Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Heaven

The following conversation took place at dinner:

Grace: Where's Nan? (Todd's mom)

Me: She's at her house in Tennessee.

Grace: Where's Pops? (Todd's dad)

Me: Pops is in heaven. He died and went to heaven to be with Jesus.

Grace: Is Pops playing with his friends in heaven?

Me: I'm sure a lot of Pop's friends are in heaven. They are all singing and praising God.

Grace: Can I go to heaven with Pops?

Me: Yes, Lord willing, one day you will go to heaven after you die.

Grace: Is heaven in Tennessee?

Me: No, heaven is not on Earth. Heaven is a place far away where Christians go after they die.

Grace: Can we drive there in the car and go see Pops?

Me: No, we can't drive there in the car. Um.....(interrupted)

Grace: Then how do we get there?

Me: You realize that you are a sinner and you need Jesus to save you by his death on the cross. You pray to God and ask forgiveness for your sins. You thank Him for sending his son to die for you. And, you show your gratefulness by living as a Christian.

Grace: Mama, can we pray right now?

Me: OK

Grace: Dear God, thank you for Chuck E. Cheese's. Amen.

Oh, well.........

Todd's 1st Day at New Job


Todd had a good first day at his new job as asst. principal. He spent time coordinating his new calendar with the other administrators and learning the lay of the land. He participated in interviews with students concerning discipline issues. One student was arrested for possession of marajuana on school grounds, and another student was interviewed for possible gang activity. There is a full-time police officer on campus that assists them when issues like this come up. Thankfully, his new co-workers agreed that days like yesterday were not the norm....usually, they are dealing with "normal" discipline issues like disrespect, not following school rules, etc.

When he was organizing his calendar with the school principal, he found out that there will be a minimal of after-school activities that he will be required to supervise. There are just three more Thursday night home football games and one Friday night homecoming game. Compared to his band director schedule, this is a breeze! It'll be especially nice to have him to ourselves on Saturdays from now on!

Update on Grace: We have come to the conclusion that she was experiencing food poisoning or an allergic reaction to red jello that she ate for lunch on Sunday at our church. She never had a fever, and after a few horrendous hours she didn't throw up again. Needless to say, I am eliminating red food coloring from her diet (jello, koolaid, etc.) just in case.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Doing Better

Grace finally stopped vomiting around 6:30 this morning, then fell asleep until the realtor came over at 9:30. Todd stayed up all night and left for work around 6:45. Grace seems to be feeling better...she asked for food and I gave her a piece of toast and Gatorade. She ate it all and I'm hoping it stays down. I've seen more vomit in the past 12 hours than I saw working in an elementary school for 7 years.

For those of you who are finding my last three posts disturbing, I'm truly sorry. This is real life as a mom!

I'm hoping she takes a good, long nap today and I can sneak a couple hours of sleep.

Thankfully, the realtor was pleased with the pictures she took today. Our house listing should be up by this afternoon!

Update

Thank goodness for 24 hour pharmacies. I just got back from Walgreens. I had to get some Gatorade since Grace seems to be getting dehydrated. She has been vomiting every 10-15 minutes.

Poor Todd. He doesn't want to go back to bed because he is afraid he will sleep through his alarm clock. Today is his first day on the new job, and he doesn't want to mess it up. I said I'd wake him at 6:00, but he's afraid I'll fall asleep too.

Right now we are watching "Cars."

The End Has Come for Red Koolaid



Warning: This post is not for weak stomachs.

About 1:30 this morning, we heard Grace coughing and crying in her room. We walked in to find that she had projectile vomited red koolaid all over herself, her bed, and about 6 square feet of carpet. With visions of the realtor coming tomorrow, I ran to get the carpet cleaner while Todd started cleaning up Grace. Todd changed the sheets and got Grace cleaned up. After 20 minutes of scrubbing I managed to get the red stains out of the carpet.

I was about to start the explanation of why "lambie" was "taking a bath" instead of sleeping in her bed when it happened AGAIN. Projectile vomit all over the clean sheets, all over Grace, and this time about 12 square feet of carpet. Todd took her and started a bath. I stripped down the bed again and sprayed the floor with carpet cleaner. After about 45 minutes of scrubbing, the carpet looks OK.

We let her stay in the bath for a while to make sure she wasn't going to throw up again, then Todd got her out and started drying her off. She vomited AGAIN all over the bathroom floor and bathmats and herself. I decided to keep her up for a while, so after we got cleaned up a third time, we are now downstairs watching Little Einsteins.

Update: she just threw up all over the couch and me.

Note to self: NO MORE RED KOOLAID!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Handyman


My husband is a man of MANY talents, but unfortunately he did not inherit the "fix it" gene. He will be one of the first to admit this. We have been putting off fixing the tile problem in our shower, but we had to stop procrastinating this weekend. The realtor is coming Monday morning to take pictures of our house for the advertising, and everything needs to be in working order.

Home Depot is an awesome place. They hold "handyman" classes to help people like us learn how to fix things ourselves. This morning, Todd got up early and went to a class on installing tile. He came home an expert. It took him about an hour to replace the broken tiles and re-grout everything. It looks good as new! I am SO PROUD of him. It would have cost a lot of money to hire someone to do it for us. While he was fixing the tile, I gave the master bathroom a fresh coat of paint. The end result is very nice.

