Friday, September 30, 2011

Family Time Friday- Love You More- a Book Review

I was recently sent a copy of the book, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter by Thomas Nelson PublishingLove You More is a book written by an adoptive mother about her journey to adopting her daughter from Guatemala.  In the book she chronicles the events that happened leading up to the adoption including the way God lead her and her husband to the choice of adoption.  As an adoptive mother myself I was very interested in reading this book.  As I read the book, however I began to feel like people who haven’t considered adoption should read this book as well, because she really puts into words the way an adoptive mother feels about their adoptive child.

As I read it I loved the way she described that she felt like her daughter was always meant to be with her family, because that is exactly how we felt about Shea and later William.  I had no idea it could feel that way, but looking back I can clearly see the steps God put in our lives that lead us to adopting our specific children, and I can clearly see that they were meant to be with us.  Even as we went through the craziness of the CPS system He was the one in control of the chaos, making sure that everything happened at precisely the right time in spite of our attempts to rush things.  Smile 

In the book Love You More, Jennifer Grant talks about how frustrating the whole process was, and how it was awful waiting for the government to decide that her family was, in fact, a family.  In some ways, adopting through the foster system is easier in that we get to experience the firsts with our child, but in way it’s more difficult because if something goes wrong we have had the child and then have to say good-bye.  In a sense we risk our hearts in a different way.

At the end she talks about how it with her daughter now, about 10 years after the fact, and how her family has been shaped through the experience.  I really enjoyed reading about the later experiences as I can not wait to get there myself.

In short, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wonders about adoption, is considering adoption, or knows anyone who has adopted Smile

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday-Sick

I’ve caught a cold, or a flu, or something.  At any rate I feel pretty generally awful Sad smile  I was laying in bed thinking about how awful I felt and feeling a little sorry for myself, when I was reminded that we need to go through valleys to appreciate the mountaintop.  I haven’t been sick in quite a while.  I use Young Living Oils and any time I get the slightest indication that I’m getting sick I down some Thieves Oil and all is well in my world.  Well, this time I ended up getting sick anyway…. 

I don’t think I ever take being well for granted, especially since my healing…  but sometimes I think we get sick to give us mandatory rest time Smile  So, even though I feel a bit better today (after sleeping almost 13 hours straight) I’m going to stay home from Bible Study and rest some more.  I might have to run the littles to the doctor, and I think I have to go to the grocery store….    But I’m going to keep it low key today, and try to appreciate the time to rest Smile

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GratiTuesday- New Size for Life

I have a friend who goes to Weight Watchers with me and is my walking buddy.  She started out smaller than me, so as we have now both lost a good bit of weight we’re not fitting into our clothes anymore.  Well….  She came by last night and gave me some of the clothes that she no longer fits into…  They’re size 14 and THEY FIT!!!!  I’m so excited!  It’s always fun to get new clothes.  And, I’ve never cared whether my new cloths were actually “new” or “new to me”…  But I DO care that they are a smaller size!!!!

I also got some new bras in the mail that I had ordered from Bare Necessities.  They are the only place I can find my size of bra for a decent price.  For those few men who read my blog, you can stop reading now…. 

Ok….  Is it just us girls now?????

I wear a 34 DDD, and it seems the retailers think 2 things.  If you’re a 34, you’re not a DDD…  And if you’re a DDD you’re not interested in cute bras, you just want an over the shoulder boulder holder.  I have, in the past gone to specialty bra shops in the area, but end up paying close to $75 per bra that way.  I just plain can’t afford that.  I love Bare Necessities because they have every size known to man (literally), and their prices are good.  I got 3 bras for less than $55 shipped!  Smile  And they’re cute too!  Winking smile

So, today, I’m thankful that I’m in a different size – a smaller size – which means I need new clothes and new bras Smile

I can’t believe I just broadcasted my bra size to the world……….

