Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: The Transformation

What have I done to deserve this?
Get away from me with that brush.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Coming Soon to a Blog near you....

Last night I was posting the picture of Cody and his cousin for her birthday. Cody was sitting on the couch with daddy while I was typing. All of a sudden, I heard him say, "Boy. I sure do wish I had MY OWN blog. Maybe MOMMY can help me set up one tomorrow morning." (Hint, Hint.)

You can visit Cody's blog at Everything you read there will be in his words only. It should be fun! He is standing right next to me and he wants me to tell you, "I hope you enjoy my blog!"

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cassidy!

My niece, Cassidy, is celebrating her birthday today. She and Cody are the best of friends, and that blesses my heart immensely. So Cassidy...I just wanted to give a "shout out" to you on this special day. Happy Birthday, sweetie!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Queen....did I mention I'm a Queen?

The other night we got home from small group and the baby, of course, fell asleep in the car. Transferring him oh-so-carefully into the crib without waking him is always a chore, usually requiring one final nursing session before bed. Cody came up and climbed into bed, awaiting daddy's arrival. This is their favorite time of the day, story and snuggle Cody-Daddy time. This usually involves a "low rider" where Cody climbs atop daddy's back and they zoom up the stairs to the room in a quiet and fun fashion, so as not to wake the baby. After that, they take a flashlight and illuminate the glow-in-the-dark stars on Cody's ceiling. Long story short, it's dark in the boys' room and I tend to be a clutz in the dark.

If any of you have "rock 'em, sock 'em" robots, you know how they are shaped, and I just want you to imagine, if you will, the pain of stepping on them in the dark without any shoes on. These toys had not yet been put away from a play session from earlier in the day, unfortunately for me. Seeing as how the baby was finally asleep, I really had to contain my intense desire to shriek something less-than-pleasant from my mouth. (Did I mention we are doing an Andy Stanley study in our small group called, "It Came From Within" which deals with the heart and what lies in it?)

After I had composed myself (I tend to be a little dramatic, but it HURT!), I felt the arms of my little one wrap around me and a timid, "I'm so sorry, Mommy," was whispered in my ear. Tears sprang to my eyes (as they often do when I'm treated with such tenderness by the men in my life).

I'm glad I had an encounter with those silly red and blue robots. It was just another opportunity for me to be reminded how great it is to be the Queen of my Castle.

Wordless Wednesday

Taken when he was only three
Cuddly and warm in his winter gear
Tonight at dinner he made us laugh
while talking about something mundane
I used an expression, one that was quirky
and the now five-year old replied,
"I know what that was...
That was just a figure of speech!!!"
Hug them, treasure them,
the time passes so fast.

Comfort for Mom

"He tends His flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms

and carries them close to his heart;

he gently leads those that have young."

Isaiah 40:11

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Singing His Praise

My friend Charity and I had the joy of attending my alma mater's choir concert this evening. Originally, the whole family was going to go, but Jerry is still working tirelessly on his master's project and felt like he needed to stay home and work. It was a wonderful evening of music...and as inspiration. The choir always tours at this time of the year and they often come through the Chicago suburbs. It is a reunion for many of us, young and old. As alumni of the choir, we are always invited to come up sing a song with the current members that has been tradition at the school for many, many years..."Praise to the Lord." It is always sung with everyone holding hands. You would never know that ten years have passed. The text and melody flow from my mouth as if I had just rehearsed it yesterday. What a blessing to have been a part of such a wonderful musical tradition. The experience I had (now and then) is something for which I will always be grateful.
"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty the King of Creation
Oh my soul praise Him for He is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near
Join me in glad adoration..."

Friday, January 19, 2007

I did it!

It took most of the day, but our office is clean! It's amazing what a person finds when they clean. I found $50.00 in Barnes and Noble gift cards. We'd been looking for these for months. I found coupons that I wished I'd known about. They would have saved me quite a bit on my last grocery shopping excursion. I found pens. TONS of pens. I remember being a kid and loving pens, markers, pencils. Pretty much any kind of writing untensil. And every once in a while, my mom would call out (to anyone who was listening), "Where are all the pens? Who took all my pens???" Guilty. That would be me. Just the other day I was looking for a pen. And while cleaning, I found at least twenty.
Cleaning always makes me feel good. I feel like I can breathe easier when the clutter goes away. And it always reminds me of God and His cleansing power. It still amazes me. And it reminds me of a song called, "Refiner's Fire." I'm sure some of you know it...
"Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
and make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within.
Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
is to be holy
Set apart for you Lord.
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You should see the mess....

