Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

It has been an awesome (and tiring) Christmas.  The day started early (about 7:15 a.m.) when the kids got up and saw that Santa had stopped by and left them a little something.  Hannah got a mountain bike, puzzle, the game Aggravation, and "Hannah Montana - The Movie."  Will got a scooter, puzzle, Black and Decker play set (including tools, toolbelt, hat, screwdriver, hammer, etc), and the movie "G Force."  Andrew got a Cars play rug, Mr. The King (from the movie "Cars"), a Black and Decker play set, the game Chutes and Ladders, and the movie "The Jungle Book."  I got some clothes, a book and an envelope with a clue inside.  Mike, playing Santa, hid clues around the house that lead to a gift hanging on the back of the tree.  It was a Mommy's Bracelet that had all three kids names.  I cried when I opened it.  After searching around town for quite a while, Mike found a place in Atlanta, GA that could add Andrew's name to my existing bracelet.  It was wonderful!!  Mike got the Garmin GPS with heart monitor that he can wear while running.  He's been wanting one for a few months and I finally got it for him.  He also got Glenn Beck's new book "Arguing With Dummies," and a new travel kit.  The zippers broke on the one he had because he had it well over ten years.  Santa left Mike and me a Dance Dance Revolution game, Dance Dance Revolution mat, another controller and nunchuck for our Wii that came with another Sports game that has nine different sports. Mike and I got the kids a Snuggie each (it's a blanket with arms) and a toy.

Melanie and Nathan came over and we opened gifts.  Mom wasn't able to come because she woke up with a 23-hour stomach virus.  She sent over some of her presents for us and kept some others for us to open when she feels better.  The kids got clothes (something Hannah and Will desparately needed!) from Mom and Mel.  Andrew got a rolling Cars suitcase that contained a blanket, pillow and flashlight.  He also got a Cars book where some Cars toys "drive" on a track inside.  Will got a Hungry Hungry Hippo game and some Hot Wheels cars.  Hannah got a Junie B. Jones book, an activity book and some red sparklely flats.  Mom got us another nunchuck and controller for our Wii (now we have three - YEAH!)

Susan, Todd and their boys came over and ate lunch with us.  I cooked my first turkey today and it was good!!  We also had mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cornbread dressing, pineapple casserole, broccoli-cauliflower salad, and cranberry sauce.  I forgot to cook the crescent rolls but we were not suffering for food.  We had planned to also have ham but looking at the amount of food, I decided not to cook it and save it for later.

Now, the kids and Mike are watching "G Force" while I type away.  Our guests left for their houses with some great memories made today.  I hope everyone has a great day and remember the reason for this season - JESUS CHRIST.

P.S.  I realized after I posted this message I had forgotten to mention one very important gift the kids (and parents) received this year - a Nintendo Wii gaming system!!!  My dad and step-mom bought it for the kids and we all have been having a blast playing it.  It came with five games: tennis, golf, boxing, baseball and bowling.  Both Hannah and Will are really good at Bowling.  I started out doing great (my best score was a 202 with FIVE strikes in a row!!) but has steadily gone down hill.  Tonight, I bowled a 98.  Horrible!!  Mike and I like to play it after the kids go to bed.  Some nights, Mike will play all five games before turning it off.  Now that we have three controllers, playing multiple players will be a lot easier.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Richest Woman in the World

As I write this, the clock has turned past 12 a.m. so my 42nd birthday is officially over.  It has been a wonderful day filled with love and friendship.  My day started early when Andrew and Will woke us up at 6:45 a.m. (That's early for us.  I usually don't go to bed until around 12:30 a.m. and get up at 7 to get the kids ready for school.)  As I'm changing Andrew's clothes and diaper (his diaper leaked and he was soaked), the phone rang.  It was Nathan and Melanie calling at 6:50 a.m. to wish me a Happy Birthday before they went to school and work, respectively.  Hannah fixed me breakfast and had it waiting when I went into the kitchen. 

My birthday presents were sitting on the table.  Mike and the kids bought me a nice multi-pink robe, some pink house slippers, a gift card to Gould's Day Spa, and some roses.   I felt like a queen.  Hannah, Will and Andrew each made me a beautiful card and Mike bought me one with the sweetest saying.

The kids got ready for school all on their own, without me having to be on them constantly.  They dressed themselves (including socks and shoes), brushed their teeth and hair, made their beds, turned off their lights and opened their blinds.  They even had time to watch a little t.v. before heading off to school.

I spent the morning running errands and doing a little Christmas shopping, enjoying my last day by myself for two and a half weeks.  For lunch, I treated myself to McAlister's and used the $5 coupon I received as a birthday present from them.  It was sooo good! 

Mom came over after work and watched the kids so Mike and I could go to dinner.  We went to Kyoto's in Olive Branch and enjoyed watching they Hibachi cook.  The meal was delicious and the company was even better.  At 8:00 p.m., I met some girlfriends at Starbucks.  We enjoyed having some adult girl time without kids.  It was awesome!!!  We didn't leave until 10:30!!

Every time I checked Facebook, I had a ton of notifications letting me know someone made a comment on my profile page.  Friends and family members left birthday wishes and greetings all day long.  It was so nice to know so many people were thinking about me today.

I am truly blessed!!  I have wonderful kids, an awesome husband, great parents and fantastic friends.  I am the richest woman in the world and couldn't have asked for a better birthday present. 

Thank you all for such a wonderful birthday!!  I love you all!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kids and Their Sayings; Happy Anniversary

Kids do say the darndest things.  This one comes from Andrew:  "Mom, the sun is looking at me!!  Tell him to stop!!!"  (During our trip to North Carolina, we moved all three kids to the backseat of the van so they could all watch the  DVD player.  When we got home, Andrew asked if he could stay there.  Since then, the sun seems to bother him more.)

Last night while decorating the tree, Will started singing "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle on the way!"  I laughed then remembered a little boy I taught in Sunday school many, many years ago.  His name was Jared and he was five at the time.  My friend Jeff and I were getting supplies out of the closet when, in a loud voice, I heard Jared sing, "Don't tell it on the mountain!"  We started laughing and trying to figure out where that came from.  I remembered Jared's parents were in the Christmas program and he had heard them practicing the song "Go Tell It On The Mountain."

