Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).
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My husband thinks he's so smart, just because he's a writer. HA!
(Love you, honey!)
(Admit it. That bad Paula Cole song about the cowboys from 10 years ago is running through your head right now. Except you've replaced cowboys with Santas. And if it wasn't, it is now!)
Okay. Still stressed here, friends! Who would have thought with two grant funding applications due this week, a display to finish for tomorrow, and a Santa party to finish planning for next week, that the biggest stressor of my life at this moment is Santa!! Where has he gone?!
We have asked all the Santa's from previous years, and they are all too busy to bring some joy into our town's kids' lives. Possible new prospects are too Scroogy. Everyone runs whenever I start looking them over to see if they will fill out the red suit. And my hair is rapidly thinning as I pull it out the closer Saturday comes. (Too bad this couldn't happen to my hips!)
Is it too much to ask that we have a Santa for our SANTA PARTY!! I mean, that's kind of the point of the whole thing!
Maybe he's frozen from the extreme cold we've had here this week. Wait a minute. This is Saskatchewan - he should be used to it by now!
(Yes, I have just revealed my location ~ I did it in hopes Mr Claus will come knocking on my door RIGHT THIS MINUTE.
No. Didn't work.)
I'm sure there's a lesson in all of this. But I'll try to figure it out after I see how I look in red. Not so sure about the beard though. I don't think it's really me!
Ho Ho Ho!
This week and next are shaping up to be crazy as I finish up plans for the big events I am coordinating for work, not mention the staff party I apparently am planning, and the regular family Christmas stuff that we do every year. And I thought hitting the malls in December was stressful!! Thank goodness I don't have to do that! (yes, I just gloated about being done my shopping. I told you I would!)
I've decided I can deal with this one of two ways - I can freak out for the next two weeks, as is my natural tendency during brief bouts of stress, or I can just give it all to God and dig in. I know it'll all get done. This is me afterall. I'm the Queen of Planning!! So I can either enjoy the ride, or drive everyone around me crazy as my blood pressure soars and I end up on leave like my co-worker who was supposed to help me out with all this stuff in the first place.
My job, for me anyways, is my service to God. He made this job for me! I daily try to glorify God through my actions at work and by doing what He gives me with my whole heart. When I remember to do that, I can feel tension leave my body as I rely on Him to give me the strength to get through 'til next Saturday. He really does lift me up.
If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised.
~1 Peter 4:11
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
"For I know the plans I have you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you," says the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 29: 11-14 (NLT)
Have you ever changed a flat tire by yourself?
Haha - I can't even FILL a flat tire by myself! I'm such a helpless female when it comes to cars. I'm lucky I can even fill the car with gas - although isn't that what full service stations are for?
Do you have an "innie" or an "outie" belly button?
Innie - not that you'll ever see it.
Name a new paint color and describe it.
Hot Chocolate Froth - exactly the colour of the foam on top of your steaming cup of chocolate. Yummy!
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
A couple of years ago, my girls and I started making gingerbread people together at Christmas. They help me make them, and then it's their job when the cookies are cooled off to decorate them. They make a couple for each kid in the family, and some for themselves, of course! And the whole time we make a game of seeing how many candies we can sneak without compromising the integrity of our work. It's fun, and it gives me and the girls something to look forward to doing together.
If you were a cookie, what kind of cookie would you be, and why?
oatmeal chocolate chip - wholesome, but sweet...and not so wholesome after all!
At first, it did pretty good. It said I went to college (which I did), and that I read voraciously. So I kept picking pictures. Next round it said I prefer cats to dogs, also true, and that creativity is my expertise. I wasn't sure about that one. I am creative in some ways, but adminstration is much more me. But I didn't let that stop me!
After my third round, the pink brain said that if someone stopped me and asked for really difficult to give directions, I'd help them. Well of course I would! That's the nice thing to do!!
But then, the fun of the game wore off, when it said four little words:
"You are a guy."
You should try it anyways.
I wonder why this doesn't work with supper. Whenever I tell my kids supper is a secret, they run away and hide.
