Thursday, April 30, 2009


United Airlines is upidstay. That's STUPID in Pig Latin. Forgive me if you work for United. If you do, you should go find a job at a better company.


Our friends Frank and Tammy are coming for the weekend. Tammy is just starting the process of raising financial support for her dance ministry. Basically, she's going to be a full-time missionary. Her sending agency does not offer any training on raising support. Our sending agency, however, does. Matt and I were thoroughly trained before we came on staff with our ministry. So Frank and Tammy are flying out for an intense weekend of training with Matt and me. They left their 9-month-old son back in California. Frank could only get 2 days off work, so their visit is only from tonight thru Sunday late afternoon. That's a very short amount of time to accomplish what should take 5 days.


The day started off bad when their flight out of California was delayed 2 hours due to a small mechanical error. Because they were flying out of a smaller airport, that small airport had to wait for authorization (from the higher-ups at a bigger airport) to fly after making the repairs. Frank and Tammy had the pleasure of sitting in the plane at the gate for over 2 hours.


If there were police in the air, the captain would have gotten a speeding ticket. He flew that plane at 540 knots (that's 621 mph), which is 100 mph faster than normal. Go captain! They made up great time in the air, and I thought they were going to make their connection in Denver.


They (and a pack of other from their CA flight) ran, and got to the gate right as the gate attendant had closed the door. And she would not let any of them on the plane. That captain could have held the flight 5 minutes to let all those people on. That plane sat at the gate for another 12 minutes. I know this because I am--according to Tammy--an airplane stalker (only when someone I love is on the plane...don't worry!), and I follow flight progress at this very cool website. It tells you the scheduled stats for the flight, as well as the actual stats. And once the plane has taken off, you can watch the plane's progress on a cool little map!


Frank and Tammy went to the customer service desk to get onto another flight. Guess what? The next flight from Denver to Little Rock does not arrive until 2:30 p.m. Tomorrow.

It gets better...

Since the airline (not the weather) caused this problem, the airline needs to take care of the stranded passengers. They gave Frank and Tammy a wimpy dinner voucher and a hotel voucher. That's it. Seriously? That's almost an insult! Not only are Frank and Tammy losing almost a full day of their already brief trip, they're going to end up having to pay for breakfast and lunch, which otherwise would have been eaten free of charge at my house. And all this after being made to sit at the gate in a stuffy airplane for over 2 hours, and running their tails off through the Denver airport.

In conclusion...

I told them to go back to customer service and push a bit. They should get vouchers for breakfast. Frank will still have to go home Sunday, but the airline should move Tammy's return date to Monday, free of charge. If not, they should receive a voucher for a free future flight, because the airline messed up this trip.

This said...

1. I know that God makes no mistakes.
2. I know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him. I do love Him. So do Frank and Tammy.
3. I know it will all work out okay in the end.

I just needed to fuss a bit.

Wishin'...and Hopin'...and Sneezin'...and Itchin'!

We've had an action-packed 5 days. Pretty ordinary really, but it's my life and I like it. Here's a list--in no particular order--of some of the events of the last 5 days.

Both kids got to go to birthday parties, which means I got to eat cake! And oh, was it yummy!

Helped host a baby shower, for which I made cupcakes. I used my friend Taya's delicious buttercream frosting recipe. And oh, was it yummy!

Saw lots of pollen. Sneezed a lot. Took Benadryl. Slept like a rock and was hung over until noon the next day.

NASCAR proved to be, once again, very entertaining. Even though none of my favorite drivers, or my fantasy team drivers, finished in the top 15, I still enjoyed the race. Can we say crazy wreckage?

Thoroughly enjoyed a great Sunday evening with our awesome community group from church! We're looking forward to taking this Sunday morning off from our regular church activities and going out and serving in our community. More to come on that!

Saw lots more pollen. Sneezed a lot more. And itched my eyes a whole lot.

Went grocery shopping. Took both kids. Got to buy them both candy bars because they both went the entire hour WITHOUT WHINING!!! Take note of the date...I doubt this feat will be repeated any time soon. Oh, and I saved $35 using coupons and my shopping card. That's just over 20%!!!

Played with our kittens, Pixie and Mindy. Both are girl kitties. Both are very much in love with me. They run to the laundry room door mewing at the top of their lungs whenever they see me. Pixie has discovered with joy of chasing things...string, a ball, her mommy's tail, my finger, etc. STINKIN'! CUTE!

Saw lots and lots of pollen. Bought new (non-drowsy) allergy medicine. Still sneezing. And itching.

Rejoiced in Pepper's first accident-free night in big boy underwear! Three cheers for Pepper! This is also a feat that will not likely be repeated in the near future.

