endless, so I plan to do a follow up post. I would also love it if you would post your ideas for a frugal Christmas. What have you done to trim back? Do you have a special tradition you would like to share? What about those creative gift giving ideas? Please, do tell!

Here are some added resources:

Get Rich Slowly

No Christmas Gift this Year

Buy Nothing Day


Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Silver Lining of Sickness

Pat and the boys left this past Friday for their first-ever, week-long deer hunting trip. This means that I am pretty much on my own this whole entire week. My "girl", as the oldest grandbaby calls her, is the only one here. She's nineteen and in college, so that will tell you just how much she's around.

I have been looking forward to this special treat of a week for over two months. I had a girl's night planned with my two best friends. I was going to hang out with my mom for two days. I was going to shop for the supplies that I need to make my Christmas presents and spend time making them. I was going to enjoy the peace and quiet. As a mother of seven children, quiet is a new found joy since four of them are on their own. This is honestly the first time ever that I have been here with no one to cater to; no one to teach; no one to cook for; no one to pick up after; no one to cart around; no one to butt heads with.

As I mentioned, the guys left on Friday. Fate would have it that I got sick Saturday morning. I knew it was coming on, but I thought it was just your standard cold. No way! I felt so terrible by Saturday night that I was near ready to cancel the girl's night. I decided to wait to see how I felt in the morning after some rest, tea, and remedies. I felt a little better, so I went through with it despite the fact that I had none of the prep work done on the food. The girls didn't mind, and we still had a fine time.

All the way through today, however, I canceled my plans. No hanging out with mom as to not get her sick. No trip to Karmanos for my first ever appointment with the nurse practitioner and maybe a mammogram. No trip to Sandusky for my appointment I made over a month ago with my friend for some alternative therapy in relation to my Meniere's Disease. No trip to the antique mall with my mom. No browsing the cute, little shops in Lexinton with my mom. No overnights at her house or mine. No crazy cleaning and organizing and moving of furniture like I planned. Basically, nothing like I planned.

Then, it took my good friend to point out that there was indeed a blessing in the timing of my illness. I get to be sick by myself with no demands or expectations. I get to lay on the couch and watch movie after movie. I get to soak in the tub for two-and-half hours. I get to read a novel cover to cover without interruption. I get to go to bed and get up when I want. I do not have to do anything for anyone other than myself. For those of you that are mothers you certainly know that this is a RARE treat. It seems a little strange to say, but I am happy I was sick while they were gone, and I got to just be sick. Now, my goal is to be well by Thanksgiving so that my family can still come over for dinner.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Angel Food Ministries

With the focus being on penny pinching so much lately I thought it would be prudent for me to share a wonderful resource that is available in 35 states across the nation. This is an amazing food program that is open to anyone regardless of income. Angel Food Ministries was started in 1994 by Pastors Joe and Linda Wingo in Monroe, GA, and serves over 500,000 families monthly through their food distribution program.



Each month Angel Food Ministries offers a new menu to choose from. Orders are placed and paid for ahead of time and picked up at a local host site; usually a church, school, outreach center, or organization. Once you've determined your local host site, you simply contact them to place your order. They even accept Food Stamps (EBT).

With each order you will receive a copy of Servant Magazine. This magazine gives you up to date information about Angel Food Ministries, inspirational articles, the next month's menu, and reports from various host sites across the nation. You will also find useful recipes on their website for inspiration while using the food you purchase. For those of you that enjoy cooking and creating in the kitchen, you can even submit your favorite recipes to share with fellow participants or those simply visiting the website.

This is a wonderful resource for those on a fixed income, including senior citizens. There is a special menu designed especially for seniors which is comprised of complete meal choices. The menu includes 10 fully cooked meals that are nutritionally balanced, complete, and ready to heat and serve.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, this may not work for you since the main package always has meat in it. However, if you have a carnivorous friend you can benefit as well. Supplemental packages are available with the purchase of a main package. So, your friend could benefit from purchasing the main package, and you could pay for the addition of the produce package. You cannot beat the pricing!

Special holiday packages are available as well. They special design supplemental packages for the holidays. Traditional food items are included at a tremendously discounted price compared to local grocery store prices.

