Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas...

from our totally sick, bronchitis infected, kleenex compound to yours!!  I truly hope your day was wonderful and that you found time to REJOICE!  Our Savior is born!!

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
and fell down and worshipped him: and when they opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:10-11

p.s. No pics today...I just can't but in case you're wondering...I GOT MY NIKON!!!  YAY!  And so much more that I just cannot wait to share...I will give you a hint...its involves alot of paint and a room upstairs!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Mom's Very Merry Christmas Tour

I absoulutely love the Nester's tour of homes each Christmas and must say that while I am fashionably ridiculously late adding my little nest to the group (I think I may even be LAST), Im sure no one has missed me because seriously there is no way someone has made it all the way through the hundreds and hundreds houses featured this year.  IS THERE ANYONE IN THE FREE WORLD WHO DID NOT LINK UP TO THE NESTER??  Just wondering.

But oh, so fun!  I love to sit down with my cup of coffee and make my rounds from house to house, just popping in for a quick visit and then going on my way...its like the annual Parade of Homes in my area except way better because Im in my pajamas :).  So welcome to my very simple, very IMPERFECTly decorated home.  I hope you enjoy your visit and come back soon!!

Santa welcomes you as you drive down the gravel driveway...please don't judge me by my inflatable Santa.  My husband got all Christmas-y one year and just had to have an people really still buy these??  I don't know.  Im embarrassed.

Here is my tree that I am IN LOVE with!!  I do apologize for my picture quality...I don't have a Nikon like every other blogger on the planet, but it is on my Christmas list...maybe Santa will be good to me :)

Every year I get something new for my tree and get rid of something.  This year I added the glass beaded garland a-la-Target that I got at their after Christmas sale last year.  I was so excited to finally put it up.  I do love it.  I don't know if you can see it or not, but it gives the tree just a little bling...and I do like the bling!!  I use artificial poinsettias for my tree topper.  I use about 3 or 4 bunches and use wire cutters to clip all of the individual stems off and then one by one I stick them in.  Once I have the tippy top done I let them trickle down the tree just a little.  I have done this for the last few years and paired with some curly sticks it is the show stopper every year!!

This is last year's new addition.  AND I LOVE THEM.  I found like 12 at a local antique store and couldn't pass them up.  The white crackle is dee-lish!!  You can see my new red and silver bead garland here too that I adore.

Here is my version of the Nester's Most Wonderful Christmas Garland Ever!!  I love it!!  It looks absolutely amazing...and again, my camera is not a Nikon (did I already mention that?...honey are you reading d90, NIKON D90).  I must tell you that my Christmas decorating style goes a little bit beyond "shopping the house," and has actually turned into more of "everything but the kitchen sink."  If its not bolted down its fair game.  I completely dis-arranged an entire flower arrangement and put all of it {every single stem} in this garland, I borrowed ornaments from my tree, and I even stooped so low to take things off the walls in various rooms of the house.  The joys of Christmas!!

I have always wanted to get the girls' stockings monogrammed {yeah they are 9 and 7} but never have.  This year is no exception, so I whipped up these cutesie ornaments that I saw here and called it a day.  It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful right???

On each end of my garland I have tied as much ribbon as should be legal in the 50 states...I love froo froo ribbon, {everywhere} and to me this is the cherry on top for my garland...aaaahh!!  I don't know if you can see but a sweet little "glitter bird" came to nest in my garland as well.  He is visiting for the holidays and I LOVE HIIM...I truly do!

Oh and look, 2 friendly peacocks have flown in for a visit as well and are happily perched on a horn!!  Everything but the kitchen sink I tell ya, everything but the kitchen sink!

My mantle in my kitchen is just as important as the mantle in my living room {if you ask me which I know that you did} so I spruced her up as well...again, using the "everything but the kitchen sink" method.  Please excuse the Taco Soup cooking on my stove :)

The "stuffing" in my glass jar is simply some shredded paper that I had saved from a gift I got last year!

