Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Dresses

Every year Katie gets a new Christmas dress.
It has always been an easy task:

I find a dress I love for her,
I buy it,
I give it to her and she loves it.

Some years she comes with me and chooses,
but we always agree on the style.

This year, however, it was a bit different.

I had visions of something like this:


or this,



I loved this one, too!



Even this one wasn't bad.



My little Fashionista nixed every single one of them.
She had other ideas.
She said those were pretty, but she wanted something else.

What did she choose?

Something that didn't look like a sweet 
"little girl dress".

It looked a bit more grown up.
In fact, it was way more grown up than I had in mind.

She chose this one.


Sigh.
My baby isn't a baby any more. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SBIM Half-Marathon

I was able to go to Santa Barbara on Thursday after all. Katie was feeling better. And I left her in VERY good hands. My dear friend, RoseAnn, kept the kidlets for us so we could go. I love that sweet lady.

We arrived Thursday afternoon and checked in to our hotel. I love staying at Fess Parker's Resort. Yes, THAT Fess Parker. He built an amazing hotel along Cabrillo Blvd. in SB. After we checked in, Andy & Mariah came to pick us up for dinner. Mariah and I are really close. She is my cousin/fellow foodie/half-marathon partner/etc. Andy is her fabulous husband. I wish we lived closer together - we would be together all the time. Dinner was amazing: good food, good wine, and fabulous company. 

Friday morning we woke up and went for a jog on the beach path. It was beautiful and I wish I could exercise on the beach every single day. I have a feeling I'd be in far better shape than I am if I lived on the coast. After our run/walk, we went to the SBIM Expo to pick up our packets and shirts, then we went to wander around downtown for a while. We made reservations at Enterprise Fish Co. to celebrate our anniversary. The food was incredible, but my favorite part of the evening was just spending it with Mr. C. After 17 years of marriage, I still can't get enough of that man. 

We got up bright and early on Saturday for the race. We were both nervous and excited so neither of us had slept well. We caught the shuttle to the starting line and met up with Mariah. We decided to take some "before" shots:

 Mr. C warming up

Mariah and I even found Big Bird. He ran the entire race in this outfit - and the dude had the sexiest accent ever. I am a sucker for an accent.

 My race bib. 
They printed our names on them so spectators could yell encouragement to you throughout the race and call you by name - and the DID! 
It was awesome!

 Some crazy man ran it in sandals. Ouch.

 These were the people behind us in the starting area.

 These were the people in front of us in the starting area.

They started the race in waves. There were 3600 runners entered in the Half. The first group to go out was the "under 8-min. milers". Next came the "8-11 min. milers", which was Mr. C's group. Last was our group, the "over 11-min. milers". When our group was started, they were playing "Highway to Hell" on the audio system. Hehe.

Along the race route, musical groups were set up every couple of miles. There were string quartets, Accordion groups, Beach Boys singers, a dude dressed as a king playing a ukulele, etc. It was incredible. There were also spectators shouting to us and holding signs.



THIS sign was my favorite:

This is Mariah and our new friend Julie. We didn't know Julie until that morning, but she found us at the starting area (I have no idea HOW with so many people there, but she did) and decided that we looked nice and she wanted to walk with us. She dubbed us "Team Half-Crazy" because of our shirts (which, by the way, were very popular with the spectators and contestants all day long). Julie is a doll and we are so glad she decided to join us for the day.


After Mile 11, we could finally see the ocean. It was such a welcome sight for us because we knew the finish line was close.  


When we started down the final hill, look who we found! Mr. C decided to come back up to give us some encouragement for the final leg of the race. He had a goal of finishing in under 2:10 - he actually finished in 2:04:27.2!!!! He was shocked that we were already that close to the finish, he thought we'd be further back still. :) At this point I could barely walk. I had developed a rather large blister on the ball of my foot during Mile 4 (which meant I had to walk on that sucker for NINE miles)! I also could feel one of my toenails coming off and several smaller blisters. I was in so much pain!!! Mr. C said that when we saw the finish line, we would get a burst of energy and start running. I did NOT believe him because I was exhausted and I hurt so badly.