I also weeded the flower bed this morning and sprayed Round-Up around the perimeter to keep the grass from growing in the bed. I inadvertently sat in an ant hill while I was weeding....lets just say I haven't danced a jig like today since I found a DVD of Barry Manilow's Copacabana on EBay.

Getting a house ready for sale is exhausting. I sure do appreciate my mom helping me while they were here the past few weeks. I hope all this work is worth it in the end!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Train in Righteousness


I am currently reading a book by Ginger Plowman called "Don't Make Me Count To Three!". I have read another book of Ginger's called "Heaven At Home" which I highly recommend. Anyway, my sweet friend Joy gave me "Don't Make Me Count To Three" when I was recovering from my surgery and had some extra time on my hands to read. I haven't finished it yet, but I was thoroughly convicted by something I read today.

I am reading the chapter on how to verbally reproof your child when disciplining. Ginger reminds us that we are not only to point out our child's sin, but we are to train them in righteousness (tell them what to do INSTEAD of sinning). For example, here's a big pet peeve of mine: whining. When Grace whines, I remind her of the Bible verse that says "Do everything without complaining or arguing." Sometimes we sing the Steve Green song, "Do Everything Without Complaining." However, I have not been training her what to do INSTEAD of whining. The Bible says we are to be thankful for all things. When reproofing Grace for whining, I should also be reminding her to have a thankful attitude to God for what He has done for us.

Today in the car I put this plan into action. After I took her to the playground this afternoon, we went to Payless Shoes to find a new pair of tennis shoes. She didn't want to go to the store and started whining and crying to go home. I verbally reproofed her for whining and complaining and reminded her that God commands us to do all things without complaining. Then I reminded her how much we have to be thankful for today (we just played on the playground for a whole hour, we are going to buy a brand new pair of shoes, we have a nice car with air conditioning after playing hard and getting hot, we met nice friends on the playground, etc.) She started naming several things she was thankful for and her whole attitude changed.

This command to train in righteousness is applicable to every discipline situation. I need to always be thinking how to reach the heart of the matter and model for Grace how to do/say things in a way that is honoring to God. Really, when you think about it, Biblical discipline has four parts:

1. Reproof (point out sin)
2. Train in righteousness (model correct way to act)
3. Chastise (spank, give consequence, etc.)
4. Repent/Pray (ask forgiveness)

When we see our child forcibly grab a toy out of another child's hands, it's easy to do number 1&3&4. "Stealing is wrong. We do not take toys from other children!" (Spank, spank). Now go ask your friend to forgive you..."Please forgive me for grabbing your toy while you were playing." If we include training in righteousness (#2), it should sound something like, "Your friend was having fun playing with that toy. When you took it from him, you put your own desires above that of your friend. We show love for our friends by being happy that they are happy. If you want to play with that toy, you can ask nicely if you can play WITH them, or wait until they are done playing then ask permission." Then you can have your child practice asking permission in a nice way.

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is! But, just like riding a bike, when we spend time training in righteousness, our children will think and act in Biblical principals.

I have a LOT of work to do in this area (#2), and I hope that God will give me wisdom and patience to administer Biblical discipline. I have only touched on many of the practical applications of Biblical discipline that are discussed in Ginger's book. I haven't yet read the chapter on spanking. I'm sure more thoughts will be coming...........

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Political Rally


On television today a Democratic operative pointed out that when Obama holds a
rally 25-30,000 people show up, whereas when McCain holds one he only draws
10-15,000. The Republican spokesman replied, "That's because McCain's supporters are at work."

Todd's New Job

A couple of weeks ago, I shared that my husband Todd got a new job. Tomorrow is his last official day at his old school district, and he will begin his journey as a school administrator in a new district next Monday. After school today, we drove to his new job and moved some things into his new office. It is very nice....furnished simply but with quality furniture and bookshelves. It will be fun to help him decorate (in a manly way, of course....he said NO to curtains) and make the office his own. He also got the keys to his new school. Grace enjoyed running down the long hallways and meeting the custodians while Todd and I unloaded books.

He is immensely thankful for his decade of teaching experience in the realm of music education. I know that a part of him will miss the excitement of halftime shows, drumline competitions, and band trips to Disneyworld. I also know that he will miss the positive interactions with students as he has helped them develop a love for music. He realizes that most of his interactions with students as an assitant principal will be negative discipline issues. However, he's looking forward to the opportunity to impact the campus on a broader level, not just in the area of music. I'm sure that in the future, he will teach an occasional band camp or maybe even private lessons. He'll probably still write drum books for local school districts. And, he'll continue to play in the orchestra at our church.

He was so excited tonight as he walked the hallways of his new school, pointing things out to me and trying to memorize the names of the sweet Hispanic ladies that were cleaning the classrooms. Grace enjoyed dancing to the Mexican mariachi music that they had blasting from a boombox.

God has been good to give him this opportunity for a fresh change.

Real Estate News


Well, I just finished meeting with the real estate agent. I like her a lot, and she was encouraging. She thinks my house will sell. Despite the fact that there is an explosion of new houses being built around us, statistically houses are re-selling in my neighborhood.....fourteen in the past few months. She complimented me for keeping the house in good repair and decorated nicely.

The bad news is that due to the current market, we can't list it for as much as we had hoped. However, I should be thankful that we will come out ahead, hopefully with enough for a down payment on a new home. She is coming back on Friday for us to sign the papers, and the house will be listed by Monday morning. She seems very aggressive and she has the top sales record for her office. We will schedule open houses and show the house as much as possible.

