Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Happenings

We've been busy elves around here! Keeping this Christmas time simple so we can enjoy the reason for the season and experience some true PEACE (instead of the normal holiday chaos!)

I'm loving the prelit tree I bought last year! This is the first year ever we decorated the house the day after Thanksgiving. In fact we set the tree up at 12:30 a.m. after Thanksgiving, night owls that we are! ;o)

I've been trying to cook more at home and finding out how more settled I feel. Above is Greek chicken and potatoes served on my mix-and-match holidayware I've collected over the years!

Feefers is taking it all in. He recently experienced his first snowfall and loved it!

I had some friends over for a
spa night. We had such a RELAXING, fun time!

Lesia's stylin' baby! LOL This was the part where we exfoliated our lips. It was hilarious!

I've been using BeautiControl products for over a month and can honestly tell the difference. (Do you think I'll get free products for saying that?! LOL)

I hope everyone is enjoying the season.

Make someone feel special today!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Best Thanksgiving Ever!

Maybe it was the nicer weather. Maybe it was having the celebration back at my brother's place after a nasty house fire last year. Maybe it's that the kids are growing up and we're not having to follow them around everywhere. I don't know what it was, but this was the most relaxed and fun Thanksgiving I can ever recall!

Growing up, we're were always expected to "behave" at family functions. Although I miss my mom, it's like we have free reign to laugh, act silly, and be ourselves now. The best part (besides the fantastic food) was doing dishes in Marty's kitchen as we rocked out to some of his favorite tunes (and some old songs too!) We danced as we did our chores.

When we were kids, dessert was NEVER served until the dishes were done. Ah, the freedom to let the dishes sit and to enjoy each other's company. There was no official announcement when it was time to clean up. I wandered into the kitchen and picked up a dish cloth and before you know it, everyone was there pitching in....and having a grateful, hysterical, memory-making time of our lives.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How do you deal with the ....

narrow-minded - adjective intolerant, conservative, prejudiced, biased, provincial, petty, reactionary, parochial, short-sighted, bigoted, insular, opinionated, small-minded, hidebound, illiberal, strait-laced

I have a friend whom I have tolerated for years. She fits every description above. She didn't start out that way (or I wouldn't have become friends with her). Over time, she has increasingly become more and more unbearable. She expects everyone to believe exactly as she does or else she doesn't "approve" of them.

If you live this way for a very long time, you become entirely self-centered as she has become. I hate walking on eggshells around her. I can't be myself around her because I might offend her. I've been bending over backwards, trying to bite my tongue and do the right thing. I have kept my mouth shut and have been forgiving when she has offended ME with her ignorance. I have changed the topic, skirted the issues, talked about the weather, just to avoid getting into a confrontation with her. Because she attends my church, I see people bowing to her attitude as I have, also trying to do the good "Christian" thing.

Recently I have kindly and gently spoken my mind, not about her personally, but about my opinion on some issues. Suddenly I am the enemy. I am the "hypocrite." I greeted her kindly last time I saw her but I don't know how long I can keep up the facade.

What would you do? I need some advice!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Grateful for Good Friends

I'm grateful for good friends. One of them is Kelly. We first met nearly 12 years ago when I was new to my church. I felt then that we would be good friends. We both have been through a lot in our respective lives in the past 12 years and have recently reconnected through Facebook. Kelly invited me to a women's meeting at her church tonight and I was really BLESSED! It was so good to see Kell in person again and to know that we are indeed really good friends!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Appreciate the Season

I'm learning to appreciate each season. I used to dread autumn because it ushered in winter (and I despise the cold!). Seeing the flocks of birds fly south always made me sad. I realized my change in attitude the other day when I was happy to see the little guys heading for warmer climates (they must be the smart ones!)

(I can't take credit for the above picture-it's from Google images, but I did take the one below.)

Another part of appreciating the season is taking notice of the moon. It's been so pretty to me lately. This is not a very clear picture, but it's the moon through the branches of my backyard tree.

All my life, it seems, I have kept my opinion to myself (for the most part) so as not to rock the boat. It's been a real eye-opening experience for me through this past election. I voted for what I thought was right in my heart--the truth for me--and was so heavily attacked by friends whom I've discovered are very narrow-minded. I'm amazed at so many people who think it's their way (the way they perceive life) or nothing.

