Friday, December 18, 2009

Someone you know is hungry

This message came out this week from our worship director:
Hello All,
We need your help. We’ve been informed of someone who has been living off of pretty much bread for the last couple weeks (maybe more). We DEFINITELY want everyone to pray for this young man, and at the same time, let’s do something about it.

Faith in Action
James 2:14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

We will be collecting money to buy some groceries for him. Please give to help this man so that we can show the love of God and not just speak it.

We will collect @ this Thursday’s rehearsal and Sunday as well (This Sunday will be the day for Christmas Giving that has been announced for the last couple weeks as well… We have opportunities to BLESS OTHERS). If you aren’t in the choir you can give whenever you see me.  Please, purposefully be on the lookout for those who are in need.

Be Blessed,
J2
Someone Godly said, "You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving."  I must say I've been heavy hearted this week. I know this someone mentioned in the above note from Jon. And I say without hesitation, someone you know is hungry this week. With unemployment rates above 10 percent, 1 in 10 of us in your circle, is struggling; perhaps to the point of eating only bread. Or maybe that person - one of us, has access to a local food pantry or, thank God, their kids get free breakfast and lunch at school.

SOMEONE WE KNOW IS HUNGRY. Yes, there are hungry people in Haiti, Thailand, Peru and wherever else people are breathing. But someone you know is hungry. Someone you know is worried about putting food on their table; not to even mention buying a Christmas gift for their children.

There are such great organizations that provide an opportunity to give to others in need. Toys for Tots, Angel Tree provides gifts to the children of incarcerated parents, Christian Life Center is giving especially to those close to home & abroad this Christmas, and a myriad of other ways to give. Ask at your church or the church of someone you know. And that's great! Give! Give generously!
But my point is today, in our circle; in your circle, look for opportunities to give to folks in need. Who do you know that has lost their job? What single parent do you know who might be struggling to make ends meet? Who do you know that is sick & without care or comfort? Who do you know that is separated from family during the holidays? Be a tangible expression of love & Christ to them this season.

Thing is though, if you ask, "Hey, do you need help?" Chances are, they will say no. Why say no? Pride. Embarrassment.  They are "trusting God" to meet their needs.  Someone else is always in worse shape. There are several reasons that might keep people from responding truthfully to your "Do you need help" question. 

So how about this: if you see a need; if you sense a need in prayer or someone has brought to your attention someone they know is hungry - do something. Buy a gift card for somewhere like Target that has groceries and necessities; give cash if you can; take a paper ornament off that tree & buy a gift for a kid who might otherwise not have one under the tree on Christmas morning. Give & trust God to do the rest.

Love your neighbor.
You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving.
 
Now, let me wash my face & get to work. Merry Christmas~


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Raising A Thankful Child - Zerotothree.org

A message worth sharing from zerotothree.org:

Raising a Thankful Child

Being appreciative and thankful for what one has and for what others do for us—values we venture to guess most parents want their children to develop as they grow. But during those visits to the toy store, when your child is begging (or maybe even demanding or screaming) for the latest and greatest gadget she must have—you may wonder how (and when) children develop gratitude.

The fact is, it may take a few years yet for you to receive the thank you that you really deserve: Thank you for cupping your hand under my chin when I threw up my ravioli. Thank you for putting diaper ointment on me while I had that stomach thing. Thank you for cutting the scratchy labels out before I put on my shirt. Thank you for letting me watch the ants march by on the sidewalk for as long as I wanted. Thank you for always having tissues in your bag. Thank you for asking if the restaurant has crayons. Thanks for kissing my forehead when I have a bad dream. You’re the best!

So while children may not show outward appreciation or thankfulness much before age 3, like other values you want to instill in your child, you can start nurturing the idea of gratitude even in your child’s first year.

Ways to Raise a Thankful Child

Keep gifts reasonable. As tempting as it is to shower—or allow others to shower—your child with gifts, there are two important reasons not to. First, as children grow, it can be challenging to teach gratitude if they receive everything they ask for.

