Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reflections from my coffee cup.....

~counting my blessings~

As I sit at my computer this morning, and i do mean is only 7:30 am, I am reflecting on my Lord. Mornings are my special gifts from God and always have been. God knows how I yearn for Him and long for him at this time. The rest of my day is usually filled with preoccupation and distraction. He knows that my mornings allow me to give Him my full attention and devotion. I am not proud that the rest of my day is not filled with the same longing and yearning, but I am working on that part!

There are certain days when I am truly overwhelmed by His glory and His grace. I feel like falling on my face and balling my eyes out before Him. I really cannot imagine what He must see in me. Coming before Him is humbling and eye opening. I am constantly blinded by the light He offers and for a few moments I feel the sting of His purity on my sinful heart. He knows me to the core of my soul. Before I utter a word, He knows what is on the tip of my tongue. Every time I look at my children, I can get a glimpse of how He must feel about me. The love He offers to me without warrant is insurmountable. How I so want everyone on this planet to know the love that He offers, the forgiveness he so openly extends. It is kind of like when you fall in love with someone and you just are so over the moon that you want everyone else to feel the same way. In a way, it is a lot like this for me. I want so much for the people that I meet or see while running my mundane errands to know God's love for them. To know that they too are the apple of His eye. Perhaps this is what He purposely lies on our hearts so that the cold and bitter bite of complacency doesn't settle within us.

My Aunt Debbie told me that her preacher asked them to pay it forward sometime...for example.... consider purchasing the person's meal behind you in a drive-thru sometime and leaving them a card with the cashier telling them that Jesus loves them. This struck a chord in me, for one because we are constantly in a drive-thru, and two, what an easy way to spread the gospel by a simple act of giving to someone. Witnessing to others doesn't exactly come easy to me, but this I can do!! I am so excited to try this and hope others will too! Even if it is just at Starbucks, what a blessing we could be to others! As small as it seems, it only takes a mustard seed for God to work in the hearts of others.

God bless the souls who travel to foreign countries where Christianity is less than popular, to minister to hurting and lost souls. I cannot imagine the courage and unwavering resolve these men and women must have to endure the hardship of criticism. How nice we have it here, safe in our own little worlds in our own little churches.

Sometimes I just have to sit and take it all in. The magnitude of His faithfulness and truth. Today is one of those days for me. Just a day of reflection, in awe of His sovereignty.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tried and True Part Two...

~Sulfate FREE shampoo~

~Collette recommends these for school lunches, you don't have to keep them cold..brilliant!! (and healthy!~ ~Collette's recommendation....LOVE this stuff, the one on the far left squirts! Besides using it on my floor, i squirt some on a cloth and go to town smells so fresh!~

~here is the comes in colors..i have only tried the clear and the platinum to champagne colors and was very happy with results from both of them.~

I am dying to hear more of your ideas and products that you all love!! I thought of another thing that us color treated girls MUST have for our delicate locks...SULFATE FREE shampoo. In the past you could only find these at expensive salons , ( see picture above of Pureology brand) but they now can be found at health food stores and grocery stores. I found my current shampoo at INGLES! The name of it is Naked Naturals and the type that I have is for color-treated hair. It is very easy on my hair and will not strip the color like shampoo with sulfates..commonly known as sodium laureth sulfates. Go check your shampoo bottles now, I guarantee you that ingredient is in there. Sulfate is a detergent that will actually strip the cuticle of the color and ruin your freshly colored locks. The same ingredient you will find in your laundry detergent! Yuck!

Off my "soap box" about shampoo. Ha...i love puns.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tried and True....

~an inexpensive way to smell good for everyday wear~
~We use Surf!!~ ~A really great and cheap mascara~

~THE best lipgloss around..~

Wouldn't it be great to have a blog all about products, gadgets, recipes, good lip gloss, and all things woman?? As the recession swings it's ugly arm and punches us stay at home mom families( and all other families for that matter) right in the gut, it would be nice to have a blog about what's good and what's not out there. I find myself wasting my money on things that were not all they were advertised to be. After a few tries, I throw it away with a gruff growl.

For example, I just found a superb carpet cleaner. We had several stains in the kids rooms that I have tried many products on to remove without success. However, by a fluke, I picked up a carpet cleaner at Wal-Mart that I had not previously tried, and gave it a whirl. Lo and worked like a charm!! Not only did it work, but it deodorized the carpet and left a rather pleasant smell.

Wouldn't having the perfect recipe to take to the family Christmas Party be just as delightful? Instead of wasting money on random ingredients for an even more random recipe, how about using a recipe that you KNOW is good. A recipe that has been tested and approved by your closest friends or family. I have made countless dinners that would have made Martha proud in appearance, yet choke after tasting.

Case in point, wouldn't it be great to have your friends steer you in the right direction on which products that are tried and true in their very own families? I always call my sister or my mom when I have found something that they "have to have!" Like, for example, Mac lip gloss in Oyster Girl. I fell in love with this color and knew my sis would too. I have bought countless bottles over the last few years of glosses that were not so great. After a few wears, i realize that it's just not the right color, OR that it will stay on my lips only if i keep my mouth closed and not talk, drink, or eat any food. Hmmm...don't think that's gonna work! WASTE of my time to take it back, so I usually keep it in a box and secretly hope that one day it will be the right color for me. Waste, Waste, Waste!!