However, when we saw this...
 we grabbed hands and ran our fastest until we crossed the finish line. My goal had been to finish in under four hours. We finished in 3:55! It was the most incredible feeling I've ever had. After being unable to participate in PE or sports at any point in my childhood (due to severe asthma), and suffering from 3 knee surgeries (including my left knee having the cartilage scraped out from underneath the knee cap), and 2 herniated discs in my back...well, let's just say this was not something I ever dreamed I could accomplish. Mariah and I were both overwhelmed with emotion at the end. I can't believe I actually did it. This was the most difficult thing I've ever done, both physically and mentally - but we DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mariah is the mother of four boys. I am the mother of three boys and a girl, and a grandma! The odds were stacked against us, but we proved that it isn't always physical ability that gets you there - it is your determination and attitude, too.

Mr. C took a picture of Julie, Mariah, and me after we received our medals. I look like crap (I pulled my hair all the way back that morning because I didn't want it in my face - NOT a good look for me), but I was so happy that I decided to post these pics anyway. LOL.

 This is the medal we received. I will cherish it forever. And I can look in the eyes of my beautiful grandson and tell him,
"I am a half-marathoner".


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rough Day

I'm supposed to be packing for our getaway to Santa Barbara, but I'm not sure I'm going yet. Katie woke up with the stomach flu at 1:00 this morning and I've been doing nothing but steam-cleaning my floors and washing towels. Ick. I am praying it is the 24-hour bug and not something more severe. If she isn't better, I will try to reschedule my flight for Friday so I can still do the race. If she still isn't better by then, I'll have to cancel my trip completely. I have worked so hard for this and it is so disappointing that the past month I have been sick and couldn't train very much, and now Katie is sick and I might not be able to go.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gratitude Day 8


  • I am thankful I was born with a grateful heart. Even in the midst of pain and sorrow, I have always been able to find the blessing in each situation. There were times when all I had was my faith that things would get better. During those times when things seemed hopeless, He always gave me the knowledge that they weren't. I am grateful for my difficult childhood because it taught me self-reliance, empathy, and inner peace. I am grateful that the experience of being a divorced mom taught me that I was strong and capable. I am grateful for the four babies we lost because I cherish my four living children so much more than I might have otherwise.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Mercy

I missed yesterday. I have been sick for three weeks and went back to the doctor on Thursday where I was given an injection and a new antibiotic. Hopefully it works quickly. I have a race in 6 days and I need to be 100% in order to finish. Anyway...back to my post...

Forgiveness.
Mercy.
Understanding.
Empathy.

How is it that we all expect these things when WE mess up, but we find it so hard to extend to those who have hurt us? Why do we hold grudges against others when they fail our expectations? How can we teach our children about unconditional love when we don't live it in our daily lives?

I always had a hard time grasping the concept of a "loving" God. My idea of God was more of a "judgmental" or "just" God. The idea of Him loving me unconditionally was so foreign. I thought I had to earn it, but I never felt I could because I fail daily. I am not perfect, so how could He love me perfectly? I was constantly trying to live up to what I thought I needed to be in order to be loved and accepted.

Fortunately, I found that God is not like that. He loves us lavishly. He rejoices when we succeed, and he weeps with us when we hurt. His love is not based on our behavior. He extends mercy and understanding, even when we don't deserve it. And He loves me so much more than I deserve.

Now, the challenge for us is to try to model that kind of love and mercy to others - especially our children. When someone hurts me, am I as quick to forgive them as I hope I'd be forgiven? Am I as quick to extend mercy as I am to accept it? Do my children see the love of God in ME? Will they be confident of my love? Will they be confident of His love? Or do they witness me holding grudges, or doling out excessive punishment? Do they see understanding, or do they see "justice"?

