Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to My House

THANKFUL THURSDAY and "welcome" to my home! I certainly don't want to sound boastful, but this Thankful Thursday I want to thank the Lord (outloud) for our new home! I know I have mentioned it before - probably more than once since we moved in - but we feel so abundantly blessed in our new home!

When we moved in, it was cold and snowy and stay inside kind of weather....but with the beautiful spring and being outdoors, we are enjoying not only our home - but our yard, our neighbors and neighborhood even more!

Before we moved, Hubbie and I were what I called professional "house hunters"! We had a hobby of looking at homes and especially walking through model homes - still tons of fun!

I'll admit - I feel in love with just about all of them. I can't tell you how many times my heart told me, "this is the perfect house!" Thankfully (at least NOW I can thankfully) my much more practical hubbie was not so easily attached emotionally and he always seemed to notice "the negatives" of all those houses I found so perfect.

To say I would be disappointed - even angry:( at times - would be an understatement. But as honestly as I know to be...there came a point when I determined to be content with our townhouse and old neighborhood. I really began to believe we would stay there forever.

And, then God was able to bless (those ugly attitudes can really stand in the way of our blessings....)

We drove by this home one evening while looking for another house we had seen on the internet. It was love at first sight for both of us!!

We had not seen in on the listings because the sign had just gone in the yard that morning (just for us!!) We, of course, just wanted to take a peek - just for fun:) - and then the Lord literally opened every door....leading us as we bought, sold and moved!

It was beyond exciting!! And, honestly, every morning when we get up, Hubbie and I remark how much God has done for us, how happy we are living here, and how grateful we are......

So, that's why I thought I would share today - not boasting - just bragging on our wonderful Savior!

Now - our weekend highlights are trips to Lowes!, working in the yard and filling flower pots!!

A lot of the bushes and plants were already here...and we have really enjoyed the fruits of someone else's previous labors!! The azaleas have been beautiful. These gorgeous blooms always remind me of my granddaddy - his beds were FULL of these bushes and each spring his yard was ablaze with all their color!! He would be so thrilled that I have these few in my front yard:)

God truly is so good!!
I hope that each of you have beautiful, flower filled Thankful Thursday. And if you are ever in the area, the welcome sign is always out...and I would love for you to stop by for a tall glass of ice tea (and a sweet or two!!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Food and Music

I really enjoy living so close to the Nation's Capitol....there are so many fun things to enjoy. One evening last week, my girlfriend and I rode up to Old Towne Alexandria. (This was supposed to be a "double date" night but both of our hubbies had unexpected plans come it was a girl's night instead!)

The weather was perfection. The traffic was...well, heavy but nothing unusual. We got a primo parking space - without having to parallel. And I think I had the best pizza ever. I've said before I'm a "take it or leave it" gal when it comes to pizza but this was yummy. We ate at Bugsy's Pizza - apparently owned by a former NHL player. I don't know a thing about hockey but his restaurant sure is a hit!

After dinner, we headed over to the Torpedo Factory....totally cool place. It actually was once a torpodo factory - back in the early 1920s - and is now art center where local artists of all kinds rent spaces and are working, teaching classes, etc. that you can observe and talk to while they work. I certainly would not describe myself as artsy but the factory is a lot of fun. (Amazing some of the things that will sell for thousands of dollars?!?!)

That evening, inside the factory, there was a concert by the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own".....very informal, relaxing and a great music. I was expecting patriotic music but it was classical - and these guys did an awesome job.

This trio was fantastic - a flute, harp and violin. I also heard a marimba - which I had never even heard OF before...totally cool. Looked liked a huge xylophone and had a real Caribbean sound to it. But I have to admit, my favorite was the English horn. I had never heard one of those either but I loved it. A brass instrument that sounded like a wind instrument.:) Very pretty.