(Incidentally, with Hannah off at preschool right now, and Ethan down for his only nap of the week, I have the WHOLE HOUSE TO MYSELF!!!!!! YES!!!!!!)
"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time."
I've been pretty lucky. After surviving some not so wonderful years as a child, I eventually found the Lord, and He gave me a bit of a reprieve. He brought me my amazing husband, and blessed us with three beautiful kids. We enjoy an intimate friendship with one another, and our kids. We're pretty blessed.
So when our time came (and it always does) to have to deal with something big, it was no big effort for me to remember that God was there holding me up. When my Hannah turned 2, we had a routine iron test done on her, mostly because she didn't eat much for meat (really, what 2 year old does!). We were expecting to be told to give her a supplement, but we weren't prepared for the real news. They discovered Hannah had neutropenia, a blood disorder that affects only the white blood cells, or neutrophils, that are responsible for fighting bacterial infections.
Because they weren't one hundred per cent sure what type of strain this was, or just how serious, we were told Hannah would be scheduled for a bone marrow test. In the meantime, Kevin and I did a lot of research to try and understand what we were up against. I'm not sure I'd recommend this!
Neutropenia can be as simple as a benign condition that is grown out of by the age of 6, or it can be as serious as a precursor to leukemia. Like every good mother would, I totally jumped to worse case scenario. What if she had that? What would I do?
I cried for days. I couldn't handle the thought that my baby might be seriously ill. You know when people tell you God won't give you more than you can handle? Wrong. Who can handle even the idea of losing a child, never mind actually having that happen? I was so distraught, I couldn't even pray. Literally. I would try, but I just couldn't make anything come out of my heart.
Here's where the complete confidence in God comes in - knowing I couldn't pray, I asked everyone I knew to do it for me. Within hours I could feel His peace surrounding me and comforting me. I stopped crying. I felt assured that no matter what the outcome, He was there.
God upheld me through my daughter's test, when we had to choose who would go with her when they put her under, and when they told me only my husband could be with her when she woke up. He got us through the waiting and wondering what the future held for us and our precious Hannah.
As it turned out, Hannah had the benign condition. She will be free from it within another year. And God be praised, she has had only two or three infections that we had to watch carefully, and her body rallied and got through them as well as if she didn't have the disease at all. When I look at my baby, I am thankful for His goodness in protecting and healing her.
I never doubted God during that time. I questioned, definitely. I even selfishly demanded to know why it had to be my daughter. But I never lost confidence in His goodness, His love, and that He knew what He was doing. He is, after all, God.
Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. ~ Psalm 28:6-7
One thing I love about eating supper together as a family is the conversation. You can learn an awful lot about your family in the 20 odd minutes it takes to demolish your culinary creations when you actually sit down at the table together. Tonight was no exception.
The conversation started when my girls were discussing what their ages will be in 20 years. "27 - that's so old!" (as Mommy chokes on her taco at the ripe old age of 30!)
My four year old decided to get in on the math "Emma, you're in your 7-ties, I'm in my 4-ties, and Ethan is in his 2-ties!" (just say that out loud ~ too-ties. I think you can guess where this conversation is going!!!!)
"Yes," I said amidst my own giggles, "Ethan is definitely in his tooties!"
(My kids thought it was funny that Mommy thought it was funny. I guess they don't think I have much of a sense of humour!)
Ethan, the typical third child who likes to be the cut-up of the family, joins in. "Mommy, I toot! Watch!"
Yes, in case you were wondering, he did. Amazing - and I can't get this boy to even be slightly interested in potty training!
"Watch, Mommy, I do it again!" he says.
"It's not working, Mommy!"
Yes, dinner conversation can certainly be enlightening. I just hope I can remember this tomorrow - you know how your memory goes on you when you're old!
I am officially a sports widow.
Until I married a sportswriter/fanatic, I never really understood what that meant. My dad is not big into sports, and being an only child- a girl at that! - I was not exposed to the phenomenon called the sports fan until my early twenties. I didn't even realize there were such hardcore devotees who actually painted their bodies - what is THAT about?!!
