Wednesday, April 30, 2008
So a few weeks ago, when I walked out of my bathroom and noticed a large wet spot on the side of my bed at just the right height to have been a little "accident" from a certain two-year-old boy, the first thing I thought was, "DAVID!!!"
So, as I'm murmuring under my breath about being too old to have a two-year-old boy running loose in my house, I started to take the sheets off of my bed, and tried to figure out in my head how I was going to manage to get all the water tubes off the bed by myself to get the dust ruffle off and cleaned as well....
Oh, did I not mention that we have a waterbed? Can you see where this is going? As I started to remove the sheets, I noticed that the "wet spot" was much larger than my original observation. The mattress was wet in much more than that one "perfect accident" spot. My waterbed had sprung a leak! Poor little David was completely innocent...this time anyway.
So, Benji, Jon and I hauled the top mattress out to the living room, and then hauled the watertubes one at a time out to the driveway. There were seven tubes in all. Each weighed at least 40 pounds. They were 6 feet long each. And carrying them out of the house was similar to carrying a dead body....at least what I suppose carrying a dead body would be like, since I've never actually hauled a dead body before. The problem was, the water in the tubes kept sloshing, so the weight of our dead bodies kept shifting. Just think "Three Stooges" and you'll get a pretty good picture of what we looked like!
Well, we finally got all of the tubes out, I took off the dust ruffle and threw it in the garbage...it was beyond washing...apparently there had been a slow leak for quite some time, but it was leaking from the bottom, and we never knew it.....yuck! So the three smallest kids and I headed up to IKEA and picked out a new mattress (we were really over the waterbed anyway) and a new bedspread that goes all the way to the floor and didn't require a dust ruffle, while Benji stayed home and used the Bissell Spot Lifter to clean the bottom mattress, and then used the blow dryer to get it dry before we got home.
Once we got the mattress home, Benji and I hauled it into the bedroom and got the sheets and the new bedspread on all before Ben even came in from work! He was a tad surprised to drive up and see our mattress and the 7 dead bodies lying in the driveway, but he was even more surprised to find the brand new mattress and spread already on the bed! He disposed of the bodies and the top mattress for us, and we enjoyed a great night's sleep on our new, firm, dry bed!
Have I mentioned that dull moments are rare around here????????
Monday, April 28, 2008
You may or may not have noticed that the prayer list over in my sidebar has had a couple of changes. Now instead of listing "Baby Ethan" and "My Friend Renee", it now reads "Ethan's Family" and "Renee's Family". That is because first my friend Renee died, and then Little E died, but their blogs are still up and able to be read, and Little E's is still being updated as his family gets the "Ethan Powell Foundation" up and running to help fight leukemia.
So, several weeks ago, I attended a service to say good-bye to my friend, Renee Atkinson. Renee was a remarkable woman, and I hope one day to be able to write a post all about her. But today, I just wanted to share something else with you in Renee's memory.
Renee was a people person, and wherever Renee was, there was the party. Renee celebrated life even when she spent it itching and in pain and greatly disfigured due to a rare form of cancer. So I found it fitting that my daughter danced at Renee's funeral. Yes, she danced.
At Christmastime, Maddie participated in a dance at church choreographed to Chris Tomlin's "How Great is Our God". That just happened to be one of the songs that we sang at Renee's funeral, and since we were sitting in the front row, on the aisle, my daughter decided to dance. I didn't stop her... I knew that Renee was absolutely loving it! In fact, if she had been there, she would probably have joined in!
So Maddie and I headed up to the studio where she studies dance, and her teacher allowed us to use the studio to videotape Maddie doing this very dance. I wanted to videotape it so I could post it here in honor of my friend, Renee Atkinson. So Renee, this is for you. I know you'll enjoy it. We sure do miss you down here!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I've got a good one for you all today, my friends!
Today, I'm here to tell you about the third book on the "Blog Book Tour", and an absolutely FABULOUS giveaway that I am sharing with you only because there are two to give away....so after I win one, there will still be one left for one of you!
