Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas is in the air and on the table!

I have managed (with the help of my daughter) to get a few things decorated for Christmas.  I love my Christmas china. 

And plenty of room for lots of family to gather around and enjoy some Christmas goodies.

What will you enjoy at your table this Christmas?  I would love to hear about your great recipes. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

He wears many hats!

The boy loves to wear a hat.  Do we have a cowboy in the future?

Or maybe the next LSU football star? (Hey it can happen)

Beware if you leave one laying around. 

Even if you don't think it's a hat! 

Such a happy little man. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Stories of Christmas' Past

I've been known to be fanatical about how things go at Christmas.  Yes I get completely caught up in the gift giving part of Christmas.  I love to pick out all of the presents and I love to use themes.  No clue where that started but it did and I do it most often without even realizing that I've done so.  I also have traditions that seem to be expected!  Last year I made the grave mistake of thinking that everyone had plenty of pj's and didn't need a new pair.  Well - it appears that we had been opening them on Christmas Eve and wearing them Christmas morning.  How did I miss that??  The scene last year was an ugly one when it was discovered that there would be Zero new jammies.  Bet that one never gets overlooked again.

We should have taken a cue from our not quite 2 year old on her second Christmas.  She hated Santa and we had to avoid all things Santa.  I had a really cute stuffed Santa sitting in a rocking chair and she insisted we "put back".  So back to the closet he went.  Everyone kept telling her that Santa was coming on Christmas Eve and guess who stayed awake ALL night long for fear of that man coming to her house!  Yep - all night.    Santa has caused us many sleepless Christmas Eve nights.  That same child only hated Santa that one year.  The next year she was awake and ready to check for his arrival around 1 a.m.  And so the tradition began of waking long before morning.  When she became a tween we set limits on the time.  (we actually threatened to put pad locks on her door and lock her in)  We decided that 6:30ish was plenty early to get up.  I'm getting sleepy just thinking about it!

I was so fanatical about the gifts that I would boobie trap them to see if they had been bothered!  Yes - Seriously.  If one was moved I would know it because I would have a string of lights laying over a particular one and if any gift was disturbed it would disturb the light.  Yes indeed - you would not outsmart me and peek in those gifts.  There is a reason for such behavior.  When I was a teen-ager - I thought it would be really fun to sneak my gifts from under the tree -slice open the tape and re-tape them after I had peeked inside.  Christmas morning was miserable.  Totally no fun.  I simply wanted to spare my children of such an unhappy Christmas morning.  I'm just that kind of nice mom to want to spare her children such sadness! 

Gift wrapping became another challenge.  The girls would beg and worry me about their packages that it became my newest challenge to give them more adventure!  I would wrap their presents in their own special paper and not put names on them.  So they spent the time trying to figure out which gifts were theirs!  I changed it up to different bows one year and numbers and just about anything to keep them guessing.  Can you tell I love a challenge? 

The year 2001 proved to be a very difficult Christmas.  My dad died on December 14 and the terminal diagnosis of my mother-in-law came the very same weekend.  I had been my dad's caretaker and he had been very ill for the entire year.  I was in no mood to shop and certainly did not have time to spend wrapping.  I was not the best person to spend that Christmas with but we kept it together and survived.  I was extremely sad that I had no fun wrapping and to top it off I had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  It was as sad and pitiful as a tree could be.  We were renovating our new "old" house and living in a temporary home full of boxes.  All of the gifts were stashed at my mom's and I pulled one more trick out of the hat.  Just a few days before Christmas I brought home two large boxes (and I don't mean coat boxes) two rolls of wrapping paper and I made a plan.  I took all of the gifts for our girls and placed them in the two large boxes.  I wrapped them in the two different papers and set them beside our poor little tree.  I apologized to my girls through tears and told them it was the best I could do.  They tore into those boxes on Christmas morning and thought it was the best idea ever.  They only had to open one box and pull everything out.  In the end it turned out to be quite fun. 

This year will be another "different" year but it will be filled with lots of family time and through all of the chaos it will be special in it's own way.  It has already proved to be way out of my comfort zone as far as Christmas goes.  The girls joined me for shopping on Black Friday and picked out most of their own gifts.  That is another first for me.  It spoils all surprise factors and that is going to stretch me beyond my bounds of control.  And I mean really stretch. I keep thinking they will be so sad because they already know what everything is. But I am reminded that they are grown and that is really hard to believe. We have young Owen and he will be surprised but as far as the girls go - they will get to open and enjoy their things but not be surprised.