Joy To the World...the Lord is come!!  The REASON FOR THE SEASON!!

Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit!!  I hope you will come back soon!!  Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Have you seen The Blind Side yet??

Have you??  If not...get yoursefl a babysitter NOW and go!!  Not tomorrow, not this weekend, RIGHT NOW!  Its that good yall.  It really is.  I am not a movie watcher and must say that I usually leave the theater feeling like I wasted alot of money and that the movie could've been alot better.  Not so with The Blind Side.  It was wonderful!

Here are just a few reasons why you must see this movie...
  1. oooh bullets are so fun.  No, that isn't my reason, but they are aren't they?  Reason #1 is that it brings us to a place that most of us, myself included, forget exists.  We don't realize what the "ghetto" is because we don't live there.  We quickly judge those who do, but really we have no idea.
  2. It creates a tugging in our hearts for those who are less fortunate than we are.  It is easy to say that "they need to get a job" or "that they could do better if they wanted to do better" but this movie really shows that sometimes circumstances prevent you from doing anything other than what you are doing and that somehow God will use someone from the outside to give a person a chance that otherwise they would never have.
  3. That person that God uses just might be you, but unless you take the blinders off of your eyes and realize what the world is like and what is happening in the neighborhoods you don't drive in, God can't use you.  This movie completely opened my heart to this need and really hit home with me that I just close my eyes and pretend this reality doesn't exist.
  4. It slaps you right up side the head with what the Bible says about being a "do-er" not a "hear-er".  This movie is full of "Christians" who do nothing and don't want to do anything.  How sad the truth of that really is. 
  5. This is true yall, Sandra Bullock is PRICELESS in this movie and you will fall in love with this family and be inspired.  But be sure to bring your Kleenex because I don't see how you will go through the first 4 seconds without need them.
You won't leave the movie the same least I didn't.

So, if yall need me I will be driving around the ghetto looking for me a 400 pound 8 foot tall black boy to become part of my family and call me Momma.  No, seriously I will!!

Enjoy the movie and the change that will take place inside of you and please let me know what you think of it!!

oh...P.S.  I will be attempting to link up to The Nester's Tour of Homes at some point Monday.  I hope you can join us and we will just have a good ole time!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

1 Corinthians 13 and Christmas

Hey everyone!!   If you are in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, shopping, baking, and ornament making you may want to take a time out and read this poem that my dear friend Kayce over at Pastorette's Progress has posted on her blog.  It spoke to me in ways that I cannot describe.  Don't believe me??  Here is a little teaser...

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love, I’m just another cook.

Kayce is a wonderful woman and I think that you will definitely be blessed by her posts.  This poem in particular really takes me back to what really matters...because the Zhu Zhu's will recover from the rodent flu, the American Girls' hair will get knotted, and the impact wrench I have bought my husband will become just another thing that accumulates in his shop.  But love endures forever

Go visit Pastorette's Progress and read.  I don't think you will be dissappointed!

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


If you are not currently living under a rock,
you have heard of the Christmas insanity that is the Zhu Zhu pets.  My daughters are 7 and 9 and love little Mr. Squiggles and Chunk like they have a heart beat.  Santa has worked very hard to secure all 4 Zhu Zhu hamsters, the fun house, the exercise wheel (because fake hamsters need  to stay in shape) and their cute little car (because fake hamsters gotta get where they are going in style) all at regular prices.  Maybe the people who are questioning the safety of the Zhu Zhu's don't realize that the crazy lady living inside of me and her insane mother stood in line at Walmart at the wee hours of the morning on various occasions over the course of the last 3 months to get the secret code whispered to us and signaled to some remote location of the store (i.e. the tire section) to give the secret code to the random associate who pretends to not know what is going on so that she will tell us what register to go to and repeat the secret code yet again so that the check out lady (who are always so super friendly at Walmart)  will reluctantly break out her stash underneath her register and against her wishes let us choose what we want.  They act like this is the Amazing Race and we are competing against 10 other teams to win a million dollars.  No Walmart, that is where you are wrong.  In actuality it is so much more difficult to compete against moms crazier than you are for the rat on wheels that everyone's kid is dying to have.  

