Saturday, February 28, 2009

I have a devotional book that was given to me for my birthday last year by my dear friend Connie. It is called, "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. The book is written as if Jesus was speaking right to me. This week, a couple of devotions especially spoke to my heart. I don't know if anyone else needs this encouragement, but I know I could visit these words over and over.

From February 21:
Trust and thankfulness will get you safely through this day. Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining, those sister sins that so easily entangle you.

Keeping your eyes on Me is the same thing as trusting Me. It is a free choice that you must make thousands of times daily. The more you choose to trust Me, the easier it becomes. Thought patterns of trust become etched into your brain. Relegate troubles to the periphery of your mind, so that I can be central in your thoughts. Thus you focus on Me, entrusting your concerns into My care.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2:6-7
But my eyes are fixed on You, O Sovereign Lord; in You I take refuge--do not give me over to death. ~Psalm 141:8

From February 22:
You need me every moment. Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice---deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will either be filled with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will recieve, so that your gladness may be full and complete.

...pray continually; ~1 Thessalonians 5:17
Until now you have not asked for anything in My Name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. ~ John 16:24

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mom's Morning Off

I have to admit, I love Saturday mornings. Today it is clear, sunny, and gorgeous! It may be cold outside, but I am snug and warm inside. I am enjoying a peaceful, quiet breakfast. Alone. And I love it!

On Saturdays, my family gets up early. Gil takes the kids to church, where they then caravan to Uptown to serve breakfast as part of the street ministry. I am very proud of my family for serving the homeless each week. The kids look forward to going, and are the ones who make sure Daddy is up in time on Saturdays. They have been doing the homeless ministry for over a year, now.

This past fall, Abbie's class went to Uptown to see a play. As they left the bus, Abbie said, "Hey, there's one of my friends!" All her classmates were wondering what in the world she was talking about. She pointed out a homeless man, told the children his name, and said, "I serve breakfast to him every Saturday with our church." My nine-year-old had the opportunity to testify about serving Christ! Precious.

I have gone with my family once to the homeless breakfast. Sometimes I do feel guilty that I don't go with them regularly. I really like that my kids have this special thing they all do with Daddy every week. Part of me doesn't want to interfere with that. And a bigger part of me really needs the alone time.

Each morning during the week, I am up at 5:45 a.m., immediately immersed in the mad dash to get lunches made, clothes on, teeth and hair brushed, breakfast eaten, backpacks filled, and kids to school on time. Sundays, we don't have to get up as early, but still, we have to all get ready for church and get out of the door on time. Saturdays are the only unhurried, quiet mornings of the week, and my opportunity to have time to myself.

As a stay-at-home mom, I should have plenty of time to myself, right? Well, until this Fall, I always had at least one child at home. For much of the past 20 months, I have also had my husband at home. That was a huge adjustment for me! From this past August until about 5 weeks ago, Gil was gone during the day and all the kids were at school. Another adjustment. For the first time ever, I had the house to myself until school got out. But, after the morning rush, I had my To Do List to attend to... it never really felt like "me" time. It was my time to get stuff done.

So I look forward to Saturday mornings, my "mom's morning off". I am the type of person who needs time alone to recharge. I love, love, love being with people, especially outgoing, positive, fun people. But I have got to have the time to myself, too. It brings me back to center, refreshes me, and makes me a better wife and mom. I don't think it is selfish, but, for me, necessary.

What do you do for yourself?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

10 Minute Makeover... with a Virtual Twist!

I am always encouraged by The Nester at Nesting Place! I love her ideas, her soothing, classy style, and the way she breaks down decorating to simple steps. In fact, her great "how to" posts inspired me to start my own blog (not that I compare myself to her in any way!)! Recently, she did a series called "10 minutes to a room you'll love" which gave great ideas for quickly making over a room like the family room, master bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen. Today, she invited readers to share a link to show off their own makeover, so this is my contribution to the "linky party"!

I decided to make over our entry area. And, because I can never do just one thing at a time... you know, one project overlaps into another... and then several spots are torn apart at once... I actually ended up getting the entry 90% done, made some changes to the family room, and got my office area (actually the formal living room) about 60% done! I will show off the entry today. I am also going to show you something really fun I did to make sure I would like the changes before I actually moved furniture!!!

Entry Makeover

Here is the before... not very soothing or welcoming. In fact, I think it is a pretty chaotic way to greet ourselves and our guests when we come in the front door. And, it was unfinished, never pulled together since we moved in this past September. The area is actually quite large, so it was a big, empty space, other than the disheveled shelves.

I moved out the bookshelves and replaced them with this gorgeous antique trunk. Now, this is a tailor's trunk that is meant to stand upright. I decided to turn it on its side. This photo makes it look kind of small, but it is really a very substantial piece! The plant was a gift from a friend. She brought it over at Christmas because it was taking over their house. It certainly doesn't take over this large space!