But if I stop to remember that Christmas is about the real gift of Jesus and that His promises are new every day, I won't have any reason to be sad or let down.  The most important gift that I can give is to teach them about Jesus not Santa.  To remind them that there will never be a more important gift than the one that was given so freely.  The gift that will last them an eternity.  The only gift that can truly satisfy us and meet our needs.  Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He was and is our gift.  Freely given and He hold everything on His shoulders.  He is a Mighty God and worthy to be praised. 

So Merry Christmas!  Make some great Christmas memories but enjoy the true gift.  It's a free unconditional gift.  Maybe Santa does need to be "put back" in our closet.  His bills can get rather scary after all!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Kristen is the host of Works For Me Wednesday and she hosts a weekly blog carnival.  You can visit it here.  This week's theme is Holiday Gift Tip.  She is also having a wonderful giveaway if you link up.   She has some great ideas about shopping this holiday season that you should really check out.

Through the years some of the tips that have helped me or that work for my family are:

Wrapping paper - My kids were fanatics about trying to guess their packages.  So - I took a tip from a friend and wrap each childs gifts in their own distinct paper.  The kicker is that I don't tell them which packages are theirs.  Their guessing is all about which paper is theirs.  Makes things a fun for me since I am the only one who knows which paper belongs to which kiddo!  It certainly works for me.

This year in the spirit of giving more and spending less it has been decided among dear friends that we will give each other the gift of time.  Rather than exchanging gifts we will take the time to spend an evening together and enjoying our families.  The last few years have been spent trying to find a simple hour to exchange gifts.  This year we will set aside an evening and catch up.  I am so looking forward to cooking some goodies and enjoying that evening.

Lists - lists always work for me.  I listen to what the kids are asking for and then determine what fits in my spending budget.  That's the list I try to stick with and seek out those bargain prices.  Another way I work those bargains is to buy something during the Christmas sales and set aside for birthdays.  Those things start in January at my house.

If you need ideas for shopping  this season -  And if you want to make a contribution then go here.  You can't go wrong. 

Last tip - don't like to shop?  I have a friend that wants to shop for you.  Seriously.  Any locals that want someone to shop for you.  Give her a list and she'll take care of it.  Groceries and all.  Want your stuff wrapped?  She'll take care of that as well.  I'll gladly hook you up if you want to give her a try.

Merry Christmas - happy wrapping!

Return to Reality

30-Day Giving Challenge

I stepped away from reality for a little while.  I started the month of November out with an enthusiam for giving.  I wanted to make the month about doing for others and stepping away from self.  I managed to gain so much more than I was giving.  The gains were certainly not monetary but gains all the same.  When I signed on to the 30 days of giving challenge I wanted to make certain that it was not a financial hardship.  While working on ideas to give  without cost I began de-cluttering.  I was overwhelmed by clutter at my house along with the task of going through the personal things of two other households.  There didn't seem to be enough hours in the day to clean and de-clutter so I simply fretted about it all.  Delivering clothes to a local shop that supports a woman's shelter was one of my choices in giving.  An overflowing closet can now be used again.  Although there is still so much to de-clutter - it's a beginning. 

Another area that is cluttered is my life in general.  We, as a family, live life on the go.  I was tired and the anxiety of the holiday was taking over.  I had things I wanted to do yet I seemed to be pulled in different directions so I did what normal people do.  I bailed!  I accepted an invitation to spend the holiday with an Aunt and I took it.  Although DH could not join us - the kids and I loaded up and left town for a few days.  I had 5 full days of family.  We ate and shopped.  Took in some Christmas lights in Ft. Worth and oohed over Cowboy Stadium where our beloved Saints just played (and won).  We watched TV together and we did things that we should do much more often like laughing and being lazy.  Our tree is up and decorated and most of the shopping is complete. 

I wanted to be disappointed in the fact that I didn't get to all of the things on "my" list of giving opportunities.  I leaned toward the feeling of failure - but the reality is that giving does not have to go outside the doors of my home.  My family needed the down time and they needed me to slow down and enjoy the blessings that were right in front of me.  Saying no to some meant saying yes to my family.  Setting some boundaries with my time was the best gift I could offer my husband and children.  It was a blessing to participate in 30 days of giving and to open my eyes to what is important.  The good thing is that there are many days to come in which I can pull out my list and do some things that I choose to do. 

