Monday, December 27, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Merry Monday after Christmas morning!! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday. We had a great day - I think this may have been our nicest Christmas since Tyler died. Nothing dramatic or miraculous but such a nice day with my family here....that we shared with friends....that included good food:), plenty of laughs and simple joy. I really am beginning to believe that being sick and not feeling well for the most of December may have even been a blessing in disguise. I was forced to simply "let it go"....many times over! This is something that does not come easy for me - but I had no choice. I was able to focus on what was truly important to me - and to my family.

Yes, God blessed our day together. I pray that yours was as well. I would love to hear about your day - and to know what your holiday menu consisted of. I use this blog for reference and next year...when my mind is a total blank...I would love some great ideas to look back to for inspiration. I had the hardest time coming up with ideas this year. I wanted a simple menu that could be set out buffet style and would "hold up" for awhile so guests could graze throughout the day. I ended up putting together a buffet around BBQ sliders (which were delicious!) and a Pampered Chef sandwhich ring stand-by recipe that was a huge hit. Both were yummy but nothing special. So, always looking for good ideas.

And, don't forget to let me know what your special gift was this year:) I was spoiled - again - but I really love my Willow Tree nativity. I have wanted one for quite awhile and I love it! Its a shame really that it is almost time to put away the Christmas decorations. In fact, I just might leave this out for a bit.

Looking forward to visiting your blogs - and hearing about your Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not Another Whiney Post - Finally

MONDAY.....yeah, always a favorite!! And this one is especially nice:) Jordan is here!! That boy (yes, he is a man but always my boy!) just makes my heart happy! We spent the morning finishing my shopping. Done. Woo Hoo. We also have a tree now. All the presents that had to be mailed are gone - and some have even arrived already! Love it. We have a refrigerator full of food and even clean bathrooms. I would say things are shaping up rather nicely.

I continue to have side effects from the flu or virus or medicine or WHATEVER!! I have another appointment this week and hopefully can get some relief. But Chirstmas is almost here and we are ready!! I hope this week is a wonderful time of the year for all of you as well. And thanks so much for all the congratulations on our grandson:) Our daughter is thinking of including "Tyler" in his name - how precious is that!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

And a Bit More News....

Yes, I did say there was more big news and I do apologize for not getting a post done sooner. (I am still having a lot of side effects from being sick, the medicine, or SOMETHING...and typing is so difficult.) But, I couldn't wait any longer.....

A few of you noticed on my list of blessings that we are expecting our second grandchild!! That's right....this sweet princess is going to be a big sister:)

And - found out this week - its a baby brother!! How exciting:) Sure hope I can start posting regularly again soon...I'm sure there are lots of fun times ahead as we get ready for a boy!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Latest News

My, sweet blog friends truly do know how to make a girl feel better!! I so appreciate everyone's kind words - and the great suggestions for working out the next couple weeks before Christmas. You truly did have some great ideas:)

I'm off to work this afternoon - and spent most of the morning wrapping and boxing those gifts that have to be well as another surprise that I can't share yet (wouldn't want to spoil the fun if a certain someone read this post!) But did want to share one "little" thing....

That's right - my sweet airman is headed home and we will pick him up at the airport on Saturday! I think it will be a perfect Christmas - no matter what gets done or not done!! Oh my, I am excited.
Sure hope to get around to everyone's blogs tonight when I get home. I want to see what you have all been up to lately. Blog friends are some of the best! Oh, and one more thing - more "NEWS" tomorrow!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How Do You Know??

So, just how do you know? Know, without a doubt, you have the flu. (This one I have authority to answer....) You have the flu if you have one, two or ALL of the following symptoms. And if you have them for more than five days, you have it bad.

**body-wrecking chills followed by drenching sweats - this pattern repeats itselfs every hour or so
**muscle aches so severe that lifting your head to rollover in bed is literally painful
**utter weakness and inability to wake up for days at a time
**feeling of complete misery

How do you know that your life really stinks?? When you are able to drag out of bed in order to beg your doctor for relief and she actually prescribes a flu medicine - to which you have a severe allergic reaction! Really now. The symptoms for the reaction are almost as pitiful as the above listed symptoms.

How do you know when you are really so far behind it might be impossible to catch up at this point? Lets see.
**you might not even have a tree up yet
**you have not baked a crumb, addressed one card, or yet wrapped one gift
**oh please, I cannot make myself go on!

How do you know what to let go?? and what has to happen in order for Christmas to feel right? Now, that really is the question. When I have that figured out, I will be sure to let you know. But it is certain that something will have to give. Because, oh yes, I have one more question.

