Be sure to grab some tissues before you watch this precious, precious story.
WeightView: I saw this site on Rachel Ray and simply had to try it out myself. Basically you go to the site, sign up, pick an amount of weight you would like to lose (anywhere from 5-50 lbs.) and send in a picture of yourself. Within 48 hours they email you a picture of yourself at your desired weight. It's a fabulous way to visualize yourself at a certain weight and to truly motivate yourself to get there! If I was really brave I would post my before and after pics but....um............I'm not that brave. Don't think you need to know what I'd look like if I was skinny (but if you REALLY want to see them- email me and I'll send them to you as soon as they arrive).
ConKerr Cancer Pillowcases: A site dedicated to making handmade pillowcases for kids with cancer. There are even detailed directions on how to make the pillowcases. Maddie and I are headed to Walmart tomorrow to pick up some fabric and get started making some! Such a precious idea!
Face Your Pockets: This site shows things that are living in the pockets of your bag, jeans, or jacket. The goal of the project is to show the treasures in peoples pockets as well as to show the owner of them. What a fun and interesting idea!
Super Easy Ways to Decorate a Cake: This site shows 9 easy and CUTE ways to decorate a cake using easily found items from the grocery store. A speedy way to dress up a plain cake for your next get together! Love, love, love these!
A Simple Reminder: A wonderful story to remind us all that God loves and protects us each and every single day.
The Cutest Blog on the Block: This site is full of fabulous, fun, and FREE backgrounds that can be used on blogs or as your desktop or wallpaper. (Thanks to my sweet friend Donna for showing me this site! )
Slower Cooker Fajitas Recipe: This is a recipe I found recently that I will be trying later this week. Sounds yummy and easy and a great way to use your crock pot and keep your kitchen cool in the summer heat.
Spending a week with my sweet friend Dory is a rare and precious treat. It was truly a gift.
A gift I am so ever thankful for. Especially because the drive here to Texas was so long, so difficult, and so exhausting for her, her girls, and her sweet husband.
Only a true and precious friend would make such a long drive. And Dory is truly a precious friend and a gift from God.
Here are just a few things I loved about our little vacation...........
-Watching our three girls have a ball together and listening to them laugh and play together.
-Getting forehead warnings and laughing about nutbobs!
-Listening to Dory laugh so hard she snorted. I LOVE her little snort! :)
-Watching movies and crying together.
-Looking at old pictures together.
-Going shopping together- instead of talking to her or sending her pictures while shopping. Way more fun!
-Playing Scrabble together. So much more fun than playing online.
-Visiting with her sweet and funny girls. They are so adorable and such a hoot!
-Planning a tea party for our girls and acting as their servers.
-Washing dishes together and chatting about everything, anything, and nothing.
-Sitting on the porch each morning (her with her coffee and me with my Diet Coke) listening and watching the birds as the sun rose.
The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you've had. ~Author Unknown~
Thank you sweet Dory for coming to Texas to see me.
I love you sweet friend!
Updated to add:
-Getting to hug her husband D's sweet neck. He truly is fabulous, sweet, and charming! Only a sweetheart would get up at 3:30am to drive to the airport to fly to Texas- arriving at 12:40 only to stop for a quick lunch and then get in the van and drive 14 hours home- just so sweet Dory didn't have to do it on her own. He honestly is amazing and I owe him BIG time! Thank you D from the bottom of my heart!
There are times I've probably said all of the old cliched sayings many times before.
-Time heals all wounds.
-It's so wonderful that she's no longer in pain and now she's in a better place.
-I know just how you feel.
-It'll get easier as time goes by.
-Don't be sad, you'll see her again one day.
Although I've said them all before, know without a doubt that they are said in love and kindness, and know in my heart that many are true, there are times on days like today- the 6th anniversary of my sweet mother's death- they are simply empty words that do nothing to soothe my aching and breaking heart.
It's been six years since I stood by my precious mother's bedside, held her hand, and told her that it was okay for her to leave us.
I so vividly remember standing there, with my heart absolutely, positively breaking and lying to her over and over and over again saying...........
