Monday, December 30, 2013

Hail, the conquering hero...

I did it! My Fantasy Football Team, Amy's Annihilators, came in FIRST PLACE!


What did I win, you ask?

First pick in next year's draft. Woohoo. :-) Still, victory is sweet.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Here We Go, Now!

Guys. I'm so excited to announce that I am in the lead for first place in my Fantasy Football League! Sunday's games will determine the winner… Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Imperfectly Perfect Christmas

Being the idealist that I am, last year I had grand plans for the Christmas season, including lots of quality time with Big Brother, decorating, shopping, baking and doing crafts together. Then our lives blew up with the premature birth of Little Brother and suddenly I didn't care about any holidays at all. Fast forward through 2013. Every month I thought (and talked) about how I didn't get to have "last Christmas" the way that I had wanted. I thought (and talked!) about how this year would be different. I spun dream webs in my head of a perfectly decorated house, filled with the smells of freshly baked Christmas goodies; I saw Big Brother and I doing crafts together and discussing the Christmas story.

What IS this dream world in which I insist upon residing? Sometimes, I just need a smack in the head.

Obviously, my idealistic dreams have not been reality (and will continue to not be reality for the rest of my life, I'm sure). I'm not being defeatist here. I'm just admitting that what I want probably isn't what is best for me. Here is reality: the Christmas baking that I've attempted so far has been hastily done between interruptions that sound like this:

"STOP sitting on your brother!"
"Why are you crying? OH. You need your diaper changed!"
"Please take your hand out of your pants."
"STOP climbing on the ________."
"No, you may not watch more TV."
"No, you may not ________."

I'd love to bake a long list of traditional Christmas cookies, but all I've done so far (and I probably won't do any more) is to dip some pretzels in white chocolate, make peppermint bark, pecan tartlets and pizelles.

My tree, while pretty, isn't the way that I would want it. Part of this is due to the small hands that helped to decorate it. Part of it is due to the small hands that continually take ornaments OFF the tree (because they look delicious?). My Christmas decorations are limited to a tree, a nativity candle holder (which I love) and two stockings hung haphazardly high out of the reach of little hands. These items, I might add, are hung on an incomplete entertainment center.
My favorite nativity!
How our living room currently looks.

For a few days after we put up our tree, I was inwardly bemoaning the fact that the incompletion of our project (that's right; STILL not finished) has once again ruined my idealistic picture of how I wanted Christmas to be this year. Then, as I was lying on the floor in front of the tree, holding Little Brother in the air to make him laugh, I was reminded of something.

"Last year," I told him, still holding him aloft, "I would have given anything to have you home for Christmas, even with an incomplete house." Tears sprang to my eyes and I brought him to my chest for a big hug.

Attitude: adjusted.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Sword 2014!

I have had a request to help a few friends with accountability for scripture memory in 2014. I thought the best way to do that would be to share my plans for scripture memory before 2014 begins, so anyone who wants to join me has time to plan ahead. I'll let you know what I'm doing, so that you can come along for the ride… but any mode of scripture memory is better than none!

I've mentioned before how huge scripture memory has been in my spiritual growth over the last few years. If anyone needs some inspiration for why they should memorize scripture, I recommend going to the Calvary Baptist Church website to listen to Pastor Holcomb's sermon from Sunday morning on 12/15/13. I was challenged and encouraged by it, and I don't even need anyone to tell me how important scripture memory is!

So, here's what I'm going to do. I plan to memorize two verses per month; I will post the verses on the first and the fifteenth of each month. I pick verses that are pertinent to my personal journey at that point in time. I feel that it makes it easier for me to actually wield the sword to fight if the verses I'm memorizing have to do with my battle. I'll get a spiral of note cards as pictured below and carry it with me to work on my verses throughout the day.

This is my spiral from 2012, which is why it's pretty worn!

If you would like to join me in this journey for 2014, feel free to comment on my posts with the verse that you are choosing to memorize. That can be your accountability! I love hearing what other people are memorizing, and we are stronger when we do things together! Also, for my friends who sometimes see me face to face, please feel free to "pop quiz" me when you see me - and if you want me to listen to you say your verses, I'd be happy to do that, as well!

I will start on January 1st, 2014. Who's in?!?!?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Just For Funsies

I cannot help but giggle about this. Seriously, it made my day when I read this blog post and heard about Cozy Classics. Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favorite novel and love story, and I'm a huge Jane Austen fan.

So, this year, all of the children in my life got a Cozy Classic for Christmas. AND all of the girls got the Cozy Classic version of Pride and Prejudice. Aaaaaand I bought a copy for myself, too.


I highly recommend these books. I bought almost all of them and love the simplicity of the stories for little children. This is the perfect way for me to share my love of Jane Austen with all of the kids in my life. And I speak from experience when I say that the pictures captivate the attention of children. If you love literature and want a way to share it with the children in your life (other than reading aloud the actual novels, of course!), these books are a wonderful option. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Sword V24

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men." 
Col. 3:23

Sometimes, in my never-ending battle with the laundry basket and the dirty floor, I get a little discouraged about the seeming futility of house work. I chose this verse as a reminder that I am doing the laundry and cleaning the floor to the glory of my Lord because that is His work for me right now. Maybe someday He will ask me to do more interesting things, but for right now I am trying to do everything heartily for Him.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Sword V23

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

I recently completed a Bible study on the Tabernacle. I think I've mentioned before how much I appreciate the ministry of Beth Moore. God really encouraged me through this study. One of my favorite moments, though, was learning about the manna that God provided each morning for the Israelites.

God provides mercy and grace abundantly, just as he provided manna each morning for Israel. He provides just what we need, when we need it, always. The thing that struck me was the reminder that the manna is always there, every day, just what we need, just what he promised - but like the Israelites in the wilderness, we have to participate - we have to gather it. God wants us to be active participants in this relationship with him, not passive recipients. How often do we go without the strength, grace and mercy that we need each day just because we do not take what is offered to us?