We're praying that it will sell before the end of the year. And, since this is the first time for us to sell a home, we're praying that things will go smoothly and not be too stressful.

Almost....

Well, I almost got everything done that was on my to-do list yesterday. I wasn't able to touch up the paint in the hallway or clean out the flower bed, but the house looks nice. The gameroom especially turned out nice. I even managed to get three hours of sleep last night! Hopefully the real estate agent will have good news for us. We have no idea what price our home can be listed for, and we just hope to come out with enough money to put a nice down payment on a new house.

The agent will be here in 20 minutes, so I'm going to go sweep the porch....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Love Naptime!


I love naptime! Grace and Kie (the little boy I keep) are taking a nap, and I am putting my feet up for a few minutes to try to recover. I have a new-found respect for women who give birth to boys. I never realized how easy Grace is until I started keeping a little boy. The way he plays is exhausting: monster-hunting, super hero rescuing, play fighting, wrestling, car racing, fascination with bathroom activities, soccer, baseball, etc. Today I took them to the park so we could have "races." (I learned some of these tricks from my sister-in-law, Audra). They were both worn out by naptime!

I'm used to quietly sitting around a table and pretending to have a tea party. I'm used to dressing and undressing baby dolls. I'm used to lazily pushing Grace on the swing outside. I'm used to helping Grace bake cookies in the kitchen while listening to the Food Channel. We are being exposed to a whole new way to play!

I'm also amazed to keep a child that actually eats. He is always hungry and he always eats all the food on his plate without me telling him to eat. He even ate 2/3 of Grace's hot dog after he had finished his own for lunch today.

Grace and I are having a lot of fun, and she is constantly asking when Kie will be coming over to our house again? During naptime, Kie sleeps on a napmat on the floor in Grace's room....they do very well going to sleep in the same room. Anyway, last night at bedtime, I heard rustling on the baby monitor. I went upstairs and peeked in Grace's room. She had gotten Kie's napmat out of the closet and set up his bed on the floor. She put one of her baby dolls on the napmat and covered him with Kie's blanket. Then she told her doll, "Go to sleep Kie. No talking. It's bedtime."

She really does love having a playmate.

Busy, Busy


I have been incredibly busy lately trying to get the house ready to sell. We chose a real estate lady who is coming to see our home tomorrow morning at 10:00. This is the list of things I have to do before then:

1. Fill all the holes in the gameroom walls and get it ready to paint.
2. Paint the gameroom.
3. Set up Todd's desk area in the gameroom.
4. Move the treadmill into the gameroom.
5. Move the leather chair upstairs and stage it in our master bedroom.
6. Clean bathrooms.
7. Vacuum house.
8. Dust.
9. Touch up paint in hallway.
10. Clean up front flower bed.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but if I get all that done by tomorrow morning, it will be a miracle. Oh yeah, I'm babysitting two 3-yr-olds all day today and I have church tonight from 6:30-9:00.

It's gonna be a caffeinated day!

Palin Cartoon of the Day

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Palin Cartoon of the Day

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meals for the Week of 9/22


Once again, I overprogrammed our meals last week, so you'll see a repeat that I never got around to cooking.

Monday - leftovers

Tuesday - Southern Stir-fry with Potatoes, Onions, and Sausage

Wednesday - leftovers

Thursday - Spaghetti with Meatsauce

Friday - leftovers

Saturday - French Toast, Bacon, Eggs

Sunday - lunch with friends

Palin Cartoon of the Day

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fireproof

Kirk Cameron


Today was a special Sunday at our church. The guest speaker was Kirk Cameron from "Growing Pains." I'll admit that I have never seen an episode of Growing Pains in my life....I was more of a Family Ties/The Cosby Show kind of 80's girl. Anyway, I'm usually not too excited about celebrities that try to "preach", but today's worship service was incredible.

Kirk's testimony is powerful. As a teenager starring on a hit TV show, he was an atheist. He had a deep interest in science and math, and he began to question the theory of intelligent design. He found it difficult to believe that the intricate and complicated systems of life were just an accident. He began to date a girl who was a church-going Christian, and through the church's ministry began to learn about the Creator. He was convicted of his sinfulness and amazed by the grace of God to send His son to die on the cross for our sins. He is now married and has six children. And, he is using his gifts and talents as an actor to spread the Gospel of Christ through various projects and his new release movie called "Fireproof."

I am one of the first people to complain about the trashy movies that come out of Hollywood, so I feel it is important for me to show my support for "Fireproof" by making sure we see it in the theaters. Hollywood needs to know that there is a demand for this type of movie. I encourage all Christians to go see it in the theaters.

Kirk's message today was powerful and full of the message of salvation. I'm glad to know that there is someone like him in Hollywood....unafraid to speak of the mercy of God towards sinners in need of a Saviour. I hope that God uses Kirk and his new movie to spread the Good News to a large audience.

Palin Cartoon of the Day

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Garage Sale


Well, our garage sale is over and the official profit comes to $717.35! It's hard to believe I earned that by cleaning out my closets. And, I have several things left over to sell on EBay and donate to charity.