FYI- I was not compensated in ANY WAY for my endorsement of Bare Necessities.  I just love the site Winking smile

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Monday- 9/26

Well, it’s been another off week for me.  I’ve got to get better control of my time.  It was my husband’s 40th birthday last week and I didn’t walk Thursday or Friday because I wanted to spend some time with him while he was home.  My problem is, if I don’t do it in the morning it doesn’t happen Sad smile  I also ate way too much cake and drank way too much wine on his birthday LOL…  The next day I ate the majority of the remaining rice crispy base from his cake and by the evening I threw what was left AWAY!!!  Clearly, I can’t stay out of it.  So, I’m disappointed in myself for giving in to the sweets…  And I paid for it with a very upset stomach all night Saturday night too….  WHEN will I learn????  But, I am proud of myself for ultimately throwing it out instead of continuing on my bad cycle for another day….

The good news is that when I weighed in last week I had lost all 4.6 pounds I had gained the week before and another .4 for a total loss that week of 5 pounds!  Just goes to show when I’m really focused the plan DOES work..

So, here’s my plan to get back with the program this week:

  • Walk a minimum of 30 miles
  • Do some upper body strengthening exercise at least 2 times this week
  • Check off my good health guidelines at least 5 days
  • Drink at least 2 full water bottles each day
  • Make sure to eat enough protein
  • Continue to work on finding healthy breakfast options

Here’s my review of the breakfast foods I tried last week:

  • Two Bite Breakfast-  SOOO Yum!  I figured them to be about 4 points a piece depending on the type of bread and cheese…  I liked them so much I made them twice last week!!!
  • Bacon Egg Cups—On the list to try this week
  • Power Bars--  Made a version of them that didn’t include Grape Nuts, but just extra oats.  These were very filling and good.  I figured them at about 4 points a piece as well…  Will definitely make them again, probably this week
  • Blueberry Muffins—On the list for this week
  • Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole—On the menu to try this week again- didn’t get to it last week…

Here’s the menu:

Monday:  Rotisserie Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus (from last week)

Tuesday:  Chicken Sausage on the grill, mixed veggies

Wednesday:  Big kids at EYC, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, fruit for the babies

ThursdayChili to Warm You

Friday:   Macaroni and Cheese for the kids, Date night for me and the hubs

Saturday:  Chicken and Dumplings

Sunday:  Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Singing Saturday- Love is In the House

This is like my theme song…  Mostly because of the chorus- “When love is in the house the house is packed….”  My house is packed a lot!  Especially last night as we celebrated my husband’s birthday Smile


Love is In the House- TobyMac

I clear my throat before I grab the mic
I need uno momento
Them cynics gonna ride me like a pinto
No resentment do you comprehend my innuendo
You still can’t leave the party til you drop your crucial info
Am I jaded in assuming that you’re simply bound to do me
Like them other lyricists who’s message ain’t so gloomy
Pan my positivity cause love has let you down
Cuz if they taste the love you tasted
They’d be making sweeter sounds, ‘T

Government checks they flex with no dollars
Two turntables and a plate full of collards
Royalty checks reflects with few dollars
But my DJ makes the people wanna holler

Love is in the house and the house is packed
So much so I left the back door cracked
Mama always said it’s a matter of fact
that when love is in the house the house is packed
Love is in the house and the house is packed
So much so I left the back door cracked
Daddy always said that I wish I was black
cuz when love is in the house the house is packed

Packed like a baby nine months in the womb
Man it was packed like the closet full of Nike’s in my room
Singin’ Oh sweet Lord take me to the next level
Where the love’s much thicker than the stares of my devils
So whether or not this is a dream or reality
Let me appeal to the graces of His majesty
Amazing it will be when this tree bears life
My roots run to the river and the Giver of Life

Corporate jets they flex with big dollars
Two palm pilots and a room full of bawlers
Royalty checks reflects with few dollars
But amazing grace makes the people wanna holler


Woke up this morning, didn’t know what to do
There was people all around me tellin’ me to sing the blues
Said they ain’t seen no happy since 1992
Then they turned to me thinking I’d agree and I offered
this humble view

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family Time Friday- The Importance of Time

It has been said by many a busy parent- “It’s not the quantity of time, but the quality of time that matters”.  Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.  I’m sorry, I know people will disagree with me on this, but hear me out.