Well, maybe one day in the near future us blogging mommies can start this blog pertaining to all things MOMMY and GIRLIE!! Think how much time and money it would save us..we would get it RIGHT the first time!!

In the are a few great things that I have come across...

~Surf washing powder...cheaper than liquid and lasts much longer..and the smell is yummy!

~Green Works natural glass around kids, no harmful chemicals, AND it cleans granite without spots or streaks...runs about $2.50 at Wal-Mart

~Mac lip gloss..any color really...

~Kids n Pets Instant All Purpose Stain and Odor Remover...non-toxic!! (this is the carpet cleaner i was raving about~

~Cover Girl Lash Exact a purple's fantastic

~Love's baby soft perfume...4.95 at Wal-Mart...Presley is a HUGE fan

~John Frieda clear color gloss...adds shine and gives a boost to your color..Wal-Mart again!

Please send me your favorite, must-have products, or any useful information that would help save a few pennies during these dark and gloomy days of the recession.

Pinching Pennies,


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Too much??.......

~a little Halloween scenery as I wash the dishes...this reminds me...i need a Halloween soap dispenser, my other one broke last year~
~The keeping room gets a Halloween face-lift as well...~
~the children's FAVORITE decoration..the lighted spook house...this is beautiful at night when plugged in~
~yes, yes, even the dining room gets an orange and black make-over~
~the spider web and tarantula were a new addition this year~ ~look closely at the little ghost and goblin figurines........BOOOO!~
~One of my most prized Halloween lighted witch hat..isn't she lovely?~
~the kitchen doesn't get a break from the Halloween-y theme~
~more from the kitchen..the candy corn candle smell is pure yummy-ness!~

Can you really have too many Halloween decorations?? I may have to start my own spook house next year if I keep collecting so much stuff! I can't seem to help's just so darn FUN!!!

I actually have to take pictures so that I can remember where everything goes...i have about 4 boxes of decorations!! Can anyone relate, anyone.............anyone???

While we were at Destin, I actually saw a Halloween Christmas Tree...except of course, it was not for Christmas but Halloween!! It had orange and black lights and bats, witches and goblins galore as ornaments!! Spider webs were hung like garland around the tree. Brilliant, Brilliant I say!!

~I can just hear Clinton and Stacy from "What not to Wear" on TLC saying.."It looks like Halloween came to your house and threw up everywhere..." ~

How 'bout a road trip to Destin to purchase the tree which will be 1/2 off or more after Halloween?? Any takers?

starting to scare myself,


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Great Pumpkin without Charlie Brown....

~My little pumpkins~ ~Having some fun amongst the mums and the pumpkins~
~Look at this beautiful arrangement!!! The Strantz family!~
~Proudly displaying his t-shirt that he won...strong boy that he is!~
~Super Girl, sans her cape and black boots~

~The view from afar...isn't he just the cutest??~ ~Ta Dah!! Here he is...Joseph and Presley so suitably named him...Jack!!~
~Presley may be the next great pumpkin carver in the family as she diligently looks on and takes note of the task at hand~
~The surgeon making the proper incisions as his assistants look on~
~Joseph not liking the goo from the pumpkin on his hands~

Cool days, cooler nights, rustling of leaves under your feet, the smell of bonfires, the trees proudly projecting their art work of the most colorful leaves of the whole year, and watching with my kids one of my most cherised movies, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!!! As if Fall wasn't just perfect enough, then you have a day at the Pumpkin Patch with your family! Pure bliss in my little world. We went to Col. Cob's Corn Maze to be exact, it wasn't really a pumpkin patch per say, but a LOT of fun! The Strantz family joined us for this day of Fall excitement! Tyler was just the cutest thing you've ever seen. He ADORES Joseph and Presley, and they adore him just as much. The were so cute posing for our many pictures, and smiling all the way!!

A little bragging on my children is in order. My little pumpkins both won a tractor pull-off! First place, with ribbons, prizes and a t-shirt to boot! Presley beat all 3 AND 4 year old BOYS!! My little go-getter is finally putting her strong will and determination to some good use! And then there is Joseph, the meek child, who beat out 7 and 8 year olds for his title!! They actually had to pull a tractor with weights on it! Actually Joseph had to peddle and Presley had to pull!

We couldn't have been prouder! Who would have thought that our little ones had such talent??

After the contest, we surveyed all the pumpkins they offered and Lem and Joseph found the roundest and prettiest pumpkin in the lot! Last night we finally got the chance to carve our pumpkin. Or, well, Lem did all the carving. We encouraged him from the side lines. Presley was intrigued by all the goo from the pumpkin...Joseph not so much. He thought it stunk and just wanted to get the candle in it already and light it up! Lem was pretty impressive with his carving skills, a fine surgeon he would have made! I love his preciseness, probably because I am so not precise. I am more of a get it done and quickly kind of gal. He on the other hand is particular and precise about everything he does. It's exausting at times but well worth it in the end!!