Spent a day praying for the needs of our ministry and other ministries affiliated with our ministry. It was a staff-wide prayer day yesterday, and it was wonderful. There's something so powerful about praying with a large group of people who share your faith and your passion for families!

Sneezed. And sneezed. And sneezed. And itched. My medicine isn't working! And there is pollen EVERYWHERE!

Prayed for rain.

Had a very productive workday at the office. Discovered (for about the 500th time) how much I detest heels, and remembered (yet again) why I almost always wear flats.

Ate brownies and watched Idol with my friend Karon. Bliss!

Played "Sharks and Minnows" in the gym with my 3rd-4th grade Awana kids tonight. Yes. I played. The kids loved it and I had fun. And then I realized that all the pollen has done a number on my lungs, as well as my sinuses and eyes. My well-controled asthma has lost control. I spent the next 10 minutes sitting on the gym floor fighting for breath, since my inhaler was at home. It is 4 hours later, and I still can't get a deep breath. There's a catch in my chest, and my lungs are sore. Stupid pollen!

Folded tons of laundry. Have tons more to fold. It's my own fault for not doing laundry for almost 3 weeks.

Got an A- in my first grad school class!!! Considering that 94-97 is an A-, and that the final was the hardest test I've ever taken, and that I didn't know what I was doing when writing the papers, I'm pleased as punch about my A-! The only way I can explain it, though, is to assume he graded on a curve. Otherwise I would have been toast. Three cheers for me! I ate a churro at church tonight to celebrate. And oh, was it yummy!

Am eagerly awaiting the arrival of friends Frank and Tammy from California tomorrow!!!

Am delighting in the buckets of rain which are dumping on my roof right now. I think the Arkansas River will be yellow tomorrow from all the pollen the rain is washing down the storm drains!

Am officially tired and my lungs hurt. And I just sneezed again. And that hurt. I think I'll call the doctor tomorrow. I've gotten away with no allergies ever since we moved here. It has been a welcome reprieve. But sadly, it is over. Time for some testing, I think.

And that's pretty much it for now. It's after midnight, so I think I'll go to bed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Date Your Daughter!

It was a long day today. We spent the day driving to and from the airport, picking up people coming to Arkansas for a training weekend for work. We left home at 10 a.m. and returned at 6:30 p.m. Lots of miles logged. Good visits with people who are excited to be doing something of significance for the Lord. Yummy lunch at Quizno's. And a new cell phone for me!!! Hooray! After 3 years with my good ol' red phone, it has retired and been replaced by a snazzy new phone that rings when it is supposed to, actually shows when someone has left a voicemail, and has all keys functioning properly. SO. NICE!

When we walked in the door an hour past dinner time, everyone was tired and very hungry. It was then I remembered that both kids have birthday aprties to go to tomorrow morning...and I had forgotten to buy presents. Normally, my gift stash would come through. But this time it produced nothing that would delight a 4-year-old boy or a 7-year-old girl. My sweet hubs suggested that I take Snapper out for dinner and gift shopping. My spirits lifted right away, and Snapper jumped for joy!

Her first choice for dinner was McDonald's (YUCK!), which I promptly ruled out. Her second choice was a great barbeque place. So she enjoyed spaghetti, corn on the cob, and french fries (great combo, eh?), while I stuffed down a half rack of babyback ribs. Yum! Yum! While we ate, we took silly pictures together on my new phone, and talked about school next year. After touring her new school yesterday, Snapper is all excited about starting 2nd grade! They offer some fantastic programs, and the teaching staff was super nice, even going so far as to print off the benchmarks for 2nd grade, and discussing with me what concepts I need to make sure are firmly in place before school starts in August.

After dinner, we headed to Hobby Lobby. Pepper's friend will be receiving a gigantic pad of fingerpaint paper, a new set of finger paints, and a huge bucket of sidewalk chalk. We also purchased a canvas purse, some iron-on letters, and some cute butterfly patches to make a personalized purse for Snapper's friend. Then we headed to Walmart where we picked a whole assortment of lotion, nail polish, body glitter, and lip gloss to go in the purse we're making. Just for fun, Snapper tried on some bathing suits. We didn't buy any, but she had a blast modeling the cute swimwear.

Once our mission was completed at Walmart, we made one final stop for ice cream before heading home. As we sat in the car with our ice cream cones, Snapper said to me, "Mommy, this date was absolutely, completely, entirely, SPLENDID! It was also delightful and delicious! We need to do this more frequently. I think Mommy dates are STUPENDOUS!" I about choked on my ice cream! Once I had regained my composure, I complimented Snapper on her use of very accurate, descriptive, expressive words. She beamed from the back seat. I agree completely--we DO need to do this more often.

