Monday, March 30, 2009

Every Hair On Your Head

Today, I was home with my son Bennett who was sick. He is my snuggler, my thinker and my questioner. He likes to ask those big questions like Why did God make the sky blue?, When will I get to see Grandma Margaret again (she passed away in Dec 2006)? How come people have to get divorced?, etc. Today I got another one of those questions. Bennett asked, How does God count all the hairs on my head?

Recently I had taught the kids that come to our After School Jams program at our church about God knowing each of us before we were born, how he created us, made us, and has plans for each one of us. We taught the kids that in God's eyes were are all superstars and as long as we have God in our lives, we are rich. We talked about the following Bible verses with the kids...

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you."
Luke 12:7 "Why even the hairs on your head are all numbered."
Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him."

So, now nearly 3 weeks later, my son asks, how did God count the hairs on his head. I just answered, only God knows and hopefully someday we will know all the answers, but until then, we just need to know that God made us and we are special to him. I hope that was enough for him to ponder, at least until the next question.

Mondays Matter: Week 13

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Way To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza.
This is an idea that is near and dear to my heart...Books and Reading
Donate Books
61% of low-income families have NO books in their homes.
55% of children have an increased interest in reading when given books at an early age.
1. Go through your booksheves and pull out books that you will never read again or have owned for more than 2 years and haven't read yet.
2. Pack the books in a box.
3. Call your local library, school, foster home, or children's organization to see if they need books.
4. Deliver the books!
5. If you don't have any books at home, purchase some books to donate or find an organization that accepts financial donations and will purchase books and deliver them where they are needed.
We probably have more books in our home than toys. I love books. I love to read and I try to instill that in my kids by making sure they have many reading options readily available. Then twice a year I go through the kids bookshelves and pull out the ones we have outgrown or no longer need. Then we donate them to a very needy organization called Heart of Iowa. They provide treatment and housing to women that are pregnant or have children and struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. A friend of mine was helping her husband who works for Heart of Iowa and a child came up to her and asked if she had any books he could read. She noticed that there were no books for the children. So, she asked us at church to donate books for the kids and the books came in boxes and boxes. Now our church's circle regularly donates to purchase new books for the kids and I regularly go through our shelves to add to that as well. I also regularly donate my books to our local library. If they don't need to add them to their shelves, they go into their bin for their annual book sale for which the proceeds are used to purchase more books for the library. So, every body wins.
Having access to books is the key to literacy. By donating books, especially children's books, you can impact some of the 12 million children who don't have books at home.

Friday, March 27, 2009

10 Years

Ten years ago today I married the love of my life. Actually 11 years ago tomorrow I met the love of my life. At least for me, I knew immediately that he was "the one". From the day we met, we hardly spent a day apart and it has been that way ever since. I can't say it has been a smooth and easy 10 years of marriage, but I wouldn't change a moment of it. We have stuck together through trials and triumphs, have 3 beautiful children, a home full of love, and family and friends that regularly keep us in check. What more could a married couple hope for. Pat, thanks for all you have given me in this 10 years and I look forward what the future holds for us. Happy Anniversary!
This was the Scripture from our wedding ceremony and is always good to hear again!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind: love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrougant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

This young readers edition of the worldwide bestseller Three Cups of Tea has been specially adapted for younger readers by Sarah Thomson and updated by Greg Mortenson to bring his remarkable story of humanitarianism up to date for the present. Includes new photos and illustrations, as well as a special interview by Greg’s twelve-year-old daughter, Amira, who has traveled with her father as an advocate for the Pennies for Peace program for children.
The story in an inspiring account of one man's campaign to build schools in the most dangerous, remote, and anti-American reaches of Asia. In 1993, Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time—Greg Mortenson's one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.
I enjoyed this book and appreciated the "easy read". From other reviews, I read that the adult version has much more political involvement throughout the storyline. I thought this YA version had just enough information to keep me interested, enough stories to get me invested, and an excellent assortment of photos to connect you to the people in the story. This was a quick and enjoyable read for me and it has led me to look further into the Pennies For Peace campaign. Since I am in charge of our Vacation Bible School this summer, we are going to do the Pennies for Peace Foundation as our mission project and help raise money for these schools and for the much needed supplies. To find out more about this mission go to I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Buddy and Baxter

You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense. - Jane Pauley

I found our cats Buddy and Baxter having an afternoon nap together today. Wouldn't it be great to be a cat...just for a day?
Buddy (on the left) was my husband's cat and Baxter was my cat. At first, when we brought the cats (both boys) together, there was definitely some tense moments: growling, arched backs, hair standing straight up, and hissing. But, before too long, they became best buds. The cats have been together for 10 1/2 years and are completely inseparable. They have very different personalities, but always have a soft spot for each other.

