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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Adventure!

I has been doing lots for the past two weeks!

One day, all of our stuff was put in boxes.  Here is me supervising -

Mommy, I counted over 200 boxes!

 
Then one day, mommy put me in my crate and we rode in the car for a really, really long time.  I cried a lot, and so did my bubby Mason.

Me in daddy's office - not happy

We ended up at a big house in the sky (mommy said we were on the 6th floor).  I could see cars and peoples everywhere way down on the ground!  I was scared and hid under the bed for two days.  My bubby Mason was mad and hid in the poopy box until mommy took him out and fed him, and then he was happy.

I could see water too

When I came out a couple of days later I wasn't scared anymore and I LOVED sitting in the window watching the wind blow the trees and all the cars go by.

This is peaceful me

Then one day, mommy put me back in my crate.  Me and Mason got REALLY, REALLY mad and we screamed for a whole half mile to our new house (that is NOT in the sky).

Our new front door

So, here I am again, under the bed for a few days (it IS nice and cool under here)...

Go away, mommy!

 But guess what?  I came out today and slept on mommy's desk, just like at our old house -

I sleep with the mouse

Mommy was SO happy.  Maybe it won't be so bad after all.  Look at how happy mommy and daddy are to be here -

 Love, Maddy

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In Less than Two Weeks

Well, things have changed in a mighty way over the past month.

We put our house up for sale the Monday after Easter.  Two and a half weeks later, this is what our real estate sign looked like:


Yes, that says Contract Pending - as of May 13

And now, with all the inspections and appraisals done and a closing date set for June 16, this is what my house looks like:


In less than two weeks, we will be moving north to Greenville, SC.

We love Greenville and I've been excited about the move.  We found a wonderful townhouse that we will lease for a year until we get to know the area, and then after that we hope to buy our forever home.  We will be living within walking distance of the beautiful downtown area, and we won't have a lawn to mow or a pool to tend to.  In other words, my hub and I will finally have time for hobbies, and each other.   

But, I find myself very sad today.  There are things happening in the life of someone I love and it is causing me such distress.  I am leaning heavily on my faith, and praying for the peace that has been in my heart and mind until this point to return.  It's just a situation that has blindsided me and, on top of the stress of a move, is hard to take. 

So, those of you who pray, please say one for me if you don't mind.  Thanks :)

"Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance.  Perserverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything".  James 1:2-4


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tummy Contest!


Mommy entered me in a Tummy Contest at OK Cats !!


Daddy says I'm not being lady like when I lays like this. 

I likes to flirt and show off my tummy but don't touch it!  I gets MAD and bites!

xoxo, Maddy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Froggy Night


Mommy showed me a baby fwog on our kitchen window last night



He was not moving but I could see him bweathing


I twied to get him to play wis me


I even stuck my tongue out at him but he still wouldn't move


Please play wis me, Mr. Fwog


Oh well, I'm bored now. I think I'll go to bed.

 Love, Maddy

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Most Important Meal of the Day!

I love Special K Vanilla Almond cereal and my 14-year-old kitty, Mason, loves the leftover milk. 

It never fails.  He hears me pouring the cereal in the bowl  and no matter where he is in the house, he comes running.  And even though I tell him every time that he has to wait for me to finish, he sits at my feet meowing, reminding me he is waiting.

If it happens to be something other than Special K, he doesn't want it.  There's a happy kitty in the house today...


Trying to stay awake, please hurry...


mmmm, cereal milk



Chop-lickin good!  Time for another nap...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What's Your Story? Here's Mine!

I've been meaning to post all week, but it's been a busy one with a huge garage sale to prepare for (it was yesterday and was worth the effort!), a house being fixed up to sell, and working on top of all of that.  Whew.  I am tired today!

Last Sunday, my pastor started a new message series "Ignite: Inspiring Others with Your Story".  I had never thought about telling my story before and it had not occurred to me that it might actually help someone else, so I was intrigued.  So, amidst all the busy-ness of the week, I was able to get it in writing.  It's a bit long, but I hope it will encourage anyone who feels that God has let them down.  He is good, and there is peace for the taking if we just BELIEVE.