Think about when you go to dinner with someone.  Very rarely will your conversation turn deep right at the beginning.  Even it is someone with whom you are very close, you still get certain pleasantries out of the way first before really going in deep.  How many times have you stayed after a church activity with a friend because right as you were about to leave she dropped something heavy in the conversation?  That’s because the required amount of quantity had been reached for her to feel safe enough to drop it.  This is not a conscious decision most of the time.  It just happens.

I listen to our local Christian radio station almost exclusively in the car, and the speaker was talking about how some of his best conversations with his teenage son have occurred when he is dog tired, and ready for bed.  He had gone in to say good night and asked if there was anything the son needed------and well, they were up all night.  He was cautioning us parents to not put those moments off.  This really spoke to me, because by the time I’m ready to go to bed, which is very early in the evening by teenage standards, I am in no mood for a deep discussion.  And, my kids know it…..  It’s so easy for me to say- I’ve been with you all day, and I’ll be with you all day tomorrow, can we talk about it then?  And you know what?  It doesn’t ever happen.  We as parents need to remember to be available for our kids.  Even if it’s in the middle of the night and they want to talk about how hard Algebra is…….

Moreover, I think it’s especially hard to balance taking care of ourselves and our goals and dreams and still taking care of our children and even our spouse.  We’ve all heard it said a million times- weekly date nights are so important for the marriage.  Why???  Because quantity of time matters.  My husband and I never really had a chance to do weekly date nights out when the older kids were little.  We don’t have family around with whom we can regularly drop our kids.  It’s something I plan to be for my kids- a regular drop point for babysitting- anyway, it made it difficult for us.  We made a commitment when we were pregnant with our oldest child that I would stay home, and that meant we would have to sacrifice financially.  Because of that, paying a babysitter, or even the expense of going out on a date weekly wasn’t really feasible.  So, we didn’t have date night.  We  made it, obviously, but I really want to communicate that if you have a friend you can trade off, even every other week, or once a month it is very important.  Recently, with the addition of our two youngest children, my husband and I decided that in order to survive all of these kids we MUST go out on date night.  We aim for once a week, and it doesn’t always happen, but it happens more than not.  It has done WONDERS for our marriage.  We have a great marriage anyway, don’t get me wrong…  but the quantity of quality time we’re now spending together has made us click more.  We don’t always have deep discussions while we’re out…   sometimes we barely talk….  but we just have a deeper connection because of the quantity of time.

So, if you’re busy with life- busy transporting the kids from one activity to the next, busy living your own life with your own social life, even busy at church, I want you to really pray about the quantity of time you are spending with your immediate family.  If you’re gone more hours in the day than you’re home and awake- there may be a problem here.  And, FYI- transporting them from activity to activity doesn’t count.  If you’re transporting that much- your kids are too busy too.  This is so easy to do in our society these days…..

In Bible study yesterday our leader said something that I wrote in my book and circled and drew arrows to:

If the devil can’t make you bad- he’ll make you busy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday-Financial Peace University

Have you noticed I haven’t posted since Monday?  Yeah…  I’ve got a little case of writer’s block….  I just keep staring at the blank screen…  I don’t know why….