"It's okay Mommy- we are going to be fine. You've loved us enough for a lifetime and I know you're tired of fighting and it's okay. We will miss you but I know how tired you are it's okay to stop fighting now. I promise that Madison will grow up knowing you and knowing how much you loved her. She will not forget her amazing Nana- I promise. So it's okay- you go and be with Jesus and we will see you soon."
I stood there lying to her while every fiber of my being wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.........
"Please, please, please don't go Mommy, please don't leave me. Don't leave us. We need you. I need you and I love you and I don't know how to live my life without you. I can't do this. I need you. Please, please, please don't go."
It's only through the strength God gave me that day that I was able to stand there and say what she needed to hear. It was ONLY because of Him I said the words that I believe she needed to hear.
She was my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, my safe place when things were bad, my protector, my comforter, my precious Mommy.
I miss her as much today as I did 6 years ago- and sometimes even more so.
There are times when I have to stop myself from thinking about her-and literally make myself think of something or someone else because I am fearful that if I do think about her that the grief will overwhelm me. I'm afraid that I will start crying, and never be able to stop.
There are times when I allow myself to cry and remember and I feel the pain of her absence so strongly that I feel that it will overtake me. I think of all the stories I never got to hear her tell, the conversations we never got to have, the holidays we never got to share, all the lessons she never got to teach me, all the laughs and tears we never got to share and I feel so cheated. And my heart breaks a little.
There are times when I start remembering all the amazing things about her and all that was lost when she died. The world was a better place with her in it. And it stinks that the world no longer has her. And it makes me angry. And my heart breaks a little.
There are times when I think that I was robbed of such an amazing mother. I was not prepared or ready at the age of 32 to lose my mother. I wasn't done growing up, I wasn't done needing her, I wasn't done loving her and being loved by her. And my heart breaks a little.
There are times when I watch Maddie dance and I cry because my Mommy never got to see her dance and I know how much she would have absolutely loved it. She never got to truly know the girl that is my amazing and precious daughter. And my heart breaks a little.
There are times when I realize that Maddie has now been alive longer without knowing my mom than she has been alive knowing my mom. She has more memories without her than with her. And although she has memories of my mother and we try hard to tell her stories and all the wonderful things about my mother, she does not truly know the wonderful woman that was her Nana. And I hate, hate, hate that. And my heart breaks a little.
And then when there are times- like today- when I think that my grief will overwhelm me, that the tears will never stop, that thankfully and mercifully my Savior reminds me of His promises in Lamentations 3:22-23 where He says:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust—there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
And those promises? They comfort me. And I heal a little.
I mention so often my precious mother who I miss more than words can say, but I am also blessed to have the sweetest father. Ever.
The best thing about my sweet Daddy is that he CHOSE to be my Daddy.
My biological dad and my mother divorced when I was just a baby. My mom remarried when I was about 3 or 4 (my parents’ wedding is one of my first memories and I still have the dress I wore) and I immediately fell in love with him.
When I was about 5 he adopted my sister and I- although he had already been my Daddy in my heart for a long time.
He's a strong, tough, hard working, outdoors loving, hunter, Mr. Fix It, man of few words,
laid back man.
While we were growing up, he owned his own auto repair business and worked long and hard to make it a huge success.
As tough as he is- he has always been tender and sweet with his girls. When we were little he would let us play with his hair and put makeup on him. He even let us paint his fingernails. This tradition has continued with Maddie.
My mother worked in downtown Houston and went to work early each morning so that she could be done by the time we got home from school.
So, my sweet Daddy is the one who always got us up and dressed, fixed us breakfast, and did our hair. He quickly became a master at ponytails and braids.
I so vividly remember sitting and watching Speed Racer and the Three Stooges each morning and eating my breakfast while he did my hair.
He always made me feel special and precious. He even sent me flowers at school on my birthday
and it made me feel like a princess!
My mom was always the disciplinarian while my dad was the laid back one. Growing up he almost never got angry- I can only think of two times in my whole life that he was really
mad at and scolded me. Both of which I very much deserved.
One summer when I was working for him at his shop- answering phones and paying bills,
I had a little accident with our boat.
It's a long story that I won't go into- but basically I backed into our ski boat that was behind the shop. Upon hitting it, the boat then proceeded to roll into a customer’s car. I was devastated when I stepped out of the car to see what had happened and I immediately burst into tears.
As soon as it happened, one of his employees ran to get my dad.