Secondly, a lot of gifts are overwhelming for small children. They can’t focus on or appreciate any one gift if they get so many. Often, they don’t even make it through opening all of them before they lose interest! Instead, you might suggest that family members choose 1 or 2 gifts for children. Explain that the fewer gifts, the more children will play with and appreciate them. If you are planning a large birthday party, consider asking close family members to bring gifts to a smaller event before the big one starts. For the big party, you might ask attendees to provide book donations for a local literacy programs or toys for disadvantaged children. This can be a good way to communicate the importance of giving and gratefulness.

Look for ways to be involved in community giving with your toddler. Between ages 2 and 3, you can begin to talk with your toddler about how he can help others who don’t have as much as he does. Look for opportunities with a clear connection between your child’s efforts and the recipients. Good choices include:

Helping dogs/cats at your local shelter: We are playing with these dogs and cats who need lots of love and attention.

Collecting canned foods for a local food pantry: We are helping people who need more food. They will eat the food we bring. Our food will help them feel strong and healthy.

Collecting jackets, hats and mittens for a local children’s program: The jackets we bring will help other children, just like you, stay warm during the winter.

Show thankfulness to your children. It’s easy to forget, but important to do. Thank you for cooperating at the doctor’s office. Thank you for getting your jacket when I asked. Thank you for coming right away when I said it was time to leave the park; I know it was hard for you to get off the swing. Thank you for your hug—it made me feel so happy!

Prompt children to use thankful words. Thankfulness is a complex idea. It will be a while yet before your child truly “gets” it. But reminding children to say “please” and “thank you” (beginning at about 18 months) is a good start. Because it will take some time for them to learn when to use these words, you’ll probably be providing prompts for a while.

Read books about what it means to be thankful. Books help children make sense of new ideas. Keep in mind that your child’s understanding of a book at 14 months will be different than what she gets out of it at 35 months—another good reason to share these stories over time. As she grows, talk with her about the stories and pictures and explore what it means to be “thankful.” Some age-appropriate choices for children aged 12 to 36-month-old include:

Biscuit Is Thankful by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Pat Schories
Little Critter: Just So Thankful by Mercer Mayer
Feeling Thankful by Shelly Rotner
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
I’m Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallninan
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Jake Swamp
All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan

Involve children in writing thank-you notes. While you can’t sit your young child down with a pen and a stack of cards, you can involve her in showing thanks in age-appropriate ways. Snap a photo of your baby or toddler playing with a new toy or wearing a new outfit and include it with your thank you note. Ask your toddler to draw a picture for the gift-giver and, again, include with your note. You can ask your toddler: Grampy got you a new truck. Do you like it? What do you like about it the best? Copy down your child’s words in the note you write. Toddlers can also be involved in sticking a stamp on the envelope and putting the note in the mailbox. Starting early makes this important tradition of gratitude an everyday part of children’s lives.

Start traditions for showing thanks. These traditions give children a lifetime memory of gratefulness and giving in the context of family. Some ideas:

Make a “what I am thankful for” tree. Use a paper towel tube for the trunk. Cut leaf shapes out of construction paper and write on each leaf something your child says he is thankful for. Glue the paper leaves onto the tube/trunk. Ideally, every family member who is old enough to participate should make a tree each year.

Begin dinnertime once a week with every family member saying something they are grateful for.

Instead of a birthday gifts, write your child an “appreciation letter” describing all the different ways your child has grown and changed that year, and all the things you love and appreciate about him. These letters, beginning in each child’s first year, can be kept in a special binder in children’s rooms.

Think about what it means to be thankful in your family and culture. Share stories about gratefulness that are drawn from your family history, community and culture. For example, one family tells their son a story about his grandmother who, during the Great Depression, once received only an orange for Christmas but “it was the sweetest orange she ever had and she was grateful.” Each year, along with his other gifts, the son receives an orange as well.

