Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 2

Music

I truly believe it makes my life better and I can't imagine a world without it!

"Music is the soundtrack of our lives." - Dick Clark

Certainly for my generation, no statement has ever been truer.  We, after all, are the MTV generation.  We spent hours during our high school years watching music videos.  And now some 31+ years later, any song can trigger our own personal music video in our heads.
For example, "Alone Again, Naturally" by Gilbert O'Sullivan:
takes me back to the summer of 1972 when I was all of six years old and spent my days at Barbrook Swim Park.  The song must have come across the crackling, outdoor speakers of the park at least ten times in any given day.  I can hear that song now and close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, smell the chlorine from the water mixed with the strong coconut scent of Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion and even hear the faint sounds of the springing diving board, children laughing and water splashing.

Or how about "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" by the Gap Band:
that takes me back to 1983 dancing in a club with a very good friend.  He was always a friend and only a friend but he was a GREAT dancer and we had so much fun dancing to this song.  The disco lighted floor of the 70's was still hanging on and I can see the lights flashing in red, blue, green and yellow.  It seems like we went on Tuesday nights when the club offered $1.00 kamikaze shots, so yes, this song even brings back the smell of kamikazes!

Even hearing "Secret Love" by Doris Day from the movie Calamity Jane:
takes me back to hearing my mother tell of falling in love with my dad.  Sharing the fact that this was their song and how much they loved the movie.  I can see the twinkle in my mother's eyes when she remembered her first dates with my dad.  Hear her telling of how she always wanted a buckskin suit like the one Doris Day wears when she sings this song in the movie, feel the warm glow of love that radiated from her as she told the story.

I could go on and on and on.  Music is a blessing to me.  I am absolutely for MUSIC!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 1

A hardworking, loving husband


He is everything I could ask for and more.  He works long, hard hours to support his family and then he comes home and works on whatever needs fixed.  He makes it to every kid event possible and still makes time to take me out or just go grocery shopping with me.  He makes sure the kids and I know he loves us and then gets up at 5AM and does it again the next day.  We have a GREAT relationship!  I love spending time with him.  He is my best friend, my lover, my brother-in-Christ and the best decision I ever made was to marry him.  Thankful?  You bet!

I'm for being married to your best friend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rehearsal Dinner Invite

This turned out so cute!  I can't wait to get the order in the mail!  I'm a huge fan of Shutterfly!

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Abundant Joy

Over the years I've seen many written pieces with this title.  According to Webster.com abundant is defined as follows:

"abun·dant

 adj \-dənt\

1
a : marked by great plenty (as of resources) <a fair andabundant land>b : amply supplied : abounding <an area abundant with bird life>
2
: occurring in abundance : ample <abundant rainfall>"

And joy like this:

"1joy

 noun \ˈjȯi\

1
a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires :delightb : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety"


I've always understood the concept of abundant joy and I am sure I've experienced it more than once in my lifetime.  This weekend was truly a time of abundant joy.  You see my son, Vince has been interning at a church in Fort Smith, Arkansas this summer.  It was so hard to have him come home from college only to turn around and leave three days later for his internship.  As hard as that was though, I am confident that this internship has been a very positive experience for him.  As a result of his time at the church and getting to know the staff, he was given the opportunity to preach a sermon to the congregation on Sunday evening.
I can honestly say I've thought I would be many things through the years but "mother of the preacher" was never one of them.  It was kind of surreal knowing that the man at the podium preaching God's word to the congregation was my son.  It was such a blessing.  It gave me abundant joy.  People kept praising us and telling us that WE must have done something right and I am thankful that we were able to provide an environment where our son could hear his calling but WE didn't really do this.  God called and Vince listened.  We just happen to be the beneficiaries of this delightful exchange.  
We found out Vince was going to preach a few weeks ago and started planning a trip to see him.  He is actually the Children's Ministry intern so hearing him from the pulpit wasn't even on our radar.  However, when we heard the news, we knew we would do whatever it took to be there to support him.
It also happened that his girlfriend and her family were in a position to come to hear him preach.  They had already come in when we got there Saturday morning so all ten of us met at their hotel room.
We came bearing gifts as both Vince and MA had birthdays since we saw them last.  Not only did we bring gifts from us, we were in charge of bringing Vince's gift to MA.  He bought her a lunchbox from a TV show that she really likes and inside that lunchbox, he had another gift, a promise ring.  So sweetly she opened the package and found the lunchbox and was thrilled.  Then he told her to open the lunchbox where she found the next package which she also opened to find the ring.  He told her that it was a promise ring and that he promises that when he is able, he will marry her.  More abundant joy!  All four parents and all four little brothers were there for this exchange.  I don't think any of the parents had dry eyes.  It was precious.