The book is called "A Mother's Heart Knows" and on the outside it's a tiny little book....on the inside....not so tiny. "A Mother's Heart Knows" is a gift book. You know, one of those little books that you give to someone to let them know that you love them and care about them, and they, in turn, display it on a side table, or shelf and look through it every now and then and smile and think of you....at least that's how I normally see these books.
When I was a teacher, (in a real school, as my children call it) I had a couple of these types of books that were full of words of wisdom, comfort, and encouragement for teachers. I kept them on my desk and looked through them every now and then to get encouragement and comfort. That's what I thought I'd do with this little book...
What I found when I started reading through this little book was that rather than delivering sweet little platitudes about motherhood to encourage me, it actually challenged me. As I found myself reading all the things that "A Mother's Heart Knows", I realized that being a mother is a high calling indeed, and I am not always living up to all that God has called me to be for my children. It was AWESOME! I found myself saying things like, "Oh yes, that is so true." and "Oh, I've kind of let that slide a little." and "Wow, I really should be doing that, shouldn't I?" and "God has truly given me a gift in letting me be a mom. I need to be seeking Him more in how He'd like me to do this job!"
Motherhood is truly a gift, and I don't believe that God chooses lightly who He allows to be mothers to his precious babies. I don't think that we should take it lightly either. He specifically chose you to be a mother to your particular children. And, are you ready for this? He didn't goof it up! He chose the right mom for the right kid! This book helped me to see that, and challenged me to do a better job of letting Him teach me how to take care of His precious gifts.
And now, you have the opportunity to win some fabulous stuff! Margaret McSweeney, the author of this powerful little book, is hosting a "My Favorite Mom" Spa Basket Contest! All you have to do is go here and share your favorite story about your mother (or someone who is like a mother to you) and you will be entered to win one of TWO Spa Baskets, and Margaret is going to post the stories on her own blog (with your permission). AND (oh yes, there is more!) if you leave a comment on this post at Margaret's blog, you can win a signed copy of "A Mother's Heart Knows" for your very own!
But wait...that's not all!
All royalty proceeds from this book go to WINGS (Women In Need Growing Stronger) and a student missionary scholarship fund. WINGS is a non-profit organization that provides a domestic violence shelter for women and their children in addition to transitional housing and programs.
So, if you don't win your own copy, you can go here and order a copy or three (this book really is a great gift!) and you will be helping other mothers...and their children. I told you this one was fabulous!
And here's just a little more information about the author:
Margaret lives with her husband and two daughters in a Chicago suburb. Her book, A Mother’s Heart Knows was published by Thomas Nelson in 2005. Go Back and Be Happy, a co-authored book will be published by Lion Hudson in July 2008. Margaret has been featured on Greg Wheatly’s “Prime Time America,” TLN’s “Aspiring Women,” and LeSea’s “The Harvest Show.” Margaret writes freelance articles for The Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. Notable interviews include Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Kinkade, Susan Branch and Dr. John Gottman. Margaret also wrote a feature article for crosswalk.com. With a master’s degree in international business, Margaret became a vice president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there from 1986-1993. Supporting charitable causes is important to Margaret. For the past five years, she has served on the board of directors for WINGS, an organization that helps abused women and their children get a new start in life.
So, go and enter the drawing for the Spa Baskets, leave Margaret a comment to win a signed copy of the book, and then go buy a couple more to give as gifts!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
What you don't know is that I got sick the weekend we went to the NASCAR races in Fort Worth, and I was miserable the whole time...despite being around the sport I love....and Jeff Gordon. We camped on the grounds for the weekend. Did you know that most people that camp on the grounds don't sleep....the entire weekend? Next time, we'll pitch our tent a little farther away from the crowd! I was so sick that I actually fell asleep during the race. Not easy to do with race cars flying past at 190+ miles an hour....but I did it. :) I have skillz, people.
