Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gifts Opened, Gifts Wrapped

Last Monday, Susie at "Digging in the Dirt" had a blog giveaway…


and guess what? I won! I don’t ever win anything. 

I got my package yesterday and look what goodies Susie wrapped up all sweetly for me…


Thank you, Susie!!  That was SOOOO much fun opening all those little gifts.  If you haven’t visited Susie’s blog, she is one of those people who loves gardening and growing things. *I wish I could grow something.*  She has a ton of energy and is always working on projects of some kind. Susie is also the sister of my very sweet friend, Becky (Looking Through the Eyes of Luv).  Take a moment to visit their blogs.  They’re fun people.

After I opened my goodie package, Kayla and I resumed our task of putting up our Christmas tree.  Kayla LOVES Christmas and Christmas decorations… thank goodness, because she saved the day.  I love having my tree up, but putting it up is not my favorite job in the world.  She made it so much more enjoyable.

I was so happy when Kale and Kayla decided to come for the weekend after spending Thanksgiving with her family.  They got here before lunch on Friday and left today.  We had lots of fun… mostly just laying around the house watching Christmas movies – which the guys thoroughly enjoyed.  We cooked big, instead of going out, and just enjoyed being indoors by the wood stove.

So, now it’s Sunday night and I sit in my living room with my tree glowing in the dimly lit room… all the presents are wrapped and under the tree (at least the ones I have so far)… there are not four, but FIVE Christmas stockings hanging by the fire (we’ve added one for Kayla)…and tomorrow begins the 25 days of Christmas.

I love this time of year!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today, on Thanksgiving, I’m writing my 100th post.  Here are three things for which I’m eternally grateful.

David and Jacquie

My man.

Kale in Dad's boots

My firstborn. 

Tyler in the garden

My baby.

I’m blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I’ve Been Tagged

I’ve been tagged by Judy at Cushing's Family.  Judy has two adult children that suffer from Cushing’s disease.  She also has a blog she created of letters she received from her father.  Sweet!! That kind of stuff is right up my alley.

I am supposed to share eight random things about myself and tag eight people.  Here goes:

  1. I’m not a big beef eater.  When I was young and my mom had steak for supper, I’d ask if I could have a peanut butter and honey sandwich instead.  She always said “yes”.  I suppose that just meant more steak for everyone else!
  2. An after school snack when you have 11 kids is: Two Saltines crackers and a small glass of Kool-aid. I had it every day for years.
  3. I have naturally curly hair and have spent thousands of dollars on hair care products over the years – just ask Jodi – and recently I started doing something called “The Curly Girl Method”.  It entails washing your hair WITHOUT shampoo, banning terrycloth towels, no silicones or sulphates, lots of conditioner, and eliminating the blow dryer.  I know, I know.  I’m crazy!
  4. I am afraid of heights and enclosed spaces.  Elevators are pretty much my worst nightmare.
  5. I love popcorn with parmesan cheese on top!  My aunt introduced it to me for the first time when I spent the night with my cousin when I was just a girl.
  6. I’m trying to wean myself from “The Today Show” and switch to “Fox and Friends”. The only thing I miss is the local news inserts and WEATHER!
  7. I love breakfast. One of my favorites is – Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal mixed with 1/2 banana and berry yogurt. Yum.
  8. Ok, this last one is a confession…  there is a “rule” we have at work.  I’m not allowed to play Christmas music until AFTER Thanksgiving.  Because our Preacher might be “Scrooge”.  While he was gone last week, I signed in to my XM Radio subscription online and enjoyed Christmas tunes for several DAYS.  He’s back this week, so I laid low… but next week is AFTER THANKSGIVING, so I’m good to go!

I tag:

Betsy, Judy, Leigh Ann, Micaela, Kelly, Becky, Jamie, and Susie or anyone else who wants to play.