After the gifts had been opened, we headed out for lunch and to spend some time exploring Fort Smith.  The ten of us had a really great time at the park and the museum.
That evening we were invited to have dinner with Vince's host family.  They have housed and fed him all summer.  It was a really nice dinner for fifteen, six parents and nine children.  The food was excellent.  We had brisket, stuffed mushrooms, potato casserole, salad, french bread and the meal was followed by a delightful caramel ice cream cake.  It was nice to see where Vince has been living and meet the people that opened their hearts, home and wallet to take care of my son.  More abundant joy!
Sunday morning we got up and attended class and church service, went out for lunch, the dads and kids bowled, then we came back to our hotel and some of the group swam and we rested as Vince prepared for his sermon.  We got to the church early.  He got set up with his power point and got his mic on.
Finally the service began.  The pulpit minister gave him a wonderful introduction.  He preached his lesson/sermon.  He did a great job.  This is a guy who is barely 20 years old and he was speaking in front of a pretty large crowd for the very first time.  I was one proud mama.  I was also impressed.  I've been going to church for 46 years and I really don't think I'd ever heard that particular lesson.  It is good to know he is studying the Bible and seeking what God wants him to share with others.  Did I say abundant joy?  THIS was abundant joy!  How blessed am I?
I feel a bit like Mary after the baby Jesus was born.  In Luke 2:19 it says, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."   I am treasuring all the events of this weekend and pondering them in my heart.  
I'm for abundant joy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Sweet Life Without Sugar

Just a brief update.  I am still holding on to the low carb wagon.  I am 79 days in and I have lost 21 pounds. That's just a little over 2 pounds per week.  Obviously, my rate of loss has slowed dramatically but when I started this plan, my goal was to lose 71.5 pounds and it feels great to say I am now 50.5 pounds away from my goal.  It is still a very long way to go but I am thrilled to know I am headed in the right direction.
I don't really see that much of a change when I look in the mirror but I see the numbers dropping on the scales and I know my clothes are getting way too big.  I actually gave away six of my shirts today because when I would put them on I'd look like I'd gone for a swim in the fabric.  That's a good feeling.
If I can maintain a loss rate of 2 pounds per week, I could hit my goal just before my 47th birthday in mid-January.  Now that would be a GREAT birthday present!!!!  It is so much fun to have a goal and to be working towards that goal.  I think I'm finally going to create one of those pounds to lose/pounds destroyed bottles like I have seen on Pinterest.  I'm a visual person so seeing the pounds jump from one jar to the other will be good for me.  Every little bit of motivation is a good thing!
I'm for setting goals and reaching them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grief and Relief