His mother remembers, When our son was 3 and heard this story, he just focused on how his grandmother didn’t get any toys. When he was 7, he said he felt sad for his Grandma just getting the orange and wanted to get her something ‘really good’ that year for Christmas. By the time he was 11, he really got the point of the story. When we handed him his Christmas orange, he told us, ’You know, I think mine is the sweetest I ever had, too.’ The story really became a way for him to connect with our past as a family.

Message in full from zerotothree.org

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Been so long

Some days we wonder...and other days we wander....and other days we wonder and wander.
~Jim Cheri Garrett
It's been a wondering, wandering couple of months. Fighting illness and trying to keep on track. It's a season and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Well, the eyes of faith can see the light at then end of the tunnel. My prayer is simply to survive the next few weeks, get caught up and thrive this next couple of trimesters. My bigger prayer is that Gracie remains resilient to the pressures I've been battling and continue to fight for the next few weeks. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. Just keep swimming. Or perhaps I'll say - Just keep praising, praising, praising. Just keep praising. Worship opens the windows of heaven and no darkness can withstand the flood of light.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happiness Project

A little word from the Happiness Project to "lighten up" in our parenting. That, and colloidal oatmeal, is just what the doctor ordered.

In a funk lately, but nothing that a little karaoke won't cure. Yep, me and the mic kicking it at Halloweeny party last night at GSU - just me and Grace with mama singing in front of a hundred strangers. Quite fun actually. Gracie was getting down on the dance floor. She never had quite that big of a stage nor audience to show off her moves - a nice blend of what the sistas were doin with a bit ballet flare. :o) Plus, there was fun fall food with laster tag and big ole bouncies for the kiddos. Nice, though we could do without that nasty Superman song/dance. Seriously - do parents even know what their kids are singing??

Gracie enjoyed a play the live long day with Uncle Bob that included pumpkin carving, pizza eating, pooch bathing/walking/snuggling and playing games. Nice to know UB really enjoyed the day himself. Yeah me for getting some much needed catch up work done for my studies. We finished the evening together at a for-sure-forgetable eatery in Crete which will go unnamed. Great day indeed.

The last weeks have been busy indeed. Two weddings of VIF - very important folks. Long time knew her when she wore pigtails friend, Jenny McQuay, and one of my bestest buds - Randy Beal. Wishing many happy days and full hearts to both of them and their very special spouses, Churchhill & Emily.
Gracie was the flower girl in Jen's wedding. Joy joy. However, she still doesn't know that Uncle Randy's wedding has come and gone. I'm going to let him tell her in his own special way. :o) We had an absolute blast at Randy and Em's wedding. They know how to throw a party. And well... I just love that Randy and I am so happy for him...so happy for YOU, cause I know you will read this at some point in the next year. Ha!




Well, it's not letting me upload pictures or all that I want. You'll might just have to check in again another day to see the lastest. Just FYI, I'm on hiatus from Facebook - though I'll still accept your Farmville gifts. :o) Oh and just in case you're wondering...karaoke was NOT the pick me up I needed...it's my previous post and the love n support of great friends - friends who love like family (and love on my kid). :o)

ANDDDD now back to a word about parenting on the light side from the Happiness Project:
1. At least once a day, make each child helpless with laughter.

2. Sing in the morning. It’s hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood, and it sets a happy tone for everyone—particularly in my case, because I’m tone deaf and my audience finds my singing a source of great hilarity.

3. Get enough sleep yourself. It’s so tempting to stay up late, to enjoy the peace and quiet. But morning comes fast. Along the same lines…

4. Wake up before your kids. We were so rushed in the morning that I started getting up half an hour earlier than my children. That means I can get myself organized, check my email, post to Slate, and get my bag packed before they get up. It’s tough to wake up earlier, but it has made a huge difference in the quality of our mornings.

5. I’ve been researching the hedonic treadmill: people quickly adapt to new pleasures or luxuries, so it takes a new pleasure to give them a jolt of gratification. As a result, I’ve cut back on treats and impulse buys for my kids. The ice-cream sandwich or the Polly Pockets set won’t be an exciting treat if it isn’t rare.

