Friday, January 30, 2009

Blogger's Block

I have a serious case of Blogger's Block. I just haven't known what to say. I could tell you that a huge tree fell on my grandparents' cars during the ice storm. I could tell you that I started the Esther bible study by Beth Moore and it is going to be fantastic. I could tell you that I got a ginormous amount of free jewelry the other day by hosting a Premier Jewelry Show. But, like I said, I have Blogger's Block.

What I really want to do is go outside and take pictures. But, the weather is BLAH! I can't wait for the first signs of life to appear so that I can be right there to capture it!

My friend lost her Mom to suicide and it has hit home. When I found out, all of the same emotions rushed through me as if it were happening all over again. Shaking body, sweaty palms, complete loss of breath, tears brimming over, inability to think a complete thought, nausea, immediate neck pain, and all of the other symptoms that my body brings forth when the "S" word is mentioned.

I hate hate hate the road that is before her. I would take it away if I had any inkling of power to do so. But, God's ways are not our ways and sometimes in the hurt is where we best find Him. Please pray with me for her and the family...not so much that the "Why" would be answered, but that God would reveal his Glory and heal the hurt.

However odd that it sounds, it was a good feeling to be able to be with her some, knowing her heart exactly and knowing that our shared experience would knit us together forever.

It is two weeks exactly til Kiley's one year anniversary in Beulah Land. And I have never longed for my real home as much as now. The time has been slow and then fast at the same time. It feels like it happened yesterday and yet it feels like forever life was marked in such a way that I will never be who I was before February 13, 2008. Although my burden is gone, I wonder if my life will always be marked by having tears right at the surface, ready to spill forth at any mention of her name or mention of anyone else's sadness. I used to think of myself as a compassionate person, but I have learned that the more hardship you go through, the more you are able to feel what others are going through...and better able to pray with them and encourage them.

So, change of subject: I am now on Facebook. I can hardly believe it. My brother coaxed me into it. It is his fault. Considering the fact that I hate talking on the phone, this only feeds that weakness. Oh, well. It has reconnected me with tons of people from high school and college. It is great fun to see how many kids people have and what their lives look like. It has also reawakened the part of me that loves to pray for others.

Today has been great fun. (Except for my snot fest in writing the above regarding Kiley.) Eric took Sam and I to Stoby's for breakfast. Yummo. We hit Target over and then drove around before getting the Ya-Ya Man. I later got to meet my friend, Kim, who was in town, for lunch. We put the hurt on the chocolate chip pizza at Pizza Inn. But, I didn't just tell you that because I am eating healthy these days. I am sure that I will be eating healthy at Chang's tonight, as well.

Target has some very fun spring stuff out. I need some new shirts to go with my fun new jewelry. According to my fashion sister diva, you should buy the accessories before you buy the clothes. Glad I am doing it the right way this time around!!

I have been immersed in books like crazy! I read "Kiss" by Dekker. Very good. I read "Freefall" by Kristen Heitzmann. Entertaining. I am about to read a book about Christian martyrs. I am sure it will be sobering. Not exactly what I want to read as it won't do any part in "entertaining myself to death."

On the way home from lunch today, Sam begged if we could go to the beach. I wanted nothing more than to turn that van south and DRIVE! That was one little boy request that I would be more than happy to fulfill! I finally told him we couldn't do that today. He next piped up with, "Well, can we go home and take a nap?" Now that is a great idea and also one that can be arranged!

Well, so much for Blogger's Block. I think I just wrote ya'll a book! Have yourself a happy weekend, now, ya hear??

Friday, January 23, 2009

Worshipping Through the Hymns

I grew up in a church where hymns were the choice of genre' when singing to our Savior. Now, I attend a church where praise and worship songs are thrown into the mix. What can I say, I love both. But, there is something about a group of songs that stand the test of time. Some written 200 plus years ago are still voiced today. The sad thing about praise and worship songs are that they won't be deemed "classic" and therefore will more than likely be forgotten in a few years. I am not sure what makes a song stand the test of time...except that maybe it is because it has been sung through the ages. The words of the hymns become prayers of our hearts. As I memorized these songs as a little girl, I didn't realize the profound impact the words would later have on me as I matured and became able to grasp the depths of them. It makes me ashamed that I haven't done a better job of making sure my boys hear the hymns so that they can become a part of who they are, as well.