He ran outside and said Are you okay?
When I assured him, through my tears that I was he then burst out laughing.
I had a huge dent in my car and could not stop crying. I just kept saying ............Please don't tell Mom, please don't tell Mom.
He laughed, gave me a hug and promised me he wouldn't tell her.
Now why I didn't think she would notice the huge dent in my car I do not know but for some silly reason I didn't want him to tell her.
So guess what?
Several months later as my mom and I returned from shopping one day and pulled into the driveway she said to me......... How long do I need to go before I mention that big dent in your car?
I laughed and asked if Daddy had told her and she said No.
She said she had asked him but he told her he had promised me not to tell - so he didn't. That's the kind of Daddy he is.
He has always been such a fun dad. Even though he worked long and hard he always made time to take us on exciting adventures.
On countless weekends in high school he took us water skiing along with many of our friends. He loved hanging out with us and our friends have always absolutely adored him.
On my wedding day to Maddie’s dad after spending an obscene amount of money for the wedding (and grumbling quite a bit about it) I'll never forget his words to me as he was about to walk me down the aisle.
All of my bridesmaids had walked down the aisle and it was just the two of us standing in front of the doors to the sanctuary. He took a deep breath, turned to me and said........ It's not too late. If you want to leave, we can.
Those words were precious to me because they showed that my happiness was of the utmost importance to him. More important than any amount of money. More important than any amount of embarrassment. More important than anything.
Even though he is a man of few words I've always known he loved us tremendously.
This fact was never more evident as when my mom got sick and he began to take care of her. She was the one who took care of all of us so it was quite an adjustment for him but he rose to the challenge.
He went from doing no housework or cooking to doing it all on top of taking care of my very ill mother. She told me shortly before she died that she always knew he loved her but that she had never felt more loved than she did when she got sick and he took care of her.
Seeing the loving way he took care of her caused me to love him even more- which I didn't think was possible.
He's the most amazing grandfather in the world and truly spoils Maddie terribly. I think he feels that he has to spoil her for both my mom and him- and he does.
I am so very blessed to have such a precious Daddy.
-12 year old girls think that all mom's wear their pants too high (there was a big discussion about this at Maddie's slumber party)
-The laughter of little girls (even in the middle of the night) is a joy to hear!
-Perfectionists should NOT paint. It's impossible for it to be perfect and as a result they will become VERY frustrated.
-12 year old girls LOVE to text message and when you put 7 of them together each with their own cell phone, it will become a texting frenzy.
-Honey likes the wii as much (or more) as Maddie. He even played it by himself while we were out of town on Wed. night.
-Doing something tedious like painting, is lots more fun with a friend.
-I have the sweetest friends EVER and am so very blessed.
-Life is short and we should treasure every single day with those we love.
I made these cookies for an event at church Sunday night and they were a big hit. As an added bonus, they smell heavenly while they are baking! My sweet sister loves Andes mints so I think I'm going to have to make her a batch of these to thank her for working on my cranky laptop.
1 1/2 cups mint chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt over 3/4 cup of the mint-chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla extract; beat until creamy. Add melted chips and egg; beat well. Gradually blend in the flour mixture. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup of mint-chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Allow to stand 2-3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely on wire racks.
At exactly 9:50am 12 years ago today, after hundreds of doctors appointments and shots, thousands (and thousands) of dollars, and millions of prayers, my sweet Madison Blair- the biggest blessing of my life- was born.
It's so hard to believe that my precious little baby has turned into such a sweet and lovely young lady in what seems like just the blink of an eye. The last 12 years have truly flown by.She's compassionate, funny, kind hearted, silly, quick witted, loving, passionate, smart, talented, messy, creative, loyal, smart, and faithful and I am so blessed to have the joy of being her mother.
Hours I spent stripping this weekend: 15.5 (wallpaper of course)
Walls left to be stripped: 1.5 very small walls (And that is ONLY because I had to shower before church tonight and didn't get home till after 11pm)
Number of bathrooms in my house that is sanded and ready to be painted: 1 (thanks to sweet Honey!)