6. Most messages to kids are negative: “stop,” “don’t,” “no.” So I try to cast my answers as “yes.” “Yes, we’ll go as soon as you’ve finished eating,” not “We’re not leaving until you’ve finished eating.” It’s not easy to remember to do this, but I’m trying.

7. Look for little ways to celebrate. I haven’t been doing holiday breakfasts long, but they’re a huge source of happiness. They’re quick, fun, and everyone gets a big kick out of them.

8. Repetition works. A friend told me he was yelling at his kids too much, so he distilled all rules of behavior into four key phrases: “keep your hands to yourself”; “answer the first time you’re asked”; “ask first”; and “stay with us” (his kids tended to bolt). You can also use the school mantras: “Sit square in your chair;” “accidents will happen,” “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset” (i.e., when cupcakes are handed out, you don’t keep trying to switch).

9. Say “no” only when it really matters. Wear a bright red shirt with bright orange shorts? Sure. Put water in the toy tea set? Okay. Sleep with your head at the foot of the bed? Fine. Samuel Johnson said, “All severity that does not tend to increase good, or prevent evil, is idle.”

10. When I find myself thinking, “Yippee, soon we won’t have to deal with a stroller,” I remind myself how fleeting this is. All too soon the age of Cheerios and the Tooth Fairy will be over. The days are long, but the years are short.

Have you found any good strategies to cut back on the shouting and to add moments of laughing, singing, and saying “yes”? If so, leave me a comment! Can't wait to read your strategies for a sing song keep it light day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Courage


I held my own sign a couple of weeks ago. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Pastor Jerry taught us recently, "There is a prophecy in our testimony." As we share our story, even in so few words, God says to another, "What I did for this one, I'll do for you."

Do you have the courage to tell your story? Tell it. Let God set someone free. In fact, among the dozens of us who shared our cardboard testimony; many of us emotionally remarked how even more healing came as we stood there revealing our own weakness, struggle & sin that once bound us. Our struggles serve as a marker of mercy saying deliverance is planted here; restoration is growing here & it's available to you.

If there's one thing I know, it's God grace. I know mercy because it came running when I was too weak to even call His name. When I was tangled in a web the enemy crafted for destruction, mercy - fueled by God's undying love, came to my rescue.

I was forgiven in an instant. But healing is a process. Restoration is a process.

My pastor was asked a few weeks back about the Catholic practice of confession to a priest. His response in a nutshell was this: confession to God is required to be forgiven. However, confession to man or one another is for our own healing, accountability and wholeness. It is like protection for a wound or injury, much like we cover a sore or cut with a bandaid. It provides protection or preservation while that wound or weak spot heals over time; while our body regenerates new skin in place of the torn or damaged place on our body.

That healing process is made more effecient, more complete or thorough when we confess to others - be it out pastor or brothers/sisters in Christ. Forgiveness is instantaneous, but being made whole often requires help. Christ paints a picture of this as He talks about the body ministering to body. "Restore one another." We need one another. A finger, regardless of how strong, will wither and die if separated from the body.

A number of years ago, I found myself in such a situation - separated by thousands of miles from my local church body and without a spiritual home. I'm not a good lone ranger at all and I fell hard. While God forgave me the moment I asked, sin brings consequences. In the coming days, weeks, and months I probably had over 100 conversations - intimate conversations with people I love; people with whom I served beside in ministry - on the praise team, missions trips, children's ministry, etc...conversations in which I confessed - I messed up, I fell, I sinned.

I think my confession was out of a desire to ask forgiveness and also to share my story; to tell it myself. I wanted each one to hear it from me, not someone else's interpretation of what happened. I wanted to say, "I'm sorry for hindering any aspect of God's work that we have labored toward together."