*UPDATE* Buddy and Baxter have since moved on to their great home in Heaven, Buddy leaving us in 2013 and Baxter almost exactly a year later. They lived long lives and have been missed, but we hope they are taking naps together and watching over our family.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 12

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

Party With A Purpose!

Every week there are 79,623 births, 42,884 weddings, and 5,812,037 birthdays! Whew!

Birthdays are the #1 reason people celebrate!


1. Select a charity, cause or purpose you wish to support.

2. Decide which holiday or occasion for which you would like your friends and family to make a donation instead of giving you a gift.

3. Provide your friends and family with the proper information to make their giving easier - website, phone number, address

4. Make up a reason to party if you don't have one. Simply have guests bring a dish to share and their charitable gift.

Giving is a lot more gratifying than receiving, no matter the occasion. This is a perfect idea for that person who has everything he/she needs. Making a donation to a charity, cause, or organization they care about shows that you care about them as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Flowers!

All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar. ~ Helen Hayes
Yesterday I raked away my leaves and found spring rising up out of the dirt in my flower bed. I love finding the first flower to spring up in my flower bed. Spring is here!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Birds Are Singing!

My daughter Reagan (age 4) and I are sitting in the living room. The windows are open because it is a beautiful day outside. I just finished painting her fingernails and toenails a pretty pink color. All of a sudden she said, "Mom, the birds are singing! Do you hear them?" The birds had been singing quite a chorus outside our window all morning. She sat there and listened to them for a little bit and then said, "What do you think they are singing about?" I said, I think they are singing about being happy that Spring is here. Reagan said, "Yeah, Mom, I think you are right. I would sing about that too!"

Song of Songs 2:12 "The flowers are springing up, and the time of singing birds has come, even the cooing of turtledoves."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

In the summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the 8th grade social food chain. Then, the "coolest girl in the world" moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all - beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn; Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer's end they've become TullyandKate. Inseparable.
My friend, Tammy recommended this book to me and I recommended it to my book club who read it this month. It was very easy to settle in to this book and be taken back to the days of my own childhood. I loved how the author brought in songs to the story as she took you through each decade. Songs can definately take you back to a time and place as soon as you hear it. Certain songs remind me of summer laying in the pool, high school dances, and as a child hanging out at my older sister's house listening to her records. So many spots in the book required a box of kleenex close by. The author included many twists and surprises throughout the way. I loved how the story flowed and traveled through each decade. I was sad when the story was done because I knew I would miss Tully and Kate and their friendship.
Some of my favorite parts of the book were:
"It was funny how a single garment could remind you of years together - slumber parties and makeovers and breakfasts spent watching Saturday morning cartoons."
"Soon, Tully had Kate laughing. That was the thing about best friends. Like sisters and mothers, they could piss you off and make you cry and break your heart, but in the end, when the chips were down, they were there, making you laugh even in your darkest hours."
"To the world at large, perhaps this was an ordinary moment in an ordinary day, but to Kate it was extraordinary. This was the reason she'd chosen to stay home instead of work. She judged the meaning of her life in nanoseconds, perhaps, but she wouldn't trade this instant for anything."
A wonderful story of family and friendship. I give this 5 stars!

Mondays Matter: Week 11

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

Register To Vote

71 Million registered voters didn't vote in the 2004 presidential election.


1. Register to vote by using the national Mail Voter Registration Form. You can get this at or

2. Register in Person at your local DMV, state offices that provide public assistance, official campaign headquarters, armed forces recruitment offices, public libraries, post offices, public high schools and universities.

3. Pay attention to registration deadlines in your state to ensure that you register in time to vote.

4. Make sure your friends, family, co-workers, or fellow students are registered.

5. Get informed on the issues and candidates.

6. VOTE!

Whether you are voting for your local county supervisor, mayor of your town, school board representative, senator, or President....take the time to learn about the candidates and be a voice. Many men and women have fought for our freedoms and voting is a privilege that too many of us take for granted. At your next opportunity, make your voice heard in your community and vote in your next election.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cool Tees!