So Moms, have you taken your children out one-on-one recently? What fun things did you do together? How did your child respond?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


At 8:30 last night the temp was a glorious 78 degrees! Matt went for a run right after darkness fell. The kids were still wired after Awana, so they watched a short movie in their room to unwind while Matt was running. When he arrived home, he found two Spring Peepers getting busy on our front lawn. So, he broke up their romance and brought them in for Pepper to see. Pepper is terrified...TERRIFIED...of bugs. But he loves reptiles and amphibians. Go figure...

When Daddy called him down, Pepper came trotting down the stairs to see the "fwoggies." He demanded: "Daddy, give one fwoggie wight hewe!" and then held out his hands for the frog. The frog obligingly sat for a minute in Pepper's little hands before taking a flying leap onto the living room floor. For 10 minutes, I watched in delight as my 34-year-old husband crawled around the living room with our son, chasing the fwoggies. Pepper hopped on his hands and knees just like the fwoggies. I've never seen him do that particular movement before! One of the fwoggies kept singing, too, which added extra fun into the mix. I've decided that one of my favorite parts of being a mom is watching my beloved interacting with our babies. I wish I'd had my video camera out to capture the antics of my boys. I wish I could share with you the fwoggie hop Pepper did, and the expressions of joy on my husband's face as he shared 10 all-boy minutes with our son. It was special--one of those moments I've carefully filed in my memories. Just had to share this!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm So Glad He's Wrong!

I commented on someone's blog today that one of my very favorite parts of being a parent is listening to the funny things my kids say. I'm so glad that both of them are funny! It keeps life entertaining. If you are embarrassed or offended at the mention of certain anatomical terms, stop reading now!

So today, I was all dressed in my workout gear--mesh basketball shorts, sports bra, layered tank tops, running shoes. I had not left for my workout yet, but was sitting at the computer emailing to tell Matt we were on our way to meet him at work so I could work out in the gym there. Pepper comes over and does this:

Pats one of my boobs and says, "One!"
Pats the other boob and says, "Two!"
Pats my tummy and says, "Three!"

"Mommy, why you have 3 tummies?"

HA HA HA! I'm still laughing about this! It also reminds me how far I have to go with weight loss and body toning. But hey, I'm really glad I don't have 3 tummies...or 3 boobs, for that matter!

What I've Learned

Happy Tuesday!
Here's what I've learned this week.

1. A visit from a friend is food for the soul. Our best friends Stan and Noel came from California last week. Even though poor Stan got really sick for half the time here, we still had fun. Come visit us! Our guestroom is ready!

2. The fact that I hate running has not changed. What I learned, though, is that a really good pair of running shoes makes running so much more bearable! I got a great pair of Sauconys yesterday. I walk/jogged a mile (first time I've done that in a LONG time), and guess what? I'm not even slightly sore today!

3. You never get used to the sting of a negative pregnancy test.

4. My almost 3-year-old, Pepper, has figured out deceit. *Sigh* Time to work on honesty. That should make for an interesting series of posts!

5. God knows best. If you humbly seek HIS plan for your life, He'll work it out. Ask Him for what you want, but trust Him for His best (even when it is hard and/or you don't understand His decision). He always works it out. For a cool example of how God moved in direct response to my prayers, read this post.

For more records of learnings, tune in to Musings of a Housewife.
And enjoy these pics from my photo session with Stan and Noel!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's A God Thing

My mom was the most wonderful, devoted mom a girl could ever want. One of the main ways she showed her love was through homeschooling my sister and me. She was amazing. You can read my memories of my homeschooling experiences in this post. When God called me to homeschool Snapper for 1st grade, I was full of grand plans of how I would be just like my mom in homeschooling. I would work hard to mold a child who has an above average understanding of grade level concepts, and who is a lover of learning. It hasn't worked out quite the way I wanted it to, and back in November I accepted that. I decided I would do homeschooling my way, to the best of my ability, and utilizing the resources available to me. I feel I've done a good job. I've got a little girl who is reading well above grade level, who can compose an organized, 7-sentence writing assignment, who spells really well, and who is fantastic with math. So I've accomplished that goal.

What I wasn't counting on was the personality of my child and the effects that personality would have on our homeschooling experience. My Snapper is a girl who feeds off other people, and thrives in a highly social environment with lots of stimulation. The one-on-one attention is not as important to her as being with a group. It is the mold she is cut out of. It has taken me a long time to figure this out. Homeschooling may actually not be a good fit for her! As the school year has progressed, schoolwork has become more and more of a struggle for Snapper--not because it is difficult, but because of other factors. Work that should take 1 1/2 hours takes 3-4 hours...of my undivided attention. I know I just said she doesn't need one-on-one. She doesn' a traditional classroom environment. The other day, Snapper told me in complete frustration that when she's at home trying to do school, all she can think about are the other things she would rather be doing. And Pepper’s frequent interruptions drive her nuts. She told me she misses being in school, and had a much easier time staying focused last year at her old school. I know this is true because I watched her in action. I don’t fully understand how a classroom full of kids can be less distracting than one small brother and 3 cats, but it is a proven fact in our case. I have not met the goal of helping her become a lover of learning. Instead, school has become a time of frustration for her. This is not what Matt and I want for her.