After all of our searching and going to Walmart at midnight to be there when the truck arrives. And, after many times of leaving empty-handed, finally getting every piece available with the pride of NOT succumbing to the price gouging Ebenezer Scrooge Amazon Christmas Ruiners...SOMEBODY WANTS TO THROW THE BIG WORD "TOXIC" IN THE MIX!  Oh I don't think so.

What is a mom to do??  What is a MOM TO DO I ask you Mr. Zhu Zhu's nose has high levels of antimony that could cause cancer RECALL man???  Don't you realize that this is ALL my children want for Christmas and we are 3 weeks away from the big morning and you want to go and do this to Santa??  How dare you??? You should be ashamed, sir, yes you should.

Not to worry though.  I have a plan.  I am going to put one of the toxic little rodents on the floor after the kids go to school and encourage my annoying little dog that won't stop using the bathroom in my closet and chewing my sheets to see how fun it is to play with.  After she completely tears it up and eats it all (because that is what she does) we will soon see if Mr. Squiggles is toxic.  Sound harsh??  Come on we have to take one for the team.  3 Zhu Zhu's are better than no Zhu Zhu's right??  Oh, you thought I was talking about the dog?  Well, certainly it won't kill the little darling sweet heart doggie will it??? {wink wink}  Then once I know the coast is clear I will put all of the other little 4 wheeled critters in hazardous material storage containers and store them away until I can safely invent Zhu Zhu gloves which I will quickly sell in my Etsy store only to good mommies and NOT to any Christmas ruining monopoly like Walmart or Toys R Us or Amazon.  And now that our little babes will be safe I will hurry fast as lightening and put the little furry friends under the Christmas tree and let Santa do his job.  Then I will enjoy every bit of joy on my children's faces on Christmas morning for all of 2 seconds before I have to say, "But wait honey, no don't touch Num Nums, here let mommy help you.  Here is your Zhu Zhu gloves, your Zhu Zhu mask, your Zhu Zhu oxygen suit up and then you can give cute little Mr. Squiggles a pet or two but don't kiss him.  Now go wash your hands...these things cause cancer you know."  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  {Ahhh...just like the Cleavers.}

And while that seems like a pretty good plan if you ask me...I just can't make myself do it.  While that darn dog is so annoying, she is also stinking cute, and I would never want to harm her with a toxic rat (so don't judge me people).  And while I would love to say that I am still going to give these little toxic buddies to my girls for Christmas, the reality is...I just don't think I can.  I don't want to look back 10 years from wondering it the toxic hamsters have affected my children.  No thank you Mr. Zhu Zhu.  So, once I know (and only when I know for sure that they in fact are deadly) I will promptly return all of my hard earned rodents back to the Scrooge land from whence they came and demand a full refund (unless they want me to touch them with Mr. Squiggles' toxic nose) and then I will send a letter to Mr. Christmas Ruiner Recall Man because deep down I am convinced that this recall is nothing more than a desperate tactic by a person who can't seem to secure one for his own child and someone is a sour grape.  So to you Mr. Recall Man, I say, "Don't get mad and ruin everyone else's Christmas just because you don't have Num Nums and his quick and speedy car under your tree this year.  Bah- Humbug!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I am sure you are wondering  why I would choose to show you my coffee canister.  Well, good question.  I bought this on a trip to San Antonio last year because of the words it has written on it.  It says "Sweet Home Coffee.  For the pure and simple living."  When I saw it...I had to have it.  I adore the simple life, we live on a couple of acres right outside the city and yet the city seems worlds away.  We are not hustle and bustle people, and really enjoy being homebodies, drinking sweet tea or coffee on our front porch swing or watching the sun set across a wide open pasture from our back patio.  
But over the summer things might have gotten a little crazy over here.  One afternoon my husband felt it was necessary to have one of those "put the foot down" conversations with me about the itty bitty teensy tinsy little problem that I might have had (hypothetically speaking of course).  No seriously yall, it was out of control, like being on an overloaded bus, driving way to fast in the wrong lane and headed straight for the destruction.  This is not something that is easy for me to admit because I am severely OCD, a major multi-tasker, and I pride myself on the fact that I can whip out clean underwear for my husband in just a matter of minutes with a little help from Febreeze Fabric Refresher (that is my little secret...please keep it but feel free to use it) while on the phone, cooking supper, and doing homework with my girls.  
It seemed to me to be, just an itty, bitty problem, 
but my wise big daddy boy saw exactly what was really going on 
behind that little cell phone and laptop.
How did it get to this??  
More importantly how do I get my old life back???