Blessings!


I was taught about Jesus as I was growing up but not consistently.  I was raised by parents who didn’t make church a priority.  My mom often said this was because she was forced to go to church as she was growing up.  My grandparents did make knowing Jesus and attending church a priority in their lives so this had an influence on me. 

I still have strong memories of what my Sunday school class looked like.  There was a big picture of Jesus knocking on a door.  There were chairs in a row where we sat and sang about Zacheus, the wee little man in the tree.  And once, I brought so many friends to church with me that I won a fishing pole in a Fishers of Men contest. 

As I was growing up, and especially after we moved from California to Georgia, church was still only something we did mostly on special occasions.  For a period of time when I was a teenager, I attended a Baptist church with my best friend but it wasn’t necessarily for the right reasons.  It was mostly for the social aspect of it.

By the time I married at 19, my new in-law’s wanted me to join the Church of Christ but I had to be baptized first.  I was confused.  I knew I had been baptized (or christened) as a baby and I had the Bible to prove it!  But, I learned that this was not acceptable, and that I had to be baptized in the Church of Christ for it to be ‘valid’.  So, under much pressure, I relented and was baptized.  I had no concept of why I really should have wanted to do it.

At age 28, I started attending my friend’s church, a conservative Baptist congregation.  At first I was met with open arms because I had a young daughter, but eventually was openly judged for my then divorced status.  I suppose I allowed this because by that time my self esteem was shot and I felt I deserved to be judged.  I do remember singing a verse from a hymn “He washed me white as snow” but felt like I was wearing a scarlet letter. 

They openly discussed what to do with me.  I was single, so should I be allowed to mingle with the normal singles and corrupt them or should I be put with the married ladies whose husbands didn’t attend church?  I often wondered why there were not more divorced women like me attending this church.  I was then counseled to pray for my ex-husband’s return, or death (I’m not kidding) so that I could be released from the damnation my divorce had brought on me.  I was also encouraged to be ‘saved’ – to become emotional in front of the congregation so they would all know it was real, and then be baptized again.  (I don’t remember becoming emotional but I was baptized yet again).  I look back on this time as when my thoughts on God and religion as a whole took a dark turn.

Throughout my 30s, I resolved myself to being punished for the sins of my past.  I thought I knew who God was and felt that because of my mistakes, He didn’t want me to be happy.  Whenever I tried to turn my thinking around I would go to different churches, I would read spiritual self help books, and I would pray as best I knew how.  When I still didn’t get the answers I thought I should get, it pushed me back to square one.  Nothing ever seemed to change.  As I look back now, there were likely blessings all around but I couldn’t see them.  I was blinded by my negative thinking, and Satan’s grip kept me trapped.

I met my husband, Chuck, when I was 38 years old.  Because of the way our relationship began, because of the similarities in the way we were raised and how our puzzle pieces just seemed to fit together so well, this restored my faith to a degree.  We both knew that God had a hand in bringing our two wounded souls together.  Only He could see what the future held for us. 

After we were married, we talked a lot about going to church and we attended various denominations trying to find the right one for us.  After we had been married for about a year and a half, our relationship hit a serious bump in road.  We knew that the situation was one that could damage our marriage, so our first thought was to turn to God.  We ended up finding a little Methodist church that we both enjoyed and this is where our relationship with God and each other first started to change.  This was in 2003. 

In 2006 we received a postcard for a new church that was starting in one of our local movie theatres.  It was “the only church in town with cup holders and rocking seats” so we thought we’d give it a try.  I remember the first Sunday of being shocked by the music only because of the more reverent services I had been used to.  But the more we went, the more it grew on us.  We were ready for a change.  Could this be the place? 

Young Pastor Scott’s messages were to the point, and many times I felt he was talking directly to me.  The messages were delivered in layman’s terms and in a way we could apply it to our own lives.  Finally, the Bible was relevant and I started reading and studying.  This was different than anything I’d ever experienced.  The more we attended, and then the more we became involved, the more God was working in our lives.