So we went back to the drawing board and began looking at other options. We fall just outside the income bracket that would qualify us for significant financial aid for a private school, so that option is void. The public school we’re zoned for is overcrowded, is low performing, and has some other major issues. Out of the question. The other awesome public elementary close to our house is only accepting transfers from ethnic minorities, which rules us out. So we did some research on the other schools in our area. We found a few other schools that met our standards for Snapper and her needs. We filled out applications and submitted them to the school district.

One conversation with the district shot our hopes. All the schools had open enrollment while we were in California in January and February. We had missed the deadlines, and found ourselves way down the waiting lists. They told us not to expect to get into any of the schools, and if by some miracle we did, it likely would not be until the week before school starts, or possibly even part way into the school year. At that point we left it with the Lord. We would leave our applications in, but not pursue other schools. We want an excellent school for Snapper, and we won’t settle for less. If God wanted us to stop homeschooling, He would open the door at one of the few schools we had chosen. We made this decision last week.

Day before yesterday Matt called the district office to check in and find out where Snapper was on the waiting lists. The answer was what we expected: WAY, WAY DOWN THERE! But oh, wait! Let’s look at this school (our #2 choice) again. What do you know…they have an opening! Would Snapper like to attend this school?

Wow…Hi God!

Less than a week after our paperwork was turned in, less than a week after being told we would not get in, there “happened” to be an opening. And guess what? One of my closest friends' son was accepted at the same school too!!!

The school is 20 minutes from our house with no traffic. BUT…it is a fantastic school that will be a perfect fit for Snapper. The class sizes are small, and there are lots of enrichment opportunities. We’ve heard rave reviews about the principal, and about the school as a whole, from several people--including teachers who send their own kids there!

We feel this is a huge, and very direct, answer to our prayers. An impossible door has swung open. The school meets our requirements. And God gave us a close friend to walk into this with.

Isn’t God good?

Snapper is SO excited! She is counting down the days until school starts in the fall. If you want more info about the school, email me and I’ll tell you more. I don’t want to post any identifying info on the school here in cyberspace.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Core

Every Thursday morning I have the cool opportunity to meet with a group of fantastic ladies at my church. In the past 3 years, we've been through a lot together. We've done several Bible studies by different authors. We've laughed together. Cried together. Shared our hearts and lives with each other. I look forward to Thursday mornings because they are a time when we speak truth into each other's lives, knowing that everything said is said by people who love each other. We've had so many great discussions. So many opportunities to talk through issues that are troubling to us. Times to bounce ideas off each other. To get feedback. Times of comfort and encouragement. Did I mention lots and lots of laughter?

This morning was no exception. Our group was very small today, which made for a more intimate time of conversation and prayer. I come home feeling so satisfied. I'm infused with the truth of God's Word. I'm built up by girls who love me. I've spoken more than 2 sentences in a row that don't contain the words Mommy, NO, come here, obey, don't do that, and are you listening. Ha ha!

These ladies are my core group. So if you are reading this...Pam, Jacqueline, Lannece, Steph, Kelli, Leah, Lauren, Kathy, Ruth Ann, Jenny...I love you. Carol and Alicia, I miss you. You are my "girls." Thanks for loving me despite my uglies. Thanks for doing life with me, and for being the ones I can count on to tell me as it is, and to build me up. You guys are the best!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If You Don't Want Idol Results, Don't Read This!

The right bottom 3 was chosen.
The right person sat down.
The right bottom 2.
But Lil should be gone, just based on the fact that she has not done anything that the judges have suggested she do to improve.
Matt's performance last night was worse than Lil's...BUT...Matt has had many weeks FAR better than Lil.
Matt's sing-for-his-life was better than last night, I thought.
I was holding my breath, willing the judges to save him.
Hooray for Matt!

Hopefully next week will bring farewells to Anoop and Lil.