After dinner, we had some ice cream at Pops! Would an evening out with spring weather so perfect be complete without ice cream?? Also wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts regarding fasting....I intend to really look into this more. Perhaps I will share more as I learn. Did anyone notice the suggestion that fasting does not have to simply be from food but can various things......such as blogging!! WHAT?!?! :)just kidding And thank-you for all the prayers with regard to my scan - no results yet.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Looking back over the weekend:
We had another first at church - no, no one got ill this time...thank goodness. We had a special meeting entitled "Helping Hurting People" with John Bishop, a man with an incredible testimony and founder of the God is So Good ministries. His testimony is not only one of tremendous physical healing after meningitis almost killed him fourteen years ago but an amazing story of how God uses even the deepest trials in our lives for His glory - Mr. Bishop (and his wife) are living examples of what God can do if we will allow Him. To say it was a blessing to me would really be an understatement. His testimony really was amazing. You can learn about it here.

Some statements I will remember from this weekend:
"Happiness, according to the Bible, is knowing God's word and doing it." He is the author of a series of encouraging booklets called the Happy Series...and explained that happiness is not about happenings or happenstance.
"Are you gonna miss "that one" because you are mad at "this one"??" Referring to eternity.
"What God put in my life, He had a purpose for it." He explained that remembering God has a purpose can give us the motive to do what we do. And, Mr. Bishops' motto for the weekend - as well as his life -
"God is always good and God is always right."

And looking forward to my week ahead:
I have a CT scan this week - just a routine check and to get ready for my last round of maintenance treatments for my lymphoma. Yep, last round! YIPPEE. I have some shopping to do for our upcoming Mother's Day banquet. Oh, pity me...forced to do shopping. And then some house cleaning because that Miss Riley Roo arrives with her mommy on Thursday!! Then the real fun starts.
The weather is supposed to really nice. I hope we can spend a lot of time outside - PLAYING! Playing is pretty much what Riley does best right now:) The last time they were here, mounds of snow were everywhere but this is much more my kind of weather for having fun.
And this weekend, Erica and I are participating in a Race for the Cure for the brain tumor society. Ok, so one of us is "racing" (or running) and one of us is volunteering....I'll let you decide that one. Of course, the only chance for rain I saw in the forecast was for race day!! Oh boy.

So - much to look forward to....but, first I have to get this scan over. And I really don't like these scans - mainly because of the barium but I've complained about that enough before. I am fasting this morning and wanted to leave with a question. What do you know/believe/think about Biblical fasting...for spiritual reasons? I have always been intersted in this idea but I really don't understand a lot about it. Do you have any books you've read on the subject? Do you fast yourself? Just curious....let me know, if you are willing to share.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Foto Friday: Lovin' Those Little Feet

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Morgan and Books - Thankful Thursday

Tyler would have been a senior this year (hard to imagine)! And I knew this year was going to be tough and I have tried hard to protect my heart; however, these last couple months of school are so full of activity and events that I so miss seeing Tyler involved in that it has been hard - really hard. Not very long ago, while I was praying, I asked the Lord to please remind me that Tyler is still loved and remembered.....just something a mother needs to know. His answer to that specific prayer has been wonderful.

It was two days after that prayer that my friend - and mama to Tyler's best friend, Morgan - came to me and said, "You know about the book fair, right?" No, I didn't - but God had saved it just for when I needed it. She and Morgan have helped the senior class organize a book fair at our school and church in Tyler's memory. The funds raised will go toward our present library as well as our future, new library. Tyler's school, his friends and "little guys" for many years will benefit from this book fair. Not only would Tyler be thrilled but my mama's heart has been touched and soothed.

I have been helping out this week at the fair and each time I am there...and everytime we sell another book or take another order, I thank the Lord. I thank Him for answered prayer. I thank Him for Morgan, for Sharon (my friend), for his classmates, and for all the love that I have felt this week simply by so many people shopping at the book fair.

In fact, I'm on my way this morning to work the fair - its Grandparents Day at the school and there should be plenty of shoppers:) My heart is full and overflowing this Thankful Thursday.