How do you know that you just aren't as young as you used to be (there are several answers here) but this week - it is taking so incredibly long to "bounce back" from being ill, I'm beginning to forget what "normal" even feels like and I know FOR SURE this old gray mare ain't what she used to be!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

An "Out of the Box" Thanksgiving

Happy Monday morning - and the beginning of that five week "fast" until Christmas! Well, maybe not. But I do hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and gained, at least, a pound to show for all the effort that went into those meals!

We did something totally different this year - and it worked! I had struggled and struggled with trying to create new traditions...or, at least, trying to do things a bit differently. Without Tyler here - and Jordan not even being able to come home - things are NOT the same and we needed a change. But I had a hard time giving myself permission to "not follow the rules." We didn't even have turkey, folks! But, I must admit, it was a great day.

Reflecting back, we all agreed it was a really good Thanksgiving. Hubbie does not like turkey. Never has. (That's a bummer because I love turkey and we could have it a lot more than once a year....) My daughter is a vegetarian and so, you can begin to see how the traditional turkey feast really was not what everyone was wanting.

But we do love breakfast. And breakfast carbs:) So we started our day with brunch...and homemade belgian waffles!

Not just any belgian waffles I have to say.....these were topped with vanilla bean Hagen Daas ice cream, hot apples, just a drip of syrup and whipped cream! If you're thinking ice cream on waffles (like I did at first), then you haven't tried it! It was devine. Thanks to Kristine for the suggestion - AND for the waffle iron. (so have to get one of those!)

With our bellies full....we all sorta felt like this!! (and, yes, her head is burning hot but she is in bliss - what a goof!!)
Once we all aroused from carb-induced stupor, we headed to the mountains for hiking. All week long, those nay-sayer weathermen had threatened showers for Thanksgiving, but they were wrong. It was a perfect day for hiking. We used to hike alot when the kids were small but it has been awhile and, truly, we all had forgotten how much we enjoyed it.
Don't get me wrong....we are not hard-core climbers by any means. Much more wanderers in the woods - but we love it. And so do the pups - even the little one:)
Obviously, posing with the little guy is alot easier than trying to coax the big one to "Come here. Sit. Stay. Smile."

The views and landscapes were beautiful. Probably can't appreciate that with my photos but take my word for it.

You could see for miles down into the valley.......................

Yes, the pups are little spoiled!

The best part was simply being together. I love you guys.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Wishes to You....

Dear sweet friends..and those few random family members who read, too....:)

I hope each of you have a beautiful week with your own families and friends. These holidays are as unique and individual as each of us but, however, you spend your Thanksgiving, I pray that it is a blessing to you. As well, I pray that we will each make the time to truly reflect on all God's goodness to us - and to purposefully thank Him.

I pray that those who will have very special loved ones missing around the dinner table this Thursday that your heart will be encouraged and that God will give you extra grace. Those empty seats can be painful...but God's grace is sufficient even on these days.

And for those serving our country and protecting our freedoms, I pray each of you know that we at home are grateful - and we thank you - and hope that your Thanksgiving will be blessed as well.

Bloggy friends - take lots of great pictures! - and I will look forward to hearing all about your Thanksgiving fun, blessings and blunders:) next week! Each one of you are a special blessing to me.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Pasts

Friday's Favorite Five.....

and, this week, five of my favorite Thanksgiving memories -

1 - Road trips to Aunt Daisy and Uncle Rob's house each year as a little girl. They lived in Charlotte, just like all of my mom's family did, and each Thanksgiving we would pack up and head south. The cookin' was a southern as their accents....and I loved 'em both! Aunt Daisy's house was not very big but we could pack it full of family. The best part was having a "kids' table" which was in a totally separate room from the adults. We were cool for sure. And, usually, Uncle Rob sat with the kids because he was totally cool.

2 - Aunt Wilma's Feather Biscuits. Truly, there are no descriptive words adequte enough.

3 - Thanksgiving 1989. One of the very rare Thanksgivings that we did not spend with my parents. It was just Hubbie, me and sweet little Em (she was just one). We had planned to visit some seniors in the nursing home...just walking around, visiting. What we didn't plan on was SNOW that year. For Thanksgiving! We bundled Miss Em in her little pink snowsuit and headed out. She was adorable and the hit of the day at the nursing home. And the snow was perfect.

4 - Lunch at the Marriott. For several years, before Tyler died, we always went out to dinner for Thanksgiving. We went to the Marriott and it was grand. We always had a group and everyone would dress in their holiday finery and the whole experience was wonderful. The grand piano in the atrium. The enormous and seemingly endless buffett of fantastic food. The hours gathered around the table with family and friends. Even the obligatory family photo...complimentary in the lobby.

5. I tried to find a couple of those family photos - but no luck on short notice. Then, I was hunting for the adorable ones of Emily in that pink snow suit. Of course, no luck. However, I did come across this (rare) family shot of my parents, my brother and me. There really are not too many of these type shots - taken once we were adults. So, although it has nothing to do with is my fifth favorite five.