But God, having the sense of humour that He does, hooked me up with the nicest, kindest man imaginable who just also happens to know everything there is to know about sports. And he got stuck with me, the girl who giggles at the term "tight end" in football. Nice.
The good thing about Kevin knowing all there is to know, is he is totally perfect for his job. He is smart enough to see past all the cliches those athletes and coaches throw at him, and write a story I would actually understand. Not that I read all his stories. I just can't get interested - sorry, honey! Now maybe if he started writing about scrapbooking, then I'd pay attention!
Anyways, being in the final throes of University football, I have yet to really see my husband this month. I think that was him I picked up at the airport yesterday, but I can't be too sure. I only saw him for a few hours before I went to bed nursing a migraine, and he disappeared again this morning after leaving the kids with me at work (yes, he can do that!). I do talk to him on the phone, so I know he's somewhere, I just can't remember what he looks like! I tried to look at his mug shot in the paper to refresh my memory, but it's an old picture - he looks much better now, especially with his snazzy new glasses.
Next week all the madness will be over for another year, and I will have my sweetie back again. Until curling starts, anyways!
I'm so proud of myself - I actually figured out how to save my designs so I can upload them onto my blog. I feel so computer-geeky!!
Okay, so you've probably already guessed from the graphic, but I'll explain anyway. Each weekend I am going to share either a memory verse I am working on, or just a verse from my readings that particularly stood out to me during the week. Sometimes I may expound upon it, and somedays I may just let the words speak for themselves. And I welcome all comments/bursts of insight you may have to contribute, too. Let's get started!!
We demolish arguements and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthains 10:5One of the benefits of blogging is that I have to become more thoughtful in what I actually say. I mean, whatever I say here is out there for the whole world to see, and I can't take it back. There are definitely days where I want to say things that are less than charitable, but then I remember the potential to hurt that person, and I refrain.
The good thing is, I have found this to be carrying over into my daily life as well. I have a very quick tongue at home, and I don't always think before I use it. This results in me saying things that hurt the other person, and a lot of times in a not so nice tone of voice. I know as soon as I let the words leave my mouth that I've done it again, and yet I do it again a few days later.
This week this verse has been floating through my head. It pops up when I am about to do something I shouldn't, and stops me in my tracks. It's pretty hard to ignore God! But it also has been helping me reign in my tongue. I acually find I am thinking first, deciding whether this is something that is in line with what God would want me to say, and then keeping my mouth shut! When I take captive my thoughts to make them obedient to Christ, I end up saying a lot less. The result is a more peaceful household, where people aren't afraid to make Mommy mad. And that is very humbling indeed.
I'm so excited - this is just as fun as getting new shoes!!
Last year I discovered the joy of online Christmas shopping. I can get it all done within an hour, and never get stressed! Although, I did end up going to the stores for a few things, but I vowed to avoid that this year. Even in mid-November the stores are starting to get crazy!
So this year I picked out everything I was getting my babies, and by 11:30 this morning, I was all done. Now I just have to sit back and wait for the presents to be sent to me. Love it!!
(I'll be getting Kevy's present in a couple of weeks by the same means. I can't hide it as well as the kids stuff! And I can't tell you what it is, because this is probably the day he's actually reading my blog...hi honey! Love you!)Of course, some may say there are drawbacks. Like paying shipping. But I feel that I have saved myself so much money in gas, that it more than makes up for it. Besides, if you know where to go, you can get stuff shipped for free by either paying a minimum amount, or like Sears, having it shipped somewhere you can pick it up. I ended up spending only $9.99 for convenience today. AND my sanity is still intact!
I did encounter one problem - along the way I somehow managed to duplicate an order that I thought hadn't gone through due to my crazy computer. So I ended up getting an email confirming TWO orders and a HUGE bill! Thank goodness they don't ship right away and I was able to get it sorted out. And that my husband didn't have to see THAT invoice. He would have freaked!!