Another round of good news: we found a very good home for our little boy kitty, Tucker. We'll have Tucker with us until he's weaned (around the first week of June). Then he'll go to his new family, a friend from work, whose elderly cat recently died. They fell in love with the pics of Tucker that I posted on Facebook and asked today if he was spoken for yet. Perfect! I'm so relieved!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What I've Learned

Happy Tuesday! As usual, I'm linked into the What I've Learned carnival at Musings of a Housewife. Check it out!
I had a fantastic learning experience this week. For once it's a really fun one. I learned:

1. When a creative moment strikes, take advantage of it. Even if it strikes in the middle of the night.
A few months back, I woke up at 2 a.m. with a story running around in my head. I hesitated for a moment, then grabbed my journal and a pen and headed to the bathroom to write so as not to wake my husband. Why did I not go downstairs to write in the comfort of the living room? Who knows! I don't function well in the middle of the night, and at the moment, the bathroom seemed the most logical choice. So...I sat on the edge of the tub and wrote for 20 minutes, and then went back to bed. The next morning I read my wee-hours chicken scratch, and was pleased to find a decent little story. It is the true account of my 2-year-old Pepper's mischief one fine day in July.

2. When the opportunity presents itself to get the fruits of your creativity out into the world, jump on it! Even if it means sticking out your neck a bit...maybe risking failure or rejection.
Last might have even been 2 months ago...I was made aware of a story contest being put on by the organization we work for. Before I could talk myself out of it, I emailed my little midnight inspiration as an entry in the fiction contest. I didn't expect to win. I just figured the $2 entry fee was no skin off my nose, and what the heck...why not give it a try? After I sent that email, I completely forgot about the contest. Fast forward 2 months. Today I spent a great day out exploring Arkansas with our friends who are in town from California. When I got home, there was an email in my inbox from the lady I sent my story contest entry to. The email was to inform me that my story won 3rd prize in the contest!!! Oh. My. Gosh! I'll receive my prize money tomorrow! Cool beans!

Apparently, everyone at the awards ceremony thought my story was hilarious, especially when they found out the story is true. I'm really starting to consider the possibility of making this a children's book someday. Anybody have any "ins" with a publisher? Hee hee! Without further ado, here is my story!

Pepper's Great Idea©Emily B

Hi! My name is Pepper!
Guess what? I just turned two
I stay at home with Mom each day
Always looking for things to do

My mommy’s doing dishes
She’ll be focused ‘til she’s done
So I’ll sneak up to my bedroom
To play and have some fun

My room is nice and tidy
Mommy cleaned it yesterday
She folded all my laundry
And put my toys away

Hmm, let’s look around now
What is there to do?
I’ll open up my closet
And peek in my dresser, too!

Clean socks are fun to play with
So squishy, soft, and small
I stack them up like building blocks
And throw them down the hall

But wait…I have an idea!
It’s exciting, great, and new
I’ll put my socks in the toilet
Just to see what they will do!

One pair of socks in the water
I don’t mean to be naughty
Oh no! The socks are sinking
To the bottom of the potty!

I can’t reach in to get them
My hand will get all wet
So I think I’d better flush now—
My best idea yet!

See my socks go round and round
I’m laughing—this is fun!
I run to my room to get more socks
This game has just begun

Quickly to my room and back
One pair of socks with me
Drop it in and flush it down
Until the drawer is empty

Then, on the stairs, I hear a step
Mommy’s calling my name
I poke my head around the door
“Mommy, come see my game!”

Mommy smiles as she comes in
On the water floats one sock
I feel unsure as I look at her—
Her eyes are glazed with shock.

“What did you do?” she says to me
Her voice is deep and stern
“Mommy, I flush!” is my reply
“Do you want a turn?”

With features grim she leaves the room
And walks across the hall
She very quickly counts my socks…
They’re gone! I flushed them all!

Mommy learned a lesson
Of great import today:
Never trust a two-year-old
Alone in his room at play!

As for me, my time was grand!
But it was short-lived, you see
‘Cause now when I want to play upstairs
My mom keeps an eye on me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Snapshots of Easter

We had a very fun Easter. Our friends Stan and Noel are in town visiting right now. It was a very stormy day, so we had to have our Easter egg hunt inside. Sadly, the few pictures I took of Snapper and Pepper together in their Easter outfits were out of focus. Ugh! Anyhoo, here are a few fun pics from our fun day.

The Easter bunny visited us in the afternoon! Yup, this cute little guy was happily feasting on our front lawn around dinner time. What a fun way to end Easter!

Surprised on Easter

When our Momma Kitty's kittens were born almost 2 weeks ago, Matt and I told Pepper and Snapper that we would not be keeping the kittens. We would need to find homes for them. We did not tell the kids that we would be keeping one of the kittens. Yesterday, Snapper came downstairs to find Pixie, the little girl kitten, in her Easter basket. The conversation was priceless. Here's how it went.

Snapper: "Mommy, I found my basket!"

S: "Look! Pixie's in my basket!"

S:"Oh Mom, she's so cute! She has a bow on her neck!"