Let me back up and fill you in.  Just a few months ago I was president of my girls' PTO, room mom, school board member, facebook addict, and texting junkie! Not to mention blog-a-maniac which I don't count :).  And I did all of that...OF COURSE...with my Blackberry hanging out of my ear!!
We had all of the sudden out of nowhere began to live our lives on the bus of insanity and chaos and we don't even remember ever getting on the bus.  All we knew is that it was just time to get off!! Hold up, put on the brakes, open the door, and let me outta here!  Do NOT pass Go, do NOT collect $200...just run for your life!!!  That is really how I felt, but I just didn't even know it, y'all, seriously I couldn't even see it.
Because our culture makes all of this technology so "normal" I don't think we realize what it does to us or what it does to our families.  I don't think that we even see it as something that is "wrong".  And can you blame us???  Everyone has internet, everyone has a cell phone, everyone has text messaging, so what is the big deal right??  Have we ever stopped to think that satan knows how to cause a family to crumble and he is doing just that every single day through all of our technological luxuries we have today?  I had never thought of that until one night we were at a restaurant for dinner and we saw the typical American family.  Mom was texting, dad was on his cell phone, mom passes her cell phone to dad, they laugh at whatever may have been on the phone, dad passes the phone back to mom and continues his conversation, she replies to the text, and all the while the kids are playing on their Nintendo DS (they each had one) and had their IPods on the table with the ear phones in listening to who knows what.    WOW...what a reality check.  This is 2009 in America.  And that is where our bus is headed.  When 2 year olds have "cell phones" that they "text" on...something is WRONG, mommas!!!  But, I would be willing to be that so many moms, just like me, really aren't techno junkies...just somehow we all ended up on this bus together not knowing how to get off!!

Well, long story short (or not so short) my husband called our cell phone company the next morning, cancelled text messaging...Period.  I cannot receive one nor send one. about withdrawal!!  He unplugged our computer, cancelled our internet, dared me to get back on facebook via anybody else's random computer or any Best Buy or Office Depot display (because I mean really the man knows me, and anyway, why was I sitting there staring at a screen waiting for somebody I had nothing in common with to give me a play by play of their very ordinary life...seriously??  Why do I care what a person I haven't seen in 15 years is eating for breakfastlunch, dinner!). Then he challenged me to not watch tv or talk on the phone for a week. BRUTAL!  Yeah, you know where this is going!  As any good wife would do, I took him up on his offer fully prepared to prove him wrong (and get my new computer...ours was soooo old...because that is the wager of our little challenge).  Really, I don't have a problem so this should be a piece of cake right??  No problemo for me...super mom who is definitely not on overload...No, not me!!

So here I am, completely detached from the outside way to communicate with anyone.  No way to tell people I no longer have texting because I can't text them or call them, no way to update the facebook world on what I am doing every second of my day. No way to organize volunteer efforts at school.  No way to coordinate that super fun back to school bash I had been googling all summer.  No way to email the new teachers and tell them how glad we are to be in their classes (pathetic I know).  No Food Network, No Duggars, No latest Jon and Kate drama, and NO WAY TO CHECK MY BLOG!!!  AAAAAAHHHHH!!!  Its just ME and my FAMILY and a house phone (land line...whatever you call it) that hasn't rang a single time in who knows how long...besides the phone salesmen.