But deep inside I was still struggling.  I allowed my circumstances to rule how I felt every day.  I had been anxious and insecure my whole life.  Where was the peace that I so desired?

I decided in early 2010 to look into Christian counseling.  When I started, one of the first questions I was asked was “Do you believe that God is good?” 

“Well, of course I do!”

Don’t I?

And she said “Well, if you believe God is good, and trust what He says to be true, then what have you to fear?”

Hmmm.  I was dumbstruck.  Could it be that simple?

One day soon after that I was at a fast food drive through window.  I received a phone call that upset me and my knee-jerk reaction was to yell “Why Lord, why??”  And at that moment I looked up at the car in front of me and on the bumper sticker was “God is good”.

A subtle reminder. 

I almost fell out of the car.  God was there, and all He wanted me to do is TRUST HIM in all my circumstances.  I cried with relief.

So I started looking at my life differently.  If God says He will ‘never leave me nor forsake me’ then that means I’m not in this alone.  He is here with me and He always will be.  There was finally a sense of relief that I didn’t have to carry the burden alone.  I finally had my “ah ha” moment.

As time went on I realized that even amidst some stressful times, I was waking up in the morning happy.  I had a song in my heart.  I felt joy.  That is when I knew a transformation had truly occurred.  And I thank Him every day for this.

Life is not perfect, but I don’t expect it to be.  There will be trials, but I have the assurance of God by my side.  I would rather weather the storms with Him than without Him. 

I’m seeing myself in a new light.  For many years I disliked who I was.  Now I know God has made me the way I am for a reason, and I like what He continues to make of me.  And as long as I continue to follow Him, I know he will meet all of my needs and He will provide a sense of peace and acceptance of whatever comes my way.

Things that are visible are brief and fleeting, while things that are invisible are everlasting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moving forward

It's my first post in March...I am failing miserably at this blogging thing :(

With so much going on I should have tons to talk about and to share.  I suppose I've turned inside myself instead.

We've been so busy fixing up our house to sell.  We are moving three hours northeast to another state to be closer to my hub's job. 

So far, there are new kitchen countertops, a new stone backsplash, a garage that has been painted, walls that have been touched up, and new dining room drapes.  We have a pool and the concrete deck is sinking so we're having that repaired.  And there is still more landscaping and painting to come.

We're not sure how fast a sale could possibly happen.  Our house is unique, and it will be staged nicely.  But, am I ready?

This is the house I moved into when I married my hub almost nine years ago.  This area is all we've known together.  We have a church that we love, and even though my daughter and my parents are an hour away, that is close enough to quickly jump in the car if I am needed.

But, now may be the time for my hub and I to focus on moving forward.  We had a side business that closed down last year and the experience has been difficult for us.  His 'real' job is what he needs to be fully committed to now and they want us there.  As for my job, I can work anywhere.  Just give me a phone line and an internet connection and I'm ready to go.  For the record, the town we're moving to is very nice and we've always loved it.  It's bigger than what we're used to and we are excited about the opportunities there.

I've been working with the media team at our church and I've loved every minute of it.  The thought of leaving behind the new and exciting things I've learned makes me sad, but maybe there is a church there that needs both of us more.

So, I'm conflicted.  But what I need to remember and trust is that God will lead us where He wants us.  If our house doesn't sell quickly, then maybe He wants us to wait.  It's all up to Him.

And I'm looking forward to whatever adventure He has in store.

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid."
 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Me on Monday


Questions:

1.  What are you wearing right now?

My traditional work-at-home attire - lounge pants and a tee and socks to keep my feet warm.

2.  Do you have any freckles?

Yes - they show up more in the summer, especially across my nose.  My husband says he likes them.

3.  What is your favorite Lifesaver flavor?

It's a toss up between pineapple and orange.  I love tropical flavors!  Are there mango Lifesavers?