Just as Angel Food Ministries helps meet the needs of the general public, they have needs of their own. Volunteer opportunities abound. Maybe your church or organization would like to be a host site, or maybe your group is looking for a worth while cause to support via donations, fundraising, or actual volunteer time. Angel Food Ministries can benefit from your skills and talents. This is a wonderful organization and well worth exploring as a customer or a volunteer. You may even find a job opening!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Trauma in the Front Room

Do any of you have "irrational" fears? Today I was traumatized, "willingly". I have an uncontrollable fear of needles. To say I detest them is an understatement. I turn my head when one comes on television. The mere thought can bring me to tears.

Today we had an appointment with the nurse for a life insurance company. This is the first time in my 37 years that I have ever had to get weighed, measured, give urine, and, of course, blood. I argued and pleaded when I first found out. "I have never had to do this before. Why now?", I pleaded. You'd think I was the one giving out strange and shocking information. According to them it is standard practice. Why, pray tell, have I never had to have it done before, then? Why has my husband never had it done before? No explanation was known or offered.

So, as I mentioned, today was the day. My eyes are still swollen from crying. It is beyond my control. There is no such thing as mind over matter for me in this case. It doesn't matter how much I, "Try to relax!", as my husband's advice directed. There is nothing I can do; not even pray, and that gets me on another level. Why is it that I cannot cope with something like getting my blood drawn through relying on the strength of Christ? Does this mean that I am a weak Christian? Should I be able to stand in the face of any fear, even an irrational one, with my eyes on Jesus? Do I know him well enough, or am I slacking? Will my ability to deal with frightening situations increase as my relationship with God matures? Or, are there just some things that we never transcend?

You see? The way things are today, and where our world is headed in the keeping of prophecy, I cannot help but wonder. There are plenty of things I could be facing WAY worse than getting my blood drawn. What then? Is that different? I almost feel like I have to ask forgiveness for being such a wimp. Does that seem silly to you, or do you get where my thinking is coming from?

As I mentioned, I am a mere 37 years old. I have seen a lot in my life, and I have faced many challenges. God has carried me through tough times when I didn't even know Him. When the time comes again that I have to face something tremendous, painful, frightening, jaw dropping, will I be able to cope? Honestly, I believe that I will. That is, as long as it does not involve needles. Then I am not so confident.

Over the years I have thought long and hard about what it is that terrifies me so in regard to needles. There is nothing concrete. Therefore, the only conclusion I can draw is the surgeries that I had as a baby. Lord knows I do not remember them, and I am sure thankful. Although, I do have to believe that it left a terrible imprint on my brain. My mother, grandmother, and great aunt have all commented on the fact that I was terrified of the vacuum and other loud noises when I was little. When I asked my mom about it she said that it started after the surgeries. I was never afraid of them before. So, I believe my hypothesis to be true.

A little word of advice. There is nothing you can do when someone has an irrational fear except be supportive. No matter how much you tell them to think of something else, just relax, or get frustrated with them it will not help. You just need to be there and support them. Your frustration with them will only make the fear worse. Thankfully, my husband was there for me today. When he did things that were not helping I told him so, and he just held me after it was done and let me cry. That's all I needed, and it was greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This may seem a strange post for a Thankful Thursday, but here goes.

Despite the support of family and the skill of doctors my father-in-law, Evin Thomas Smith, passed away at 7:25AM on Saturday, November 1, 2008. He would have celebrated his 80th birthday this coming February. Now, he lays in waiting for the Lord.

Amongst the sadness there are many blessings. Ervin was a special man. He was the father to seven successful children and grandfather to numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was honest, kind, and had a strong work ethic unlike any I'd ever seen. Ervin was a fun-loving husband to my mother-in-law, Barbara Ann Smith. He loved a good practical joke, given or received and had a wonderful sense of humor!

I may not have been close to him, but it was a privilege to know him. I see him in his son, my husband, Pat, everyday. Sure, my husband has his idiosyncrasies, but those are also the things that make him special and unique. Those are the things that make me lovingly comment, "I swear I married your father!" or, "Okay, Ervin!" My husband loves to pick on me, just like his dad did his mom. My husband always gets up to open the door and look outside for every slammed car door, just like his dad. My husband always offers you something to eat or drink, or two, or three, just like his dad. My husband doesn't usually answer the phone, but he wants to know who you're talking to, just like his dad. My husband really loves me, just like his dad did his mom.