This was taken October 1989 (a month before the snowy Thanksgiving) and again in Charlotte:) I am pregnant with my Jordan. And my brother, mom and dad look perfect. I want this snapshot "stuck" in my memory!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

God, Mold Me

Its Thankful Thursday! Not a usual thankful post for me as I am keeping a running list on my sidebar this month. I know several who are keeping up with this "challenge" for the month of November....aren't you enjoying it? It really is good to purposefully list out our blessings each day. I'll admit some days the devil really wants me to think I'm having a "no blessing today" type of day - but he is wrong! God is always good.

Now I'm just wondering if it would too silly to list "peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes" as a blessing:) Seems several of you have already discovered this yumminess. If you haven't...what are you waiting for??

I did have a thought today. Recently I viewed a video from Florence Littauer - quite the humorous lady! - about her "silver boxes" or encouraging words. I have actually read the book and when the video began, I was somewhat disappointed thinking that I had already heard this. Oh my...there was so much more. She shared much of "her story" and some of the paths and journeys that God has taken her through - especially as a mother. I won't give it away here (but it is well worth reading) but there have, indeed, been some very difficult trials and valleys for this lady. I do not remember any of this from reading the book - but, my, what a new perspective and respect you have for a speaker after you hear their story.

And I have begun to notice something. Speaker, writers and other "well-known" Christians that I enjoy and admire - and I think are really leaving an impact and influence on others - all seem to have some very difficult days and years in their testimonies. Do I think that you have to have suffered deeply or endured tragedy in order to be used by God? No. But I am coming to believe that very often it is in those deep valleys that God can most effectively mold us and grow us into more - even the most - effective servants for Him.

Looking back over the most difficult times in my life...and in preparation for those times that may lie ahead, perhaps I need to be asking "why me?" or "why this?" alot less and crying out, "God, use even this" much more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lucky Me

So, what is the only thing better than going to lunch at Chick-Fil-A with your sweetie??

Going to Chick-Fil-A with your sweetie...and they are giving out samples of their holiday Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshakes!! And I'm talkin' a junior size cup as a sample!!

It was devine. Lunch with Hubbie - AND the milkshake!!:)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stand Firm

Tuesday morning and that means Bible study! Always a great way to start the week..or, at least, keep Monday's momentum going:) Just wanted to share a quote I read a few days ago that has been with me ever since. It is from Charles Stanley's In Touch magazine - a monthly devotional that has been a tremedous blessing to me.

With regard to the daily spiritual battle that each of us who claim to be Christians is involved in, Dr. Stanley writes, "Victory demands more than floating through each day." Oh my. Each morning I must purpose to fight my flesh and stand firm against the devil and all that he hopes to use in order to defeat me. And then throughout the day, I have to walk close with my savior in order to be victorious.

Every day is a new day. And a new battle. But God's mercies are new every morning as well and victory can be mine. Stay in the fight, my friends.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Planning for the Ladies' Trip

Outside my window...yet another beautiful day!! Really this fall has been gorgeous. I think I am getting lulled into thinking this could actually last. Yeah right. I sure would be thrilled if the nasty weather could hold off for at least another three weeks - the first weekend in December is our annual Ladies Day Out Christmas Shopping Trip. Last year, we returned home to our cars covered in inches of snow - picturesque maybe but not alot of fun while cleaning off parking spots and de-icing cars in order to get home. I'm praying for nice weather this year:)

I am thinking...about the final preparations that need to be made for the day trip. I really enjoy this part of the planning - just so I don't overlook anything!

I am thankful for....a fun day with a girlfriend on Friday. We went to check out restaurants for the shopping trip. Oh, the sacrifices I make:)

I am wearing....RED! I am enthusiastic about that because it is not black and white. I have to wear any combination of black and white to work and lately I'm feeling that is all I wear. Even all those white shirts are beginning to get old:) Gasp.

I am remembering...some silly memories of Tyler. Sometimes I don't know where these memories come from - but we were out to dinner the other night. Nothing fancy or super special. We were at TGIFs and Hubbie and I both remembered (almost at the same time) how much Ty used to love the ribs there. That boy just loved ribs (which, by the way, he totally did NOT get from his mother...gross!). Then we (enjoyed) remembering a vacation to Charleston and Tyler wanting to order a full rack of ribs. We tried to talk him out of it - he was just a skinny little guy...but, apparently, with a hollow leg. He ordered them and ate the entire plate. Again - gross. But he LOVED it!! Not only the ribs but the fact that he could eat with the big dogs:) Its a guy thing, I guess.

I am Costco - woo hoo. I don't have a membership to any of the warehouse stores. I did at one time but emptying out the nest totally changes your need to buy in bulk. Today I am shopping for the ladies' trip. Totally fun.