It’s not that I don’t have anything on my mind…..  I’ve got lots… 

My husband and I recently started Financial Peace University at our church and it’s really beginning to open up the lines of communication between us.  This is a great thing for us.  It’s not that we *don’t* talk, it’s just that the way we handle the bills in my house is my husband works and I handle the money.  He trusts me (maybe even more than I trust myself) to do what is best, and I just do what I think is best.  Us communicating more about it is a good thing because I’ve never felt real good about having the responsibility of all of the decisions.  I mean, after all, HE is the one who works 3 jobs to support us, I think he should know what the money is being spent on!  He just hasn’t wanted to deal with it because, no matter how much money you make there just isn’t enough……  And, to him it bothers him that I can’t just go buy what I want when I want it.  It doesn’t bother me at all.  I wouldn’t trade the ability to be home with my kids for the ability to buy what I want when I want it….  And, while we don’t have play money, we have a nice house, and food on the table, and gas in the cars, and the bills are paid (most of the time LOL)…  Winking smile Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a husband willing to work as hard as mine does so that they can stay home with the kids.  I am truly, truly blessed to have a husband who believes in the importance of that as much as I am.  He’s never guilted me about not working.  Never. 

FPU is much more than what I expected.  I think sometimes it doesn’t get the reputation it deserves.  People thing FPU is for people who aren’t able to pay their bills, or are in debt to their eyeballs.  It is helpful for that, but there is SO much more to the program.  So much about budgeting and saving and how that all works.  I’m really enjoying learning more about those things so I can do better with our financial future (not present)….  And, having two heads on the matter instead of one actually kind of makes me giddy inside Winking smile  Am I weird?  I just know this is going to make a real difference in our family’s future.

So, I guess my message for today would be if you have the opportunity at all to attend FPU, whether you are doing “fine” financially or not, I think you should go.  Heck- we can always learn more and do better, right?????

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Monday- 9/19

Last week when I weighed in I got a “talking to” by the scale.  You see, one of the main reasons I don’t make many cakes anymore is because it is very bad for my waistline.  And, evidently a wedding cake is VERY bad.  4.6 pounds in one week bad.  And start a downward spiral bad.  I’ve already lost some of it, but to be real honest, it’s been very difficult to get back on the bandwagon this week.  I’m hoping some good grocery shopping and planning will do the trick. 

I also didn’t walk as much last week, which I did get back into the swing of this week.  And, honestly, it felt good to complete that 10 mile walk on Friday!  Because of my tendonitis I haven’t done a 10 miler in a while.  But, it’s feeling better, and so was I Smile

My goals for this week are:

  • Stay in my points range
  • More veggies
  • More water
  • Less sugar
  • Check off the good health guidelines at least 4/7 days Smile

I also want to do some healthier breakfasts around here, so I’ll be trying some new ones out.  I don’t have the desire to cook every morning….  Or even most mornings…  but it is better to start the day with a healthy breakfast, so I’m going to give it a try Winking smile

Here’s the menu:

Monday:  Taco Soup, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

Tuesday:  TV Dinners for the kids, Date night for me and hubs

Wednesday:  Tater Tot Casserole 

Thursday:  Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

Friday:  Lasagna Cups, Artichoke Bread, Birthday Cake, Ice Cream

Saturday:  Rotisserie Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus

Sunday:  Snack Dinner

Breakfasts to try:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Singing Saturday- When Everything Falls

I have a friend who is going through an incredibly difficult time right now. I hope she can find peace in just holding on.

When Everything Falls- Fee

You said
You'd never leave or forsake me
When you said
This life is gonna shake me
You said
This world is gonna bring trouble on my soul
This I know

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You´re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong
You keep holding on
You keep holding on

When I see
The darkness all around me
When I see
The tragedy has found me
I still believe
Your faithful arms will never let me go
And still I know

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong
You keep holding on
You keep holding on

Sorrow may last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun
Its rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You will overcome

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You´re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong
You keep holding on

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You´re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong
You keep holding on
You keep holding on

Friday, September 16, 2011

Family Time Friday- Fun Recipes

In one of my email lists there was a link today. It’s a link to painted recipes from all over the world! This site is pretty cool!