It can honestly be said that Ervin never did anyone wrong. He was trustworthy and dependable; someone you could really count on. It is a blessing that he knew the Lord. It is a blessing that he did not suffer. It is a blessing that he died in his sleep. It is a blessing that he was surrounded by family. It is a blessing that through his death his family has grown closer.

Death and dying are not things we are taught to deal with or how to process through in our culture. However, from my experience there is much to be gained through death. Life continues and those that once lived will forever impact those that knew and loved them, and through those people will impact the lives of countless others that never had the privilege of making their acquaintance. What legacy are you leaving those that go after you?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prayer Request

As some of you may already know, Pat's dad is not doing well at all. He is 80 years old, has stage four lung cancer and pneumonia. He has been in the hospital since Tuesday morning. He was taken there with his wife, Pat's mom, by ambulance.

He is in the Critical Care Unit at the hospital. His lungs and heart are working against each other. The lungs are filling with fluid thereby putting pressure on his heart. This causes a decreased heart rate which in turn makes it difficult for the lungs to empty of the fluid. Around and around we go in a catch two-two.

Today, Wednesday, his health has been up and down. At times he would seem coherent, and other times he would be confused and disoriented. They had to use the paddles on him earlier due to a sudden drop in his hear rate. I am still unsure as to whether or not he had a heart attack. They also gave him some blood on the suspicion of a blood clot in his lungs. He has a terrible time breathing and is wearing a oxygen mask.

Pat's mom and dad have been married for 60 years. They are a wonderful couple, and this just breaks my heart. Pat is one of seven children, so you can imagine how many of us have been keeping vigil at the hospital. There is a strong sense of family and unity right now...praise God!

Please keep Pat's dad, mom, and our family in your prayers. It has been my prayer that God will keep him comfortable and at peace and grant the family strength and faith through this tough time. Also, it is my prayer that those that do not know God may find Him in this experience, and those that do will be drawn closer to Him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cell Phone vs. Bible

This was shared by my good friend, Shelly, at The Mom with Brownies on her homeschooling group at Yahoo! Groups, Macomb Christian Homeschoolers. I thought it was worth sharing here. When was the last time you read your bible? When was the last time you shared the bible with anyone? It is truly worth thinking about...



Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

Just something to make you go....hmm... Where is my Bible?

- Author Unknown

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Direct from the grove to you!

For those of you in Macomb County, Michigan, you may be interested in the annual fundraiser our church school holds.

The fruit is WONDERFUL!


All the information is listed below:


THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD GET FRESHER FRUIT IS TO
FLY TO FLORIDA AND PICK IT UP YOURSELF!


Grapefruit: Available November - March; Full Box $23, Half Box $13
23 to 48 per box/36-40 lb. Carton

Florida Navels: Available November - January; Full Box $25, Half Box $15
40 to 100 per box/36-40 lb. Carton

California Navels: Available in March - Price TBA in January
40 to 100 per box/36-40 lb. Carton

Tangerines: Available Nov/Dec/Mar; 2/5 Bushel $21, Half Box $11
40 to 75 per box/18-20 lb. Carton

Honeybell Tangelos: Available January ONLY; Full Box $36, Half Box $19
40 to 75 per box/18-20 lb. Carton

Temple Oranges: March ONLY; Full Box $25, Half Box $15
40 to 100 per box/36-40 lb. Carton

VARIETY PACK: Available Nov/Dec/Jan; 2/5 Bushel $21
20 lb./30-36 Count (NO HALF ORDERS)

CASH OR CHECK DUE UPON PICKUP.

For fruit on November 16th order by October 30th.

For fruit on December 14th order by November 26th.

For fruit on January 25th order by January 8th.

For fruit on March 1st order by February 12th.

Remember:
All fruit is tree ripened, hand picked, no added color.


Fruit is delivered in refrigerated trucks within days of picking.

All fruit is guaranteed for replacement.