Just had to include this photo of the monkeys....that's Tyler with his bestest buddy, Morgan. They have been the best of buds since Kindergarten (when Morgan's mommy was their teacher!!) Morgan has grown into a wonderful young man - and watching him follow God's path for his life makes my heart happy. Goodness, I love both of those boys so much!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thrifty Store Scores:)

The other day a couple girlfriends and I met for breakfast and then we were headed to my local consignment store. However, we enjoyed our breakfast so much, they ran out of time for I had to go by myself:) I always have fun browsing this store - even visiting with the owner and other ladies in the store - but finding not one but several cute things makes it all the better:) And for such a bargain!!

These are just a few of the things I brought home for the house.....

but I really LOVE this pitcher! Even has a bit of a bluish tone - making it perfect in my living room!!

My favorite, though, is this wrought iron rooster centerpiece for the kitchen. When we first moved in, I put out my Christmas things...then winter and then Easter. Since then, I have been looking for something for the table and this is it! And it was a red-ticket item - half price!! Woo D Hoo!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Living Romans 1:16

We had a first at church this past Sunday evening. (As our pastor later said, if you've been at the same church for almost 30 years, you're bound to experience just about everything!) Literally minutes before he was to get up and preach, our pastor became ill - so ill, he had to leave the stage. I believe he was having blood sugar problems. As he left the stage, he pulled the assistant pastor aside and asked him to preach - and preach he did..with two minutes' notice! What a testimony that so spoke to me.

He spoke about not being ashamed of Christ....nor of being a Christian. I received much from the message itself but I was really instructed by his readiness to speak and to share what God has been teaching him.

As I go through my day, am I not only willing to be known as a Christian - to be bold and unashamed - but am I also willing to speak share the gospel story and/or give testimony of what God is doing in my life? I don't think I always am. This week, I am really meditating on Romans 1:16....

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Mug Shots

I thought I would share a few of my mugs - or some of the stories behind the mugs. I have never been a "mug collector" but I do enjoy the memories behind the mugs I do have. If you haven't taken a picture of your favorite mug - give it a'll probably enjoy thinking back on "where in the world did this one come from!?!"

Again, I apologize for the pitiful photography - you'd think a picture of a mug would be easy. But, these mugs are from my days as a Longaberger consultant. Back in the day, I had quite a passion (maybe not the best word) for Longaberger - and their baskets. I even had the Longaberger cradle (a huge basket on rockers) that all three of my children spent most of the earliest sleeping hours in!!

Then I became a consultant. I thought my love of the products would somehow make me a tremendous "salesman"! HA In actuality, selling and having the business not only truly sucked the fun out of it all for me.....I really don't even enjoy the baskets I still have any more. Sad, really. But, these mugs are awesome.

This mug is from one of my dearest friends. The line inside says "The bonds we have are everlasting..." and I'm so glad that is true because she has moved (twice!) and long distance friendships are challenging. Sometimes too much time goes between our phone calls, notes and visits - but our friendship remains close.

Her friendship is a tremendous blessing to me. As Anne Shirley would say, we are "bosom friends":) Certainly our friendships are real gifts that the Lord sends us and I am so thankful for Carol.

I'd tell her (again) today too - if only she read my blog?!?!:)

So this mug is just funny! Moodiness pretty much runs in our family - but our daughter has it perfected to an art...or at least she did when she was younger. Come to think of it, maybe that's me??! Naaaa.

We bought this in Texas for her - a little souvenir. We all thought it was hysterical - her, not so much. Maybe she was in a mood that day!!:)

And, yes, this last one is my favorite and speaks for itself. Another sweet friend, and grieving mom, gave this to me last year at a fundraiser we did in Tyler's honor. Hubbie and I both are quick to grab this one from the cabinet (yea, that's this morning's coffee still in the cup)- and it always makes me smile. I hope your mugs make you feel happy each morning. This one also makes me feel loved!!

Somebody in Heaven Loves Me!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is It Any Wonder??

Just to follow up from yesterday's account of my phone conversation with Jo......