Don't you just love it?!

On a side note, I want to wish my friend Stacy and her husband a very happy anniversary!!!  I hope you enjoy your weekend together with no kids (they have six, a son-in-law, and one grandson).  I love you girl!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

St. Jude Marathon

On Saturday, December 5, Mike and his friend Bill ran in the St. Jude Marathon, which benefits the St. Jude Childrens' Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  They started training about 12 weeks ago.  Mike had set a personal goal of finishing in four hours and finished the race in 4 hours and 2 minutes!!!  Bill finished about 20 minutes behind Mike because he started cramping some during the race.  After he got to the car, Mike called and asked how long it would take him to get home.  When I told him, he asked me to have our whirlpool tub ready and waiting for him.  His knees and legs were sore.  The kids and I babied him and let him take a long and well-deserved nap.  When I asked Mike if he would do another marathon, he said to ask him in 3-4 days, after he had a chance to recover.  He said he would definitely do a half-marathon (which he has done two or three times before).  I AM SOOO PROUD OF HIM!!!  (For those who aren't familiar with the distance in a marathon, the participants have to run 26.2 miles.  A half-marathon is 13.1 miles.)

We had a few friends that ran in the marathon and 5K.  All of the races (marathon, half-marathon, and 5K) were completely booked.  In all, there were about 11,000 people racing that morning.  I had thought about taking the kids to see Mike run and cross the finish line but decided not to.  It was really cold (the high was about 45 degrees) and the kids would have been bored out of their skulls.  The marathon raised about $1.65 million dollars that will go towards cancer research and helping families that can't afford the treatment.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Busy Thanksgiving Week

We arrived back home from our adventures around 5:45 p.m. It was a week filled with fun, family and food. Tuesday night, we left home and headed to Pigeon Forge. Wednesday, after Mich got off work and James and Jerrod got out of school, we left for Stedman, NC. A few months ago there was a rock slide on I-40 near Asheville so traffic has been re-routed. So, instead of taking I-40 through North Carolina, we took I-81 and went through Virginia. That was soooo neat!!!

**Side note - this was my second time to go to Virginia. The first was in November, 1999. After Mike finished his weekend drill in Johnson City, TN after the Marine Corp birthday celebration, I asked him if we could cross the state line since we were so close. He agreed so we crossed the VA/TN state line, took the first exit and turned around JUST SO I COULD SAY I HAD BEEN TO VIRGINIA!!! We had so much fun laughing about it. After we passed under the first exit's bridge, I got excited all over again.

We arrived in Stedman around 8:30 local time (I think; I can't remember exactly). The kids had a blast. Hannah played with Ashtyn, Isabelle, and Gabby while Will and Andrew played with them or the other cousins. (Hannah and Ashtyn are the only girls in their respected families. Since they are only two months apart in age, they really enjoy getting together once a year and playing.)

Thursday, we ate, and ate, and ate. Barbara, Sharon and others out-did themselves again. The food was awesome!! Thursday night we had a scare, though. Mike's Uncle Woody had a seizure while we were getting ready to have a Spades tournament. Thank the good Lord above, he is doing fine and is now at home.

Friday, Rich, Mich, their boys and I went to the movies and saw "2012." It was pretty good. The special effects were good. It was sad in parts but was interesting to see how the director and writers depicted their take on the end of the world. As I watched the movie, I kept thinking that I was glad I know the Maker of Heaven and Earth and that He holds me safely in the palm of His hand. Since He is the ONLY one who knows when the end of the world will actually end, I can rest in the fact that He will take care of me until then. After the movies, we went to Joe and Sharon's and joined the rest of the family for dinner. We had Carolina barbeque, baked beans, cole slaw, chicken tenders, and hushpuppies. It was the first time I had Carolina barbeque. It was good. I prefer Memphis barbeque since that is what I grew up with but the vinegar base of theirs was delicious.

Saturday afternoon, we left North Carolina and headed to Pigeon Forge where we spent the night. We got up this morning and left around 9:30 for home. Traffic wasn't too bad at all, not like it has been in the past. We had sunshine most of the way, then a few clouds. We encountered some misting after Nashville for about 20 miles then again once we got closer to home. It started raining after we got the van unloaded and settled in. We had a great time but it is good to be home.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I know I am a few days early but we are leaving tomorrow to head to North Carolina for the holidays.  Since I don't know if I will have access to a computer, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  Please remember to thank God for the blessings He has given you so far this year.  If you think you have nothing to thank God for, thank Him for waking up each morning and for air to breathe (no matter how stuffed up your nose is - HEHE).

Happy Thanksgiving from the Jinnettes!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Good-bye But Until We Meet Again...

My friend, Courtney Hill, passed away Monday at 30 years of age while lying in her husband's arms.  She leaves behind Robert, her husband of eight years, and Madison, their five-year old daughter.  Courtney was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25 and fought long and hard.  She was even fighting right up to the end, determined not to let cancer have the upperhand.  Unfortuntely, her body was tired and couldn't continue the fight any longer.

One of the verses Courtney clung to was  "Yes, may you see your children’s children." (Psalm 128:6, New King James Version).  She felt God was telling her she would beat this disease and live to see her grandchildren.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.  But, the more I thought about it, I feel like God was telling Courtney that she would see the results of her life and testimony not in flesh-and-blood children but the ones born from her courage, strength and testimony to live and God.  Courtney didn't try to hide the fact that she had cancer.  She proudly proclaimed the strength of her God to anyone who would listen.  She boldly walked around without a scarf or wig on her head after she lost her hair.  Courtney would gladly talk to anyone who approached her with questions.  I think people will see her strength in troubled times and wonder where it came from and this will lead them to Courtney's God, Jehovah Shalom (God is Peace), Jehovah Rapha (God our healer), and Jehovah Shammah (God is there).  Those who come to God through Courtney's testimony and life will become her children in the Lord.

This is a picture of Courtney giving her testimony in May at our MOPS group.