We cannot order fruit by size.

Early customers get the most choice.

Pickup days are Sundays from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at the school.

Fruit not picked up by Wednesday will be resold, unless special arrangements are made.

You pay for the fruit when you pick it up.

Checks payable to: Warren SDA School

Pick your fruit up at:

12100-13Mile Road
Warren, MI 48093

(just east of Hoover)


TO PLACE ORDER:

Email Elane at elaneerwin@hotmail.com

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Prophecy Seminar

Our church has been hosting the Amazing Discoveries prophecy seminar for the past several weeks. It has been amazing! I have really been enjoying getting to know my church family on a more personal level and getting to know my community members for the first time. It is such a wonderful experience gathering together to learn about prophecy and dig deeper into the Word of God. Church "veterans" and newcomers alike have been learning and growing together.

We are using the Storacles study guide as well as following along with Pastor Steve Vail and his seminar series. This past Sabbath we started studying the book of Daniel. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to grow in this fashion.

I would like to share the information that I have been studying with those that are interested. You can check out Revelation Chronicles as you feel inspired. It is a wonderful resource for those of you that would like to dig deeper into the Word of God and really get into the meat of studying your Bible and allowing it to interpret itself.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back to Meniere's Disease!

Well, I visited my ENT doctor for a follow-up after the MRI. He rechecked my ear by looking in it and re-doing the hearing test. Everything was the same, of course, and the MRI showed no tumors or nerve damage.

So, guess what he diagnosed it as? You got it, smart one! Meniere's Disease, just like I already knew. Of course, he prescribed diuretics and a low-salt diet. Well, I don't plan to get the prescription filled, and I already eat a low-salt diet. Oh well. At least I know for 100% certainty that I do not have tumors, and I do not have nerve damage. I have the $800 test to prove it, too!

Monday, I am going to follow up with my chiropractor and go over the MRI report with them. There are some things listed that I have questions about, so I'll see what they have to say on the subject. I also will be having the anointing done by the church elders very soon. Should it not be God's timing or will for my ear to be healed I am perfectly okay with that and ready to accept the fact that I cannot hear out of one ear.

However, as a responsible caregiver for my body I plan to pursue alternative care to reestablish wellness and harmony within my body. Obviously something is out of whack. Even if I do not regain my hearing, I can improve my overall health. I'll be sure to share what I learn through this process so that it may inform and educate those of you that may benefit from my experiences.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I saw a 'Thankful Thursday' post on another blog. I thought it was a wonderful idea. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. As you all know I am experiencing some health issues right now. This might cause some to think I could be struggling with depression or a feeling of being "under" my illness. I am so THANKFUL that I am certainly not.

In the beginning it was a little frightening, but I am no longer afraid. I am okay with not being able to hear out of one ear. God may be trying to tell me something. There may be a lesson or opportunity that He is preparing me for that this experience is a part of. Everything is a part of His plan, and I have to be okay with that fact. He knows the big picture, and I am merely a grain of sand in the entire spectrum of things. It is for Him to lead and teach me in the way that He sees fit. I accept that wholeheartedly. I am a willing participant in His plan.

God is good, and I have taken note. Sure, I cannot hear out of my right ear. However, I CAN hear out of my left ear. Praise God! Sure, I cannot hear out of my right ear. However, there is NO pain. Praise God! Sure, I cannot hear out of my right ear. However, the ENTIRE rest of my body is functioning just fine, and I am THANKFUL. Praise God!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Monkey's Disgrace

The Monkey's Disgrace

(Evolution -- The Monkey's Viewpoint)

Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree discussing things as they are said to be. Said one to the others, "Now listen, you two, there's a rumor around that can't be true. That man descended from our noble race. The very idea is a great disgrace.

No monkey has ever deserted his wife, starved her babies, and ruined her life. And you've never known a mother monk to leave her babies with others to bunk. Or pass from one on to another 'till they scarcely know who is their mother.

And another thing you'll never see, a monk build a fence round a coconut tree, and let the coconuts go to waste, forbidding all other monks to taste; why, if I put a fence around a tree, starvation will force you to steal from me!

Here's another thing a monkey won't do, go out at night and get on a stew. Or use a gun or club or knife to take some other monkey's life.