It has been refreshing to seek out ways to give and to pay better attention to the needs of others.  Even if that need is to simply notice that they are having a bad day and need someone to simply care.  I took those opportunities as divine appointments from God - He placed those types of situations before me and it was my place to follow through with showing His love to others - to complete strangers. 

What a blessing these ladies are to host such an event.  Each one was an inspiration as are their blogs each day. 

So - here's to many more days of giving.  Here's to returning to reality as a rested and relaxed member of society. 

Love you guys,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grits Casserole - It's what's for dinner!

A new staple dish around our house is Grit's Casserole.  Before you grit haters say yuck - you need to try it.  I served it at a brunch several months ago and many were pleasantly pleased that they liked it.  It's easy and we call it dinner a couple times a month. 


2 cups cheese (I like sharp cheddar)
1 lb. ground sausage (my preference is the fresh store ground sausage but not always available)
6 eggs (beaten)
Grits - Cook according to directions a serving for 6
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. ground dry  mustard

Cook grits according to directions (be sure to add salt while cooking) and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. 

Brown your sausage and drain excess fat.  Stir the eggs into the cooked grits along with 1 cup of the shredded cheese and also black pepper,  cayenne pepper and ground dry mustard. 

Pour into a greased (sprayed) 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with remaining cup of shredded cheese.   Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes or until the middle is set and the cheese is beginning to brown slightly. 

If you are blogging - now is the time to grab your camera and be prepared to take a picture or else you get to take a picture like this:

Yep - family will dig in immediately! 

This is also a great recipe to prepare the night before and bake in the am as in Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. 

Hope you enjoy!

Linking up:

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pray like Epaphras - 30 days of Giving Week 2 Recap

30-Day Giving Challenge

There appears to be a pattern so far with my giving challenge.  God is doing a work in me.  I have submitted to The Will of God in my giving this past week and He has placed people and requests in my path.  Unlike week 1 - I had no set goal for the week.  I decided to "wing it" with God.  He is faithful and He gave me many opportunities to be used by Him for His Kingdom.  The scripture that best describes the week is Colossians 4:12 (NKJ Version) 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete[fully assured] in all the will of God.

I am absolutely Not comparing myself to Epaphras.  It is Epaphras that I long to be like.  I desire to labor fervently in prayer for you.  All of you.  Those of you that read and those that don't.  Prayer Warrior is a legacy that my mom left and one that I truly desire to carry on.  Several days this past week I was called upon to pray for specific people or circumstances.  Monday found me sitting at the hospital all day with my husband.  He battled a kidney stone for 10 days.  My job Monday was to be with him and help to meet his needs.  But more importantly it was to pray.  God was faithful and gave him healing.  Before a procedure was required the stone moved and he was able to go home from the hospital.  God gets all the glory for that situation.  It appeared that after 9 days it would not move on its own and it didn't.  I believe that God moved that stone.  Earlier that day I stopped (for the second time) to purchase breakfast for my office.  Once again I was told that the item I was wanting was out.  Seriously?  Two weeks - two attempts and still no mini blueberry biscuits.  I was able to purchase something and prior to leaving to take my husband to the hospital I left breakfast for my boss.  Tuesday and Wednesday were dedicated to praying with and  for a dear family member.  Satan has spent much time creating stress in her life recently.  She is a threat to him because she was preparing for a mission trip.  The legal woes were difficult to deal with prior to such a trip but God gave her the strength to endure and she was able to leave on her trip to minister to and bless others.  We will continue to pray without ceasing that God will soften the heart of a Judge and she will not be forced to suffer financially due to the selfishness of others. 

Other things that were part of my week of giving included leaving drinks for the Sanitation workers and sending treats home with my 2 year old class members. Two days I felt pretty defeated because I had not been given the opportunity to do anything tangible and then a box appears.  My local grocery story has a large box in the front to give to local organizations through 4-H.  These items are used for group homes for battered women and homeless children.  It was an honor to be able to donate. 