It was HOT today, and we are worn out. As we were closing shop around 2:00, a big van with 9 people pulled up and everything we had organized ended up being a mess. But, they spent over $20, so I can't complain. At one point, I thought I was going to have to call 911 because two women almost got into a fistfight over some baby clothes. It was really scary. This big Jamaican woman got all over this other lady for trying to buy "her" clothes. Thankfully the other lady eventually backed down and let the Jamaican woman "win", but we truly thought it was going to be a WWF smackdown.

After I had already scheduled my garage sale, I found out that our neighborhood association was hosting a community garage sale on the same day. I believe that it actually helped drive more business to my sale. We had planned on opening at 8:00 this morning, but people were waiting before 7:30, so we got everything out as fast as we could. Most of the business was between 7:30-9:00, but all-in-all I am pleasantly surprised at how much of my stuff sold today!

Palin Cartoon of the Day

Friday, September 19, 2008

Palin Cartoon of the Day

I've Been Tagged!

I've never been tagged before, but it looks like fun! Here are the rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag

My six randoms facts are as follows:

1. I received a clarinet scholarship to college, but ended up playing drums in the marching band because I had complications from my wisdom teeth extraction. This is how I met my husband.....he was the percussion section leader!

2. When I was 12 years old, I started teaching piano lessons to children in my home.

3. I shared a birthday with two of my college roommates, and had a birthday within two days of my other two college roommates.

4. As a teenager, every time I drove our family's '76 Toyota Corolla, it started on fire. No kidding.

5. I love to play "brain" games on my handheld Nintendo DS to make me sleepy at night.

6. I once fell through the attic floor onto the story below, then played 3 hours of spades before going to the ER.....bad decision.

I'm tagging:
Alyssa at Keeping the Kingdom First
Larry at Take It Or Leave It
Anna at Domestic Felicity
Shawnda at Spirit of Adoption
Kristy at Homemaker's Cottage
Jess at Making Home

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin Cartoon of the Day


For the next few days, I'll be sharing some of my favorite Sarah Palin cartoons.

Haircut






Several people have e-mailed me and asked me to post pictures of my $8.25 haircut. So, here goes! I took one from every angle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Silver Stash


As I was cleaning out my china cabinet and closets, I came across a few pieces of silver including a tray, coasters, piggy bank, child's spoon, and napkin rings. I really want these pieces out of the house because Grace is highly allergic to silver. I was going to sell them at my garage sale, but mom reminded me that many pawn shops will buy gold and silver. I got on the internet and found a local shop. I called and they said today was a great day to sell silver because the price jumped $1.50/oz. today!

I'll admit I was a little nervous to go in the shop, but when I got there it was clean and nice. They gave Grace a lollipop and went to work making sure my pieces were authentic. Some of them turned out to be silver-plated, and they could not buy those. But, I walked out of that shop this afternoon with $220 and a $10 gas card as a free gift. I couldn't believe it! I would have sold all of those items for a few dollars at my yard sale. I'm so glad mom said something.

Ogle School of Hair


I haven't had a haircut in several months, so I was recently thinking that I needed to schedule a beauty appointment. However, I didn't really want to spend the usual $30-50 for a shampoo,cut, and style in one of the local salons. I suddenly remembered someone telling me about the Ogle School of Hair in Ft. Worth. It's a beauty school just down the road that offers salon services to the public for a very inexpensive price. If you can deal with the fact you are being "practiced" on, great deals can be had by all.

I called Ogle and discovered that they offered a shampoo, cut, and style for $8.25. Amazing, huh? I made back-to-back appointments for mom and myself this morning. What a great experience! Their campus is ultra-clean and modern. There are TONS of students and supervisors walking around, and customers are coming in and out constantly. They had about 50 working stations for cutting hair. If a customer wasn't being serviced, then a student was practicing on a dummy with real hair.

When we first walked in the salon, we noticed a woman with a haircut exactly like I wanted. Would you believe that out of the 100 students we saw, SHE was the one we had booked an appointment with? We were so excited, and she turned out to be very sweet. If anyone is in the Ft. Worth area, her name is Sherry and she has a blond bob. What a great job she did! Today was her first day to do a haircut like we requested, so she was very slow and careful. She called her supervisor over several times to make sure she was doing things correctly. Both of our hair turned out great! Actually, this is my favorite haircut that I have ever had. And all for $8.25!

So, here's a great tip....if you are cheap like me, look in the phone book for local beauty schools and call to see if they take public customers. Even if you get a "fresh" student, they are under constant supervision during your whole service. While I was there, I also found out they do spa manicures for $5.00 and spa pedicures for $10.00. What a deal!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toddler Dinnertime


Today I ran across an article that talked about mistakes parents make when trying to get their toddler to eat. Click here to read the article. As a result of reading the article, I decided to try something new tonight.

When it was time to prepare dinner, I put Grace on a chair in the kitchen so she could see and help as much as possible. Since we had leftovers tonight, the only thing we prepared fresh was our dinner salad. Mom got out the cutting board and the veggies from the fridge. We gave Grace her own little knife (not too sharp) and let her "cut" her veggies for her own little salad. She had so much fun! She prepared a salad of lettuce, carrots, apples, mozzarella, and feta cheese for herself. It made her so proud, and when it was time to eat, she took great pleasure in eating her salad.

One of the suggestions in the article was to not "make" her taste everything on her plate. Instead, we talked about how good the food was, and eventually she ate some of everything. I fell back into my old habit once and told her she had to eat her casserole before she got any ice cream....big mistake. She immediately stopped eating her casserole and started asking for ice cream. I learned not to mention dessert at all at the dinner table. When you offer a "reward" for eating something on her plate, it sends the subliminal message that what is on the plate is not "good."