Yes, man descended the ornery cuss, but brother he didn't descend from us."

~ Gilliam S. Weaver ~

Friday, October 10, 2008

MRI

I visited the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor this past Monday. He reviewed my symptoms and gave me a hearing test. I did so poorly on the hearing test that he does not think I have Meinier's Disease. Apparently with Meinier's Disease one would expect there to be a different hearing pattern. I pretty much am completely deaf in my right ear.

Today will mark a full five weeks that I have been without hearing in my right ear. It is amazing how our body compensates, and quickly. When I first lost the hearing in my right ear it was very difficult for me to hear. For instance, I normally watch television with the volume between 12 and 15 depending on the situation. After losing my hearing in my right ear I was watching it at about 18 or so. Now that time is passed, I am back to watching it at my normal level. Also, I hear more things on my left side than I used to without the right ear. As an example, it drives me crazy to hear the person chewing beside me. Apparently with both ears it is not as noticeable, but now with just the one ear focusing in on the information it is much more apparent. Although, conversation in the car with the window even cracked is pretty much impossible if I am the one driving.

So, based on the doctor's theory that I may not have Meinier's Disease and my non-response to the nerve test, he ordered an MRI. I will be going to have that done on this coming Monday. Since we do not have insurance I will be paying $800 cash at the time of the visit. It's a big bite out of the budget, and I am thankful to God that we were able to come up with it. If things were any more tight I do not know how we would have done it. Friday I will follow up with the E.N.T. doctor and get his interpretation. The purpose of the MRI is to rule out nerve damage and tumors. I really pray I do not have a tumor, although I am not inclined to think that is the problem.

It was suggested by a very respected person at our church that I may like an anointing. I am going to read up on it. I will likely have it done sometime soon. Has anyone else reading here ever experienced such a practice? I would love to hear your stories.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Meniere's Disease?

Well, due to my symptoms and the recommendation of my chiropractor, a naturopath, and a doctor's assistant we attend church with, I have made an appointment to see an ear, nose and throat doctor on Monday. I am a little nervous based on the research I have done in regard to my symptoms. It appears I could have Meniere's Disease. No, I'm not jumping to any conclusions, but the description of the symptoms fits me to a 'T'.

This started about two or more months ago with mild vertigo that progressed greatly in intensity. With the vertigo I would experience nausea and sweating, or clamminess. It would only be relieved by my laying down and relaxing. It didn't take it away, but it helped me deal with it while waiting for it to pass. Even with my eyes closed I would experience the vertigo. These episodes would REALLY wear me out. I mean total exhaustion here, folks.

Then, I started having ringing in my right ear. On Friday, September 12th, the ringing got SO bad that I was about to go batty. So, I called my chiropractor, and they had me come in. On my way there I had the worst attack of vertigo I'd ever experienced. Yes, I was driving, and it was the worst trip ever. It was SO terrifying! After a time I made it to the office. I had to be helped into the office and to the table. Talk about awkward. I am a VERY independent person, and you know it's bad if I'm asking for help to walk. I don't know why, but I cried a lot. I just felt so out of control. It didn't hurt or anything. It was just REAL bad.

So, I've not had one full-blown episode of vertigo since. However, the week that I had that bad episode was also when I started having trouble with my hearing. After that bad attack of vertigo it went out completely. This Friday will make a full month that I've not been able to hear out of my right ear. I am still experiencing strange things with vertigo type symptoms that never fully emerge into a full-blown vertigo attack, and I have "white noise" in my right ear. That is it. I can hear the occasional vibration from certain sounds, and it's hard to filter through a lot of environmental noise to focus on one thing.

I really appreciate my hearing. The most aggravating thing is when I am driving in my car. My "bad" ear faces my passenger, and I SO cannot hear hardly anything they are saying. It's even worse when the windows are down, and we are on the expressway. It's VERY frustrating. I am beginning to relate to a whole segment of society that lives with something that I never could have imagined I would experience in my lifetime.