Saturday and Sunday were extremely difficult days emotionally.  I want to gift others with my moms clothes and shoes.  She had quite the collection and some very very nice things.  She loved clothes, shoes and jewelry and since she didn't get out very much - she shopped through catalogs.  Some ladies expressed an interest in receiving some of  her things and so that is what transpired during those two days.  It was a task that drained me emotionally.  I miss my mom like crazy and could envision her in each of the outfits I pulled out.  While sorting things I came across a small bag that had some boxes in it.  They were some of my dad's medals.  A Medal of Honor and  a Bronze Star Medal along with his pin that had been on his uniform.  The other item was his wallet.  Completely undisturbed from the last time he carried it.  What a blessing it was to come across those things and to be able to weap over the loss but celebrate the reunion they are enjoying.

My goal was to give and my gifts have been so many.  God is showing me that He blesses every act of giving not those of the highest monetery value.  My struggles with the desire to give more and becoming so clear.  He simply wants me to give freely and obediently.  I see things now that I was missing.  I look for opportunities to give - and I don't mean financially. I have been given many opportunities to pray for others and to lend a shoulder or to just listen to someone.  I have a long way to go but am so thankful that we can look back in scripture and see those like Epaphras that had such a desire to pray that he labored - and labored fervently.  Not for himself - but for others.

Let us desire to have a heart to pray like Epaphrus.

Love you all,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Super Easy Pumpkin muffins

One recent Saturday morning my daughter and I awakened to the desire for pumpkin bread and quickly.  She referred to a handy dandy Iphone app that lead to a recipe for muffins that looked perfect.  Turns out it was perfect!  A few tweeks here and there and we were enjoying some divine pumpkin muffins at very little effort. 


That's it!  15 oz. can Pumpkin and Spice Cake Mix
Unless - you tweek like me.  I added pecans and sugar crystals to the tops.


That's it above.  Stir the pumpkin into the dry cake mix. 

Scoop into muffin tins.   Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes. 

I topped mine with chopped pecans and sugar sprinkles. 
Enjoy them all to yourself or do what I did and deliver them to your church office as part of my 30 days of giving. 

Linking up to some great blogs. 

Works For Me Wednesday


Monday, November 8, 2010

Week2 and Week 1 Recap - 30 days of Giving


30-Day Giving Challenge

Not really sure where to begin regarding week 1 of my 30 days of giving.  I had plans and I wrote them down.  I bought my groceries with plans on cooking.  I had packages ready and I had plans to sew.  Let's count now how many times I used the word I in those two sentences.  Too many is the right answer.  The question should be how was God glorified in my first week of giving.  My plan was to be flexible and let God lead me during this month of giving.  But - I was playing the hokey pokey all the while.  Give Him control take it back - Give Him control - take it back.  I was so busy trying to make a difference that I failed to realize what God wanted me to do and see it through.  I wanted glamour and He wanted submission.  He wanted servanthood.  Pure and Simple

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone;I will make him a helper suitable for him." ” Genesis 2:18  My biggest role of this past week was to be a helper to my husband.  We've been married for 27 years.  He is not a demanding husband.  He has taken care of me more times than I can count through the years.  Last week my husband needed me.  He was stricken with kidney stones and as I write this he is on Day 9.  One ER visit - one hospital stay and one doctor visit later we still wait for the grand exit of kidney stone 1.  They will let kidney stone 2 stay put in the kidney with the hope it will never choose to move.  It has been hard to watch him suffer the way he has and not be able to make it better.  I have refilled many glasses of drink - lemon aid, water, green tea and juice.  He's tried everything that has been suggested.  I've cooked very little since he was sick due to the extreme pain.  But  - I've been there and joyfully tried to make his ordeal as bearable as possible.  I've prayed and asked others to pray.  It has been strange to have the tables turned but it has been a privilege to serve and know that I am still needed after all these years. 

Another way that I tried to limit God this past week was to plan to give or do one thing per day.  I prayed for God to give me opportunities yet I questioned Him when there would be more than one in a day.  Thinking rather that I needed to keep things spread out so that I didn't miss a day.  I am thankful to serve a God of second chances and that He will continue to lay opportunities before me. 

