Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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Q&A–Part One

April 29, 2008

Well, you’ll be shocked.

I’ve decided to set a bedtime for myself. I know. Crazy. But this whole staying up till, AHEM, all hours of the night, AHEM, should probably end soon.

At least, that’s what my husband is telling me. All the way from the Sandy Spot, at that.

Just who does he think he is? My husband, or something?

(I was just kidding, in case you didn’t catch that. He’s just worried I’ll collapse in sheer exhaustion one of these days, and then sleep for a week straight or something. I say, Yeah. Well. That would certainly be crazy.)

Anyway, the bedtime… is in approximately two minutes and thirty seconds. I’d better type fast.

So, with no further ado, here’s some questions and here’s some answers.

I think the #1 question I get is about homeschooling… Were you homeschooled? Did you like it? Do you plan to homeschool your own children? The answers are yes, yes, and yes.

I was homeschooled from second grade through graduation. I did indeed love it. I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. My parents took our schooling–the lifestyle of it, not just the academics–very seriously, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn’t be who I am today if it were not for their decision to homeschool. Of course, homeschooling wasn’t perfect in our home–we struggled to stay on track at times just as much as the next family, we tried out just about every curriculum under the sun, we sometimes got sidetracked following a movement or two (or three or four) before realizing that what God had for our family wasn’t always the same as another family, and there was even a short time in my 10th grade year when I had an inkling of wanting to attend our church’s small school–but all of that combined and included, it was one of the best aspects of my entire life. That said, John and I do plan to homeschool our children, but we definitely have come to a place when we can say we don’t believe homeschooling to be the only biblical option for every family. For us, right now, we know that’s the direction the Lord is leading us, and we look forward to schooling our little guys (and future ones!) here at home.

#2–Julianne asked where we got Troy’s Elmo slippers. Babies ‘R’ Us, Julianne. I could wander around that store all day long. I mean, YEAH, there’s about half a zillion totally unnecessary things in there, but goodness gracious, how I love looking at all of it. Seriously, do you have any idea how much I want to win some sort of major shopping spree in Babies ‘R’ Us, just to try out some of that nifty fun baby goodness??

#3–Several people have asked if I do blog design. Aaand, as a matter of fact, I sure do. I’m taking it slow at this point, but love, love, loving learning as I go. There’s a little box in my sidebar with my recent projects and a link to my pricing list. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested!

#4–I’ve received a number of comments and emails asking about tracking site traffic. I highly, HIGHLY recommend using some sort of tracker for the main purpose of being able to see if you’re receiving hits from people or places you don’t want on your site. I’d suggest setting up an account with Sitemeter or StatCounter, which are both free services. The first of those is a little easier to navigate, but it only tracks your most recent 100 visitors. If you have higher traffic StatCounter will track your most recent 500, with even more available for a small fee.

#5–The Mushrooms Thing. Okay, I was seriously just pulling something totally random out of the air with that one, peeps. But the truth is, NO, I do not like sauteed mushrooms. At all. I tried them once, and though I know I was highly biased due to never liking ANY mushrooms, I didn’t like ‘em. Not in a car, not on a train, not on a plane, I do not like them Sam I Am.

Sorry. Two year old in the house, remember?

And now, it is a full half hour past my bedtime. And I still have one other last thing to do before I can hit the hay. I still have about ten other questions still on the paper beside me, so this grand ol‘ question-y deal is not over yet, peeps.

To be continued…

The Status of The Table, Some Good Stuff, and Sauteed Mushrooms

April 27, 2008

So. Hi peeps.

I’m waiting for a few hundred recent pictures to finish burning to a CD for John (how do you say that? do the pictures burn? or does the CD burn?), and since it is making my computer go slooooooow–too slow to work my current design project–I’m just going to type away here.

It seems we all agree that SOMETHING needs to change on that entryway table. The one thing it seems everyone agrees on the most is that I need to move the pineapple. So I’ve given it a different place of honor. I think I do need to at least put something under the little lamp. I’m going to try a pretty doily. I’ll let ya know what happens.

Today was an absolutely wonderful day. You know, I don’t think I fully appreciate being with my local church until I haven’t been able to be there for a while. Due to the boys having half a million piggy-back sicknesses lately, I’ve been away from church more than I’ve been there. It was awesome. I feel incredibly refreshed. I love the people, and the music, and the messages, and every other little thing about it. I love my church. Not that it’s obvious or anything.

(No, no… it’s not perfect, I know that. I mean, COME ON, that’s established by the fact that I walk in the building every week. But, hey, sometimes I think it’s purty close.)