I am confident that God has a plan for me with or without my hearing. I am doing my best to see it as a blessing and look for the ways that I will better be able to do His will. Don't get me wrong. It is frightening. I am just looking at the bright side and keeping my mind focused in the right spot. Every so often that means I have to real myself back in. No matter what, God can use me. It is very likely that our next language study will be sign language. :-)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby A and Baby B!




Yes, that's right! You heard it here first. Tammi's having twins! So, for those of you that can't keep up, that means come March I will be a 38-year-old, homeschooling mom of seven that has SIX grandbabies!

We are in Michigan, and Tammi is six hours away in Indiana. So, this will be very interesting learning how to keep in touch. I'll really have to do a better job of keeping contact. I am sorely lacking in that department already with "Baby" Rocco who will be three by the time his twin siblings are born. They think it's a boy and a girl, by the way. It just gets so tricky with already having SO MANY responsibilities. Maintaining relationships with grands is extra challenging when you are still home educating. Just how many hats can one woman wear, anyway?

So, do any of you have stories about twins having twins? Yes, Tammi is one of our twins. I've tried to look Online for information, but it's not coming easily. Not to mention, my time is very limited...especially for the next month or two. The boys and I are volunteering at a seminar our church is hosting. It will be a lot of fun, but it is a big time commitment on our part. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your stories.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary...

...to me! Pat and I are heading out on the motorcycle tonight for a weekend of riding along Lake Huron; Michigan's east coast. We rented this cute little cottage right on the beach. I am really looking forward to a slow-paced weekend with no agenda. There are a few fun things going on around the area, and the scenery is absolutely beautiful.



I'll be sure to report back with pictures...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Amazing

It's amazing to me how we are designed to progress throughout life continuously adapting to our situation. I am finding true that certain things just change with age and time. My youngest child is 14.5 years old, and I now find myself working on five grandchildren. With the early introduction of grandkids to our lives, it is forcing me to adapt to a new phase before my time.

Being a wife, mom, and Nana, along with the other hats I wear, is overwhelming at times. How do I effectively contribute to every aspect of my life? How do I meet the needs of everyone that depends on me and still take proper care of myself? I need feeding too, you know? What about my walk with God? What about my health? What about my interests? What about the care and keeping of me? How does one construct a healthy balance in one's life?

This dilemma seems to be the plight of women everywhere. I know my husband's job is demanding and stressful at times. I know he gets discouraged, angry, fearful, exhausted. But, somehow, I cannot help but look at him on occasion and think I wish that was all I had to deal with. I wish my life was that simple. I wish I could just go to work and come home. I wish I had a wife...figuratively speaking, of course! I know that the grass merely appears greener, but what a picture it sometimes paints.

With my youngest three headed for 19, 17, and 15 years of age, I find myself looking to the future with a renewed sense of anticipation. Although, sometimes it can be a twinge of fear that gets me. What will I do when it's just my man and me? How can I possibly spend "forever" with this man and no one else around? Then I quickly focus on the "no one else" part. How cool is that? This mom loves her children, but she looks longingly to the day when she is in total control of her time. There will be no educational planning, no organized teaching of children, no one to entertain, no one else's needs to be met. I will be free to command my time.

Oh, sure, the husband will still have his talons in my minutes, but he is but one person. There will be sleepovers with grands, gift making, volunteering at church and homeless shelters, mentoring, and whatever I choose to fill my time with. The ironic thing is that I am looking forward to serving others. I guess I just desire the freedom to be myself and choose where to put my efforts.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What Are You Plugged In To?

Today started with an object lesson for me. As I previously mentioned, I had a virus on my computer. Well, I am not finished suffering the consequences of having my computer inflicted. One of the things that didn't work when I got the computer back from my beloved computer guy was the sound.

When I first checked it out there were no devices installed, so it was impossible to get sound. I reinstalled the device very easily, and it looked like everything was working fine. I told my computer geek son that it was all set. Well, he soon let me know that indeed the sound was still not working. Feeling a little frustration and a small sense of urgency I added it to my list of things to take care of.

Looking at the sound was on my mind when I got on the computer this morning. So, I did a few things, then I went into the sound part of my computer and started poking around. All of a sudden it dawned on me that I wasn't totally sure of the location I selected to plug in the speakers to the computer when I had hooked everything back up. The colors are a little off, and it is near impossible for me to see the little pictures etched next to the receptacles without a flashlight; which I did not have when I set everything back up.

