Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Have a Confession

I was a bit worried when I changed my background to "Autumn" that it might just be a bit early - but, silly me, from reading your comments, just about everyone is ready to put out their fall things! No matter that the temperatures are still hovering above 90....seems all of you are ready for fall! And, so am I. I am really ready for a change on the porch and patio as the summer flowers are just plain spent and the pots desperately need some refreshing. We will have to see how that project works out in the days ahead. I hope when all of you get those cute fall things displayed, you will share your "signs of autumn" with pictures:)

Ok - on with that confession. I have to admit - I really like big hair. You know - hair that has volume...and hair that has oomph - Oh, yea...you remember these girls well from the 80's! Um, these are totally some pictures I found on the internet and if they look way too much like you...or your best girlfriend...I'm just having some fun. My hair never really did look that "big" but, I do like big hair. Hair that does not lay flat.
I'm not so sure that big hair is really so in style - even by today's standard. In fact, I have spent the last six or eight months flatironing my hair every morning...so that it looks, well, FLAT. And the crazy thing is - I have a lot of hair (A LOT) and I could really do big (BIG) hair without even much effort......but I don't.
Why, oh why, do the girls with straight hair pay big bucks for perms to curl while the curly hair girls flatiron with all their might to straighten?? The short girls long to tall...and the tall girls slump over. It is a question as old as time - and I doubt I have any new answers. I will say that while I have been dieting, I have really been trying to learn some "life lessons" along the way - as well as lose some unwanted pounds. Poor body image plagues me and I am seeking God's help with this as I really do believe it displeases Him.
But, back to my hair. I have a hair appointment tomorrow. I certainly do NOT plan to go retro..but let's see if I can get some kind of volume back into this hair of mine. Who knows??

And lets plan to do Friday with Friends this week. With everyone ready for fall - lets do a "summer wrap-up" of sorts. Perhaps with pictures:) A look back over this year's best moments of the summer.
I hope you will join us - and encourage your friends to come for a visit. I will look forward to hearing from all of you!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just a Little of This and Little of That

A Simple Woman's Daybook: August 30, 2010
Outside my window....it is the beginning of another summer day. No doubt those crisp, fall-like mornings from last week were just a tease! Hot and humid today and August will go out in all her glory:)
I am thinking....about Jordan. I am so thankful for the internet and the ability to share some news, some hugs and love so quickly and easily - I live for his emails:) He seems to be doing fine....the dust is thick and it is hot but he said the heat was not as oppressive as Florida (???) I guess the humidity - I don't really know but he sounds good.

I am thankful for....almost fourteen years of memories with Tyler:) How easy it is to focus on the weeks, months and moments that I am missing and forget how blessed I am to have those fourteen years!

I am wearing...pink!! Pink makes me happy.

I am remembering...all those first day of school moments when the kids were younger. Our school here starts tomorrow - I miss those special first day breakfasts, the "this day in history" videos where the kids would all record what they were looking forward to, who their best friends were and thoughts about the upcoming school year, and the always-special first day school pictures!

I am going...for a port flush today. Boo. Not boo because it hurts or anything - more that it is a long trip to the doctor for a ten minute visit...and they always do these appointments at the end of the day - read that...rush hour traffic to get home. Boo.

I am reading...hmmmm - good question. I should be reading would be more appropriate.

I am hoping...it is possible to squeeze two weeks worth of clothes into one not-large enough suitcase and have it all weigh less than fifty pounds??!

On my mind...a sweet family at church who are burying their infant son today. Praying the Lord grants much grace to each of them.

From the kitchen...will definitely be these scones I found the recipe for at this blog!! Just need to get some chocolate chips and they will be on my plate:)

Around the house....everyone is busy with morning activites - and apparently Rascal's morning routine revolves around a nap (much like his afternoon routine...his evening routine...)!

He hangs out with me in my office while I'm at the computer.. and I'm sure there is a reason he buries his head in the corner, I just have no idea what it is!!:)

Plans for the week....are to get back into a routine that includes exercising. Yea, it might be a stretch and might not happen but last week, I didn't even include it on the to-do list. So I think that is a step in the right direction. Right??