Me: "Why do you think Pixie is in your basket?"
S: "Because it's Easter."
Me: "But why would I put Pixie in your basket"
S: "Because it's Easter and she's cute."

Me: "Why do I put candy and toys in your basket?
S: "Because you want to give me presents."
Me: "That's right. Why do you think I put Pixie in your basket?"
S: "Because she's somebody's present."

Me: "That's right! Whose present do you think Pixie is?"
S: "I don't know. Some other little girl."
Me: "Why would I put a present for some other little girl in your Easter basket?"
S: "Because we are finding a new home for Pixie."
Me: "But wouldn't that be mean of me to put some other girl's present in your basket?"

Me: "Do you think I would do something that mean to you? Snapper, who do you think Pixie is a present for?"
S: " she a present for me?"
Me: "Pixie is your kitty, Snapper!"

S: "WHAT!?! Are you KIDDING me?"
Me: "Why would I kid you about something like this?"

S: "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Pixie is really mine?"
Me: "Yes. We are keeping Pixie!"

S: "I can't believe it! (giggle, giggle) This is amazing! (giggle giggle) This is the best day of my life!"

S: "Oh Pixie, you are my very own kitty. I don't have to give you away! I love you, Baby!"

So we have a newly established member of our family, and an ecstatic 6-year-old who is still questioning me to make sure she is not dreaming! What a perfect Easter!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Morning

He is risen!

Easter celebrates the event that gives meaning and purpose to my life.

God incarnate
Born of a virgin
Fulfillment of prophecies
Lived a perfect, sinless life
Willingly faced a violent, brutal, excruciating death
On a cross
To pay the penalty for MY sins
And YOUR sins
He died
He was buried
On the third day He rose

Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives I am forgiven
Because He lives I am right with God
Because He lives I also will live

His love, his perfect love, his forgiveness, is available to ALL who ask
Seek and you shall find
He has come that I...that ou...may have life, and may have it abundantly

His is risen!
He is risen indeed!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Very Exciting Day!

Many of you have been following the journey I have taken with my friend Bev, who is battling leukemia. Here's a recap of the last 2 years.

January 22, 2007: Bev (age 32) is diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia). Prognosis is not great. She undergoes 7 months of INTENSE chemo.

August, 2007: Bev has her own stem cells harvested for a bone marrow transplant. Reactions to this kind of transplant are less severe.

January, 2008: A bone marrow biopsy comes back clear. Bev is in remission.

August, 2008: Bev's symptoms return. A biopsy confirms she has relapsed. A donor bone marrow transplant is necessary to give Bev a chance at life. The search for a donor begins. She undergoes heavy chemo in the process.

October, 2008: A donor is located! There are 10 proteins in the marrow that are considered in bone marrow matching. A strong match occurs if all 10 proteins are identical. 8 matching proteins are necessary for the transplant, though the success rate is lower with that scenario. Bev has an extremely rare condition--she only has 9 of the 10 proteins. Her donor also only has 9...and all 9 are a perfect match!

December 5, 2008: Bev receives her bone marrow transplant. She is in the hospital for 3 weeks, and then must remain house-bound for 100 days. The greatest concern is GvHD (Graft versus Host Disease), in which the donor cells recognize the recipient's body as foreign, and attack it. GvHD can be fatal.

December 10, 2008: Bev begins to display the early onset of GvHD in her intestines, skin, and bones.

December 12, 2008: I receive a call from Bev's aunt telling me that Bev is dying. She has lost consciousness and her body is shutting down.

December 15, 2008: By some miracle, Bev pulled through. Even her doctors claimed a miracle.

December 24, 2008: Bev has made so much progress that her doctor agrees to let her go home for Christmas. She ends up not having to return to the hospital. Begin the 100 days of confinement.

From that point on Bev's progress has been slow, but steady. Occassional flare-ups of the GvHD have made life miserable at times (imagine diarrhea that can't be controlled...up to 20 times per day, the sensation of having sand in the eyes, chest to toe itchy rash, severe leg pains, etc.). But the GvHD has responded well to steroids. At the same time, the GvHD is a blessing because it destroys any leukemia cells that may be present.

April 8 was Bev's 4-month post-transplant bone marrow biopsy. It was excruciatingly painful, and then the wait for the results was agonizing. But the results are in. Bev is in remission! 100% of her bone marrow cells are donor cells. No mutated cells at all! Just a few months ago the doctors put Bev's chance at surviving this transplant at only 25%. She has beaten the odds and is doing great. She's even starting to get some hair growth back on her head! Her next biopsy will be in December, provided she doesn't experience any leukemia symptoms.

To all of you who have prayed for Bev, sent her cards, participated in gift giving, thank you. You have made a difference.

Testing, Testing...