Because the strategies worked so well tonight at dinner, I'm going to keep them up and involve Grace even more in my cooking. We definitely saw her more interested in her salad tonight because she prepared it herself.

There's one thing in the article that I didn't quite agree with. The author suggested that toddlers have unlimited access to healthy snacks. I believe in scheduled eating times, not unlimited grazing throughout the day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Babysitting


A few weeks ago, a friend at my church asked me to consider keeping two of her children on a part-time basis. She has a 3-yr-old son and an 8-yr-old daughter. This is just the opportunity that Todd and I have been hoping for....a way for me to earn some extra money without leaving home. I will care for the 3-yr-old and pick up the 8-yr-old from school two days a week.

We are starting the arrangement tomorrow, and Grace is so excited for the prospect of a playmate! This afternoon I invited their family over to see our home and help the kids feel comfortable with me. Grace and the 3-yr-old had a blast together! She enthusiastically showed him all of her toys downstairs, then took him upstairs to show him her bedroom. She didn't want him to go home when they left, but was happy when I told her he would be back tomorrow.

God has been good to provide this opportunity for additional income. The added bonus is that Grace will have a sweet playmate a couple of days a week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TV Viewing and the Family


I've been sitting here watching a great movie, "National Treasure", with Todd, Grace, and mom. It is a good family movie with a bit of history thrown in. What I have been amazed by is the commercials that are showing during the break. We have seen multiple advertisements for erectile dysfunction medications. We have seen advertisements for local singles hotlines. These particular commercials showed attractive, scantily-clad women lounging on beds and couches asking men to call them. I am outraged that these commercials would be played early in the evening during a "family" movie.

I shudder to think what television will look like when Grace is a teenager. Children and teens who watch television now are barraged with images of sex, nudity, foul language, violence, and inappropriate behavior. It will only get worse with time.

I am amazed at how many parents allow their children unrestricted view of television, including cable. I am reminded of one particular student that I worked with as a school counselor. He was a 7-yr-old boy who was displaying inappropriate sexual behavior in the classroom (I won't list the details). Anyway, when I met with his mother, she revealed to me that he had a TV in his bedroom. I asked her if they used parental controls on his TV, and she said that she did not. He was able to watch cable and movie channels at any time alone in his room. Hmmmm. I wonder where he learned his sexual behaviors? She assured me that he only watched the Disney channel. Right. I advised her to remove his TV from his bedroom and carefully monitor what he watched.

As parents, we must be diligent to protect our children from these images as much as possible. I am not naive enough to think we can raise Grace completly shielded from the things of the world.....especially when she starts going to school. However, we can be proactive and do our best to make sure she is exposed to as little as possible. And, when something does slip by us (like an inappropriate commercial), we can have an open and honest dialogue about it, especially as she gets older.

Meals for the Week of 9/15


Last week, we didn't cook as much because of several changes in our schedule, so this week we will make some dishes we didn't get to make last week. You will notice that we usually have leftovers at least 3 nights per week. I find it more cost effective to cook big and eat leftovers. Also, leftovers usually taste better the next night!

Monday - 3-Alarm Italian Style Chili Mac, Salad

Tuesday - leftovers

Wednesday - Minestrone Soup w/ Garlic Bread, Salad

Thursday - leftovers

Friday - Pizza and Southwestern Caesar Salad

Saturday - Southern Stir-Fry with Potatoes, Onions, and Sausage, Salad

Sunday - leftovers

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Sad News

Dad went home this morning to comfort the family of an 18-yr-old young man, Jamie Purpera, who died in a car accident last night. See previous post for this story. When he arrived home he found out that another church member, Larry Creasy, who has been suffering from cancer, was not expected to live through the day.

Dad's church has been through so much lately. They are still trying to recover from Hurricane Gustav. Many have friends and family suffering through Hurricane Ike. Now, they are dealing with the loss of two church members.

Please pray that God will comfort and strengthen His people.

Update





Dad safely arrived in Baton Rouge this morning. He was able to take off from D/FW airport before the effects of Hurricane Ike arrived. We are now receiving moderate, steady rain. There have been no dangerous winds as of yet....perhaps we are far enough west to miss the gusts. Ike is still moving our general direction, so we'll probably continue to see rain all day.

Galveston and Houston are still being pounded with rain and wind. It is difficult to gauge the damage and fatalities at this early stage until people can get in and start cleaning up. I saw Fox News interviewing a woman who barely managed to escape at the last minute before the authorities started ignoring the 911 calls. When the reporter asked her why she didn't evacuate earlier when she was told to do so, she replied that she just didn't want to stay in the car on a crowded interstate for a long time like she did during Hurricane Rita. Hmmmmm. Sitting on a crowded interstate vs. certain death. Call me crazy, but the choice seems pretty obvious.

I have not heard how authorities dealt with parents who refused to evacuate their children in areas of certain destruction. In my opinion, these children should have been taken into protective custody if their parents refused to take them to safety in areas of MANDATORY evacuation. We know that there were over 1200 calls to 911 after authorities starting ignoring these calls. The police sent a message out in the hopes that some of these people still had some form of media (TV, phone, radio) and told them to "find something that floats and hold on." There is no doubt that many of the people in mortal danger included children. I just pray that God had mercy and spared the people that weren't wise enough to heed precaution.