In preparation from deployment, apparently there are a lot of tests and appointments that have to be taken care of in order to be "fit" to go. One such test is a "mental review"..I suppose to evaluate if you are stable enough to be shipped out. All of this military agenda is new to us and Jordan had recently told me about this test. And, lest you confuse me with the kind, compassionate type...when Jordan told me about his deployment being cancelled, my first comment was ...."Maybe you failed the mental review." Not even kidding:)

He was quick to assure me the entire flight (group, team, whatever??) had been cancelled! Oh, and as a side note - in preparation for deployment, Jordan is/was scheduled to have his wisdom teeth pulled. I asked him if they were bothering him and he said, "Oh no. They told me they just aren't necessary and pulling them now, I won't have to be worried with them while I'm overseas."

Oh. I suppose the same could be said for your appendix, your gall bladder, and that spare right kidney!! And we wonder why the boy doesn't call home more often!!

Enough about that. I have really enjoyed Jennifer's blog this week. She had a great (and she promises easy) recipe for make breadsticks..which I plan to use this weekend. She also had some lessons on fixing up the look of the blog - I'm still working on that. And she had a really encouraging post about trust that was inspired by her coffee mug!! I mentioned in my comment that none of my mugs are that inspiring - but I do like my mugs and most of them have "a story." I am planning to share a mug or two on Monday. Maybe you will join me. Share a picture of one (or two) of your favorites and then share the story behind it. Let me know if you did in the comments and I will look forward to reading your story!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thankful Thursday's Dilemma

My airman called last night. Yes, that same airman who was so impressed with all the birthday wishes left on my blog for him:) And, the same airman who is supposed to be deployed in June (and better come home before he leaves.) We chatted for a minute and he was talking too fast and a bit louder than normal - which he always does when he is flustered. Finally, he says, "Mom...I have to admit. I'm really stresssed."

"Why? What's up?" My mother's heart skips just a bit.

"My deployment has been cancelled."

Seriously, now. What am I supposed to say to that??

"WOO D HOO"...seemed just a bit insensitive as I could tell he was genuinely stressed out about this.

"WHAT? And this is a problem?".......maybe not the best time for sarcasm; however

"AWW, Son..I'm so sorry".....well, that would just have been a lie!! What is a mother to do?? So, I will just leave this as my Thankful Thursday post. It is what it is. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Playground Days

This is one of the latest pictures of Miss Roo...caught while she is busy playing at the park. I love the genuine look of childhood in this picture. it just me or is she growing up way too fast?? She seems to have lost all the look of "babyness"!! Where does the time go?? And did I mention she and her mommy are coming for another visit in just two weeks?? I can hardly wait!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pasta Salad Yumminess

Thanks so much to everyone for all the birthday wishes for my boy!! I think he had a good day and was really enjoying 20 yesterday!! I love sharing some of my favorite pictures....boy, if I could only figure out how to upload all the old family movies - HA!!

I have been taste-testing some recipes for our upcoming Mother/Daughter banquet - and, wow, what a great job!! I think there are folks who even get paid to make and taste new recipes....and I could totally get up for work each day doing that job! My girlfriend loaned me several of her cookbooks but I totally love "America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook"!! Such a great cookbook - not only the recipes but they have tips and hints for preparing the recipes as well as products they found to be the best and lots of great information. It is easy to use - and the recipes were delish!

Thought I would share my new favorite pasta recipe...perfect this time of year when dining on the patio:) In fact, we are having it tonight (but rain is in the forecast so I see us eating inside..but it is just as yummy!)

Italian Style Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

6 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
1 (8oz) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry
2 TBL red wine vinegar
1 TBL fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
1 pound fusilli (or other corkscrew pasta)
8 ounces pepperoni, cut into matchsticks (or you can use salami)
8 ounces provolone, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
2 TBL minced fresh parsley

Whisk the oil, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper together in a bowl large enough to hold the salad. Cook the pasta in 4 quarts boiling water seasoned with 1 TBL salt until tender, about 14 minutes. Drain the pasta throughly, then toss while hot with the dressing. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Keep refrigerated. (Best served the day that it is made.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Jordan!!