Here are some verses of hymns...little snippets that reverberate with me.

1. Soon we'll reach the shining river, soon our pilgrimage will cease; soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace.

2. When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see, Twill be my joy thro' the ages to sing of His love for me.

3. The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.

4. Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee; let the water and the blood, from Thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.

5. Lord Jehovah reigns in majesty, We will bow before His throne; we will worship Him in righteousness, we will worship Him alone.

6. No more dying there, we are going to see the King....Hallelujah! We're going to see the King.

7. The blood that Jesus shed for me, way back on Calvary; the blood that gives me strength from day to day; it will never lose its power. It reaches to the highest mountain. It flows to the lowest valley. The blood that gives me strength from day to day, it will never lose its power.

8. I heard about His healing, of His cleansing pow'r revealing, how He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see; and then I cried, ""Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit," and somehow Jesus came and bro't to me the victory.

9. My sin-oh the bliss of this glorious thought: my sin not in part, but in nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

10. When thro' fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Hmmm, good stuff! What is a line or two of your favorite hymn?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

UPDATE...Flax seed info. for curious minds!

Here are the benefits of flax will want to start shaking it on everything! But, go easy, do to the high fiber content, that gumption of yours will only last about one whole day.

The flax seed "carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet!"
It is high in:
1. Omega 3 fatty acids (key force against inflammation)
2. Lignans (benefit heart, balance female hormones, promote fertility...)
3. fiber (lowers cholesterol)
4. phytochemicals (I don't know what these do, but it has a nice ring to it, huh?)

So, there you have it! I read that you should buy the ground or milled flax seed because your body is better able to absorb the nutrients that way. Get your flax on!

Smoothie Queen

I have become a smoothie addict. Our ten year old blender that I never really loved died on me the other day. So, I thought I would price them at Targe'. They had a very nice glass 12 speed Oster blender on sale for $30. He is gorgeous and chrome and powerful. I love him. What a fun way to eat fruit! Here is my favorite concoction:

Pour in some OJ
Add some nonfat (no flavor) yogurt
Add your fave fruit...I like mixing some banana with organic raspberries
Add some milled flax seed (You won't even taste it!)
Add some honey if you think it needs it

There you have it, straight from the Smoothie Queen!

I plan to invest in some whey protein powder when the time is right!

I have a friend who has lost 6 pounds this year! Yah, baby! I haven't lost a single pound, but Eric assures me that I look more trim. If only my scales would work with me!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

8:20 a.m. Haircut

My man needed a haircut in a bad way. He was looking like Shaggy McShags. So, I told him I would cut it, but it ended up that the only time we both had was this morning. Well, since I don't have a fancy salon and I really don't like clumps of hair littering my kitchen floor, we always head outside. Well, this morning was a bit chilly! 28 degrees to be exact. Surely he knows I love him if I am willing to cut his hair in below freezing temperatures!

I wasn't sure I would feel any pain if I cut my hands with the scissors...they were numb! I will just say that it wasn't my best haircut ever. In fact, Eric kinda resembled Jim Carey on Dumb and Dumber when it was all said and done. Luckily, a bit of hair pomade did the trick and he was back to his normal self. So long McShags, it has been nice knowing you!

I wanted to post a picture of Jim, I mean Eric, but, he wasn't up to being the laugh of blogworld this morning. Maybe next time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The "Yet" Prayer

This morning was such a great time of worship. We were real before our King. We brought our hurts and longings and laid them at the throne. Marvin said something so wonderful that I thought it was worth repeating. He asked us what our "Yet" Prayer was. For example: "even though times are financially rough, I will yet praise Him." It takes such faith to praise during the hard times. To praise when our circumstances shout otherwise. To praise, knowing that one day, all will be made right. To praise, wanting that one day to be today.

Marvin said these verses in the Message version and they just popped!
Habakkuk 3:17-18

Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.

I think the sweetest praise God receives must be the utterances that usher from our lips when all our desires have been stripped away. When we crave Him above everything...I think that is when He is most pleased.

So, I thought it would be neat to record our "Yet" prayers. I will commit to pray for you and the desire of your heart...but you have to be courageous enough to post! (You can always do it anonymously, too!)