Sad News

Mom and I just got back from taking dad to DFW airport. He got a phone call around 1:30 this morning that one of his church members, an 18-yr-old boy named Jamie Purpera, was killed in a car crash last night. He got an early plane flight and will hopefully get out ahead of Hurricane Ike.

I didn't know Jamie very well, but I remember him as a sweet, friendly boy that was always smiling and hugging everyone at church. Todd and I got to know him a little during the summer Youth Camps over the last few years. He was a professing Christian who was baptized last summer. He graduated from high school this spring and was looking forward to starting college this fall. He leaves behind his mom, dad, brother, and sister. May God bless them during this difficult time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike


As you have undoubtedly heard in the news, Hurricane Ike is headed our way. It is expected to hit the Texas coast as a Category 3 storm and cause widespread destruction. Officials who conducted the mandatory evacuation of the Galveston area didn't mince words with the stubborn people who refused to leave. They told them that they faced "certain death" and asked them to write their name and social security number on their bodies with waterproof ink so officials could identify their bodies during cleanup.

Even though we live in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, Ike is expected to cause some damage here. High winds, rain, power outages, and gasoline shortages are strong possibilities.

In response to the state warnings, mom and I ventured to our local Walmart last night to get some supplies. We were expecting people to be swarming all over the store, desperate for flashlights and batteries. This was not the case at all. We had no problems finding flashlights, batteries, water, or candles. There was absolutely nobody on these aisles while we were shopping. Weird. Either we are overreacting or people don't listen to the news!

Well, regardless, we are ready.

School Board Meeting

Tonight Todd and I went to the school board meeting for his new district. The school board reviewed his credentials and voted on his employment tonight. He was approved unanimously and welcomed to the district as an assistant principal!

We were so impressed with everything we saw tonight. So many people came up and introducted themselves to us, genuinely interested in who we were. School board members, the superindendent, administrators, teachers.....everyone was so down-to-earth and easy to talk with. This is the job that Todd has been dreaming of. He is SO EXCITED about this new opportunity. He is SO READY for this change.

Through our conversations with people, they found out that I am a former elementary school counselor and Section 504 specialist. I actually got a job offer tonight. One of the friendly principals I was visiting with told me that her current counselor was retiring in December. She asked me to seriously consider coming to work for her this spring. Her elementary school is just down the street from Todd's new campus. While we have not considered me going back to work this early, I truly appreciated the vote of confidence!

Another encouragement was a statement made by Todd's new principal and superintendent. They expect every new assistant principal to have aspirations to become a principal. They train their A.P.'s to one day take over the responsibility of running a school. This is such a positive and supportive philosophy to promote as a district. It supported our feeling that this job is a stepping stone to even better things in the future.

Several people also told us about homes that were for sale in the area. They encouraged us to move to town! As we were driving around before the meeting, we were pleasantly surprised at how neat and quaint the town was. Even the older neighborhoods were well groomed and maintained.

All in all, it was a perfect evening. God has been so good to give us this change. The work of His hand is so apparent in every aspect of these new opportunities.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cleaning Out


Today mom and I spend a while going through all of Grace's baby clothes. It was sad and sweet at the same time. Sweet because it brought such beautiful memories of Grace and the people who lovingly bought her clothes; sad because I always wanted to enjoy her wardrobe on another little girl of my own. After some consideration, I have decided to sell her wardrobe. Todd and I hope to adopt some day, but because of recent events and the uncertainty of our future plans, we have decided to put those plans on hold for the time being. I saved about five dresses that are especially precious to me, but everything else was organized and labeled for sale.

We are planning a garage sale next Saturday, and I'm sure Grace's clothes will be a hit.....they are gorgeous and in good condition. I'm really scaling down. As we have been cleaning out closets and drawers, many items are being put in the garage sale pile. Whatever doesn't sell will be donated to Good Will.

The next time we buy a house, we will buy a smaller house. When it is time to pack our current home, I want it to be an easier process....all the stuff we don't need will already be gone! I really want to live a simpler life. While I am thankful for all the material possessions that God has blessed us with, we have so many things that we don't need. My sweet friend Joy reminded me recently that the "stuff" in life isn't important....our treasure is in Heaven.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Designed to Sell


Mom and I have been working hard to get our house ready to put on the market. I knew those hours of watching "Designed To Sell" on HGTV would come in handy! Mom worked the carpet cleaner the other day, and my carpets now look very nice. We've been cleaning out all of my drawers and closets. Many things have been thrown away, donated, or given away to friends. When the time comes to pack the house, it should be much easier now!

Today we are painting the laundry room. A few years ago I had the harebrained idea to paint it a bright turquoise. I wanted something bright and cheery.....I figured if I was the one doing laundry, I could pick the color! Now we are painting it a more neutral khaki color....very much improved.

The house still needs to be staged. I need to take down most of the family portraits and clean up the fridge. I need to move our leather chair upstairs into the master bedroom and create a "reading nook" with the extra space in our room. Moving the chair out of our small family room will also give the appearance of more space. All the baseboards need a good scrubbing and paint touch-up. I need to reduce the amount of toys that are downstairs. I need to organize the gameroom/office area upstairs. And, I need to donate or sell some of Grace's older toys.

My goal is to call a realtor by the end of the week and start the process.

