Monday, December 28, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 52, Our Final Week


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza.
YOUR DAY
Today is your day. Today you get to pick how you want to make a difference. You know the drill. Think of something - and go do it. Pretty simple.
The only catch is...I want to hear about it and so does Every Monday Matters. If you go to http://everymondaymatters.com and let them know what you did, you will be entered into their contest. Your idea just might be selected to be one of the "Mondays" in their next book.
Everytime you took care of yourself, did something for someone else, protected the environment, gave from your heart, volunteered your time, and donated your possessions, your action had a ripple effect on your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, community, city, country, and the world.
So, today, tomorrow, next week, go out and make a difference! Let me know what you did in my comments section. Thanks for taking this journey with me over the last 52 weeks. And remember....
To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world. - unknown

I'm Back!

Christmas morning after the kids had torn through their presents from Santa I decided to check my email. I wish I hadn't. I had a email from Blogger stating that my blog had been removed due to SPAM! WHAT?????????? I didn't have any spam on my blog and there was no way to send an email or call someone and I didn't have the time to do that on Christmas morning anyway. How could someone remove my blog on CHRISTMAS MORNING???? It was just fine the night before. I was crushed! It was not the way to spend my Christmas morning and it really set the tone for the rest of the day. I cried over all the memories I had blogged about that I thought were lost and what my friends would think when my blog was no longer there. I was miserable. I felt like part of me was gone and I didn't know if I had the energy to fight to get it back. Then yesterday I decided to take some time to investigate and found on my dashboard a way to "restore your blog". I was elated. So, if this ever happens to your blog.....it is a computer glitch. They are working hard to reduce the amount of "Spam Blogs" out there (which I am happy about) and the silly computer thought mine was one of those. But, after sending the note that mine was NOT SPAM....I am back and as good as ever! I am frustrated that this had to happen to me on Christmas morning, but the important thing is that I AM BACK!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from me to you!


From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Poem

A CHRISTMAS POEM

By Pastor Jim Kamerer



'Twas the night before Christmas and

as I looked round my tent,

I couldn't believe all the money I'd spent.

For trains and dolls, for trinkets and toys

Some for the girls and some for the boys.

I looked round once more to be sure things were right;

The kids were all in bed for the night.

I set up the track for the train I bought Ted,

The train went round twice and the battery went dead.

I put on my cap, my gloves, and my coat;

I went to Ames and over to Zayre.

You guess it my friend, no batteries there!

As I left the store a thought came to me,

I had one in the remote of the color TV.

Well, I placed that remote in my wife's favorite chair

I was ready for Christmas with hours to spare.

When out came my wife and punched that remote

And then said to me, "The TV's broke!"

So on with the coat, the gloves, and the cap

Out in the cold about ready to snap.

I went to K-Mart and stood in that line

From 8:35 'til a quarter past nine.

As I came to the checkout, my heart leaped with glee--

There was that one lonesome battery just waiting for me.

When from my behind I seen this hand slip

And grab that battery with a real tight grip.

I wheeled around and what did I see?

This giant of a man glaring down at me.

Well, I remembered an ad I had seen on TV

Buy a Big Mac, get your batteries free.

So, I bought me a burger I didn't want...

They were out of batteries, so on with the hunt.

I finally found one at Servi-Star,

Paid for my purchase and made for my car.

When I entered the door of my humble shack,

My wife said, "What's this battery for I found in a sack?"

I was out there in the press, the push and the greed

To buy me a battery I didn't even need.

At last I relaxed in my easy chair,

When this still small voice came out of somewhere.

"You're ready for Christmas with toys, tinsel, and tree

You've got it all together, but what about me?"

I fell on my knees and cried, "God, what have I done?"

I got caught up in the madness and neglected your Son.

The best gift of all you've given for free

Your Son, Jesus Christ, for sinners like me.

You sent Him to suffer the shame and the loss,

To shed his life's blood for me on the cross.

Well friend, I'll never forget ere I rest 'neath the sod,

The greatest of gifts is given by God.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jesus VS Santa

JESUS VS SANTA

Author unknown



Santa lives at the North Pole.

JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh.

JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year.

JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies.

JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.

JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa.

JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap.

JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"

JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.

JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO.

JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry".

JESUS says, "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys.

JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle,but,

JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree.

JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

It's obvious there is really no comparison.

JESUS is still the reason for the season!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gifts Ideas That Don't Cost A Penny!


Is a snow storm coming your way and you don't have anytime left to shop? Are you always looking for the perfect gift for you mom, husband, or best friend? Try these ideas and you don't have to wait until Christmas to give them out!


1. The Gift of Listening But you must really listen. Don't interrupt, don't daydream, don't plan your response. Just listen. Just sitting with someone, asking them questions about their life, giving them a chance to talk can be just what that person needed. Refrain from giving advice, telling your story, adding comments.....JUST LISTEN!


2. The Gift of Affection Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends. Give your children hugs, your spouse, your neighbor, your pastor. Let them know they are appreciated and loved!


3. The Gift of Laughter Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you." You can even email a funny story or joke once in a while...just don't fill up their inbox! :)


4. The Gift of Solitude There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others. Giving your spouse the "night off". Let him go into a room, shut the door and read or watch TV without interruption. Ahhhhh!


5. The Gift of a Favor Everyday, go out of your way to do something kind. Just once, say "yes" when someone asks you for a favor and see how good you make them feel and I bet it will make you feel good too!


6. The Gift of a Written Note It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full all-out letter. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime. Yes, email is quicker, but to receive an handwritten note in the mail is priceless!


7. The Gift of a Compliment A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job," or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day. You will never know the impact on someone's day when you offer them a compliment! It could be just what they needed to hear!


8. The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. The person that might need this right now is the checkout clerks at your local store. They have been putting up with cranky customers all day and they are bracing themselves for the next cranky/tired customer when you walk up Happy, Cheerful, and Kind! Wow! What a relief to them that would be. I just did this yesterday at our Sam's Club. The customer 2 ahead of me in a VERY LONG line was having difficulties at the register as was the clerk. It took a LONG time for her to check out. The couple in front of me was NOT patient. Yes, I was getting a little worried because if I didn't get through soon I would have been late picking up my kids from school, but when the couple in front of me in line got to the checkout, they were embarrassingly RUDE! I could not believe the harsh words they were saying to the customer (with 2 children listening) and to the cashier. So, when it was my turn, I was extra careful to be cheerful and appreciative. I noticed the cashier smiling again when I left and I hope I helped her day go a little smoothly....at least until the next cranky customer.


I know you can't wrap these in a box with a pretty bow, but you can make an effort to change somethings about yourself and give of yourself to others a little bit each and every day. The effect you have may be life-changing for others as well as yourself!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lucky Girl!



I was blessed again with more winnings! Today I received 2 books that I am very excited about!