One of my favorite things....browsing through HomeGoods! All of the fall things are out - and they are adorable! I can walk around for way too long - dreaming, and decorating, and plotting to buy:) Did I mention the fall stuff is so stinkin' cute? I suppose the weather needs to fall below 90 degrees before I get too carried away! So, when do you usually set your fall things out??

Friday, August 27, 2010

Missin' the Beach

This morning started off decidedly cooler than mornings have been these past weeks (or months) - a real drop in the temperatures. I'm sure it will warm up perfectly this afternoon....a real sign of fall on the way! With school just around the corner, it really feels as if summer is winding to an end. I thought I would pick some random pictures from my "archives" to share and came across these beach pictures - from last year!

My beach hunk:) and I did not make it to the beach this year! Actually we have not been on vacation - yet! We have the "vacation of a lifetime" planned for next month...and it is fast approaching! I'll have to give some details later.....

What is it about sand, and seagulls and surf?? Love it.

Maybe we can still work in a quick weekend to the beach??! Who knows? But hope you make the most of these last days of summer! (and to all my Texas friends...hope you get a break from that heat soon!) :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cowboy Cookies

After all my references to losing some weight and feeling so good about it....I have a cookie recipe to share:) I do love my cookies but I really don't eat that many - no more than two - but I love to bake so when I find delicious sounding new recipes, I give them a try and then share them with others. These cookies I took over to the new neighbors - and what a nice visit we had! That was a blessing - see what cookies can do?? :)

I found a couple recipes for cowboy cookies and the best ones, in my opinion, had coconut and nuts in them but neither of these ingredients are favorites around here (esp. coconut) except by me...so I left them out. But if I ever decide to indulge, I'm adding both! But these were pretty tasty, I assure you, even with just the basics.

Cowboy Cookies - named for the size, I think

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup each of white sugar and packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup each of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips

1 - Preheat oven to 350. Spray baking sheets. Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and the salt. Set aside.

2 - In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Gradually stir in dry ingredients, ending with rolled oats. Add chips. And drop by rounded spoonfuls (remember cowboys like big cookies) on baking sheets.

3 - Bake for approximately 10 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing. Dig in and enjoy:)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Challenge to Praise Him

I came across an interesting challenge yesterday - you can read about it here - about praising God "in this moment." Instead of waiting for the big miracle, the huge answer to prayer or obvious moment of God's working on our behalf - this challenge was to praise God intentionally and thoughtfully "in this moment"....right now - during the everyday and ordinary.

Indeed there is much to praise Him for -

**God is good - always good and always right
**God not only hears my prayers, He is interested in them and concerned about them
**I am never alone nor ever left to carry my burdens alone
**God is full of compassion and more mercy than I can even realize
**Whatever He has called me to do, He enables me to do it
**He is preparing a place for me

I could go on - but I think that is the point of this challenge. Our worlds become so small - so focused - on our day, our to-do list, our burdens and requests not only for ourselves but those that we love....but we need to intentionally look up and see God in all His glory, appreciate His majesty and really try to digest all that is ours because we are His child! How can we not just praise Him unceasingly!

Life and our human weaknesses get in the way. That is what I love about this challenge. The challenge to intentionally and purposefully pause, reflect and praise the Lord. I'm going to give it my best - so I thought I would share this challenge with you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Was Your Weekend?

My Weekend in Review......

MOST PRODUCTIVE PART OF THE WEEKEND.....Friday evening after it cooled off a bit, Hubbie and I went out on the front porch with two buckets and some rags to clean the woodwork around the front door. Of course, while we are out there, we noticed the porch furniture. (I am certain we JUST cleaned these but, nonetheless, they were definitely dirty. In the middle of the wiping the rockers, I pointed out the windowsills...nasty. So we cleaned those. And then the woodwork around the windows. Of course, then the windows needing cleaning. And, well, might as well get those porch columns done. Uh...much bigger project than we originally thought but, my goodness, does the front porch look nice!