So, while everyone else is battling the malls and the stress of not being able to find anything, I will be sitting at home, quietly sipping tea and enjoying the season, knowing I have found the perfect presents for my sweeties. And when I do venture out, it will be to buy decorations and other things that don't have to be exactly what I am looking for. And for a change, I'll be calm and cool in these places, instead of the frazzled stressed-out woman I usually am in December!!
Here are a list of places I check out when I shop online:
Grand River Toy Company (great for educational toys and other unique finds)
McNally Robinson Booksellers (free shipping!!!)
Toys R Us (why would you even THINK about going there at this time of year!!)
I'm so happy this week's WFMW is about Christmas! Some people might get stressed thinking about it over a month ahead of time, but not me! Bring it on!
I'm a big fan of tradition. I have to do everything the same every year, otherwise it's just not right. We have to take the Nativity scene out in just the right order and put them in the same place every year. Then my husband has to sneak in snowmen ornaments to tease me, and I move them back - every year! I have to get stressed, I mean excited! over the strings of Christmas lights, and general mess that is involved in decorating the tree. And I have to bake the same things every year - although I do throw something new into the mix, just for fun. I'm not totally compulsive, you know!
My favourite thing to do each year is to read our little Christmas book to see what we were up to in Christmases past. A friend gave me this - it's just a little book to hang on the tree, and each year before I put the decorations away, I write what made our Christmas special. The kids love to hear it, too - especially when it's about them! My favourite memory in our book is the Christmas I was expecting Hannah - Kevin, Emma, and I were all in the hospital at least once that December, pretty much every week. By the time Hannah finally made her apppearance two weeks later in January, the ER staff knew who we were! (To be fair, one of our visits involved seeing my friend who had just had her baby, much to my chagrin, since I was due before her!!!)
A lot of the things I have written I usually have forgotten about by the next Christmas, and it's always nice to be reminded of the wonderful moments we had together as a family.
So my tip for you is to keep track of those special memories each year, and enjoy reviewing them in the days to come. You'll be glad you did!
For tons more ideas and helpful hints for this holiday season, visit Rocks in My Dryer. And read her post while you're there!
Because I am now all done my novels on my list, I'm forced to work on the non-fiction ones! I'm kind of glad, because when I get into one, I actually learn a lot. I just sometimes prefer to not have to work so hard when I read!
Right now I am reading Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado. You need to read this book. I'm not even done it yet, and I've already taken more from it than I have from most other non-fiction I have read in the past year.
When I first started reading it, I wasn't too sure I would keep it up. My first impression was it was dealing with spiritual gifts. And I hate to say it, but I've already read as much as I want to on the topic! But as I got further into the first section, I realized he wasn't talking about the typical spiritual gifts you usually hear about. You know, hopspitality, administration, music, helps, etc. Not that those aren't important! Those are great gifts to have! But as he points out, you can't compartmentalize everyone into the short list of gifts found in the New Testament. It's just not possible.
I don't know about you, but I have found this to be true in my life. I have taken a few of those surveys, and sometimes it comes up with things I KNOW are wrong. Like I'm gifted in music, or pastoral stuff. Whatever! And how come these things never mention working with children?!
Lucado asks the reader to look at their "sweet spot" to find their calling. Your sweet spot is the time in your life when you just felt RIGHT about whatever it was you were doing. Like you were made to do that particular task/job, and it was made for you. I am experiencing that right now in my job - it's adminstration AND kids. It was totally designed for me!
That sweet spot is exactly what God has made you to do. Even if it doesn't sound very spiritual. I like how he puts it: Refinishing furniture is every bit as holy as caring for the sick if that is what God has created you to do.
Even if you know what your calling is, you should still pick up this book. It was wonderful to be affirmed that yes, what I do IS from Him, and He is busting his buttons with pride that I am doing it. Even if it isn't a seemingly spiritual job, it's still important. It matters to Him. And He made me to do it.
I'm not really a morbid person! In fact, the rest of the year, I don't dwell on the fact my Grandpa is gone at all. He was so sick when he died, it was a blessing to let him go. I think if you've ever witnessed this in your own life, you can totally understand where I'm coming from.