Courtney and her daughter Madison greet Maria at one of our MOPS meetings.  Even as sick as she was, Courtney was determined to get out and live instead of sitting at home mourning.

Rest in Peace Courtney.  Enjoy the presence of your God and rest in His arms.  We will see you again on the other side.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My New 'Do

Tired of the same old haircut, I went to a new place called High Maintenance and had my hair done. I LOVE IT!!! After getting my hair cut for Locks of Love about a year and a half ago, I've kept it shoulder length. It's been okay but I was ready for a change. You can't see it in this picture but my hair is REALLY short in the back. It will take a little maintenance to keep it looking this nice but it may be worth getting up a few minutes earlier each morning to take care of it. Jennifer even teased my hair at the crown. I've never had my hair teased before. Shocking, I know. I've never been one for big hair but I guess I'm due. I can't wait for everyone to see it in person. Now, if I can get it to look this good tomorrow for our family pictures, I will be doing awesome!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Today while at Chick-fil-a, Hannah picked up an Operation Christmas Child box.  We decided to fill one then decided to do two.  If you have never heard of Operation Christmas Child, you can go to Samaritan's Purse and get details.  The programs was started by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.  This organization collects shoe boxes filled with items and gifts for a needy child.  They offer some suggestions and have a small list of items not allowed but leave it up to the giver as to what to put in their box. 

Hannah filled her box with items for a girl between the ages of 5-9, and Will did the same for a boy of the same age group.  They had a blast picking out items at Dollar Tree.  Hannah purchased a doll, an outfit for the doll, socks, hair clips, comb and mirror set, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, coloring book, paints, socks, a pink pig puppet and some candy.  Will has a sun catcher for the child to paint, coloring book, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, paints, a brown bear puppet, playdough, and some candy.  I plan to get a small box of crayons for each box either tomorrow or Monday.  The boxes have to be turned in this week so Operation Christmas Child can get them to the children by Christmas.  Hannah and Will both want to include letters and their addresses so the recipient can write to them. 

This is the first year we've done it and it has been fun.  We may have to make this an annual event. I took some pictures of the kids and their boxes but will have to post them later.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Today is the day we set aside to remember those who have served, those who are currently serving, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in one of the fine branches of the United States military.  Thank you for everything.  The sacrifices you made makes it possible for me and my family to enjoy the freedoms we hold so precious and dear.   THANK YOU!!

On that note, if any of my readers are currently in the military or have served in our fine armed forces, go by Applebee's restaurants for either lunch or dinner.  Applebee's is giving our veterans and servicemen a free meal.  You get to pick one of nine choices and a drink.  You must show some sort of proof that you served or are serving to get your meal.  If you go to, you will find a list of the proof they will accept (even a picture of you in uniform) and what meals you can choose from.  They did this last year at a few select Applebee's.  The response they received was so overwhelming that they decided to offer it nationwide.

God Knows Our Hearts and Will Provide

I thought I had posted this story previously, but looking back over my blog, I don't see where I did. 

About a month ago, Beth Moore came to the Memphis area to hold a Living Proof Live event.  Tickets were $60 each.  The day before the event, we were discussing Beth Moore's visit during a bible study and asked who was going.  A few girls at our table raised their hand but my friend Shawn didn't.  When asked why, she said she couldn't afford a ticket but if God wanted her to go He would provide one for her. 

I remembered that before an event like this one, Beth would post on her blog an offer of free tickets to anyone who needed them.  When I got home, I checked Beth's blog,,  and saw her post for tickets.  Since the post had been made earlier that morning, I called Shawn right away, told her about it and gave her the number to call.  Shawn called and got an automated service.  Since all she had was the first names of the two ladies to ask for, Shawn prayed that if it was God's will He would have to get her to the right person.  There was a pause online then the call was transferred to Susan's voicemail (one of the ladies Beth had said to call).  Shawn left her information and what it was about.  About an hour later, Susan called her back.  She offered Shawn two tickets even though she only wanted one.  When Shawn asked her about the call transfer, Susan said she wasn't usually the one to get the calls. 

Shawn called me, told me what had happened and asked if I knew anyone needing a ticket.  Since we couldn't think of anyone, she called Leslie, our bible study leader, and asked her.  She knew Marva, another lady in BS wanted to go but was in the same situation as Shawn.  So, Shawn and Marva got to go to the event after all. 

A few days later, I checked Beth's blog and saw where she had posted pictures from the event.  Lo and behold, I saw a picture of Shawn and Marva worshipping God there in the post.  It was awesome!!  God had totally worked out all the details and let two wonderful women of God come and hear a word meant just for them. 

If you would like to see some pictures from the event, click on this link. It will take you to Beth Moore's blog and the post with the pictures.  Shawn, Marva and Cheryl (another lady in the group) are 2 minutes and 18 seconds into the video.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Marines!

Today is the 234th birthday of the United States Marine Corp.  Happy Birthday Marines!!  Semper Fi!!  You've never looked better!!  Keep up the good work!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

White Picket Fences Blog Tour

The Janviers have the idyllic life - a beautiful home, great jobs, two wonderful kids - and surrounding it all is the proverbial white picket fence that protects them, offers them a serene sense of security ... and hides all their secrets.

When her black sheep brother disappears, Amanda Janvier eagerly takes in her sixteen-year-old niece Tally. The girl is practically an orphan: motherless and living with a father who raises Tally wherever he lands - in a Buick, a pizza joint, a horse farm - and regularly takes off on wild schemes. Amanda envisions that she, her husband, Neil, and their two teenagers can offer the girl stability and a shot at a "normal" life, even though their own storybook lives are about to crumble.

Seventeen-year-old Chase Janvier hasn't seen his cousin in years, and other than a vague curiosity about her strange life, he doesn't expect her arrival will affect him much - or interfere with his growing, disturbing interest in a long-ago house fire that plagues his dreams.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won't make them go away.

Will Tally's presence blow apart their carefully constructed world, revealing a hidden past that could destroy them all - or can she help them find the truth without losing each other? From the author of The Shape of Mercy, one of Publishers Weekly's Best Religious Fiction Books of 2008, comes a tale of family secrets smoldering behind a white picket fence.