MOST (self)SATISFYING MOMENT...and BIGGEST BARGAIN OF THE WEEKEND really go together......Hubbie and I spent some time at the mall on Saturday. We had a "rough" list of some things we were lookin for - and winter coat was not really on the list. I don't usually shop for my winter things - especially a coat - until, well, winter. Silly me. For the past two years, I have needed a new winter coat but when I go to buy one in winter, there are none to be found. Apparently, I was supposed to have found one in August. There were winter coats in abundance this weekend. And I found an adorable one. With the sales and coupons and whatever other magic the sales lady worked, the coat was a major deal - and I do love a good deal./

Even sweeter - I tried on an XL because I ALWAYS wear an XL. It was cute but seemed...well, a bit big??? The L fit perfectly:) A little thing, I know, but sure made all those salads suddenly taste a whole lot better.

BIG DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEKEND....have you noticed the cupcake craze?? Cupcakes are everywhere. At the mall, they replaced Mrs. Fields Cookies with a cupcake place. THAT is a huge bummer all by itself. Nothing against cupcakes...but cookies are still king!! Anyway, I have daydreamed past several of these cupcake places - the names they give the different varieties are mouthwatering all by themselves. So - yes - I finally caved and decided to try a cupcake. Yuck. Yes, it was that bad. I spit out the bite in my mouth and threw the entire (three dollar!) cupcake in the trash.

BEST TASTE - and INDULGENCE - OF THE WEEKEND....I found this recipe a couple days on Leighann's blog and gave it a try this weekend. So tasty. I plan to make another one for a friend stuck at home for awhile. Do you notice the difference in her photo and mine - oh yeah, I covered the top of mine in whipped creme!! Sugar free, of course, but still. If you are going to indulge, you might as well enjoy yourself....and enjoy I did!!

Hope you had a great weekend as well! Its Monday!! Yippee!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Your Favorite Day

Welcome to Friday with Friends - and we are talking about our favorite day of the week. I'm glad for all of you that stop by - and hope that you will leave a comment and even join in the fun if you can. Before I get to my fav day...just had to share a quick story.

I was at my favorite quick stop for lunch - yes, you know the one...Chick Fil A...yesterday and I watched an interaction with a Southern older gentleman (actually he didn't look that old but he referred to himself as "Granddaddy") and his accent totally gave away the southern part!....and his granddaughter. She was playing with something at the table. He asked her to stop. She did not. Finally, he said firmly, "Give it to Granddaddy." She began to complain, discuss, argue, disobey - all of the above. He said it again. And she was stubborn (as little girls can sometimes be...) I found myself rooting for this grandpa. Don't give in.

He did not. However, he played the tough card and said, "If you do not give it to me now, I will tell your mom you do not listen to me today." (She did....right away.) Go Granddaddy - make Mama be the bad guy - 'cause everyone knows we grandparents have to keep 'em in line but all the "reality stuff " comes from the parents!! :) And double high fives for Mom letting them know that a "bad report" when Mama gets home is never a good idea!

Here is the cutest two year old I personally know at Chick Fil A! Sure wish I could take her there myself:) Oh, and during the same lunch visit, I heard a mother calling to her wandering child..."Arizona....Arizona...come here." Really now.

I'm all for cute - even semi-creative - names for our little ones but there just has to be a limit. And if your little sweetheart is named Arizona - I apologize ahead of time.

As for my favorite day of the week (that is why we are here, right?) Debbie left me a comment and said her favorite day was Sunday. I really like Sunday, too. I enjoy church - for the preaching, the music and the fellowship. I rarely cook on Sundays. Hubbie really likes to eat out after church - and, well, who am I to argue?

But, Chick Fil A is closed on Sunday..so I can't pick that. Just kidding. Honestly, when you don't "work" AND the kids are out of school, the days really start to run together. It really is not as easy to differeniate one day from the other but I know I would have to pick


And strictly because of my mild OCD tendicies toward schedule and order. I love the beginning of a new week. A completely fresh page in the daytimer. Whatever did not get accomplished last week is over and behind me. A time to start anew. I feel completely at my best on Monday mornings - yes, that could have something to do with those good Sundays and the encouragment there! But Mondays definitely win it for me!! And I really don't have a "least favorite" day?? Like I said, they all are about the same - hey, does that mean...in my world...every day could be Monday??!!