Hope y’all have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Favorites Tuesday

Kim, over at “Deliberate Hope” is hosting a Blog Party.  Every Tuesday until the end of the year is “Favorites Tuesday”.  This week we’re posting about our favorite “something” about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Food


I have to say that my absolute favorite Thanksgiving food is my mother’s stuffing.  We’ve never done the southern “bread dressing”… I was raised on “meat stuffing”. YUM! And it’s twice as good when it’s covered in turkey gravy.  Oh, I just can’t wait!  I look forward to Mom’s stuffing more than I do any food on the menu, including dessert.

Thanksgiving Foolishness

Thanksgiving animals

One year, my younger sister brought home a new boyfriend at Thanksgiving.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like as a "newcomer” to attend a holiday event at our house –I’m guessing it might be a tad overwhelming??  Anyway, she brought home this new beau who was sitting nervously by the fireplace. 

When it came time to serve dinner, my sister began to fix a plate for him.  My older sister, Suzanne (#3), and I decided it would be funny to sort of initiate the poor boy and put the turkey “derriere” on his plate instead of a nice juicy slice of meat.  When the plate was handed to him, Suz and I stood at a distance and watched his reaction.  He just stared at his plate.  He didn’t quite know what to do.  We got a good laugh and told him it was a joke and fixed him an appropriate plate. 

It really was in good fun, but I don’t think it went over well with him.

Needless to say, holidays are quite an occasion when you have a large family.  If I counted right, and I could be off by one or two, there is a potential for 65 people to attend our holiday meals – family members alone.  That includes my parents, my siblings and their children, and now their spouses and children.

My parents still host all the holiday suppers.  They have a 12’ dining table that helps with eating arrangements and a large deck on the back of the house that provides a little more room.  We’re expecting 30+ people this Thursday in which to share the day and the meal.  There won’t be one silent moment– unless it happens during the blessing– but that’s my family and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

How many will be at your Thanksgiving meal?

Do you have Thanksgiving “lunch” or “supper”?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Great Day

Today has been such a great day! We had a wonderful time of worship this morning and we finished the day with a Thanksgiving fellowship and the most food you’ve ever seen!!

I spent a couple of hours visiting (my neighbor) Ms. Charlsie.  She is always so much fun to spend time with.  Her mind is still so sharp at (almost) 90 years old.

We talk about so many different things: the gas prices (and she hasn’t driven since like 1982), the few TV programs she’s found that she enjoys, the economy, our faith, her blood pressure and it’s ability to drive up all the sudden, things that have been in the local paper, and  her plans for Thanksgiving with very little family left. 

I had talked her in to letting a couple of us give her a 90th birthday party.  She was insistent at first that we do nothing, but when I convinced her that it would just be a drop in reception for a few of her friends – no fuss, no presents – she agreed.  But, since then, her blood pressure has been acting up.  I don’t know if she’s been worrying about it or if something else is going on, but when I called her yesterday morning she told me (adamantly) that she wanted to cancel the party because she thinks it might just be too much for her.  So, the party is canceled, but I’m hoping people will make an effort to stop and wish her a Happy 90th in the days surrounding her birthday.

I love that woman … and this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that she is my neighbor and I’m still able to spend Sunday afternoons with her.  There were moments we weren’t sure she’d still be with us.

Kale and Kayla will be spending Thanksgiving with her folks this year.  This will be my first Thanksgiving without him.  It’ll be strange without him, but I guess that’s part of the deal when you let your children grow up.  I’m so excited that they’ll both be here for Christmas – I’m already planning what’ll be going in Kayla’s stocking!!

On the fitness front… I got my new Kettlebells.  A 15 and 25 pounder. I think they’ll be lots of fun and quite a challenge.  I’m studying up on all the stuff you can do with them.  I’ll be incorporating them in my workouts this week.

I ate to a “T” this week and the scale was unkind.  My weight didn’t budge.  (This is where the frustration comes in.)  But, I’ll keep my head in the game.  It’ll be a challenge this week with Thanksgiving in the mix.

I’m looking forward to a busy, short week at work… but first … I’ve got to watch my recorded episode of “24”!!!! I’m off to see what Jack’s up to these days.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Difference Between Jodi and Me

One week from today.  Black Friday.

The difference between Jodi and me.