WOW! This book had me turning the pages and not wanting to set it down. Susan Meissner's story of a family that looks and thinks they have it all together only to realize that they don't is fantastic. I love the way she weaves the lives of this family and their struggles together. You don't know what is going to happen next and are surprised with the twists and turns. I loved all the characters, especially Tally, but found myself drawn to Josef Bliss and Eliasz Abramovicz. The two men Tally and Chase interviewed were funny and inspiring. Even though they weren't related, they became brothers after all they had been through during World War II. This is an awesome book and I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone!!

Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn't driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, winner of the Christian Book Award for Fiction, and Blue Heart Blessed. Susan and her husband, a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, make their home in Southern California. They are the parents of four grown children.

If you are interesting in purchasing this book or would like more information, click here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Extra Long Soccer Day and Rainfall Totals

Yesterday was a great day for soccer.  Good thing, because we had four games yesterday.  Yes, FOUR!!  Will and Hannah each had two games to get caught up on some of the ones missed due to the rain.  We arrived at the field around 9:15 a.m. and didn't leave until almost 2 p.m.  Will had games at 9:30 and 11:30 while Hannah had games at 10:30 and 12:30.  Both kids did great.  Will blocked a bunch of goals and Hannah got a goal.  After we were finished, Mike, I and the kids went through the Chick-fil-a drive-through and at lunch at home.  At 5:15 p.m., we had to leave the house again to head back for the Upwards Soccer Celebration.  It ended around 7:30 then we ate dinner at Subway.  The kids were exhausted and slept until 7:30 a.m.  (Since the time change, everyone is usually up just before 7 a.m.)  Hannah and I got sunburned on our faces; I also was sunburned on my neck, behind my ear and on my ear.  You can see where my earrings and glasses were because they are white instead of red.  After all the rain we had in October, it never occurred to me to get out the sunscreen.  I hope I remember it this Saturday.  We have four games again at the same times.

Speaking of rain, the weather forecaster on the local news said that the rainfall totals in October broke records.  I didn't hear the total amount but we had at least 1-2 inches every time it rained, some days we got 4-6 inches.  This area is also 11-12 inches over the annual amount of rainfall.  According to one of the local weather blogs, Memphis received 10.56 inches of rain in October.  Normal rainfall totals are 3.31 inches.  The old record was 10.13 inches set in 1919.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall Fiction Fun Blog Tour

This blog tour consisted of three books: Limelight by Melody Carlson, What Matters Most by Melody Carson, and Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh.

"I used to be a beauty... too good for our dusty little town...destined for greatness." Claudette Fiore' used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant had taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.

Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fiore' questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it's too late to attain true beauty.

This was a good book. At first, I wasn't sure what to expect but Melody made this old curmudgeon likable in the end. Claudette was an aging actress that was used to the best. Suddenly, she has to adjust to living on her own and doing everyday chores such as cleaning, cooking and washing her clothes without servants to help. She was self-centered but gradually let others into her world. My favorite part was Claudette's attempts to do things on her own and making a mess of everything. It sounds like something I would do, especially not opening the flue in the fireplace. One of my favorite characters was Michael. Even though Michael was Claudette's husband's step-son, he took care of Claudette like he was her own son. He helped her get settled in her new house and tried to make the changes less harsh. I recommend this book for anyone looking for something different.

Melody Carlson is an award-winning, best-selling author of more than two hundred books including The Other Side of Darkness, On This Day, Crystal Lies, Finding Alice, and several series for teens. Melody and her husband live in central Oregon, where they enjoy an active lifestyle of skiing, hiking, gardening, camping, and biking. They are the parents of two grown sons.
To purchase this book or for more information, click here.

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She's considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable - and Maya's ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya's mother will be released from prison soon, and she'll want Maya to live with her again. That's a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad's old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a "normal" life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

What Matters Most (book 3, Diary of a Teenage Girl series, Maya) by Melody Carlson is great. Even though it is the third book in the Maya series and the last in the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, I could follow along with little trouble. Maya is a girl with a great head on her shoulders. She prays over every decision she has to make. She makes friends with the class outcast, despite what her "Christian" friends think, and isn't lured by the promise of fortune and fame. Maya is not afraid to let people know she is a follower of Christ. We all should strive to be the type of Christian Maya is.

Melody Carlson is an award-winning, best-selling author of nearly two hundred books for teens, children, and adults, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor series, the True Color Series and the Notes from a Spinning Planet series. Melody has two grown sons and lives in central Oregon with her husband, where they enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping, and biking.

To purchase What Matters Most or for more information, click here.

They say you can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the girl. This girl begs to differ. Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in Los Angeles. She's even "engaged to be engaged" to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.

Now all of Piper's hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle's bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick had decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations' worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks' secrets, including Piper's.

Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe's rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is about more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can't she stay on task? With God's help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

Being born and raised in the South, my interest was piqued by Leaving Carolina. Tamara does a great job showing that Piper's struggles with her family are ones we all face, whether you life in the South or anywhere else. Piper, on top of having to figure out how to get Uncle Obe to change his mind instead of his will, also struggles to trust family members that hurt her throughout her childhood, even though some of them have changed for the better. This was another great book, probably my favorite of the three.

Tamara Leigh is the best-selling author of twelve novels, including Perfecting Kate, award-winning Splitting Harriet, and Faking Grace. A former speech and language pathologist, Tamara lives with her husband, David, and their two sons in Tennessee.

If you are interested in purchasing Leaving Carolina, click here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Costumes

This year for Halloween Will dressed as a Thomas the Train Engineer; Andrew, Bob the Builder; and Hannah, a cat.  Will and Andrew's costumes were easy - we already had everything.  Hannah's was a bit trickier.  Mike and I went to two different stores looking for a cat costume but everything was either too big or too small.  While looking around at Target, I found a leopard outfit in a 12-18 month size and had an idea.  I bought it along with a black t-shirt that said "Happy Halloween" and some black leggings.  When Mike and I got home, I started taking the infant outfit completely apart.  I sewed the leopard front piece and one of the sleeves onto the front of the t-shirt and the other sleeve to the back.  I attached the tail to the bottom of the t-shirt on the back and the gold bow to the collar.  It took about four and a half hours but I am very pleased with the results.  The best part was:  Hannah loved it.  I found the leopard mask at Party Works.