Dear Jordan,

Truly, I cannot seem to wrap my head around the idea that you are 20!! How is that possible??? Twenty years ago today (April 12th) you rushed into the world just a bit ahead of schedule (did you not get the memo you were due on MAY 12th??) and scared us all when you didn't cry right away. But not to worry, you cried for the next nine months - nonstop! What was that all about?? And were the happiest boy the world ever knew!! :) You were..and are..a joy. Your laugh is infectious and your smile contagious. Your sense of humor - the best. You have never known a stranger - the world was your friend - and you still are the guy that everybody likes. I smile even now as I think back on the past twenty years...what joy you bring to my heart!!

And with the joy comes pride. You are now longer even a teen - you are a man. And you have grown to be a man that I am so proud of...a man who loves his family, is a loyal friend and is proud to be serving our country. What can the next twenty years have in store - the possiblities are endless! I am excited to watch your life continue to unfold. I hope you always know just what a joy you are to me.

Have a wonderful birthday, bud!! Love, Mommy

Daddy's Little Man

There's That Smile!!

Had to include this one with your sister (just to see if she was paying attention!)

Boy?!? What is going on with those shoes??
Who had a snow cone and life was good!

Looky there....doing your homework - and smiling!!

You Da Man:)

I love you, Jordan!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Foto Friday: Cherry Blossom Overload

Yes, you have been warned...this is picture overload but I really enjoyed all these photos (and there were many more!) of the day I spent last week with a group friends downtown to see the Cherry blossoms at their peak. Our nation's capital is such a beautiful city - I am so fortunate to live so close - and the city in spring is extra spectacular. Our ladies' day out was a gorgeous day and I was trying my best with the camera.

A few disclaimers:
1 - I am NOT good with the camera. I love taking pictures but my skills are definitely lacking and that will be apparent when you look through these pictures.

2 - There are a lot of pictures of trees:) but I already warned you of that. I also included a couple of my friends because..well, because I really like my friends!

3 - I've included a tiny bit of narrative just for those not familiar with the city. If you already know you're way around..just ignore!


This is taken from the steps of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial looking out onto the Tidal Basin. The trees completely circle the entire Basin - so pretty! (and those are two of my buddies taking pictures more upclose) :)

We certainly were not the only ones visiting the city that day! Literally MILLIONS come to DC during the week...and I think, at least, half bring their cars! Traffic is bad.

Ok - so I got one good shot! I like this one.

My girlfriend, Krissy


This is looking back at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The Tidal Basin is full of paddle boats and it was a beautiful day to be on the water. Maria said she and her husband used to go on dates here:)

This is Barb (and I have no idea what she is pointing at)!

This is the Washington Monument. If you walk to the top of the Basin, the Monument is off to your north - certainly, a central landmark of the city.

I only include this photo to "torment" my brother. Across the water is Rosslyn and those buildings are offices and condominiums. The lower brick buildings in the foreground are condos....where my brother once owned a condo looking right over the city - but he sold it! Ok - it was a long time ago and he was young and apparently not thinking straight:) but, oh what a regret. He kicks himself every time he drives by.....and so does his wife!:)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Some of My Favorite Things in Spring

THANKFUL THURSDAY....a list of some of the simple things in life that make my heart happy -

** tall glasses of (unsweetened) iced tea
** enjoying dinner outside - no bugs and we recently got a new patio set:)
** spending the day with my brother...just the two of us..and listening to his "you remember that, right?"
He is a great story teller!!
** strawberries, blueberries, raspberries....yea - berries!
** a text message from a friend I haven't seen in months
** new neighbors that are really friendly and nice to live next door to
** Hubbie's "just to say hi" phone calls during the day
** having my devotion time the morning sun and fresh sweet air
** sleeping with the window open
** the fun new scents for summer at Bath and Body Works
** flowering dogwoods, forsythia, cherry trees, Bradford pears and the Judas trees
** watching Hubbie work so hard in the yard - still so studly:)
** a crusaders' Bible lesson on SPIDERS! :)
and, no, spiders between mentioned in the Bible and Spiderman have nothing in common!! :)
** evenings so clear you can see all the stars and even a few planets - cool
** ending the day with Hubbie...outside of Starbucks...with a cinnamon dolce latte!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Winning Comment