The trunk and the plant sit opposite the front door. That is where the bookshelves used to be. See how they were the first thing you would see as you walked in? See how much room there is? I think the trunk and plant are much more restful and welcoming. See the curtain in the background? It is actually a mistreatment, another idea from The Nester! This divides the entrance to my office area from the entry... I will show that off when it is done, in another post!

Here is a view from the "office" area into the entry. Another good friend gave me this great table -- here used as a storage bench. Several years ago, my mother made this wall quilt for me, for the entry of another house. I hung it before the bench came, so now I think I need to bring it down 18" or more. I was worried about the kids touching it, but it is way too high right now!

This was an easy makeover, using stuff I had. I love the results! I think it is peaceful and welcoming.

So where did the bookshelves go?

Virtual Makeover... No heavy lifting required!

I decided I wanted to move the bookshelves into the family room. But if you look closely, they really aren't in the room yet, at least not in this picture. Both bookshelves are actually the same shelf, copied and placed into my family room photo! This is my Virtual Makeover.

Here is the family room before:

I wanted to move the bookshelves, but it was a daunting task... unloading all the books, moving the shelves, reloading. And then what if I didn't like the results? I didn't want to be moving them again! So I decided I would do a Virtual Makeover first, using my StoryBook Creator software! This software is for making scrapbook pages, and other fun projects, but I had an inspiration that I could use it a very unique way!

I measured and I knew the shelves would fit beside my chairs in the family room. But I wanted to see if I would like the bookshelves in the family room. First, I took a photo of the family room. Then, attempting to use the same angle of viewing, I took a picture of the bookshelves.

I opened up StoryBook Creator and brought both photos in. Then, I used the Custom Cutting Tool to cut around and isolate one of the bookshelves. Step 1: Select the photo, then choose a cutting tool from the Tools menu.

Step 2 was to click each corner point in order to outline the shape of the bookshelf. The bookshelf is an easy shape to select since it is all straight lines. It only takes six or so clicks. This tool will also work on curved edges... you just need to enlarge the view and click smaller segments at a time. See the shading over the shelf image?

Step 3 is to use the little pop-up menu for the Custom Cutout tool to first "Invert the shaded area." This leaves the bookshelf alone, and reverses the selection to everything else. Next, I clicked on the "Cut around the shaded area" which deleted the background.

Now all I have is the bookshelf! I copied it so I would have two. Then I brought in the photo of the family room and placed the bookshelves on top. I resized each of them to make them fit into the room. And then I used the cutting tool again to cut away the parts of the bookshelf that covered up the furniture in the family room photo. Here is how it looked with the family room photo taken away...
Here is the final result. I really only played with it on the computer for about 1o minutes. I was really tickled with myself that I could "see" the room without moving furniture! And even better, my husband came home while I was playing. I was able to get his stamp of approval for the change! I moved the bookshelves the next day. Below is the virtual makeover... I will show off the family room, as it is now, another day.

p.s. The tutorial images were also made with StoryBook Creator Plus! Isn't it fun??!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Wow! I am finding it really hard to keep up with regular posts to my blog! I guess I thought I would have more to say... and now I find myself wondering just what to share. Today I just want to express how thankful I am for my family! I am so blessed to be Gil's wife, and the mother of Zachary, Abbie & Jacob. I pray that my love for them would be so evident in all I say and do. I want them to know how truly treasured they are.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Today I took advantage of triple coupons at the grocery store! Here is a list of what I bought:

2 lbs. bacon
2 boxes cereal
3 boxes pasta
8 lbs. potatoes
3 toothpaste
1 antiperspirant
1 brownie mix
2 bags chips
24 oz. sour cream
2 jars mustard
1 bottle hot sauce
1 large grape jelly
Without any coupons, or anything being on sale, according to my receipt the total would have been over $75. My goal is to never pay full price. I also try to use a coupon only on something that is also on sale. For the triple coupon days, I stock up on coupons worth $.99 or less (since that is all our store will triple), preferably for single items. I check out the ad before I get to the store and figure out what I have coupons for. I also make note of the coupons I have that are biggies that I can look out for... $.75 off an item becomes $2.25 off! I also love having multiple coupons for the same item. I have a friend I swap Sunday paper coupons with every week. It works out well for us!
Are you ready for my total from today's trip?

Yes! It was $10.14!!! I feel so blessed when this happens! I got a few necessities, some cereal for my husband, chips for my kids' lunches, and some extras to donate. Hmm.... I just counted 20 items. That is like getting each item for only $.50 each. I love triple coupon days!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

25 Random Things

I have been tagged by two people -- make that four now (that's how long it is taking me to write this thing!) -- on FaceBook to write a list of 25 Random Things about myself. So I thought I would post it to my blog, too! Let's see if I can come up with 25 things....