Leopard costume:  $9.50
T-shirt and leggings:  $10.00
Leopard mask:  $2.00
Hannah's face when she saw it:  priceless


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Not Losing My Mind, This Time

After walking around for a few weeks on a sore foot, I finally broke down and went to the doctor today. He did an x-ray and found a heel spur. So, these are the instructions I need to follow for the next 8+ weeks until it heals:

1) Do not go barefoot. Make sure the soles of the shoes are padded, unlike house shoes that have no padding between my foot and the hard floor. YUCK! (This will be hard because I LOVE to go barefoot. When I walk in the door, my shoes usually come off before going into the living room.)

2) Wear heel cups in my shoes to help alleviate the pain.

3) Take Mobic, an anti-inflammatory, once a day for the pain.

4) Stop exercising on the elliptical and any weight lifting or exercising that involves my feet. He suggested swimming and upper body weights. I'll have to check with him about using a bicycle.

5) Stay off of my feet as much as possible. (Yeah right; I have three kids and a husband to take care of.)

6) To help the discomfort, put the insole of my foot on a ball or bottle and roll it around with my foot. This will help stretch out the muscles.

The healing process is slow so I need to be patient.  That is one virtue in which I am in short supply.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Pain in the Foot

Most of you know that I have been dealing with pain in different parts of my body for about two years. The pain doesn't stay in one place. It started out in my right wrist/hand, and then moved down the right side to my hip, then knee, then foot. My right foot pain started in my heel then gradually moved to the area just below my toes. When I saw Dr. Boatright, my Rheumatologist, in July, I made the comment that the pain was going to move to the left side next. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!

About a month ago, I noticed that both feet hurt to walk then gradually only my left one did. The pain started in the area below my toes, then moved down the side and is now focused in my heel. Sometimes walking on my toes helps alleviate the pain but not always. Since I am trying to workout more to lose weight, I thought I should get my Family Practitioner to look at it before I caused any damage.

When I woke up this morning, my heel felt better. I could even walk flat-footed, which has been very difficult and painful. When Andrew and I went to Sam's to pick up a few things, my heel started hurting as soon as we walked in the door. It continued to hurt until we left, about 10 minutes later. Strange, I know. I told Mike I feel like I am going crazy. I'm afraid the doctor will think I am a hypochondriac. I decided to wait until tomorrow to see how my heel feels before I schedule my appointment. It is still a little sore, like it has been bruised, but not bad enough to warrant calling the doctor.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Controlled Chaos

Because of all the rain we have been having, we have missed three or four games and a bunch of practices.  So, to help make up some of the games, Hannah's team had a game Tuesday night instead of practice.  There is one other 1-3 grade girls team, the Soccer Angels, so the Huskies, Hannah's team, has the same opponent each week.  Jessica, the Soccer Angels' coach, wasn't able to make the game so she asked Mike to help out.  So, Mike coached BOTH teams AND was the referee.  He commented that he would be happy no matter which team won.  Plus, he couldn't argue about the call the referee made.  Coaching both teams was challenging, to say the least, and they were playing against the clock.  We only had one hour to get whole game in before it went completely dark.  Like my title says, it was controlled chaos.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Big Boy Accomplishments

Andrew had some big boy accomplishments today.  First of all, just before he got into the bathtub, I had him try to go potty.  This has been an on-going event for a while with no progress made.  At first, Andrew said nothing was coming out.  I told him to wait a bit longer and something would.  After I turned around to start his bathwater, I heard the sound of someone going potty.  IT WAS ANDREW!!!  Mike, Hannah and I praised him for doing such a wonderful job and he got a Hershey's Kiss as a reward. 

The second big boy accomplishment was Andrew said his bedtime prayer all by himself.  The whole thing without any prompting or help.  He did a great job!!! 

Andrew's third big boy accomplishment wasn't something he mastered.  Rather, it was just a show that he is growing up.  At lunch today, Andrew saw one of his Sunday school classmates, Tirzah.  He looked over and said, "There's Tirzah.  Mom, Tirzah's here."  Now, this doesn't sound like such a big thing, but it was.  The way he said it was so grown up and clear.  He didn't sound like a two-year old but a much older boy.  In the flash of a moment, I could see him about Will's age.  My baby is growing up so fast.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Seth and Andrew

Today, Tracy and I took Seth and Andrew to Chuck E. Cheese's.  We had planned on going to the Botanical Gardens but the high today was only suppose to be 55 degrees.  Since I just got over a sore throat, we thought a change in plans would be in order. 

I purposely did not tell Andrew we were going to CEC.  It's his FAVORITE place and I knew he wouldn't stop talking about it if I did.  He knew we were meeting Tracy and Seth and was really excited.  We got there just as it was opening and were the only ones there for almost two hours.  The boys had a BLAST!!  Seth gave Andrew a hug when they first arrived while Andrew held the door open for them.  After we purchased tokens, this was the senario:  each boy would take a token then run off together, play a game then run back.  When we asked for the tickets they get from the game, they would run to get them then run back.  It went on like this for most of morning.  They felt like big boys and Tracy and I got to talk and visit.  NICE!!  Andrew and Seth are the best of friends.  I had hoped they would be, especially since their birthdays are only four days apart.

One of the great things about today was we only spent $15 for 100 token which we split.  I brought our CEC souvenir cups so drinks were free.  We ate when we got home.  It also got us out of the damp cold weather.  Couldn't ask for better morning.

Andrew is so tired from all the playing and running around that he fell right asleep once I got him down for a nap. 

I have some pictures that were taken at CEC but my scanner isn't working right now.  I guess I'll have to try to post them later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Sound of Sleigh Bells Blog Tour

The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall was a great book and an easy read. It only took me less than a day to read the whole thing. I really enjoyed the story of Beth and her struggles. Most of the time, I put the Amish up on a pedestal and think they don't deal with the same relational and personal issues we do. This book shows that they do struggle with relationships and personal hardships and they, like us, can move on with God's help. My favorite character was Jonah. I loved how he made the most of what God gave him in regards to his own personal struggles.  You can click here to purchase the book online.