I am lists and ideas. Its that time.

I am put a serious dent in my Christmas shopping this week.

On my mind...several senior ladies at church who are seriously ill and/or hurting. They need much prayer - and comforting from the Holy Spirit. One had a fall and has several broken bones. Another has a serious mass in her abdomen that cannot be treated. She is 95 and quite ready to move on to Heaven but she is in a lot of pain and, of course, her family is hurting.

From the kitchen...nothing exciting. Poor Hubbie.

Around the house....I put out some Thanksgiving things. They look cute - all the little pilgrims:)

Plans for the week....Christmas shopping, I suppose, if I want to make that dent in my list!

One of my favorite things....a Hoops and YoYo card that I bought a friend for Thanksgiving. She is a huge Hoops and YoYo fan. I, on the other hand, can only take small doses but this card is a HOOT! One line..."we're so thankful that....we're all getting fat!" (Ok, so its funnier if you hear them singing it!) :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

To Sweeten Your Weekend

I hope everyone had a great Veteran's Day.....maybe enjoyed some time with hubbies or others that might have been off from school or work:) I actually worked but Hubbie was off and was able to not only get the van serviced (boring and glad I didn't have to do that chore!) but also to spend some time with a friend - something he rarely can do. So, it was all good:)

I did do a little baking when I got home last night...and, I have to admit the pan is already half empty this morning (and no it was not all me!!) These bars are a keeper - and they are made with Splenda...woo hoo!! Make some this weekend - and have a sweet one!!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars (see they even sound yummy!)

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 chup Splenda brown sugar blend
1/2 cup Splenda sugar blend, divided
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup light margarine (totally used butter)
8 ounce block fat free cream cheese
3 eggs
15 ounce can pumpkin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 13X9 pan with foil and spray with PAM.
2. Combine flour, brown sugar, half of the white sugar blend, and oats. (Can also include 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans here but I did not have any and it was fine either way.) Cut in butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly.
3. Press all but one cup of crust mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
5. Beat cream cheese, eggs, remaining white sugar blend, pumpkin and spice until well blended.
6. Pour cream cheese/pumpkin mixture over the pre-baked crust and sprinkle with the remaining one cup of crust mixture and the chocolate chips.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until set. Cool and lift from pan with foil to cut into bars.

I enjoyed mine with a nice serving of whipped cream. Naturally:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You to the American Soldier

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Boys

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday. I'm going with "almost" because I can never seem to share a picture without saying at least something! Ha. Anyway, this is a recent photo of my nephews...who not only are getting way too big but also recently moved to California. One of the cool things about moving is taking weekend trips to really cool places.

Like San Francisco!!

Apparently when you turn eight, it is no longer cool to smile when being photographed. Just ask a ten year old, and you will get the scoop. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Enough Already

Tuesday, again. And off to Bible study which is always a great way to start the week....ok, one day short but you get the idea. Its been a whole week since election day. I was thinking about last week's elections.....and, then, how the craziness has already started. Newly elected representatives all declaring they know exactly what "the people" want; but the only ideas I ever really hear these polictians support are very vague thoughts that are basically "anything opposite of what he supports"!

Around our town, there has often been a favorite saying among our avid football fans. "I cheer for the Redskins and any team playing Dallas!" I don't really know why we cling to this tradition of rivalry with the Cowboys and I don't suppose any of those die-hard fans do either but it is what it is. And that type of cheering is fun - and funny! - with football, but the leaders of our country have to have more of an agenda than simply "against whatever the other party stands for." The constant finger pointing, name calling and incessant effort to only undue what has been done (without a solution to replace it) is not fun, funny or even effective.

And that is my soapbox for today:) Let's be diligent to pray for our leaders...the newly elected ones and all the others in office as well. One side note - one candidate here locally that I was so hoping to see get elected...lost. By five hundred votes. Hundreds of thousands of votes and he loses by five hundred. That is like training for months to run the Marine Corps Marathon, running your heart out...and losing by 22 seconds. Ugh. That hurts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Heavenly Sunlight

My Simple Woman's Daybook: November 8, 2010

Outside my is sunny, and clear and cool. It is supposed to warm up nicely today - the makings of a perfect fall day.

I am much I enjoy all the windows in this new house. Our previous house was an "inside unit" townhouse and although we never thought it seemed dark or lacking in sunlight - little did we know how glorious morning sunlight pouring in from all sides really was!! Just one more reason to LOVE the morning!

I am thankful for....the sweet friends I have made while blogging. I was so touched by sweet comments, and even email, from many friends last week when I was MIA:) and unable to find time to blog. Most of you I have never met in person, and probably never least not this side of eternity:)....but you are friends, nonetheless - encouragers along the way!! I am blessed to have "met" all of you.