I once heard a question that has stuck with me for many years: "Do your eyes light up when your child enters the room?".

I know that our Father's eyes do.

Do yours?


Friday, November 04, 2011

Love and Marriage


Tomorrow will be our 17th wedding anniversary. In some ways, it seems like just yesterday that we met because it has gone by so quickly. In other ways, it seems like we've been married forever because I can't remember what my life was like before. Each and every day, I thank God for putting that man in my life. I don't know where I would be without him.

I didn't have an easy childhood. There was not a lot of safety, security, or stability in our home. My parents certainly didn't model an example of what a healthy marriage looked like (they hadn't had those models either). We moved constantly so I never had a stable support system in my life, and by the time I was in 6th grade, I had attended eight different schools (in as many towns / states). I was insecure and constantly seeking approval, but never seemed to find it. My escape was reading, which I did constantly.

My first marriage was difficult, as well. My ex-husband isn't an ogre or anything - but we had very different ideas of what our family should be. We were young, ill-matched, and neither of us had the tools to fix things when they began to fail. The divorce was painful and left me feeling like a failure.

So, when I met Mr. C, I was carrying a lot of baggage. In fact, I think my baggage would've filled the entire luggage compartment of a jumbo jet. I didn't trust men. at. all. I had built up tall, thick walls. I had dealt with rejection and abandonment my entire life. I was also a people-pleaser, so I never felt comfortable asking for what I needed because I didn't want to inconvenience him, or seem too needy.

But my husband is an amazing man. He slowly proved that he was different. He encouraged me to share my thoughts. He taught me that there ARE good, honorable, gentle, and decent men in this world. This wasn't a quick, or easy, process - it took him years to tear down those walls I had built up. I can now honestly say that I trust him completely. And because it took so long to earn it, he works hard to not break that trust. He respects me as a person and as an equal.

He is the BEST father I've ever seen. He is patient, loving, and encouraging to our four children, even though he is only biologically related to the younger two. He doesn't consider my boys his step-sons, they are his sons. Period. He is the best father a daughter could have. He takes Katie on breakfast dates every Saturday morning. He treats me with love and respect so our children know how a man should treat his wife. He thanks me for cooking dinner every night, in front of the kids - and makes sure they thank me, too. He is loyal to his family - always. He is always a good example to our children and all four of them feel comfortable going to him for advice. They know they can rely and depend on him for anything - and he will always be there. His love is unconditional, and he would never, ever abandon them.

Even with all of these glowing words, don't assume the years have all been easy for us. We had a few really rough ones - so rough that there are times I am amazed that we made it through. Early in our marriage, we had some major adjustment issues. After moving to Cheyenne almost fifteen years ago, my boys tried attending school here, but both decided to go back to live in our former town with their father. I was devastated. When you combine this with the fact that Mr. C was working and/or golfing constantly...well, I was one unhappy and lonely girl. I began looking for a job back where my boys were (this was before the two littles were born), and was seriously planning on moving. If it weren't for my husband being such a stubborn and persuasive man, we wouldn't be where we are today. It took love, forgiveness, grace, and a whole lot of work (on both our parts), but we managed to do it. Our marriage is one of two content and grateful people who truly enjoy being together. We have been told many times that we still act like newlyweds. He is my dearest friend and the love of my life.

I have learned a few lessons through the years: 1) a bad childhood does not have to equal a bad adulthood. 2) you can overcome pain and uncertainty to create a joyful and happy life. 3) Even when your marriage looks like it is hopeless, you can rebuild it into something more wonderful than you ever dreamed.

And, for Mr. C - thank you for the past 17 years. God has given me more than I could have ever imagined or deserved. You are His greatest gift to me and you have my heart until the end of time. Happy early anniversary, my love.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude


I created a layout to keep track of my
30 Days of Gratitude
posts on Facebook.
You can check out the deets at the
Ormolu Blog!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Last Supper


If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

Seafood. Hands down. I would have lobster in drawn butter. Crab legs in drawn butter. Gee, I feel like Paula Deen... Anyway, shrimp cocktail. Scallone (Moby Dick's in Santa Barbara used to serve this amazing dish and I always ordered it - it is scallops and abalone chopped and cooked together in a thin egg batter - best served with lemon).