I received The Stained Glass Pickup directly from author Cathy Messecar! This little book is a gathering of meditations that you could read once/week as there are 52 of them. In this book, you will discover God waiting for you in unpredictable places. Through poignant stories, Cathy points you to the ONE who created you - the ONE who is waiting for you in the details and chaos of everyday life. That sounds like just what I need to slow down and ground my in my daily, crazy life! Cathy's book is available at http://www.amazon.com/ for $8.79. What a great a"New Year's" gift for someone special in your life! I can't wait to get into my copy!


Cathy Messecar is also a co-author of another book that she sent me. A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts was written by Cathy Messecars, Terra Hangen, Trish Berg, Leslie Wilson, Karen Robbins, and Brenda Nixon. In this book you will discover how to bring harmony to this busy month. Find tips for family traditions, connecting generations, children, gift giving, how to grow myrrh, and more. Try their scrumptions "Cookie Canister" recipes. Read about other families who experienced Christmas firsts. A book to help you uncomplicate Christmas, rediscover the real source of joy, and usher in the celebration of faith, family and a Savior.
I link to their blog site in my list to the right. Check it out at http://ascrapbookofchristmasfirsts.blogspot.com/. This book is full of quotes, stories, new ideas and yummy recipes. This would be a great gift for a newly married couple or a couple with a new baby....ready to start their own new traditions. Or maybe for someone who is starting over and needs to incorporate some new traditions. Or even for someone like me, who is overwhelmed at Christmas (at times) and maybe needs to new ideas to simplify all the craziness of the season. Just flipping through it this morning, there are so many recipes I want to try and ideas I am interested in reading more about. I have seen this book at several Christian book stores and it is also available at http://www.amazon.com/ for $13.59.
So, thank you to Cathy for sending me these awesome books. You will likely see future posts about things I have read and related to in these books. Cathy, you have blessed me today!

Mondays Matter: Week 51


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
NO NICOTINE
-Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
-12 million deaths have been caused by cigarette smoking over the last 40 years.
-80% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18.
-70% of smokers say they want to quit.
-Nicotine can be found in the umbilical cord blood of a fetus during pregnancy as well as in breast milk?
-91.2% of all successful long-term quitters quit cold turkey, without the assistance of patches, gum, hypnosis, acupuncture, inhalers, or prescriptions.
ACTION STEPS
1. Stop smoking - do it today - cold turkey. Don't light up! And if you chew tobacco, avoid even a pinch today. You can do it!
2. Quit with a friend so that you can hold each other accountable.
3. If necessary, use one of the many nicotine replacement therapies.
4. If you are a nonsmoker, "adopt" a smoker. Support them by giving encouragement, exercising together, going out where there isn't likely to be smoking, and providing comfort and accountablility.
This is the absolute best gift you can give someone this Christmas. Quit smoking! You have just added days to your life and to the lives of your loved ones (if you smoke around them). You have brightened up your skin and your teeth, you smell better, and you feel better. You will also have more money in your wallet. I will never understand the addiction to smoking, but the facts are smoking is detrimental to your health. Just for one day....don't light up. See how it goes, then tomorrow, don't light up. Do it for yourself, for you spouse, for your children, for your friends. May this one day off be the first day of the rest of your tobacco-free life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dairy Winnings!


I recently won this awesome gift pack of goodies from http://www.iowageekonline.com/. Some of the items included measuring spoons, a cheese slicer, an apron, a coupon organizer and a $25 gift card to Hy-Vee (my favorite grocery store)!
I used the measuring spoons during my baking today and just love them. I will be using my gift card tomorrow to go towards my Christmas grocery shopping. There were also 2 recipe booklets that show recipes using a variety of dairy products. I am anxious to try several of the recipes and especially like that they have included the nutritional information. Once I try them out, I will post some of the recipes that I really liked.
For more information about dairy products go to http://www.midwestdairy.com/ and http://www.dairymakessense.com/. Both websites have numerous recipes and ways to incorporate more dairy into your daily nutrition.
Thanks again to Jody and http://www.iowageekonline.com/ for this great gift!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck


The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
When Eddie was twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas was a bike. Although his life had gotten harder -- and money tighter -- since his father died and the family bakery closed...Eddie dreamed that somehow his mother would find a way to have his dream bike gleaming beside their modest Christmas tree that magical morning.
What he got from her instead was a sweater. "A stupid, handmade, ugly sweater" that young Eddie left in a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.
Scarred deeply by the realization that kids don't always get what they want, and too young to understand that he already owned life's most valuable treasures, that Christmas morning was the beginning of Eddie's dark and painful journey on the road to manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, his faith, and his family -- and the guidance of a mysterious neighbor named Russell -- to help Eddie find his path through the storm clouds of life and finally see the real significance of that simple gift his mother had crafted by hand with love in her heart.
This was my Book Club read for December and I must say it was definitely what I needed to read right now. This is based on a true story from Glenn Beck's life and makes the reader really step back and take a look at our own lives. It makes us pause and think about the relationships we have with other family members, about forgiveness, about our relationship with God, and how we feel about our own self-worth. The story takes twists and turns you don't expect and is a definite page-turner. What I appreciated was Beck's response at the end of the story. It will make everything more clear after reading the story.
No matter what your political views are, this is a story that must be read. This book has also been written in picture book format for children. I will be picking that up for our children as I believe they need to hear this story as well. I give this 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 50


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
THANK A TEACHER
-There are 2.6 million teachers that teach K-12.
-42% of K-12 teachers are over 50 years old.
-Almost 50% of teachers leave the profession by their 5th year.
-A 15 billion per year investment or a 30% raise for all teachers is necessary to make teacher compensation competitive with other professions requiring similiar levels of education.
-The single most important factor in determining student performance is the quality of his or her teachers.
ACTION STEPS
1. Identify a teacher you want to thank - your child's teacher, a friend or neighbor who teaches, a teacher at a local school, or a teacher from your childhood.
2. Show this teacher your appreciation by:
- Writing a thank you note.
-Bringing a gift like homemade cookies or handpicked flowers, a book on a topic they are interested in, or a gift card for something you know they would like.
-Organizing a class Appreciation Jar. Give every student a piece of paper and have them list all the reasons why their teacher is special to them. Stuff the papers in the jar and let the teacher open one each day.
-Volunteering in the classroom and helping with special projects or field trips.
As a stay-at-home mom I have spent the last 4 years volunteering in each of my children's classrooms on a regular basis. By being in the classroom, I have been able to appreciate all that the teachers do for the students each and every day. I have witnessed a teacher spending hours to create a teepee in the classroom while the children learned about Native Americans. I saw a teacher spend her own money to purchase every different kind of fruit she could find in the stores to give her students the experience of trying different fruits of varying textures and tastes (I was the lucky volunteer to cut/peel/dice all that fruit). I have witnessed a teacher pay for snack-time milk because the child's parent couldn't afford it. I have observed hundreds of dollars of games and supplies that teachers have bought with their own money because the school budget was too tight. I could go on and on. I have a favorite teacher from my childhood that I will never forget her impact on me and I am sure you remember one as well. Teachers in our children's lives are helping to shape their future. Show appreciation to them and let them know they are valued and respected.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Matthew 1:23


The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us."