I am snugging feels so good in the mornings (especially these cool ones)!

I am remembering....Thanksgivings from years past. So many great memories....both as a little girl and then the years when my own children were the little ones! How quickly time goes by. I pray that Erica is finding wonderful ways to begin traditions with Miss Riley.

I am get my haircut tomorrow - and not a minute too soon! And hopefully Mr. Rascal will get one as well (just not at the same salon)!!

I am reading....Life:Beautiful magazine. I really do enjoy this magazine.

I am create new traditions for the upcoming holidays. Not as easy as it seems it should be - any hints???

On my mind....several very serious, and rather urgent, prayer requests. My heart is so heavy - but I am remembering what a "big" God we serve.

From the kitchen....we have made banana bread and pumpkin spice cookies lately and will be making pumkin bread today. And I wonder what's up with my diet??

Around the house....dust. Again. And we are tackling the windows this week - let that sunshine really shine in!! And then I might break into song..."Heavenly Sunlight..Heavenly Sunlight. Flooding my soul with glory divine." (pretend I didn't just squeak out that high note there!)

Plans for the week....could it actually be a quiet week?? That would be nice:) Maybe - just maybe! - I can get some more of the cruise pictures posted!

One of my favorite calls with Jordan!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thanks for Checking on Me.....

Better late than never..I guess. It has been almost an entire week since I last posted and I thought I'd simply wait until next week for a new post - but, I just can't help myself. I miss my blogging friends and I miss "keeping updated"! A bit back, I started a part-time job...just a few hours a week and just to keep me busy. It has been awhile since I have been working and I must say the paychecks are fun:) They support my HomeGoods habit...but those few hours a week have really thrown me for a loop as far as getting into a new routine - and my time on the computer as really taken a back seat. I am still working on the details of a new routine - I THRIVE on schedule - but I totally indeed to be blogging regularly. I have enjoyed visiting my friends this evening and catching up:)

I noticed a couple friends have running lists of blessings building on their sidebars for the month of November.....and I had planned to do something similar. I know I'm behind but I think I will catch up and join in. So much to be grateful for...and the perfect month to purpose our hearts to do so. (Now, let's see if I can get it added to the sidebar....)

Happy first week of November, friends. Hope your "thankful month" is off to a beautiful beginning:)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Election Day is Tuesday

A bit of a different type of Thankful Thursday for me but I really had to "say" something and, I suppose, incorporating my thoughts...and a thankful post is the nicest way to do it:) I am thankful to be an American and for America. I am thankful for its heritage and rich history of a country founded on Christian principles. I am so thankful for the freedoms that being an American allows me.

I must admit photos like this one..........

not only anger me, but they also sadden me. But I also want them to remind me of several things. One: there is a real need to pray for our country and its leaders. We simply cannot assume that our country will always be the great country that it has been or that our freedoms cannot be stripped away from us. We also need to pray for those defending our country and its freedoms every day. For a real "commentary" on this photo...check out this cartoon at this blog. Two: it is not only a priviledge but a tremendous responsiblity to vote - and to vote in all elections...not just "the big ones." And we need to vote informed. Know the issues and know the candidates and don't simply be carried by public opinion, tv ads or the biggest signs on the side of the highway. Three: God gives specific promises to those who will humble themselves and pray for their country. Amen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Hate My Big Feet:)

Let's face it....when it comes to first impressions - they really do count and....we all form them. I don't really think that is necessarily being judgmental. When we simply assume our first impression is all there is and we are unwilling to look beyond - or to have our first impressions altered - that is more of a problem. But, we really do need to be careful with first impressions - not only the ones we form, but also the ones we are making ourselves.

I liked the comments yesterday - so many of you noticing others' smiles...and teeth!...and their hair. And I am right there with you. I notice them both and cute hair (at least, well kept hair) and a pretty smile do say volumes!! But, in response to the survey I heard yesterday - forty percent of women said they made first impressions based on someone's.....SHOES!

HA - and funny, because I have to admit I would be guilty of this, too! Shoes are those "extra details" that really do make a difference! Not only do the condition of your shoes say alot but, I think, the style of shoe you are wearing suggests a whole lot about you, too - well, especially girls. Stilettos....steel-toe boots, track shoes, Mary Janes, etc. They, often, give a very accurate hint as to someone's personality before they have ever even told you their name.