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancĂ©. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, The Hope of Refuge and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

Friday, October 9, 2009

So Many Things Running Through My Head

My head is awhirl with many different thoughts today:

1) Andrew's recent trip down the street by himself.
2) Will's recent actions at school.
3) The Beth Moore Conference tonight and tomorrow.
4) Everything I need to do around the house that is never-ending.
5) Obama's Nobel Peace Prize (WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!)
6) My next blog tour posting and the books I need to read for the next two.
7) End-times events
and on and on and on... I'll elaborate on a few of these.

Ever felt like, as a parent, you were failing miserably with your kids? That's the way I felt yesterday.

While my sister was inside talking to me after she came by to pick up her son, Andrew went out front with the other children. Melanie and I went out a few minutes later and asked where Andrew was. No one knew and he didn't answer or come when we called. Looking around while I was trying to keep from panicking, Nathan spot him down the road. Andrew had wandered about eight houses down and was in the middle of the road, still walking away from the house. Nathan went and got him and asked why he wandered off. Andrew wanted to pet a dog he thought was our next door neighbor's. The one he was after actually belongs down the street. Andrew got a firm talking to and a swat on the backside.

Will has been grounded for the last week because he cheated in school on a math test. Mrs. Scanlon said he was repentant and said he wouldn't do it again. Instead of giving him an F on his paper, she let him finish it away from the other children. Then, yesterday, he did something else that I will not elaborate on. Suffice it to say, he had to apologize to the Librarian and to Mrs. Scanlon this morning for his actions.

On the radio today while I was running errands, I heard that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?! They said it was for his efforts in bringing peace to the world and his efforts towards the Muslims. If apologizing for America and saying we were wrong in everything we have done in the past (i.e. saving the Europeans and the rest of the world's posteriors on MANY occasions), bowing down to foreign leaders, and showing Americans disrespect for our Christian heritage and beliefs constitutes getting a Nobel Peace Prize, the Board needs to rethink their criteria.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Teton Trek

No, we are not in Yellowstone National Park visiting the Grand Tetons. Instead, Andrew and I went to the Memphis Zoo to see their newest exhibit. It is called "Teton Trek" and is modeled after Yellowstone National Park. It opened this past Saturday for members only and will open to the public on October 10th. My friend Amy and her son Barrett met us there. The boys had fun looking at the animals while Amy and I got to visit. My pictures are out of order so first you will see our visit to the other parts of the Zoo. Then, last but definitely not least, is the Teton Trek.

One of the two elephants the Zoo has. One of them had a baby a few months ago. Unfortunately, the baby girl died after accidentally being poked by her mother's tusk. Sad.

White Faced Gibbons
They put on a show for Andrew and me while we waited for Amy and Barrett.

Andrew and me

Andrew near the Grey Wolves cages

Andrew climbing in a rocking chair while Barrett tries to open the door.

Andrew at the Northwest Passage exhibit

Me and Andrew sitting on the upper deck of the Teton Lodge. Right after this, we realized that we were locked out on the balcony. Luckily, there was a zoo employee below us who got us some help. Amy and I laughed about it. How many people can say they were locked out on the balcony of the Teton Lodge?

Another picture of me and Andrew on the balcony sitting in the rocking chairs.

A bronze elk outside the entrance to the Teton Trek

Grey wolves
There is one male and three or four females in this pack.

Another picture of a grey wolf

Looking down at the Grey wolves
They stayed in this one area the whole time we were there.

Another shot of the Grey wolves.

Andrew and Barrett going up the stairs in the Teton Lodge.

The huge stone fireplace in the Teton Lodge.
The chimney was floor to ceiling stones.
Flanking the fireplace on either side was two HUGE big screen televisions.
One side of the Teton Lodge
(The fence they had up to keep out non-members also kept me from getting a full picture of the lodge.)

Another picture of the lodge and geyser.
This is the view that greets you when you enter the exhibit.
A geyser like Ol' Faithful
This one is off and on like Ol' Faithful but I'm not sure of the time intervals.
Oh, before I get into trouble for not taking Will and Hannah with me... they were in school today. I plan to take them while they are off for Fall Break. Hopefully it won't rain so we can go.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Unwanted and Unwelcomed Visitor

Today, while sweeping the kitchen, I found an unwanted and most unwelcomed visitor. It was a small lizard. At first, I thought it was a dead leaf that had been stripped to the spine. But, at closer examination (or at least as close as I would get), I noticed it had toes, feet, head and long tail. It looked dead at first, but after a few minutes it moved. Talk about someone leaping off the floor!! It started climbing up the wall, then changed its mind. It stayed close to the baseboard then moved, more like hopped, over to a pile of dog hair that I had already swept up. I put a pot over the top then a towel around it to keep the lizard in. When the kids and I got home from school, Nathan volunteered to take it outside for me. I had him take it to the lake and release it.

My skin is still crawling!! OOWWHH!!

A Few Minutes

I only have a few minutes to post something while I wait for Andrew to go to sleep for his nap. Lately, he likes to get up and either play or roam. Since I want to give the kitchen floor a good sweep and mop without having to stop every few minutes to check on Andrew, I thought I would post on my blog.

Sorry the posts have been infrequent lately. At night, while I am waiting to go to sleep, I write that day's post in my head. Unfortunately, I forget what it was I was "writing" the next morning. Sad thing is, it is usually something really good!! Then, when I have a few minutes to actually write something down on this thing, I can't think of a thing to write.

Can I brag on myself a little? As mentioned in an earlier post, I have started going back to the Y. My goal for now is to complete the "America on the Move" program they are doing. So far, I have made it to the first Y and I'm on my way to the next one (strictly on paper, of course). Wednesday, I did my personal best. I went 1.5 miles on the elliptical in 48 minutes 36 seconds!!!! My time this week and last has been above 50 minutes with the closest time being 51 minutes ? seconds. Today, instead of going to the Y and working out, I am spending time cleaning my house. It has been a while since it had a GOOD cleaning due to all the rain and kids being cooped up in the house. So, the windows are open and I've been working here. Even though I can't count these efforts on my workout chart, I am still counting them in my head.