I was totally my Grandpa's girl. When I was much younger, it was me and my two male cousins. My Grandpa wasn't like a lot of men who had to have sons. He had three girls, and he was proud of every single one of them. And because I am very much the spitting image of my mom, I became the apple of his eye, too.
I remember when I'd go to spend the weekend, he'd grab me to sit on his lap for a cuddle. I always resisted, but he always won. Truthfully, I wanted him to! As I grew older, I gave up the pretense, and willingly found my spot with my Grandpa. The last time I saw him, he was in the nursing home, and I couldn't sit on his lap, but he did get to hold my Emma. Somehow, it felt right to see her there instead.
When I was 10, my cousin Mikki was born. I was sooo jealous that she was a girl. I thought I would lose my place in my Grandpa's heart with this interloper. I never did. He had room for both!
Every so often I would spend the weekend with my grandparents so my mom could have some down time. What I remember most of those weekends was playing cards with my Grandpa and eating salt and vinegar chips. With dill pickle dip. I still love that combination!
When my Grandpa did fall ill, I didn't see much more of him before he died. I think I saw him two or three times. In a way, I'm glad, because now my mind wanders to those earlier days with him, instead of dwelling on his illness. I'm thankful for God's graciousness there.
I miss my Grandpa terribly - it took me a year before I could look at his picture again without hurting. Now I can look at him and see my kids in his face, and know he is right proud of all of them, because they're mine.
If you still are fortunate enough to have a grandpa in your life, give him a hug! You are indeed blessed.
The snow is officially here where I live! While this isn't my favourite time of year, there are some things that I find kind of enjoyable.
- Sun sparkles on the snow.
- My kids rosy cheeks when they come in from playing.
- Hot chocolate with tons of marshmallows!
- Buying new mittens ~ I have a thing for this. It's almost like buying shoes!
- It's the only time of year I can wear a hat and look good in it.
- The various snow things my kids create in the front yard. Right now they're working on a 1 ft fort.
- Hot chocolate - oh, I already said that, didn't I?
- A fire in the fireplace and marshmallows - yummy!
- Hoar frost - even if it does mean it's ridiculously cold out!
- My kids footprints in the snow.
- Making snow angels (yes, even moms should make these! It's very therapeutic!)
- Baking baking baking, and not heating up my house.
- Hot chocolate with tons of marshmallows! (But I really like it!!)
I'm still waiting for the rest of my blog's makeover to be completed - there were some unforseen circumstances that arose for my designer (that sounds so cool! Wish I could afford one for my house!). So hopefully one day soon, you'll come to visit me and enjoy a whole new look. Keep checking!
Then one day after freezing my lily white hands as I squished out bananas from their peels, I had an epiphany. Since I really only use frozen bananas for banana bread, and I have to thaw the bananas to mush them up, why not puree them BEFORE I throw them in the freezer? So that's what I do. I puree the really ripe bananas in my blender, put them in those handy-dandy Ziploc containers (the 1 cup size, so they're even pre-measured!) and toss them in the freezer until I get a craving for chocolate-chip banana bread. And the best part is, they are nice and smooth, so my kids don't get grossed out by mysterious chunks in their muffins.
Works for me! Visit www.rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon/ for more handy-dandy tips.
(Boy, I hate my hubby's computer - I can't do anything fancy!)
After actually enjoying most of her meat for a change (it was a new recipe - thank you, Rachel Ray!!), Emma was teaching Hannah the benefits of their steak not being overcooked:
"If it's not pink, it'll taste like shoelaces!"
My sweet, adorable, little boy has done it. He defied me.
I was setting the dishwasher cycle after supper, and Ethan, being the good little helper he is, was trying to help by pushing all the other buttons at the same time. I told him not to, and he kept doing it! Mind you, it lasted all of two seconds, but still! He actually wouldn't stop when I told him to! I had to actually "spank" his hand!
(Okay, before you get all worried, I tapped his hand with the lightest feather touch imaginable. He didn't even flinch. But it did the trick. He stopped pushing the buttons on the dishwasher!)