I would end my amazing meal with Creme Brulee from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (they make THE BEST).

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

NaBloPoMo

...stands for National Blog Posting Month. I am going to try to post something on the old bloggity blog blog every day during the month of November. On Facebook, I am doing a 30 Days of Gratitude, so I may also post that here some days.

November is all about gratitude and thankfulness, which is why it is one of my favorite months. I love Thanksgiving because it is all about family, football, and food. :)

So, join me each day this month as I attempt to complete the challenge of NaBloPoMo.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Strep

On Monday, Katie went to school, then came home to get ready for tap lessons. As we pulled in to the studio, she said her tummy didn't feel well, but insisted she was well enough to stay for dance. I told her if she felt worse to call and I'd come pick her up right away. I left to return some books to the library, then came back to watch her through the observation window. She wasn't visible anywhere. After a few minutes, I poked my head into the room to see where she was and found her sitting in a chair. She didn't feel well at all, so we left to come home. About five minutes after arriving home, she began to scream in pain saying her ear hurt. I put her back into the car and headed to Healthreach to have her checked out. We waited forever (6 pm on a Monday is NOT the time to go there, by the way), but finally made it to an exam room. After a few minutes of sitting there, my poor girl became quite sick to her tummy - everywhere. Not. fun. Although, I think it did speed things up so we were seen a bit more quickly. Verdict: ear infection and strep throat.

The next morning (after getting up with Katie several times throughout the night), I woke up with a headache and sore throat. Mr. C took one look at my throat and sent me directly to Healthreach. Two trips in 18 hours - score! The doctor took one look and diagnosed me with strep, too - she said she didn't even need to swab it because it looked so bad.

Katie has now fully recovered. I am still dragging. Why does it take so much longer to heal when you are an adult? Geez. I have felt like I was run over by a truck for three days now. Mr. C has been a great help - and not nearly as phobic about being around me as he typically is when I'm sick. And he hasn't "lysolled" me once yet - yes, he really did that one time. I was sick with bronchitis and fell asleep. I was awakened about an hour later gasping for air and found myself sitting in a cloud with my handsome groom standing over me holding a can of Lysol. True. story. I think I've forgiven him for that one. Maybe. But if he does it again, he is toast.

Now, I do not have time to be sick. I am training for my half-marathon (which is a mere two weeks away). I am not really on-schedule in my training, but I'm determined to do my best and just cross the finish line. I became much more excited about finishing after I found out that when you complete the race, you are given a gorgeous medal to wear on your neck. How cool is that? I may never take mine off. My thought is that rappers wear big old necklaces, why can't I?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Softly & Tenderly by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck



Description:
Maybe out there in the country she could catch her breath, learn to breathe again.
Happily married and owner of two successful boutiques, Jade longs to begin a family with her husband, Max. But when she discovers that Max has an illegitimate son—who he wants her to help raise—Jade’s life is turned upside down.
She flees to her childhood home, a rambling Iowa farmhouse, with enough room to breathe. There—while her mother’s health grows fragile, and the tug of her first love grows stronger—Jade begins to question everything she thought she knew about family, love, and motherhood. In the wide-open landscape, Jade begins to see a future that doesn’t rest on the power of her past but in the goodness of God's tender mercies.
This book surprised me. First, it dealt with subjects not typically addressed in Christian Fiction: adultery, deception, divorce, etc. Secondly, Sara Evans is a surprisingly good writer. Jade and Max have a seemingly perfect marriage. They are dealing with infertility and miscarriage, but everything else appears to be wonderful. Until Max has to come clean to Jade that shortly before their wedding, he fathered a child with another woman. He just assumes she will forgive and forget, but Jade is deeply wounded by this revelation. 
On top of everything else, Jade's mother is dying, and her in-laws' marriage is crumbling. Her mother longs to die at home in Iowa so Jade, her mother, and her mother-in-law embark on a road trip to her hometown. While there, she re-connects with her first love and finds herself in a position of having to make some difficult choices.  This is a story of love, hope, forgiveness, redemption, and faith. 
This book kept me interested enough that I read it in two days. I liked the fact that the characters all had flaws...deep flaws. I found myself confused at times - typically during Jade's flashback sections - but I think that may be because I never read the first installment of this series. Other than that, this book was very easy to read and quite enjoyable. 
 I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Blingy Girl