Oh, I forgot something.....we still haven't fixed our shower! I'll go to Home Depot to finalize what we need to do. See this post for our shower story.

I'll let you know how we progress!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Job Opportunity


I write this post with much joy for my husband Todd. A couple of years ago, he decided to slightly alter his career path. After being a band director for almost ten years, he decided to pursue a certification for educational administration. Because he already had a master's degree in music education, the certification process was relatively simple. He took four semesters of administration classes and did his principal internship last spring while teaching. He took and passed the certification test this summer and finally received his official certificate about four weeks ago!

Most school districts decide on their new hires by June, so Todd has had a difficult time finding openings at this late date. However, an opening came up in a school district about 40 minutes away. He interviewed last Friday, and found out soon that they had trimmed down the pool to their top two picks, and Todd was one of them!

This morning, he interviewed with the superintendent, the assistant superintendent, and the principal of the high school. Within two hours of this interview, they phoned to tell him they had chosen him for the job! He will be the assistant principal on the 9th Grade Campus of the high school. This is just the job he needs to get his foot in the door. We're hoping it will lead to even better things. In the meantime, though, we are very excited about the opportunity!

A job switch at this time of the year will not be easy, though. While his current district is willing to let him break his contract and accept the new position with another district, they will not let him leave until his current position has been filled with a new hire. Thankfully, his new district is very understanding in the matter. They will introduce him to the community at Thursday night's school board meeting. Hopefully, a new hire can be made quickly so that Todd can be released to his new job!

We are also considering moving closer to his new district. Unfortunately, it is west, farther away from our families in Louisiana and Tennessee, but it's all interstate and will only add about 40 minutes to our driving time when we travel east.

Todd is so excited and we are so thankful to start a new career path!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Meals for the Week of 9/8



Monday - Red Beans & Rice with Sausage, Jalapeno Cornbread, Salad

Tuesday - leftovers

Wednesday - Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, Brown Rice, Salad

Thursday - 3-Alarm Italian Style Chili Mac

Friday - leftovers

Saturday - Minestrone Soup, Garlic Bread, Salad

Sunday - leftovers

*As I write this post, mom is making pumpkin bread that we have been eating for breakfast with cream cheese. Also, I've been utilizing my bread maker (inspired by Mrs. Sprinkles) to make multigrain bread for lunch sandwiches and toast.

Homemade Shampoo


I recently came upon a recipe for homemade herbal hair shampoo. It sounded interesting, so I headed to my local health food store to buy the ingredients. I spent $4.89 on herbs that will make approximately 12-15 huge recipes of the shampoo. Saturday night the potent smell of peppermint and spearmint filled the air as I cooked the concoction on my stove. Sunday morning I thorougly enjoyed using the shampoo....the herbal essence made my scalp tingle, feeling cool and clean. Here's the recipe:


Herbal Hair Shampoo

2 T peppermint leaf
2 T spearmint leaf
2 t. sage leaf
2/3 c. clear unscented shampoo (I used .99 Suave Clarifying Shampoo from Dollar General)

In small saucepan on the stove, bring 1 c. water and herbs to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Strain mixture and add clean herbal liquid to 2/3 c. shampoo. Stir together and pour into container or spray bottle.

***I found this recipe to be a little bit thin. Next time I make it, I will add some additional shampoo to thicken it up.***

I am also going to experiment with adding in some conditioner to make an all-in-one product that will save time in the shower. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Conversation at Breakfast

The following conversation took place as we were eating this morning before church:

Grace: Mama, can I watch Mickey Mouse?

Me: No, Grace. It's breakfast time. Please take a bite.

Grace: Daddy, can I watch Mickey Mouse?

Daddy: [distracted, didn't answer] What?

Me: [answers for daddy] No, Grace, we are not watching Mickey Mouse.

Grace: Mama, I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to Daddy. Daddy, can we watch Mickey Mouse?

Oh, the human heart. We then had a "conversation" about when mommy or daddy says "no" you don't go ask the other parent. Of course, I had to keep a straight face.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Delicious Dinner


Tonight we had a delicious dinner. I made homemade BBQ sauce for our slow-cooked beef brisket. Mom made sweet potato fries that were baked in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. They came out crispy and full of flavor. We also made a sangria-type lemonade. We used prepared lemonade and added slices of fresh, juicy fruit including peaches, apples, grapes, and strawberries. We let it sit in the fridge for a while before dinner and it came out nicely marinated. We all used our forks to eat the leftover fruit in the bottoms of our glasses for dessert! Grace loved every bit of it, too.

After we finished eating, Todd and dad took Grace to the local pond to go fishing. Mom and I propped our feet up and turned on Fox News.

Hopefully between the two of them they can keep Grace from jumping in the pond!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Why I Like Sarah Palin for VP


Some of my friends have been surprised that I like Sarah Palin for VP. I guess because I am such a proponent of women being at home with their children, they feel that this translates to being wary of a female with such a powerful and time-consuming job. Especially when that woman has five kids including a special needs newborn. Is it really appropriate for a woman to be involved in such serious matters and be the master and leader of so many men? I'll admit that all of these questions crossed my mind, and so I went to the scriptures to find my answers.