I chose to memorize Lamentations 3:22-23 to remind me to gather up God's mercies every morning.

My Sword V22

"Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment."
Proverb 12:19

I remember telling my mom a lie when I was about five years old. The thing about lying to your mom is that you feel terrible about it afterwards. It is even more terrible when your mom discovers your lie and punishes you for it. I don't know if my mom remembers this pivotal moment in my life, but I distinctly do.

Our kitchen counter opened into the dining room area. I was standing in the dining room, leaning over the counter as my mom worked on the other side.

"I will never lie to you again, Mommy," I told her.

"You won't?" she asked in her gentle way. "Why not?"

"Because," I confided, "It isn't worth it."

I remember being fully convinced of that fact, and ever since have strived to make honesty an integral part of all of my communication. Anyone who says that a life lesson cannot be learned at five, take heed. I learned not to lie when I was five.

I love this proverb because it reminds me that the truth will ALWAYS endure.

My Sword V21

"This God - His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him."
Psalm 18:30

I am drawn to the word "refuge." It may be one of my favorite words. I need refuge!

My Sword V19 & 20

"We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
Hebrews 6:19-20

I love the imagery of Christ going behind the veil of the holiest place. I love the thought that through his death, the veil was ripped in half and we can meet with God in the Holy of Holies. I also need to hear that I have a sure and steadfast anchor for my soul. What comfort!

My Sword V18

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."
II Corinthians 10:5

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fantasy Update

Well, I said that I would update you all on my Fantasy Football team as the year progressed.

My team has not been the terrific force that it was the first three weeks of the season. My record before today was 6-7, but that was good enough to get me into the fantasy "playoffs." Today, my team is PUNISHING my brother-in-law's team 170-98. Those aren't the final scores, but it's fairly certain that he won't catch up to me at this point. All of that to say... I could still win it all!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mysterious Absence...

I've been absent from this blog. My absence is due to the fact that my computer was killed by a glass of water. It was a sad day, but now I have a new computer, so it will be back to our regularly scheduled programming! Watch for lots of musings in the next few weeks... I had a lot of time to ruminate on blog posts while my computer was gone!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Clothed in Linen

Clothed in linen, white and pure
Radiant, I'll not be demure

I'll fly swiftly to Your feet
When at last, that day we meet

With love and joy that knows no bounds
Gleefully, I'll give you crowns

Oh that I may see Your face!
Sadness? Fear? Not a trace!

To be with You forevermore...
My greatest joy, of that I'm sure.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Rat-a-tat-tat-a-tat Rum-a-tum-tum

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Amy. She loved it when her mommy would read books to her. One of her favorite books for mommy to read was The Boy With a Drum.

Amy loved the story of the little boy whose drumming inspired all of the animals to go a'marching. She loved the rhythm and the rhyme of the tale. She loved listening to her mommy's voice saying the words.

A few years later, when Amy grew up and had children of her own, she still loved to read The Boy With a Drum. Now, she was the mommy and it was her own voice telling the story of the sweet little boy and all of the animals.

There once was a boy 
with a little toy drum - 

The book was old when Amy was little. It is older still now. Though the pages are worn and ripped in places and the cover has been taped on too many times to count, Amy cannot bear the thought of getting rid of it.

They all marched away
to the top of a hill -
If they haven't stopped marching
They'll be marching still.

This is the final Blogtember post! Prompt: a picture of something old. Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dear Facebook Friends

Dear Facebook Friends,

Please stop posting negative, critical status updates about your husband. It's disrespectful, and rather than make him look bad and make me sympathize with you, it makes me think that you need to learn to count your blessings. If you have a problem with your husband, talk with him about it in private. If you have unresolved differences, find a counselor. Stop trying to gain sympathy via public husband-bashing.

Your Friend

This post is brought to you by Blogtember. Today's prompt was to write a letter to Facebook friends. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Are you ready for some football?

This Blogtember prompt is "life lately" and since that's vague and broad, I'm going to turn this into my FF post. Be excited!

I've played FF (Fantasy Football) with The Hubs and his family for a while now. The very first year, I took advice from The Hubs - he helped me select players in the draft and even told me which players to bench and/or play each week. The only problem with this arrangement was his propensity to take the credit when my team did well.

Ever since then, I do it on my own. Imagine my delight to see this book on the "New Books" shelf at my local library a couple of months ago:

I am laughing out loud as I type this! The bad part about reading this book was the realization that it was basically a statistics book. Not player statistics, as in, draft-him-not-him, but mathematical equations for which positions to draft when, based upon a number of different factors, all the while recognizing the fact that this whole thing isn't called "Fantasy" for nothing. Sheesh. I hate math, and while I got an A in stats in college, it was mostly because my professor gave extra credit for things that had nothing to do with stats (aka, if I watched his favorite movie I got extra credit. Seriously).

Along with reading this helpful-not-helpful book, I did a little online perusal of some ESPN people and used that information to my best advantage. In the end, you could say that I just "winged it" for the draft. I liked to carry the book around when The Hubs and brothers-in-law were around for intimidation. It probably looked more ridiculous than anything, but there you have it.

We did a live draft on a white board this year!
After the draft, my team stands as follows:
QB- Drew Brees
RB- LeSean McCoy
RB- Stevan Ridley
WR- A.J. Green
WR- Marques Colston
WR- Santonio Holmes
TE- Jimmy Graham
LB- Daryl Smith
D- The Bears
K- Justin Tucker
(Plus I have a bench full of players I won't list here.)

So, three weeks into the season, I am the only one in my league who is 3-0. I am not saying this to brag; it is a statement of fact. WHO KNOWS how the season will end. I'll keep you updated. Meanwhile, I'm having fun playing FF with my fam.