Everyone told me that my perfectionistic qualities would fly right out the window once I added another child to the mix. They were right. I can no longer keep my house as clean as I'd like. I can no longer consider myself terribly organized. It's more like...well...just terrible. Kinda like the laundry that piles up in the basement. Speaking of which, I can't get out from under the laundry pile. Phone calls I can't always return in a timely manner (unless you're family...then you fly straight to the top of the priority list), emails I don't return as quickly as I used to, projects that I start, but that take weeks to actually finish, when really, it should have just taken a couple of hours.

But there are needs to be met. Crying baby needs to be fed, changed, nursed, or held (and then fed again). Five year-old spends most of the day chanting, "Mom. I'm huuuuunnnnngggggry!" Phone is ringing. A student is arriving in five minutes and I still haven't finished blow-drying my hair. The dog is jumping on the door because he can't hold it any longer.

I was inspired by some of you moms who do the whole "Tackle it Tuesday" thing. Yes, I know it's Wednesday. But I thought maybe, if I post this hideous picture of what our office looks like right now, on this day that I started trying to de-clutter, well, then maybe I'll actually have more motivation to share the finished, completed, more wonderfully organized room that should be deemed a "study" for the sake of hubby, who is working tirelessly to complete his master's degree final project. So here goes. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

My little Super Man

Hangin' out with Spidey

Whose toy is it anyway?

Clap, clap, clap your hands
Clap your hands together!

The Glory Days

My dear friend Lori over at Glass Half Full surprised me today with a look back in time. We are friends from high school, and we were seriously cool enough to grace the cover of Seventeen. Don't you agree?
Be sure to head on over and check us out! And thanks, Lori! I am so thankful that our friendship has stood the test of time.

I am so proud of myself!

Cooking used to intimidate me. I often find myself reverting back to the "comfort zone" when it comes to meal planning. "Just use the old stand-bys" is my motto.

But I decided to break out of the box and make something new. So I made a hearty chicken pot pie. No, the crust is not homemade (*gasp!*), but it was really yummy and the kids even liked it. I am posting the recipe, just in case you dare to add something new to your meal repertoire! It was quick and easy and a real crowd pleaser.

Hearty Chicken Pot Pie

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed chicken broth

1 3/4 c. water, divided

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

3 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 cups quartered medium mushrooms

(*Note: I don't like mushrooms, so I substituted celery and extra carrots and potatoes to make up the two cups)

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 c. frozen peas

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

1 refrigerated unbaked pie crust (for 9-inch pie)

2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used canned chicken for ease)

Combine broth, 1 c. water, carrots, and potatoes in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion. Saute until softened, about five minutes. Stir into broth mixture and add peas. Whisk remaining 1/3 cup flour into the flour until smooth (in separate bowl). Whisk into vegetable mixture. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste (I also added some parsely, marjoram, and a little garlic salt and pepper to add flavor). Spread out piecrust on floured surface. Measure and roll, if necessary, to fit 1 inch larger than the top of the pie dish. Stir chicken into vegetable mixture and transfer to the baking dish. Place crust over filling; trim and flute edge. Cut a scalloped round from the center with a cookie cutter. Bake until filling is bubbly and crust is browned, about 20 minutes.

(I also lined the pie plate with the other half of the piecrust, since it came with two in the box. I like pot pies to have crust on the bottom and top.)


Monday, January 15, 2007

I'm back...finally!

Thanks to my hubby (who has more patience and computer smarts than I) I am back. I have not been able to login for the past few days and it's been so frustrating! I'm glad to finally
have access to my account again.

We had a great weekend. Friday night we had some dear friends over for dinner. They are a wonderful couple (both of them English teachers), and they came so that they could help Jerry brainstorm about his master's project. (For those of you who don't know, Jerry will complete is Masters in Education degree at Vandercook College in Chicago in July. His final project is to be completed during the school year, and he's very much looking forward to the end! It has been a wonderful experience, but a bit stressful too. Anyway, we had a really productive evening and got much accomplished.

Saturday, we went into Chicago to the Rainforest Cafe to celebrate my niece's birthday. We had a fun time...the boys were loving the ambiance and they really enjoyed themselves. We had been given tickets to see a show called "Too Hot to Handel" playing at the Auditorium Theatre for that night, so my mom and husband took care of the boys so that Jerry and I could have a date night. The show was awesome. If you are familiar with Handel's Messiah, it's basically a jazzed up, gospel-filled rendition of the original. What I loved most about it was that it was so worshipful. Handel took the entire text from scripture, and to hear it updated with a contemporary feel was really cool. We loved it. The musicians, vocalists, conductor and choir were outstanding. (The below picture is blurry, but you get the idea.)

Even better was the fact that we got the tickets from our friend Jim who is moving his way up into the music producing world. The man who sang the tenor part in the concert is one of his clients, and so he got us box seats and an invitation to a reception backstage with all the artists following the concert. It was wonderful. As it turns out, the tenor and soprano are husband and wife, and they are Believers I knew that before I even found that out. It was obvious to me in the way they sang and worshipped! (FYI, their names are Rodrick Dixon, one of the "Three Mo' Tenors", and Alfreda Burke.)