The smallest, silliest, and simple things can please a parent. Earlier this morning, I noticed Andrew had a funny look on his face and he was holding his bottom. Since previous potty training efforts haven't worked very well, I thought I would take another chance and see if I could catch Andrew before he could dirty his diaper. We rushed to the bathroom and our efforts were rewarded!!! It wasn't anything big, but even a little effort is worth praising. We told "it" goodbye as we flushed it away then went to get some candy. But, alas, the praise didn't stick in Andrew's head. After lunch, he did his "job" before I could catch him. Oh, well! Maybe one day I can get this boy out of diapers. Once I do, it's PARTY TIME!!! I've been changing diapers for almost NINE YEARS straight with NO break in between kids!!!! We could use use the money (who couldn't) and I would love going out with all the kids and no extra bags. So, when that day comes (and it will), I want to have a celebration for Andrew and me. So, get your party clothes ready and get ready to have some fun!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happenings Around Here and Rants

It has been raining A LOT around here. The weatherman last night said the total rainfall for September was 8.55 inches, six inches ABOVE NORMAL!!!! Soccer practices were cancelled last week and this week. The kids' soccer games were cancelled last Saturday and it looks like they may be cancelled this week too. The ground is just way to wet. There may be some relief in sight - Sunday is suppose to be sunny!! The rest of next week is forecasted to be sunny up until Thursday or Friday, but then only partly cloudy. As much as I love the rain, I am ready for the kids to be able to go outside and play. They've been couped up inside here at home and at school (they can't go out on the playground when it's wet) for too long.

This week I started back working out at the Y. They have a new incentive program called "America On The Move." The goal to to "walk" to all the local YMCAs. The total distance is 106 miles. If I do one mile on the elliptical, it counts as two. If I do a Spin class (cycling), I earn four miles for my efforts. Right now, I have gone nine miles total. I have three more to go to get to the first Y. Once you have completed the trip, you get a t-shirt. I have until November 22 or so to complete my "trip." Today, I went 1.5 miles in 51 minutes on the elliptical. I've been going one mile in about 34-36 minutes but decided to push it a little. Afterwards, I felt great and think next time I may try 2 miles. We'll see.

The members of Congress and other members of the US are aggravating me quite a bit. While working out today, I was watching Fox News. It was mentioned that the US is thinking about cutting almost 400 border patrol guards on the US/Mexican border. ALMOST 400!!!! What in the world are the people in charge thinking?!?!?! Why can't the people in power remember WHO it is they represent? Most Americans want the US/Mexico border patrols beefed up (along with the Canadian border, too). We don't mind people entering the United States, as long as they do it legally. I'm all for people to have a chance at a better life. That's the reason my ancestors came to the States. Just do it through the right channels.

Then, with all the talk of health care and the plan Congress wants to pass, it just makes my blood boil. I know the healthcare system here needs help. It's extremely sad when someone has a preexisting condition and are denied coverage because of it. But, tacking on all the PORK that has NOTHING to do with healthcare to the healthcare bill is a total waste of money that could be used for research or to cover the cost of patients. I have heard that Congress wants to design a healthcare system like the ones in England and Canada. What they aren't looking at is all the Canadians and British nationals that come to the US because they either can't get the care they need or it takes WAY TOO LONG to get help.

Situations like these two make me feel helpless, like my hands are tied. I have written my congressmen more in the last few months than I have in the entire time I've been able to vote. My prayers for this country feel like they are hitting the ceiling when I see what is happening (and not happening) in the nation's capitol. I plead with God help us and to show me (and the country) what we need to do but feel helpless. But, I AM NOT GIVING UP! I am still going to vote and make my voice heard. I plan to take advantage of this freedom guaranteed to me when possible. Most of all, I plan to keep praying and seeking God's direction and wisdom for myself and my country. GOD, not man, is the one who sets the rulers in place and can change their hearts to move the way He wants.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

Mike says it is the unofficial Marine Corp motto: improvise, adapt and overcome. That seems to be the motto I live by nowadays. With Andrew not wanting to sleep in his crib, I let him sleep in Will's bed for naps and at night. Will slept in the floor and didn't mind. I bought Andrew a Cars toddler bed yesterday. He slept in it last night and it seems to be working for his nap, so far. For some reason, Andrew hasn't wanted to sleep. He has been up early (yesterday at 6 a.m. and this morning, 5:45 a.m.) and doesn't want to take a nap until late. Maybe now he has his own "big boy bed" he'll start sleeping more.

Last night while doing laundry, our dryer stopped working. The drum isn't turning. Mike and I discovered it late last night, around midnight. He took it apart but couldn't find the belt. Mike did find a roller lying on the bottom of the dryer case. I'm thinking either the belt slipped or broke because the drum isn't turning. Our old dryer has one of the rollers brake and it made a loud racket when the drum turned. Mike's not sure but thinks it might be the belt, too. We both hope it will be something easy and inexpensive to fix.

Here are some pictures we took recently.

Andrew and Hannah in the RoadTrek
Will and Andrew in the RoadTrek

Andrew in the van on the way home from Chattanooga

Hannah on the way home from Chattanooga

Will on the way home from Chattanooga

Dick and Mike

Dick, Mike and the kids

Andrew taking a nap in Will's bed
(See the Cars video by his head. He wanted to sleep with it.)

Andrew playing with toys on his first day of school

Andrew while walking into MDO on the first day

Andrew sitting on his new bed

Andrew and his new bed while holding his lunchbox

Michelle, Dick and Mike

Monday, September 14, 2009

"You Were Born For This" Blog Tour

You Were Born For This is the newest book by Bruce Wilkinson and David Kopp.

"What happens when ordinary people start experiencing miracles on a regular basis? Most people believe that if God still works miracles, He only works through a select group of people. The truth is, you were created to help people in need experience personal miracles. You were created to cooperate with God to accomplish His work by His power. In this book, you will discover that all God needs for a miracle mission is a willing servant. No special credentials required."