Yall, as horrifying as this sounds...what a difference this made. I found that just like any other addiction, once you don't have it for a while, you really don't need it, and while we did buy a new computer (I am now proudly sporting a MAC now...YAY) I have lost that desire to be so all up in the world and in everyone else's useless business.  I do check facebook...every few days or so, I blog...every morning before I get my day started, and I do talk on the phone...when someone calls my house (wow it must be really important) because I turn my cell phone off unless I am away from home. It is amazing how many people now email me to communicate because I don't have texting and they don't want to take the time to call.  It also amazes me how many people don't communicate with me at all any more because I am so techno-deprived!!.   I have since resigned as a school board member, recruited help with my volunteer commitments at school (way too many of those), and have learned to say "NO" when it comes to obligating myself, which I so willingly did without even thinking, in turn, giving my family nothing but leftover scraps if they are lucky!!  Now my family gets the best of me and everyone else will have to fight for leftovers!!

I will say that it was hard to separate myself from the technology of this world, but I have gotten back to what I truly love, and had lost along the way, like reading, cooking, working in my yard, enjoying time with my family, and keeping my home.  Because deep down that is where my desire is.  My desire is to live the slow pace, simple life that feels right for our family.  We lived that way for so long and somehow took a wrong turn and ended up ON THE WRONG BUS!!  

Once I turned my eyes upon Jesus and looked full in His wonderful face (during my quiet time with Him that I now can enjoy again) the things of the earth have grown strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!!

So I challenge you want to get off the bus??  Do you feel like you 
devote more time than you should to things outside of your home?  
I challenge you to take a stand and get back to basics.  More of this will be coming in 2010, but this is just to get you thinking during this already hectic holiday season. 
Im not promising you a new computer, but I can promise you that you will be 
tickled pink with the results!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Church of Oprah Exposed

If you have been reading my blog any length of time at all, you have hopefully grasped that I am an undeserving sinner saved by God's amazing grace and through His Son's death on the cross I have life.  And if you know me at all you know that I am a Reformed Baptist which means that I believe that God sovereignly in His divine providence chose undeserving SINNER who would have NEVER chosen HIM.  And He pricked my heart and spoke to my spirit and dwelt in my soul and changed my life FOREVER.  I would have never come to him.  So as a sinner saved by God's amazing grace through Christ Jesus His Son, this video that I found on You Tube absolutely disgusts me.  When I saw this I just about passed out.  I don't usually post videos but I just thought that maybe you would be just as offended as I am.  I sincerely hope that you will pass this on and NEVER watch Oprah again.  One day the Queen of Daytime TV will meet the King of All Creation....I wonder if then she will realize that there is ONLY ONE WAY to the Kingdom of Heaven and that is through the narrow way of Jesus Christ.

Let me know what you think about the video or if you have ever seen it before.  The voice is somewhat dramatic and I could do without it, but the point is very clearly made and Oprah speaks for herself.  

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Parents

That is how my morning began today!!  Bru-to-tha-Tal.  Yesterday was the last "real" day of school before our long awaited and very much needed Thanksgiving holiday.  Because of that we didn't have homework and to be perfectly honest, enjoyed the evening beginning with slamming the book sacks down at the back door and forgetting about them until this morning when I went through the girls' book sacks to clean out any papers and notes from the day before and found what, to me, might has well have been a sentence to life in prison...

Dear Parents, 

As you all know tomorrow is our school wide Thanksgiving feast.  Your child needs to wear a fall shirt and blue jeans or khaki pants because there will be a picture back drop set up and we will be taking class and family pictures at our feast.  Thank you and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Elementary Teachers

Okay, seriously!!  Shouldn't this have been a note that maybe would have been better going home last Thursday so that Mom could run to the mall and BUY a fall shirt like a mad, deranged, psycho woman so that my precious babies could be all festive for the big feast?

Am I the only mom out there who doesn't decorate her kids for fall?