At about 10:30 p.m., I looked at Jerry and said, "We need to go. I'm concerned about the baby." Caden has been very fitful in his sleep lately. He has a nasty cold and cough and I think he might be possibly teething again. Sure enough, when we arrived back at the hotel where my mom kept the boys, they were both awake, and Caden looked puffy-eyed. My mom was holding him and said he'd been up since 10:30. I knew it! This is why they say a mother's instinct is always right! Anyway, I was so grateful to my mom and her hubby and very appreciative to have gotten a night out. Both Jerry and I needed some musical inspiration, and we definitely got it.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't say I was thrilled that the Bears won the big game yesterday. I remember being a little girl when they went to the Super Bowl and I am really pulling for them to make it there this year. They are certainly deserving! GO BEARS!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I heart Oswald Chambers

This year, I've decided to revisit "My Utmost for His Highest." I have read this bok periodically for the last ten years or so, but I really wanted to start using it in my quiet time again. I like it because there's something to read each day, along with a verse to meditate upon. It's not always an easy read, but it's rich, deep, and challenging. I wanted to share one of the days with you because it really spoke to my heart and I hope you find it to be an encouragement as well.

(Hopefully I'm not breaking any copyright laws here! This particular version comes from the special updated version that has been edited by James Retmann. Emphasis added by me.)

Will You Go Out Without Knowing?
"By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going."
Hebrews 11:8

Have you ever "gone out" in this way? If so, there is no logical answer possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the most difficult questions to answer in Christian work is, "What do you expect to do?" You don't know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually examine your attitude toward God to see if you are willing to "go out" in every area of your life, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in constant wonder, because you don't know what God is going to do next. Each morning as you wake, there is a new opportunity to "go out," building your confidence in God. " not worry about your life...nor about the body..." (Luke 12:22). In other words, don't worry about the things that concerned you before you did "go out."

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do - He reveals to you who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you "go out" in complete surrender to Him until you are not surprised one iota by anything He does?

Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is! Let the attitude of your life be a continual willingness to "go out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm about it that is very satisfying to Jesus. You must learn to "go out" through your convictions, creeds, or experiences until you come to the point in your faith where there is nothing between yourself and God.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Check out the newest blog to my blogroll!

I just had to let you all know that my friend Charity has created a blog all her own. (You GO girl!) The address is Her background is so cool...she was a missionary kid (an MK as she lovingly refers to herself), she's traveled many places, and she's just an all-around cool chick. So...I would encourage you to check it out when you get the opportunity. I'm sure you'll find many interesting things there (today's post gives you all a new word to add to your vocabulary). So go on...what are you waiting for? Go read!

And Chair...welcome to Bloggityville. : )

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Feeling a lack of inspiration...

So everyone around me seems to be making new year's resolutions...lose weight, simplify, prioritize, spend more time with family and friends, spend less, earn more, get out of debt for once and for all...the list goes on and on.

I, on the other hand, feel mostly uninspired. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life, feeling that a good resolution might just be to stay on top of cleaning the house, not letting the laundry get to where there are ten loads waiting to be washed, or making a pact with yourself and your family that you'll have a hot meal on the table every night, no matter what? (No, people, this does not include PB&J!) I think these are the resolutions we can handle at this stage in our lives. I say "our" because most of you reading this blog are mothers of little ones. I am all for simplifying. For example, I have a basement full of stuff (and this is after having a garage sale and donating at least 25 boxes of "stuff" this past summer!) and I need to get down there to go through it all. But when? Plus, I'd have to climb over all the laundry sitting there to get to it! (Okay, it's not really that bad, but it feels like it is!)

My point is, I think resolutions leave us feeling badly about all the things we haven't accomplished in the previous year. Isn't it important for us to just be thankful that we were blessed with another year, with the Lord's grace and help, and that, while we know there are areas in all of our lives that could improve, we are doing the most important job of all? Being wife, mother, and child of God...these are big accomplishments. If your husband feels loved, respected, esteemed above all others, cared about when he leaves and comes home, then ladies, you're doing your job. If your children are clothed, sheltered, fed, loved, and being trained in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, then you, my dear friends, are doing your job. If you are growing in your knowledge and understanding of the Lord, then you ARE the woman God created you to be. I just wanted to encourage you on this, the eighth day of January.

On a more personal note, a big shout out to my not-so-little-anymore-sister who turns 27 today. Happy Birthday, sis!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

20 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

  • I was born in Omaha Nebraska (thus my love for the Cornhuskers)

  • I had my debut at age 10 playing Annie in Omaha (thus beginning my musical career)

  • I don't like flying (in airplanes), but my friend Sara is getting married in a year and it's in Utah. I don't think we'll be driving.