Anyone else playing FF this year?

Coffee Shop Stop

For Blogtember today, I was supposed to write a post about what makes me happy from a coffee shop. Ya'll. My "life lately" does not allow for coffee shop stops that don't include a drive-thru. My dear sis-in-law has promised to watch my boys for me on my birthday so I can go sit at my favorite coffee shop for three hours all by myself. Maybe I'll write a post or two that day.

Just for fun, though, I thought I'd write a quick post to say that running makes me happy. My sis-in-law and bro-in-law and I are going to run the Color Vibe next week and we are excited! We've been "training" for it - this seems superfluous, but it's been an excuse to go running and I've enjoyed it so. Running isn't about weight loss for me (if you're trying to lose weight, I recommend walking). I like to run because it never fails to elevate my mood. I don't know if it's just because of the endorphins. That might be some of it, but I think part of it is the sense of accomplishment. I might not get anything else done that day, but I ran three miles! That has to count for something, right?

Milo field on my run this morning. The shade of the sky was impressive. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A mistake...


Recently, I made a mistake.

Well, really, it was a BIG mistake. It was one of those moments where I knew better. I'm going to be intentionally vague here for obvious reasons, but a few months ago, I found someone's diary.

I read it.

Even now, I'm embarrassed to admit it because I know better and I do NOT usually do stuff like that. {I feel like I need to justify that statement. Once, when my brother-in-law was in high school, I got onto the computer after him and realized that he'd left his email open and there were emails from a girl in there and I did NOT read them. I logged him out and told him to be more careful. See? It's not a normal thing for me.}

Well, it was a big mistake because it was wrong, but I got my just desserts. It just so happens that I read something not very flattering about myself in there and I got FIRED UP about it. When I say "fired up," what I mean is that my face got flaming hot because it turned so red. Of course, I couldn't say anything to anyone about it because - duh! - I shouldn't have been reading it in the first place.

I will never - NEVER - do such a thing again! It's not worth it!

Blogtember prompt: write about a mistake you made.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


My life is pretty uncomfortable right now. I was telling a friend (or maybe I've told a number of friends) recently that I keep waiting for life to settle down and it keeps on not settling down! Something uncomfortable keeps happening, and I'm beginning to think that my life isn't supposed to be comfortable. After all, if I was comfortable - if my life was perfect - why would I long for heaven? You can't see the light if it is never dark.

photo credit

This post is brought to you by Blogtember. Today's prompt: react to the word comfort.



"To say I was dreading the dinner party would be the understatement of the century... I told him that I didn't want to go. I told him it was a bad idea. I'm not saying I'm psychic, but sometimes I just get these feelings and I've learned that my intuition is rarely wrong. He always laughs when I say it... but just look at what happened, I mean we were just sitting here eating our dinner when there was this loud bang and a flash of light and all of a sudden everything around me was on fire and I was flying through the air and I couldn't see him any more and now he's dead." Cassandra's voice broke off into sobs.

"And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen," says the reporter to the camera, but it feels like she is talking to me. "Cassandra Craven, an eyewitness, a victim to the horrible tragedy that you see unfolding behind us. Our coverage will continue with a new bulletin from Chief Johnson momentarily. As you can see behind me" - she waved her hand, and the camera panned a dark and fiery scene, with caution tape and firemen and police officers swarming like ants - "A bomb of some kind seems to have been deployed at the Galleon Ballroom tonight..."

The reporter keeps talking, but the words fade as a roaring in my ears pushes out all other sounds. Peter is dead? My brother is dead, and I'm finding out from a news report on the stupid television. I don't believe it but I know it's true because there is Cassandra, his wife, on the news report with singed eye brows and burned clothes and I knew they were going to a dinner party at the Galleon tonight.

 I know her and her feelings and her feelings are always right and now Peter is dead and I will never be able to tell him thank you for all of the times that he hugged me when he couldn't find the words to say.

I collapse on the floor in front of my couch and wish for unconsciousness, but the blacking out that seems to come so easily in books and movies doesn't happen to me. My hands are trembling so much that I can't seem to find my phone but all I can think it that I have got to call Cassandra.

This post is brought to you by Blogtember. It's a piece of fiction, never fear!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Sword V17

"And call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you and you will glorify Me."
Psalm 50:15

This is my Happy Thursday for this week. I just know someone other than me needed to hear this!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photos only...

Here are a few photos I've taken recently with my iPhone.

The glorious sunrise on my morning run!

One of my memory verses for ACTIVE FIGHTING!

A banana spider. Yes. It's huge.

Purple phlox

A field

It seems to be smiling at me!

There are so many creepy-crawlies around here. 
See what I mean?

This post brought to you by Blogtember.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A memory I'd love to relive...

Today's Blogtember prompt is a memory I'd love to relive... hands down, without a doubt, it would be the perfect day at the beach that I blogged about in July. Enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dear Alli

I've been wanting to write this blog post for a while now, so today's Blogtember prompt to write a love letter seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Remember when we were little kids and shared a room? We had those matching pink blankets on our bunked beds. Those things were so scratchy on the underside! I remember when I first realized that I owed it to you to be a good example. I think I was five or six when I stole some chewing gum off mom's dresser and hid it in our room. Your two-year-old self found it and chewed it. Mom found you chewing gum in your room. I'll never forget the spanking I got. Being a mom now, I realize what a choking hazard that could have been for you!

We didn't always get along very well, but that has changed! I'm so proud of you and the woman you have become. You are the best auntie. It blesses me how much you love my little guys. I'm impressed with your work ethic and your drive to make yourself better. I'm glad you're pursuing your MBA. I'm happy that you waited for Mr. Right, and I love seeing you and Josh together. You're doing a good job with your housekeeping and cooking!