Those were my intentions, but as I confessed to this one and that one; oh, how He loved me. Through each of those precious people, He loved on me. I never imagined the encouragement, love, understanding and restoration that came as I poured out my story. It took courage and humility with no room for my pride; yet there are no words to describe what I received.

As I held up my cardboard testimony a couple of weeks ago, God met me there. He brought forth another wave of healing for a secret tragedy I've carried for 11 years. Oh, how He loves us.

So share your testimony. Prophesy to another of God's deliverance, love, mercy & restoration. If you are keeping a wound or injury to yourself, give God an opportunity to heal and restore through the body of Christ. You might not share your story or reveal your sin to hundreds, but find someONE - some Godly someone, who can hold your heart as you lay it bare. See what God does. See how He comes running to restore.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Home Again

Gracie made it back safe & sound from her visit to Dallas. She did great, despite the night time tears. I really enjoyed hearing all her stories from a couple points of view. Gracie ate her 1st donut...or it was soooo good, it seemed like the very 1st time she'd ever tasted one. :o) So much so she could not share and after all, she was the guest - so she reminded Margie & Mark quite often. We have more work to do on that "preferring others" attitude. She does have the "treat our guest better than ourself" part. :o) She milked it, folks - totally.

She had a blast with puppy play - 3 puppies! And then all that swimming & crafting. She discovered sewing & ironing - we have both sewing machine & iron; both in the box. Let me say now, "We absolutely LOVE Downy Wrinkle Release" - now let me tell you: the girl can spray & snap to remove wrinkles to her credit, AS WELL AS use the old fashioned iron. :o) Margie reported she can turn her own egg in the pan & put it on her plate. :o) She enjoyed the use of BIG scissors - sorry, Marge about the pillow case. Uhhhh...guess she learned scissors are for more than just cutting paper. Eeeesh!

What made me beam were the reports of her being helpful, as well as neat & tidy. Though I must say she did get thorough instruction before leaving home to be neat & clean up her mess. I'm also really proud of her when she spoke up about her own safety. Here's the account from M & M:
Margie: "Well hon, I guess I'll run to the store for _____."
Mark: "Ok, I'll get the mower out & work on the lawn while you're gone."
Gracie: "And WHO's going to watch ME??"

Upon our reunion, Gracie smothered me with hugs & smooches & I love you so muches. Then without missing a beat, she asked if we could get her hair cut. I previously promised after summer swimming was over & she got back from Auntie Margies, we could get her hair cut. Thankfully they could squeeze us in at my salon. She's wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love since she was 2 years old - helping other kids who couldn't grow their own hair due to cancer/chemo. They took of about 8 inches of curls, 10 inches stretched out. That's alot of curl. Must admit, I miss them already. She looks so grown up; so Kindergarten-ish now. After hopping up in the chair at the salon & getting all caped up for her cut, Gracie swished her hair & said "I feel different all ready." It was really sweet & we love the new look. We hope that braid blesses some other cutie kid really soon!


The new do anddddddddddddddddddd the last curl picture....

Notice the "delighted" look on Mambo's face - Oh, JOY!


Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming~
All the way across - the little fish.
AND thanks for asking - the exam went very well. Exciting news this week, I was awarded a scholarship for the duration of my program. Yeah!! AND with that scholarship, I was moved into full time status. Thus, I'll finish up in 2 years...a full 9 months early! Yeahhhhh! I'll still have a year of clinicals to get my licensure, but that's paid & could be anywhere...anywhere - stateside, I mean. :o)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ouch!

Ever do something silly (AKA: stupid). Ever do that same thing again? Like we didn't learn our lesson the 1st time around. This sure had me laughing...if only it didn't hurt so much. :o) Here's to catching on the 1st time & keeping outselves out of hostile territory:
Speaking of ouch; Gracie is visiting Auntie Margie in Texas right now. It's amazing how much "noise" (joy) one girl can make. I miss her. Yes, the house is very quiet & I should be studying. Instead, I've watered the plants, exterminated umpteen spiders (all the bad kind), cleaned out the fridge & brought my boxes in for moving. I'm half tempted to pack a little. Where to start? Where to start? If only I didn't have my final exam on WEDNESDAY - that's right, the day after TOMORROW! I just needed a bit of humor to get me going...well, after I bake these blackberry cobblets. Is that even a word?? If not, it should be. Happy day to you & yours, while I'm missing my little Marshmellow Sweetie Pie.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Steps & Perma Kiss

The castle that started it all~
Go Carts~ FUN!