  There are several types of recipes, all fairly simple.  They are very beautiful and you could print them up and use them to cook with small children, or even just to try something different for yourself Smile

Some that I think I’ll be printing at some point are:  Chocolate Éclair Cake, Chocolate Cherry Mice- which I think would be especially fun at Christmas time Nerd smile

Let me know if you find any that you really like!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday- Staying out of God’s Way

I have a lot going on in my thoughts right now.  There is a good bit of unrest among some of my closest friends and I have them in my thoughts and prayers constantly.  I feel very weighted down by the amount of “Stuff” that is going on around me.  My need for control drives me to want to go in and fix things for my friends.  My empathy for them makes me writhe in pain and cry out in prayer.  My past life experiences tell me that things are not always as they seem and we should approach some life circumstances with caution.  My faith tells me that God is always in control.  My head knows that even forgiven sin has consequences.

It’s a lot to balance.  I’m having a hard time finding myself in the mess.  I’m ok with that, because if I’m called to a season of prayer for my friends, then I’m honored to do it.  It’s just overwhelming sometimes.  And, while I’m in deep prayer for my friends I know that I’m doing something to help them with their various struggles, but I still feel like I’m not doing anything to help them.  I’m a doer.  A fixer. 

As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve learned that some things need to remain unsaid.  I’ve learned that it’s easy to overstep when your intention is to help.  I’ve learned that sometimes help isn’t help.  So, I pray.  I pray that God would direct my actions.  I pray that God would open my mouth when it needs to be opened, and shut it when it needs to be shut.  I pray that God would protect my friends, and cover them with peace.  I pray that I would stay out of HIS way!  And, I pray that above all else HIS WILL would be done.

There are many times in our lives when it’s so tempting to try to direct God’s will.  We really resisted it hard in the foster system.  Sometimes better than others.  We  learned a lot about God’s will through that.  But, it’s still hard when you have to go through hardships and scary times to not try to be in charge, or put God in a box.  And, by put God in a box I don’t just mean not acknowledge His awesome power, but I also mean that we expect a certain answer for our prayers. 

So, as I pray for my friends and their different needs I pray a pretty consistent prayer- that God’s will would be done, that above all else we would get out of His way, and that we would have peace at the end of the day, no matter the outcome, that He is in control. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I have so much to be thankful for.  But this week I’ll focus on God’s perfect timing.  You see, my husband took a 20% pay cut back in March, and we’ve been hanging on, but barely.  We were already tight when that happened, and now we’re even tighter.  Over the summer we’ve sold furniture to make up the difference, he’s been working a ton of “extra jobs”, and we’ve cut all non-essentials.  For example, my husband has only 3 days off the entire month of September.  It’s tough, and it’s tight, but we’re ok Smile

3 1/2 years ago my husband was in a car accident.  He was hit from behind and our car was totaled and he was out of work for 6 weeks.  It was rough.  The other person’s insurance company did not want to pay for our expenses (and in the end, still didn’t pay them all), so we had to hire an attorney.  GRRR.  Well, the money from that accident finally came in this week. .. And, the next day the battery died on my van…..  And, the day after that the coffee pot died…..  Are you seeing what I’m talking about?  These things may not seem like big deals to you, but when you’re already down to literally no money, something like a $100 battery or a $50 coffee pot IS a big deal.  There have been a few other emergencies as well, and in the end we’ve not been able to do what we wanted with this money.

We could have looked at it one of two ways: 

  1. Why????  Why is that we finally have some money and can get this or that that something freakin breaks?????????  AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!  Baring teeth smile  or…..
  2. Wow!  God made sure we had that money to cover these expenses when they happened Smile

We choose option 2.  And, it serves as a reminder that, while God works in our lives ALL the time, we don’t ALWAYS see or feel it.  If we went with number 1 we wouldn’t see God.

I hope this reminds you to always look for God in every situation.  Because He’s there, it’s just a matter of whether you’re seeing Him or not Flirt male