I mean come on, Ive got the pumpkins, the wreath on the door, the Indian corn on my table, the pine cones in their jar, but NO...I have not decorated my children!!  And its 1 hour until departure.  And we don't have a fall shirt, and we don't wear khaki pants because we are girls.  And everything cute they own that may work is in the dirty clothes. And I haven't even had my first sip of coffee yet.

Please someone tell me that it isn't just me.  

We have pumpkin shirts (but that would not be fall, that would be Halloween).  And we have Christmas shirts (again not fall but they better look out come Christmas because I am ready). But we have no shirts with turkeys or pilgrims or Indians or even fall leaves.  I mean really... excuse me if I don't have just the cutest shirt you have ever seen that says, "Gobble til you Wobble" on the front with a big plump juicy turkey and some leaves appliqued to the sleeves.  WHO DOES??  Or, since its "family pictures" would they like me to sport my knitted sweater complete with the Indian feathers...seriously??  Do they really think I own fall attire!!

Why do schools insist on making our lives difficult??  My kids go to private school so I basically pay them each month to torture me!!

So this morning, I poured my coffee and stood...dazing aimlessly in the girls' closets...dazing aimlessly, hoping for just brown or cream for goodness sakes.  Something that may be mistaken for fall attire.  Dazing aimlessly, just hoping it would jump out at me.  Nothing!

The ride to school went something like this (oh and please tell me you have had one of these mornings too).

Woot:  Mommy, she said FALL.  Mommy FALL!!  This isn't FALL this is just a plain old boring white shirt. 
Mom:  Honey that is too fall.  And its not white, its cream.  Now come on, you look beautiful!  And you have on your brown boots with the fringe so you look like and Indian.  I bet nobody else will be more fall than you!
Wami:  Mom, really, they didn't say to wear fall BOOTS, they said to wear a fall SHIRT!  And anyway, at least your shirt is white.  My shirt has polka dots all over it.  That surely isn't fall.
Mom:  Guys, come on.  Y'all look great.  And Wami, your shirt came from the FALL CLEARANCE SALE at The Children's Place, how much more fall can you get?  Here just put on your jackets and nobody will ever know.

I dropped them off, gave them each their hugs and kisses and hollered out the window as I drove away, 

Now remember, don't take your jackets off...
ITS COLD and we don't want to be sick for the holidays.  (*wink wink*)

As I drove away I thought to myself, 70 degrees is cold.  Isn't it?  Sure it is.  And we definitely don't want to be sick for the holidays, do we?  No, but what we really don't want is for someone to realize that those shirts so aren't fall.   Im just sayin'...

***Edited to add that NOBODY at the feast had fall get ups on...unless you count the boy in his
Indian costume and the LSU is fall right??***

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

This is such a great series, stop by Peggy's and see all of the other entries in the 
Simple Woman's Daybook today...

Outside my window... I see a beautiful fall morning and watch the wind blow the tall grass in the field.

I am thinking... how much I wish my kids were here with me to enjoy the day.

I am thankful for... my church family and the many ways the Lord has blessed our church this year.

I am wearing... a long sleeve shirt and blue jeans with brown Volotile flip flops (my fave).

I am remembering... all of the wonderful Thanksgiving memories I have had over the years.

I am going... to the kids' school later to distribute fund raiser products that were delivered today.

I am reading... 501 Old Fashioned Ideas to Simplify Your Life by Susan Wagoneer and its great!!

I am hoping... to finalize plans for the upcoming holidays today.

On my mind... a personal dilema I have been struggling with lately.

From the learning rooms... just finished reading Genesis 17-20 and learned that God is in complete control of our every move.  He may allow us to do what we think is right from time to time, but He is still in total control.

Noticing that... I really miss my kids when they are away from me all day.

Pondering these words... Where were you when I created the foundation of the world?

From the kitchen... Seafood Gumbo for the first cold night of the year.

Around the house... everything is surprisingly clean...for a Monday.

One of my favorite things... knowing all of my tasks are complete ahead of schedule.