4.  What is the last movie you saw in the theater?

"Just Go With It".  I'm not a big Adam Sandler fan and wasn't expecting to like it but it was really good - highly recommend for a good laugh! 

5.  Would you rather live without tv or without music?

At least 75% of the time, when I think about relaxing and having a choice of listening to music or watching something entertaining on TV, I will choose TV. 


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Only in my Mind

A couple of years ago I asked for a camera small enough to fit into my purse so no photo op would ever pass me by.  My sweet hub bought me an awesome little Canon and it's been at my side constantly since then.

So yesterday when I took my daughter out for her birthday, there were going to be many zany opportunities for pictures. 

Unless of course you forget to charge the battery.

Which I did.

And I have no pictures except in my head, so I will share the details so you can get a picture in your mind too:

Driving into downtown Atlanta (two brown haired 'girls' chatting like mad and driving in crazy traffic.  Ashley's phone constantly dinging with birthday messages)

Ashley opens her birthday presents (beautiful girl squealing with delight when she finds a Kindle in the box)

Arriving at the "AMC Fork and Screen" for lunch and a movie (getting lost, walking up to street level from the parking lot, wind blowing us to pieces, going back to parking deck to ask attendant where the theatre is and finding out we walked in the opposite direction from it)

Sitting at our little table in a dark theatre and pushing the red button to order our lunch (noshing on cheeseburger with fries and chicken sandwich with onion rings, making puffy cheeks to show how full we were of junk food)

Watching the movie "Just Go With It" (shooting each other crazy looks and cracking up!  ~Movie highly recommended, btw~)

Leaving the theatre (uneventfully) and driving to our favorite shopping spot, TJMaxx (arms full of clothes, purses, scarves, and a token ironing board for my hub's travels)

And best for last, pedicures for the weary feet (Ashley making faces because she can't stand having things between her toes.  Me sweating, because I'm, well, in that place in life right now, especially when my feet are in hot water...plus we are having an unusually warm February!)

And, oh yes, there was the two hour commute back to reality.  (Friday traffic, dropping Ashley at her car, hub calling 'where are you?' and me running to the loo as soon as I arrived home!!)

All in all, it was a wonderful day!  I love spending time with my best girl.  But MY age is showing today.  I'm exhausted!

Hope everyone is having a blessed weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Only Once in my Lifetime

Twenty-nine years ago today I wasn't feeling too well.  I was in labor.

I was only a baby myself, just three weeks away from my 20th birthday.  And back in those days, there was no internet or "Baby Story" on TV to give you a glimpse of what was to come.  All I had was a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and my mother's advice.  I felt so unprepared.  I remember thinking all of a sudden that day, 'how are they going to get this baby out of me?'  I was scared!

I was lucky enough to not know how far along my labor had progressed while I was at my mother's house all day.  If I had, I probably would have panicked.  When the contractions were timeable, my mom called my husband at work and he came to take me to the hospital.  Without any drugs whatsoever, about an hour and a half later, she was born.

I had a little girl, and we named her Ashley.  And life since that moment was forever changed.

Raising her wasn't always easy.  Her father was an absent parent by the time she was 3.  I look back on those days and wonder how I did it.  I also look back now and wonder if I appreciated it enough.  It went by so fast.

I had such high hopes for my daughter.  I think most parents want their child to do better than they did.  I wanted to encourage her in a way that I never was to do well in school and to understand that her education would continue after high school.  I didn't want her to feel that limits were being put on her just because the budget was tight. 

I wanted her to be confident and secure and to have the ability to make friends easily.  I wanted her to need me but learn to become independent too.  I didn't want her to feel that she had missed out on anything.  Mainly, I wanted her to be happy.

No doubt, I made some mistakes along the way.  But somehow, there was always a level of respect there that we had for each other that kept our relationship healthy and balanced.

And she has grown up to be just as I imagined - a beautiful, well adjusted and mature young woman (who still loves Hello Kitty).  And we are the best of friends.

So, happy birthday to my girl tomorrow.  We will be spending the day together doing girly stuff.  And maybe one day soon, our outings will include a third generation.