Katie has been begging us to allow her to pierce her ears.
After several months of putting her off, we decided to use this to our advantage.
We made a deal with her:
She keeps her room clean and minds us for two weeks solid
and we would get her ears pierced.
Much to our surprise, she actually did it!
Which meant we had to pay up.
Mom, Bren, and Katie headed to Claire's on Monday.
She wanted diamonds - huge diamonds - 6 mm CZ's to be precise.
We convinced her they were way too big for her little ears.
She finally agreed to go with the 3 mm ones instead.

Pre-piercing:

Cleaning her ears:


Afterwards - she finally believed me that it hurt.


Trying to smile through the pain.

Don't worry - she is totally fine now.
She loves her earrings and is glad she did it.
But I do believe she will not doubt me next time I tell her something hurts.

Also, I should have taken pics of Brendan.
The poor kid couldn't stand to see his sister in pain
so he paced the floor outside in the mall.
Kind of like a nervous expectant father.
After it was all over, he came in and saw her tears...
and he leaned over and kissed her sweaty little forehead.
He told her she would feel better soon
and that he was so sorry it had hurt.
He is the BEST big brother EVER.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Project at Ormolu

I posted a new layout at the Ormolu blog over the weekend. It is about one of the funny stories from our trip to The Masters. Check it out!


Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

I first want to say that I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read, and kept me interested. Although I have never before read one of Joshua Harris' books, I had heard of his books on dating (or NOT dating, to be specific). His writing style is enjoyable and he didn't speak over my head in any way. Often, when reading a book on theology, I find I have a difficult time staying attentive to the bigger message - I tend to get caught up in trying to keep track of too many details. Not so with this book.

Harris seems to be completely authentic when writing about his beliefs. I like that he uses people he knows as examples in the book. His discussion of Jesus' birth and childhood , in particular, was captivating. All too often, we tend to forget that, although He was God, He was also a human. He had human experiences and human (physical) frailties.

I also really enjoyed reading the Reflection and Discussion Guide at the end of the book. This would be a wonderful Small Group Study. The questions contained within this section caused me to really stop and THINK about what I believe, and what I intend to do about those beliefs.
I highly recommend this book.



“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

Grief brought Finley to Ireland. LOVE WILL LEAD HER HOME.
Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She’s witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.
She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will’s travel journal. It’s the place he felt closest to God, and she’s hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.
Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She’s the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.
Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?
Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she’s been looking for has been with her all along?




Although I am not in the target age group for this book, I loved it. It was charming and sweet, and I really enjoyed reading it. Finley Sinclair is from a wealthy family, but wealth doesn't make one immune to tragedy. After the death of her brother, Will, Finley takes his journal and follows Will's path to Ireland. While en route, she meets Beckett Rush, a famous young actor. Beckett appreciate's Finley's honesty and convinces her to be his assistant - in exchange, Beckett promises to help her follow Will's travel journal so she can visit the places he did. Will's faith had grown so much during his time in Ireland, and Finley desperately wants (and needs) to experience the same healing and growth. Her months in Ireland also coincide with Finley's preparation for her interview with a music conservatory in New York. She is writing a musical composition, but cannot seem to come up with the ending. Finley is convinced the key to completing the composition is in finding one particular location from Will's journal. As she and Beckett search the Irish countryside, Finley begins to see and feel the things Will did. She faces her fears, her dreams, and her emotions. Beckett also opens up to new goals and dreams, and finds he, too, has some decisions to make that will effect every part of his life. I highly recommend this book, and give it 5 stars!