I will go first:

Even though my sister died 11 months and 5 days ago, at an age that was way too young for my liking, YET I will praise Him. He is good and He is still on His throne and someday, all things will work out for good.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Kiss" has hit the shelves!

Man, did you know that Old Navy has flip flops, swimsuits, and shorts out already? We barely break out the Workout DVD's and then just about throw in the towel when we have to imagine ourselves in summer garb even though it is only January.

Kirby, my brother, came in town last night! We got to go eat Mexican and then go watch Cade play Upward Basketball. I just love watching kids play basketball! I love this age because they are so funny and they have such a discrepancy in size. One kid on the court looked like he was my height and another looked like he was shorter than Sam. It is just great entertainment. And it helps when your son makes most of the baskets!! ;} It is also high comedy watching Eric coach. You would think they were vying for the national title or something.

I got to have an afternoon of shopping to myself! I had a gift certificate from my wonderful husband to the Kitchen Store. I LOVE that place. But, for some reason, I couldn't make up my mind. I spent a WHOLE hour in that store and left with nothing. Sad, I know. I need my enabling friends to go with me next time!

We get to go meet our friends the Browns in Little Rock tonight! I am very excited about that!

While out today, I bought Ted Dekker's new book, "Kiss." I am totally, wildly, exuberantly thrilled about his new book. Can't wait to delve into it.

I had a strange night of sleeping last night. There is this girl, Kelly, whose blog I sometimes read. She is a Hog fan, loves Jesus, and makes homemade goodies, so she must be cool, right? Well, they are expecting their first born. She was born yesterday in AR, but was rushed to Tulsa because of breathing issues. Every time I woke up I was praying for baby Harper. It seems today that she might even be doing better! I am still praying for a completely healthy baby!

Happy Weekend to you and yours!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The stay at home kid birthday party...

I lost track. Of how many kids were in my home, that is. I think it was around 15, but like I said, I lost track. Oh, Eli soaked up the love and attention and gifts, I tell you! By having a stay at home kid birthday party, we saved 100-200 dollars. Have you priced Jump Zone lately? Insane. Crazy insane. Almost as insane as having a stay at home kid birthday party. The older I get, the more and more I appreciate all my parents did for me. Like letting me have stay at home kid birthday parties. They even let me invite a bunch of girls over to sleep in our motor home. That was the last time, though.

So, I had a Lulu moment. When my dear 6 year old requested a soccer cake, I was glad to oblige. The ladies at the Kroger bakery were not so willing, but finally, my baby got his cake. Well, silly me didn't even factor into the equation exactly what the BLACK icing would do to things. Things like teeth. Hands. Lips. Under fingernails. It is everywhere and all the kids look like they have been introduced to Goth, at my house. Simply washing it off would be a dream come true. No more anything that requires black icing. This Lulu has learned her lesson.

I thought this first picture summed things up pretty well. Actually, the kids were very well behaved and Eli had the time of his life. Mission accomplished. My favorite pick below is of Eli holding his hand over Sam's mouth so he wouldn't blow out the candles (again.)

Happy 6th Birthday Eli!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A God Moment

This morning, while driving home from Kroger, I started thinking of my old college roommate, Lora. We were as different as could be, but had great fun together! One of my favorite pictures from college is of the two of us together trying to relieve a little stress from finals. We accomplished this by dressing up in the craziest garb, putting on two tons of makeup, and ratting our hair to high heaven. (We completed the fun with a photo shoot.) I would say that God used her to help me out of my shy comfort zone.

I hadn't thought of Lora in a while....time flies and I didn't have her contact info. After praying for her a bit, I got home and unloaded the groceries. Then, I proceeded to check my messages. HER VOICE came through the first message! I could hardly contain my excitement...shivering with goose bumps and praising God for how awesome He works!

Well, I am off to call her and catch up!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Where there is true, strong love to Jesus, it will cost us something. Love is the costliest of all undertakings . . . But what shall we mind if we gain Christ? You cannot give up for Him without regaining everything you have renounced, but purified and transfigured." (Meyer)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Recipe

Here is the recipe for Praline per request...

prep: 5 minutes cook: 15 minutes

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I left it off of the kid's pieces) (I used less on stuff!)
6 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter
1 TB vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 TB brown sugar
1 Cup chopped pecans, toasted (to toast...throw them in a 300 degree oven for just a few minutes)

Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of chicken. Cook chicken in butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken, reserving drippings in skillet. Place chicken on a serving platter; keep warm.