I just found out about these great tees! Check out the button to the right that says, "God is Good Wild Olive Tees". All the tees have a saying on the front and a Bible verse on the back. These are awesome and I hope to order soon as my budget allows! From their website, this is how the gals say they got started...
Wild Olive began four years ago with a dream. Literally. It took a while for that dream to grow into reality but, thankfully, God's timing can be trusted completely. God orchestrated the friendship between Colleen, Stefanie and Amie, and soon they recognized that they had not only a shared goal, but a passion: to be God's instrument in sharing His word in a fresh and funky way.
Check them out today!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Say What You Mean!

I ran across this quote today and it reminded me of a situation I had with my husband this week.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss

For several days, something had been bothering me and I had been putting off discussing it with my husband. Then I was gone for 3 days and the issue kept festering in my mind and affecting my sleep as well as the way I was relating with my husband. So, finally, I decided to bring it up. I wish I had brought it up right away. My husband immediately noticed I was upset and came and sat next to me, listened to me, and heard me out. We discussed it and he appreciated me bringing it up with him. I suddenly felt lighter and finally got a good nights sleep. So, I was reminded I need to say what I feel and speak the truth. It makes things a lot easier from the beginning. If the person you have an issue with really matters, then they won't mind you being honest with them and talking it out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Laughter Filled Weekend!

As I said earlier, I traveled to Minneapolis with my mom, my aunt and my cousin for the Home and Garden Show. But, the weekend was so much more than that. We shared so many laughs, had some great conversations and stories, and connected in ways we hadn't before. We got foot massages at the Mall of America, gorged ourselves on awesome food, had grown-up beverages, and layed in bed talking until the wee hours of the morning. We also celebrated my mom's 70th birthday, with several servings of her cream. This was a weekend I will remember for a long time and even though I had to drive home in awful winter weather...I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 10

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza.
Change Your Lightbulbs!
-75% less energy is used with an ENERGY STAR labeled compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) compared to a standard incandescent bulb (regular lightbulb).
-CFLs last up to 10x longer and save $30 over the life of the bulb.
-Replacing 1 bulb prevents the release of 300 pounds of carbon dioxide in just 1 year.
-If every home replaces 5 frequently used lightbulbs with CFLs, close to $8 billion a year in energy costs could be saved.
1. Buy a package of CFL bulbs today.
2. Refer to the lumen or light output on the product packaging as your guide to determine correct wattage.
3. Replace at least 1 regular lightbulb with a CFL bulb. The more bulbs you change, the better it is for the environment and your wallet.
4. Place qualified CFLs in the fixtures you use most frequently.
5. Use qualified CFLs in the fixtures that are hard to reach such as ceiling fans, other ceiling fixtures, and enclosed outdoor fixtures.
6. Call your local waste management company to ask for proper disposal methods: CFL bulbs should not be thrown away in your regular garbage. Retailers also offer take-back programs.
One bulb. Will you do it? How about five?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Flowers: Here We Come!

In just 33 hours and counting I will be heading north to the Minnesota Home and Garden Show. I am picking up my mom and meeting my aunt (mom's sister) and cousin in Minneapolis for a weekend of flowers, shopping, relaxing, and catching up. No men and no kids allowed! I can't wait to be surrounded with beautiful, sweet smelling flowers, to not have to take anyone potty, to not have to cook a meal for anyone, to not have to do any laundry, to not have to answer "why", and just enjoy a weekend of laughter, grown-up conversation, and LOTS of fun! Thank you to my cousin Melanie for inviting us along for the weekend and to our husbands for giving us the weekend off. I am sure I will have numerous flower photos to share with you next week!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 9

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
Protect Yourself with Internet Safety
1. Create a password that has a combination of upper and lowercase letter, numbers , and symbols for unlocking your computer and for accessing websites. Use a different password for each site.
2. Never use an automatic log-in feature that saves your username and password.
3. Always log off the internet or your computer when you're finished.
4. Avoid storing financial information on your computer.
5. Use anti-virus software and a firewall.
6. Do not open emails sent from strangers.
7. Forward spam that is phishing for information to and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email.
These are all great tips and excellent reminders when we are in the internet. Remain cyber-safe by protecting your computer as if it were your wallet. Practice safe surfing and you will be glad you did!