There is just nothing better than being with your family and making memories that will last a life time. I LIVE for moments like these. Perhaps that is why I love to blog, it helps me to recollect the small, yet priceless pieces of time that I would have probably forgotten if it were not forever encrypted on this blog.

My life is full, my blessings are overflowing. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Nation Under God....

Please read this is so beautifully written and poignantly expresses the state of our country and world....

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We
have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded
laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called
it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We
have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-
esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted
our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted
the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of
expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our
forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, OH GOD, and know
our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. In Jesus Name, Amen!'

Rev. Billy Graham

The following scriptures are from Daniel 2:20-23: Daniel prayed this prayer after God revealed to him King Nebuchadnezzar's dream and the meaning of the dream. Daniel would have been put to death if he had not interpreted the dream, and not only interpret the dream but tell the King what he dreamed!

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.

What a testimony to God's power and sovereignty to His faithful people. Rejoice and be glad in this!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Give her a break....

Because I am a woman, I am infuriated by the negative media attention given to Gov. Sarah Palin. Every time I turn the t.v. on I hear Palin bashing. Not only does my heart break for her and her family, my heart breaks for the backsliding of our nation in the progression of women's rights and beyond that...basic human decency. It was only 88 years ago that women were afforded the opportunity to vote in this country. Women fought hard and strong and were jailed and killed over this right. Women like Alice Paul, Dora Lewis, and Lucy Burns.

It saddens me that we come to the forefront of having a woman as a vice-presidential nominee, and instead of embracing her and encouraging her, women (AND men) are denouncing her and doing name-calling not fit for a rated R movie. This is certainly not a republican issue, it is a basic human right and human decency issue among those ensuing such blatant words against her. Ironically, the same people that are throwing these darts at her are the same people that have tried to progress the rights of women and fair treatment in the workplace, etc. Mind boggling??? Regardless of her party, she deserves the same respect as the other "male" candidates in the running.

Regardless of any one's political party, this should be reprehensible to everyone. I would bet you my last tube of Mac lip gloss, that if she were on the opposite ticket running with Obama that she would be embraced beyond measure. Why she is so offensive to those who are ridiculing her absolutely baffles me. Is it because she also happens to be attractive?? Heaven forbid she be attractive AND smart?! Why are women who are more masculine in their attire and countenance seem to be more fit for serving in higher political roles? For the many steps that we have taken forward in our country, these last couple of months have certainly taken us way back.

I am a conservative to the core, because of issues that I hold dear to my heart. However, my conservativeness does not preclude those who do not think like me or act like me. I embrace every one's opinion, and right to their opinions, albeit opposing at times.

My disdain for politics and the nature of them has increased during this election. I am sure that I am not alone on this conclusion. The disdain comes from people's lack of research and education on the candidates. The people who hate Sarah Palin, and John McCain for that matter, have probably not a clue of who they are or what they represent. Besides being on board with many of their policies and directives for our country; as a woman, I admire Sarah Palin's ambition and candor on the issues. As for John McCain, I couldn't think of a better fit American hero to serve as our president.

a proud registered and REAL life voter,

Monday, October 13, 2008

One last goodbye.....

~just another Destin sunset...~
~looking for dolphins~ ~much cuter than than the "Skipper" from Gilligan's Island..don't ya think??~
~Joseph and MawMaw enjoying the sunset on the glass bottom boat~
~i just LOVED this little faux lighthouse! ...our hotel is in the background.~

~LOTS of Scrabble was played on this trip..Joseph is hoping there may be a Scrabble Olympics in the near future...~

~Mother Goose and her goslings...~
~separated at birth??~
~my little "Elvis" and his "Priscilla"~ ~cruising on the glass bottom boat~

~Ginger, or decide.... "Forget about the I look cute, mommy?

Last week was Fall break for our school, so what does that mean?? But OF COURSE...another trip to the beach! I know y'all are sick and tired of my posts about beach trips..but this is the last one before the year ends...i promise!

My mom and dad came through like champs with the offer of a beach trip for our could we possibly refuse???

I must say that Destin is quickly becoming one of my favorite "destinations!" (corny with the puns, i know) The white sand and green waters just intoxicate this beach loving gal! And the food, the food....yummmmm!!!

Most of the pictures above were taken on our glass bottom boat ride. Joseph and Presley were mesmerized by this boat and being able to see fish on the bottom deck!! They were so cute to watch together as they checked every detail of the boat out excitedly. We watched the sunset from the starboard side, and it was truly breathtaking. (not really sure which side is starboard, but it sounds pretty nautical..ha!)

Special thanks to Mom and Dad, or better known to the kiddies as MawMaw and PawPaw, for making our Fall break so spectacular!! We love you guys and are so grateful to have been with you for a whole week!!

One last goodbye to the sand between my toes, the tousle in my hair, the smell of sunscreen on my skin, and the sweet serenity of watching the sun rise over the ocean.

Until next year...

back to reality,