Consider Deborah, a prophetess in the book of Judges (Ch. 4-5). She had a family of her own, and yet she was chosen by God to be an important and very influential judge over the nation of Israel. In her role as judge, she had the power to make important decisions (including matters of war) that were followed by all the people. She had the power to summon Israelite commanders and tell them how to fight their enemies. God blessed the endeavors of the Israelite army under the guidance of Deborah. The Israelite commander even requested that she accompany him into war, and she went. She was a godly woman who obeyed God's commands. As a result, there was peace in the land for 40 years (see Judges 5:31).

Consider Queen Esther in the Old Testament. She used her influence and power as queen to do good for God's people. God placed her in that position and blessed her work to ultimately save the Jewish people (see Esther Ch. 8).

Consider the Proverbs 31 lady. This remarkable woman is praised for her ability to engage in commerce, buy real estate and reinvest her earnings, sew garments and sell them, and still attend the business of her household. She works far into the night and rises early. Her husband and children bless her. She clearly works both inside the home and outside the home in the business world.

I'm sure there are other examples to study in the Bible, but these three women came first to my mind.

I firmly believe that woman's highest calling is to attend to her husband and children. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who loves making a restful home for her family. (Quick book plug: "Heaven At Home" by Ginger Plowman). However, I also believe that God gives certain gifts to certain women. He chooses to use them in powerful ways outside their family home.

Perhaps Sarah Palin is one of these women. While we are all still just getting to know her, she seems to have the values that I like to see in a person with political power. Only God knows her heart, but I am encouraged by her beliefs and political platform. She is adamantly pro-life and values human life. She did not even consider abortion after she found out the child she was carrying in her womb would be born with Down's Syndrome. She is not afraid to confront political corruption and wasteful governmental spending. She understands how important it is to support our military and fight terrorism and evil in the world. She wants to lower taxes and give families more choices about education for their children. She does not support sex education in the schools, as she feels it is the parents' responsibility to teach their children and communicate values about sexual matters. She has been married to the same man for more than two decades and still expresses her love for him in public. She is adamant about spending time with her family and does not allow the demands of her job to interfere with the important needs of her family.

As you have undoubtedly heard in the media, her family is not without problems. Her 17-yr-old daughter is 5 months pregnant out of wedlock. Sometimes despite training our children in the Lord, our children choose to go down a destructive, sinful path. I have seen this happen with many children who have been brought up in faithful homes. Perhaps Sarah and Todd Palin made mistakes with their older children that have resulted in rebellious and irresponsible behavior. Only God knows. What I am encouraged about is that her daughter is choosing to treasure the life that was created in her womb. And, by all appearances, Sarah and Todd Palin are showing unconditional love to their daughter.

I'll admit that while we were watching her acceptance speech, we all cheered and laughed like we were watching Auburn beat Alabama. It was refreshing and entertaining to see a "pitbull with lipstick" take on Washington, D.C. I am praying that God will grant her the strength and energy to be a faithful wife, mother, and political leader.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fall Cleaning


One of mom's talents that she exercises when she comes to visit is to help me be more organized. Today we tackled several drawers, cabinets, and closets. Or, rather, mom tackled them. I mainly sat and watched, telling her which pile to put things in. We worked on the medicine cabinet, kitchen drawers, the foyer closet, the linen closet, bathroom cabinets, and the master closet. Everything now has a place and looks neat and tidy. We created two piles: a pile of stuff to give away to a specific person and a pile to donate to Goodwill. I also found a bunch of stuff that I didn't even know I had!

Since I am feeling better, tomorrow we're planning an outing. Grace has been cooped up in the house for the past week while I've been recovering, so we promised her a trip to a playground tomorrow.

If I'm still feeling good after we get home, I'm sure there will be another closet to tackle.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sweet Memories


Grace has a new way to play with her toys. She loads up her doll stroller with various stuffed animals and clears a path around the bottom floor of our house (one big circle through the family room, kitchen, dining room, and living room). While pushing her stroller, she gets granddaddy to follow her around and around and around this path singing "Following The Leader" from Peter Pan. Today they continuously marched and sang for a minimum of 25 minutes. Dad finally had to stop, but there's no telling how much longer Grace would have gone!

It is really sweet to see her play with my dad.....she considers him her personal plaything! Since she doesn't get to see him that often, he spends a lot of time playing with her and making her feel special.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bored


You can tell I've got more time on my hands to play on my computer. My friend posted a story on her blog about a funny yearbook program. You can play with it, too, if you click here.

This is what my yearbook photo would have looked like if I had graduated in 1966.

Setback

Shortly after I wrote my last post, I started feeling more and more pain. It got so bad that I eventually called my doctor's answering service, and they told me to come back to the hospital. The Darvocet that I was taking for pain was just not effective, and I was not getting any rest. It took a while, but eventually they gave me some strong pain relief drugs through an IV that helped me be able to relax. They did a couple of precautionary tests to make sure there was not something more serious going on, then they sent me back home with stronger pain meds.

Words of advice: Before surgery, discuss with your doctor his/her philosophy of pain relief. I didn't realize going into this that my doctor holds a more conservative philosophy of pain relief, preferring instead to encourage deep breathing and limited use of mild pain relief. I literally had to beg for medicine, and it was always discouraged and sometimes not given at all. I truly feel that this conservative philosophy has slowed my healing and directly resulted in having to go back to the hospital a second time, thereby racking up more bills and unnecessary tests.

I don't have enough medical knowledge to form an opinion on what pain relief philosophy is best, but I will tell you this: using more aggressive pain meds today has allowed me to relax, rest, and sleep.