Most of all, I'm proud of the fact that you love God with your whole heart, and you seek to glorify Him with your life. It's an encouragement to me to watch you live your life for Him. I am so glad that I get to walk the journey with you. I'm excited to see all that He has for you.

Love you, sweetie.
Your Big Sister,

Friday, September 13, 2013


Blogtember assignment of the day...
A Self Portrait.

Let it be known that loathe, abhor and detest selfies.

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Change is Painful

A while back I was thinking about growing. If we aren't growing, we are becoming stagnant. Growth is important, but growth always seems to be painful in some way.

When my brother was an early teen, he hit a very quick growth spurt. I remember him having really terrible knee pain because his bones grew so quickly. Now, at the time, it was terrible. I haven't actually asked him, but I bet he is glad he went through that growth spurt - albeit painful - now that he is man!

It can be hard to see that the painful things we endure are bringing change to our lives.  If we remember that growing equals change and change equals pain, we may steel ourselves to persevere through them.

"Put off your old self... and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." Eph. 4:22-24

Happy Thursday!

On Social Media

Today's post is brought to you by Blogtember.

The question is, "How has social media changed you?"

Photo Credit
Answer: Social media has changed the way that I view the world. I'm not able to bury my head in the sand and not think about what is happening to other people, whether it is across the street or on another continent. Sometimes this can be a bad thing. It can be draining to know too much. That's why it's important to maintain a balanced diet of social media.

Still, it is always a good thing to know what is happening around me, so that I may know how I should be praying. I'm certainly more aware of others because of social media.

P.S. The picture is just because I love pictures of the Eiffel Tower. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chocolate Fondue

Today's Blogtember assignment is to post links to my favorite online shops.

I don't do a lot of online shopping other than Amazon. One thing that I do make a habit of purchasing online (although not terribly frequently, alas) is chocolate for my fondue pot. I always purchase chocolate from Chocoley. I have used all three of their fondue options (dark, milk and white chocolate) and you can trust me when I say that I don't get complaints when I serve any of them. They are perfectly delicious.

You can't go wrong with fondue dippers, but some favorites are strawberries, bananas, graham crackers, pretzels and pound cake. YUM. I may need to place an order soon...

There you go. Next time you want to serve chocolate fondue, try Chocoley!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

That one moment...

The moment that changed my life was not my moment.

When I was sixteen, my dad accepted a new job in a different state. The move that we made as a family when I was sixteen changed the course of my entire life. When I look back over my thirty years, no other single moment changed things as drastically as that one.

As I ponder that particular memory, a couple of things jump out at me. First of all, it wasn't my moment. It wasn't my choice. In fact, if it had been up to me, we would not have moved. We were comfortable. I was happy. I had a plan for my future. I didn't want to change it.

The second thing I think of is the fact that because of that move, I am changed. If we hadn't moved, I would still be quiet and shy. When we moved, I was pushed outside my comfort zone. I made new friends, which is very hard to do at any age, but especially at sixteen.

If we hadn't moved, I would not have married The Hubs. I would not have two beautiful sons. I wouldn't be the same me that I am today.

Sometimes, someone else's moment can change your life more than anything else.

Sunrise on my morning run.

Monday, September 9, 2013


The Blogtember challenge for today is to take this short personality survey and to respond to my results.

Apparently, I am Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling and Judging.


Actually, I'd recently read this article and when I showed it to The Hubs, we both knew that it was ME to a T. I am an introvert, and there is no debating that! (He likes to say that he is introverted, but the only thing in the article that describes him is his extreme hatred of small talk!)

The Jung Typology Test results personality profile states:

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." (source)

There is nothing in the world more important to me than people, and getting to know their heart and connecting on a deep level. I truly do care and want the best for everyone (idealist... see below!), and this has sometimes gotten me into trouble. (Oh, the stories I could tell if I had the time and space!) 

Also interesting:

INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn. (source)

The words "idealist" and "dreamer" are me, me, me! My handle has been daydrmr82 for YEARS. The Hubs and I just had a conversation not that long ago about how my idealist tendencies have caused me great disappointment in different aspects of my life. I grew up believing in the happily ever afters and the Prince Charmings and "if you work hard enough, all your dreams will come true." Oh, man! AND I do tend to take a disproportionate amount of responsibility for just about everything. True.

While this kind of thing is really interesting, I think that personality profiles can sometimes be a crutch. You see, my personality profile states that I'm strong in "Judging." It means that I have a heightened sense of discernment and my commitment to justice is strong. However, on the downside, I can also be judgmental. Herein lies the problem. I can easily say, "Well, that's just my personality - can't be helped." Just because it is my natural bent to judge does not mean that it is ok - or right. So, if you want to take a few minutes to take the personality profile for fun, I think a lot of insight can be gained. I'm not going to settle for what the profile says that I am, though. I know I am still capable of change. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Turning Blue

The Downton Abbey craze hit me after Christmas. (Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading if you don't already know what happens in season 3.) My sister bought me seasons 1 and 2 on blu ray and I started watching them after Little Brother came home from the hospital. I fell in love with the characters and got caught up in the story line. Then I started watching season 3 and after the first episode, things started going downhill rather quickly. I'm not even excited about season 4. In fact, I doubt I'll watch it. I almost despise Downton Abbey now.

Lady Sybil (Photo Credit)

It started with Sybil, and turning blue.

Lady Sybil dies in a terrifying, excruciating childbirthing scene. The acting is beyond stellar. Essentially, she suffocates before her family's eyes, turning a devastating shade of blue that was all-too-familiar to me.

Little Brother turned that same shade of blue.

When Little Brother was in the NICU, I would hold him for a certain time period every day. They call it "skin-to-skin" or "Kangaroo Care" and it is mommy-baby bonding time. One day, as I was holding him, his Dr came to speak to us.

"He is doing really well," the Dr. said. "I think we may move him to the Special Care Nursery. He might even be home by Christmas!"