My smiley girl

Pretty~


Awwwww...relaxing afte a long play FULL day

Well, I'm Grace free until Saturday after driving to St Louis & back today. I've talked to her twice since leaving & my sister 4 times. Hmmmm...I wonder who's having a hard time? She was so sweet last night as we pre-packed the car. She pulled my face close to hers & kissed me at least 100 times. "Now these are for when you miss me."

Closing in on the Big Bridge over the Mississippi, Gracie knew we were getting close. "Mom, if you miss me, just go lay down on my bed & think of me. You can sleep with one of my animals if you want." Giggling under my breath at the drama in her voice, "And I have all those kisses you gave me last night," I replied. "Actually, no you washed them all off in the shower this morning. But let me sing you a song so you will remember me." Sung to the tune of Where Are You Christmas?

I love you, Mommy, always remember. God loves you and me and we will always be together. He will keep us safe.

I could hear her voice break a bit & sure enough, tears were just about to spill onto her chubby cheeks. Moved by her tenderness, I held her hand for a bit before she pondered possible contention with her cousin, Haddon. Very thoughtfully, she decided they must get along; even if she had to give up the blue piece & take the red one. She likes red just the same. :o) Then she reminded me how he pushed her into the pool when she was little. I can't believe this girl's memory. I think she was 2 years old. Anyway...she would not let that happen again because now she can just swim.
Regarding Haddon, who is 5 1/2, we had this exchange last night:

So, mom, will Haddon be 8 before me?
Yes, Grace. Haddon will turn 8 before you. His birthday comes before yours.
Ohhhhhhh (as in drat!) Well, I wanted to be buddies.
You can be buddies. You will always be buddies.
No 'cause he's just going off to college (with a little rolling of the eyes)
I love that girl. Have a feeling it's going to be a long weekend without her~ I'll try to manage. :o)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Getting in Position


After two nights of blissful sleep earlier in the week, I've been a bit restless at night the last couple days. Up at 2 AM for at least a couple of hours. Had to resort to a little help from some non-addictive sleep aid for one of those nights. Whatever works, eh? Those couple nights of 8 hours were heavenly. Maybe I'll have another angelic slumber tonight....I'm prayerful.

One benefit of my wakeful state in the early AM is hearing Gracie laugh in her sleep; talk a bit & well, you just never know what you'll hear out that girl. When she was tiny...like two months, she started laughing in her sleep. Too delightful to keep to myself, I told my quilting friends about it. Sure, sure...she's laughing; it's GAS!! One afternoon we had a daylong stint of restoring antique German wedding baskets. Deep in our work, sleeping Grace, 2 months old, started giggling & no more doubting this mama. She still laughs, giggles & sometimes cries in her sleep.

So one night this week, Grace called out for me to come lay by her & sing her a lullaby. I lay down & started my crooning, "Wait! Wait!", she cried, wiggling her bucket close to me:"I have to get into position." Sweet moment indeed!

This weekend was full, yet relaxing. We had little Emily over on Friday to play while new mom Stephanie got a good nap in with the preschooler occupied. So nice Steph decided to take me up on my dinner offer. The company was quite nice. Two weekends in a row of entertaining! I've missed it~

We contemplated Kiddieland on Saturday, but with a forecast of rain we opted for the movie. UP was a blast! We laughed ourselves silly & then some. That UP is a must buy movie for sure!