I don't think I could have imagined it all those years ago.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Giving Him the Glory

Being spiritually minded and believing that everything happens for a reason, my hub and I have often wondered what the true reason was for our business failing last year.  We realized that we may never know for sure, but we know in our hearts that everything works together for good to those who love God and knew that we had learned some valuable lessons that we could use going forward.

We didn't know that those lessons would be put to use so quickly.  The 'failed' business experience has been invaluable to my hub as he has been navigating the new venture his company is considering.  Without this knowledge, the company could have gotten trapped into a situation that would have cost them tens of thousands.  Thanks to my hub, he's uncovered information that no one had presented before that will slow down if not stop the process completely. 

Since hub works remotely from home, he doesn't always get recognized for all of the things that he does.  Being in the main office this week he has been able to shine especially for the owner of the company, and the owner has now made some great comments.  My hub is an honest, hard worker and always puts everyone else first.  I am so glad he is being recognized for his dedication, and I'm so proud of him! 

And we give God the glory because He is guiding both of us every step of the way.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Missing my Valentine

I am thankful for my husband everyday, but especially today when there is a day set aside to express LOVE!  Happy Valentine's Day to my sweet guy, who unfortunately is away on business right now.  Our first Valentine's Day apart in 10 years, so it's bittersweet. 

Below is a picture from Valentine's Day a few years ago and one of my favorites.



Before he left yesterday, I was surprised with a wonderful box full of goodness...



If you haven't tried Fairytale Brownies, be good to yourself and order some today.  By far, the best packaged brownies you will ever eat!  http://www.brownies.com/ 

I definitely don't feel as guilty eating one (or two!) of the magic morsels rather than the full size ones they also sell...but still think I'd better get some extra activity points built up this week on Weight Watchers Online.  Sooo good!  Thanks, honey!

I hope everyone has had a blessed day filled with LOVE!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Solitude on the Horizon

When my hub and I first met in 2001, he was a busy business traveler.  We would go on a date, and then he would fly out of town for two weeks.  The boy impressed me with his travel clout (he had me driven into New York City from Philadelphia when my flight was fogged in) and then there were the travel perks (an almost free trip to Hawaii), so we made the most of the time we were together.

When we were married in 2002, our amount of time together was about the same.  We would see each other an average of two weeks each month unless I traveled with him.  I was in school and staying pretty busy with that so the circumstances were different then.   

Then in 2003 he was offered the opportunity to partner in a new company, which also meant he would not be on the road as much.  For our new marriage this was a good thing.  Aside from maybe a few days each month, we were home together.

Fast forward to 2008, along with our other business and a failing economy - travel was reduced to overnight trips.  By 2009, he wasn't going anywhere.  We both worked at home and were together ALL THE TIME, y'all.  Still are.

We are each other's best friend.  He loves me enough to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner if I don't want to cook.  He has the cutest ears ever, and I love the sound of his voice.

But I am a believer in the old adage 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'.  We could use the opportunity to miss each other and to not take each other for granted.

Hub's company is going through a metamorphosis.  The nature of the business has taken a huge hit with the economy.  Hub has been very lucky to still have a job and the partners want to make sure this continues for them all so they are diversifying.  This means lots of time in the main office, as well as traveling to a conference.  All in all, he will be gone at least eight nights on the upcoming trip.  We will even be apart, much to our disappointment, on Valentines Day.

So, for a little while anyway, I will revert to the life formerly known.  I'm a little older now and really don't like being in the house alone.  I'm busy these days but in a different way.  I will experience what it is like again to truly long for my husband.  I will think about what a good man he is, how much I appreciate him... and how maybe the dirty socks left in the middle of the floor aren't such a big deal.

And I will eat cereal for dinner.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Mommy's Little 'Helper'

My assistant, Maddy, asleep on the job

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meet me on Monday

Questions:

1.  What is your favorite kind of fudge?

Milk or dark chocolate with nuts.  I'll eat it plain but prefer nuts in it so that it's not overly sweet.