From my picture journal...

oh the lazy days of summer...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursdays

I love Thankful Thursdays hosted by Sonya over at Truth 4 the Journey.  Today, like every day that I wake up breathing the fresh air and seeing the sunshine I have so much to be thankful for.  Here are just a few of them today!  Join us at Truth 4 the Journey and tell everyone all that you have to be thankful for!

I am thankful for my wonderful mom who celebrated her birthday Monday.  She has been through the wringer and never complains.  She considers herself blessed when most people would consider her cursed.  She knows the Sovereignty of God and has instilled that in me my entire life.  I could not be more thankful to her for all that she has taught me.
I am thankful for our Bible believing church with God fearing Christian men and women who love the Lord and die to self each and every day and pick up their crosses and follow Him.  A church like that is hard to find, and I am truly thankful that God has placed us in ours.
I am thankful for my healthy children.  There are so many families struggling with infertility, sickness, drug addictions, and all sorts of trials relating to children from pregnancy to teenagers.  It makes me realize how grateful I should be that my children are healthy and created by God for His own glory.  What a blessing we all have as parents, even in the trials.  I am going to kiss my babies today because today I am thankful for them.
I am thankful for the thorns.  Thorns?  Yes, thorns.  Last Thanksgiving our ladies thanksgiving dinner at our church was wonderful and Kayce, you can visit her here, our Pastor's wife and hostess with the mostess, always does such a great job.  She gave each lady a rose rose...just a stem.  It was quite puzzling, but after she read the story below, I realized that I too will be thankful for the thorns.  Now, each year at Thanksgiving I make sure that I have a vase of thorns as my centerpiece for our dinner, hoping that the Lord leads someone to ask me why?
Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. 
 "She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder. 
Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an air bag that saved her life but took that of her child? 
"Good afternoon, may I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her. 
"I....I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra. 
"For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving "Special?" asked the shop clerk. "I'm convinced that flowers tell stories," she continued. "Looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?" 
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong." 
Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you." 
Then the door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, "Hi, Barbara...let me get your order."
She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses; Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.
"Want this in a box?" asked the clerk. 
Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. "You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said as she gently tapped her chest. 
"Uh," stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uh....she just left with no flowers!" 
"Right, said the clerk, "I cut off the flowers. That's the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet." 
"Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!" exclaimed Sandra. 
"Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery." 
"That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk, "and for the first time in my life, had just spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel."
"So what did you do?" asked Sandra. 
"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for good things in life and never to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."
Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God." 
Just then someone else walked in the shop. 
"Hey, Phil!" shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man. 
"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems," laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator. 
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?" 
"No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from "thorny" times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us." 
As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special."
I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life," Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too...fresh." 
"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns." 
Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. 
"I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute." 
"Thank you. What do I owe you?" Sarah asked.
"Nothing; nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first." 
It read: 
"My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the life I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.  
 Help me to praise you for your roses, and thank you for your thorns.

Thank you Sonya for this great series!!  What are you thankful for on this beautiful Thursday morning?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coasters, Coasters, and More Coasters

I am so thrilled to share with yall a blog that I just found about a month ago.  Instantly I must say that Edie at Life In Grace is my new BFF (sorry Kelly Ripa).  I did the classic "I found a new blog to stalk" and went all the way back to her first post because I have to know every single thing about her right??  Can't do it just half way...oh no!  So as I have been stalking along she comes up with this 
12 days of {handmade} Christmas 
series in which she is going to have fabu-lo-so bloggers sharing how to make spectacular things for Christmas gifts and for fun!!  So, of course as any good blogger should do, I tell everyone I know to rush over and check Edie out.  Well, instantly all of my blogging church ladies fall in love  with all of the great crafty {handmade} Christmas tutorials.  Anyway, long story not short, we had our annual Ladies Thanksgiving dinner Monday night and all made Day 3's Coasters!!  It was so easy and so much fun, I just had to post some pics.  My girls were even able to do this.  So, needless to say, I will be running to Lowe's before the holidays to get coasters for every person we know!!!  Here are the pics...