You also don't know that after a year and a half of breaking-fixing-breaking-fixing-breaking-fixing-breaking-fixing-breaking and fixing Benji's front tooth, he made it to two weeks before his first orthodontist appointment before his baby brother head-butted him and.....broke his tooth. We have been waiting for his last baby tooth to fall out so he could get his braces and get that tooth to fit properly in his head so it won't break off any more. He finally lost that last tooth, and we made the appointment to meet with the orthodontist. I thought we were in the clear. That's what I get for thinking! But we got it fixed....again, and we now have only six days until his first visit with the orthodontist. He won't get his braces on until his third visit, but we're getting closer! When I find out when he gets the braces on, I think I'll put a countdown calendar in my sidebar so you can all keep track with us....and pray for that tooth to hang on!
So, the status around here today is....Me--still have a lingering cough, but starting to feel better; Maddie--still has lingering stuffy nose, but also feeling better; Ben--coughing and congested, but not nearly as sick as the rest of us were (Yea!); Benji--coughing occasionally, but no other symptoms; Dave--coughing, sneezing, and one ear infected; and Jon--perfectly fine....except of course for a sprained thumb that he got being goofy with the neighbor's skateboard!
Oh, and I think I forgot to mention that it is possible that a lot of the pain I've been having is not my kidneys after all, but rather the endometriosis rearing it's ugly head once again. I've got an appointment with the doctor, but the first one I could get was in June! I have a friend who has it too (we like to do things together), but hers is causing more trouble than mine at the moment. We thought since we are both finished having kids that we would like to just book a joint room at the hospital, get all those pesky female parts removed, and enjoy a weekend together with no kids and a morphine drip! Of course, I'm just kidding.....I think....
So, hopefully I'll be back soon with some real posts! But in the meantime....don't forget the drawing for a copy of "The Busy Mom's Devotional" by Lisa T. Bergren is here and there are only 4 days left to leave a comment and be entered in the drawing!
Friday, April 18, 2008
And don't forget, the giveaway for "The Busy Mom's Devotional" is right here and it ends on Monday, so if you want to be entered, you need to go leave a comment on that post!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Update: Hello, hello, hello. I bet you've all been wondering where I've been....I've been sick. I had a monster cold this past week and although the congestion is still hanging on, the fever is gone and I'm starting to feel a bit better and get some of my energy back. Of course, now my daughter, husband, and baby boy have it...sigh.
So, today is the re-posting of the review that I accidentally posted on the wrong day a couple of weeks ago! If you didn't catch it the first time, enjoy! The contest for the free copy of the book will be continued until next week, so be sure and leave a comment if you would like to be entered in the drawing!
Finally, I'll be announcing the winner of the "Generation NeXt Marriage" and "Generation NeXt Parenting" books later today, so you still have time to leave a comment on that post if you want to be entered.
It's finally time! Today is my first post on the Blog Book Tour, and I'm so excited! When I was first approached about participating in this tour, I had two thoughts: 1) Cool, free books...my favorite thing in the whole world! and 2) What if I don't like the books? What will I post? So, I decided that if I was going to agree to participate in this tour, I was going to be totally honest about each and every book. After all, if I don't tell what I really think, what's the point? If it's not real, then it's pointless, right? So, I received my first book on the tour and I opened it determined to be totally objective...
From the minute I opened the package I knew I was going to like Lisa. My package came straight from Lisa herself, and included a personal note written to ME, and it totally cracked me up! This wasn't some stuffy writer who was going to tell me how I should be doing my devotions...properly. This was a real woman who struggles with the same things I struggle with (ie. daily life with kids, a husband, and a "To Do" list that is out of control), and I liked her immediately! Here's the biographical information I received about Lisa:
"Lisa T. Bergren is the busy wife of Tim, an artist, mother to three kids (Olivia, 12, Emma, 9, and Jack, 'almost five'). She is the author of over thirty books, including the bestselling God Gave Us You, The Begotten, and What Women Want. She works into her schedule some freelance editing, and occasional maintenance of several web sites--Satisfied Heart, and the new Family Tripster (launching in March) and Busy Mom's Devotional (launching in April). She is active in her church and is currently at work on a new Colorado historical series."
