Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally...A Parenting Tip That Works!

"MOOOOOOOOM, can I...

...watch TV?"
...play the Wii?"
...play on the iPod?"


I don't know about you, but these are questions I hear constantly. I don't hear it much during the school year because we are so busy, but this summer I have heard it A LOT. I really don't like my kids to watch a lot of TV or play too many video games, but I hate to feel like a "meanie" all the time by constantly saying NO.

So, I decided to implement a card system (that I have probably seen somewhere along the way in a magazine or website) that allows them so much TV/Media time each week. I made up cards for each boy in 30 minute increments. They get a set amount of TV time each week and a set amount of time for "media" which is to be used for video games, iPod, computer, etc. I put all the cards in a jar on the counter and when they want to use one, they bring it to me and I put it in another jar on the counter. So far, I have to say, it is working like a dream! No more Mrs. Bad Guy. They know based on how many cards are in the jar whether or not they can watch or play.

We have also set up ways that they can earn more time by playing outside, reading, or general good behavior, etc. This has been great because they have been motivated to do those "good for you" things as a result.

If you are like me, you probably have a ton of ideas like this stored in your brain, but have never actually implemented. Bite the bullet. Give it a try. What do you have to lose? I just wrote it out with a sharpie on index cards. Super easy and (so far) VERY MUCH worth the effort! Or you could print out some of these.

Now, I should probably make or print some for myself! :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top Ten Reasons I Have Not Updated My Blog Recently

1) I tend to be an all or nothing person. Either I do it all the time or not at all. It happens with all sorts of things including, but not limited to, laundry, cleaning, eating, exercising, blogging. It can be a problem, but hey...I am a work in progress.

2) I currently don't have a computer of my own (I am using Rich's). If anyone would like to set up an iBook fund for me, I promise I would blog more (that is unless reason #1 continues to be an issue). I'll be honest, it's a gamble.

3) I have been (literally) working by bottom off to the tune of 15 pounds so far! And yes I said "bottom". I have an aversion to the other b word for that body part, you know the one with two t's at the end (shudder). Didn't know that about me, huh? Well, it's true.

4) I am still not drinking soda! Okay that has nothing to do with why I have not been blogging, but I thought you should know. And in the interest of full disclosure, I do have a sip now and then, but for all intents and purposes---SODA FREE!

5) Rich was out of town for two weeks in June. Enough said.

6) There are some days that I just don't have much to say...awkward.

7) There are some days that I just have too much to say...overwhelming.

8) I am too lazy to download pictures and a blog without pictures is kind of sad.

9) I didn't think I could get by with writing every post as a Haiku, although I did consider it.

10) And last, but not least...(Okay, here is where I would insert a cute picture of my boys as another reason I haven't been blogging, but alas there is reason #8 to keep me from doing that). Soooo, I will just say they do keep me busy and promise to post some new pics of them soon!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Surrender

Surrender
Surrender I find,
is a place not an action.
Abiding rest, peace in Christ.
 
A Haiku by Alana Cummings

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Big D Revisited

If you have read this blog for some time, you might remember a time when I journaled my progress on what I like to call The Big D (aka diet, weight loss journey, healthy lifestyle, cruel and unusual punishment...choose whatever semantical choice that works for you). During that time I lost about 15 pounds (my most successful attempt at weight loss ever). After some time, my motivation and resolve dissipated and that journey (successful, but unfinished) ended.

Fast forward to three weeks ago, when (by the grace of God), I picked it back up again (the journey). I hesitate to say this on my blog because this creates a whole new level of pressure for me, but I experienced a victory in this area today that is worth being told.

Let me catch you up a little bit. I have completed three weeks of this journey so far which has included eating only 1200-1300 calories a day and exercising 4-5 times during the week (not to mention giving up soda!).

The first week I lost 2 lbs. Right, not great for a first week, but I'll take it.

Last week, 1/2 lb. Discouraging, but I pressed on.

This week. 1/2 lb. (that is one half of a pound, not 1-2, just to clarify ; ).

My initial reaction(s) after my dreaded visit to the scale?

Heap of tears on bed.

Defeat.

Hopelessness.

Distinct impulse to make muffins and gorge myself on them.

Just to name a few.