Matthew 1:23

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Frosty Winner!

Random.org chose our winner this morning................

Here are your random numbers:

3

Timestamp: 2009-12-08

Anonymous said...
Snazzy the Kitty is the best. We love all the animals at our house and Frosty would get lots of lovin here. Mary


Mary is the winner. Please contact me and I will get Frosty right out to you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 49


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
-The U.S. leads the industrialized world in waste generation, producing 245 million tons annually-4.5 pounds per person per day.
-2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour.
-Producing recycled white paper creates 74% less air pollutants, 35% less water pollutants, and 75% less process energy than producing paper from virgin fibers.
-9,000 curbside recycling programs exist
Only 2 man-made structures on Earth are large enough to be seen from outer space - the Great Wall of China and the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York.
ACTION STEPS
1. Reduce what you use by purchasing larger sizes.
2. Reuse rather than throw away.
3. Contact your local waste management company and find out if they sort trash and recycle. If there isn't a recycling program, create different containers in your home or business for glass, plastic, and paper.
4. Deliver your separated recyclables to a local recycling center once a month.
5. Buy recycled products and packaging.
If you haven't seen the movie Wall-E, that is a great example of what could happen if we don't start reducing, reusing, and recycling. They are key to protecting our resources and preserving our environment for future generations. As the holidays are coming up, how can you reduce the amount of packaging and gift wrap that you use this year? Typically, gift wrap is NOT recyclable. Buy decorated reusable gift boxes or reuse some that were given to you, for example. Reducing is the most powerful technique for eliminating waste because we don't generate waste in the first place. If you can't reduce, then at least reuse or recycle. In my community, we are so fortunate to have a curbside recycling program. It makes recycling so much easier. In fact, we fill 2 tubs every week with recyclables....reducing the amount of garbage bags we set out. How are you going to reduce, reuse, and/or recycle?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Give and Give Again!


The pleasure of seeing others delight from our generosity makes us want to give and give again!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Facing My Fears



Over Thanksgiving, our family decided to take a short vacation with my husband's sister and her family. We traveled to St. Louis, staying in the Drury Inn - Union Station (which I highly recommend). So, since we were so close to the Gateway Arch, the kids wanted to go there and travel up to the top. UGH! This was NOT something I wanted to do. First of all I don't like heights, but have been up on the "Top of the Rock" at Rockefeller Center in NYC and did ok. But, the big thing I was worried about was traveling UP the arch in this enclosed pod like thing. I don't like closed in spaces. So, as we waited to go through security, then waiting to get tickets, then waited for the documentary to start, then waited in line some more for our assigned tram-ride time, I got more and more nervous. FYI...if you go to the arch...plan for at least 3 hours and NOT 45 min-1 hour like the guide book said. So, as we got to the end of the line, ready to go up the arch, underground in this little tiny stairway....I saw the size of the tram our family was going to ride up in....and I started to freak out a little bit. The kids were so excited so I didn't want them to see me being nervous, so I closed my eyes and started praying. I asked for strength and for God to calm my nerves, and to be with me as I rode up the arch as well as back down. Thankfully I was able to calm down a little bit and we took the trip up. I didn't realize how tight the area was going to be at the top. There were a LOT of people up there and it was windy that day, so I could feel the arch swaying in the wind. As soon as I got up there, I was ready to go back down. So, I stood in line immediately while the kids looked out the windows and loved every minute of it. I held myself together, but as soon as we got back in the tram to take our ride back, I let it go....I cried. I did not enjoy the arch, I did it for my kids, I survived, but I will NEVER do it again. So, next time you are faced with something you aren't sure you can do...face it...be strong....pray for strength....and cry if you need to.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winner of Energizer Batteries and Charger!

The winner of the Energizer Batteries and charger is.............................................................

Here are your random numbers:

6


Timestamp: 2009-12-01 04:09:38 UTC

Andrea said...
I'd use them to charge up the toys coming for Christmas and then to charge my camera back up for our baby due in January :) November 16, 2009 6:13 PM

Congrats to Andrea! I will be contacting you soon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Clear Off Your Shelves Wrap Up


I participated in a Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge started by www.skrishnasbooks.com from October 1-November 30, 2009. My goal was to make a dent in the 67 books on my to read bookshelf at home. Along with reading review books and my book club books. I needed to read something that had been on my shelf and been wanting to read for at least 6 months. I set my goal at 20% of the books I read would be for the challenge. Here is how I did:
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (for book club)
Seduce Me by Carly Phillips (for book club)
New Moon Twilight #2 by Stephanie Meyer (Challenge Book)
Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa (Review book)
So I read 1 book off my shelf out of 4.....25%. So, I met my goal, but am still disappointed that I have 66 more books on my shelf waiting to be read. I just wish life didn't get in the way of my reading. Oh well. The books are patient and loyal and will still be there, when I have some free time to read them. Thanks for creating the challenge!

Review: Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa


Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa
Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses's lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses's twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape.
I was contacted by Mr. Tusa who sent me an e-copy of his book. He contacted me through www.shelfari.com. If you would like to read more about Mr. Tusa, you can find his website at www.christophertusa.com. This book can be purchased on www.amazon.com for $12.44.
This book came out in March 2009 and is set in New Orleans. The story is told from the 16 year-old daughter, Hailey's perspective. There is a lot of dialogue in the story and is very character driven. This makes it a quick and easy read. But the dynamics of the story do not make it "easy" to read. The story revolves around Hailey's very dysfunctional family....a depressed mother, an out-of-work/alcoholic/cheating father, and a older brother who is a drug user and following the "wrong path". The story reminded me a lot of The Glass Castle or Change Me Into Zeus' Daughter, both being stories that have lots of struggles between family members. As a mom, it was frustrating for me to see how the mother in the story was ignoring her family and their needs, as was the father. Just when I thought Hailey was getting somewhere with her mom, there would be another setback. There was plenty of drama in the story to keep me reading and interested in what would happen next. I wish the writer would have taken the story further....I hated to leave Hailey where it ended. My heart ached for her. The writer was able to shock and surprise me. It was not a predictable story. I think Mr. Tusa has a great talent for writing and making the reader visualize his characters and scenes. I wish him luck in his future writings. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars.