So what about you? What's your favorite day?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Morgan Is Going to College

THANKFUL THURSDAY - I've mentioned Morgan before...what a blessing this boy is to my heart!....and last night we all celebrated Morgan during the children' class I teach at church on Wednesday nights. (I've mentioned my Crusaders, too!) EVERYONE loves Morgan and we love having him in our class.

For those of you new to my blog, Morgan was Tyler's bestest buddy and he stepped in as my class helper after Tyler died. He has such a sweet spirit and a natural gift with the children and has been an incredible help and blessing to me these past four years. I think the kids come to class primarily to see Morgan - and to sing his "silly songs"!!

Oh sure, we sing plenty of songs but it's Morgan's "silly songs" that they really want! And the sillier we look doing them - all the better!!

Morgan is leaving for college on Friday. Goodness....with Tyler in Heaven, Jordan in Afghanistan and Morgan leaving, too - it makes this girl feel old and a bit heavy hearted! But back to the party!

I'm tellin' ya - they LOVE Morgan!

We had balloons - and cookies, and brownies and gummy worms....
I always say - load 'em up with sugar and then send them home with their parents! :)

Totally into his silly song!! (if only I had video on my camera!)

"Singing in the Rain" - well, Morgan style!

Too cute:)

Baby Shark - always a most requested favorite!!

I've no idea....................
but it looks like fun - and everyone always participates!

"Hey, my name is Joe" - my personal favorite:)
singing with your tongue hanging out!!

Morgan, we will miss you...and pray for you. We love you!!

And I had to include this last photo. Not only does Morgan look incredibly handsome and his little buddy there, too cute! - but I was telling the class that Morgan was going to college. I asked them, "What is college? What is Morgan going to do there?" And this little guy yelled out - Sit around and play video games!!! Love it. You wish, Morgan!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dont Forget Friday with Friends

This week Friday with Friends will be back...just a chance to share thoughts with all my friends in the blogworld! And I have met some really neat people - something that I really did not anticipate when I started blogging. I hope you will join in the fun - I THINK I even have Mr Linky so you can simply join in yourself:)
So for this week's discussion - I was thinking about something the preacher mentioned he had heard on the radio...then I heard the same survey results. According to some survey somewhere, Thursday nights tend to be the night most people dislike or are even "down"??? No idea why - they didn't elaborate.
So - what is my least favorite day....better yet, what is my favorite day of the week? What's yours?? Share it with us on Friday. And I want to thank everyone for your kind comments yesterday regarding Hubbie's accident. He is too great - was without a rental car for the first two days of the week so was able to stay home with me:) We had a nice couple days - very productive, actually! And he was back to work today. Life is good!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life Interrupted

Around my area, we have traffic. A lot of traffic. And with the traffic, we have a lot of auto accidents. The radios run the traffic reports as often as the weather reports and the list of accidents is as common (or some days more) as the chance of rain! Unfortunately, traffic accidents become routine and honestly do not impact me too often (I did say this was unfortunate)....unless, of course, such an accident creates a traffic snarl where I am headed. If such an accident interrupts my day, then I take notice.

Its sad but true - often my real concern is whether or not my plans will be interrupted...or I will be late. For most of us, we do not enjoy life interrupted.

Last Friday, I had plans to spend one last day with Paul and Nellie. I wanted to help them finish some packing and, really, simply enjoy some last minute time together. However, I woke up feeling crummy. Stomach woes were definitely not part of my plan for that day. I tried pushing myself and simply felt worse and finally I had to call and cancel my plans. Life interrupted.

I was discouraged - and irritated. I really like for my days to go according to plan. I decided to lie down for a bit and, although I'm not normally a daytime napper, I was just dozing off when the phone rang. Talk about an interruption - and one that sorely tries my patience.