Thankfully, Rich (my husband) came over and gave me a hug, and even though he didn't do it out loud, I know he started to pray for me because I felt God's sweet peace come over me. So, I dried my tears, got off the bed and finished getting the boys off to school. After they left, I decided to forgo the muffins, and opted for something more substantial (the bread of life). I am so grateful that I did because He gave me such a beautiful, victorious perspective to replace my defeated one.

You see, one of my goals in all of this (aside from losing weight) has been to stop running to food for my needs and instead run to God (Inspired by reading the book, Made To Crave by Lysa Terkeurst...get it, read it).

About halfway through my time with Him this morning, I realized I did just that (okay, I am bawling now), but you see, every other time I have experienced this point in a weight loss journey (defeat), I have thrown my hands up in the air and said, "Well, I might as well eat whatever I want, because, what is the point?!".

Well, friends....

Today, I see the point.

The point is that I need...

GOD (NOT food)

EVERY.
SINGLE.
MINUTE.
OF.
EVERY.
SINGLE.
DAY.

THAT is the point.

VICTORY.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The View From Where I Sit This Sunday Afternoon














- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Prepare To Be Shocked

17 days.

That is how long I have gone without a COKE or soda of any kind!

If you know me at all, you know that this is...

HUGE.

MONUMENTAL.

UNHEARD OF.

Need proof? This is the Mother's Day card William made for me last year. 



Yeah. I have never gone more than 5 days without a soda before. I can hardly believe it myself. I have committed to being soda free until Easter. My hope is by then I won't want it anymore after that. Possible? Maybe. The jury is still out. It was actually not as difficult as I expected. The first week was the hardest, but since then it hasn't been so bad. I am trying to figure out exactly how I feel about it all. I don't necessarily feel like I want one, but I think my mind still thinks I should? It is all kinds of weird.

Stay tuned...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

10 Foods I Cannot Be Trusted With...

1) Snack size Snickers bars (or any size Snicker bars for that matter)

2) Coca-Cola (don't have to read far in this blog to figure that one out)

3) Reese's Easter Eggs (and now they make them for every season?...help!)

4) Starbuck's Java Chip Ice Cream (must keep a ten foot pole between me and this ice cream)

5) Mashed Potatoes (clearly if I feel the need to mention them in the "about me" section of my profile, I have a problem!)

6) Iced Sugar Cookies (oh the yummy sugary goodness, no amount is too many)

7) Yellow Cake (I know it sounds weird, but I don't even need the icing...just give me some CAKE!)

8) Fruit Roll-Ups (this one clearly goes back to childhood)

9) Coke (I know I already mentioned this one, but the addiction is so bad it bears repeating)

10) Doritoes (pair these with the Coke and well, I'm sort of unstoppable)

Coming soon...12 step program for junk food?!?!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hallmark, Eat Your Heart Out!

I have been meaning to share this for awhile. Both boys made me homemade cards for Valentine's Day. Rich does a great job of getting them to do this for me on birthdays and special holidays. I love these homemade cards SO much! Remember the one William made featuring my favorite soft drink? Well, I just had to share the one Richie made this year because it features another favorite of mine...


Front:

This is me doing yoga with (apparently) REALLY large hands! I especially like the attached lollipop, a must have after a nice cleansing yoga session! :-)


Inside:

It says, "Happy Valintines Day and a Happy Yoga time"! And then on the right hand side he drew the logo for "Vessels of Clay Yoga" where I take Christ Centered yoga classes.

I could not love this more.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Cardboard Testimony

I shared a raw and vulnerable piece of my heart last night. I was not alone. Last night I had the privilege of walking in a long line of women who shared their "stories" or testimonies on a simple piece of cardboard at an event called Pure Joy. I have many stories that I could share about what God has done in my life, but this is the one that is dearest to my heart.

This was my "cardboard testimony"...

Side 1 (Before)


 Side 2 (After)


I shared this "story" a lot more in depth in a post that I wrote last spring, you can read it HERE.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On Parenting, Running (aka dying), Macs, And Being "Miss Alana"

I hate that I left you with that last post for so long. Can you say downer? Things are definitely looking brighter around here. Both of the situations seemed to work themselves out shortly after my last post. Of course, I am sure there are more on the horizon, but for now all is well. Parenting (and life) is just HARD, there is no way around it. Can I get an amen?