Add syrup and sugar to drippings in skillet; bring to a boil. Stir in pecans; cook 1 minute or until heated. Spoon mixture over chicken.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hogs and Praline Chicken

Can I get a special Whoot-Whoot on behalf of our Razorbacks?? *Sigh...* And just like that, Razorback basketball was fun again. I miss the good ol' days of Hog basketball. Last night took me back in time, when we were GOOD and we had a team worth expending our energy on. Ahhh, lead the way, Fortson, lead the way.

And, I had the best meal ever tonight. I am pretty sure that it isn't to be found on any diet out there...which is why it is memorable and worth blogging about! It was called Praline Chicken. Cook your chicken breasts in some butter, remove from pan, add some maple syrup, brown sugar, and toasted pecans, and voila, the best finger lickin' stuff ever!

Of course, I have an addiction to anything that says "praline." When I was younger, I would pick "Pralines and Cream" Ice Cream while my friends were picking "Cotton Candy".

MMM, since none of us can eat any, let us live vicariously through the blog. What is your favorite flavor of Ice Cream?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Pet???

Look what came right up to our door the other day. Savannah (70 pound ball of fur that loves to chase anything and everything) about had a conniption when she saw this little gal through the glass pane. I followed it outside and it rested on my neighbor's front entryway as if it were a cat. I think they must have gotten a new pet, or something. It was fun watching one of God's creations so upclose. (What it DID make me realize is that a lens that zooms far far away would have been very handy!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

30 Day Shred...or "How to Sweat, Puke, and Cry!"

Along with the rest of the world, I am striving to eat better and exercise more. If I could lose 5 pounds this month, it would tickle me to death! Not that 5 pounds is my goal, but it would be a start! So, while in Texas, I made a big purchase. Not big as in cost, but big as in commitment. I bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. It is a workout DVD that is cool cause it has three different workouts based on your ability...and then you can progress from there.

You know Jilli, the trainer on The Biggest Loser. Well, now I know why her contestants puke and cry. I was about to do the same thing yesterday...and that was on the beginners workout. Today was a little better...although every muscle in my body was aching from yesterday.
So...go get ya a copy! Only $9 at Walmart! I guarantee you it only takes 20 minutes and your heart will beat like there is no tomorrow. (And, hopefully, the pounds will indeed be SHRED!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The BIG Texas Trip...since everything is BIG in Texas!

1225 miles later, the boys are tucked in bed. They have washed the last residue of sand from their hair and I think the youngest is already snoring. Who says that 18 hours in a car roundtrip isn't exhausting? The good news is that the kids did AMAZINGLY well. No one starting clawing at the windows or hyperventilating from the confinement. I don't even think we heard: "are we there yet?"...well, not enough to count, anyway! Eric allowed me to take non-drowsy Dramamine and read to my heart's content. Ahhh, pure bliss. He was a trooper and drove every single mile there and back.

Well, we headed down south to the resort area of Marble Falls, Texas. Resort meaning that there are gorgeous lakes nearby. Resort not meaning that there are a large assortment of shopping or dining experiences withing a 50 mile radius. Seriously, I couldn't even find a Target. The town has a slower pace of life, which, if accustomed to, would be quite nice.

We headed down to see some of Eric's family. It was my first time to meet many of them, and it was a blessing to get to do so. They were all very real and kind and serving and in love with my Jesus. It is always a treat to meet "family", knowing that they are also "Heavenly Family" and that we can spend the rest of our eternal days together!

Our hotel sat right beside one of the lakes. The town had the coolest "free" display of Christmas lights ever! We could see it even from the back of the hotel!

Eric's aunt and uncle live right on one of the lakes. The kids had a BALL playing in the sand and enjoying distant cousins.

I had a ball eating anything I wanted, allowing the idea of laundry and dishes to dissipate, and photographing anything and everything.

Happy New Year!

The Reception

Here is Eric's Uncle Jeff and Aunt Brenda...with Matt and their new daughter-in-law, Jessica! When Matt and Jess married, they did it in a rush! Since they are both in the Navy, they knew it might take some time for them to be stationed together in the same place. In order to put a rush on things, they sort of eloped. Now that they are together, we were able to have a huge family reception for them. It was great fun!