Sounds like someone who understands both the difficulty and the importance of spending quiet time alone with God, doesn't it? She does understand, and she doesn't want devotions to become one more thing on an already too full list of "Things I Ought to Do", but rather a way for busy mothers to begin to see God everywhere they look...or what Lisa calls the "devotional life". God has been trying to bang into my little head for a while now that He just wants a relationship with me. He doesn't want me to spend my day with a list of things I'm supposed to do for Him. He wants me to spend my day with Him. So, I jumped into this book eager to find new ways to do just that!
The book is made up of 52 ten-minute readings. You guessed it, it's a ten minute per week devotional guide! TEN MINUTES! Even the busiest mom can find ten minutes somewhere in her week. But here's the thing...right from the beginning, Lisa assures you that the "10 minutes a week" isn't a hard and fast rule either. You can choose to use the book daily, or twice a week, or whatever you want to do. I loved that she included that in the book, because while I personally have no problem adjusting other people's agendas to fit into my plan, some women don't feel that freedom and may feel badly if they don't do their "10 minutes" every Monday at 6:30am. So, for those women, Lisa releases them from that pressure and rigidity immediately. I love that she thought of that!
Now, on to the meat of the book itself. You may be thinking that little 10 minute devotions can't be deep, or life-changing, or even all that meaningful...but you'd be wrong. In fact, I've found a few of those little 10 minute sessions to be downright uncomfortable! Each reading that I've done so far has had this format: 1)a scripture to read, 2) a personal story from Lisa that illustrates and amplifies the truth in that scripture, 3) a personal prayer from Lisa, 4)an opportunity for you to ask God what He is saying to you specifically from that scripture, 5)an exercise to make that scripture become personal and more meaningful to your own life, and finally 6) a chance for you to pray your own personal prayer. What I love about this is that it really encourages me to listen to God and seek out what He is trying to communicate to me through His Word. And then I find that as I go throughout my week, I'm looking for ways to live out what I think He's asking me to do, or even just looking for glimpses of Him in my daily life. I find myself talking to him throughout the day about it.
Now, it is not unusual for me to be talking to God throughout my day, but the conversations were usually more along the lines of "God, these kids are driving me crazy! Lord, I'm not sure how much more I can take. Or even the old faithful, 'HELP!'" Now though, I find myself more in conversation mode. I'm telling Him how I feel, and asking Him to guide me and teach me. Often I think we make the mistake of not sharing our thoughts and feelings with God because we think "He already knows everything, I don't need to tell Him". That's true, He does. But He also enjoys spending time with us and He loves it when we want to talk to Him. Think about your own children. How many times have they come and told you all about something that you really already knew, but you let them talk just because they were so excited about it, and really, you were just happy that they wanted to share with you? God is no different. He enjoys spending time with you, and He wants you to enjoy spending time with Him. Because truly, what is devotion? According to the dictionary, devotion is "profound dedication", "consecration", "an earnest attachment to a cause or person". I think perhaps that's how the word "devotions" came to be associated with our quiet time with God, because if you are truly devoted to someone, you spend time with them...precious, precious, time.
The sub-title to Lisa's book reads "10 Minutes a Week to a Life of Devotion", and I think that says it all. If you are looking for a more devoted life with Jesus, and you feel you need some help and guidance along the way, I encourage you to get a copy of Lisa's book, The Busy Mom's Devotional. It will encourage you, guide you, stretch you, but never overwhelm you. I absolutely love it!
And, here's the best part...I don't have to let go of my copy! Lisa told me to send her the name of one of my readers, and she would personally send you a copy of the book! So, if you'd like to receive your own copy from Lisa, just leave a comment on this post. I'll close comments on Monday, April 21st, and announce the winner on Tuesday, April 22nd. If you just can't wait, and you'd like to purchase the book yourself, you can go here or here and get one for yourself, or you can go here and read more about Lisa and her other books.