On a more chipper note, I have bad news. Wait, that is not so chipper, is it? Oh well, I promise that the bad news will be over after this. My beloved notebook Mac computer has passed away. It lasted several years and served me well, but it seems to have really said it's final farewell. It appropriately left me in a very poetic way with just a blank white screen and the Apple logo. Sad. Unfortunately that means that I will only be able to use the computer when Rich brings his laptop home from work and I am afraid that is going to seriously damage my blogging capabilities. I will have my phone, but I don't think writing blog posts from the keyboard of my iPhone is entirely advisable. I guess if I get desperate, that would be an option, though! Let's all have a moment of silence for dear old Mac.

(SILENCE.)

So, speaking of dying...that is exactly what I wanted to do during my last walk/run of the Couch to 5K program I am doing. I not only wanted to die, I actually thought I was going to! Did I really run 2 5K's a couple of summers ago? Clearly I have fallen far FAR FAR from that place. I am also a little behind on my running assignments. I intended from the start to only do it two days a week (it is meant to be done 3 days a week), but I have had a week or two when I only got to do it once and one week when I didn't do it at all (snowed in and no working treadmill). So it seems I am on track to finish this nine week program in about, oh...18 weeks? It could be worse, right? But hey, I am confident that I will finish...eventually.

So, just in case you are waiting around for the point of this post, I will go ahead and tell you there really isn't one. However, there is one more thing I'd like to share. I forgot how wonderful it is to be "Miss Alana"! That is what my Kindermusik kids call me and they truly make me feel like a rock star. It is so fun to be in a store and hear a Mom say, "Look, there's Miss Alana!" and see little faces light up as a result. One of my other favorite things about being "Miss Alana" is when a Mom comes up to me to tell me how much their kids love Kindermusik and that they ask them everyday to come to music class. What is there not to love about that?! So, all that to say I am really loving my new (old) job...again!

Okay, I guess that about wraps it up for now. What is new with you? Oh, I guess maybe if I stopped by some of your blogs or Facebook pages, I might find out. I will. I promise. SOON.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When Your Heart Can't Breathe

Have you ever been disappointed by a friend? Let down by someone you love? Did someone you count on really let you down? Yeah. Me, too. It makes your heart hurt, doesn't it? I mean, it literally feels like your heart...HURTS. To me it actually feels like my heart is gasping for breath.

As bad as that feels, there is something worse....seeing your child's heart hurt in that way. It's been a tough night at our house. I had "heart gasping for air" talks with both of my boys tonight about friendships, hurts, and disappointments.

As I was talking with one of the boys and grasping for something, anything to say to make it better, I decided that I would just pray with him. As soon as I started praying, he burst into tears. I grabbed his little hand and I prayed some more, the tears lessened, by the time I got to the "amen" his breathing had calmed and I could tell he was feeling some peace. It is amazing how a prayer can bring comfort like that. There is no greater peace than the peace of God. None. After our prayer, I decided to pick up our favorite devotional book (Jesus Calling - the kid version) for some HELP, because well, I had NOTHING. Just look at the little gem that was there waiting for us in tomorrow's reading (I figured God would be okay with us skipping ahead a bit ;-).

"No one is perfect - not your best friend, not your mom or your dad, not your sports hero or favorite television star. Sooner or later, someone in your life - someone you really counted on - will let you down. You can end up feeling angry, hurt, and betrayed. You may feel like you are falling, with no one to catch you or help you up. So who can you count on? Count on Me. I will never let you down. And when others do let you down, I will be your safety net. I will not let you crash. Not only am I always there with you, but I am holding your hand. and I promise, I won't ever let go."

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save." 
Zephaniah 3:17 

"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." 
Psalm 73:23-26

Isn't that amazing and perfect? What a comfort to a little heart that is hurting and to a Mother's heart that feels like it is literally gasping for air. People WILL let us down. No one is perfect. We can count on that for sure.

But there is One who will NEVER let us down, 
who will catch us when we are falling, 
who will give our hearts OXYGEN when they are gasping for breath, 
who gives us PEACE amidst hurt, 
who always LOVES us, and always ACCEPTS us, and always APPROVES of us. 