And having said that - please don't judge me by my shoes because my shoe wardrobe is pathetic and really rather hideous. I acknowledge this and I am trying to "revamp...revitalize...and replace" the whole collection...but shopping for shoes when your feet are as big (and wide) as mine is not easy. It is a painful, painful chore. But I'm working on it and if those forty percent of women out there judging me by my shoes will just be patient with me.......I would be ever so grateful.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Plan Now For Friday with Friends

I can honestly say I always find it hardest on Tuesdays to "post"....I'm off to Bible study first thing in the morning and time always seems to get away from me before I get to the computer. Yes, I know I can post the night before - but that doesn't seem to happen too often, either. I did get up early enough to make the most amazing dessert (Caramel Apple Crisp!!) I found on a blog - somewhere! -to take to Bible study for our "mid-semester munch." This is definitely a keeper and I will keep trying to find it again so I can share it with my friends:)

So, just two quick things: I have really encouraged - and convicted - by Debbie's recent posts and have so enjoyed reading her testimony. She invited readers to share their testimony, as well, and link back to her post. With that in mind, I plan to share my salvation experience on Friday...and what a great idea for Friday with Friends. I would love to hear about your faith...and when you became a Christian. It doesn't need to be long or fancy..or intimidating, if this is something new for you. Simply share your story. I would love to read everyone's. So, that is our topic for this week's Friday with Friend.

And...a teaser, of sorts. Forty percent of women surveyed, said they make/form a first impression on others (especially other women) based on....what?? A specific answer. So, what do you think it is??? And how would you answer that question for yourself??

I'll give you the answer tomorrow - have a beautiful Tuesday!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Back to Front Royal for my Treasure

Well, how was your weekend? It was a beautiful weekend around here. The leaves have seemed to change colors literally overnight....and bright yellow, orange and red trees color the yards and line the roads. I love it.

And this time of year seems to bring people "out and about"....lots of people and lots of energy. I always enjoy it. And we did our share of "out and about" this weekend, as well.

We headed back to Front Royal on Friday - just Hubbie and I - and had a wonderful day together. We enjoyed walking up and down the sidewalks - although I did not remember to bring a jacket and it was just a bit nippy for me....perfect reason to duck into another shop.

The shops were a lot of fun - with such cute things, but we really enjoyed talking with the shopowners. Hubbie really enjoys this part and, this day, there were plenty of folks in the mood to chat:) Really...its the weather! It just has that effect of folks:)

Every corner was filled with fun things to look at...browse through - and buy:)

And, of course, when we go anywhere, there is always the "need" to take pictures (just for the blog, you know!) And with the trees in all their splendor - well, who could resist. This is not Hubbie's favorite part but he will play the game...for just a bit:)

Ok - so his smile looks totally fake...but he is at least trying, right? And looking right into the sun!! And that latte he is drinking....the best coffee we have had in quite awhile! Amazing how yummy coffee can really taste when it is brewed fresh. I'm just saying.

Did you guess why we needed to drive back up to Front Royal in the first place?? To pick up my treasure that I had purchased the day before....
Tables for my living room!! Oh, I have been wanting these since....well, since we moved in but either could not find ones that I liked or could not afford the ones I did like. And then.....we found these! I say "we" but it was actually my girlfriends who had gone ahead to another shop. When I and the rest of the group caught up with them, they were giddy with excitment and couldn't wait to show me "the perfect tables"!!
And, well - I was as giddy as they were. Giddy?? Exactly what does that mean?

Not only a coffe table but its matching end table to boot! The tops - outside the glass - are leather. How cool is that?? I think it gives them a lot of charachter. Not only were they in perfect condition but they were a steal - ok, not literally but you get the idea.
And we found them in a thrift store that supports the local hospice - which I am thrilled to support....such wonderful people doing a precious work - hospice workers.
Now I can begin the hunt for the right things - or thing - to put on the table. Those three pictures were from a table that moved out......and I'm not really liking them there. Oh, and some curtains, a picture above the love seat....and the cutest piece of furniture I have picked out for under the window! But it is definitely coming together:)
And did Hubbie have a Banana Bob for lunch? Uh, not quite. He passed the cute coffee shop for lunch and found a diner (honestly, I don't even remember it from the day before) with its daily special of "chopped steak and mashed potatoes with gravy"! He was a happy man.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Front Royal

Fall is in the air:) Yesterday was my once a month ladies' day out with a fun group of friends! I so look forward to these days - we also have so much fun together and always seem to find our way to some of the neatest places. Yesterday we ventured towards the mountains - to the quaint town of Front Royal. I've lived here pert near all my life. I've been passed, through, and around Front Royal many times (usually on the way to the mountains) but had never been downtown - a genuine Main Street, USA.

What a pleasant day! Main Street was lined with the cutest collection of antique stores, thrift shops and other ecletic shops filled with bargains and treasures just waiting to be discovered!

There were fourteen of us in yesterday's group and I really think just about everyone of us found at least one treasure! It was a great shopping day:) And we found a yummy coffee/sandwich shop and had a really good lunch. I'll give you two guesses as to what kind of sandwich I had??