Mondays Matter: Week 48


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
RESPECT THE DISABLED
-54 million or more people ages 5 and older have a non-institutionalizing disability.
-25 million disabled are of an employable age.
-78% want to be employed, but only 33% have a job.
-Disabilities are more often caused by accidents, illnesses, or late-emerging effects of genetics than by congenital disorders.
-Not all severe disabilities can be detected by the human eye.
-Over 15% of the cars parked in a handicapped parking space are parked illegally.
ACTION STEPS
1. Show respect to the disabled today.
2. Don't park in a handicapped parking space or use handicapped plates or placards illegally. Designated parking for the handicapped is a necessity.
3. Don't use handicapped bathroom stalls unless you're handicapped. A handicapped person's need to use the restroom may be just as urgent as yours, and the handicapped one is the only one they are able to use.
4. When you see a handicapped license plate, slow down and show consideration rather than tailgating or honking.
5. Open a door, roll a wheelchair up or down an incline, carry shopping bags, or offer an arm in challenging weather conditions or on uneven walkways.
The majority of people with disabilities want to be totally integrated into all aspects of society. No one plans to get a disability, it just happens, every day to someone. One day it could be you. With more awareness, respect and helpfulness, you can make someone's life a little bit easier.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Blessed" On This Thanksgiving


I love Martina McBride and I heard her song "Blessed" again the other day and I realized how it says just what I am feeling at this time of year. So, I wanted to share the lyrics with you. May you be blessed this Thanksgiving and share your blessing with others as Christmas approaches!


Blessed


I get kissed by the sun each morning
Put my feet on a hardwood floor
I get to hear my children laughing
Down the hall through theBedroom door
Sometimes I sit on myFront porch swing
Just soaking up the day
I think to myself, I think to myself
This world is a beautiful place

I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

Across a crowded room,
I know you know what I'm thinking
By the way I look at you
And when we're lying in the quiet and
No words have to be said
I think to myself, I think to myself
This love is a beautiful gift
I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

When I'm singing my kids to sleep
When I feel you holding me
I know
I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 47


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza.
MEDITATE OR PRAY
-Meditation and prayer shift brain activity from the stress-prone right frontal cortex to the calmer left frontal cortex.
-Slowing the breathing rate to 6 breaths per minute synchronizes breathing with cardiovascular rhythms resulting in enhanced cardiac health.
-Physiological benefits of prayer and meditation include anit-aging, deep rest, decreased blood pressure, high skin resistance, and easier breathing.
-Psychological benefits include increased brain-wave coherence, greater creativity, decreased anxiety and depression, improved learning and memory, and increased happiness and emotional stability.
ACTION STEPS
1. Fnd a quiet place to be still.
2. Take deep breaths to help you relax.
3. Meditate or pray.
4. With a clearer mind, journal your own thoughts and insights.
5. Make meditation or prayer a part of your daily life.
I have definately found that when I am anxious, stressed, depressed, nervous, or worried, when I begin to pray about it and give my worries and concerns to God, I can physically and emotionally feel the weight lifted off of me. I begin to feel a peace over me and I can let go. Are there some things that you need to "let go" of? Find a quiet spot (mine is usually in my bathroom) and let breathing and stillness begin.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Saying Grace

Nearly every Wednesday after school we offer a program at our church called "After School Jams". Children preschool-6th grade come after school and have a snack, sing songs and learn about Jesus and how much he loves each one of them. Yesterday I was responsible for the lesson and I decided to incorporate Thanksgiving with saying grace. I had the preschool-1st grade group and we talked about the kind of prayers we say before our meals and before bedtime. Then we talked about how before Jesus fed the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, he said Thanks to God. Then each of the kids told the group something they were thankful that God gave to them. The kids completed the lesson with a foam craft that said "Let us thank the Lord for his many blessings". I reminded them that Thanksgiving is an excellent time to think about God and his many gifts that he has given us and to share that with our families. This lesson really got me thinking about my many, many blessings. The Lord has provided me with so much love throughout my life and I just don't thank Him enough for that. I am also sad to admit that we don't always thank God before each meal or even before we go to bed. It is usually one of the kids that reminds me. I get into the mechanics of getting the food on the table and getting everyone food on their plate and milk in their glass and usually by the time I sit down everyone is already eating. So, I am going to try to consciously stop and take a minute to thank God for our food and as I am laying in bed, thank God for the blessings he gave me this day.











At Bible Study Fellowship (http://www.bsfinternational.org/) they handed out a lesson talking about giving thanks at mealtimes with your children. So, if you haven't started saying grace with your children at mealtime, here are some examples to try:









Come Lord Jesus
Be our guest
Let these gifts
To us be blessed
Amen



For fruit and milk,
For bread and meat,
For all our food so good to eat
we thank you, God



Thank you, God
For food so good
Please help me do
The things I should.


Our children also like to throw in extra things like Thank you, God, for my brothers, or for my teachers, or for my mom and dad. I think the more personal you make it, the more likely your family will be to start this new tradition. If it just comes from memory it gets to the point where it is just words and has no meaning. But, the above prayers are a good place to start and a way to get comfortable praying if you haven't ever prayed before. Saying grace at the table acknowledges that all things come from God and gives God a seat at your table. What an excellent way to bring calm to your meal. If you haven't ever said "grace" please try it at your next meal. Fold your hands or hold hands around the table and thank God for all he has provided for your family.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Do you want this cute pillow?


My friend Wendy at http://www.aniowamom.com/ has an awesome giveaway. She makes these amazing pillows that you can put your child's name on. I think they are super cute and wanted to tell you all about them. You can win one by going to her blog and leaving a comment there...



A thought for the day..............

I saw this today and it really was something I needed to hear. So maybe it will be helpful for you to hear as well.

Every guilt-driven "yes" means a "no" to something important in my life.

For example: A "yes" to a committee means a "no" to a night home with my kids. A "yes" to preparing for a event means a "no" to a good nights sleep the night before.

So, think about the "yes" answers in your life and what "no" answers will come from it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review and Giveaway: Build A Bear Workshop



Build-A-Bear Workshop has turned into Santa's Workshop this month and the elves are busily getting all your gift requests ready for Christmas. By going to your local Build-A-Bear Workshop or to http://www.buildabear.com/ you can find an array of gift options for anyone on your list. For the first time in select stores, Build-A-Bear is offering "Gifts on the Go", an array of customized furry friends that are stuffed, dressed and conveniently packaged in gift sets ranging in price from $15 to $40. Online shopping is easy and fun at http://www.buildabear.com/ with a whole new look. Shoppers can go through the Amazing Gift-O-Mate "Gift Generator" process that helps them identify the perfect gift based on the individual's character traits.


This season the elves are following the trends as well as keeping tradition in mind. Frosty the Snowman as well as Holly and Hal Moose are back along with new friends, Lil' Robot Hal, Alvin of The Chipmunks, Winter Hugs Bear, Polar Bear, Lil' Chocolate Cub Dressed as as boy Elf , and Brown Sugar Bear Dresssed as a Girl Elf. There are also numerous other ways to make your gift more personal for the sports fan, Star Wars fan, your little Princess, soldier, or even baby's first Christmas. To see all the great gift options available go to your nearest Build-A-Bear Workshop or go to http://www.buildabear.com/. Holly and Hal will be in a one-hour animated television special that will premiere on ABC Family during Thanksgiving week, Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7PM ET/PT (with an encore presentation Sunday, Nov. 28 at 10AM ET/PT). The Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure will be released on DVD on Nov. 25.