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ormolu Project

I created this little project for Brendan's room.

Check out


for the simple instructions and product list!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Flee. Fly. Flu.

This has been me for the past week and a half.
Of course, I haven't been in bed for most of those days,
but I wanted/needed to be.
In between short bouts of rest,
I closed out our PTO fundraiser,
shuttled kidlets to activities and school,
did laundry, loaded the dishwasher, packed lunches,
cooked, grocery shopped,
and went to the doctor.
He said it was viral so he couldn't give me an antibiotic,
but if I wasn't better in a few days to call him back.
Yesterday I phoned him.
I'm sure he'd missed me.
I know I thought about him all week long.
But I only called because I woke up without my voice.
We can't be having that, now can we?
Although I think Mr. C and the kidlets enjoyed the silence.
The nice doctor prescribed antibiotics for me.
And after a series of crazy mishaps and blunders
(on their side, not mine)
I finally got them late last night.
I hope they do the trick.
Quickly.
We have tickets to the Bronco game tomorrow
where they are celebrating Shannon Sharpe's HOF Induction.

I hope he is dressed exactly like that, too.
You're welcome.




Saturday, September 10, 2011

Life Before...And After.

I'm sure you remember where you were that day. Don't we all? I was home from work that day. A rare occasion. I worked 50 hrs./week back then. Brendan, who was not yet two years old, went to Montessori School each day. But on September 11, 2001, he was home sick so I took advantage of the opportunity to snuggle with him while we watched The Disney Channel (his favorite at the time). We were blissfully unaware of the horror that was unfolding in our country.

My brother phoned and interrupted our peaceful morning with stories of planes crashing and buildings falling...and people dying. I quickly turned the channel and sat stunned as I watched the endless replaying of the footage of the World Trade Center crumbling to the ground. Then I called Mr. C at the office. I needed to hear his voice. He was as shocked as I had been.

All day long I sat, immovable, in front of the TV praying that everyone would come home safely. I distinctly remember one girl who was trying to find her Dad. As she looked into the camera, she said his name was David, and he wore a necklace with a letter "D" on it. She traced the D onto her chest as she described it. She was desperate to hear her father was alright. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. We did not yet know that almost all of the employees of that company had perished in the attack.

What I remember most about that day though, was the feeling of complete hopelessness. My world was rocked, and not in a good way. I knew life would never be the same for any of us, and I was right. But, looking back, I can honestly say that some good came out of the tragedy. Do you know that the crime rate in NYC dropped significantly in the years following 9/11? People changed. Our attitudes changed. But, most of all, our values changed.

Up until that day, I had convinced myself that I was happy leaving my toddler for 50 hours each week while I worked in an office. I had convinced myself that my job was important, and that it was better for Brendan to spend his days at Montessori with other children than to be at home with no socialization. Even though he hated it.

Within six months of that fateful day, I had cut my hours to half-time, and pulled Brendan out of daycare completely. We began trying to have another baby. We began faithfully attending church as a family again. And we truly re-focused our energy back onto our family.

I still think of that young girl who was looking for her Dad, and I wonder where she is now. What has she become in the last ten years? I wonder if her heart has healed at all. I've prayed for her many, many times, as I have for everyone who lost someone that day.

That day changed everything for all of us. Fortunately, most of us have taken the opportunity to create something good from all of the bad, which means that terror didn't win...

love did.