Jo and Jacq

Jodi …


Waking up at the crack of dawn…

Christmas shopping lines

… to fight the crowds…

Christmas shopping Target 

… to get the deal …

Christmas parking

… if she’s lucky enough to get a parking space.

Me …


Sleeping in (I value my beauty sleep!) …

Online shopping

… a little online Christmas shopping in my PJs …

 Hot Cocoa

… a cup of hot cocoa …

 Christmas ornament

… maybe I’ll put up the tree …


… and enjoy a few Christmas movies on TV!!  And never leave the house.

Which one are you?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jack is Back

The moment many of us have been waiting for will be here in less than three days!!

The return of Jack Bauer.Jack Bauer “24” was a victim of the writer’s strike and delayed Season 7 for a year.  But, it’s set to begin again in mid January, and they’re wooing us with a 2-hour teaser this Sunday night.

Thanksgiving and Jack Bauer in the same week!  Enough said.

If only Jack were real. He can do anything!

Here are a few random “facts” about Jack Bauer…

  • Jack Bauer could get off the Lost Island in 24 hours.
  • They say you can’t go a day without water.  Jack has gone for 6 seasons.
  • Some people see the glass as half full.  Others see it as half empty.  Jack Bauer sees the glass as a deadly weapon.
  • Terrorists dread the day that Daylight Saving Time ends. Jack Bauer gets 25 hours in which to kill them.
  • If Jack Bauer was President, he would protect the Secret Service.
  • When bad things happen to good people, it’s probably fate. When bad things happen to bad people, it’s probably Jack Bauer.
  • Jack Bauer once arm-wrestled Superman. The stipulations were the loser had to wear his underwear on the outside of his pants.
  • There are three leading causes of death among terrorists. The first two are Jack Bauer, and the third one is heart attack from hearing Jack Bauer is coming for them.

I’ll be tuned in Sunday night with full confidence that Jack will emerge as my hero once again.

By the end of those two action packed hours… I may just be down those 4 pounds!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Lord Has Granted Me What I Asked of Him


Back in 1986, one night as I lay in my bed, I prayed… “Lord, if you’ll just give me a child, I’ll give him back to You.  I just want a baby to love.

I meant it with all my heart.

What I didn’t know is that a very long time before me a young woman named Hannah, in the depths of her despair, prayed a very similar prayer to the very same God. All she wanted was a child to love… and He granted her what she asked of Him. (1 Samuel 1)

And He granted me my deepest desire as well.  I found out very shortly afterward that I was pregnant with Kale. (Technically, I was pregnant at that moment!)

I truly believe children are a blessing from the Lord.  I have never been the same since that night 22+ years ago.

My children have blessed me beyond measure.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

Finding out I was pregnant.

Hearing the first heartbeat.

Feeling the first “flutter”.

Looking into the eyes of my newborn baby for the very first time.


Feeling their heart beat against mine.

The way they smell after a bath.

The first tooth.

The first step.

Sleeping with them when they’re sick.

Praying with them to “ask Jesus into their hearts”.

The first day of school.

Christmas morning.

Spying through the window at them at their first school dance.

Watching them play sports.

Leg wrestling.

A hug at a ballgame – in public.

Going to the movies together.


Hearing the words “I Love You.”

Those are some of the things I ponder in my heart… and there are so many more!

My friend, Kelly, and her husband, Scott, have prayed for a child and God has granted them what they’ve asked.  I can’t think of any two people who have more love to give a child than them.  As they prepare for the arrival of precious, enormously loved, little Harper Brown, I want to let them know that I am praying for them.

Kelly used to babysit my children.  So, it has been such fun for me watching Kelly’s little belly grow.  The anticipation of whether “it” was “Harper” or “Hudson”.  Hearing about the “firsts” of pregnancy. I’m even more excited about the joy set before them (and Harper’s grandparents).

If I could give any practical advice it would be to:

  • Write things down, You will forget.
  • Take lots of pictures (like there’s any danger of that being an issue).
  • Be consistent (the HARDEST part of parenting, because they know how to wear you out!!).
  • Read to her (another one I didn’t have to clue you in on).