It was Hubbie. He had been in an accident. He was not hurt; however, it was a serious accident. Four cars involved. One person injured and three vehicles totalled.

I was so glad to talk with him - to hear, for sure, that he was okay. I was grateful to be home and available in order to meet him and pick him up. Had I been at Paul and Nellie's house, I would have been way on the other side of town and probably would have not even heard my phone (that happens alot??!) Yes, I was thankful to have had my plans interrupted so I was there when my husband needed me.

Accidents always give us cause to stop and think - and I've done that quite a bit since Friday. As a very task oriented person...it is easy to be so focused and so purposed in order to complete our tasks for the day that interruptions...major and minor....can be such an irritation, we can miss so much.

We can miss God at work - not only in our life but in the lives of others around us. We can miss a miracle about to happen. We can overlook how God intervened to protect us and divert us. We can miss opportunities that would not have been ours without our plans being changed.

I don't want to miss these things. Oh, I am not praying for routine, daily interruptions...but when they do come along, I'm praying for more patience, more wisdom and an expectancy to see what God might have planned instead.

I also want to remember when I hear about those daily car accidents - those are people who have truly had life interrupted. God grant me more compassion - and, once again, patience (do you see a recurring request here??)

This is Hubbie's car. And, yes, the truck at the beginning of the post is the pickup that started the chain reaction - running into the car behind Hubbie...which caused that car to hit him and pushed Hubbie's car into the car in front of him!! We are thanking the Lord for his care and protection for my husband. Not even a sore muscle. God is good.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sweet Friends

There are some people that the Lord brings into your life...and the impact they make on your heart is so strong! You are not only blessed, but enriched and influenced forever. That is exactly how I feel having known my friends, Paul and Nellie.

I cannot remember exactly how long it has been since we started "hanging out" - as we called it. It began when one of them...Paul, I believe, needed a ride to a doctor appointment but a sweet friendship quickly formed.

Over the last year and half...maybe a bit more...we have run all sorts of errands - and all errands including a lunch stop either before or after our business for the day. Paul does love his McDonalds coffee and Nellie always preferred a burger - really just so she would have a bit left over to take home to Mr. Ozzie!!

This sweet couple - married over 63 years! - have faced incredible difficulties and much pain these last months. Medical challenges with several hospital stays and numerous ER visits.....very complicated family issues and heartbreaks......financial challenges...and many other trails.

And yet, they have faced them as a couple and with a faith that is inspiring. Their love for each other is beautiful. And their love for our Savior...and the way it influences everything they do...is so encouraging to me.

After a summer of planning and preparing, they have finally been able to move to an assisted living home near their daughter in Pennsylvania. They left this morning. I will so miss them. I am privileged to be their friend. I pray that the transition will go smoothly and that God will give them much grace as they adjust to so many changes. I pray life will settle and calm down a bit for them and these days of life can be not only peace filled but happy. I love them both.

Nellie and Paul!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Love you, Jo.....Be Safe!

Jordan flew out early this morning - right after midnight - to begin the trip to Afghanistan. I think there are several stops along the way and not positive when he actually arrives in Khandahar....I just know he is too far away and we miss him already. We did have the chance to chat with him last evening while he was waiting in the airport (there is a lot of waiting!) and that was a treasure.

I am updating my profile picture to include him (with his proud mama) and if you think of him when you check in on my blog...say a quick prayer not only for him but all of our military deployed overseas. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rejoice in the Lord Alway.....and again I say Rejoice!

THANKFUL THURSDAY......I hope it is a great Thursday for all my blogging friends:) There is no Friday with Friends tomorrow but hopefully I will be back on track next week. I so enjoy reading all your stories, thoughts and your comments!

Today is Ladies' Day Out for me - always a good time! - and I'm on my way out.....but I do have a thankful heart this morning! Thank you, Lord, for

**a wonderful time with Jordan
**the peace that comes from knowing that he is in constant care - no matter where he may be stationed or serving
**my friendship with Paul and Nellie - and working so many details to allow them to move to assisted living closer to their daughter (give them much grace as they make this transition)
**JOY that is mine no matter what the circumstances (or how far away my boy goes!)