Afterward we headed to Target for some necessity shopping. Gracie spotted a castle & fountain across the parking lot. Gee...did we have to discover Hollywood Park today? :o) We ended up playing a grand round of putt-putt & Gracie climbed the rock wall. She pleaded for the go-carts, but I was ure that was an Uncle Bob activity. However, we staked out a place at one of the turns & every single person that flew by in those go-carts was either grinning from ear to ear or laughing outloud. Knowing that such laughter is very good for the mind, body & soul - we HAD to take our turn on the motorized speedy cars. It was truly fun, fun, FUN! Grace was a bit sad she couldn't drive, but still enjoyed the ride. :o)

Pictures to post another time~ Guten Nacht, meine Fruendin~

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Time, Summer Time

Whoo hooo! No pain today! To go from such extreme pain yesterday to NO pain today - whoa, I think that's a God thing. I'm thankful! If you prayed, if you said an encouraging word or wished me well - THANKS!

Today is a free day...no obligations, nothing pressing. I've got some reporting to do - piece of no-pressure cake. Speaking of cake...I've got a hankering for a key lime pie. I make a mean one - a weight watcher worthy recipe that I'd love to find & make again. Yummmmmm....

We might visit a new water park/playground that recently opened (June 09) not too far from us. It's FREE this summer. A really nice way to promote your new facility. Grace went this past Sunday with some friends. I was a bit sceptical when the BFF invited Grace .
"Yep and it's even FREE. Well, you have to have your swimming
suit on under your clothes. You just show them like this (lifts her shirt a bit)
and then they let you in without even paying."
Ok...right. We'll have to check in with your parents and I'll let you know. Sure 'nough - she was correct. Free this summer - just have to be in your swim suit when you arrive. Great day for Grace & some nice study time for mama. So thinking it might be nice to visit today & check it out for myself. Let me find my shades & suit. :ol

Study time...yes, had a big exam yesterday in my audiology class. Oh, yeah...knocked it out of the park. I needed to make up for some lost point from that horrendous 1st exam. :o)

This past weekend, my friend Steph came over for a sleepover. We packed a yummy picnic lunch with BBQ ribs from the grill, homemade potato salad (my mom would be proud), grilled garlic bread & the ultimate epitome of summer dessert - well, I don't know the official name but it has pears, lime laced cream cheese & whipping cream. SCRUMPTIOUS! Packed up the cooler, beach bag, sand toys & headed to the beach.



Gracie made a new friend. Nice~


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Semi meets SUV: I'm still standing (thankfully)

What a day, what day! I'll spare you the nitty gritty, but suffice to say yesterday was a bad day. Onstar sent me to a parking lot by the airport for my 1st appointment. Uh...no, I am going to a HOUSE - not a car. Knew there was a problem when I had to turn on a street they identified as "Rental Car". Not even Rental Car Boulevard or Lane, just Rental Car. "This just isn't right. Double check that please." Turn by turn took me right into a parking lot - long term for the airport. THENNNNN....listening to the advice of a Chicago neighborhood guy - confident as confident could be that Keating was just a block shy of Kedzie. Confidence is not always correct.

Geezzzz...I finally made it to that evaluation. Literally finished & was in my car in 15 minutes. Another 15 mintues later found me in the back of an ambulance after my intimate enounter with a semi tractor trailer. He didn't budge. Not a scratch on that dirty old truck. Earlier so irritatingly incompetent, Onstar had dispatched emergency services before I could reach for the button to call them.
So my 1st ambulance ride. Thankfully, I was coherent & alert to get the full experience. No, my head did not bust that windshield. I don't think so. Right? There would be more blood, right? Seriously...they were great! The ER...ummm, not a comforting experience. Actually, it's just as chaotic as on TV. Lots of people, lots of drama...trauma. Thankfully, I was "general care" with my superficial wounds & moved to the other side of the ER to wait for hours - X ray & such. Released to Enterprise Rent-A-Car with this advice: You will feel worse tomorrow. Take plenty of Motrin. Don't worry, your skin will grow over those tiny shards of glass we can't see.