Friday, September 09, 2011

One Call Away by Brenda Warner




Book Description
Brenda’s life has taken twists and turns that are stranger than fiction. It always seemed as if she was just one phone call away from the next explosive change. Each time her plans fell apart, she had a choice: would she give up, or would she press forward and learn from the unexpected? One Call Away is the inspiring story of a woman who has prevailed through many of the circumstances that discourage women: tragedy, poverty, betrayal, and humiliation. But unlike most women, her life has been on display in the media.
Brenda’s faith and God’s strength enable her to face challenge after challenge: an accident that leaves her son blind and brain damaged, a crumbling marriage, a tornado that kills her parents, a new relationship with promising football player Kurt Warner, and the pressures his sudden success brings to their growing family.
Through food stamps and funerals, Super Bowls and serving others, Brenda’s strength is unwavering. Her determination to dream new dreams, willingness to learn from her mistakes, and commitment to giving back to her community make her a role model for women of all backgrounds.
Her dreams haven’t materialized as she had imagined, but Brenda has found that God has a much bigger plan for her. Conversational and candid, One Call Away invites readers facing their own difficulties to trust God and discover hope in the future.


I ordered this book with some hesitation. I love football, and was aware of the story of Kurt Warner, as well as his wife, Brenda. I had heard the negative press Brenda has received through the years, so I was unsure if I would even enjoy reading a book written by her. However, I was wrong. This book was really good. At times it was difficult to follow, but overall it was a wonderful story of overcoming difficulties, the power of faith, and perseverence. Reading her story of her time in the Marines, then dealing with her baby's injury, was just incredible. She is one tough cookie, yet I could also feel the tenderness as she wrote of the love she has for her children. Being a football fan, I found her "behind the scenes" perspective of the NFL quite interesting. I have always had a great deal of respect for Kurt Warner, but now I can honestly say I think his wife is just as (if not MORE) inspiring as he is.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, September 02, 2011

Week In The Life

My Week In The Life Album is up today at
Ormolu!

Go check it out. :)


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Committed

For the past six months, I have been training.

Hard.

I have been getting back into a routine.

Working out.
Like I used to.
Back in the day.
Before the two littles came along.
I hired a trainer.
I began eating a much more healthy diet.
So far I've lost 24 lbs.
I have a long way to go until I reach goal,

but at least I'm on my way.
To celebrate our 17th Anniversary,
Mr. C and I are going to spend a
nice weekend away in
Santa Barbara

doing a Half-Marathon!

I am committed.
Or maybe I should BE committed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Winner...or Two!!!!

So I didn't get the drawing done last night.
I kind of caught a cold from some little darling
at the kidlets' school.
But we made sure to take care of business
right after they came home this afternoon.


Since they BOTH wanted to draw a name,
I decided I'd draw two and send a pack of
Scripture Tags
to two of you!


Here is Brendan holding the basket while Katie
drew a name.
She chose...



Tania Willis!!!!!

Here is Katie holding the basket for Brendan.
Way. up. high.
She likes to make things difficult sometimes.
Brendan chose....

Kelly Massman!!!!!!
I will contact you to get your addresses and your tags will
be on their way shortly.
Thank you to everyone who participated!
I wish I could send a pack to each of you.
Oh, and Angela,
I will be contacting you to get your address.
You liked the dandelion I created with my
Silhouette, so I'm going to cut one out and mail it to you.
Enjoy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Give-Away!!!!!

Every month a new Creative Team member
will be spotlighted on the
Ormolu blog.
August is my turn.

Along with the spotlight is a giveaway
of my favorite Ormolu product:




Scripture Tags







So, in order to be entered into the drawing for these beauties,
just leave a comment and check back after Thursday
so I can get in touch with you if your name is drawn.
The drawing will be held in one week!!!

Be sure to go to the


Ormolu Blog
to check out my scrap room
and a layout of Katie.
While you are there, be sure to check out the shop.



There are some really fabulous things there.
Happy Thursday!