Ive decided to copyright all my photos. Here's a test of the new watermark.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

May I Have A Drum Roll Please!

After 48 hours of voting (Facebook and blog polls), and much deliberating at home, we have decided on the name for our little girl kitty.

Introducing the lovely...

Won't Snapper be thrilled to discover Pixie (with a big pink bow around her neck) in her Easter basket on Sunday? I can hardly wait!

I don't know how I'm ever going to let Tucker go to his new home. He's my favorite. Sob sob! I guess I'll just have to make sure that the people he goes to are good people who will love him and take good care of him.

As soon as the kittens are weaned, We're getting Zoe fixed. In case you haven't been following my little feline drama, we were told when we got Zoe 16 months ago that she was fixed. She was an indoor cat until December. Now it's April, and she quite obviously WASN'T fixed. That will soon be remedied.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Works for Me!

Those of you who know me well know that I am an avid scrapbooker. Scrapbooking provides me the creative outlet I need to stay mentally fresh and alert. I love everything about scrapbooking, from taking the pictures, selecting the pictures, choosing my paper and embellishments, and assembling the pages. Over the years though, I've encountered one major problem: Scrapper's Block. Many a time I have found myself sitting at the table with a pile of pictures, some pretty paper, and not the foggiest idea of how to arrange those pictures on the pages. It ends up taking me 3 or 4 hours to complete one layout. If all my pages took that long, I would never make any significant progress in my albums. Here is the solution that works for me.

Make an idea book.

Step 1: Subscribe to a scrapbooking magazine. I recommend Creating Keepsakes.
Step 2: Purchase a 3-ring binder, dividers with 8 tabs, and plastic sheet protectors.
Step 3: Label your dividers with the following headings:
1-4 pictures
5-6 pictures
7-8 pictures
9-10 pictures
11-12 pictures
13+ pictures
Layouts to copy
Tips and Techniques

Step 4: After you have read your scrapbook magazine each month, go through it and tear out pages with ideas you like. This may be a picture of a great layout that uses a bunch of pictures. It may be a really cool layout theme you'd like to duplicate. It may be a photography tutorial or instructions on a fun new technique like painting your pages.

Step 5: Organize the torn out pages in your binder according to how many photos are featured in the layout. All articles you are saving go in the Tips and Techniques section. (After a while you'll need a separate binder for your saved articles).

Step 6: Use your idea book in the way that best suits you and your style.

I use my idea book to plan my layouts before I ever print my pictures. I put my pictures into subfolders in the My Pictures folder on my computer. I have a subfolder for each layout. Then, with idea book in hand, I choose a layout from my binder to correspond with the number of pictures in my subfolder. I do a quick sketch of my layout, and note if I need to print any of my pictures in larger sizes.

This method has been fantastic for me. When it is time to sit down and scrapbook, I know exactly what to do. The guesswork is gone. All I have to do is choose my paper. The other great perk to this is the amount of money I save on photo processing. I only have to print what I know I'm going to use!

It works for me! I hope this helps out a fellow scrapbooker! For more great works for me tips, visit We Are THAT Family's Works for Me carnival.

What I Learned

It's Tuesday...again! Here's what I've learned this week. Check out Musings of A Houseiwfe for more posts like this!

1. The only thing that is predictable about the weather in Arkansas is that it is unpredictable. Sunday was 70 degrees. Right now it is 32. Tomorrow it will be 72. Thursday will be thunderstorms. Do I like this? Most of the time!

2. Consignment shopping is the way to go! I went to a big consignment sale on Wednesday to stock up on summer clothes for my kids. I purchased clothing from Gap, Old Navy, Limited Too, Gymboree, and Osh Kosh--all in almost new condition--for a fraction of the regular cost. 8 shirts, a pair of overalls, swim trunks, 2 pairs of shorts, and a pair of Adidas sneakers for Pepper. 6 shirts, a skort, a dress, and a pair of bermudas for Snapper. A beanbag chair. A booster seat for the kitchen table. Total cost: $89.50!

3. It is nearly impossible to have kittens be born in your house and not to keep any of them. Yes we are keeping one, a little gray and white girl kitty. Snapper does not know this yet! It will be her Easter surprise. Please help us decide the name by voting in my poll! (There are kitten picture a few posts back).

4. Working one day each week is going to be the salvation of my sanity. I started working last week. Just one day, and my hubby gets to stay home with the kiddos on that day. It is a great deal for our whole family.

5. Little else in this world lifts my heart as much as anticipating the visit of friends! Our BFF's Stan and Noel are flying in on Saturday for their annual visit. On the agenda: scrapbooking (Noel and me), "beauty parlor" (Noel does a makeover for Snapper), disc golf, diamond hunting at the Crater of Diamonds, good southern food, lots of laughter. I'm also really looking forward to a visit from other CA friends Frank, Tammy, and baby Sam. They will be arriving on April 30th!!! Hooray for good friends!