1. I love to make lists! They are mostly To Do lists... and I like to save them so I can see all I have accomplished. I have found that a (pretty) spiral binder is the best place for my lists, otherwise post-it notes would overtake my life! I put all my lists there and then don't lose them. I can keep track of project ideas, meeting notes... everything all in one place. And, if I am glancing through and see something not checked off, even if it is from weeks ago, or last year, but I have since completed it, I check it off! It really is rewarding to see that I do accomplish most of what I write down... eventually.

2. I love to go to the grocery store. Alone. I have always told Gil that when I go grocery shopping, I am going to work. Kids are best left at home! I go armed with my list (of course!), coupon file, and calculator. I like to come home and show off all the bargains I scored. It is like a sport to me... seeing how much money I can save, and how little I can spend. Oh yeah.

3. I am a home body. I am happiest at home, and can always find plenty to do. I am perfectly content with a day, or string of days where I can stay home and never leave the house. Visitors are nice, too.

4. My closest friends are in Colorado. And I miss them a lot.

5. I love living in Charlotte!!! I am so happy that the Lord brought us to such a pretty place. We know many wonderful people here, and attend a church that truly feels like home.

6. Gil and I have moved 10 times in our almost-13 years of marriage.

7. I am having a very difficult time thinking of things to put on this list......

8. I could never figure out what I wanted to study in college because I liked every subject in school! I ended up majoring in Liberal Studies, with a minor in Administrative Management. Then I got an MBA with an emphasis in Educational Training and Technology.

9. I have never lived in any one house for longer than 3.5 years.

10. Each of my children has been born on a Saturday.

11. I am a tea drinker. I used to drink two cups of coffee a day. But about 4 years ago I decided I had to give up the cream and sugar. Since I could never get used to the taste of black coffee, I had to give up coffee, too. Fortunately I have always enjoyed teas of all types.

12. I am a chronic insomniac. Although I have found that taking calcium supplements has helped a lot in that area. If I find myself awake in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep, I figure the Lord must have something to tell me. I spend time reading my Bible and praying... it is usually a very meaningful and productive. And sometimes, I use the time to catch up with my recordings on the dvr.

13. I am a project person.... I would rather turn something into a project than do the same little task over and over again each day. For instance, rather than opening up various vitamin and supplement bottles everyday, I sort them all out into mini-muffin tins. I then put my daily dose into little baggies. I sort vitamins once every 3 weeks... rather than dealing with all the bottles every day. Likewise with making a salad. I never could stand to clean lettuce every time I wanted salad. So I rarely made salad. Now, I get 6 heads of romaine at Costco in a big bag. I rinse it, put it in a big bowl of water on the counter for a while, then drain, spin, and put it in gallon zipper bags. My lettuce is always crisp, clean, & ready! And I can have a salad every day, or twice a day if I want.

14. I used to love, love, love to drive. Then I went through a period of about 7 years where I was not comfortable driving at all. Not comfortable to the point of almost having panic attacks on the freeway. Not good. Two years ago I spent 4 hours a day commuting my kids back and forth to school for 6 months, and that pretty much cured it. However, if I can have someone else drive instead of me, I am more than happy to let them!

15. I would prefer to eat my own cooking than go to most restaurants.

16. People think I am creative.... I think I copy well and am adept at using technology!

17. I have always loved to read. I still love to come home from the library with a stack of books.

18. I am blessed to talk to my mom on the phone several times a week. Sometimes every day.

19. I am very shy. I am much more comfortable one-on-one with people than in large groups. I also don't know how to make small talk. But ask me a question and I could talk forever. I am actually ok with public speaking and leading groups. But I am still shy.

20. I love mail! I love to be the one who gets the mail, sorts the mail, opens the mail. I like to send mail. The little red flag in the up position on the mailbox is a happy thing to me! I like email, too.

21. I don't like to be on the phone. I have a few people with whom I spend time talking on the phone. But other than that, I do not enjoy making calls, or talking on the phone much. I have lots of extra cell minutes each month.

22. I am envious of other people's cameras! Since I work quite a bit with photos, I love good photography. And I would love to have a tricked-out camera, too.

23. Red shoes make me happy. It is one of my rules in life that I have to own at least one pair of red shoes. They lift my spirits if I am having a down day, or help me to celebrate the good day I am having. I just love red shoes! (Bows are a bonus.)

24. I am so blessed by and grateful for my family. My husband is a wonderful, wonderful man. Our children are bright, loving, and adorable. I am so thankful for the life we have together. They are my heart's desire.

25. I have not had an easy life. I did a lot on my own to mess it up. But when I was about 30, I met Jesus Christ and gladly turned my life completely over to Him. I used to be such a control freak... I am sure people see some of those tendencies in me now... but now I am happy to give the control to God. I want my life to be lived for Him, in His way, to His glory. Trials still come, but now I have hope, peace, joy and strength in the midst of them.

Now it's your turn! What are 25 Random things about you???

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