My giving opportunities were as follows:
Monday - Cleaned out some things and took baby clothes/blankets to a friend.
Tuesday - Bought and delivered breakfast for a business associate. 
Wednesday - Left Power Aid out for my sanitation workers.  Delivered muffins to my church staff.  Bought treats for my two year old class. 
Thursday - Gifted a friend with some perfume (many bottles) that we were not going to use at my house. 
Friday - Pumpkin rolls for my husbands office. 
Saturday  - Breakfast Casserole to my brother and his wife.
Sunday  - Visited my Aunt in a Nursing Home.

That's my week.  I look forward to reading many other blogs about some of the great ways they gave last week and plans for this week. 


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

As part of my 30 days of Giving - I wanted to do some baking and taking.  I usually do this at Christmas - so this is nice to be  baking and not rushed.  Pumpkin roll is now in the fridge and will be divine by tomorrow.

Many years ago a dear friend introduced me to Pumpkin Roll.  It was during my "I don't eat pumpkin" days.  See - I never liked pumpkin pie.  Tried it - didn't like it.  So - I assumed that I didn't like all things pumpkin.  Wow was I wrong.  I tried that pumpkin roll and was hooked.  Then I assumed it was too difficult to make.  Wrong again!  But people do fear the pumpkin roll.  I am going to show you just how easy and delicious it is. 

Gather your ingredients:
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup bisquick
1 cup pumpkin
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
chopped pecans (optional)
powdered sugar
clean dish towel
wax paper
(Filling ingredients below)

Grease (spray) a cookie sheet and line with wax paper.  Spray the wax paper as well. 

Cream together the eggs and sugar. 

Add in pumpkin and spices and mix well.

Add in bisquick and stir.

Pour pumpkin mixture onto the wax paper.  Sprinkle with pecans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Place clean dish towel on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

Flip the cake onto the dish rag and remove the wax paper.

Roll the cake into the dish rag on the long side.  Set aside to cool for about 1 hour.

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
6 Tbsp. Butter (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and butter.  Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix well.

Once the cake is cooled - unroll and spread the filling all over the cake.

 Re-roll and refrigerate overnight.  Slice and serve. 

I cut immediately into smaller portions and wrap for gift giving.

**Tip  - Because the pumpkin comes in a 15 ounce can - I make two at a time.  Hate to waste a half can of pumpkin. 


Friday, October 29, 2010

30 Day Giving Challenge

30-Day Giving Challenge

Today is my birthday!  And I have been reminded over and over how blessed I am.  I am blessed to be a wife and mom.  I am blessed to have many many friends that I cherish.  Most importantly is that I am blessed to have been introduced to my Savior by someone special many years ago.  The relationship I have with Jesus is the most important relationship I have.  He loves me more than anyone has or ever will.  I am blessed and I am loved well.

I decided a couple weeks ago that I would sign up and commit to a challenge during the month of November.  This is usually the time of year that I get in panic mode.  I LOVE to give gifts at Christmas.  I LOVE to make certain that everyone has a wonderful Christmas.  Because I LOVE to give those gifts I get rather stressed out for more than one reason.  First - the funding of every one's desires.  It gets costly to try to make certain everyone has a very nice Christmas. I always start out with a set budget and soon that is blown and I get defeated and then spend away.    Second - picking out and finding everything that everyone wants.  I put a lot of thought into the gifts that I give.  I really want them to be special and give with a purpose. 

This year I want to do things a little different.  I want to have a very frugal Christmas.  I want to bless everyone with gifts yet I want to do it with minimal cost.  So rather than stressing right now I am at peace.  I am not rushed to plan my list.  I am praying and pondering what I will spend and what I will give.  I want to honor God with my giving this year.

All of that to bring you to the place I am today.  Awaiting November.  The challenge that signed up for can be found here.  I want to spend all of November giving.  I have many things listed that I plan to do but none set in stone.  I want to be able to follow God's lead in giving.  You can go to the 30 Days of Giving Community by going here or clicking on the Blogfrog Community in my left bar.  The host and creator of this wonderful idea blogs at  Her desire is to honor God with her finances and help others along the way.  She is an inspiration and does her job well. 