I want to be open-hearted to people. Sure, I have my own convictions, but I know I cannot push them off on others or expect others to believe exactly the way I do. I'm learning that, for me personally, I just can't go with the flow, be content with the status quo. I have to do what's right for me and follow God's leading, even if others do not approve.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Do you feel that????

It's the earth shaking because Mary Jo is actually cleaning out her scrapbooking area!!! ;o)

I found this pic on the web. Oh, that I should be so organized! But then again, I look at this and realize the scrapping surface is waaaaay too small!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Something to be grateful for...

Here in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day at the end of November. I have learned in recent years to be thankful each and every day. Our church has a motto: Vision - Mission - Hope. We're taking the church out of the building and into the streets. Tonight a group of us served a turkey dinner at a homeless shelter in downtown St. Louis.

This is the second time Katie, Emily, and I have helped. I love to see the look on my daughters' faces when they realize they are making a difference in someone's life.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

That time of year....

Early in the week it was soooo cold here. We had our first frost warning. But slowly the temperature increased as the week progressed, and Halloween night proved to be a pleasantly warm night. I'm surprised my girls still want to dress up and trick-or-treat at ages 16 and 13 (I thought I was too old myself at 11). Katie said this is her last year. It's sad in a way but also a relief.

We had an unusually wet summer, so the leaves have been slow in changing this year. My backyard tree has finally changed in the past few days. I guess Fall is officially here now!

A local radio station has been playing Christmas songs already. I've been enjoying them while the weather was cool, but it makes me a bit queasy when it's summer-like weather and everyone's preparing for Halloween. I had to take a break. Running my holidays together was getting a little weird!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tag....you're it!

I've been tagged by Trish to list six random things about myself and then tag six others.

1) I'm crazy for stationery supplies....notecards, paper, colored paperclips and rubberbands, funky post-it notes, different tacks, etc. And my FAVORITE: journals! I just drool over them (well I try not to unless I pay for it first! LOL)

2) I never realized how close-minded I was until I went through my divorce. Since then, my whole world has opened up. I really wouldn't go back or trade it for anything. It was the most painful thing I went through but out of it came a better person (me) whom I'm actually starting to like.

3) I'm learning that dreams really do come true, even the simple ones. Since I was a little girl I've always wanted both a beagle and a dachsund at the same time. And I have them now, and the cool thing is I didn't plan it that way. I just happened to stumble across both doggies!

4) I've been keeping this private for the sake of argument and people trying to force their own personal views on me, but here it is: I'M VOTING FOR BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT! I'm pro-life, pro-family, but this country is in need of some serious change. I'm learning that swimming against the tide isn't always a bad thing, but sometimes quite necessary.

5) I find myself recently fascinated with a part of the world that always intimidated me......Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, the Middle East, Morocco. I wonder if I'll end up there some day? I was reading in my Bible this morning from the Book of Acts in the New Testament. I got out my Bible map and was surprised to see many of those places were where Paul's journeys took him. Kinda wild!

6) I love the song, "Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors (okay, that was REALLY random! LOL)

Ok, now I pick 6 people:
1. Rhona
2. Jenn
3. Lisa
4. Jolene
5. Tascha
6. Eleni

The rules:
1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

My Squash Adventure

I have always had an aversion to vegetables. Growing up, I only liked peas and lima beans because they were easy to swallow whole! As I grew older, peer pressure (i.e., not wanting to look like a fool in front of my friends) caused me to go out on a limb and try new things. So I do eat a few healthy things, but still whenever I would diet, I would think of veggies as the enemy!

Since I've been meeting with Rachel, my nutrition guru, her excitement about healthy things has been catching!

The butternut squash hacked up!

I toasted the seeds and they were yummy!

Yay! It turned out like sweet potato pie. I threw in some vanilla, cinnamon, and browns sugar. Delicious! Now I'm excited about trying more different things.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Fallness

Emily shows off her colors from her visit to the orthodontist yesterday. Smart girl opted against the Halloween colors as her next appointment is not until December 9th!

Last weekend I went with a friend to the Illinois Ladies Retreat (a church thing) in Bloomington, Illinois. Along the way we stopped at
Blue Springs Cafe in Highland, Illinois. Delicious home cooking and home of the Foot Hi Pie. (I stand corrected as I always call them "Mile High" pies!)