Number of HUGE bumps on the top of my head from hitting it on the light box above the sink as I stood on the edge of the tub today to get some wallpaper down: 1 (I hit it so hard that Honey heard it in the other room and came running to see what had happened)
Number of times I said.......I hate wallpaper: at least 437, maybe more
Number of times Holly tried to eat pieces of wallpaper: 28 (silly dog)
Number of Sonic drinks I consumed during the wallpaper stripping this weekend: 4 (Isn't that shockingly low? It's only because I was obsessed with getting the wallpaper down, not because I didn't want more.)
Number of temporary crowns I had put on Thursday after sitting for 2 1/2 hours in the chair with my mouth open: 1 (Have I mentioned how much I hate to go to the dentist?)
Number of temporary crowns I have in my mouth now: 0 (Which means another trip to the dentist and that makes me want to cry)
put directly onto unpainted or primed sheet rock is a tool of SATAN himself used to drive sane (or at least semi sane) women completely insane.
Wallpaper numbers so far.................
Sonic drink count: 2 (ONLY, ONLY, ONLY because they do not deliver)
Hours spent working in just ONE of the two bathrooms stripping wallpaper and spackling: 8.3
Trash bags full of wallpaper and gunk: 2.5
Number of minutes it took for me to think......What the heck am I doing and WHY did I decide to do this? : Approximately 12.4
Number of times I thanked Debbie for helping me with the job: At least 1,004
Number of muscles in my arms and legs that hurt this morning: ALL OF THEM (who needs the gym? just go take down some wallpaper and you will use muscles you didn't know you had)
Number of cakes I must make and frost this morning before I can start sanding and painting: 2
Number of times I have wondered what the heck I am going to do with bathroom #2 which is at LEAST 3 times as big as the smaller bathroom and has EVERY SINGLE surface covered in wallpaper: At least 239
Number of times your comments made me laugh when I walked by my computer on my trip from the bathroom to get something to drink yesterday: a BUNCH :)
Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go.................................
Before I begin I have a just a few questions for you:
See that wallpaper behind me? Isn't it hideous? My plan (because if you know me, I always have a plan) for today includes stripping that wallpaper and the lovely striped wallpaper underneath it in addition to some other scary wallpaper in another bathroom in our house. I have NEVER done this so I'm a little apprehensive. Okay, maybe a little more than a little. But thankfully, my sweet friend Debbie is helping me because she is the queen of all home improvement tasks (seriously, she ROCKS) and because she is an amazing friend!
4. Could I look any dorkier in this picture? (Good night nurse look at all those wrinkles on my forehead! It looks like a shar pei puppy! And boy look at those roots! EEK!)
On the TinyPocketPeople website, you can create an unique, personalized miniature you, based on your uploaded digital photograph. It's a huggable version of someone you love. How great would this be for a little one who has a loved one going away to war? So cute and so easy!
I bought six full sized items and 10 travel sized items. At regular price, it would have cost me $111.49. (which I never would have spent all at one time) But because of their sale, where almost everything is either $3 each or 75% off (look at the 75% off stuff first because most times the products end up being less than $3) I paid only $30.01. Isn't that fabulous?
So what are you waiting for? Go stock up!
There are times when I read something and think........."Wait a minute.......did I write that?" because it so echoes the thoughts in my mind and the struggles of my heart. During the past week I've come across a few posts that I so felt that way about. They are things that I (and I suspect many women) struggle with and because the writers so eloquently said what I would have said in some long and rambling diatribe-where the point may or may not have been made- I have decided that instead, I will share their fabulous posts with you. They truly are gems.
So when you have a few minutes, grab a big old Diet Coke or a cup of coffee and enjoy these gems!
4 tips for saying "I'd love to, buy I can't" is about something I struggle with......humbly accepting your limits and saying no when asked to take on new responsibilities. Beautifully said.
Why we learn the Good Stuff from Kids is about how children are so good at remembering to thank God for the little things in life and how we, as adults, struggle with this. Daily.
Be Still is reminder to be obedient to God when He calls us to be still. I struggle with this........constantly!!!!!!!!!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love, love, love Sonic drinks. I visit the same Sonic every morning. They know me and I don't even have to order there- they simply see my car and get my diet coke ready. Maddie once said...........Mom, you are addicted to Sonic. And I said........Yep, I am. It's the fuel that keeps me going. You don't want to know me without it.