I was delighted by this, naturally! I could almost see the words "Home For Christmas" hanging in the air like a cartoonish speech bubble above the Dr.'s head. They didn't have time to evaporate in my imagination before Little Brother's monitor started beeping loudly.

While he was in the hospital, Little Brother was hooked up to all kinds of monitors. The one that had started beeping was his oxygen saturation monitor. As long as his oxygen levels stayed above 85%, all was well. His levels had dropped.

This, in itself, was not altogether startling. In fact, it happened all of the time. I turned to look at the monitor, trying to massage Little Brother's back at the same time to stimulate his breathing a bit. That usually worked.

Not this time. The oxygen saturation number dropped, and kept dropping, and Little Brother's face was blue and suddenly a nurse stepped in, whisked him from my arms and started helping him breathe with the dreaded green bag.

Time slowed, and the moment was burned into my brain. I could still see his little blue face, and all that I could do was watch helplessly. Please God, Please God, Please God, Please God... That was the only prayer I could come up with at the moment. I could almost hear the Holy Spirit groan.

It felt like an eternity passed, but the numbers on the monitor slowly began to rise and soon the monitor stopped its incessant alarm. He was safe.

This turning blue thing that Little Brother did happened more times than I care to count. Every time it happened, I was afraid. It was in those moments that I clung to Isaiah 49:16 and remembered Hannah, who gave Samuel to the Lord.

That's - partially - why I'm not a huge Downton Abbey fan any longer.

Today's Blogtember assignment was to tell about a time when I was afraid. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cold Water

Today's Blogtember assignment is to pass on some useful information. As much as I love to give advice, I don't find myself full of useful information at the moment. However, I just told a story to my sister-in-law yesterday, so I'll relate that as it is the first thing that comes to mind.

When I was a senior in high school, I took some college classes at a local Junior College. I also played basketball. My basketball practices took place at 6:15am, and I barely had time to get to my 8:30am English Comp 102 two days a week. I was one of those model students who NEVER slept in class, but there were times when I struggled to keep my eyelids open in that particular class. It wasn't that the professor was boring, and it wasn't that the topic didn't interest me. I was a teenager and I had gotten up early for basketball practice, run like a fiend, got home in time to eat something FAST and take a FAST shower (you know, the kind where you are still sweating when you get out because you haven't cooled down yet), then barely made it to class on time... I was tired.

One particular morning, the professor was talking about a poem (it may have been My Last Duchess but I couldn't say for sure) and my eyelids felt soooo heavy. It was like there were invisible lead weights attached to my eyelashes.  I know my head was bobbing as I fought valiantly to stay awake. I can still feel the relief wash over me when I recall the professor saying it was time for a break.

As I walked past her desk, she said, not unkindly, "If you go to the water fountain and take a cold drink of water, it will wake you up."

I'm not sure if it was the embarrassment of knowing that she had noticed my bobbing or the cold water, but either way, it is useful to note that drinking cold water will keep you awake!

Make It Count

My parents have always said this. They said it when I was growing up. They say it still. What they mean by it is simple: your attitude is important. Don't let your circumstances dictate your attitude. You have a choice. Choose wisely.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

If I could spend three months doing whatever I wanted...

... I would spend three months alone.

There is something about motherhood that sometimes makes me feel as if I am going to wither away if I don't get some peace and quiet. My batteries seem always to be running low, and it's hard to find the time to recharge. I have said numerous times in the last few months that if I could have anything at all in the world, I would choose to have a night in a hotel room by myself. I would sleep for as long as I want. Sweet, uninterrupted, peaceful, deep sleep. It's what I miss most.

If I had three whole months of peace and quiet and alone-ness, I would travel. I would go see some sights. I'd spend a month traversing Europe, seeing all of the things that I've always wanted to see...  Paris, Rome, Greece, London, and as many more as I could.

If I had three whole months to myself, I would write. For a solid month, I would rent a cabin in some secluded spot, preferably in the mountains somewhere, with beautiful vistas for inspiration. I can see myself with pen and notebook in hand, sitting on a rock and writing furiously, surrounded by nature. Or, writing while sitting at a table in front of a fire, with a large, steaming mug of tea.

How about a cabin like this?
(Photo Credit: Carolina Mornings)
If I had three whole months to myself, I would attend some seminars. Maybe intertwined with the first month of traveling, I could attend a Jane Austen seminar in England. (Doesn't this one look interesting?) Maybe intertwined with the second month of writing, I could attend a writer's conference, or work towards my MFA in a low-residency program. I love learning and growing, so education is heavenly to me.

As I spent the time musing on what I would do with three months, however, I was a little ashamed of myself. It's probably a good thing that I don't have three months with which to do whatever I please. I would waste three months in being self-absorbed, and that is never a good thing. Plus, I can't imagine going three months without seeing my precious sons and handsome Husband.

Still, it's kind of fun to think about it...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I'm Italian on my Dad's side of the family. Both of his parents are Italian, and you know what that means... My very own Italian grandma! Mmm... If I could have any meal in the world, it would be one of Nonna's Sunday dinners. Homemade pasta, homemade sauce, roast beef (or pork!), steamed veggies, salad, and something sweet to finish. If I'm really lucky, Nonna will make gnocchi. *sigh* Just thinking about it makes me hungry. Nonna taught me a few things, and when I can, I make my own pasta and sauce.

Forgive the terrible photography - this is the real deal, though!
It's not ALL about the food, but a lot of my family memories on my dad's side revolve around the kitchen and the table and tons of delicious food. (Interesting note - no one on my dad's side is terribly overweight despite all of that food.)

I grew up hearing the stories of my Italian heritage. My Nonna's father was a first generation immigrant. He owned a grocery store - his very own Italian market! I get excited just thinking about it. My Nonna grew up in the apartment above the store. Oh, the stories she can tell! I think I learned my love for history from listening to her tell stories about her life and the lives of her family members.