Build-A-Bear sent me the CUTEST Frosty the Snowman. Our daughter was so excited and has played and cuddled with him every day since we took him out of the box. This cute and cuddly snowman comes with a removable broom and pipe. By tipping his hat, you can find some magic....he lights up and makes a sound! Frosty, as shown, retails for $30. Frosty is available for a limited time and only while supplies last. But, thanks to my friends at Build-A-Bear Workshop, I have another Frosty the Snowman to giveaway to one of you!
To enter: Go to http://www.buildabear.com/ and look through their "friends" and then come back and leave me a comment telling me which "friend" is your favorite. Leave me an email address to contact you. This contest is open until 11:59 PM on Monday, December 7th. Random.org will choose the winner on Tuesday, December 8th. I will send it out right away, so you will be sure to have it in plenty of time to give for Christmas!
Build-A-Bear sent me two Frosty the Snowmen, one for me to keep and one to giveaway to a lucky reader, a $60 value.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 46



Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza





DONATE CLOTHES


-20 billion pounds of clothing and textiles are thrown away every year - an average of 68 pounds per person.

-1.5 billion pairs of unworn or barely worn shoes are lying in closets.

-Over 35 million people live in poverty and have limited money to purchase new clothes.

-On average, 3 million men, women and children are homeless at some point each year.

-50% of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence, usually with only the clothes on their backs.

-Clothing donations to qualified charitable organizations are tax deductible.


ACTION STEPS

1. Contact a local shelter or organization that receives clothing donations and ask about any specific clothing needs.

2. Look through your closet, kids' closet, or husband's closet for clothing, coats, shoes, suits, blankets, pillows, purses, briefcases, umbrellas, and scarves that are in good condition, and that you haven't used in a year or more.

3. Organize a clothing drive at work, school, your place of worship, or in your neighborhood.

4. Wash or dry-clean items. Don't donate items that are stained or torn.

5. Fold and pack clothing in boxes, attach appropriate labels, then deliver them.

6. Consider giving directly to a homeless person.


Donating clothing is one of the easiest ways to affect someone's life in a very tangible and significant way. Also, just look in your own family or friend circle. Is there someone that you could passs on your children's clothing to? I truly appreciate the clothing we get for the kids from my sister-in-law and a girlfriend. This helps us save money and then we continue the cycle by passing on the clothes we have outgrown to my niece's children, and my friend's children. You can help someone stay warm, wear shoes without holes, dress porperly for a job interview, or wear a new outfit for school. Look in your phone book for homeless shelters, call your local United Way, contact your church or school, and find out if there are families who could use a donation of clothing. Then go through your closets and drop them off. With cold weather coming, winter coats are going to be in high demand. Please consider dropping off a winter coat to an organization today. Do you really need all those clothes filling up your closet? Millions of other people do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review: Itza Bitza





Thanks to Mom Select for sending me the children's computer game, Itza Bitza to try and review for them.
Itza Bitza is a product started at Microsoft Corporation. It was designed and developed by experts in children's reading, cognitive science, computer technology, and game design. It was made possible by a love for children and a drive to delight them while helping them grow. Learning to read it one of the most important skills our children need. Itza Bitza provides simple short-chunk text that meets the needs of children. It is a game that brings your child's reading and drawings to life.
My 4-year-old daughter, Reagan was eager to try playing the game. Since then she has asked to play it quite frequently. She loves drawing her own parts of the story and seeing them come to life. There are choices all along the way. She can draw her own house and sun, host a party, get her mail from the mailbox, go camping, etc. As she moves along, she opens up new categories of play, so each time she plays is different. My daughter is already a reader, but if a child needs to know what the directions are, they just move the mouse to the words and they are read for them.
I highly recommend this computer game for your child ages 4 and up. It can be found at http://www.amazon.com/ for $12.49. A great gift idea for your preschooler who will be getting ready for Kindergarten!
Mom Select provided me with 1 copy of the Itza Bitza game to test and review for them which I am able to keep. I was not paid for this review.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 45


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
GET INVOLVED WITH FOSTER KIDS
-Over 500,000 children are in foster care and their average ages is 10.
-The average length of stay for all children currently in foster care is 2.4 years.
-14% of the children in foster care have been there for more than 5 years.
-Over 51,000 children are adopted annually through the foster care system.
ACTION STEPS
1. Find a foster care facility near you. Contact them and ask how you can help.
2. Sign up as a volunteer and get your family and friends involved.
3. Be prepared. Volunteers at a foster care facility can be involved in everything from outside physical activities to arts and crafts.
4. Become a foster parent or adopt a child.
Our community has 2 families, that I know of, that have been foster parents and then adopted those same children. These are both families who have already raised their children and are starting over again. I am in awe of both of these families for the love they have shown to the children. Unfortunately, foster children often come from parents/homes where they were mistreated, abused, malnourished, and may even have special needs. To take on these struggles just astounds me and I have seen great changes in these kids since they first came to our community as foster kids. So, to add to the Action Steps above....thank a foster parent/adoptive parent today. Let them know you appreciate them, pray for them and the children, and offer support. These kids now have opportunities they never would have had in their original homes. These kids now have a chance. Foster parenting may not be for you, but for these kids, I am certainly glad they have this community to now be a part of, and a home where they can build happy memories.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Energizer Giveaway!


Energizer has generously given me another opportunity to giveaway one of their products. Energizer has answered the call for an improved battery from their value-conscious consumers. Energizer introduces their new and improved Energizer Rechargeable AA Battery. Consumers will see the benefits in increased charge cycles and longer charge retention while holding capacity at a high rate - all without an increase in price.

The improved Rechargeable AA now can be charged up to 500 times, up to 150 more charging cycles than previous Energizer 2450mAh Rechargeable AA. It will hold more charge at 6 months than previous Energizer Rechargeable AA. These improvemvents make the new Energizer Rechargeable AA Battery ideal for high drain devices like digital cameras and for low drain devices, such as remotes and flashlights.
I absolutely love my Energizer Rechargeable batteries. I use them in my digital camera as well as in my daughter's Leapster. They are a cinch to charge up and replace in no time. An now, with the new compact charger, it will make it much easier for me to take the charger and batteries along when traveling. I also like that the charger will charge both AA and AAA batteries.