And this isn't even an isolated incident. Yesterday in Sunday School (pardon me, Kids Tracks) he would not sit down when I asked him to. Even when I used my mean mommy voice. And today again, he totally ignored me when I told him to leave the TV alone. And for the last few nights, he's refused to eat his supper- and even had tantrums to boot.
What am I going to do?!
I'm sure compared to other two year olds, he's still pretty much an angel. I'm just not used to getting frustrated with him for his behaviour. He's always so cute and funny. A little mischievous at times, perhaps. But never defiant.
I guess the honeymoon is over.
Next thing I know he's going to favour his daddy over me!
Yes, I am in the holiday spirit already. I think it happened around the time I scarfed done the last chocolate halloween bar. Everything left is just superfluous. Now it's time to get down to business!
I love Christmas. I love buying too many presents and spending too much money on the people I love. (And yet my husband still loves me!) I love baking too many goodies and eating them. And I LOVE decorating the house.
This year the bug has bitten me a bit early - I already bought a Christmas decorating magazine today. And I'm half way through it. I am so excited to get started! I even bought new shelves today for over our fireplace. Okay, those aren't Christmasy, and I as I told my friend today, they aren't coming down for 20 years after the time I had putting them up! But I can already envision the Christmasy decorations that I will be buying to display on them. (Sorry, honey!)
No other time of the year gets me as excited. I do get excited in the spring, when it's time to plant my new flowers. But it's not the same! Besides, I don't really bake to celebrate getting dirt under my fingernails.
So, as soon as it snows, my snowmen are coming out of hibernation for the winter. And pretty soon I'll start digging out my other decorations to put out. And then the baking will start. And the eating! And you're invited to come over and enjoy it all with me. Maybe I'll even get a new camera for Christmas so I can share pictures with you (HINT HINT, honey!!).
Merry Christmas! :)
Anyways, throughout the book are little "quotes" from girls about what they wish their moms would or would not do. And this spurred the question, "So what exactly makes a good mom?!"
I quizzed my kids last night - I didn't say "Am I a good mom?". Really. I didn't! That would kind of be unfair. I just wanted to know what they thought made a for a good mom. Their responses:
- No tantrums (do I have those?!)
- Gives hugs and kisses.
- Takes care of me.
- Cooks me food (I should have reminded them of this tonight when they were complaining over their supper!)
There were a couple of more, but remember, having a good memory is not a requirement of good mommy-hood. I forgot them!
As I pondered their list, I wanted to find the single thread that weaves these characteristics together. And then I had it - love. Pure, unconditional love. Sure, I can give hugs and kisses, cook, and take care of my kids. But if I don't do it out of love, I won't keep it up for long. There's nothing in it for me, otherwise! I mean really - how often do kids actually think to express their gratitude to their moms all on their own? Not very often!
I don't pretend to be the best mom in the world. I'm not. (Hence the tantrum statement!) But I truly love and adore my kids because they are God's precious gift to me. And because of that, my kids actually think I am a good Mom. Really!
Love covers a mulititude of sins. ~ 1 Peter 4:8
(On a side note - I'm a usually punctual. I hate lateness. But it came with my hubby!)
The last three months have definitely been a time of adjustment for me as I started working again. And not just one job, but two! My house has been in a state of chaos pretty much ever since. And if you know me well, that is NOT normal! It stresses me out!!!
So this week, I came up with a system. Because I work two mornings, and one full day, with the other two weekday mornings full of other things, all my house work gets put off until the afternoon. Which is when I used to veg when I stayed at home everyday. And is also when I still want to veg!
My new system is this: I do my standard daily stuff right after lunch, before I exercise. This gets me motivated to clean and get it done! I like my work out time - no one is allowed to bug me! After my work out, I am banned from the computer until I get my special chores done. I have a cleaning system all worked out for my by the Fly Lady (don't ask, just look!). Then I am free to blog to my heart's content. Of course, some days, like now, I break my rule. I haven't exercised yet, but my floor is still wet. I don't want to kill myself!!
So, that's my system. So far the results are a cleaner, tidier house, a family who feels cared for, and a happier ME.
For more (and likely better!) tips, visit here.