This month, I'm blogging along with Jenni from Story of My Life for her "Blogtember" challenge.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Fun things... I'm going to be blogging some more in September, so stay tuned!

Normal Life?

As someone who doesn't enjoy spontaneity, being outside my "routine" can be highly stressful. However, when I look back over the last year or two or ten, I see a pattern developing... just when I think we've achieved "normalcy," something changes. I think this might be happening to me on purpose. Maybe I'm not supposed to be comfortable in this life.

As my dad always says, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape."

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Imagine the scene:

It's Christmas Eve. I'm driving home from the hospital, where I've spent the day with Little Brother. I know that I will not have my baby home with me on Christmas Day. Big Brother is at Grandma's house, and I need to stop at the grocery store to get salad to bring to Grandma's house the next day, as well as something for me and The Hubs to eat for dinner. I pull into the grocery store parking lot, preoccupied with too many thoughts to notice that it is pretty bare. Yes, the grocery store is closed and I'm sorry that I won't be able to bring the salad to Grandma's house for Christmas dinner, but I'm glad for the employees who get to go home and be with their families.

Weary. Worn. Weak.

I drive through at a local fast food chain, acquiring burgers, fries and shakes for The Hubs and me for dinner. We NEVER do this. But hey. It's Christmas Eve and there is little to no food in the house, and so I plunk down over eighteen dollars for the convenience of artery-clogging semi-food.

When I arrive home, The Hubs is ecstatic over my choice of dinner (you might say that I'm the healthy eater of the family) and informs me that It's A Wonderful Life has just started on TV. So, we pull out the TV trays and munch on our food while we watch.

For the first time in my life, I cry as I see George Bailey cry, begging to live again. I cry again when all of the people George's life has touched congregate at his house to help him in his time of need.

I cry, because as I watch those black-and-white faces on the television screen, I see the faces of the people I know in the here and now, as they congregate to help me in my time of need.

I see the dozens of coworkers who took up a gift card collection for my family. A whole basket full of gift cards, cash and checks from people who love us because they do.

The basket of gift cards from my co-workers

I see the faces of friends who anonymously took up a collection and left a cashier's check to help pay for medical bills. I still carry the envelope around with me in my purse because I just can't seem to throw it away.

I see the faces of friends who selflessly cooked meals for weeks and delivered them to us.

I see the faces of my in-laws, who are so much more than in-laws to me now, who watched Big Brother so that I could be with Little Brother.

I see the face of the beloved friend who took me to the hospital when I couldn't drive after surgery, who went to the grocery store for me, who did my dishes, who prayed and texted and emailed and made sure I was okay.

I see the face of the other friend who sent me mail EVERY SINGLE DAY because she couldn't be there with me in person.

I see the faces of the dozens of other friends who called, texted, emailed, sent cards and letters and made hospital visits and who prayed and prayed and PRAYED for us.

When the movie is over, The Hubs and I look at each other and we both have tears in our eyes. When we go to bed that night, we feel blessed. It truly is a wonderful life.

The next morning, it is Christmas, and we are going to the hospital to visit Little Brother before we go to Grandma's house to pretend to have Christmas just like every year. It isn't Christmas because Little Brother isn't there. It just isn't. But we pretend. We put those smiles on our faces and we snuggle Little Brother and as we drive away, we keep those smiles on our faces. As we drive to Grandma's house and I hope that no one notices that I forgot to bring the salad, we talk about the movie from the night before.

"We should watch It's A Wonderful Life every Christmas Eve," says The Hubs. "It should be our tradition."

I get warm fuzzies because I love things like this. "I agree," I reply. After a pause, I say, "I feel like all of the people who have helped us through this time are like the townspeople and we're like the Baileys."

The Hubs nods his head and says, "Yeah, but I don't feel like I deserve to have such good friends."

I know what he means. There is a certain humility that comes with receiving abundant blessing and knowing that we have done nothing to deserve it. I nod and say, "I agree - we haven't been as good of friends to these people as they are being to us."

As we drive, we sit there in silence. I think about how tough life is. It is disappointing, and yet... we would never have known how deeply we were loved without the tough spot. And while I'm not yet mature enough to be grateful to go through trials, I am grateful to God for those who love us enough to sacrifice for us. No, it doesn't feel like Christmas, and I don't want to be celebrating. Yet, here I am, receiving gifts from Him through other people. Being loved just because.

And I am grateful.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Sword V16

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
- II Corinthians 10:4

I needed to hear this reminder that my weapons have divine power! I needed to be reminded that I am on the Victor's side! Amen!

My Sword V15

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
- II Corinthians 10:3

When I say I am "struggling" with something, it means that I am under attack. I'm bothered. I'm having a difficult time. What it should also mean is that I am actively fighting that attack! The first definition of struggle is "to contend with an adversary or opposing force." When I struggle with insecurity, I have to actively, purposefully fight against it with specific scriptures, reminding myself who I am in Christ.

This verse reminds me what I'm dealing with when I struggle... there is more at stake than what meets the eye!

Circumstances and Decisions

It seems like an excuse to say "I am a product of my up-bringing." Pushing blame for the decisions we make is a cop-out. YES, we are greatly influenced by our circumstances. YES, horrific circumstances abound. I think of Ecclesiastes that says, "There is nothing new under the sun." There is comfort in that statement because it means that no matter how bad we have it, someone else has gone through the same thing. We are not alone!

All too often, our circumstances influence how we react. And since these things are of a circular nature, our negative reactions typically cause more negative circumstances.

To break the cycle, we have to decide to react positively!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A few thoughts on marriage...RESPECT

I wrote these marriage posts over a year ago. I'm not sure why I didn't post them last year, but life spiraled out of control shortly after I wrote them and I forgot about them until now. A darling young bride had asked me to speak at her wedding shower, and I turned my three points into three marriage posts.