If you would like more information about Energizer and their battery chargers, go to...www.energizer.com/chargers/

So, now on to the giveaway. I have one Energizer AA/AAA Compact Charger and 4 AA Energizer Rechargeable Batteries to giveaway to one lucky winner! This is an awesome deal! The charger has an MSRP value of $22.99 and the batteries have an MSRP of 11.99. So this is a nearly $36.00 value. With Christmas approaching this would be great for your cameras, hand held games, or that GPS that you will use to travel. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me how you would use your new batteries and charger. Be sure to leave me an email address. The contest will close at 11:59PM on Monday, November 30th. I will use random.org to choose the winner on Tuesday, December 1st.
Thanks to Energizer for providing me with product for myself as well as the giveaway.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 44


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
USE ONLINE BILL PAY
-One of the fastest growing robbery crimes is identity theft by stealing mail.
-With password protection, more than one level of authentication, increased online security, and 100% protection in case of fraud, online bill pay is much safter than putting a check in the mailbox.
-Internet use and electronic account monitoring is the fastest way to detect fraud and decrease losses from identity theft.
-Banking information can be accessed via the Internet anytime, anywhere.
-Paying bills online saves the average consumer $6 in stamps and 4 hours of time each month.
-18.5 million trees would be saved annually if consumers viewed and payed bills online.
ACTION STEPS
1. Go to your bank's website, click on "online banking" and follow the instructions to set up online bill pay.
2. Print out statements, view transactions, check balances, pay bills, transfer funds, and look for other financial information at your convenience.
3. Stop receiving bank statements and bills in the mail by signing up for online delivery.
4. If you're not able to connect online, then set up automatic payments over the phone. You may still receive a statement, but your payments will be automatically deducted from your bank account.
This is one idea that I am a little conflicted with. Both of my parents worked for the US Postal Service. This agency is feeling the effects of people communicating and doing their business solely online. For that reason, I don't do everything online. I still send letters, birthday cards, and bills in the mail. I do use online banking to be able to access our account, but don't pay my all our bills that way. Everyone has to do what is comfortable for them. Online bill paying is more cost-effective, more environmentally friendly, quicker, safer, and more convenient. But, you have to choose what method you are most comfortable with. Maybe starting with a few monthly bills and see how you like it. Next time you get a statement, check and see if they offer online bill pay.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Quick and Easy Halloween Treat


I saw these cookies in a magazine ad and thought they cute and easy to make. They definately were!

These are from the Bettycrocker.com website.

Chocolate Mummy Cookies (or skeleton hand cookies)

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

2 Tbs unsweetened baking cocoa

1/3 butter or margarine, softened

1 egg

1 container Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Vanilla Frosting

mini M & M's or jelly bean halves


Heat oven to 375. In medium bowl, stir together cookie mix and cocoa. Add butter and egg: stir until soft dough forms.


On floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with 5" gingerbread man cutter. On ungreased cookie sheet, place 1 inch apart. Gather dough scraps: reroll until all dough is used.


Bak 7-9 minutes or until cookies are just puffed and tops are dry. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely.


Spoon frosting into resealable plastic bag. cut 1/4 inch hole in 1 bottom corner. Gently squeeze bag to pipe frosting on cookies for bandages. Attach eyes. Store cookies in airtight container.

NOTE: As you can see, since I had a hand cookie cutter, I also made skelton hands. This recipe made 16 hands and 11 mummies! They will be fun to serve to friends and family tomorrow night after trick or treating!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baxter's Blog


I have caught our cat Baxter sitting here a few times, and was actually able to catch a photo of it. Is he looking to start his own blog or maybe Facebook profile? Hmmmmm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winners of the Journal!

I decided to give away both of the journals that Energizer sent me. Random.org selected 2 winners and they are

RANDOM.ORG - Integer Generator:
"Here are your random numbers:
4
3
Timestamp: 2009-10-27 13:47:20 UTC"

Melissa Ward
Julie

I will contact them by email and send them out right away!
Thanks for signing up. I will have another AWESOME Energizer giveaway very soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 43


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
LISTEN, PRAY, APPRECIATE MUSIC
-Over 70% of schools are not able to maintain funding for the arts.
-Students with coursework in music appreciation score roughly 60 points higher in verbal and 40 points higher in math on the SAT than their non-arts peers.
-Early musical training increases brain development in language, reasoning, math, science, memory, creativity, expression, and spatial intelligence.
-Every human culture uses music to preserve and pass on its ideas and ideals.
-Music is not limited by age, gender, ethnicity, or time.
ACTION STEPS
1. Listen to your favorite music and sing, dance, clap, jam on your air guitar, and enjoy it like no one is watching.
2. Go see or buy tickets for a live music performance.
3. Sign up for music lessons for yourself or your family.
4. If you already sing or play an instrument, do it today or offer to teach someone who wants to learn.
5. Donate unused instruments to a local school, church or music education center.
6. Communicate with your school-district administrators or national legislators. Write a letter of appreciate for the hard work they do and request continued funding for the arts.
As a child, my parents had me take piano lessons and I am so glad they did. I feel fortunate to have that talent and now our 2 boys are taking lessons and have picked it up quite quickly. I love to be in the kitchen making supper and hearing them practicing their piano. Our 4 yr old daughter is anxious to learn how to play as well. We are fortunate to live in a school district that has a flourishing arts program. Our school offers swing choirs, band, various choirs, jazz band, marching band, concert band, fall musical, spring play, etc. I am glad our children will have numerous options to showcase their talents and appreciation for music. Music is fun, expressive, imaginative, beautiful, energizing, relaxing, interesting, and freeing. Through music, we preserve our cultural heritage, celebrate our faith with praise and worship, remember events and experiences from the past, come together with friends and family, and express our emotions. Music is the sountrack of life.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 42

I can't believe this is week 42 already! That means only 10 more weeks of 2009 left! YIKES! Christmas is only 9 weeks away. Enjoy the last 10 weeks and make sure you are making a difference!

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza

GIVE A HUG

-Stimulation by touch is absolutely necessary for physical and emotional well-being.
-Touch is used to relieve pain, depression, and anxiety; to enhance a child's development and IQ; and to nurture premature babies.
-Hugging strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, assists sleep, lowers blood pressure, and is an antidote to depression.
People need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 12 for growth.

ACTION STEPS
1. Hug the people you care about today. Hug them in the morning, hug them to say hello, hug them because they bring you happiness, hug them to say good-bye, hug them to say, "I Love You", hug them to show compassion, hug them if they are sad, hug them if they are hurting, hug them because they did something incredible, or hug them just because.
2. Hug a total stranger or someone you don't know very well...but ask first.
3. Challenge yourself and your friends to keep track of how many hugs you gave or received today.
4. Notice how you feel at the end of your day of hugging.

If everyone hugged 4 people today - the minimum amount for survival - that would add up to 1.2 billion hugs. If everyone gave 12, the total would be 3.6 billion hugs. So, take the time to give 12 hugs today. That hug might be exactly what those 12 people needed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One of those weeks!