  • I don't do breakfast food. I'd rather have rice or noodles.

  • I have to start my day out right...with a coke. I'm not a coffee drinker.

  • I teach private voice and piano lessons in my home.

  • I met my husband when I was 18, but we didn't get married until I was 26.

  • I love to scrapbook and make cards (but I don't anymore due to the arrival of baby #2!)

  • I occasionally lead worship for women's retreats and events

  • My favorite person to sing with is my husband (also a music teacher)

  • My husband clips my toenails for me because I hate doing it (I know, what a man!)

  • I love jazz and big band music

  • The reason I'm blogging is because of my good friend Lori from high school (we reconnected this past year and I'm so glad!)

  • I've read every sleep book on babies and none of them have solved Caden's sleep issues

  • I am an avid bird watcher (I have four feeders outside my house)

  • No one can make me laugh more than my husband

  • I don't have a dishwasher, unless you count me and my hubby

  • Hell hath no fury like a woman who is lacking sleep (just ask our cats!)

  • I once performed with Tiny Tim

  • In my single days, I once took a cross country trip from Chicago to Las Vegas in a car, stopping to see all the landmarks along the way

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Inside My Heart

For Christmas this year, hubby got me the book, "Inside My Heart" by Robin McGraw...Dr. Phil's wife. Yes, I'm a fan of Dr. Phil. Now I'm an even bigger fan of his wife, Robin.

I've been reading the book, and last night, I could not put it down. The whole premise of the book is about making choices. She is a Believer and she says that God most definitely has a plan for our lives, but that we can't sit idle, watching life pass us by, wishing things could be different. She says we, as women, need to have a plan, and we need to do whatever it takes to put that plan into action...for ourselves, our husbands, and our children. If it's purposed by God, it will be a blessing to us and to those we love. But we MUST get out there and pursue it.

I love how God can use anything to get our attention. I have been wrestling with the Lord on some things He has been calling me to, and I've been tempted to say, "You know what, Lord? I just don't think I can do that. I'm not able." Or, "But Lord...what if I fail? You don't want me to fail, do you?" Or, "No, Lord. You can't be serious. I could NEVER do THAT." And every time, there's that still small voice. "Yes you can. With Me, all things are possible. Trust Me. Lean on Me."

When Jerry crawled into bed with me last night, I shared what God had been laying on my heart. After a slight moment of silence and quiet, he wrapped his arms around me and said, "Let me pray with you." And that's just what he did.

So often, I go into analytical, talk-it-out-til-I'm-blue-in-the-face mode when what I really should be doing is petitioning my Lord for His direction. He says if we seek Him we will find Him. I'm thankful for a husband that knew in that moment, what we really needed to do was go to Him.

Finally, let me put in a plug for the book. If you know a woman who is struggling, whether in her marriage, as a mother, or as a woman in general, this is a great book for her. Robin's message is clear, and there is definitely a faith element, but it's not overwhelming. It's a great read for Believers and non-Believers alike. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

My sweetheart...
The best guy on earth.
Awesome dad.
Loving and faithful husband.
Man of God and integrity.
I love you.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Christmas on New Year's

We just returned from Indiana where we did Christmas with my side of the family. Last year, we tried doing it on New Year's Eve and it was fun and seemed to work out well for us all. Other than being tired (nobody slept all that well), we had a fun time. The Huskers lost at the Cotton Bowl today, but hey. You can't win 'em all, right?

Anyway, we had a really good time with family. It was chaotic, as usual, but fun. What can you expect with six kids running around, most under the age of five? The highlight was when Santa Claus came to visit the children. Not all of them were excited about him coming, but most were glad he came. He didn't come empty handed, and none of the kids were disappointed!

We hung our family ornaments on the tree, even those that had passed away this past year. It was bittersweet, but a really nice way to remember them.

We did our annual white elephant exchange and laughed our heads off, as usual. I LOVE white elephant gifts. We always get hysterical.

My sister Darci was feeling miserable and running a fever. We spent the greater part of yesterday trying to help her get her fever down, which it did finally break around midnight...just in time to go to bed!

Before midnight, we watched one of our favorite movies, "What about Bob?" We laughed and laughed, and most of us couldn't resist reciting our favorite lines from the movie. "I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful! "

The baby was really fighting sleep and just before midnight, he started crying. I went in to try to nurse him back down, but I ended up falling asleep and missed ringing in the new year with the family. Poor hubby had no one to kiss at midnight, but he got hugs from everyone instead!

I hope you all had a fun New Year's and that 2007 proves to be a wonderful year for you all. Let us all resolve to draw near to the Lord, love our families and friends, and to live our lives ALL for HIM. To my awesome family, thanks for a wonderful time and for all the fantastic gifts. I love you all!!! I'm going to bed now to get some sleep...