I wrestled with God's leading to teach the Sunday School class on Insecurity, but through that experience, I learned that God often uses what we teach others to help US learn. I decided to look at the speaking opportunity as a reminder to myself of the marriage truths I needed most to hear, in the hopes that if it was something beneficial to ME it would be beneficial for others as well.

At a Living Proof Live event that I attended, speaker Beth Moore told us about a friend of hers praying for a group of women, "Help us to see our men as great." I was struck by that so deeply that I wrote it in my notes in bold caps and underlined it several times. Our culture disrespects men! Think of the hot dog commercial where the wife spends the whole thirty seconds telling her husband "no." He is portrayed as an immature buffoon, and she is portrayed as the sophisticated leader who knows best in every situation. What a wrong image - and for a hot dog commercial! I'm sure you can think of other examples in media of how our culture is disrespectful.

We have to be so careful as wives not to allow those subliminal messages to permeate our thoughts and perspectives about our husbands. Respect is vital to the marriage relationship.

We think of men as very competitive creatures. Consider this: If two men are working together to dig a ditch, there is an understood competition to see who can dig faster, farther, more efficiently, etc. They don't say a word. They don't have to. They both just know they are in a competition. Women are just as competitive, but in a completely different way. When I was nine months pregnant, a woman started to tell me her HORROR story of her first birthing experience. Not willing to be outdone, another woman chimed in to tell her HORROR story, and soon a third woman joined the chorus of HORROR birthing stories. I walked away with eyes like saucers, wondering WHY in the world those women would ever tell a pregnant woman those kinds of tales. I think women compete for the martyr award, and that's where our competition comes into play. One of us starts to tell a story about how difficult her husband is, and another says, "That's nothing... you should hear what my husband said to me the other day..." and pretty soon the conversation has turned into a husband-bashing session.

This should not be. My advice for the young bride is to NEVER join into those kinds of conversations... even to RUN away from "friends" who behave that way. I made a pact with my closest friends when they got married that they could tell me anything... if they had a struggle with their husband, I would listen but I would always encourage them to talk to their husband about it, because that is the only way things can be resolved. (My friends do the same for me.)

Of course, when we talk about the issue, we need to make sure we are "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15). We can speak the truth, but if we are yelling, or being sarcastic, or using violent hand gestures as we speak, we aren't communicating respect and the damage is the same.  Many times, we should say less and pray more. Ecclesiastes 5:2 says "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few." So often, if we didn't say anything about the issue and just prayed about it, things would go more smoothly!


A few thoughts on marriage... BEST FRIENDSHIP

I wrote these marriage posts over a year ago. I'm not sure why I didn't post them last year, but life spiraled out of control shortly after I wrote them and I forgot about them until now. A darling young bride had asked me to speak at her wedding shower, and I turned my three points into three marriage posts.

I wrestled with God's leading to teach the Sunday School class on Insecurity, but through that experience, I learned that God often uses what we teach others to help US learn. I decided to look at the speaking opportunity as a reminder to myself of the marriage truths I needed most to hear, in the hopes that if it was something beneficial to ME it would be beneficial for others as well.

Out of curiosity, I polled a bunch of married female co-workers via email to ask them what marriage advice they would give a new bride. I had dozens of great responses, but the overwhelming majority of them talked about the importance of your husband being your best friend. This seems like it would be easy when you're first married. Before you get married (and even when you are newlywed sometimes), you think you will love to be together every day for forever. Once you get into the nitty-gritty of marriage, though, you find out that it is more work to intentionally be best friends.

One way that I like to think of it is that we are to be a "student" of our spouse. It is my privilege to become an expert in the subject of my husband. Not just his likes and dislikes, but understanding what makes him who he is. There are so many stereotypes out there that say that men are "simple," but I don't think that is true at all. Men are every bit as complex as women are! That's why it takes effort to learn each other.

Another thing that helps friendships blossom is to always assume the best about your husband. First Corinthians 13:7 says that "love believes all things." Rather than assume the worst, if we assume the best, our feelings are less likely to be hurt and miscommunication is less likely to occur. This is very hard to do, but I have to remind myself that my husband and I are not opposing teams - we are on the SAME team. He is not the enemy.

I also remind myself of what it takes to be friends with someone. It takes time. We need to spend time together, doing things that we enjoy doing, talking, and working together. We have to be intentional about setting aside time specifically for US. If I want to deepen a friendship with a girlfriend, we schedule a coffee date or play date and we chat about life. So it is if I want to deepen my friendship with my husband.

This is Part II of a three-part series. Click below to read the other posts:

A few thoughts on marriage... FIGHT

I wrote these marriage posts over a year ago. I'm not sure why I didn't post them last year, but life spiraled out of control shortly after I wrote them and I forgot about them until now. A darling young bride asked me to speak at her wedding shower, and I turned my three points into three marriage posts.

I wrestled with God's leading to teach the Sunday School class on Insecurity, but through that experience, I learned that God often uses what we teach others to help US learn. I decided to look at the speaking opportunity as a reminder to myself of the marriage truths I needed most to hear, in the hopes that if it was something beneficial to ME it would be beneficial for others as well.

A dear friend asked me a couple of years ago what my marriage advice was, and I told her one of the biggest things I'd learned was that you have to actively fight for your marriage. There is even a reasonable and good measure of jealousy in a marriage - I'm jealous FOR my husband. I used to think jealousy in marriage was a silly thing. Now I think that righteous jealousy is crucial. 

Marriage is under attack in our culture. I don't have to spout off statistics... you already know someone whose home and heart has been ravaged by divorce.