Do you ever have one of those days or weeks or months where you just can't keep it all straight. I feel like I am having one this week. I had a volunteer responsibility this week that I wanted to be sure I didn't forget about. I had some other things on my mind as well as dealing with this nasty cold weather we are having. Having to drag all the winter stuff out and get it farmed out to each of the kids, getting blankets and such in the van for soccer and football games, making sure everyone was warm enough, etc. So, on Monday, I realized it wasn't the 11th, but the 12th. Tonight I realized it was already the 13th. I realized that Thursday is the 15th already which means Friday is the 16th and Saturday is the 17th. Now this may not be a big deal to you, but for me it is. I like to recognize birthdays and make that person feel like I care about them enough to remember. Well, I didn't accomplish that so far this week. Sunday was my brother-in-law Ken's birthday and the whole day went by without notice. Then Monday when I thought it was the 11th, I realized I still couldn't mail a card because there was no mail and then I realized it was really the 12th, so I was already a day late and would have to wait another day to mail a card and then another day for him to receive it. So, we just called him on the speaker phone that night (one day late) and sung him Happy Birthday. Then tonight I realized it was the 13th which means it is our nephew, Adam's birthday. So, I sent him a text (he's a teenager) and promised that next time I saw him I would have something for him. So, because today is the 13th, I realized that Thursday is our nephew, Eric's birthday. Since he is a godfather to our son Bennett, we send a gift to him from Bennett. Well, he lives several hours away, which means two day travel time for the mail service, still need to get the gift, so guess what, that is going to be late as well. Our niece Megan has a birthday on Friday and I sent an email off to her mom tonight asking for gift ideas for her. Then Saturday is our nephew, Alex's birthday, so I am going to do my darndest to remember his birthday ON TIME! Whew! Anyway, I guess I have been a little off this week. A fellow blogger friend had this on her blog today and I felt it was totally appropriate for me today as well. I hope your week is moving along smoothly!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 41


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
CHOOSE CANVAS BAGS
-Almost 7 billion paper bags and 440 billion plastic bags are used every year.
-Only 5.2 % of plastic bags and 21% of paper bags are recycled.
-The average length of time a high-density plastic bag will exist on earth is 1,000 years!
-The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags every 4 trips to the grocery store.
-San Francisco, the first city in the USA to ban the use of plastic grocery bags, eliminates the use of 100 million plastic bags/year.
ACTION STEPS
1. Buy several canvas shopping bags or use duffle bags that you already own. Most trips to the store require more than one bag.
2. Purchase canvas bags made from recycled materials.
3. Keep your canvas bags in the trunk of your car - trips to the store are often spontaneous.
4. When purchasing only one or two items and you don't have a canvas bag, just carry the items out of the store without a bag.
5. If you forget your canvas bag, at least avoid double-bagging.
I LOVE using my canvas shopping bags. I think I have 8 of them that I keep in my van at all times. I also use them for things other than shopping. They are great for carrying items to a potluck, for taking items you need to a meeting, or for packing items for a trip. The bags are very sturdy and hold more items than a regular plastic bag, which means less trips back and forth from the car to the house when unloading groceries. The canvas bags are more sturdy when holding the groceries and are less likely to tip over in the car while driving. Also, the grocery store I purchased some of the bags from, replaces them for free if they start to rip. So, the next time you are in the checkout line and the clerk asks, "Paper or Plastic", proudly answer, "Canvas"!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last 2 days of the 10-Day Give...


Day 9: As I mentioned on my first day of the 10-Day give, I give the storytime at our library. Today there was a conference to teach librarians about how to add music to storytimes. So, the local library paid for me to attend the program. The drive to the conference was 45 minutes each way, and I spent most of the drive there and home, praying for people that have been on my mind. I basically went through the people in my life and said prayers for them based on their personal struggles or whatever hit me at that moment to pray for. It was a peaceful trip each way and I enjoyed that time with Jesus. Then that night I was the receiver of giving. My brother-in-law took my husband and I and some of his adult children out to dinner at a very nice restaurant. We had such an enjoyable evening and even though I was the receiver, I made sure that he knew how much I appreciated the evening and the delicious food and drinks and even cheesecake for dessert!
Day 10: Today turned out to be a very cold day here in Iowa. In fact, we woke up to snow falling outside....on October 10th! Ugh! As much as I wanted to stay in my cozy house and snuggle on the couch, we all bundled up and went to watch our son Bennett play soccer. I know how said he would have been if I had told him that I was going to stay home. Thank goodness the game was only an hour and then we could head back to our warm house. This afternoon I had our friends kids come over to play while the parents and my husband worked on insulating their addition to their home. I knew how much our kids would enjoy and afternoon playdate and how much they would appreciate having the kids out of the way of their work. I also had made homemade potato soup for supper and our family enjoyed eating it while we watched the Hawkeye's beat Michigan that night!
So, over the course of these 10 days, there was no ground breaking gift that was given. I just tried to give a piece of myself to those who are part of my life each and every day. I wanted to end the 10-days with those whom I care about knowing how special they are to me. I hope I accomplished that.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

4 More Days of Giving........


Day 5: I really, really wanted to stay home while my daughter was in school, but I knew that I needed to go visit my hospice patient. So, I went and spent some time with her and am very glad I did. I noticed that she had declined a bit since last week and I know that my time with her is limited. I again read some of her favorite hymns to her. She and I both became teary at times and it was such a blessing to me to be able to remind her of those beautiful hymns that she loves.


Day 6: I spent the entire day doing laundry and putting it away. Rather than leaving the clothes out for the kids to have to put away after they got home, I put it all away for them. I also sent a card to someone that I care about and wanted her to know she was on my mind.


Day 7: I treated my husband to lunch with just the 2 of us, which we don't get to do very often. Then after lunch, I went to Target and got a little treat for each person in my family. I decorated our home for the fall/halloween season. The kids had been asking me to do it and I finally decided to make it a priority this afternoon. Our home is now all decked out in fall colors! Tonight I was really tired and wanted to stay home, but instead I went to our school for a meeting. I followed through with my committment which is something I really didn't want to do tonight. I am glad I did because the meeting was very informative and I realized the challenges ahead for our committee.


Day 8: Today, was my first day of working as an associate sub at school. I was working in the special ed room which I had never done before. I really focused on giving each of the kids my attention, praising them, and showing them I cared. Each of the kids have their own struggles, and I tried to just be a loving adult for them today. Then after I got home at noon, I put some supper in the crock pot and had a warm and healthy supper for my family after my husband and oldest child got home from football practice. That is something I haven't been able do lately due to our various schedules and practices. It was nice to have us all sitting around the table eating together even if it was much later than normal.


I don't think that any of these ways of giving were extraordinary, but that is my point. Each one of us can give to others every day so easily. It doesn't have to be anything grand or take a lot of effort. It can just be as simple as a smile to a stranger or holding the door open for someone. I hope that maybe these small things have inspired you to take a moment to give of yourself today. Someone will really appreciate it. Two days left to go.

Journal Giveaway!