2.  Is there snow outside your window?

Thankfully, no.  Normally I would not say this because I love it, but our last snowstorm was more of an ice storn and paralyzed our area for days.


3.  What is your favorite meal of the day?

Any meal that I do not have to cook is my favorite (mostly dinner!) 


4.  Do you text on your cell phone?

Yes.  If this were not so, I would rarely hear from my sister!  I didn't so much before I got a phone with a flip down keyboard - so much easier now.


5.  Waffles or pancakes?

I like them both, but would pick pancakes especially if they are made by IHOP and have blueberry compote on top.  Waffle House waffles run a close second.


Friday, January 21, 2011

American Idol

I said I wasn't going to watch it.  "It just won't be the same without Simon", I said "and I'm not a fan of Jennifer Lopez".

Okay, my hub said, we'll just flip over for a moment to see what it's like.

Um, I'm hooked...again.

First of all, I love the auditions.  The background stories on some are inspiring, and the ones who can't sing but think they can, well, it's sad for some but a good dose of reality for most.

Best of all, the judges get along, which is nice.  It's a kinder, gentler Idol.  I didn't think I would like Steven Tyler but he's very sweet and honest, and so in Jennifer Lopez.  She's very connected to people the way Paula was.  And Randy just seems to be having a much better time with this group.

And as usual, the talent is amazing.  There is a lot of young (15 and 16 year old) talent this year.

It's my fourth day of lower caffeine intake and I'm still upright!  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Doctor, doctor, can't you see...

I just got back from a visit with my new female doctor.  I don't know exactly what I expected but for some reason I feel a little disappointed (hence a lunch that included a McDonald's apple pie - argghhh).

I suppose I feel that no one is taking me seriously.  You would think that with all the advances of medicine that there would be many doctors out there who would specialize in women like me - perimenopausally challenged.  There are a lot of us out here.  I mean, it is such a complex conglomeration of symptoms that are different in all of us - worthy of more research if you ask me. 

I was listened to intently, which I appreciated.  She explained to me that she treats symptoms rather than depending on hormonal blood work to give her answers (ok, for now).  In a way this makes sense to me because from what I read, your hormones one day may not be the same as the next, and what they treat you for based on those results may not work consistently.  She wants me to start taking a list of vitamins - vitamins! - to help control my symptoms.  If this doesn't work, then we can move on and try something else.  This is what was recommended:

500 mg Magnesium citrate 2-3 times a day to start, to give my body the boost it needs.  Evidently she feels based on my symptoms that my body is definitely lacking in this. 

Arginine - I've never heard of this but evidently it will help lower my blood pressure.  I'm all for this.  It bothers me a great deal to be on HBP meds every day.

5 HTP - This includes triptophan (like in turkey) so it should help with sleep. 

Fish oil - She said this is a base for everything else.  I used to take this but stopped for some reason. 

Progesterone cream - which I currently use.

She also recommended a protein shake in the morning, which sounds like a great idea and may help wean me off caffeine first thing in the morning.  Also, I need to find time for myself everyday - to read, meditate, whatever.  How come we always put ourselves last?

So as I write this, I am feeling better about this plan of action.  I suppose I didn't think things through clearly at first...or maybe I just wanted that apple pie.

Learning to Hear

When we closed our business, all I wanted to do was run away.  The prospect of moving to another state was looking really good, and we started thinking about when we would sell our house.

"Lord, please help us to know if we are doing the right thing". 

At Christmastime, we were invited to my hub's company party.  (A little history - my hub works from home, and his company is actually one state away from us, about a 3.5 hour drive).  This was the first party in a few years due to the economy and we really wanted to go - not just for the party, but to look at houses around the city.  You know, scope it out...just in case.  In addition, we were invited to breakfast the morning after the party at the home of one of the company managers.  We were starting to feel things falling into place.

The party was wonderful, and breakfast the next day was, let's just say, informative.  The company is privately owned, and there is currently a lot of family drama.  We knew about some of it through the grapevine, but not being local we were unaware of the depth of the issues at hand. 