Recently I wrote this post about how to study scripture and God spoke this verse to me:  I John 3:17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in Him?  We have lots and lots of brothers and sisters in need.  The needs are all very different.  I believe that we can make a difference when we step up to the plate and do our part.  Our church once had a pledge drive for our building fund and it was entitled "Equal Sacrifice - Not Equal Gifts".  That is so fitting in all of our giving efforts whether it is about money or time.  So often, we assume that giving must be financial when in fact to some giving financially is far from a sacrifice.  For me - giving of more time is going to be a huge sacrifice.  I don't have free time often.  Quite the opposite.  My house is cluttered and dusty.  My car is dirty and cluttered.  My healthy meal planning is a zero.  We, as a family, are pretty stretched out.  One thing I know is that if we trust God to make a way - then He will make a way.  He is in the small stuff and He IS the big stuff.  He will provide financially what is needed to complete this challenge and He will open the doors to find the time that is needed. 

I pray today that some of my friends will take this challenge with me.  Make giving a priority this November.  After all - we spend lots of time being thankful during the Thanksgiving season - why not spend lots of time giving.  It's a two part word.  Let's do both.  When we give - we will make many people thankful and that will bless our hearts more than anything.  We already have so much to be thankful for - lets share the blessings with others. 

I have a few things that are near and dear to me right now and I would love to offer them to you for consideration.  You may feel led to help them out also or you may know of someone else that would feel passionate about giving to these worthy causes.  I am listing them in No order.  Only in order of what is easiest for me to link to and write about.  I thank you in advance for praying for all of them and for considering what you can do. 

To my local friends and family and to those that just feel led;  our church has a debt retirement (better known as need to pay off the building) that needs funds.  We need to get passionate about paying off that.  We enjoy it and serve along side one another in it - let's remember to be thankful for it this month.  Honor your friends or our staff with a gift to the building fund. 

Grace Bible Church in Virginia Beach, Va has this posted on their website:  "Live for something bigger than yourself.  Find life in giving yours away.  Serve the world."  Wow!  What if we all had that attitude?      They are going on mission trip to Nicaragua in November and could use some help with funding some of the missionaries they are taking.  My sweet cousin is one of those missionaries and I would be honored if you helped out in some way (large or small).  She loves the Lord and is getting out of her comfort zone by going on this trip. Whether or not you can give financially - Please Please pray for her and their team.  Give some extra prayers to them during this trip. If you feel led to give their address is:  2961 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. Andrea Lambie- Nicaragua mission.

A local couple are raising funds for their adoption of a little girl from Peru.  She blogs about that journey here.  God is blessing them with their efforts but they have a long way to go financially.  They know that God will meet their needs.  I know lots of you guys have a heart for orphans and could help meet their  needs.  Please visit her blog and if you need some Christmas presents - she has an Etsy shop that is up to help fund their adoption.  You can check it out right here.   They will truly be blessed and grateful for your support.

If you want to have your soul truly stirred then go over and read about The Mercy House.  Kristen from here and her husband felt the call from God to open a Maternity Home in Kenya.  I can't do it justice in writing about it but she does and you need to head on over to her website and get familiar with The Mercy House.  There are many opportunities to be involved from donating to or buying from their Etsy shop to giving $3 on the 3rd of each month to being a monthly supporter of $25.00. 

I know that I could write a list for days about needs that need to be met.  But I will stop for now.  Please join me in committing to give this November.  Follow along with the other ladies as they share what God is leading them to give.  Let's have equal sacrifice and see what God does with our efforts.  I love and appreciate you guys. 

30-Day Giving Challenge

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What can cancer really do?

The following poem was given to me when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  I see it posted in lots of places such as hospitals and Physician offices. 
What Cancer Cannot Do
Author: Unknown

Cancer is so limited...

It cannot cripple love.

It cannot shatter hope.

It cannot corrode faith.

It cannot eat away peace.

It cannot destroy confidence.

It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot shut out memories.

It cannot silence courage.

It cannot reduce eternal life.

It cannot quench the Spirit.