Taking the prompt that was put in my mind, I turned on my Pandora Radio. Then, I got under the desk and started moving the plug from one receptacle to another. Sure enough, when I had the plug in the proper spot, out came the sound.

This became an object lesson for me real quick like. It is SO VERY important to know what we are plugging ourselves into. It is equally important, if not more so, to be plugged in to the proper receptacle in order to get positive results in our lives.

Are you plugged in to healthy and fruitful resources and activities? Where do you choose to invest your resources? Are you using your talents and skills to reflect a positive light? Do you take the time to really think before you act? Have you done the necessary research before making your decision? Did you really see the receptacle you were plugging into, or did you just jab in the dark? What result did you get?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Waxed and Wounded

I have been experiencing vertigo for about a month and a half now. It's exhausting to say the least. It happened to me again yesterday evening on my way to the chiropractor while I was driving. Can you say, "bad trip"? It was the most horrible experience ever. I sure hope this gets under control soon. I actually had to have my husband come and pick me up, because there was no way I could drive myself home. It's amazing that I made it there to begin with. I cannot believe how much it sapped out of me. That is the part of me that is "waxed".

Now, to the "wounded" part. Maybe some of you can enlighten me on spousal communication. I have been feeling under attack from my husband for way too long now. It has to have been months. It is really taking a tole on me and totally messing with my head. Remember? I am already "waxed"! Now, I have to deal with this on top of it. The horrible part is that he shows no sign of easing up, and he doesn't get it at all.

Every time I turn around I'm just going about my business, and the next thing I know he's lashing out at me. I feel sucker punched on a daily basis. For example, we were leaving for church this morning. The prearranged plan was for our daughter to drive the boys, and hubby would take me to the chiropractor before we headed there ourselves. Our daughter needed to make it to an appointment after church, so we would be bringing the boys home with us. This means that we needed to drive a vehicle that had enough seats. That would be the Camaro, not the work van which only seats two, including the driver.

When we went to leave, he headed for the van. In a completely normal, everyday voice I asked, "I thought we were taking the Camaro." He turned around and started yelling at me. I was totally shocked. Well, maybe not totally, because I am, unfortunately, getting used to this kind of treatment. He had an ulterior motive for wanting to drive the van and had totally dismissed our earlier conversation without saying anything to me about it.

So, in an attempt to dissuade his anger, I offered a solution that allowed us to drive the van and gave the boys are ride home from church. Everyone should have been happy, right? Well, I guess that's in another world, because it wasn't in mine. After we got in the van he went on the attack again. He proceeded to tell me how we need to quit nit-picking each other and quit being so critical. I was totally confused and VERY frustrated.

See? I've had about my fill of all I can take of this. Honestly, no exaggeration, this is a daily occurrence. At least once per day he gets angry with me for something I say, tells me how I'm letting him down, and criticizes me over something. I'd had it. So, I told him just that in so many words, and I also let him know that I didn't deserve to be treated like that. I also asked him what I did, and I swear this was his response. He said that I should have said, "I didn't know we were taking the van." Can anyone enlighten me as to how this is any different or better than was I actually said? Please! He could not tell me when I asked.

We've not discussed this further. It's how we started our day, and it's where it stayed. Nothing resolved. I cannot keep up like this, but I do not know what to do to change it.

My prayer today was that I would never again raise my voice to my husband, no matter what. I know that I will fail at this initially, but I do think it is a viable goal with some practice and dedication. I am currently doing the study, Power of a Praying Wife, with a good friend. I really pray it helps. I don't know how to deal with this. It is VERY exhausting!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More Purging

I have been making up for lost time. Monday and Tuesday I was not feeling 100% health wise, so I didn't get much of anything done. I've been experiencing vertigo on a semi-regular basis for a little over a month now. I am finding out that it can be very taxing on me energy wise. Thankfully, I am feeling better today.

I spent a lot of time clearing out the storage area under the stairs that I plan to turn into my own personal sanctuary. I am almost there. It is looking more and more like I will be able to start transforming it into a place of relaxation and reflection. I have been gathering items like fabric, shelves, candles, artwork, and the like with my ideal space in mind. It is REALLY exciting.