All of a sudden, thoughts turned from 'what if we were to move here' to 'what if there's no job to move here for?'

"God, is that you?"

For the past nine months or so, I've been filling in periodically for one of the media team at our church.  We have big screens in our worship center on which we project graphics, song lyrics, and message notes.  Learning the program, Media Shout, has helped me find my place to volunteer in our church.  I'm a behind the scenes kind of girl anyway, so this works well for me. 

Two weeks ago I was approached about taking over Media Shout on a permanent basis.  As it turns out, the person who runs it now is leaving the church.  And in addition, my hub was asked to take on more volunteer projects that are right up his alley.

Just coincidence?

And all the while, I walk around confused, wondering what God has for us next.

Sometimes we go blind and deaf when our eyes are fixed on what WE want.  Remember...all I wanted was to run away.

All of this month, the message series at church has been 'Life's GPS'.  Funny how it always seems to line up with our circumstances. 

I believe God gives us the opportunity to hear what we need to hear when we need to hear it, and he guides us to where we are needed the most.  All we need to do is listen, and trust.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recipes for a winter day

Well, this is day three of being 'snowed in'.  Well, more like iced in, actually.  I work from home so other than work being extremely slow (I transcribe for a big hospital - did all the patients go home?) the weather hasn't affected my routine too much.  But, of all weeks, this was the week I did have a massage scheduled (for my aching neck) as well as an appointment to get my roots done (already a week late and looking really bad now - glad I'm stuck inside).  Hopefully we will thaw by tomorrow and I can go and get some things done. 

In the meantime, I thought I would share some wonderful recipes.  I made a fantastic Chicken Tortilla Soup yesterday that is oh so good in this freezing cold weather:

Two large boneless chicken breasts (sauteed in olive oil and cut up or shredded)
1 cup chopped onion, sauteed in olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can red kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen corn, or canned
1 cup water
To taste:
chili pepper
cilantro
salt

Simmer for several hours if possible.  Add tortilla chips, salsa, cheese and serve with cornbread.

Also, here is the prize winning recipe I mentioned the other day...Four-Layer Caramel Pumpkin cake:

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice, divided
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tub Cool Whip
1/4 cup caramel topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour two 9 in. cake pans.  Beat cake mix, 1 cup of pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs, and 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice in mixer on medium speed until well blended and pour evenly into pans.

Bake approx. 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks.  Then beat cream cheese in a small bowl with mixer until creamy.  Add powdered sugar, remaining pumpkin, and remaining 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, mix well.  Stir in whipped topping.

Cut cake layers horizontally in half with a serrated knife.  Stack the layers on a serving plate, spreading the cream cheese mixture between the layers.  Do not frost the top layer.  Drizzle with caramel sauce and pecans.  Store in fridge.

If you like pumpkin (but not overwhelmingly so, which makes it so good), this cake is fabulous!

Enjoy!  Wishing everyone a blessed day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meet Me On Monday, snowy day edition!


Snow in the south is usually not common so we get excited when it comes!  We did have a white Christmas for the first time in over 100 years so I had a feeling this year was going to be different.  Just north of here, they got over 8 inches.  That is huge for Georgia!  Unfortunately, where I live we we received just a little snow and a lot of sleet and freezing rain, so we have a layer of snow covered in ice.  As my hub said, "we got CHEATED!"  Maybe the sled will still slide?


Questions:

1.  Have you (only you..not a group) ever won first place in anything?

Yes, I won first place at church last year for my caramel pumpkin cake.  Also, when I was about 6 years old, I won a Fishers of Men contest (also at church) and they gave me my first fishing pole!  
 
2.  Are your toes always painted (sorry guys...this question for girls only)?

In the summer, yes.  In the wintertime when the toes are covered, I let them 'rest'. 

3.  What color eyes do you have?

I'm a brown-eyed girl.