**sweet friends - and new friends
**dinner invitations for this weekend with new friends:)
**blogging friends, too!

I could go on - but I'm out of time! Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Water Dreams

I really enjoyed the day that we spent at National Harbor while Jordan was here! The weather was perfect...the boats were cool (and dream-worthy!) and the the company - well, perfect!

Too funny - in this picture, I see the sign for Spirit Cruises which I totally never noticed before..even while we were there. I guess that means they have dinner cruises that leave from the harbor - COOL!

The water was so pretty - and just has such an allure to it! There were boats of all kinds and sizes.......

and even a sand area (for playing) along the shore....with some really cool statues. Well, ok - I was the only one in my family that was impressed with the statues but I thought they were cool.

Yes, we did a lot of surveying of the boats - deciding exactly which ones would "suit our family" the best...ha!

This could totally work!!

Oh, the places we could go!!

I'm tellin ya - it was serious business! :) Hubbie had a small fishing boat way back when (as in before "us") but the allure of the water never really leaves you, I guess. Here he is sharing some nautical expertise with Jordan.
How cute are they?

My Handsome Sea-Lovin' Man

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jordan's Visit

Hard to believe that our week with Jordan has already come and gone - what a great time we had! I think we were able to do all the things he had hoped to do...and then some! But we also had plenty of time just to hang out, laugh and work on our pool game (which still needs much work!) We did eat at the Cheesecake Factory, spent an afternoon at National Harbor and spent time at the cemetery as a family. Jordan was able to see some old friends - from the "old neighborhood" - on two occasions, spend a day with his day at the Marine Corps Museum and a day with just his sister at Kings Dominion and he and I covered some miles at the malls. He loves to shop:)

I love the relationship that my hubbie and my son enjoy - my two men:)
This picture was taken at National Harbor - just on the other side of the river on Maryland's shore. Lots of restaurants (unfortunately, the one we chose was less than much), cute shops and amazing yachts! It was the perfect place just to spend time together.

That afternoon - well, that whole week! - just made us all smile! Jordan was also anxious to get "back home" as he said:) It makes me happy that he is happy with the Air Force and what he is doing right now. He is still maturing and growing - like all of us - but he is a good young man.....that makes his mom and dad proud!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hello Friends

Just a quick post -

** to say thank you to so many sweet friends for the texts, cards and the comments....that so encouraged my heart and made me feel hugged and Tyler loved yesterday! Your friendships mean more to me than you know!

** to let you know that Jordan is here! Oh sure - he called on Thursday evening and said, "Mom, I have good news and bad news!" Jordan, don't do this to me! He was not able to leave until Friday evening (as opposed to first thing in the morning!) but he still arrived and it was a wonderful day for me:)

** to try and express what a mix of emotions these last couple days have been -
*we have been thrilled to be with one son - all while so missing our other son
*we have laughed and joked - and cried and grieved
*we have shared great memories of our Tyler as if he were so close - and, yet, we are so keenly aware of his absence

** to let you know I am working on uploading some pictures. I am really bad at this whole photographer thing...mainly, because I always forget the camera! But there are pictures on others' cameras and I am working on getting those - hope to share some tomorrow! Thank you again for all the comments. Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1st - Four Years.....

Tonight I Hold This Candle
lyrics by Alan Pederman

Tonight I hold this candle
In memory of you
Hoping someway, somehow, my love will shine through.
I close my eyes lost in the glow
There are so many things I want you to know.

This candle says I love you -
This candle says I miss you.
This candle is saying I remember you.
When I'm holding it toward heaven,
It feels like you are near.
If you're looking down tonight,
And see this candle burning bright,
It says I'm wishing you were here.

In the glow of this candle
I can almost see your smile
And it carries me away for a little while
To another time, another place
When all it took to light up my world was your beautiful face.

This candle says I love you -
This candle says I miss you.
This candle is saying I remember you.
When I'm holding it toward heaven,
It feels like you are near.I
f you're looking down tonight,
And see this candle burning bright,
It says I'm wishing you were here.

I love you, Tyler