I was a winner!! Could hardly believe it but one afternoon, I received a note in my comments that I had been randomly chosen from Mama Hen's blog comments and had won a give away!! Bless my little heart. What a nice surprise...and my sweet package arrived in the mail on Saturday:)

More about that in a minute but I thought that was such a nice way to do a give away...and since then I have been thinking about comments on blogs. My thoughts on the subject have changed several times over the past months but I think I have decided comments are fun!! (and you can even be a winner!) :) I once read a post on a blog that I would read occasionally and this author was down-right peeved over comments. She thought it was "rude" to read a post and not comment and even went so far as to say, "if you're not gonna comment, then don't read the blog", I've never been back.

I've also read (more than one) posts about how to increase your number of reader as well as the number of comments you receive...a comment tutuorial, if you will. Really now. I also skipped over that one.

I did not begin blogging for comments and I certainly don't want my focus to be the number of comments I have - and, at one point, I even thought of turning off the comments so I wouldn't be distracted by them. However, I really enjoy my blog comments...a note of hello or an encouraging word from blogging friends - and I have made some very nice friends while blogging.

In my sweet package on Saturday were some note cards. I love note cards! I enjoy sending "just thinking of you" notes to those I love and care about....and I love to receive a note. I don't want note sending to be something "I used to do"...but I also know I can't send cards every day and to everyone; so, leaving a comment is also nice! One more way to send a hug, as I like to think of it. And, so, I'm leaving my comments open and simply enjoying them for what they should be.

As for my package - in addition to the note cards, I received everything necessary to get these toes of mine into the "open-toe" season....and, goodness, do they need the help! I am so looking forward to a pedicure. Oh, and there were some cadbury eggs, too!! Man, oh man, lucky me!! Thanks, Mama Hen:)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunshine and Food:)

I had a wonderful Easter and such a nice weekend. I have also noticed that those statements "wonderful time...great weekend" all seem to be synomous with great food and the statements "I ate way too much" and "now its back to business with the diet!" Oh so true this weekend.

I made our Easter dinner on Saturday - honey baked ham, sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole...etc. etc. - and we shared the evening with friends. Oh all the yummy food, I think the deviled eggs are my favorite! I don't know why I don't make those more often:) For dessert, we had strawberry cheescake trifle - so easy and so yummy! - along with the haystacks pictured on the table!

On Sunday, we went out for dinner. I had some type of egg strata off the brunch menu that was beyond yummy! The weather was perfect and the whole day was just lovely. That evening my brother came to the house...he had an maintenance appointment for his car on Monday morning in my neck of the I was able to spend the day with him after we dropped the car off. I love spending time with him - and once again, we had a great meal in Old Towne Alexandria - we were able to lunch outside on the patio because the weather, again, was amazing.

Are you sensing a trend?? I am LOVING this spring!! And apparently all the sunshine and fresh air makes me want to eat!!:)

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Serve a Risen Savior

Hubbie and I spent some time yesterday afternoon working out at the cemetery....putting down fresh mulch and some fertilizer as well. Tyler's tree is not yet in bloom but the dark mulch really looked nice and the afternoon was so beautiful, it really was a balm for our hearts.

Another holiday without our sweet boy...sometimes the saddness threatens to overwhelm me. And then I remember - Easter.

Because of Easter - I have a risen Savior! A Savior that hears my cries, knows and understands my heartache and is able to comfort me. My grief is never greater than the love of my Heavenly Father!

At first, I wasn't sure a flag that proclaimed "Rejoice" was appropriate at the cemetery - but, because I have a risen, living Heavenly Father...I can rejoice! This grave is not the end. I have the assurance of eternal life - and a grand reunion with all the saints who've gone on before me - including my sweet Tyler.

I'm sure there will be some bittersweet moments this Sunday...there always are during the holidays, especially, but, no matter what - I am choosing to Rejoice!! I hope each of you have a blessed and beautiful Easter!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thankful Thursday.......