I'm definitely checking out some of her historical books. I adore historical fiction!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Do you still find yourself humming the love songs of the 80s and 90s? Do you still believe that every marriage should be between soul mates? But -- do you wonder how you can succeed at love and marriage when the generation you grew up in didn't? Marriage isn't what it used to be-it can be better than ever. If you are a Gen Xer, your marriage has challenges and potentials that no other generation has known. A Gen Xer herself, Tricia Goyer offers realistic help to achieve the God-honoring marriage you long for. She includes:
- ·Ways to protect your marriage despite the broken relationships modeled
in your youth.
- Stories, suggestions, and confessions from fellow Gen Xers facing the "What now?" question of real-life marriage.
- Advice from the ultimate marriage survival guide: the Bible.
- Stats, quizzes, sidebars, and study questions related to this "relationally challenged" time in history.
- Practical helps for negotiating kids, work, sex, money, and dirty laundry-sometimes all in the same evening.
If you are part of a generation of adults who don't want to bow to their culture or live and love like their parents did -- this book is for you.
Did that get your attention? It sure got mine, especially the "practical helps for negotiating kids, work, sex, money, and dirty laundry-sometimes all in the same evening" part! So I dove into this book with my eyes wide open, looking for all those practical helps it promised. But you know what? The thing that struck me most about this book wasn't the practical helps, it was the insight that Tricia has into the marriages of our parents and how they affected our own marriages. You're shocked aren't you? Well, if you know me at all, you should be!
I'm not the type of person who wants to know a lot of the "whys" of life. I don't have time for that. I just want to know the "hows": How can I get more done in less time? How can I get my children to behave....consistently? How can I get dinner on the table in five minutes flat, and then how can I get them to eat it? You know, the practical stuff that's going to make my life easier. So, when I received this book in the mail, I was looking for ways to make my marriage better....with minimum effort on my part. :) But what I found was understanding. Understanding not just of why our generation is facing the problems we're facing in our marriages, but why my husband and I face our marriage the way we do. I discovered how we approach things differently and why. I discovered how our parents influenced the way we see married life, and children. And surprisingly, this is what I have found most fascinating about this book.
The premise is that the "Baby Boomer" generation (our parents generation) was focused more on themselves and less on their families resulting in record numbers of divorces, and therefore the "Generation Xers" (our generation) have put more focus on their children and keeping their marriages together because they saw the damage that all that divorce had on the children...themselves. Obviously this isn't a blanket statement and not every "Boomer" is self-centered, just as not every Gen Xer is child/family-centered. But as a generation, those were the trends.
My own family doesn't exactly fit into this discription. While my parents did divorce, my mother remarried and I was raised in a loving and happy home with two very unselfish parents. In fact, while my mother did have to work when we were young, she and my step-dad sacrificed so that she was able to stay home later, when we were in our tween and teen-aged years because they felt that this was a more crucial time to be there for us....and to keep those eagle eyes on us, no doubt! I remember coming home from highschool and college every day and sitting in the kitchen just talking to my mother while she made dinner. We talked about nonsense stuff like how it would be nice to have a laundry basket with three handles so that you could rest it on your hip and still have a handle to hold onto...you know, important stuff like that. But we were talking. To each other. And one Christmas I remember that I bought my mom just such a laundry basket and I filled it with some of the other nonsense things we had talked about. It was silly, but it meant something to us, because it was something we shared... together.
My husband's family was more of what Tricia describes in her book. His father was married several times, and his mother was married three different times. He and his brothers spent some time living with another family while his mother worked. He always understood that his mother wasn't at his ball games and activities because she was working, and he didn't hold it against her, but he tries his best to not only be at all of our kids' games, but practices as well. And he coaches their teams whenever he can. He knows that it's important for the kids, and for our family.