Of course before any coasters can be made, we must eat!!  Its the South...all we do is eat!!  Kayce (you can visit her here and you will LOVE her) prepared a feast for her favorite ladies in all the world.  Shrimp, Crab, and Corn Soup to be exact with Taco Soup in case you weren't feeling seafood-y.  And all of our favorite chips, dips, and of course sweet tea. 

Here are some of our ladies hard at work.  We used "practice plates" and stamped on them like crazy people until we were sure we were ready for the real thing.

What a great idea to put a scripture verse on them.  Like this...

And this...

And initials...oooh la la!

After a long evening of stamping and a bunch of inky is what was left.  So fun!

Here is me and little Wootie with our creations...I totally swiped my friend Katie's "faux toile" look and then I got super creative and added initials to the center, but of course I didn't get any snapshots of those!  Just know it was supa cute!!  And Wootie played the game of let me see exactly how many stamps I can possibly put on one 4x4 tile.  She broke some records I'm sure of it!!  It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful was the motto of the night.  And you know what, the Nester is doesn't have to be.  It was a great night of giving thanks to the Lord and digging deep inside ourselves to really put thought into "giving thanks" and trying to find things that we so arrogantly overlook sometimes.  What a great time! And the coaster were a hit!! Thank you Edie!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More than you ever wanted to know about me

Hi, Im Kellye, a 30 year old (with gray hair like Im 50) , mom of 2 beautiful (if I do say so myself) little girls and wife to the love of my life for 11 years.   I am a true Southern gal, born in raised in the deep South...Louisiana to exact, who loves Community coffee and sweet tea.  If you have never had REAL sweet tea I encourage you right now to venture to Walmart, get Community tea bags, come home and put them to boil on the stove in a pot of water,  pour the tea into a pitcher with about half a pound of sugar, fill your glass with ice, pour the hot tea in the glass and drink immediately!!  Nothing is better than freshly made tea that is still hot on the rocks...ooooh weee!!

I am a shift worker's wife and I am not afraid to say that it is brutal at times, but very much has its benefits. I love being able to go to the movies with my husband in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, but the possibility of him working Christmas will never get easy.  My husband and I were high school sweet hearts and are more in love now than ever before.  I often wonder how I ever snagged him at 17 when I was the train wreck that I was.  By the grace of God is all I know.  And speaking of the creator of the entire universe and all that is in it...I am an undeserving Christian saved by God's infinite mercy.  We go to a wonderful church that we have been members of for the last 10 years.  Its a great place with Bible believing, God fearing Christians, who are like family to us.  Our closest friends are those that we go to church with and I truly don't know what I would do without them.  Being a mom and wife is the greatest gift the Lord could ever give me apart from salvation, and I strive every day to prove myself worthy of the job.  

I am obsessed with houses and decorating, am absolutely "frugalicious" and pride myself on filling my home with as much "decorational clutter" as possible (I made that word up but it is defined as clutter that is used for decorational purposes...not to be confused with clutter such as leftover Halloween wrappers and empty cereal bowls that I also show off daily, but the layered use of many "cheap" and meaningful items that when combined properly create the perfect ensemble for any area of the ya like that??).  Clutter makes me happy as does garage sale finds that just beg me to take them home and love them, which I do, and seeing their little smiling faces all over my house makes my decorational clutter rescue organization I got going on over here worth all of my hard work and paint brushes.

I love MAC makeup and often wonder why people wear anything else, my hair is still big like it was in the 90's because I LOVE IT, my shoe of choice is flip flops, and this season I will be rocking the scarves, ya hear me?  

I hope you come to visit often and enjoy the time you spend here.  I am very much a beginner blogger but have "met" so many friends in blog land (some who don't even know they are my friend...can you say stalker) that i often wonder what on earth I would do if I didn't blog.  

Well, that's all I have to say about tell me about you!!  I would love to hear!!

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