And in that TRUTH we find our comfort.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Great Expedition of 2011

Last week Rich took William on an "expedition". William would like to travel the world, but seeing as he is only six, we really only allow him to travel around the neighborhood and even then he needs an adult chaperone. Check out these humorous documentary style videos Rich sent me in "real time" as they conquered the treacherous neighborhood terrain. I realize there are several videos, but each one is brief and worth your time. My hubby is a pretty funny guy! I especially like #3 and #5. Enjoy!


video

video      

video   

  video    

video   

video  

video   

video   

video

video 


  video

video

video

video

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dinosaurs, and Dragons, and Jedi's...OH MY!

The world as I see it...

Dinosaurs on my bedside table


A dragon in the refrigerator?


And a Jedi battle (with guest star Indiana Jones) on the bathroom sink.

Monday, January 31, 2011

And Provisions, I Did Get.

Well, according to the National Weather Service, we are about to experience the worst winter storm in our area since 1912. Yowsa. And well, let's just say...people are FREAKING OUT.  Of course, I can't really judge, because I have done a little freaking out of my own today. I mean, I am hardly equipped with the appropriate survival skills for an apocalyptic storm, being a member of the 21st century and all. I wasn't even in Brownies as a little girl.

So, after some research (okay, scrolling Facebook statuses), I decided the thing to do was to go to town for provisions. According to my FB friends, the store of the "super"ness was NOT the place to go. In my denial, I decided to peruse the parking lot anyway. It didn't look entirely foreboding, so I took a gander through the window as I drove by the front of the store. Right. Game over. Time to travel across the street to a more pleasant store...you know, the one with the target? I decided to get as many things as possible there and then brave the local grocery store for the rest. It turned out to be a good plan. I do SO love the store with the target.

And provisions, I did get.  What is it about an impending storm that brings on the clearly instinctual desire for JUNK FOOD? I mean, whatever would I do if I was snowed in for any period of time and I had no Doritoes, place and bake cookies, or HEAVEN FORBID, Coca-Cola? It's truly a scary thought. In all seriousness, I do TRY to eat healthy most of the time, but a girl has her weaknesses and I would certainly not want to have a weak moment in the middle of a snowstorm with no possible way of getting to the store with the target.

Don't worry (Mom), I also got bread, milk, eggs, and bottled water. And (Dad) we are planning to fill the bathtubs with water and gather plenty of candles, matches, etc.  Unfortunately, we have no fireplace, generator, or four wheel drive vehicle, but we do have sweet friends who do. AND they have offered to share. I told you they were sweet.

So. for now we are hunkering down, praying for the best case scenario and holding fast to this promise...

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." 

Matthew 6:34
(The Message)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Musings

I can't stop blowing my nose! I can't understand the biology behind where all that stuff comes from!

Apparently my first week Kindermusik classes is being met with a MAJOR winter storm. Lovely.

I had a birthday a little over a week ago and this is what my husband gave me...


It's the grown-up version of this.  Seriously, go out and buy both of them today. If I could I would buy you all copies and give them to you myself. They are THAT good. Underneath the Jesus Calling devotional (seriously click on that link and BUY it!) book is a new journal in pink and brown (it matches my Bible, you guys!). Big points for Rich on this one. We also went out as a family to Olive Garden after lunch and it was truly a lovely time. And anyone with kids knows that that is saying A LOT.

I am currently in love with reed diffusers. Where have they been all my life? Especially the ones in the pretty bottles. I love the lavender vanilla version I got from Target recently! Yes, I bought a birthday present for myself.

Back to Kindermusik, I had a free preview class this week and it was FUN! We had a great time. I have several kiddos enrolled, but am still hoping and praying for more.

Oh yeah, I started back to running. Remember, I started running a couple of years ago and even ran my first 5K! I am not necessarily training for a particular 5K this time, although, I may decide to run one. However, I am using the Couch to 5K app and I LOVE it. I highly recommend it if you are wanting to give running a try. Trust me people, if I can do it, anyone can!!

And, I suppose that is all for now. Over and out.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Winter Cold Survival Kit

A little chicken noodle soup. Easy peasy, you don't even have to add water! And tasty, too.


Some hot tea. Okay, you gotta add a little water here...and some milk and sugar. British style all the way.


My favorite fuzzy blanket.

A pretty box of Kleenex, but SO wishing they were Puffs Plus right now. I'm feeling a little Rudolph nose coming on.