I read the poem and really had no thoughts on it at the time.  I was not convinced that it was completely accurate but didn't dwell on it.  I assumed it was my lack of faith that caused me to question the poem. The emotional roller coaster of having cancer is a rough one.  Some days you go on with life and don't give it a thought.  Other days - not so good.  I, for one, believe that having cancer can certainly rob you of many of the things listed above.  And I absolutely believe that when approaching a cancer diagnoses relying on one's own strength then it is certainly possible to have your faith shattered.  It can certainly shatter your hope and corrode your faith.  Your confidence is definitely shaken when you have no hair and people stare at you. I've witnessed first hand how it can rock a relationship when a couple had a weak marriage.  It made my marriage stronger because of the way my husband reacted.  Others are not that fortunate.  A woman living without her breasts can be a very difficult battle. Some days you just don't have the courage to go on.   These are the things that can also make you stronger when you are diagnosed. Fear can be crippling.   It is a choice to fight through these feelings and to rely fully on God and His strength.  2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
God  is the reason we are able to endure and to not stop.  There are so many unknowns when diagnosed but there is one constant.  God.  He is constant.  He cradles you in His arms and carries you through.  When you are in the midst of the fire (cancer diagnosis and treatments) you often don't know how you managed to get through another day.  When you look back on things and reflect you know exactly how you got through.  It was God carrying you.  The poem about footsteps is far better suited for a journey through cancer because God most certainly carries you through those dark days. 
During treatments and more so after treatments stop - there are lots of what it's.  Lots of fear of the unknown.  Often times we worry about what may or may not happen.  I've seen the grave more times than I can count.  I've walked in the Oncologists office with highest of expectations to be shot down with lab work concern.  Other times I've gone in with no expectations and leave with the best possible report.  It is a constant battle - a struggle of the mind.  I sometimes think that God is sitting on His throne smiling at me - saying "I told you I would handle this!" and me thinking "yes God I know - but I just thought I would help you along."  As usual I get reminded that He does not need my help and that if I will allow Him the battle He will fight it for me. 
My point in this post is to remind you that those going through the cancer battle have many emotional swings.  Some days are good ones and some just simply are not.  When someone faces this diagnosis be considerate of them when offering unsolicited words of wisdom.  Offer to be a shoulder to cry on and ears to hear if they need it.  Offer scripture to encourage.  Wrap them in your arms and love them up! So many did this for me and I am forever grateful.  They loved me no matter what my mood was and they understood the emotional and physical battle.  I was so very blessed.  Cancer can give you many blessings if you look for them.  I was blessed beyond measure by my family, friends and church.  I was given a much stronger faith in God by having cancer.  It challenged my control and made me realize who was in charge and who was the Great Physician.  The last two lines are perfect truths - Cancer cannot reduce eternal life.  It cannot quench the Spirit.  God cannot be quenched.  We may walk away from Him - but He is Sovereign and He reigns.  He is the great I Am. 
It's not hard to find someone touched by breast cancer or another kind - so be a blessing to them.  Encourage them.  Share the love of Jesus with them.
Love you all,

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This week has been full of prayer requests.  I wrote down requests this week at our ladies monthly meeting and it took more than an hour.  Some heavy hearts that are burdened for the lost, the sick, the troubled and the weak.  I am reminded that in our weakness God's power is made perfect. 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (New International Version)

7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I think we can all recognize a "thorn in our flesh".  I believe that the thorn is often a stronghold that we refuse to let go of - so God leaves it until we are ready to relinquish full control. If only we would let go and allow God to be made perfect in our time of weakness.  To rest - to just let him love on us and deliver us from these strongholds. We are reminded of a great truth in Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

God's grace is such a precious gift.  Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

What an awesome thought - receive mercy and find grace.  Thank you Jesus for such a blessing. 

Today I pray for an abundance of mercy and that you find grace.  An old hymn written by Julia Johnston  has the best lyrics for such a time as this:

Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!   Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe! You that are longing to see his face, will you this moment his grace receive?

Would love to pray for you today. 

Love you all,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Table make-over

Found this little table at a garage sale recently. Nothing fancy but in perfect shape. I've been wanting to paint some things off-white and this was the perfect thing to start on.

I simply sanded a little and went to town with my handy dandy spray paint.  It's the perfect way for a lazy person to paint. 

I think it turned out quite nice.  It makes the perfect little end table.  It seems bright white in this picture but it is actually an off white.  I happen to have another one identical to this and will be painting away soon.  Not sure where they will wind up but they turned out cute!

More off-white to come - stay tuned!

Linking up to some cool parties - check them out in the left bar.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Need a cute fix?

He's been watching football with his Uncle Mike since he was old enough to stay awake.  He is one cute little Saints fan!

We think he's just so darn stinkin cute! 