When I read this on the inside of the jacket cover, I was a little intrigued and apprehensive. Working miracles for God seemed so far out of my league. Why would God use someone like me? While I was reading the book, my question changed to "why wouldn't God use someone like me?" I was also apprehensive because, at first, it sounded like some sort of "medicine doctor" type book. You know, they make this big claim but there is no follow-through or the results are not what you were told they would be. After reading the whole thing, I realized this was not the case. Bruce lays out the steps with examples and explanations in an easy to follow manner. The stories include Bruce's own experiences along with other people who have followed God's leading.

I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to experience more of God and to be used exponentially by Him.

If you are interested in purchasing this book or would like more information, you can go to or here. You can also view this video that was created about this book.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Up and Down Kind of Day

Today has been one of those up and down kind of days.

***It's Dick's 70th birthday today (as mentioned in my earlier post). YEAH!!

***We are remembering the events of 9/11/01 (also mentioned in my earlier post). Ooohhh!

***I got a lot of errands done and phone calls made this morning. The best part is I saved $14.60 in coupons today while doing a little grocery shopping!!! BIG YEAH!!!

***Right after Andrew and I got home this afternoon, Mike's Aunt LaNell called. His grandmother, Pernell, (his mother's mom) passed away around 11:30 CST today. She had been sick with dementia for a very long time now. She was 86 years old. Big OOOOHHHH!

***Hannah's school is having a Back To School Bash tonight and we are going for a little while. YEAH!

***My semi-new glasses have a scratch right in my line of sight. The eye doctor's office said they are still under warranty so it shouldn't cost anything to replace the lens. Oh! and YEAH!

We are to thank God for everything that happens in our lives: good and bad. Thank you God for all You do for us, giving us an opportunity to learn and praise You when things don't go the right way. Thank You also for giving us the opportunity for the good and pleasant things of our lives that come from You! AMEN!!

Happy Birthday Dick / Liberty Day

Today is my father-in-law's birthday!! Happy Birthday Dick!!! Hope you enjoy many, many more!!!

Today is also the day we remember the events that happened in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. Our prayers go out for the families of the victims and to the rest of the nation.

9/11 brings back so many memories and emotions. I was in my car at school headed to the library to study and wait for my next class when I heard the news. At first I thought it was a joke, like the "War of the Worlds" broadcast in the 40s/50s. You know, the one Orson Wells did that cause such calamity. Then, when reality hit, all I could think about was getting to Hannah (she was almost 8 months old and was at the babysitters) and calling Mike and my mom. My heart goes out to all our military, police officers, firefighters, and their families.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fear and God

Today, in our study of Esther, Beth Moore spoke about Esther's contemplation of going to the king without his asking for her and facing certain death. In our workbook there was a fill-in-the-blank section. It read, "Facing any fear. And if ____________, then _________." Instead of listing in the first blank the fear we are facing now that, if it actually occurred would send us over the edge, we are to leave it blank. If the enemy (Satan) knows what we fear, he will keep torturing us with the thought of it occurring. But, if we give our fears to God, He will be there with us if (and/or when) we actually face it. Here are some quotes from the video:

"Can you imagine living without fear? We can break free of our fear."
"My faith should not be conditional. We need to trust God no matter what happens. God is good and faithful."
"You may be one brave decision away from an important step in your destiny."
"My God will be faithful to me."
"We will never know abundant life if we are in the grip of the fear of death."
"Are we going to die a thousand deaths (fearing death) in fear of the one (actually dying)?"
"Courage is not the absence of fear but that something is more important than fear."
"Death is not our final destination. It is a part of our destiny."

So, in the blank above, we should all put, "And if whatever, then GOD!!!" My God will take care of me. God is bigger than whatever it is we fear. 1 John 4:18 says "Perfect love casts out fear." Since He carries us in the palm of His hand, why should I fear? Even if I was to die, I am going to live forever in Heaven with the glory of God. Life here is temporal; life in heaven is eternal.

If you don't know, or aren't sure, if you are going to heaven to live with Jesus, please let me know. You can know for certain where you will go when you die. I hope to see you there one day (just, hopefully, not anytime soon).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Van and Bathroom Pics

While we were on our trip, we had a little trouble with the van. When we were getting ready to leave for home, the van didn't want to start right up like usual. Instead, it sounded like the battery was low after someone left an interior light on. I checked all the switches but everything was turned off. On the second try, it started right up. We had trouble again when we stopped for gas. But, it started back up on the second or third try. The rest of the trip was uneventful, thank goodness. This same thing had happened once before we left but I thought one of the kids had forgot to shut their door all the way or left an interior light on.

Yesterday, the van was slow starting but was soon running like a dream. When Andrew and I left the Board Meeting at church, the only sound I heard was a click-click-click. Oh, great!! I went over my checklist - all the lights were off and the doors were all shut. Tried the ignition again - click-click-click. Great!! I'm thinking it was either the starter, alternator, or battery. It finally started on the third try so I started home. Afraid that once I shut it off it wouldn't start again, I picked up something for Andrew and me to eat through a drive-thru and headed straight for Nathan's school. We arrived at 12:30 p.m. and left the car running. Nathan got out at 2:20 then we headed to Hannah's school to repeat the process. As soon as she got in the car, we headed to get Will. I finally shut the van off at 3:30 when we got home. Mike got home early and we went to Auto Zone. The technician there said the battery was extremely low. After soccer practice, I dropped off Mike at Walmart while the kids and I went to Chick-fil-a to get a bite to eat and to leave the van running (we had trouble getting it started after soccer practice). Mike changed out the batteries. Good thing he did because it was leaking battery acid. Now, it runs like a dream. It's nice not having to worry about getting stuck somewhere.

Now - for the BIG REVEAL!!!
Our Master Bathroom is done!!!

This is our bathroom closet.
Look at the beautiful floor and walls!!

Isn't it nice and neat?
Our bathroom sink and toilet area

Another look at our sink

The far bathroom wall (before pictures)

The far bathroom wall (after pictures)

The bathtub area

The bathroom window
Didn't Mike do a great job?! It is a big change from the pink paisley wallpaper and tan carpet. It has taken a little time to get use to it but we love it.