And entertainment for all. This is a delightful "feel good" movie. The perfect choice for a day when you're feeling NOT so good.


Top it off with a little chocolate, complete with cheery saying inside. And you are well on your way to a full recovery!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reset

Behind on Blogging.
Behind on personal email.
Behind on work email.
Behind on paperwork.
Behind on dishes.
Behind on laundry.
Behind on DVR shows.
Behind on Facebook.
Behind on house cleaning.
Behind on grocery shopping.

I need a reset button.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The "S" Word

Thankfully my kids are still not very knowledgeable in the world of cuss words. However, Richie is 9 nine now and I keep expecting for him to come home with a "doozy" at any point. We have told him that he should never repeat a word if he doesn't know what it means and that if he ever hears one that he doesn't understand that he can always come to us and ask us what it means and we will tell him.

A couple years ago one of his teachers came up to me after church to tell me that he announced in class that he had trouble controlling his tongue to not say the "S" word. I was slightly concerned until he revealed that the "S" word in question was actually STUPID.

Fast forward to this week when he received some Scrabble silly bands as a party favor. He opened the package in the car and was very disappointed to find that none of the initials for his name were in the package. He decided to make the best of the situation and spell a different word. After a few minutes of thinking it over, he said, "Oh man, the only word I can make is a cuss word." Curious, I asked him what cuss word he could make. He replied, "It's the "S" word. I was pretty sure that the "S" word was probably no longer "stupid", but I wasn't sure, so I asked him to spell it for me.

This is the "cuss" word he spelled.

S
*
E
*
X

Bwahahahahahaha!

After I composed myself, I attempted to explain how that particular word is not really a cuss word, but probably not one he should be using, either.

Oh, the joys and challenges of motherhood!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Open To His Grace

Okay, this is the "open to His grace" pose that I mentioned in my last post! That is my (Christ centered) yoga teacher, Robyn in the front.  Isn't she pretty? I think you can tell from this picture that Christ shines brightly through her! Thanks for the visual aid, Robyn!


Also, if you want to look for a Christ centered yoga class near you and you don't live in Btown, click here to see if there are any in your area. OR you could order a video from Yahweh Yoga and try it on your own at home. I have Gentle Journey and love it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Top 10 Things I Love About Christ Centered Yoga

I have always wanted to try yoga, so last year when I was presented with the opportunity to try a Christ centered yoga class, I jumped for the chance! It is now one of my favorite things EVER. It is by far my all time favorite exercise. Okay, it is my ONLY favorite exercise, let's face it, no other exercise even comes close to falling in that category. This class has been a true blessing physically, mentally, and spiritually. Also, I have made a sweet and dear new friend in my yoga teacher, Robyn. She is such an encouragement and inspiration to me in yoga as well as in my spiritual life. 
So without further ado, and not necessarily in any order, I present my list...

1) "Open To His Grace" Pose
This is my favorite pose that we do in class. I wish I had a picture, but basically you have your arms up and outstretched toward heaven (God), also your face is looking up as well. It feels wonderful physically, but spiritually it gets me every time. When I first started doing this class, I was just starting to really "get" God's grace for the first time in my life and every time we did that pose I wanted to fall on the floor in a heap of grateful tears. Are you open to His grace? Honestly, I think the majority of Christians don't truly understand God's grace. I didn't for 35 years even though I grew up in the church! I penned this Haiku poem during that time of realization.

understanding grace
years of wasted energy
rest in You at last

2) Peace
I have learned to experience God's true peace through this class. I have one of those brains that goes non-stop...thinking, planning, worrying, obsessing. But in class, for that one glorious hour and 15  minutes (as well as other times during my daily life), God quiets my brain and I am able to enjoy peace in His presence. Priceless.

3) Breath of De-Stress
I feel like I have caught my breath for the first time in my life. Learning to stop and breathe when I am stressed has proven to be invaluable. Try it, breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, it does wonders!

4) Centering on Christ
One of the keys to a balancing pose in yoga is finding a focal point, in other words finding an object to set your eyes on so that you can keep your balance. What a parallel for life, my friends! I find balance in my life when my focus stays on Christ. If we stay focused on Him at all times, even in the difficult times, He will keep us from falling.

5)Yoga Pants
Need I say more?