During our prayer request time in Sunday School this morning, a couple shared about the harrowing week they’ve had–major family health issues, a relative’s death, car trouble, and several other crazy things happening that are completely out of their control. They smiled weary smiles as they told us about it, sharing not only the hard things, but the fact that they’ve seen God’s hand in their lives as never before. After the husband finished sharing the specific things to be praying about this coming week, his sweet wife added one last request, before offering up a few soft-spoken thoughts.

To paraphrase… she said she’s realized this week how easy it is to merely “say” we’re trusting the Lord when only a few things are going wrong at once. We think we can still control it all, at least to some extent. So we make our best attempt to fix it, change it, or simply just control it, often further messing it all up and ending up even more stressed thanks to our efforts. But when everything goes crazy, everything is up in the air, and we know, without a doubt, that we have absolutely no control anymore… that’s when the true beauty of our God can shine through. Because we have to just give it all up. We have to just let Him work. Sometimes the Lord has to get us to that place of complete surrender before He can really put His glory on display.

“And then,” she said. “There is just something so liberating about taking our hands out of it and saying, ‘Lord, I don’t know what You’re doing, but I know you’re doing a much better job of it than I can.’”

I’ve been “chewing” on those thoughts all day. Really chomping on ‘em. So much in my life these days is out of my control, and yet I often find myself still trying to make it all work out on my own. Or getting frustrated. Or discouraged. Or completely and utterly stressed out, PEOPLE!! When I know–in my head, at least–that all God asks of me is to give it over to Him. Just put it in His hands. Why is that always so hard to do?

Follow that little tidbit with a Sunday School lesson about letting the light of Christ shine in our lives, and then a sermon about simply following and obeying Jesus without excuses or “half-way-obedience” and, whew… it was like a feast to this nearly-famished soul.

A good Sunday. A really good Sunday.

Oh, and real quick–since my picture CD is done and I need to head to bed–I’m going to be doing that Q&A post here shortly, so if you’ve had a question for me for a while, or you just thought of one, or you simply want to know if I like sauteed mushrooms, here’s your chance. Ask away. I’ll do my best to answer any and all.

Okay, on the mushrooms thing, I’ll just tell ya–NO. I do not. ‘Nuf said.

I clearly have some home decorating issues

April 25, 2008

After Christmas, John and I decided to get a new slipcover for our couch. Our couch was his grandmother’s, and though we love the couch itself, the brown, orange, green and tan floral print just doesn’t exactly match our taste. Maybe if we’d been living in the early 70’s. But this is, you know, 2008.

So, to replace the khaki slipcover we’ve had, we bought a much nicer red one. (YAY! No more constant. tucking. in. of the old slipcover!!!!!)
But that meant the pillows didn’t match. And we’d known for a while that our wall decor needed some serious help. And the living room needed some rearranging. And the curtains looked hideous with the new couch. And…. you get the picture.

In the course of a week, we’d been to every home interior store in the city. Our house finally looked a bit more “with it” and we felt real nifty.
Now, just to clarify–I am pretty much the world’s worst person when it comes to things like, you know, fashion and interior decorating. I just don’t “have an eye” for such things, as they say. But my mom does. So I just… copy her.

But at the end of the spur-of-the-moment redecorating, there was just one last little item I couldn’t find. I needed something else for the top of this entry-way shelf.
It just looked bare in the middle there, dontcha think?
The space between the frame and the mini-lamp was not big enough to set a purse or something, but still too big to be left completely empty.
Even my mom agreed. Which is crucial, since I have no fashion and/or decorating sense.
I was thinking one of those little wooden troughs with some balls made from… whatever those natural ball things are. Twine or wood or something.
But one day recently, I was in a pretty little gift shop and spotted this:
How adorable is THAT?
And how much more perfect could it be for the times when I pass by it on my way to bed and I’m afraid of the boogie men coming to get me?
Exactly! Perfect.
I brought it home and set it on the entryway table.

I loved the look. Eh, except for one little thing. Those dog tags hanging on the mirror? The ones my Marine gave me before we were engaged? Sweet and all… but they kinda sorta didn’t match the rest of the decor.
I did leave up my hospitality pineapple, given to me by a special friend in Hawaii. Because I love that.

Not that I don’t love the dog tags, but, well, you know.

But the next day, I walked down the stairs (See? That’s my stairway in the mirror) and wasn’t sure I like the look. So I changed it around. I put the lamp in the middle.

But then I thought–does that look like too much height on the left side, and then a weird visual drop when your eye reaches the candle holder?
I just don’t know.
So, nearly every day for the past several weeks, I’ve switched it. One way, then the other.
And I still just can’t decide.
Yes, I know I’m a bit obsessive. But, peeps, I walk by this a zillion times a day. I want it to look right. I just can’t decide which way IS right.
Which brings me to another point. Is EITHER way right? Maybe I should just move my pretty little candle holder and go back to the trough idea?
I should just ask my mom. But I forget when she’s here. It’s just when it’s quiet and we’re home, just us three–that’s when I switch it a gazillion times.