October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The company know for its "Keep Going" spirit is hitting the pavement to help find the cures for breast cancer. Energizer is continuing its longtime support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure by becoming the first ever Presenting Sponsor and Official Battery of the Breast Cancer 3-Day in 2009. "We are proud to sponsor such an amazing event that truly highlights the perseverance and never-quit spirit of thousnads joining together in the fight to end breast cancer, " said Betsy Laakko, Director of Marketing for Energizer. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Energizer has created a limited-edition Keep Going Journal, the first in a series, to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The collectible 80-page journal, which features inspirational quotes, a calendar, and a pink ribbon bookmark, is available by mailing in three proofs of purchase from select Energizer battery packs. For every journal redeemed, Energizer will donate $1.00 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, up to $15,000 with a minimum guaranteed donation of $10,000. In addition, commemorative pink batteries will be available during the month of October at retailers nationwide. In additional to the journals, Energizer will be donating $1 to Susan G. Komen for teh Cure for every new Facebook Fan, up to $10,000. You can become a fan of the Energizer Bunny at www.facebook.com/energizerbunny.
Breast Cancer has affected several people in my family as well as numerous women in my circle of friends. I feel passionately about getting your mammograms and completing your self exams every month. Thanks to the Susan G. Komen fund for helping many women fight breast cancer.
So, thanks to Energizer, I have been given A Keep Going journal to giveaway to one of you. The journal is pink and grey and has a magnetic flap to close it. Inside there is a 2010 calendar, lined pages for writing, and quotes throughout the pages. One of my favorites from the book is...
"May you live all the days of your life." by Jonathan Swift Then there is an attached pink ribbon bookmark to mark your pages. This is a great journal to keep for yourself or give to someone you know who is struggling with breast cancer. All you have to do is leave me a comment with an email address. The contest ends on Monday, October 26th at 11:59 PM. I will choose the winner with Random.org on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009.
Disclosure: Energizer sent me 2 journals at no cost to promote to my readers. I did not receive any payment for this promotion.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thermometer Winner!

The winner of the Temple Touch Thermometer is:



RANDOM.ORG - Integer Generator: "Here are your random numbers: 5
Timestamp: 2009-10-06 13:38:26 UTC"


Andrea is the winner and I will be contacting her by email this morning!

Thanks for entering!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 40


Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
THANK A LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
-Over 675,000 sworn officers and nearly 295,000 civilian officers protect and serve citizens.
-Over 14 million arrests occur annually for all offenses except traffic violations.
ACTION STEPS
1. Walk up and thank a law enforcement officer for keeping you and your community safe.
2. Pull your car to your right and out of the way when you hear a siren or see a police car approaching with its lights on.
3. Organize your friends, co-workers, neighborhood, or child's classroom to create and deliver a thank-you card to your local law enforcement agency, police station, or town sheriff.
4. Ask your local police department which organizations support them...and donate.
5. Support or start a Neighborhood Watch program in your community.
6. Always report crime.
Several years ago my husband and I attended a Citizen's Police Academy where we were able to go through similiar training and classes that regular officers go through. We were also able to ride along with an officer to see what goes on in the day of a police officer. I learned how difficult some of their days can be, the kind of situations they are put into, the kind of people they have to deal with and the risks that the officers face every single day. It was such an eye opener for me and I have such respect for those officers who spend their days protecting our family. Our town doesn't have a police department or even its own sheriff. We have a county sheriff's department that makes visits to our town on a regular basis. A few years ago I became concerned (along with another mom) about the after-school traffic through town. Numerous children walk home from school and the traffic leaving the high school had become quite dangerous and many were driving down a closed street (closed to keep the kids safe that were getting off busses). So, after calling the sheriff's department, they now make regular visits to sit in town after school and monitor traffic. I am deeply appreciative of their time here and have told them so on many occasions. I just don't want to see one child get hurt because of a careless driver.
Law enforcement officers make an incredible difference in your community. Every day they put their lives at risk to protect you, your neighbors and your loved ones. Thank the next officer you see for their valuable service.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

4 Days of Giving...


I said I had started the 10-Day Give and I did start it on Thursday, this is just the first chance I have had to give you an update!


Day 1: About a year ago I started giving a toddler storytime at our local library. We have it once/month and each month I pick a theme, read a couple books, have some songs/fingerplays, a craft and a snack. The last few times we have had 6 children and I just really enjoy seeing them come each month. I hope I am encouraging a love of reading in the children and giving them something fun to do as well. This month we had a birthday party theme. When I started storytime, I got a lamb puppet named "Lucy" for our Storytime pet. So we pretended it was Lucy's 1st birthday at Storytime, complete with party hats, games, favors and birthday cupcakes. I think all the kids had a great time and I look forward to giving of myself each month at storytime.


Day 2: It was Homecoming weekend at our school this weekend and Friday night was the football game. We live right across from the football field, so we decided to have a tailgate party before the game. The weather didn't cooperate very well, as it was cold and rainy. So we ended up tailgating inside and didn't even go to the game. We had 23 adults and children here and had a blast. We grilled burgers and hotdogs and shared in some wonderful fellowship all evening. I love to entertain and have people over. There were people over at our home that had never met before and I love to see new people getting to know eachother and mingling. So, on Friday night I opened my home and my refridgerator up to lots of friends and I hope a fun evening was had by all.


Day 3: Ironically today was my birthday. But, I think I can still find some ways that I gave even though I was the receiver of many others on Saturday. Saturday morning, our son had a soccer game. Again the weather was COLD and rainy and windy, but I sat outside and cheered our son on even though I really wanted to be at home under a blanket! Then once I got home I had to bake and decorate 4 cakes for a fall festival that I will write about on day four. Saturday evening, my Sister-in-law watched our children so my husband and I could go out for dinner. She is also doing the 10-Day give, so I was very appreciative of her giving of her time to take care of our children for the evening! :) While we were waiting to be seated for dinner we ran into friends at the restaurant....friends that were at our house on Friday night, acutally. So, once we were shown to our table we invited our friends over to join us for dinner. Even though Pat and I don't get a lot of time to ourselves, we had a laughter filled meal with our friends, Mike and Tina, that brought a lot of joy to our dinner.


Day 4: My parents have been the caretakers of country church as cemetary that is very dear to our family. This church has been integral to my upbringing. So, every first Sunday in October, for as far back as I can remember, I have been a part of what is called Lima Leaf Day. (Lima as in lima bean). There used to be a town called Lima that most of my mother's family was born and raised in. So, every year, we travel "back home" and work at this event. A meal is served as well as different kids games and a country store where crafts and goodies are sold. I usually work in the dining room, seating people and keeping everything clean. The last couple years I have also worked the food-line. As a child I remember running the fish pond and the ring toss games for the kids. Now my kids help out with those games! One of the big games is the Cake Walk and this was why I was making cakes on Saturday afternoon. We usually serve anywhere between 500 and 700 people at this event. Today I started working in the dining room and ended my day on the food line. I enjoy seeing people come back each and every year to help support this church and cemetary that is so important to so many people.


I am not sure what the rest of the 6 days will hold for me and whom I will be giving to, but I am enjoying looking for those opportunities where I can give of myself to someone else.