6) Aura Cacia Lavender Spray

My teacher sprays this over us after every class. I now own a bottle of my own and use it every night and sometimes during the day! It smells wonderful and is at the top of my list of favorite things right now! Seriously, order some today and you will thank me. YUM.

7) Silk Lavender Eye Pillow
We use these at the beginning and end of each class for our relaxation time. Yes, there is relaxation time before AND after class! Hallelujah!! These are great for helping you ease into a nap or just to help you relax during the day if you only have a few minutes. I also have one of these and have given them along with the spray as a gift! Want one?

8) Strength
 I have been doing this for over six months now and even from the beginning I could tell that each week I would get stronger, more flexible, more steady, and more able. I can do things now that I would never thought possible before. Another spiritual parallel if you ask me, take it and run with it!

9) Truth
Before and after every class Robyn reads a scripture and prays over us. God speaks to me so clearly through these times. So often if feels as if that scripture must have been picked especially for me that day. God is cool like that.

10) Relaxation Time
I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating. This is the time before and after class that we lay on our backs, with the eye pillows on our eyes, and the lavender spray in the air to truly relax and let all of cares go. I have actually learned to truly relax and embrace God's peace during this time and I cherish every glorious minute of it.

Lastly, this comes from my heart. This is not a paid advertisement, I promise! However, if you are interested in finding out more about the class and you live in Btown, just contact me and I will get you Robyn's contact info. If you don't live in Btown and are interested in a class like this, google Yahweh Yoga. There are now Christ centered yoga teachers all over the country. Maybe there is one in your area, too!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Despite Intentions

After I dropped the kids off at school this morning, I was unable to resist the unexplainable gravitational pull my vehicle had toward Starbucks. I am starting to think they are in cahoots with the auto industry. I mean is there a magnet in my car that attracts to a magnet at Starbucks? It surely seems so.

Anyway, I decided to use some of my gift cards from Christmas. Yes, I said giftcard(s), as in more than one. Haven't you ever been to Starbucks before? NOT. CHEAP. However, this was no ordinary trip to Starbucks. I had a mission. My plan was to purchase one of these...


and one of these...


and (cue the angels singing) one of THESE...



After receiving said goodies, I continued merrily on my way to my destination.  I had every intention of giving ALL of this...


and HALF of this (angels singing again)...

 
 
to...

 Cute, huh?

Do you like how I'm using the pictures? Kind of like those picture stories we read as kids in our monthly edition of Highlights. I wonder what mischief Goofus is up to these days? Okay, digressing.

ANYWAY. The only problem was that when I got to the college where Rich teaches, all that was left of the....


were these...



What you can't see anything? Let me give you a closer look.


All that was left were a few measly crumbs. 

And here is where I could (and probably should) delve into a more deep and insightful post about how too many times (despite my intentions) the person I love most in my life  ends up with only the few crumbs I have left in my bag. But I think that meaning is inferred, so I will just say...

I'm sorry. You deserve more than crumbs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Blog Is Being A Bully Today

My blog is saying...

...that I must write something here

...that it needs to be witty or inspiring 

...that I have nothing worthwhile to say

...that it has been too long since my last "real" post

...that maybe there was a reason I stopped blogging in the first place

...that I have clearly not found my "voice"

...that I have written too many of these "ellipsis style" posts


I am saying...

...SHUT UP, BLOG. SHUT UP.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And We Have a WINNER!

Congratulations to JP'S MOM!

To find a winner, I entered in the number of comments (entries) as the maximum number and clicked the random number generator for the result. The result was 12 and the 12th person to leave a comment was...JP's Mom!

JP's Mom, please contact me for details on how to redeem your prize!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Will's Family Portrait

I shared this on Facebook awhile back, but wanted to put it on the blog for posterity. William is a great little artist (don't have any idea where he gets that from) and I LOVE this portrait he did of our family. The only problem is he made me look way more hip than I actually am in real life, ha! Maybe I should look into a pink dress and red heels?


But seriously, I hope he always sees our family (and the world) this way!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Guess What? The World Doesn't End When You...

...don't send out a Christmas card.

...say "NO."

...are honest about how you feel.

...are honest about what you think.

...go out in public without make-up.

...don't send thank you notes for every little gift.

...don't have the perfect outfit for a certain event.