This was on the wall at violin lessons, so I had to snap a pic of it! :o)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Katie spotted this squirrel outside my window, taking a break for some sun bathing!

Phoenix is all snuggled up for a cool, fall evening!

I love crunching through the leaves on a warm, fall day. As a kid, once mid-September hit, Mom never allowed us outdoors barefoot, even if the weather was warm. So I didn't get to experience barefoot leaf-crunching until I was an adult!

I had this plant on the deck all summer. It had become tall and gangly and overgrown, so I chopped the heck out of it and decided to just go with the new growth at the bottom.

It was late at night when Katie snapped this one. This is me, very tired, trying to look like I'm not! That's a butternut squash at my elbow. I'm planning on cooking it this week (something new!)

Monday, October 20, 2008


All day at work I was actually looking forward to getting home and finishing this job. I'm so pleased with it! And besides having room to park the car AND finding the missing garage door remote, guess what else I found??? My missing Disney World pics!! Yay!! We went there at Christmas in 2000 and I have torn the house apart looking for them. I was beginning to fear I had accidentally thrown them away. But there they were, tucked away in a box in the corner!

I love this self-portrait Em took. It reminds me of a Nancy Drew cover! Emily McConnell and the Case of the Missing Jonas Brother. LOL!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Season of Change

(My daisies from Sue hung in there for a long time, brightening my kitchen. What a good start to each day with this pretty sight each morning!)

All throughout the summer, I have parked the car in the driveway and the garage quickly became a catch-all. Now with the weather cooling down, I'm not looking forward to scraping frost or ice off the windows, so it's time to make room for the car!

Oh my - does this not look like one of those photos where a tornado just came through?! Last fall when I had the garage door fixed, I literally just threw stuff towards the back of the garage to squeeze my car in. This time I thought I'd better do it right!

I'm about halfway done, but it's looking good and I'm getting rid of a TON of clutter and old memories that no longer serve any purpose in my life.

I reflect upon a year ago. I was newly separated and still very much in shock even though I had much hope for my future and saw the door opening wide to dreams I never imagined could ever possibly come true.

A year later, I have grown and learned SO much, and honestly? I would not trade any of the sorrow or pain I have experienced. It most certainly has made me a much stronger person with the help of God. I never ever could be as close to God as I feel now, if not for the trials I have gone through.

Moving on.....moving forward!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Andrea Bocelli sings Elmo to sleep

Andrea can sing me to sleep any night! ;o) hee! hee!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Okay, a real post now ;o)

Hey all! I know it's been awhile. Life and work has kept me busy (I know, I know - I've been on Facebook a lot, but that doesn't require quite as much brain power!)

We're heading into our "2nd Tax Season" of sorts. October 15th is when the extended individual tax returns are due (the ones that didn't go out last April 15th). There's a LOT of procrastination where I work, so we will be slammed next week. Last year it went like this: Week 1 - I worked 37 hours (normally 30-35); Week 2 - I worked 52 hours; Week 3 - I worked 75.5 hours! This year I have worked only 50 hours this week (ONLY!) LOL

Okay, here is some catch-up from my life.


A couple years ago during a weird ice storm, a large upper branch on this tree broke off and has been gradually making its way down the tree. It finally got to the point where I was able to pull some of the dead pieces down (after many prayers of protection for the house, the deck, the window, the roof, and me!)

looking down from the deck - (this is a view of my messy patio that I hope to turn into a lovely sitting area next spring!)

Last weekend with the help of a rake and advice from Emily who was supervising, I was able to bring this baby down! It was resting on the tree and the roof (to the right, and just above my bedroom window), so I wanted to take it down manually before a giant windstorm did it for me and who knows what damage to the house.

here's part of it - thankfully it came crashing down right here and kinda in slow motion, so there was no damage to humans or property ;o)

My little wiener schnitzel - Phoenix! He's really growing!

Sho-Sho! (Shiloh)

Still the king of the castle


Last week I celebrated (belatedly) my birthday with my girls from church. We ate at the Mother-in-Law House in Old St. Charles. Sorry I don't have pics from that. I got some nice gifts and cards, including these flowers. These are from Judy's garden.

Sue got me the lovely yellow daisies!

Have a great rest-of-the-weekend!