Ormolu Projects

I've had a few projects posted on the
Ormolu Blog.
I thought I'd share the ones that have posted
thus far:


Give Thanks Plaque
Ormolu Products Used:
scripture tags
Vignette Dots & Spots



The Masters

(for Mr. C's office so it is heavy on pics and not overly done-up)
Ormolu Products Used:
2-Day Hooray numbers
Vignette Dots & Spots
Vignette Circle Tags
Soft Petal Circle Tags
Examiner Storyteller Cards

Mother's Day
Ormolu Products Used:
Excellence of Love Dots & Spots
Soft Petal Circle Tags
Vignette Dots & Spots
Framed Stickers
Examiner Storytellers
(including one with hidden journaling tucked underneath the title)


Trust Card
Ormolu Products Used:
Scripture Tags



I will doing a giveaway for my favorite Ormolu product!
Info will be posted later today or in the morning.
Can you guess my favorite?








Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Regret Free Parenting by Catherine Hickem, LCSW


Book Description
A motherhood expert teaches the seven essential principles every mom needs to confidently raise her children.
Every mother wants her children to grow up happy, healthy, and fulfilled. But reaching that destination can be full of indecision, worry, and second-guessing. Ask any mother, "Do you think you're doing a good job?" and she’ll likely give you a mixed answer. In her groundbreaking book, Regret-Free Parenting, Catherine Hickem offers seven principles for mothers to raise their children well . . . and know they’re doing it right.
With nearly thirty years of experience as a psychotherapist, speaker, women's ministry director, and founder of Intentional Moms, Catherine Hickem shows how to build respect, companionship, trust, and emotional health as well as how to usher confident, centered, and secure adults into the world. If any mother has ever wondered, Am I raising a good kid and am I doing it right? she needs the impactful teaching of Regret-Free Parenting.



This review has been a long time coming. I read the book a few months ago, but have struggled with actually writing my thoughts and opinions about it. I truly enjoyed reading it. It confirmed to me that a lot of what I am doing as a mother is "right", but that is where the struggle for me comes. Is there a "right" and a "wrong" way to parent? If parenting was cookie-cutter, wouldn't everyone be able to do it well? Maybe the author's children are different then mine or yours and they perhaps respond to methods and practices that other children would not.


I am a very intentional mother. I try to always think long-term where my children are concerned. I rarely react in anger to something they do or say. I try to explain to them why I do things so they know that I have reasons for making decisions. I try to explain the lessons they are learning about life, etc. But that does not mean my way is right and your way is wrong, and that is almost the attitude I felt the author conveyed in her book. I also have to question the fact that she used her own children for most of her examples. There were a few instances where she used another family in a story, but it was mainly her experience with her children that made up the bulk of the text. I do feel that she is a very effective mother. It appears that her children have grown into well-adjusted and productive members of society. She obviously did a terrific job in parenting them. But there are times when, no matter how "intentional" you are, and no matter how involved and loving and Christ-like you are, our children don't choose the path to where we've led them. Sometimes children even make choices and decisions to live their lives in a way that we have intentionally steered them away from, but that doesn't mean their parents weren't attentive, loving, and well-meaning.


With all of that said, I would recommend this book. I feel it would best be utilized by parents of younger children, who still have time to put into practice the things the author discusses, but I also feel any parent would benefit from reading it.



I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Sunday, August 07, 2011

Junior Club Championship


The Junior Club Championship was August 1 & 2.

I just thought this was a pretty picture. It is a gorgeous hole.


The B-Man, Luke, and Ben waiting for their turn on the 13th hole.
I see these three playing lots of golf together in the years ahead.


On the green waiting for his turn to putt.


Bren took third place.
He didn't play his best on Monday, but came back strong on
Tuesday and shot the low round of the day.
I am so proud of him.
Not because he won a plaque.
But because his attitude is so positive.
He encouraged the kids who were struggling.
Even the day he was struggling, as well.
He didn't throw a fit or get grumpy.
He just continued to grind it out and try to get through it.
And even when he knew he had won 3rd Place,
he asked the other kids how they did
without mentioning his own accomplishment.
I admire that boy so much.