Kelly, you already have such a nurturing, loving heart… motherhood will be second-nature for you.  (Oh, you’ll be calling Momma plenty! Believe me.) But, there’s no doubt that Harper will FEEL loved because of the heart that God gave you. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!!

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Family Tree

Family Tree

I got an invitation a week or two ago from my cousin, Becky, in California to join a family tree website ( 


I LOVE that stuff, so I jumped right in and added my parents’ and siblings’ information (that took a while) and later added my mom’s family’s information.  I invited some of my siblings and cousins and it began to bud.

My cousin, Linda (my Aunt Rosemary’s oldest daughter), is a whiz at it.  She’s added lots of fun pictures, filled in several branches, and invited a bunch more relatives. And now it’s in full bloom!

So far my family stats show that I have 154 blood relatives and 48 ancestors.  It’s amazed me to see how far-reaching our family tree is – and we’re just getting started.

If any of you are familiar with social networks (like Facebook), is like a social network that includes a family tree, profiles for each person, photo albums, a message wall, and many tools to enable you to keep in touch with and see how you’re related to all your family members. It’s so fun.

One of the pictures my cousin Linda posted is of our grandfather, who I’ve posted several pictures of before.  I absolutely love this picture. (I always think of Kale when I see old pictures of Grandpa.)


You can tell from his physique that Grandpa was an athlete.  He was committed to exercise and fitness – I’ll always remember that about him.  He was a speed-walker.  He actually qualified to compete at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, but wasn’t able to attend because he didn’t have the money to get there. That was before big money sponsorships.  But, even in his latter years he still worked out.

Speaking of working out … today was weigh-in day and I was down TWO pounds.  Better than I’d hoped for.  Only four more to goal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Salute and My Scale

Today is Veteran’s Day.  I want to take just a moment to thank our troops – both past and present – who have given so much for the cause of freedom and to defend this great nation.  We are blessed by their sacrifice.

If you recall, my nephew Cory is currently serving in the Middle East.  I’m praying for you, Cory, and your family while you are away on our behalf.

Airman Cory Goulet

Please continue praying for our troops.


I’m sure you noticed, this morning I placed a ticker under my header.  I’ve been battling it out with my scale for a couple of years now gaining and losing the same few pounds.  So, in order to give myself a kick in the hind parts, I’m placing the counter where y’all can keep an eye on it.  My goal is to lose 6 pounds by New Year’s. 

Now I know… THEY say you can’t lose weight during the holidays, but I’m (once again) a freak!  I’m a little motivated by the things “they” say can’t be done.

I read on my friend Leigh Ann's blog tonight that she lost SIX pounds last week.  I’m a trainer, and I’m telling you, that’s a ton to lose in a week – that’s like, “Biggest Loser” effort!  I’m impressed, Leigh Ann!!

Well, if Leigh Ann can lose six pounds in a week, this old gal can lose six pounds in seven weeks.  I’m not a math genius, but that’s less than a pound a week. So, I’m going to give it a valiant effort.

Anyone care to join me?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Stuff That Thrills Me

I’m a little obsessive compulsive.  When I get my mind on something, it just doesn’t go away until, well, I get my mind on something else.  But, lately I’ve had my mind on these …


… Kettlebells.

Kettlebells resemble cannonballs or bowling balls with handles.  They’ve been around for centuries as a Russian training tool and have made a comeback in the fitness field.

They provide a full body workout combining cardio, strength training, flexibility and core conditioning all in one.  An explosive, controlled lift requires use of all your muscles… all the while burning lots of calories.  Because the workouts are intense, you can save lots of time in the gym with shorter workouts.  It’s also supposed to be wicked fun to boot.

Here’s a sample of basic kettlebell moves:

Kettlebell basics - demo

Because I’m a freak, I love to put myself through grueling workouts… so the more I read and see about these “toys” the more interested I become.  I’ve been reading about kettlebells for a year or so.  Lately these babies have been calling my name, but before I invest in any (they’re a bit pricey) I’d like to hear if any of you have done kettlebell training. If so, I’d love to hear your opinion?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Solid Rock


Today is Election Day.  It’s hard to believe this is my seventh Presidential election.  That makes me feel a little old as well as the fact that both my children are now registered voters.  I am grateful for the right to vote even though I may or may not be happy with the outcome.