Got the rental, drove to the tow yard for a look at the car from outside. Wow! God is good - I can't believe I walked away with only scratches, scrapes & bruises. The force of the airbag shattered the windshield. No wonder my chest hurts. Thank God for the airbag & seatbelts.

Really, I'm thankful. Made it back to pick Gracie up from swim lessons. Thanks to Natalie & Ana for taking such good care of my baby while I was a work & various appointments throughout the day. Thanks to Bob for getting the prayer going before I even got to the hospital. Thanks to all those who've called or checked in to see how I'm doing. Ya'll are the best!

Grace. Lots of 'splaining to do about my wounds and the new car. She cried & hugged & cried & hugged. I sat in the back seat with her for about 30 minutes. She's so senstive. Lots of Grace loving last night. Holding on tight...you never know what can happen in a moment. God is good.

So, still trying to catch up here at Grace FULL Days. These are pics from the 4th of July weekend. Nice time...parade with friends & a little festival-ing. Another parade...just as nice, though in the rain. Community band & fireworks - great fireworks display in our little village.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hello Again & Added Smilebox


Agh! I'm so far behind in updating this blog, I think I'm ahead! Well, it's only 1.5 months since I've updated. Been facebooking on a consistent basis...doesn't do much good here though, does it?

Summer is in full swing, though the weather has been less than ideal. Swim lessons are in full throttle, finishing up next week.

Catch up time: Gracie's 5th birthday was mid June. Celebrated with friends n family at the park with an afterparty at the water park. Wheeee! Roomie Runion '09 in late June was an uber fun time!
Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Roomie Reunion '09
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In the meantime...catching up on some overdue photos of our memories the past couple of months. Oh...gee, I just remember I still haven't posted pics from Germany. I think on a subconscience level that says something. Hmmm?





Gracie's graduation in May. Kindergarten here we come!! :o)... :o( it's bittersweet.

Gracie riding her bike big girl style - no training wheels!!
I have one class this trimester - intro to audiology. Intro, right - I swear it is material from this guy's graduate course he teaches at Northwestern. The upside? Incredibly interesting, making it the fastest 3 hours in my entire higher ed career. I continue to be amazed at the complexity of God's creation. How one can believe this intricacy randomly evolved is beyond me.

The sun is peeking out though the forecast calls for rain. I'm making potato salad & have ribs ready to grill in hopes of having a beachside picnic this afternoon. Join us!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Italy...my feeble attempt to become current




I'll be back someday...I mean, I'll find some words to go along with these pictures someday. Can't sleep. Will upload a few memories from Italy. More later...promise.

And while these load...Gracie is riding her bike now w/out training wheels. She's so proud. I'm so proud. I've got pics for that as well. Will post soon. Classes are back in full swing. Audiology - I've heard this guy is a nightmare with a deluge of information each class & harrowing exams. At least he's easy on the eyes and has a voice that will keep me awake in class, but put me to sleep as I learn my way into your ear/hearing orifice.

Uploading is taking forever...what else is new. Oh, I've got my teeny weeny garden planted. Oh, it was a mangled mess trying to get those baby tree roots out of that space. But it's all good now. Gracie was a delightful help in planning, planting & watering. We have tomatoes, red bell peppers, radishes, a bevy of flowers, herbs (it is grilling season, you know), lavender...I'm relaxing just thinking about that fragrance...what else, maybe that's it. I need to go back to sleep. Servants of Praise in the morning...rehearsal at 7:15 AM. I love to sing...I love to sing later in the day than 7:15. Ok....forever to upload.

What else...hmmm. I do have more pics from Germany, Plan See, Graduation...oh, right. Gracie graduated from preschool. Kindergarten is next up on the list. Pictures to follow, though not this morning. I'm revolting. Ok...they may be here. And - no.

K, let it be said that I've missed posting- just in case anyone has missed reading....oh, they are here. Night folks. I'll organize & caption later...I mean another day. Hugs~ Is feeble even spelled correctly? Night~