It takes a lot of spiritual strength to fight for your marriage. We have to put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11). It's important to study the word for God's instructing in becoming a godly wife. The closer you are to God, the better your marriage will be. We have to pray for His help. This shows our dependence upon Him. If we run to HIM with our "ventings" rather than our girlfriends, things will go more smoothly! Part of putting on the whole armor of God is memorizing scripture. There is nothing like the memorized word to fight off temptation and attacks on your marriage!

Our marriages are an opportunity for us to show the world a picture of the love that Christ has for the church. What an awesome privilege and joy!

This is the third in a three-part series on marriage. Click below to view the other posts:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

I just finished reading Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Patillo. I'm disappointed to report that I didn't love this book. I wanted to love it. The premise - or, at least the title - is enticing to any Austenite. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, but it's not at the top of my "must re-read at a future date" list.

The heroine, Claire, has the ultimate privilege of attending a week-long Pride and Prejudice seminar at Oxford. (As an aside, if anyone would like to send ME to a Pride and Prejudice seminar at Oxford, I would gladly go! Or even one like this that I found! Teehee!) While she's there, she meets a Mr. Darcy look-alike and instantly turns into goo. Never mind that she has a boyfriend back home. What's more interesting is that a woman randomly turns up (Can anyone say "Fairy Godmother?") with an authentic manuscript of First Impressions, which all we Austenites know was Jane Austen's first draft of Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately, First Impressions was destroyed by Jane's sister after her death, along with hundreds of her letters. Claire learns that there is a secret group called the Formidables who have kept all of the supposedly-destroyed-but-actually-not manuscripts and letters in hiding for two hundred years. (Willing suspension of disbelief, people.) Claire reads the manuscript, and suddenly her moral choice between Mr. Darcy-look-alike and her boyfriend back home becomes crystal clear. I won't spoil the ending in case you decide to read the book.

I'm leaving out a LOT of backstory and details about Claire's life because to be honest, I don't feel like Pattillo did them justice. Claire has a LOT of emotional baggage and Pattillo wants us to believe that after a one-week seminar on Pride and Prejudice, all of a sudden all of Claire's problems are suddenly solved and she has found The Answer. This is my big problem with the book. Anyone with tons of emotional baggage (or even just a little bit of it) knows that true problems and real pain is not resolved with the waving of a wand, or even a single decision. Life is never so easy.

That being said, it was an enjoyable read. There was no truly objectionable material, and the ending wasn't terribly predictable. (Predictable, but not terribly so. This is different from "terribly predictable." Grin.) If you're looking for a fluffy, read-it-in-an-afternoon, beachy kind of book, this would fit the bill.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Looking Forward

My Happy Thursday is a day late this week - no excuses, just acknowledgment.

When I read this quote, I am reminded how unwise it is to look back, and think that the "older days" were better (Ecclesiastes 7:10). Regret looks back, folly is distracted to the side, but wisdom looks forward. Those who are in Christ know that our "forever" will be perfection.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Thursday - In Honor of Osias

Back when I worked outside the home, I used to send a group of coworkers what I called "Happy Thursday" emails. My Happy Thursday emails were essentially an inspirational quote and a few encouraging words. It was something that I enjoyed doing and I got lots of feedback that it "meant a lot" to those who received the emails.

Recently, a friend of mine lost her son to CHD. On her facebook, she asked that he be remembered on Thursdays (he was born and passed away on Thursdays) and honored by an act of kindness. Here is her exact post:

Osias was born and died on Thursdays. If his precious life inspired you at all, please use this Thursday to honor his memory. Go out of your way to be kind to someone, start something you've been putting off, learn something new--anything that enriches life for others and/or yourself.

I've contemplated the return of my Happy Thursdays for a while now, but have decided to start them again in honor of Osias Gregory Wenner. I fell in love with that little guy, despite the fact that I never met him face to face on this earth. His little life touched many others, and I cherished the privilege to pray for him and his family while he was here... I love the idea of honoring his memory on Thursdays in the best way I know how... encouraging others in their growth!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Life on Repeat

She was sweeter than an angel
Wide, trusting eyes always watching
Open-hearted, wistful, ready to be
Scarred by the jolting of reality

She's living her mama's life on repeat
Doing what she swore she'd never do
Go ahead, bend under the pressure, girl
Won't you ever be able to see?
You're living your mama's life on repeat

Wearing long sleeves in the summertime
Hating him with her disappointed heart
Never understanding her mama's blind eye
Digging deeper into herself as the years flew by

She's living her mama's life on repeat
Doing what she swore she'd never do
Go ahead, bend under the pressure, girl
Won't you ever be able to see?
You're living your mama's life on repeat

He wasn't like her daddy at all
Needy, striving, dying to fall
Not even the lights and siren's call
Clarified what was obvious to all

She's living her mama's life on repeat
Doing what she swore she'd never do
Go ahead, bend under the pressure, girl
Won't you ever be able to see?
You're living your mama's life on repeat

Girl, won't you ever be able to see?
That little boy will be you on repeat

She's living her mama's life on repeat
Doing what she swore she'd never do
Go ahead, bend under the pressure, girl
Won't you ever be able to see?
There is only One Way to stop the repeat

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day Thirty-One: A vivid memory

It was the perfect day.

It was sunny and warm, but not too warm. We had everything we needed for a relaxing day at the beach: towels, a picnic lunch, books to read, our journals, a volleyball. The waves were crashing beautifully, and we had the whole beach to ourselves for as far as the eye could see. The sand was soft and white. The water was the loveliest shade of cerulean imaginable. Only the shade of the sky could compare. There was a soft breeze.

We talked. We laughed. We were silent, watching the waves. We grew closer in the silence, somehow.

As I lay on that beach towel, I reveled in the warmth of the sun on my skin. My soul drank deeply of the draught of relationship. There was communion with My Savior - worship of Him, in awe of His might and strength and power, on display in those crashing waves. There was communion with this sister of my heart.

It is rare when you can name a day that changed you. This perfect, gift-day changed me. My soul grew that day.