...buy an affordable gift instead of the "perfect gift".

...don't attend every "home based business" party you are invited to.

..let your kids do (fill in the blank) themselves.

...don't do everything perfectly.

...make a mistake.

...fail.

I KNOW! I never would have believed it before either, but I have tested all these theories and it's TRUE, the world doesn't end! Hallelujah! 

Freedom!

Here's the thing, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure there are more theories like this out there that just haven't been tested. What do you think? Got any silly theories like this that are holding you hostage? Have you ever tried the theory to see if it is ACTUALLY true? I bet you even suspect it's not, but maybe you are still too afraid to try. Well, here's my challenge to you.

Just do it. 

Or 

Just don't do it.

I DARE YA!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

WAIT? Why.

So. I was all set to write this post last night and do you know what happened? The window where I am writing these very words had a little gray and white spinning wheel and WOULD NOT let me write a single word! So, I had to WAIT. I tried a little later, still not working. And then I tried again. Nope. Okay, well. Apparently I need to WAIT. And WAIT, I did. Any guesses on what I was planning to write this post about? You guessed it. WAITING.

Fast forward to this morning and I guess the timing is right now because the little gray and white spinning wheel went away and I am able to type words here again. I wonder now why I had to wait? It is possible the answer to that "why" will be revealed to me at some point, but for now I simply do not know.

Which leads me to the original intent of this post. I lost my job. No, I didn't lose it just now, but I lost it in the fall and NO, I didn't get fired. I guess you could say that I was "let go". Basically, I worked for a non-profit organization and they no longer had the money to pay me. Honestly, I worked there for two years and I half expected at any point during that time for my boss to turn to me and say, "Guess what? I can't pay you anymore.". And when the time did come, his words were not far off from that.

Ironically, I felt a peace about it the whole time. I never felt like God had abandoned me or that we would not be able to make it financially. I learned during a very difficult financial journey last year (mind you that journey is not over) that He will take care of us. Always. Without fail. He might not do it in a comfortable amount of time (or in a comfortable way), but He will do it. There is a saying, "God Is Never Late; He's Seldom Early; He's Always Right On Time". I have found this to be true. And believe me, that theory was tested last year. A LOT.

Here's the thing, though. Even though we were in this tough financial position and  I had lost my job, I felt like God was telling me to "wait" for Him. Now don't get me wrong, it was not a big booming voice from heaven. To me, when God speaks, it is more of a "sense". As in I sense that I should or should not do something. And for some reason, I was sensing that I should WAIT. Time and time again that word kept coming up to me. So, I did. I waited. And I waited and I waited.

Some might think that would be easy. I mean I wasn't working, I was free to do whatever I wanted, right? But honestly? It was one of the hardest times of my life, for other reasons than the obvious one, but let me assure you, that waiting is NOT EASY. I kept thinking...

1) "But God, people are going to think that I'm lazy and I just don't want to work!" 

2) "God, we need the money!" 

3) "God, I could do this job or that job, couldn't I?"

But do you know how He answered those questions?

1) SO? WAIT.

2) I KNOW. WAIT.

3) NO. WAIT.

The underlying message of "WAIT" was there EVEN through the holidays when we really needed the money. So, I waited and He provided in surprising and miraculous ways each and every month.

Wow. This is getting long, but please bear with me.

So, I waited through the holidays as well and it almost got to the point that when he lifted the "WAIT". I wan't sure I heard him right. But He did. He lifted the waiting and guided me in a direction, He "okayed" my each and every step and here I am at the end result. I am teaching Kindermusik again. I won't go into the whole story because this is getting dreadfully long and I haven't entirely gotten to the point yet! Long story short? I used to do that (teach Kindermusik) and stopped. I didn't think I would ever be doing it again, but here I am. If you had asked me six months ago or six weeks ago if this was what I would be doing, I would NOT have believed you. But this is where I am and I believe it is for a reason and I am seeing now the "WHY" in His wait.