Today I am filled with both grief and relief and it is over the same situation.  It's hard to reconcile being filled with two such opposite emotions over one circumstance but that is how I feel nonetheless.  My friend, SeeDub, posted on her facebook status today, "Weird how a day can be simultaneously awful and affirming." and it's so true.  That is exactly how I feel, awful over the outcome and yet affirmed that we turned down a better path.
I will preface the problem with the fact that we are blessed!  In fact, we are so blessed that only a person with tremendous blessings could even have our dilemma.  We live in a very wealthy school district.  The privilege of going to these schools allows our children opportunities that others can only dream about.  In addition to the traditional "reading, writing and arithmetic" taken to new levels, our schools also offer a phenomenal fine arts selection and concentrated academies.  They also like to paint the picture for "up and coming" students that, "You can do it all!".  And in a perfect world, you CAN do it all.  For the last two years, our world was perfect by those standards but that time has come to an end.
The challenge for academy students is that there are more classes than there is school day to put them in.  Students that are driven and desire to do more, can, but they have to figure out ways to add courses in the summer or even during the regular school year on top of their already busy school day.  Mix in a fine art or two and the wiggle room becomes non-existent.
For a couple of years, my son, Zach, has had a plan in place to make his academy schedule meld with his fine arts schedule.  In order to make that happen, he spent last summer taking an online course (History) and planned to do the same this summer (Algebra II).  His ultimate goal was to be in jazz band.  In this district you cannot be in jazz band unless you participate in regular/marching band, as well.  That means two of his seven course periods would be taken for the year.  His academy takes an additional two, leaving only three class periods for core classes.  In Texas, students are required to do a 4x4 plan which means you must have four years of each of the four core classes (Math, Science, English and History).
To make a long story short or at least shorter, someone at the school dropped the ball on his summer course with the end result being he cannot do summer school.  We thought he was all set and at the very last minute learned otherwise.  The domino effect here is that he will lose a class period for an elective, which would be fine if he could take only jazz band but since he is required to do marching band in order to do jazz band it doesn't work.  Therefore, he has decided to drop band all together.  That is where my grief comes in, band is such a great program.  I know he loves the music, he enjoyed the marching and he learned great work ethics and the value of teamwork through band.  I hate to see him give that up.  After we told the director I asked Zach if he was sad or relieved and he answered, "a little of both".
I absolutely get that.  He has been in band for the last five years.  The last two years in marching band.  His life has been filled with summer band camp, marching at half-time during Friday night football games, marching contests on Saturdays.  It is truly a way of life and we are sad to see it go.  What's worse is that he is having to give up the thing he did all the extra work for and that is jazz band.  It just stinks!  It's a loss and we are grieving the loss.
My immediate thought when this situation came into focus was of Proverbs 16:9 which says, In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
The reality here is that his ultimate goal will come out of his participation in the Culinary Arts Academy.  He wants to be a chef.  He has wanted to be a chef since he was in the third grade.  By him dropping band, he will be able to continue in French where he excels, and which is an extremely complimentary course to his Culinary program.  Most cooking terms are French and if he ends up interning for a really good chef, odds are, he is going to need a good foundation in the French language, especially if that chef is based in say, Paris!
Here's where the Relief comes in, his summer just opened up and come fall he will only have to be at school during regular school hours unless there is a culinary event.  Our Friday nights and Saturdays in the fall are now open.  He can put more time into his classes and raise his grades and make himself even more appealing to Culinary schools and chefs in his future.  So God has a plan for my son.  As Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  And His plan is always better than anything we can imagine.

I'm for believing that God's plan is better than ours.
  

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Month Without Sugar


On May 1st, I started my new very low carb lifestyle.  I am happy to report that as of today, June 1st, there are 12.5 less pounds of me and I feel much better!

I'm not gonna lie, it is a hard change when your life has been filled with sugar, pasta, bread, cereal and all sorts of baked goods.  Initially, giving those things up felt like a sacrifice but I feel so much better now that eating those things again would be the sacrifice.  I'd sacrifice not having headaches for a bite of something that seems amazing but can't really be that amazing if it makes me feel bad.  I used to have headaches almost everyday and since I've made this change, I can count three headaches and I know two of them were sinus and one was stress.  It wasn't from the way I have been eating.

At one time I thought that if I couldn't have those foods, life wouldn't be worth living but now I've figured out, I am living a much better life without those foods!  It's rather silly that it took me this long to "get it".  As far back as the days of Moses, God has been telling us that we do not live on bread alone!  "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."  Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV84)


12.5 pounds is a great start.  If you go by the charts for recommended weight for my height and body frame size, I needed to lose a total of 71.5 pounds when I started this journey.  That means I still have 59 pounds to lose.  If I continue to lose at this current rate, I could be down to my recommended size in five months.  Which is kind of cool because my wedding anniversary is in five months and I'd love to have a picture made in my wedding dress as a gift for my husband.  Now, I am not naive and I doubt the weight will come off as steadily and quickly over the next few months but, hey, maybe it will.  And regardless how long it takes, I am headed in the right direction and I'm better off now than I was a month ago!

I'm for growing older and wiser everyday!