I could go on and on. It was a "learningful" week. I'll add a quick funny before I sign off. On Thursday, Matt was tucking the kids in at bedtime. It had been a warm day, so he was wearing shorts. Snapper asked her daddy: "Daddy, is the fur on your legs real fur, or faux fur?" HA HA HA!!! When he told her it was real hair, she told him he needed to go shave his legs. I love kids!

P.S. Several of you asked me last week about the DISC test I took, and what being a Beaver (Conscientious) means. I'm sorry I didn't email each of you back personally. Here's a link to a description of the test. No, it's not free. But it is TOTALLY worth the $25 or $30 to take it.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Today I had the privilege of doing a photo shoot for my friends R and T. Their little boys, I and E, are adorable. I have to post a few of my favorite pics from this shoot.

On the other baby front, our kittens need names. One of the kittens is a temporary member of our family. But, though Snapper doesn't know it yet, the other kitten will be staying with us!!! We have decided on the name Tucker for the little boy kitty. The little girl (the gray and white one) has not been as easy to name. We have narrowed our list down to 5 names. Please cast your vote in my poll on the main page of the blog.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just Stopping By

I've had an action packed weekend that the 5 minutes I have right now will not do justice to. I'll have to write more about that later. For now though, here are three pictures of Pepper from this weekend. He spent three contented hours in the back yard...playing in the sandbox, jumping on the trampoline, swinging and sliding on our swingset. I spent about 10 minutes following him around with my camera. Here are my favorite shots.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Flip Flop!

I am not typing from the comfort of the glider in front of the computer in my bedroom. No, I am happily settled at Matt's desk up at the LifeChange office. It's not just Matt's desk anymore. As of today, it is my desk, too. The recent round of layoffs left many empty jobs here. Whether we have enough employees or not, the work still needs to get done. I wanted to help lighten the load, so Matt and I met with his manager--our manager--and discussed some options. We determined that my skills will be very useful to LifeChange, and that I should start coming in to work one day each week. On the day I work, Matt will stay home with the kids and do the homeschooling. Today was Day 1 of our new venture.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my day today. I completed half of a video training course on Excel, as I'm a little...actually a lot...rusty. I put my new skills to practice and built a budget spreadsheet for our family. I'm quite pleased with myself! It is very thorough, and I believe it will help us stay on top of our finances a whole lot better. I am feeling pretty confident with Excel basics again, and will complete my training course on Tuesday, which will be my next work day.

After my "What I Learned" post on Wednesday, several of you asked what the Beaver result of my DISC profile meant. In short, someone who is classified as a Beaver is a person who likes facts and figures, is dependable, thorough and analytical, is very organized, and is a religious rule-follower. The Beaver also likes clear guidelines, and having expectations firmly in place. This is SO me! I live by my list, plan ahead, complete a project before moving on to something else, and like to have my ducks in a row. When I get focused on something, I focus to the point of losing track of the world around me. This is a double edged sword, as sometimes my list and my order and my focus can take priority over people.

So for some of you, spending a day working on spreadsheets may seem monotonous. But for me, the order freak, being able to build a tool to keep one more aspect of my life in order is sheer joy.

That's not all I did, though. I also got familiar with LifeChange's event reports and some other aspects of the organization. My job will be twofold--a mix of data analysis and reporting, and graphic design. I'm so happy to be contributing to this ministry, and happy to have one day a week when I can live in the adult world.

Don't get me wrong--I love being a stay-at-home mom. I love my kids. I love my home. But the child-created chaos at home(neither one of my kids shows even slightly "beaverish" tendencies) grates on me, and I find I'm usually frazzled and frustrated by the end of the day. I know that having one day each week here at the office will help me be a better wife and mom. I know Matt and the kids will appreciate that. And I can't describe how excited the kids were when I told them Daddy was staying home with them today! This flip flop may be the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Works for Me!

It's another fabulous edition of Works for Me Wednesday. Today's edition comes in reverse. I ask a question, you tell me and answer, if you have one. A couple hundred others are participating in this via We Are THAT Family. Take a look at the questions people are asking today. Maybe you'll find a question you've been needing to ask, and get that question answered!

My questions for today (there are two of them):

1. I have my kitchen cabinets all sanded and primed. I am going to paint them white. Does anybody have any suggestions on how I can get the paint smooth so brush strokes don't show?

2. Do you have an awesome crockpot recipe for chicken? I'm totally in love with my crock pot, but I'm getting tired of the 6 good recipes I have found for it.

Thanks for participating!!!