One thing I know for sure, no matter what the results of the election are, God is still on the throne and I can trust Him.  I am His and He is mine…

In Christ Alone - Travis Cottrell

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”       (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Fun Weekend

We had such a fun weekend!  I love having the kids home.  In addition to our Friday night trip to the Haunted House, Saturday we took another day trip to see the fall colors… and it was beautiful.




We ate at a little roadside cafe’ in Norfork.  They had a good breakfast, but the town folk were what we found most enjoyable.  Everyone knew everyone in the restaurant.  Everyone was friendly… a little old gentleman even came in with some Halloween candy bagged up for any little ones that might be in the restaurant.  It was Small Town USA at it’s finest.

After we ate breakfast we drove south toward Calico Rock and Mountain View.  We drove around Calico and looked at some of the beautiful old houses that are dotted along the bluff that overlooks the river and in the old neighborhoods.  Mountain View was bustling with people shopping the little shops and just as we were leaving they were setting up live music on the square.

We went on westward to see the Blanchard Springs Caverns.  That was a sight to see.  Pretty amazing.



Afterward driving most of the day we enjoyed supper together before heading home for some of the apple pie that Kale and Kayla bought for me at my favorite place in Harrison (Neighbor’s Mill).

And could they be ANY cuter??


I don’t know when I’ve had more fun with two people than I had with these two precious young’ens this weekend.  I’m looking forward to going to visit them in Fayetteville in less than two weeks!!

(All of the above photos were taken by Kale – because his camera is a dandy!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Haunted House


I don’t do fear.  I just don’t.  Can’t watch a scary movie. Can’t look at a snake on the TV.  Well, I can, but then I’d have to deal with the ensuing nightmares.  It’s really not all that funny, since I’ve got a history of panic attacks, so being scared is not a place I really like to go… especially by self-inflicting it.

So, last year, when Tyler wanted us to go to the Haunted House his student government group puts on at the college, I was like… You’re crazy!  But, Jodi and Gary wanted to check it out… and Tyler begged us to go.  So we went.

I was so worked up before we went in that I was nearly sick to my stomach.  Tyler promised he wouldn’t let anything happen to me, so I mustered up the nerve and leaped right off that cliff.

As it turned out, Tyler was our tour guide.  Gary led the way through the maze of a spook house and Jodi held onto the back of his shirt while I held onto the back of her shirt and Dave held onto the back of my shirt.  And laugh… oh my, we laughed!

Last night, my sweet kiddos came in from Fayetteville for the weekend and we treated them to our little secret happy place.  Gary, Jodi, Kale, Kayla, David and I all went to the Haunted House and requested Tyler be our tour guide… cuz he’s hilarious! 

Just before we went in, all the people in line had told us how much MORE scary it was than last year… and I started to get a little nervous.

Tyler had a couple young boys up front in line with him, so I MADE Jodi go first, then I held on tight to the back of her jacket.  To the rear of us, were Dave (holding on to me), Gary, Kayla and Kale (who protected Kayla).

The first room was a blur.  I really only remember one thing from that room, but from that point on we laughed and screamed and I nearly wet my britches!  I decided it might be fun to find some scary stuff that Jodi hadn’t seen yet, and at the last minute sort of jerk her over toward it.  Worked! I got a few good screams out of her.

After we got out, we wanted to go through again, but decided we’d just mark our calendars for next year instead.  It’s becoming our annual Halloween tradition.

We went for ice cream afterwards and laughed all over again recounting all the nuances of the little Haunted House.  I only wish I would’ve gotten a picture!!

I’m just giving a little shout out to Tyler and the SGA group at his college… y’all put SO much work into this project each year.  And it was fun!! 

Oh, and Brenda… you would’ve had such a good laugh!!!