The Banana Bob! Yep, bananas, peanut butter, honey and granola on whole wheat! So delicious - and wouldn't my mama be proud. She made a mean banana sandwich...I can attest to that. We weren't so fancy as to have granola on ours...just bananas and peanut butter (and a bit of mayo...I know, I know, but it was the perfect match with the peanut butter!) and you had one delicious sandwich!!

Years later, I tried these on my kids.....and, uh, NO. What can you do??

So, yes, I did find a great treasure myself! I came home as tickled as if it were Christmas morning:) Can't tell you what it was 'cause I don't have pictures yet. Actually, it was a set and I could only get half of it home yesterday. I was so excited to even get one part in the van yesterday. The fun thing, though - Hubbie and I are headed back this morning to get the other half. He has never been there, either, and I know he will enjoy it as much as I did.

I wonder if he will be up for a Banana Bob for lunch?? I'll let you know:)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shuttle Roll-Out

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - my daughter shared this photo....taken by a friend of my SIL who stills works at Kennedy (where he used to work)! From last month's roll-out....

Such a cool picture -

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Afternoon Laugh

Already Tuesday afternoon, and I have not made (or found) time for blogging...or, at least, posting! I do manage to read:) because I really do enjoy is my computer that I have a love/hate relationship with....and with that thought in mind, here is just a quick something to make you laugh - at least, it did me!

The story goes that during a computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and said, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon." In response to these comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1 - For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash....twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for not reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason, you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replace by a single "This Car Has Performed an Illegal Operation' warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You would press the Start button to turn the engine off:)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Signs of Fall - at Your House and Mine

Welcome to Friday with Friends! We are sharing pictures of our fall decorations and I have been looking forward to this share all week! There is so much creativity and inspiration out there and all the pumpkins, scarecrows, leaves and hay:) just make me feel happy! I hope lots of you will link up with today....

There is just something about that orange - and don't you just think this about the cutest orange-wearing cuties you have seen in a long time?? Surely, it can't just be me.......

So, I guess we weren't talking that kind of orange...exactly. (But, like any self-respecting Mimi...I did find a way to work it in!!) But, I think this post was more for house decorations - so........

Come On In .....and Welcome!!

HA - as I'm posting this, I am just for the first time noticing the tag still hanging there! What a goof:) I picked this sign up a bit back at Home Goods:) and just was not sure what do to with it. It did not work on the front door so I sorta "stuck" it there by the entry table, thinking I might move it later. Yes, it is still there but apparently I never went back to take a closer look.

I can assure you as soon as I'm done at the computer....there will be no more tag. Oh brother.

The entry table can be seen from the front porch when the door is open - which it usually is - so I like to have something there that says "Welcome"!!

We do not celebrate Halloween at our house - Hubbie just will not play the game..ha! - but I do think this sweet Boyd's bear in his M&M costume is too cute!

I was definitely having trouble getting a shot of the you have two shots. Grrr. This is the first time I have ever had a mantle in the fall and I had fun adding some orange to our family room!

This is the centerpiece on my kitchen table. I've had this cornucopia for years - it even survived the move - but it always looks festive when I bring it out each year. Well, that's enough of my things. I hope you will join us and I promise to get by everyone's blogs this weekend....another weekend of craft fairs, pumpkin treats (think homemade pumpkin pie ice cream!), hay rides, homemade chili and great weather! Can't wait!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our God is an Awesome God

The next port we visited was my favorite! And I have a lot of pictures to prove it - so I thought I would give you a break from my trip photos (I hear the collective sigh of relief even from here!) Not to mention, today is Thankful Thursday! I really need these posts during the week to purposefully pause, be thankful and refocus.

I am so thankful to not only have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but also for all the ways I continually learn about his character personally. The Lord I love and so want to honor with my life is such a personal God - and I have been thinking a bit about that this week.

I am thankful that my God is not only the great physician but also the creator of the wonderful bodies we have. It seems every day, I hear of someone new who has been diagnosed with cancer. And, today, our friend is - right now - in the middle of surgery to receive a donor kidney from his sister to replace his failed kidneys. Amazing. Having been so personally impacted by cancer myself - in my own body and with my son - I know how dependent I am on the great physician for continued health and for healing when sickness occurs.

I am thankful that my God is our comforter. Yesterday, another friend buried her father. She is grieving - and I am well acquainted with grief...and well acquainted with the comfort and peace that is very real and accessible from my Lord. I am so thankful that we never have to go through the valley of grief alone.

I am thankful that my God is omnipresent. I totally do not grasp this concept but I know it is true. And while He is ever watching over me and walking with me, He is in Afghanistan. He is as real there with my son as He is here with each of us. Dumbfounding...but precious.