4.  Look to your left....what do you see?

A light lavender wall in my office, with pretty scrolled sculpture hanging on it.

5.  Soft cookies or crunchy cookies?

Both!  I love crunchy edges when they are home baked, especially chocolate chip or peanut butter.  I like big, soft oatmeal raisin cookies too.  Unlike a lot of people, I will not eat cookie dough!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vet: Mission Accomplished

We had a successful vet visit today! ^..^  I am so proud of my sweet Mason.  Instead of a scratching, screaming, shrieking devil kitty as before, he was actually very calm and sweet.  I was amazed!  (My sweet hub was there with us this time so he takes the credit!)

Look at what a good boy I am!

The staff at Cat Care (www.catcareoffayette.com) was wonderful.  They wrapped him in a 'kitty burrito' to keep him calm during the exam.  He did well even with the blood draw and was not unhappy until they started checking his ears -- and as it turns out, he has an ear infection.

All of his blood work came back GREAT!  To be almost 14 years old, the dr. was so pleased with how he is doing. 

Thank you for all your well wishes and prayers!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Love Technology

Now, normally you would not hear me say such a thing.  I am always the last one to get an up to date computer, phone, or anything else 'techy' all the kids are getting. 

So, I was wary when I received a Wii Fit Plus for Christmas.  Yes, I wanted it because I want to get in shape without having to go to a gym.  BUT...it may sound lazy, but if the technology is too complicated I will put it away rather than try to figure it out.  I just don't have the patience.

No chance of this with the Wii.  This thing is FABULOUS!  First of all, it is easy.  You just follow along with the instructions or with the trainer on the screen.  It teaches you how to balance with games, so it is fun.  I crack up laughing when I am exercising!  There are games like skiing, soccer, hula hoop, and step aerobics, along with strength training and yoga.  It tracks your progress and tells you every day how many calories you've burned.  You can go at your own pace.  It is perfect for anyone who hasn't exercised in a while and is completely out of shape (moi!)



With yoga, if you're like me you're never sure if you're doing the poses correctly.  The Wii board can tell how balanced you are and how much weight you are distributing on your legs and will correct you if you are out of balance.  I have back and neck issues and the stretches are really helping. 

The best part is, it is so much fun!  It makes me WANT to exercise.  My hub and I are actually now jockeying for space in the living room.  He also got the EA Sports kit where you put the sensors on your body and it tracks your movements.  All of a sudden, he's turned into a jock!

This concludes my highly recommended product review!  Happy exercising!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meet Me On Monday, New Years' style


Questions and Answers:

1.  Do you have any New Year's resolutions?

Yes - to feel better overall.  To exercise my mind and body more.  To get off blood pressure meds.  To find a compassionate female doctor who will listen and understand.

2.  What food item are you craving right now?

A McDonald's egg biscuit, no cheese. 

3.  When is your birthday?

March 19, 1962, a Pisces, and I fit the mold!

4.  What were you doing an hour ago?

Feeding the kitties.

5.  Last thing you cooked?

Hoppin' John (black eyed peas, spicy tomatoes and rice!)

Must work now, I will post more later...have a blessed day!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Movie Review, and I Agree with the Masses

It's not often that we indulge ourselves with a movie, especially IN a theatre (with rocking seats and popcorn!), but we had some complimentary tickets so we 'treated' ourselves last night. 

Ack...I was SO disappointed! 

I had already read the poor reviews but still wanted to see "How Do You Know" with Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd.  With that lineup, how could you lose, right?

Wrong.

Let me preface this by saying I am one who normally likes movies that get so-so reviews so I was prepared to like it no matter what.

I would say from the first 20 minutes in we just couldn't grasp it.  Maybe we're slow but then so are many (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1341188/) other people who slammed the movie.  The writers/producers/directors just got it wrong this time.  It was so bad all the way to the end that my hub and I were walking out of the theatre shaking our heads and trying to make sense of what we had just seen, and why these wonderful actors would subject themselves to such a convoluted story line.

I won't ruin it for you should you still want to go see it, but you have been warned!