You see all during that wait time, I was going through a very difficult time with a friend. Ultimately that time ended in the loss of our friendship and I believe that God knew I needed time to grieve that loss. Yes, it was that big of a loss. I care. A LOT. I have lost one maybe two friendships of any significance in my life and none so volatile and hurtful as this. This was a big deal. A difficult process to muddle through. I'm not sure what use I would have been at any employer during that time. God used that time to draw me closer to Him. He taught me that telling the truth in love is HARD, but absolutely necessary. He taught me that my worth is not in any relationship, but the one I have with HIM. I had time to seek answers in His word, to listen to what He had to say, and to pray like I have never prayed before. I wish I had a happy ending to that story, but so far? I don't. He's still saying, "WAIT." I pray He is working. I know He is working. I believe he is working.

I wonder why I have to WAIT. I don't want to WAIT. It's hard. But I will continue to do so until He lifts the "WAIT. I will trust Him and pray with all hope that He someday allows me the honor of seeing the WHY in HIS WAIT.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kindermusik With Alana is BAAAAACK! And I'm Giving...


...A SEMESTER OF CLASSES AWAY...
(for one child)

FREE!!!!!
(materials not included)

...To ONE VERY LUCKY WINNER! 
(only valid for Kindermusik With Alana in Btown)

All you have to do to enter is become a FAN of "Kindermusik With Alana" on Faceboook!

To give you some more chances to win, you can get up to THREE EXTRA ENTRIES by doing any or all of the following:

1) Post a link to the "Kindermusik With Alana" fan page on Facebook and ask your friends to become a fan, too!

2) Post a Testimonial about your experience with Kindermusik With Alana in the past (on the "Kindermusik With Alana" Facebook Fan page) OR if you have never participated in Kindermusik before, write how excited you would be to participate in a class with your child!

3) Post a picture of your child (on the "Kindermusik With Alana" Facebook Fan page) participating in a Kindermusik With Alana class. Sorry, this is valid only for clients who have taken classes with me before.

WAIT, don't go yet...when you have done all these things, come back and write a separate comment HERE on this blog FOR EACH THING YOU DID TO ENTER. I will use a random number generator to pick a winner from the comments! That way everything is fair and square! 

The Winner will be announced on or before 10 pm on Tuesday, January 11th!

Okay, GO!!! 

*All are eligible, if you cannot use the free semester, give it away as a gift! As long as the recipient lives in close proximity to the Kindermusik With Alana studio.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So. About That Pesky Laundry.

It's kind of sad that laundry is enough of an entity in my life to fill up enough words for an actual blog post, but it is. Even more sad is that this is not the first time I have blogged about laundry.

Nor, dare I say, the last.

The last time I blogged about laundry it was about making my own laundry detergent. Yes, really. Well, I'm here to tell you, that lasted all of about, well...one batch. And I still have some if you'd like to try it.

The time before that was more of a celebratory post about actually conquering the laundry. See exhibit A. Yes, I actually took "before and after" pictures of the laundry because the difference was that striking.

Well, today I blog about laundry to offer a confession. My laundry pile? For the last several (insert mumbling here instead of actual quantity of time) has looked more like the "before" picture than the "after".  It seems that laundry has without a doubt become an IHC (Irrational Hate Chore) for me. And it's getting to be a problem. And it just will not do. I mean, we NEED clothes. It's really a non-negotiable, don't ya think?

So, in an effort to get a fresh start we took the whole kit and kaboodle (Yes, I just said "kit and kaboodle", and I'd do it again) to the college where Rich teaches. You see they offer a laundry service to the students and faculty for a minimal charge. I KNOW. The only thing I DON'T KNOW is why on earth I have not used this service before, but he has taught there nine years and this is the very first time. Anywho. I cannot explain the joy that I felt when I sent it all off only to receive it a mere day later, washed, dried, and folded. Amen.

There is just one problem. I can't seem to muster the energy to put it all away! It's like the suitcase I don't want to unpack. It is entirely sad and pathetic. I clearly have issues. Wait, what was I saying earlier this week? I repeat. My worth is NOT in my laundry pile. Even the pile that someone else washed, dried, and folded that I can't seem to must enough energy to simply put away.

Even then.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Highly Recommend - Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids


We bought this book for the boys for Christmas and so far I LOVE it! The cover of this book really caught my eye, I loved the design. However, I have been much more impressed with the actual content of the devotions. It is not hokey at all (which I think kids devotional books can sometimes be), it is a beautiful presentation of the sweet, simple TRUTH of God. This is a great resource, especially if you are looking to start a family devotional time.