I do struggle sometimes with feeling guilty that I go there every, single day and think about cutting back. But each time that happens, I use some sort of Sonic Logic to talk myself out of it. Here is one example of Sonic Logic.
This is an actual conversation Honey and I had while we were waiting in a cell phone store recently (doesn't it seem that you always have to wait forever when you go to the cell phone store?):
Me: I'm thinking that maybe I should stop drinking so many Sonic drinks this summer. You know, cut back some.
Honey: Uh huh. (translated to mean= I am not really paying attention to what you are saying but looking instead at this super snazzy phone)
Me: Well, I guess I could just stop getting one EVERY morning.
Honey: Uh huh. (still looking at the snazzy phone)
Long, long pause here. (as I waited and waited for Honey to talk me out of this idea)
Me: But you know, if I stop getting one EVERY day, they will probably stop giving me the special price ($1.07 for a Route 44 drink). Only the regulars get the special price.
Honey: Right. (finally looking at me now)
Me: So really, it would cost us MORE money if I stop going every day because I would have to pay full price ($2.14 for a Route 44).
Honey: Unless instead of going in the morning, you went during happy hour (2-4pm) every other day .
Me: Right but if I go to Sonic during Happy Hour, then I have to get Maddie something too- so because I would be buying two drinks it would be like I'd be spending full price for one regular drink. She knows she can't have a Sonic drink in the morning and never even asks. Going during Happy Hour would be more expensive, right?
Honey: Um, right.
Me: So I guess that I need to keep getting a Sonic drink every morning- so that I can save us money. Right?
Honey: (laughing) Right. Gotta love that Sonic Logic!
Some of us sure will go to ridiculous lengths to justify our silly addictions!
The first day of summer vacation is always a magical day. It holds such promise of the days and months ahead. I know many people must wonder what wild and crazy things teachers do once they are off for the summer so I thought I would give you just a little insight.
This is my day so far:
5:32am Slept late and woke up at this late hour. (Gosh I am living on the wild side aren't I?)
5:35am Unloaded the dishwasher, made coffee, and packed Honey's lunch.
6:02am Got dressed and drove to Shipley's donuts to buy my Daddy (who is here this weekend) some donuts. He's been craving them for weeks and has tried twice to go get some himself and was stopped once by an accident at the store (a young girl actually drove into it) and once by so many cars in the parking lot that he couldn't even turn into the parking lot. (Just so you know.........I did NOT eat any of the yummy smelling donuts I brought home. Just say NO. Just say NO. Just say NO is my mantra.)
6:24am Drove back home again and cleaned bathrooms (Nothing says summer vacation like cleaning the potty, huh?)
7:08am Cleaned the kitchen counters and the refrigerator
7:18am Finished filling out the paperwork for camp for Maddie.
7:24am Checked email, made a few Scrabble plays, and started typing this post.
If you think this morning has been exciting- you are going to amazed by the thrilling events ahead. Here are just a few of the things I'll be doing today:
Please don't be too jealous of my wild and exciting first day of summer vacation. Not everyone can lead such a glamorous life!
This is an easy and healthy soup that is so good! If you love Mexican food, but not the calories that come attached to most of it- you have to try this soup!
2 cans Rotel tomatoes & chilies (I use one can regular and one can mild)
2 cans fat free chicken broth
1 large can fat free refried beans
1 can corn 1- 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breasts, shredded or diced (can use more or less)
2 t fresh (or dried) cilantro, chopped
6-8 corn tortillas cut into strips shredded cheese (I use Kraft 2% Mexican blend)
Combine tomatoes, broth, beans and corn in medium saucepan. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce and bring to a simmer, add chicken and heat through. Drop in tortilla pieces and simmer a bit longer. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro. Top each bowl of soup with cheese and serve hot!
The next time you decide that it would be a fabulous idea to eat not one, but TWO of the yummy Nature's Grain Carb Check bagels (normal sized bagels for only 150 calories and 2 WW points)- with 19 grams of FIBER in EACH ONE, in the same day, because you had not eaten all day and they are good and filling......................STOP and think about what eating 150% of the recommended daily amount of fiber will do to you.
And then just say NO.
Or at least stay HOME and FAR away from other people.
Or you will embarrass the heck out of yourself.
And be miserable.