What a fabulous job Jami did with his pictures.  She put these on facebook for a preview so I borrowed them to show off her work and his cuteness.  If you have facebook - check her out.  She can be found at   Also she blogs at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Remembering Chemo and Chemo Care Packages

Reminiscing chemo is not one of my favorite things to do.  Quite frankly the thought makes me ill.  I firmly believe that God used chemo to boldly let me know who was and is in control.  My biggest fear starting chemo was the hair loss.  I did not want to lose my hair but knew it would happen.  I did not fear being sick.  I believed that the medications that were prescribed would take care of any neausea and I would breeze through like others I had talked to.  WRONG! 

My family joined me for my first chemo.  We went in with positive attitudes even though we were extremely nervous.  Chemo was just a pit stop of our day.  My husband and daughter had a softball game the night of my first chemo.  I sucked it up and got that treatment behind me and headed straight to her game.  Within two hours something was terribly wrong.  I was SICK.  I mean really really sick.  Crazy me - I remembered them telling me the third day was usually when you felt bad.  HA - I was thinking that I would die on day 3 because hour 3 was nearly unbearable.  Things did not improve.  Spent the night very ill - went to the ER for a shot.  Shot didn't work either.  First thing the next moring I was back at my Doctor's office getting IV fluids and meds.  It was a very bad experience and my world was suddenly shattered.  Did I mention that I HATE HATE HATE to throw up?  I did and still do.  I'll take pain any day just not vomit. 

Thus began my journey with chemo.  I left the Doctor that day with an arcenal of anti-nausea meds.  I was taking something every two hours.  I had a little black book (planner) at the time and began keeping up with everything.  What to take when and what worked and what didn't.  Had reactions to some of the drugs and some just didn't work.  As with any chemo patient, there are lots of appointments and things to keep up with.  My little black book became my constant companion.  I wrote down everything.  I wrote down my labwork numbers and kept them charted.  I couldn't seem to function without it.  I also kept a journal.  Writing things down seemed to help me cope with all that was happening. 

During this time, some things became staples for me. Things such as lemon drops, hand sanitizer, lotion, water water and more water and kleenex for the tears.  I also received a cookbook entitled "Eating Well through Cancer" by Holly Clegg.  It gave suggestions on what to eat during certain times and basic healthy eating principles.  It was a great tool and an awesome gift from a dear friend and fellow survivor.

My extreme illness was and is not the norm for patients going through treatments.  Many locals taking the same treatments do perfectly fine.  I was jealous and almost mad about it.  I was young and healthy and couldn't understand.  Nothing we tried helped.  Treatment 5 of 6 proved different.  My mom was critically ill and I was avoiding my treatment for fear of the sickness.  When it was inevitable - I went in and had my treatment, but not before I sat in the parking lot of the Doctor office and cried out to God - not silently - I cried out that my mom needed me and I needed the treatment and I begged God for mercy.  It was the one and only treatment that I had ZERO sickness.  Seriously ZERO.  God knew my heart and knew I needed to be with my mom and He calmed the sea.  I still believe that He needed me to be weak in order for Him to be glorified and that is what happened.  I am hard headed and stubborn and like to be in control, but proved to me that I can be removed from my high horse of authority.  He was in control and still is.  He is in control and does NOT need my help. 

All of that story to bring you here.  A year after my chemo, my dear friend Connie started hers.  I filled  a bag with goodies and took them to her first chemo.  She was so appreciative and wanted to do the same for others.  We started a support group at our church and collected things to provide chemo care packages for others starting chemo. 

We included things like a journal, calendar, hand sanitizer and other things.  I prepared a bag to take and give to someone and you can see what all I included. 

The lemon drops are to help with the taste buds.  Chemo often leaves you with either no taste buds or a medicine taste. The disposable toothbrushes can do the same thing.

 Patients need to drink lots and lots of water during treatment.  It is important to flush those drugs through your system.

As with all chemo patients, immune systems are weak and you need to always keep your hands clean.  Lotion helps if they get dry - and who doesn't like a little lotion to paper yourself? 

The journal helps to keep up with your feelings and prayers and the calendar helps get you where you need to be. And a pink pin is a must for a breast cancer patient or survivor!

The snickers - well that's just a special treat.

So - if you want to do something special for someone beginning treatments - fix 'em up with a chemo care package and include a nice card letting them know you are praying for them.  They will appreciate you for it.  And if you can - prepare several and drop them off at a local Oncology office and let them give them out.  Some patients may not have the awesome support of family and friends that I did. 

Love you guys.