I am thankful that my God is a Heavenly father. As amazing and powerful and mighty...and worthy to be praised as the Lord is - He is also a tender Heavenly father that cares and loves someone like me! He delights to give me good gifts and He does! I am so blessed and though sometimes I am afraid it sounds trite, I thank Him for all His blessings and this good life He has given me.

I am so thankful to be a child of God.....I pray you have that personal relationship with Christ as well.

One last picture from Amsterdam. I just love the flowers - especially the ones lining the balcony on the right:) I will have to save my favorite port photos for next week....tomorrow is Friday with Friends. I really hope alot of you will share your fall decoration pictures. Inside..outside...anywhere, really. Let me know if you need help joining us. Looking forward to it. Have a great Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lots of Pictures - cruise day three!

Today on our browse through my cruise pictures, we are in our second port. Can you guess where that is?? Before I get started - just a reminder about Friday with Friends and sharing some photos of all those fantastic fall decorations and I have seen a lot of fantastic ones! Should have done this one earlier, I suppose, but if you have already posted some pictures, just link back to the post with the photos....its all good:) I just want to see all those scarecrows and pumpkins - they make me feel happy inside:)

Now - onto the photos. If you guessed Amsterdam - you are brilliant!! I have to warn you, there are a lot of pictures and if you don't want to look through all of won't offend me. Hey, I won't even know:) But I think I have so many here because I liked it so much!

I know that Amsterdam has quite the reputation for a variety of reasons; however, whatever its social "woes" may be, none of that impacted our visit. I was simply smitten by the beauty and true uniqueness of the city. The "vibe" of the city was healthy, fun and energetic.

It really was beautiful. A city known for its.....

Flowers......Canals.......and Bikes!

We took a bus tour, a canal tour and visited the home of Anne Frank while we were there. Our tour guide was really much interesting information and, truly, I can only remember a fourth of it. (Is it tacky to take a pen and pad and take notes on these tours?? Really, I need those notes once I get home!) So, I'm guessing this windmill is significant in some way other than just totally cool but I couldn't tell you. But it is cool - and was a stop on our bus tour.

Totally a tourist shot. Picture me - gawking out the window....Hubbie poking my ribs, "You gotta get a picture of that!"....and you get the idea. We both said we would like to revisit Amsterdam - perhaps this is the hotel he would like to take me to!

The houseboats are also very unique and very popular! How quaint are these?? I know..your first thought might be - I would love to live in one of those but let me tell you..they are SMALL. And, well, um - privacy.....non-exsistent! But they are super cute.

Maybe a better picture of the canals that weave through the city. How cool to take a boat taxi to work!

This picture I had to include simply for my uncle and his wife. Susan was my pre-cruise info director as she and my uncle have been to many of the ports we were visiting. They also used to own a home in Amsterdam and mentioned the street to me while we were talking - Herengract. Don't you know - we "drove" right by on our canal tour. Don't know which house was theirs....but the whole street was beautiful. Apparently the black house in the photo was to be the new president's house but he opted out because of his children. Children..historical homes?? You get the idea. (Susan, could the president have been your neighbor?? COOL)

I know you can't see anything....but it is Anne Frank's house. If you ever in the neighborhood, I would certainly recommend a visit here. The tour and information was great - and the story is simply amazing. We all throughly enjoyed it.

Hubbie having a great day...a great trip! Isn't he a hoot. And this next picture...just MIGHT be my friend. I know she really doesn't want all the notoriety but I just had to put one 'cause she is so stinkin' sweet! We had such a great time with our friends. And, btw, she doesn't read my if you happened to see her, DON'T TELL HER.

See what I mean? :)
And I said I would end with a favorite shot from each city. This was a outside a street cafe....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cruising - Day Two

So, I have some more pictures from the cruise and I just realized two things as I was uploading these photos - one: there are WAY too many of Hubbie and me! Tomorrow...much more of "the sights"!! And, two: my photography skills are worse than ever! Just bear with me.

I have included shots that show a bit of the ship, etc. - just for those who have never cruised before. It truly is a lot of fun:)

In our stateroom. Yes, they are tiny but more than adequate and the beds were wonderful! Notice mine - completely unmade....cause they have amazing service!!:) We were definitely spoiled in that respect.

Hubbie in our stateroom - remember, he takes me....I take him:) Yes, the luggage sorta piles wherever you can get it!

Our second day was a day at sea. I actually went to work out...ha! Only did that once but, hey, I can say I did work out on the cruise:) That night was our first formal night. Some folks like the formal...others, not so much. Hubbie and I really enjoy it. I just like seeing my sweetie in his tuxedo:)
See.....he's so handsome!!

I have absolutely no idea who those people are sitting at our table!?!?!?

After dinner, we would see a show, play some trivia or spend some time listening to the different bands...or all three! This Caribbean band was fantastic!!
And....a favorite photo from day two! (Tomorrow - Amsterdam!)