Tomorrow the boys and I will be spending the day out shopping for clothing. They both need pants and shirts, and I think they need shoes. It will be a fun day. I am also thinking about stopping by the cemetery. Today is my dad's birthday. We may also stop by my dad's favorite restaurant, Mt. Clemens Coney Island, in his honor. I know it's by no means gourmet or healthy or vegan, but it was his favorite.

I am thankful that the boys are into resale shopping. This will give me a chance to save some money, be frugal, and look through the housewares. I don't need any clothing, so it's all about the prayer closet.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

So Many Things

Well, I'm back Online, and I hardly know where to start. Honestly, with everything I've been doing over the last several weeks and being without my computer due to the virus I just don't know where I want to go with this blogging thing. It really did shoot me in the foot what happened with Social Spark. I just don't know how sold I am on this being a means of income...even supplemental. Do I really have the time to spare from my family to monitor the computer all the time looking for material to write on and marketing my little corner of the web to the entire world? I just don't know...

I currently have a lot on my plate. VBS is finished. It was a success, and we had a great time putting it on. I am definitely looking forward to next year. The garage sale is complete, and we have reclaimed our space. What a wonderful feeling that is!

My new focus is to finish preparing my office for the upcoming school year, get the kids educational plan in place, order some things Online to aid us in our educational adventures, and create my prayer closet. I am so excited about this. I have been planning the transformation of the storage area under our stairs for about two years now.

I originally got the idea of a prayer closet while browsing pictures of the creations of my fellow Imagination Tribe members. Someone included a picture of a shelf hanging in their "prayer closet". I was thrilled. What a wonderful idea!

You see, I am a solitary soul, and I LOVE my personal space. For those of you that are unaware I am the mother to seven and Nana to almost five. I have not had one inch of personal space since my husband I got together almost 12 years ago. This is a fabulous idea in my book; a great means to nourishing my soul. Maybe I'll even find my creative self again. I just cannot wait!

I have accumulated things to transform my little room over the last two years. I bought this beautiful blue fabric from a fabric store that was going out of business. I have held on to it all this time with the idea of covering the walls and bottoms of the steps with it. When going through the garage I found some yellow fabric and a few baskets that will really add to the atmosphere. I just need to get the rest of the things out of there and get something to cover the floor and some large pillows or bean bags for sitting comfortably. I feel a resale shopping trip coming on!

Well, I'm off to research ideas for my personal space...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Interrupted by Virus

Just a quick post to say that first I was interrupted by life, and now I am interrupted by a virus. This is not the first time in my life, and I hope I do not loose too much. My boys are Online a lot, and one of them accidentally downloaded some pushy program. It seems to have caused some problems even though it was removed from our computer.

As soon as I know the virus name and the details I will be sure to share the information here.

This week I will be hosting a yard sale. Yes, for those of you that have been following around, I actually took the plunge. You would not believe the amount of stuff exiting my garage. My mom, organizational goddess, came down for the day on Thursday and gave me a BIG hand. We spent 10 hours in the garage minus a short lunch break. Then, Friday I organized and priced stuff and got it on tables. Now, I just have to get it all out early Sunday morning and get the signs out. I will be glad when this is over, for sure.

What a feeling to know that my garage will no longer harbor ANY of the items I am removing from it in the morning!

Have a wonderful week, and I will start posting again soon. Meanwhile, maybe you'd like to spend some time browsing the archives.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's Your Choice

My daughter sent this to me today. I have no idea of the original author. I thought it well worth sharing.

READ THIS, LET IT REALLY SINK IN - THEN CHOOSE.

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'


He was a natural motivator.


If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.


Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!


You can't be a positive person all of the time How do you do it?'


He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood


I choose to be in a good mood.'


Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.


Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.


'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.


'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.


You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'


I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.


Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.


After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.


I saw him about six months after the accident.


When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins..Wanna see my scars?'


I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.


'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'


'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked


He continued, '...the paramedics were great.


They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.'


'What did you do?' I asked.


'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity''


Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'


He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.


Attitude, after all, is everything
.


'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34.

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