Oh, and for effect, here’s what it looks like if you’re looking down the entryway, into the living room. The lamp really does match, even if the slight sheen gives it a strange appearance in pictures.

One more thing–those dog tags. I did with them what really SHOULD be done with a deployed guy’s dog tags. See?

So I need some help here. What’s your opinion on the whole entryway shelf thing?

Help a decorating-challenged girl out, peeps.

Header Design Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to trusty ol’, we have a RANDOM winner for the giveaway.

(I’m really into the use of the word RANDOM lately. Can you tell? Like in this post. At least I use it in it’s proper context, though, unlike my 17-year-old brother, who uses the word, um, randomly. If I say something odd–which is quite often, believe it or not–he’ll just up and say, “Well, that was… random.” Even if it wasn’t. Which it sometimes is. But not always. So. Anyway. This is random.)

The winner is:

(Drumroll, as always)

Elizabeth at Finding Him Bigger!

I’ll be emailing Elizabeth so we can get started on her new header.

To everyone else, thanks so much for playing along. Feel free to check out the affordable packages I offer if you’d like a new look for your blog!

And would you belive this–I didn’t even enter one single solitary giveaway this week. Crazy, huh? No reason… I’m just blaming it on my scattered brain, as usual.

Random. Really random.

April 24, 2008

Okay, I rarely do memes. Rarely as in, NEVER.

But every time I see this one, I find myself wanting to do it. Because it’s usually called something like, “Seven Random Things About Me” or, “Five Strange Things About Me.”

And let’s face it, I’m pretty random and strange.

So when Heather at Home With Heather tagged me to do this meme, I decided, hey, why not?

I’m choosing the “Seven Random Things About Me” title, and going with it. So in no particular order and of no importance whatsoever…

1. I’ve (not) got rhythm. I’ve played the piano for years. I’ve been singing since I was a toddler. But my rhythm is SAD, people. Very sad. John, on the other hand, has not only perfect pitch, but perfect rhythm. I knew I married him for a reason.

2. As much as I love the idea of a nice, long, hot bubble bath, I have a hard time actually relaxing in the tub. The reason? I never feel like the tub is clean enough. Either it hasn’t been cleaned that week, or it’s freshly cleaned and I’m just sure there’s shower cleaner residue in my bath water. That tends to make the whole relaxation thing a little difficult.

3. I have a small, very light mole freckle on my right hand middle finger. When I was a little girl, I was so horribly embarrassed by it that I would hold my thumb over it when I’d raise my hand to ask a question. Just to, you know, not draw attention to it. For some reason, I’m not so sure that was the best way to accomplish such a goal.

4. My signature crazy face. Now THAT is random.

5. Doing too much blog-hopping overwhelms me and I end up quickly shutting my computer and pushing it far away from me. There are a LOT of people out there, peeps. A LOT. And for some reason, that overwhelms me in a huge way. I tend to read the same blogs most of the time, and have a hard time finding new ones without being freaked out by the sheer number of bloggers out there.

6. I am terribly cheap. Not frugal. CHEAP. A penny-pincher. A miser. I hate to spend money. I have a really hard time with the whole “ya get whatcha pay fer” idea. Instead of spending money on a quality item or two, I end up spending even more money on a bunch of cheap stuff. Good character quality, that one. Mmhmm.

7. I have virtually no brain since having kids. I don’t know exactly what happened to it. I have a few ideas, but… oh, wait, what were they again? I don’t remember. Just like I no longer remember all the random things I’ve always thought I’d use if I ever did this meme.

So there you have it. Seven random things you never wanted to know about me.

(I am, however, going to be answering some questions on Monday that have been coming in via email and comments lately. Some of you have been asking some of the same things, and I thought I’d just answer them all at once. So if you asked me something recently, look for the answer Monday. If I remember it, of course. Which may be hard, considering my lack of a brain and all.)

Now the “rules” state that you’re supposed to tag seven other bloggers to do this meme. But most of the people I know have already done it. Ages ago.

(I know, I’m always the last to jump on the bandwagon. Please don’t hold it against me.)

(If you haven’t already done this, and you want to, consider yourself tagged. And let me know you did it, so I can go find out if you’re as weird as I am.)

I’m changing the rules. Instead of tagging seven people, I’m “tagging” all of you to tell me ONE random thing about yourself in the comments. Hey, if I have to bare my random soul, you do too.