And we both know that no matter what, we will stay together. Somedays we don't like each other all that much :), but we both know that our marriage is worth it. We love each other, and despite differences, and obstinance (his of course, not mine, lol) we will stick it out. And now that I see, from Tricia's insights, why we both approach marriage and family the way we do, it makes the daily decision to stick with it that much easier, and even more important to me as well.
So, now are you ready for some of those practical helps for fitting it all in, and being happy about it? Well, I'm afraid you'll just have to get the book and read them for yourself, hee-hee! But to make that just a little bit easier, Tricia is giving away copies of both of her "Generation Next" books, "Generation NeXt Marriage" and "Generation NeXt Parenting"! You just have to leave a comment on this post to be entered in the drawing...and yes, I'm posting on the right day this time!
But wait! There's more!
Love Gen X Style!
Share your story and WIN a dinner for TWO to the restaurant of your choice! ($50 maximum)
Tell us the story of how you and your spouse met. If you have photos, send those along, too! All the stories will be published on Tricia's GenX Parenting blog. The winning story will be the one with the most comments...so tell your friends.
A winning story will be chosen at the end of the blog tour and will
be published in Tricia's monthly newsletter!
Contest entry form for Generation NeXt Marriage blog tour!
And now, I have just a few more little links that you might be interested in:
- For Tricia's Bio and photo, go here
- For an excerpt from her book, go here
- To find out what people are saying about Generation NeXt Marriage, go here
- To read other reviews of this book on the Blog Book Tour, go here
- To buy the book, go here
- And finally, to get to Tricia's website, go here
Truly, this book was full of truth and insight that has changed the way I look at both my marriage and my family. I can't wait to read "Generation NeXt Parenting" to see where it will take me. If you can't wait either, then leave a comment and I'll enter you in the drawing to win both books! And if you write a post on how you met your spouse for the contest, be sure and come back here and tell me so I can come by and read it!
Friday, April 4, 2008
Well, the man, myself and two of the chilluns are headed to the NASCAR races in Dallas tomorrow morning, so I'll be away for a few more days. (The other two kids are headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house...in case you were wondering. Because we only have 4 tickets to the race, that's why.) Ya'll have a great weekend!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
First of all, I love me some Dolly Parton! And quite frankly, I had less trouble with the guys singing her songs than the girls, because I rarely, rarely like it when someone else sings a Dolly song. Her voice is just so distinct, that when another singer sings the song, it just never sounds right....even Whitney.
Now, the main reason I decided that I had post something about this week's show was Jason Castro. Now normally, I agree with Simon. Most of the time, he and I have the same opinions about performances.....most of the time. Last night was not one of those times. I absolutely loved Jason's version of "Travelin' Thru". In fact, I loved it so much that I downloaded the song from iTunes as soon as I heard him sing it. So, I'm sorry Simon, but you were wrong on this one.
The other thing I wanted to mention was all the Jesus that was there last night? Did you all notice how many of the songs preached Jesus? And then Dolly herself sang "Jesus and Gravity" on the results show! Not to mention The Clark Brothers singing "This Little Light of Mine". Jesus was all over that place this week! I just had to say "Thanks" to American Idol for not being afraid to let people sing about Jesus if they want to. I think it's awesome, and I absolutely loved, loved, loved the show this week.
And I also have to say, that just based on last night's performances, I agree that Ramiele was the one to go. I love her, and I think she's an amazing singer, but just based on this week's performances, I felt hers was the weakest. In fact, as much as I love Brooke, I completely agreed with the bottom three as well....again based solely on this week's performances.
Oh, and just in case you're curious, the only songs I've downloaded this season so far have been Jason Castro's performances of "Hallelujah" and "Travelin' Thru" and David Archuletta's performance of "Smoky Mountain Memories". I would have downloaded his version of "Imagine" because it was so amazing, but I just can't stand that song. The music is beautiful, but the words get to me...especially the opening lyric. I just couldn't bring myself to download a song that I dislike no matter how well it was sung.